Hello all you travel fans out there! It’s Morgan from the Very unOfficial Travel Guides, and it’s time to take a break from all the cruise related content I’ve been posting lately in order reawaken my Disney Side. (Cruise people, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but this is the Very unOfficial Travel Guides and not the Very unOfficial Exclusively Cruise Ship Related Guides, and I’ve been giving away so much cruise stuff lately that I just wanted to switch it up). In the video above and the article below, I’m going to do a Disneyland vs. Disneyworld Smackdown. I think there’s a lot of people who don’t understand how different the two destinations are, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to educate you on the similarities, differences, and common misconceptions. Let’s get started
The castle in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida is much much bigger and more majestic than it’s miniature sister in California!
Well, I guess it’s kind of obvious, but just to clear things up. Disneyland is in Anaheim, CA, and Walt Disney World is in Orlando, FL. If you ever want to get in trouble with a Disney Fanboy or Girl, say something like, “We went to Florida for Spring Break and took the kids to Disneyland”. That’s kind of like saying, “I went to Burger King and got the best Bic Mac.” Disneyland is in CA, Disneyworld is in FL. Don’t make me tell you again!
This is probably the biggest obvious difference between the two and something important to know about when planning which one you want to visit and how long you want to stay, so listen up.
Disneyland has 2 theme parks, (Disneyland and Disney California Adventure), a shopping and dining area called Downtown Disney, 3 official resort hotels, and a large group of partner hotels close by. If you really want to see everything the Disneyland Resort has to offer, you’re going to need at least 2 and a half days, three days. On the other hand, if you’re planning to stay for a week… you’re probably going to end up taking some field trips to non-Disney destinations.
The iconic Spaceship Earth at the entrance to EPCOT in Florida.
WDW has 4 theme parks, (Magic Kingdom which is the park with the castle in the middle that everyone refers to as Disneyworld, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom), 2 waterparks, a shopping and entertainment area Disney Springs, 2 official mini golf courses, like 20 different official resorts with amazing restaurants, and also a hand full of partner hotels directly on or adjacent to Disney property. WDW in Florida is basically it’s own city. It has it’s own fire department and it’s own internal transportation system of busses, boats, and monorails, and if you stay on Disney property, you really feel like you are in a different, magical world, separated from reality. If you want to see everything that Disneyworld has to offer, you’re going to need at least a week, and I think 10 days wouldn’t get boring either, (but I’m kind of obsessed). I’m not saying if you can’t go for a week, then don’t go at all, because you can definitely have a blast spending one day at one park, but if you’re really doing a dedicated Disney getaway, you’re going to need at least a week.
Muppet Vision 3D is a cleverly hilarious movie attraction available both in California and in Florida.
But let’s narrow it down to the two most famous parks: Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom at Disneyworld, (which most people picture when they hear the word Disneyworld). The parks are laid out very similar and from a lot of angles look almost identical, yet there are some major differences between the two that you should know about.
As you may or may not have known, Walt Disney never actually set foot in the Magic Kingdom in Florida because he died before major construction on Walt Disney World began. #tragic #sadface So, if you are really obsessed with all things relating to the actual MAN, then you might want to consider a visit to the original Disneyland in CA. There, you can walk the same paths, see the same sites, and experience some of the actual attractions that Walt Disney himself helped design, develop, and test. These are some Disneyland highlights that might still have some traces of Disney DNA on the seats:
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
The Original Jungle Cruise
Storybook Land Canal Boats
The Original It’s a Small World
and the original Pirates of the Caribbean, which was the last attraction built under the supervision of Walt Disney himself. And I know, you kind find most of those at other Disney Parks, too, but most fans will tell you the the original versions in California are definitely the better ones.
That being said, with it’s 4 parks in Florida, there are a ton of things you can experience there that you can’t in California. I’m talking about major attractions like the Expedition Everest Roller Coaster at Animal Kingdom, Test Track and Mission:Space at EPCOT, Rock’n Rollercoaster and the Lights Motors Action Stunt Show at Hollywood Studios, and with the new Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, Florida now has another big hit that California doesn’t with the Seven Dwarves Mine Train Coaster.
But to be fair, let me list a few California originals that you won’t find in Florida.
I guess the two most popular would be the California Screamin coaster and Radiator Springs Racers over at California Adventure, and let’s not forget the first modern steel tracked roller coaster in the worrrld, Disneyland’s Matterhorn Bobsled ride, which is so brutal it’s funny. Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin is a fan favorite you won’t find in Florida, and another world class West Coast exclusive is the Indiana Jones Adventure, in fact you probably won’t find a better themed attraction anywhere in the universe, (other than, perhaps, the clone of the ride at Tokyo Disneyland).
Disneyland’s single biggest investment: Carsland and Radiator Springs Racers.
Listen, I could talk for hours about this subject because I love Disney Parks so much. We could talk about Floridas Disney Dining Plan and how it can help you save hundreds of dollars on food, and it doesn’t work like that in California. We could talk about how the two Space Mountains are actually totally different than each other, or about how the two Splash Mountains are basically the same but have totally different boats, or about why Fantasmic in California is like a hundred times better than in Florida. But I want to hear from you! What do you think they need to build in Florida that is only in California at the moment? And the other way around? What Disneyland classic do you think needs to be re-born in Florida? Let’s talk about all that in the comments, or @mrmorganobrien on twitter/insta, and at http://www.facebook.com/morgansveryunofficialtravelguides!
See you soon!
Me getting my spine adjusted on Disneyland’s historical Matterhorn Bobsled Ride.