Disneyland vs Walt Disney World

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If you’re interested in planning a Disney vacation for this year or next, how do you choose between Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida? They both offer magical experiences that delight the whole family!

Emily Echo and Emily with Mickey and Minnie in Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World

What’s the Difference Between Disneyland and Walt Disney World?

While the number one difference between Disneyland and Walt Disney World are their respective sizes, there are a lot more details that make each destination unique. One big difference is that Disneyland Resort has paper tickets for admission, while Walt Disney World uses MagicBands (wrist bands) for entry to the Resort and more.

Disneyland vs Walt Disney World – Number of “Lands” or “Kingdoms”

Disneyland Resort in California is made up of two separate Parks: Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. In each Park, there are distinct lands that offer experiences based on various Disney tales.

Walt Disney and Mickey statue in Magic Kingdom

Disneyland

You enter Disneyland Park via Main Street, U.S.A., and from there you can enter eight different lands, including the brand-new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Jared and Gracie riding the carousel in Fantasyland Disneyland

  • Main Street, U.S.A.
  • Adventureland
  • New Orleans Square
  • Critter Country
  • Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
  • Frontierland
  • Fantasyland
  • Mickey’s Toontown
  • Tomorrowland

Over at Disney California Adventure Park, you enter via Buena Vista Street and have six different areas of the Park to explore, which includes the yet-to-be-named Marvel themed land scheduled to open in 2020.

Micky Ferris Wheel in California Adventure at night
  • Hollywoodland
  • Marvel-themed Land
  • Cars Land
  • Pacific Wharf
  • Paradise Pier
  • Grizzly Peak

Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World in Florida is made up of four separate Kingdoms: The Magic Kingdom Theme Park, EPCOT Theme Park, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Within each Kingdom you experience rides, attractions and more based on various Disney movies and characters. Unlike Disneyland Resort, where the different lands are easily accessible via walking, Walt Disney World’s Kingdoms are more spread out. You can travel between the Walt Disney World Kingdoms via bus, monorail, water taxis or Minnie Vans (via the Lyft app).

Echo and Emily with Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story Land Hollywood Studios
  • The Magic Kingdom Theme Park
  • EPCOT Theme Park
  • Hollywood Studios
  • Animal Kingdom Theme Park

As if that wasn’t enough, there are also two themed water parks at Walt Disney World. You can upgrade your Park Hopper tickets to Park Hopper Plus and take experience all the fun at Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park or Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park.

Snowmen at Walt Disney World's Blizzard Beach

Disneyland vs Walt Disney World – Transportation Options

Disneyland Resort does not offer free transportation from airports near Anaheim, but it does offer a private entrance to Disney California Adventure Park from its onsite property, Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa. Additionally, you can walk to Disneyland Resort from Disneyland Hotel; and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. There are numerous transportation options available to book with Get Away Today, including Karmel Shuttle and ART. Once inside the Resort, you can take advantage of transportation options such as Disneyland Railroad or the Monorail to get around the Parks. Walking is also a practical option within Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park and getting between the two.

Micky and Minnie Runaway railway ride in Hollywood Studies
photo credit: Walt Disney Co.

Due to the size of Walt Disney World, it offers a wide variety of transportation. For Resort guests Disney’s Magical Express, complimentary transportation, is available to and from Orlando International Airport. There are also a number of Monorail lines providing service to the various Kingdoms of Walt Disney World. You can also take advantage of bus services, water taxis or Minnie Vans via the Lyft app.

Disneyland vs Walt Disney World – Accommodations

Disneyland Resort in California offers three Resort Hotel properties: Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa. Get Away Today also partners with a number of Good Neighbor hotels in Anaheim that are affordable and conveniently located within walking distance of Disneyland Resort. Many offer complimentary shuttle services to the Resort as well.

Andie and Gracie in Minnie's house at Disneyland

Walt Disney World Resort in Florida has over 25 properties in categories of Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resort. There are many perks for staying at one of Disney’s properties, including complimentary transportation, free parking, MagicBands, Disney dining plan, Extra Magic Hours, Resort room charging privileges and package delivery and so much more.

Disneyland vs Walt Disney World – Play Disney Parks App

Within both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World, you’ll want to have the Play Disney Parks app. This interactive app allows you to play games and trivia while waiting in lines and definitely increases the magic on your trip! Kids will love to use the Play Disney Parks app to hack into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge systems, earn badges and more.

Two little girls with Minnie Ears sitting on a bench at Disneyland

Disneyland vs Walt Disney World – Length of Stay

When visiting Disneyland Resort, the most popular discounted ticket option with Get Away Today is the 3-day Park Hopper. With three days you’ll be able to experience much of what both Parks of the Resort have to offer. Because Walt Disney World is so much larger, travel experts recommend no less than four days for your trip. That will only give you one day in each Kingdom so you can get a taste of what each has to offer. With either destination, the longer you can stay, the better! You always want to take as much time as you can so you can allow for any unexpected events, plus time at your hotel pool!

Jared Andie and Gracie on Space Mountain Ride in Magic Kingdom

Discount Disneyland and Walt Disney World Vacation Packages from Get Away Today

No matter which destination you choose, you can book discount vacation packages with Get Away Today. Bundle and save your tickets and hotel, getting exclusive perks such as complimentary breakfast and parking, reduced rates or even Extra Night Free specials. See Disneyland vacation packages HERE and Walt Disney World vacation packages HERE. When you book, let them know Favorite Family Recipes sent you! For any Southern California vacation package, you can enjoy $10 in additional savings when you use discount code FAVORITE. To speak to a specialist with any Disney vacation questions, give them a call at 855-GET-AWAY.

A young girl looking up to Cinderella and Prince Charming at Walt Disney World

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About the author

Echo Blickenstaff

Echo lives in Pleasant Grove, Utah with her husband, Todd, who works in advertising, and her four kids: two girls and two boys. She deploys her accounting degree as the blog’s resident problem solver. In her time outside the kitchen, Echo loves to get away from the phones and busy schedules and spend quality time with the family. Anywhere’s great – but getting out into nature in the mountains or on the beach – is the best kind of getaway.

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Comments

  1. Disneyland!! Because we live in Northern California!! Our 3 daughters (40, 38 and 32) are going along with our son-in-laws and 3 granddaughters (11, 6 and 5)! We have rented a home and will take an ice chest with some make ahead meals. I also usually make a french toast casserole at least one night for a fast and easy breakfast. We will probably just eat one meal in the park. This saves a lot of money. We of course will bring snacks, though I am looking forward to a frozen lemonade if it is warm at all!

    1. Oh yum! Are you talking about the Pixar Parfait? That is one of my verrryyyy favorite treats in ANY of the parks! If you are there on a warm day, it is a must! Have so much fun on your trip! Drop us a line and tell us how it goes!