What sets Disneyland apart from Walt Disney World?

by | Mar 19, 2024 | FTM Travel Info

I often hear the comment, “Aren’t Disneyland and Walt Disney World the same?” While I see how this can be a common idea, it couldn’t be further from the truth. While there are some similarities between the two such as Star Wars Land, there are some major differences in rides that appear in both Land and World and the parks in general.

Let’s start with the basics… Walt Disney World is made up of 4 main parks and Disneyland is made up of 2. Disneyland’s two parks are literally across a courtyard from each other making it simple to park hop multiple times a day without it taking up a lot of time switching between parks. The parks are both accessible by Downtown Disney which is accessible by walking from one of 3 of Disneyland’s hotels. There are no buses or other types of transportation needed to enjoy Disneyland. This combination makes Disneyland a very convenient and more relaxing way to enjoy the destination.

Disneyland Park is the main park of the 2 and the one that Walt Disney had a hand in creating and bringing to life. If you have been to Walt Disney World you can think of Disneyland park as a combination of Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. There are many original rides to experience that you will not find in Walt Disney World.

California Adventure is unlike any park at Walt Disney World. It has Cars Land (SO CUTE!), Incredicoaster (my favorite), Marvel Land which includes a Guardians of the Galaxy themed version of Tower of Terror, and now the newly opened Sanfrantokyo Bridge. World of Color is a Fantasmic type show in the evenings that is incredible!

There are many rides in all of Disneyland that are the same name as the ones in Walt Disney World however they have everything from minor differences to be completely different. I would venture to say some of these are BETTER than the Walt Disney World versions.

Logistics…the planning process of a Disneyland vacation is night and day different to Walt Disney World. As a matter of fact, the main commonality is the dining reservation window at 60 days out.

Magicband+ is now available in Disneyland however it is better used in Walt Disney World. Magicbands are only able to serve as your park entrance and you can also use to access your Genie+ selections. In World, Magicbands are also the key to your room and you are able to make purchases by scanning and using a PIN.

Speaking of Genie+, this feature is much more user friendly and easier in Disneyland than in World. With a Disneyland reservation you can add on this feature to your package prior to your trip which is very convenient for budgeting. Once you arrive, you have to be scanned into the park to make your first selection. After using the selection at anytime, you can choose another Genie selection which makes knocking out rides easy and fun.

Disneyland only has three onsite resorts.  The newly renovated and named Pixar Pier Resort is a short walk across the street and you can access the parks through the Grand Californian walkway.  These rooms offer two Queens and one fold-down sofa bed to accommodate five guests. It also has a new full-service restaurant inside (Great Maple) that is phenomenal! 

Disneyland Hotel may be my favorite. The rooms are spacious, they have a Trader Sam’s and a Dole Whip stop as well as a character meal (Goofy’s Kitchen). The standard rooms can accommodate five guests.  The entrance to Disneyland Resort is connected to Downtown Disney so you walk straight through to the parks. 

Lastly, Disneyland’s Grand Californian Resort has the vibes of the Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World. It has the most convenient access to Downtown Disney and the parks, some rooms even have a view of Downtown Disney.

There are so many differences between a Disneyland vacation and a Walt Disney World vacation and that is why I believe it is worth a visit for any Disney fan. I would love to assist you with planning a Disneyland vacation and for even more fun, I can create a package that includes Universal Hollywood and a Warner Brothers Studio tour to round out your week. Ready to go?