There is no doubt that “Disney” is one of the most recognizable companies worldwide. Disney is affiliated with some big names like Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, ABC and ESPN. However, when it comes to theme parks, Disney trumps all and any competition! There are currently Disney parks in California, Florida, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong…and Shanghai Disneyland will be opening in Spring 2016- Not to mention the Disney Cruise Line, as well, but who’s counting!?
There is often confusion between Disneyland and Walt Disney World. If you’ve been to one and not the other, you may think that the other is identical—but that is simply not true! There are many differences that you should be aware of if you really want to look like you know what you’re talking about.
#8 Location, Location, Location!
This one is pretty important. Walt Disney World is located in Orlando, Florida, while Disneyland is located in Anaheim, California. Two totally different coasts. If you have no interest in knowing the other differences, at the very least know this one.
#7 Size Matters
When Disneyland was built in 1955, Walt Disney only used about 300 acres of land in Anaheim. Walt Disney World covers a whopping 43 square miles. In fact, Walt Disney World is about twice the size of Manhattan or approximately the size of San Francisco.
#6 Number of Parks
Due to Disneyland’s smaller size, it is only home to 2 separate parks—Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure—while Walt Disney World has 4 theme parks—Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Walt Disney World also has 2 water parks called Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World have “Downtown Disney” which is a collection of shops, restaurants and entertainment!
#5 Hotels Galore
Disneyland has three main hotels on its property, while Walt Disney World has over two-dozen hotels on property and campgrounds to stay at if you like going camping! Both resorts have hotels off-property as well called “Good Neighbor Hotels”. Disney hotels—no matter which resort you are at are best known for their elaborate themes. At Walt Disney World’s newest hotel, Art of Animation, you can find Cars, The Little Mermaid, Lion King, and Finding Nemo themed rooms and suites. Disney is known for its fine attention to detail so next time you stay at a Disney resort, expect nothing but the best when it comes to the hotels!
Disneyland is so small that everything is within walking distance of each other. If your too exhausted to walk from all the fun you are having, free parking-lot trams can bring you to and from each park. The monorail system can bring you around the resort as well.
Fun Fact: The Disneyland-Alweg Monorail was the first daily operating monorail in the Western Hemisphere. Walt Disney World is so big that you couldn’t possibly walk to and from everything, so the transportation is much more utilized. Walt Disney World has trams, buses and boats that operate on a constant schedule. No matter what resort you are at, you can count on Disney transportation to get you to your destination in a timely matter!
The castles are definitely the most iconic parts of both Disney resorts. Disneyland has the Sleeping Beauty Castle, which is smaller than Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World. As for the other icons, the Disneyland resort also has Mickey’s Fun Wheel. Walt Disney World also has Spaceship Earth (the huge golf ball looking thing) and the Tree of Life.
#2 Days to Build
From groundbreaking to opening, Disneyland was built in exactly 365 days! Disneyland opened on July 17th, 1955. In fact, this July is Disneyland’s 60th anniversary so the parks are currently hosting the “Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration” this summer! Walt Disney World’s launch from the ground up began May 30th 1967 and later opened October 1st, 1971. That is 1,585 days!
Both resorts have attractions and rides that are in Florida and California. But each resort has specialty attractions that are unique to their location. Since Disneyland has such limited space to expand and grow, you’ll find that it has fewer attractions, but very big and popular ones- keeping it a high demand travel destination!
Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World are constantly evolving which often ignites a debate as to which one is “better”. In reality, each has traits and qualities that make them great in their own way. Each reflects and represents Walt Disney’s values that he lived by in his personal life and illustrated through his characters, music, and theme parks!
Long Live Disney In Our Hearts Forever!