I am a child of Disneyland. I have been going to that park on a nearly yearly basis for most of my life. My first visit was – I think – when I was three. Last year, I became a member of the Annual Passholder family, and I can now confidently say I have been on more Disneyland trips than I have had birthdays.
And this year, for the first time ever, I took a trip out to Walt Disney World.
Everyone I’ve talked to about the trip wants to know what I think of the two resorts, which I like better, etc. So here are my thoughts.
Several friends have said that, “Disney World is huge! Isn’t it great? It’s so much bigger!” Frankly, yes. It is bigger. But that doesn’t make it necessarily better. I personally like the fact that when I want to park hop at Disneyland I can walk across the esplanade and be in Disney California Adventure five minutes later. I like that when I stay at a Disneyland resort hotel (and I’ve stayed at all three of them) I can walk from my hotel room to the front gates and be there in fifteen minutes.
Granted, it would be nice to have more space at Disneyland. It would be nice to have had the room for CarsLand without having to tear up a parking lot. On the other hand, Disney World HAS the room to expand, yet it is Disneyland (and not Disney World) who is getting CarsLand. Makes you think.
Here are a few of my general thoughts on the comparison. I’ll go into more detail later when I take a look at each of Walt Disney World’s parks individually.
- The biometric scanning at the WDW entry gates (aka fingerprint readers) cut down on the guest/Cast Member interactions in a bad way. I like handing my ticket to a CM who then scans it, thanks me for coming, and (if appropriate) notices my birthday badge and wishes me a happy birthday.
- I also prefer the way the Disneyland ticket scanners make a happy little magic noise when you enter for the first time that day, and chirp at you when you enter a second time.
- Cinderella castle (at WDW) is huge. I love being able to see it from so far away. I don’t like that in order to get your picture taken with the whole castle in the background, it feels like you need to be a mile away.
- There are more sit-down restaurants in WDW than in Disneyland. This is something I didn’t know I missed until this trip.
- People have said I like Disneyland better because I am Californian and know that park better. This is not necessarily true. I met many WDW Cast Members who had been to both parks and liked Disneyland better. One of them explained it by saying the experience was “more intimate”.
- I wish we had gone out of our way to experience some of the extra things at WDW. For instance, we only found out about the Wild Africa Trek (a tour at the Animal Kingdom) on our last day there, and it was already booked.
- The one thing that stood out about my trip to WDW as being consistently better than any of my trips to Disneyland: in my two week trip to WDW, I only had to stand in line for the restroom twice. And this was during the Thanksgiving holiday rush.
Happy birthday, Walt! Thanks for the magic and the memories.