Five Ways Disneyland Beats Walt Disney World Every Time

The age-old question of which property reigns supreme — Disneyland or Walt Disney World — can result in some pretty heated debates. Both theme parks have their virtues, and they share many Disney-fied attributes. Still, plenty have asked: which is better overall?

Sleeping Beauty Castle Photo by Rob Sparacio, Disneyland) ©Disney

While we think that question is impossible to answer for everyone, there are a few noticeable pros and cons to keep in mind if you’re trying to decide which park to visit. For argument’s sake, we’re celebrating the original park today. 

Here are five ways Disneyland beats Walt Disney World, every time:

Weather

While both parks can get plenty hot throughout the year, perhaps the most obvious advantage Disneyland has is that it doesn’t have to deal with the Florida climate. Disneyland is certainly not in a bubble, and it can rain from time to time, but it’s a far cry from the almost daily expectation that it could rain (torrentially) at Disney World at any time (particularly in the summer months).

Something you never have to think about in Disneyland – Hurricanes. ©The Weather Channel

In general, you’re also dealing with much lower humidity in California, which results in just about year-round pleasant weather at Disneyland. The chances that you’ll encounter a ‘wash-out’ day in Disneyland are very small, and you can’t beat that!

Historical Significance

It’s simple: Disneyland is the only finished Disney park in the world that Walt Disney ever stepped foot in. When you walk through Disneyland, you feel a certain historical significance that Disney World can’t match.

Walt Disney and a Disneyland Engine

With Disney World set to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2021, there’s plenty of history to go around there, too. But Disneyland is the park that started it all, and that history can’t be duplicated.

The Convenience of Getting Around

One of the most jarring differences between Disneyland and Disney World is the size of the two resorts. You can spend an entire week at Disney World and just begin to scratch the surface of all that there is to see and do.

This is about how far you need to walk between the entrances to Disneyland & California Adventure

Disneyland, on the other hand, could possibly be completed in one day. If you want to get from park to park at Disney World, you need to consider buses, Skyliners, ride shares, Minnie Vans…the list goes on, and it could easily take an hour to park hop. At Disneyland, you can park hop in a matter of seconds on foot.

Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure

Whether you prefer a smaller park like Disneyland or a massive property like Disney World, there’s no denying that the convenience of getting around is a real perk.

Unique Offerings

Disneyland is a ‘locals’ park meaning there is typically a higher percentage of local guests per day than there are tourists. Disney World is typically opposite; many more tourists than locals.

Because Disneyland attracts repeat guests and Passholders throughout the year, it’s important to update their shows, attractions, and seasonal offerings to keep things interesting. Disneyland features regular holiday overlays of their most popular attractions, including Haunted Mansion and it’s a small world. You are also more likely to see new fireworks shows at Disneyland than at the Magic Kingdom.

Mickey’s Mix Magic on “it’s a small world”

The Flexibility in Planning

While planning a last-minute trip to Disney World is definitely doable, there’s no denying that Disneyland reigns supreme in flexibility. Again, the fact that Disneyland is more of a local’s park means that the majority of their guests on a day-to-day basis did NOT plan their visit months in advance. On the contrary, many of their guests probably decided that day they wanted to swing by the parks for a few hours.

Disneyland Grad Nite ©Disney

Disneyland doubles down on the flexibility of planning day-of with MaxPass, which is a feature you can add to your park ticket that allows you to book FastPasses directly from the Disneyland App. It is similar to FastPass+, but at major difference is that there is no ‘advance’ booking of FastPasses in Disneyland it is all done same day. This frees guests from having to make decisions on FastPasses months before they even arrive.

Have you been to both Disneyland and Disney World? How do they compare to each other? Do you have a favorite? Let us know in the comments!

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3 Replies to “Five Ways Disneyland Beats Walt Disney World Every Time”

  1. I don’t see it as a competition or a needed comparison. They are different parks with different offerings, and different ways of doing things. Why not embrace all that is special with each instead of pitting them against one another? I love them both! 🤷‍♀️

  2. We like to do Disneyland at Christmas, and so when we went to WDW for the first time, we went at Christmas. We enjoyed the Animal Kingdom (Flight of Passage alone is worth the price of admission), Epcot was ok, Hollywood Studios was ok (Fantasmic was not nearly as good as DL’s). But at the Magic Kingdom, we were very disappointed; DL does Christmas WAY better than WDW. We went a second time at Christmas, just to be sure, and were even more disappointed. Not enough Christmas in *all* of the parks, not enough decorations, not enough Christmas music, NO SNOW after the fireworks, montage of old animated movies projected on the front of the castle so you have to be *right there* for the fireworks to make sense because the music is original Disney music and isn’t as synchronized with the fireworks (and isn’t Christmas-y), early park closings at the MK so people could pay more to go to the Christmas party. DL and California’s Disney Adventure have more shopping choices than WDW, which seems weird, but it is so.
    .
    We plan to go back some time during the 50th celebration, but that will be our last time. Disneyland is the winner.

  3. ……..and a thousand ways WDW beats Disney Land every which way till Sunday.

    Never fails, About once a year there’s an article on how Disney Land is better than WDW. Unfortunately that’s just wishful thinking by some Left Coasters.

    Weather – the air quality in and around Disney Land is way, way worse than Orlando. I’d rather be hot and sweaty then awaiting COPD in my golden years.

    Historical Significance- The model T Ford has historical significance also, but I’d rather be driving a new Lexus.

    Convenience of getting around – Of course its easy to get around when the park is the size of a postage stamp compared to WDW. It’s easier to walk to the bathroom in a tiny house, but I’ll stick with my McMansion, thank you.

    Unique offerings- your comparing dressing up Small World and some new sparklers for the fireworks show to the thousands of unique offerings at all of the WDW parks, resorts plus downtown Disney.