Five questions to help you decide!

Each theme park has its own fans, and if you ask your friends, you’ll probably hear lots of different advice. So which park is really the right one for your family’s vacation? Of course, there’s no one totally right answer. But here are Five issues to consider when deciding:

Disneyland or Disney World

What time of year would you like to go?

May – September in Florida can be very steamy both day and night; while California is warm in the middle of the day, but cooler in the mornings and evenings. Personally, I find it easy enough to have a good time while standing in lines OR while hot and sweaty; but it’s hard for me to have a very good time doing both!

Of course, if you’re planning an escape from winter temperatures in October – April, then Walt Disney World is probably just what you’re looking for! You can even swim in the heated resort pools year-round!

Disney Resort Pool

How much time do you have for vacation?

If you’re looking for a “long weekend” experience, Disneyland is probably perfect for you. There are two theme parks to visit, and there are lots of hotels within easy walking distance, so this resort is just right to experience in about 3-4 days. If you have an extra day, you can add a trip to the beach, or a visit to Los Angeles and Hollywood.

If you can spare 5-10 days, then I think Walt Disney World may be right for you. There’s so much to do here, you can never experience it all in one trip. There are four theme parks, two water parks, and a huge entertainment complex with stores, restaurants, movies, and even a Cirque du Soleil show at the Downtown Disney/Disney Springs area. If this is your first visit, I recommend 7-8 days so you have time to sample it all, and take a “day off” in the middle of the trip to sleep late and just enjoy your resort.

Disney Resort

How fit are you and your traveling party?

As I mentioned before, Disneyland is a lot more compact that Walt Disney World. There will be plenty of walking at both resorts, but while a typical Disneyland day might be 4-5 miles, Walt Disney World days often end up in the 7-8 mile range. Of course, these miles aren’t all at once — you’ll have lots of breaks to watch shows, ride rides, and eat meals (you’ll burn a lot of calories!) — but it’s good to think about your feet before you go!

If you have small children, you should also think about having a stroller so they can rest. I actually recommend renting a stroller at Disney parks for kids up to about age 6 – it not only allows them to rest between rides and gives them a place to sit for parades, but it also lets them look around and enjoy all the sights without getting lost.

Do you want to just enjoy the theme parks, or would you like to try a lot of other activities too?


If your main goal for this vacation is just to enjoy the rides, shows, parades, and other entertainment at Disney’s theme parks, then both Disneyland and Walt Disney World will work really well for you.

However, Walt Disney World also offers a lot of other activities in addition to the theme park experience:

Jet ski rentals


Boat rentals

Bike rentals

Horseback Riding

Campfire activities

and much more!

What budget range do you have in mind?

You may be close enough to drive to one of these locations and save on airfare, so that may be a consideration.

If you’d like to stay in one of Disney’s Resort Hotels and enjoy the perks that are available to resort guests, then you’ll find a wide variety of price points at Walt Disney World in Florida. They have hotels in the Value, Moderate, and Deluxe ranges, and all of them receive the great benefits of staying “on property”.

At Disneyland, Disney’s Resort Hotels are all in the Deluxe range. However, there are also a lot of very nice Good Neighbor Hotels within walking distance, in a wide range of prices for your family.

If you’d like help deciding which resort is right for you, please email me at I’m a travel planner with Travel with the Magic, and I’d love to help you plan your vacation to make the most magical memories for your family!