What’s More Magical? Disneyland or Disney World?

For the first time in Dillo’s Diz history, we have the pleasure of a guest blog. This blog comes to you from ‘Figgy’ and ‘M.’ Both are friends of Sista Dillo, have a love for Disney World and have recently visited Disneyland. And now their take on Land vs. World…

From ‘M’s’ Point of View:

I didn’t discover my love of all things Disney until my early 30’s. And to be quite honest, I’m not sure that I would have been able to process the notion of not being able to visit this magical place as often as I would have liked to. But now, I’m older and working for an airline; I plan on making up for lost time. Hence my recent trip to Disneyland.

Prior to my visit, my friends (who are complete Disney experts) warned me that Disneyland was nice but certainly no comparison to Disney World. Well, all except for my one lone California friend. But I suspect she was a bit biased. Being the enthusiastic Disney novice that I am, I was certain that Disneyland would be equally amazing. After all, Disney is Disney. Right?

While I understand that Disneyland was the prototype and Disney World was the final masterpiece, I couldn’t help noticing that I wasn’t feeling the same butterflies that I feel whenever I visit Disney World. Disneyland has been described many times as “charming” but it actually felt quite obnoxious. It was very hard not to compare the two parks, but my friend ‘D’ (who, along with Sista Dillo; are my Disney kindred spirits) and I spent most of the trip saying “This would never happen in the Magic Kingdom!” For example, you never see off duty cast members in Disney World but there they were in Disneyland, waiting to be picked up in front of the park, lounging on their cell phones. ‘D’ was practically distraught.

I stepped onto Main Street expecting to gasp as I always do whenever I enter the Magic Kingdom. Sadly, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle looks like a dollhouse compared to Cinderella’s Castle. The entire area feels like being in a snow globe of the Magic Kingdom.

The line for Dole Whip was like the line for Space Mountain….ridiculous. Dole Whip Fastpasses?  And speaking of lines, it seemed that Disneyland was lacking in crowd management. Maybe it’s because there are more ride options at Disney World, but I felt like the lines were all pretty long and unmanaged. We waited roughly about 20 minutes to get my “Disney Survival Bag” checked before entering the park. (Brother and Sista Dillo, I can gladly do a guest blog on the necessity of a Disney survival bag also).

Disneyland is located within the city limits so there was more of an opportunity for teenagers to hang out there. I kept wondering where were the parents of all these 16 year olds that were making out. Yuck.

On the plus side, there were some rides that were much better. The Disneyland versions of Pirates of the Caribbean and It’s a Small World were far superior. Honorable mentions for: Nemo’s Submarine Ride, Alice in Wonderland, and Indiana Jones (although ‘D’ informed me that it was basically Dinosaurs with an Indiana Jones theme).

Even though I was a little disappointed, I’m glad I got the opportunity to visit. ‘D’, being the Disney expert that he is, was able to strategize and navigate our visit for a pretty decent experience.

To put it into perspective…..think of Disney World as Target and Disneyland as Walmart. Yes, you can get what you need at both places, but the differences are pretty obvious. Would I go back again? Probably not. Am I glad that I went? Absolutely.

-‘M’

And now from ‘Figgy’s’ aka ‘D’s’ Point of View:

Being a complete Disney freak, I jump at the chance to do anything involving Disney.  So when my friend ‘M’ mentioned a trip to Anaheim to visit the original happiest place on Earth, I naturally did not think twice about it.  I had been there once before about 10 years ago but it was time to rediscover the park that Walt built.

I had very low expectations going there but can you ever really be fully prepared for the magical surprises in store at a Disney theme park?  To keep this short and sweet here are my pros and cons for visiting Disneyland in California:

Pros:

  • This is the original!  There was a smell of nostalgia in the air as we walked down Main Street.  You can still see the lamp on in the apartment over the firehouse; the place where Walt used to watch kids enter his kingdom for the first time.  It was fun to think about how a lot of attractions here were original and to compare what they morphed into in Orlando.
  • There is not a lot different from coast to coast but the unique rides in Disneyland were absolutely amazing.  To list a few: The Indiana Jones Adventure, Finding Nemo Submarines, Cars Land/Radiator Springs Racers, and California Screamin.  These attractions stand out as they are only on the left coast but they are equally as magical and well themed as some of the E-ticket monsters on the right coast.
  • Four words… Pirates of the Caribbean.  Why is the Disneyland version twice as long and better themed?  Did you know there was an actual back story that goes along with the attraction?  Did you know the journey actually begins with your boat floating gently down a Louisiana Bayou before getting lost in the realm of the forgotten pirate?  You would not know any of this if your only Pirates experience was in the Magic Kingdom.  In fact, at about the half-way point of the Disneyland attraction is where the Magic Kingdom attraction starts, pretty much mirror image of each other from that point.  Orlando is really missing out on the first half of this ride!

Cons:

  • Price.  Yes I went there.  At the time of publishing it costs $92 for a one day ticket to Disneyland vs. $95 at the Magic Kingdom.  The difference?  For $3 less you get a lot less to do.  Disneyland is easily a half day park missing out on many of the E-ticket attractions the Magic Kingdom is famous for.  The price should be a lot less than that!
  • California Adventure… ok I went there too.  It’s hard for me to find something nice to say about this park.  It just does not make sense.  I visited once before the multi-million dollar makeover and now I have visited after the makeover.  It still does not make sense.  The theming does not mesh well from land to land.  There are lands with only 1 attraction in them.  Soarin only has a 20 minute wait.  Why is Tower of Terror in the Bugs Land area?  Why is there a Bugs Land area?  Why is the Hollywood area devoid of attractions involving Hollywood (going back to MGM and all of their live stage shows here)?  My suggestion… bulldoze the entire park and just build Westcot already.
  • I will close with my last con… Davy Crockett Canoes.  Really? Like seriously?  I travelled 2500 miles to row in a canoe?  Are these things motorized or on tracks?  A cast member at the entrance was even trying to recruit people to canoe with them.  Ummm… I’m on vacation and all attractions better move by themselves.  This would never happen in Disney World!

-‘Figgy’ aka ‘D’

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2 thoughts on “What’s More Magical? Disneyland or Disney World?

  1. I grew up thirty min from Disneyland and it’s like a second home. I love WDW and going there feels like a proper vacation, an complete escape. However, just comparing Disneyland to Magic Kingdom, Disneyland wins. It may be smaller, but it has a more intimate and magical feel. MK is too sprawling for me and the lands don’t have as much character. My favorite Disney Park is Animal Kingdom, which I absolutely love.

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