Disney World vs. Disneyland, the 6 major differences.  Courtney@travelwiththemagic.com


Disneyland versus Disney World, some may think the two are one in the same, but they couldn’t be more wrong. While these two share many characteristics, in other ways they couldn’t be more opposite, starting with their location. Disney World is located in Orlando, Florida but you’ll have to travel 2,496 miles West to arrive in Anaheim, California home of Disneyland.

Property Size & Hotels

Besides their locations the next noticeable difference are the properties sizes. Disney World is comprised of 21 resorts, four theme parks and two waterparks spread out over 25,000 acres. Disneyland only has three on-site resorts and two theme parks sitting on 500 acres.

When planning a trip I suggest a minimum of 5 parks days for Disney World while only 3 are necessary for Disneyland. However many travelers find that adding an extra day not only allows for a more leisurely pace, but is also a good value.


Another very noticeable difference are each parks respective castle centerpieces. Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty is much smaller than Cinderella’s in Disney World. Having visited Disney World many times, on my recent trip to Disneyland I was quite disappointed at the size of Sleeping Beauty’s castle. While it’s elegant and beautiful I am just used to walking down Main Street and seeing Cinderella’s castle towering above the landscape.


One advantage to having such a small property in Disneyland is everything is accessible by walking. Disney’s Grand Californian resort even offers a private entrance directly into California Adventure. Disneyland’s monorail is a quick link between Downtown Disney and Tomorrowland. Park hopping is also a breeze with the park entrances being located directly across from each other. However, in Disney World part of the adventure is utilizing it’s own transportation system via buses, boats or monorail.

Fastpasses & Technology

If you’ve visited Disney World in the last two years you are aware of the changes that accompanied the introduction of MyMagic+.   With this new technology came magic bands, which replaced the Key to the World cards including the digital fastpass system. Disney World offers many different dining plan options and dining reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance. Disneyland still has the old system, dining reservations can only be made 60 days in advance and there are no dining plans offered.

Attractions & Entertainment

While there are over 25 attractions, character experiences and entertainment options these two properties have in common, each have ones unique to their Coast as well.

Disney World you’ll only find; Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Spaceship Earth, Rock ‘N’ Rollercoaster, Test Track, Kilimanjaro Safaris and Mission: SPACE. They also claim Beauty and the Beast Live, Festival of the Lion King and Mickey’s PhilharMagic.

Disneyland & California Adventure offer these distinctive rides; Matterhorn bobsleds, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Snow White’s Scary Adventure, Radiator Springs Racers, Mickey’s Fun Wheel and California Screamin’. Also during the Holidays both It’s a Small World and The Haunted Mansion transform into a spectacular showcase. You can’t miss Mickey and the Magical Map, Paint the Night Parade and World of Color.


While everything else above ties back to facts and statistics, by far the most significant to me was the nostalgic feeling. You have to appreciate the history of being in the original park that Walt designed and respect that most everything is exactly as he intended. From characters freely walking throughout the parks to the light still left on in his apartment, the traditions run deep in Disneyland.

No matter which Coast you are ready to visit I’m here to help and as always my services are free. To get started planning contact me via Facebook, Pinterest, email or phone at 1-800-670-4312 Extension 144 or click here to request a quote.

As always I hope to hear from you real soon, chEARS!

Courtney Burnside