If your family has decided to embrace their love for Disney characters and dedicate your next vacation to a Disney Park it’s only natural to ask yourself this important question: do you make your way west to visit Walt Disney’s original park, Disneyland in Anaheim, California, or do you flock south towards the Sunshine State to see Pluto and friends at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
As an adult, it might seem like the theme parks are just carbon copies of each other, situated on opposite coasts. Your children will surely notice the differences, as there are major differences between the two original Disney parks. That’s why knowing a bit more about them can help you decide which park is right for your family.
The crowd levels and the size are of big importance
The Florida resort spans 43 square miles, which, for reference, is roughly the size of San Francisco and about double the size of Manhattan. And as you can agree, one of the most major differences between the parks is the sheer size. Comparatively, the Disneyland resort sits on around 500 acres of land.
Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort? Which Disney Park is best for your family?
Walt Disney World gathers four theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom; two water parks: Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach, multiple golf courses and recreational activities and Disney Springs, an on-property shopping, dining and nightlife complex.
The Disneyland Resort gathers two parks: Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, and Downtown Disney, the park-adjacent shopping, dining and nightlife destination.
There’s always a new reason to visit thanks to the increasing number of rides, attractions and new additions to the Disney parks each year. We assure you won’t have a slow time on the property, no matter your park choice. During summer and major holidays and school breaks the crowds are increasing and the parks almost shut down.
Once again no matter your park choice, you will surely experience many crowds, but the crowds are different. In Disneyland, people will stop by for a casual visit, often during evenings and weekends whereas Walt Disney World sees more tourists from all over the globe.
Plan in advance
The amount of planning you’ll likely have to do in order to hit the highlights, especially during peak seasons is another difference between the two parks. We advise you to start by figuring out what each park offers and what your family would be most excited to see. You’ll want to get up close and personal with the hundreds of exotic species at Disney’s Animal Kingdom if you have animal lovers in your family.
Landing a spot at some of the most coveted table service restaurants requires setting your alarm for 6:00 in the morning EST six months out with dining reservations opening 180 days (yes, that’s six months) out at Disney World restaurants. Two of the hardest reservations to snag exist right at the Magic Kingdom: the Beauty and the Beast-themed Be Our Guest Restaurant and Cinderella’s Royal Table, inside the majestic Cinderella Castle.
No matter your choice, we are sure you will have a great time!