There are many things that are similar in Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Both theme parks were designed with incredible attention to detail, both parks organized around lands the transport you to a different time a different place, and both parks share some common, classic Disney attractions like Space Mountain, Pirates Of The Caribbean, and the Haunted Mansion.
While there are plenty of similarities, there are also quite a few differences as well.
Let’s take a look at seven things you can find at Walt Disney World but not at Disneyland:
1 – Size
While some people might describe Disneyland is intimate, most folks say that Walt Disney World is huge. They didn’t call it “world” for nothing. Disneyland occupies about 500 acres and the Walt Disney World resort is sprawled out over more than 25,000 acres. Walt Disney World has more land, more parks, and much more walking. The size difference between the two resorts maybe most noticeable in the iconic castles. Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland is less than 80 feet tall, while Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World is about 190 feet tall. The Disney Imagineers actually capped the height of Cinderella Castle so that it wouldn’t require a red blinking airplane warning beacon. Had the law requiring warning lights on building higher than 190 feet tall not been in place, Disney might have made the Cinderella Castle even grander.
2 – Resorts
When Walt Disney and his company designed Disneyland they were constrained by both money and space. In the end, the Disneyland property hosted three company-owned resort hotels. Compare that to the more than two dozen resorts spread across the Walt Disney World property today. The resorts at Disney World offer unique themes, architecture, and design. They can transport you to faraway places ranging from Africa to the Caribbean, from New Orleans to the future. At Walt Disney World you have many choices for staying in a resort on Disney property.
3 – Transportation
When you run an operation the size of a city, you need efficient ways to get people from one place to the next. Since Walt Disney World is so large and so spread out, it needs literally dozens of transportation options move folks around. Because Disneyland is far more compact, it doesn’t need three monorail lines, dozens of boat, and dozens of buses like Walt Disney World.
4 – Animals
Legend has it that, when Walt Disney and his fellow Imagineers designed the original Jungle Cruise at Disneyland, they wanted to include real animals. However, someone pointed out the tigers like the water and can jump across it. Using real tigers would put guests in great danger. That eliminated real animals from the attraction. That setback did not mean that the Disney organization would give up on including live animals in its parks. Well Disneyland is basically free of wild animals, Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World is literally full of them. From zebras to lions, visiting Kilimanjaro Safari’s at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is like taking a trip on an African safari without ever leaving Florida.
5 – World Showcase
While Disneyland doesn’t have an Epcot theme park, there are some elements of the Epcot’s Future World at Disneyland. However, Disneyland doesn’t have anything like Epcot’s World Showcase. Only at Walt Disney World can you visit a dozen countries of the world in a single afternoon and enjoy food, culture, and merchandise without adding a single stamp to your passport.
6 – Water Parks
Once again the blessing of size comes out at Walt Disney World. Disney offers not just one but two complete water parks in Florida. Each has a unique theme. At Blizzard Beach you can explore the frozen terrain supposedly caused by a freak Florida snowstorm. At Typhoon Lagoon you can check out the oddities created when a typhoon blew through. Both parks are well done with great Disney details. They also provide a wonderful way to cool off from the oppressive Florida heat.
7 – Queues
Yes, both parks have queues because, at least for now, waiting in line is an inescapable part of the theme park experience. However, Disney has invested far more in the queues at Walt Disney World than at Disneyland. Part of this could be that many of the queues at Disneyland can be partially or fully outside since the weather is not nearly as hot and muggy. Another angle is that Disney has decided to make waiting at Walt Disney World more pleasant by adding plenty of themed elements to check out as well as fun interactive games.
8 – FastPass+
Some folks love it and some folks hate it, but the current truth is that FastPass+ is only available at Walt Disney World. Well Disneyland still uses the old-fashioned paper-based FastPass, Walt Disney World now buzzes with FastPass+ kiosks, cast members wielding iPads, and guests constantly staring at their smart phones to check and revise their scheduled attraction times.
Which do you like better: Disneyland or Walt Disney World?