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Disneyland vs Disney World: Differences Between the Disney Parks

Disneyworld v Disneyland Differences

Many people often wonder what the differences are between Disney World and Disneyland.  Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World are the most magical places one earth but there are some major differences.

disney world v disneyland

So which is better, Disneyworld or Disneyland? We’ll lay out all the differences between Disney World and Disneyland and let you make that decision for yourself! 

Read on for everything you need to know about Disneyworld v Disneyland!

***Disclaimer***  This post contains affiliate links. This means I may earn an affiliate commission if you click on an affiliate link. Full disclosure, I only post products that I have or recommend! 



Disneyland vs Disneyworld Size 

The most notable difference between Disneyworld and Disneyland is the size.  Disneyland is the original Disney Parks but it is much smaller than Walt Disney World.  

So exactly how big is the size difference between Disney World and Disneyland?  Disney World is at least twice as large as Disneyland, if not more. 

disneyland v disneyworld

Disney World has 4 theme parks and 2 water parks while Disneyland has only 2 theme parks.  Disneyland has California Adventure and the Disneyland theme park.

While Disney World has the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. Disney World also has two water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. 

disney world v disneyland

Besides the Disney theme parks, both Disney World and Disneyland have shopping districts. In Disneyland, the shopping district is Downtown Disney and in Disney World, shopping is in Disney Springs. 

There are is a big Disneyworld v Disneyland size difference in terms of resorts too.  Walt Disney World has over 20 resorts but Disneyland only has three Disneyland resorts. 

disneyland v disneyworld

Both Disney Parks are great but if you’re comparing Disneyland and Disney World size, Disney World definitely takes the cake. 



Disney World v Disneyland Castle

One of the most notable differences between Disneyland and Disney World is the castles.  Surprisingly, the Disneyworld v Disneyland castles are dramatically different. 

The Disneyland Castle is the original also known as Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. And since the Disneyland castle is original, it is much smaller than the Disney World Castle. 

disneyland v disney world

The Disney World Castle is also known as Cinderella’s Castle.  The Disney World or Magic Kingdom castle is much taller and larger than the Disneyland Castle. 

If you’ve been to Disney World before, be prepared that the Disneyland castle is much smaller and a little underwhelming. This isn’t to bash the Disneyland Castle but level set Disney park goers before they make a Disneyland vacation. 

disneyworld v disneyland

While both Disneyland and Disney World’s Castles are amazing, they are vastly different.  So you’ll need to make the decision whether you prefer the Disneyland vs Disneyworld castle. 



Disneyworld vs Disneyland Rides

One of the biggest things people look forward to on their Disney vacation is all the rides and attractions. At both Disney World and Disneyland, there are some rides that are the same or similar but each Disney parks has some unique rides too! 

So which Disneyland and Disney World rides are at both Disney Parks? Many of your favorite, classic Disney rides are located at both Disneyworld and Disneyland.

disneyland v disney world

For example, original Disney rides like Pirates of the Caribbean, the Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, and Space Mountain are at both Disney World and Disneyland. While these rides are at both Disney World and Disneyland, each version  has a few unique elements. 

This isn’t an exhaustive list of every rides that’s at both Disney World and Disneyland but it just proves that some Disneyland v Disneyworld rides overlap. 

disneyworld v disneyland

But the bigger question than similar Disney World and Disneyland rides is what Disneyland and Disneyworld rides are different. Disney World certainly has more rides that Disneyland simply because the size difference. 

Disney World has unique e-ticket rides like Avatar – Flight of Passage, Slinky Dog Dash, Test Track and more. Additionally, Disney World has many more unique shows that aren’t at Disneyland. 

disney world v disneyland

Some of these unique Disney World shows are the Beauty and the Beast Live Show, the Festival of the Lion King, and the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular. 

While Disney World has more unique rides than Disneyland but Disneyland still has some different rides too.  Disneyland has the Matterhorn Bobsleds, the Incredibles Coaster, and the new Marvel attractions. 

disneyland v disney world

Both Disneyworld and Disneyland rides are incredible and their are some similarities and differences in the two Disney parks.  Regardless of which Disney park you visit, Disney World v Disneyland rides will not disappoint. 



Disneyland vs Disneyworld Resorts

Like everything else between Disney World and Disneyland, the resorts have some similarities and differences. Firstly, Disney World has over 20 resorts while Disneyland has has 3 resorts on property. 

Despite the large size difference between Disneyworld v Disneyland resorts, both Disney resorts possess Disney charm and magic.  Hotels at both Disneyworld and Disneyland are immersive experiences that make your Disney vacation even more magical.

disney world v disneyland

Starting with Walt Disney World resort, they are bucketed into three distinct categories. Disney World resorts are classified as value, moderate or deluxe. 

Each Disney World resort category comes with pros and cons. Disney World value resorts are the cheapest in price but they are typically farther from the Disney Parks and have fewer amenities. 

Moderate resorts are in the middle in terms of price but they often have more amenities, restaurants, and are a bit closer to the parks. 

diisney world v disneyland

Lastly, Disney Deluxe resorts are the most expensive but you can typically walk to a Disney World park and there are so many amenities to choose from.  With over 20 Disney World resorts, there is certainly an option for every Disney vacation. 

Because Disneyland’s property is much smaller than Disney World, Disneyland only has 3 hotels on property.  Each of the Disneyland hotels is higher end but you are steps away from the Disney magic. 

disneyland v disney world

Disneyland does have one semi-cheap on property resort but it’s still much more expensive than Disney World Value resorts.  Uniquely to Disneyland, good neighbor hotels offer great options in terms of a place to stay too. 

The Disneyland good neighbor hotels are usually significantly cheaper than the Disneyland resorts but you may lose some of the Disney magic. 

disney world v disneyland


Both Disneyworld and Disneyland resorts offer unique, magical accommodations for any Disney vacation. But Disney World certainly takes the cake with more Disney resort options. 



Disney World v Disneyland Dining 

Like everything else, Disneyworld v Disneyland dining is a hard comparison. Both Disney Parks have great dining options but Disney World has more offerings to choose from because of size. 

First off, in terms of Disney dining both Disney World and Disneyland use their respective apps and websites to schedule dining reservations.  Both Disney World and Disneyland dining reservations can be booked 60 days in advance right now.

disney world v disneyland

At Disney World, dining reservations need to be made 60 days in advance because many places fill up. But at Disneyland, you have a much better chance at getting a last minute dining reservation. 

Disneyland has more locals than Disney World so you don’t need to plan as far in advance. 

disneyland v disney world

Now Disney World certainly has more table service restaurants but this is likely because there are so many more Disney World resorts. 

But this doesn’t mean you’ll go hungry because Disneyland has fewer table service restaurants. The Disneyland table service restaurants are amazing and the Disneyland quick service restaurants are always delicious too. 

disney world v disneyland

Disney World v Disneyland dining at Disney Springs or Downtown Disney is a great option too.  Both Disney Springs and Downtown Disney have lots of table service restaurants. And some don’t require reservations at all!

Both Disneyworld and Disneyland Parks have so many delicious dining options to choose from so you certainly won’t go hungry. But for the larger selection of restaurants, Disney World takes the cake again! 



Disneyland vs Disneyworld Transportation 

And last but not least, we take a look at Disneyworld v Disneyland transportation differences.  This is one of the areas with the biggest Disney World v Disneyland difference. 

Walt Disney World has an extremely robust transportation system. The Disney World transportation system consists of boats, buses, skyliners, and monorails. 

disney world v disneyland

At Disney World, every Disney resort has bus transportation to the Disney Parks and Disney Springs.  Many of the Disney World deluxe resorts have additional transportation options like the monorail or boat. 

In the last few years, Disney opened the Disney World Skyliner transportation system so guests from Value, Moderate and Deluxe resorts can take the Skyliner to the Disney Parks. 

All of this combined together has created a very complex Disney World transportation system. While Disneyland doesn’t have much of a transportation system at all. 

disney world v disneyland

All three of the Disneyland resorts are within walking distance to both Disneyland parks. The only form of transportation at Disneyland is the monorail. 

The Disneyland monorail transports guests from Disneyland to Downtown Disney and back. 

disneyland v disneyworld

Comparing Disneyland v Disney World transportation shows a big difference.  It’s certainly easier to get around at Disneyland so keep that in mind while deciding if you want to visit Disney World or Disneyland. 



Disney World and Disneyland – Which is Better?

The big question at the end of the day is whether Disneyworld or Disneyland is better. And unfortunately, that’s only for you to decide. 

There are many Disneyland v Disneyworld differences but they usually come down to the size factor. Disney World usually has more options simply because it’s much larger. 

disneyland v disneyworld

But more options don’t necessarily make something better.  Disneyland is more condensed but certainly carries the same magic as Disney World. 

Hopefully this allows you to think through the Disney World v Disneyland comparison and make a decision whether Disney World or Disneyland is right for your next family vacation!



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