Many people get the 2 locations confused or think if you have visited one, there is no reason to visit the other. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here are just some facts and differences between both locations.
1. Disneyland is located in Anaheim, California. The park is located within the city. Walt Disney World is located in Orlando, Florida. The Disney resort is located within it’s own city of Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
2. Disneyland is small and sits on about 500 acres, meanwhile Disney World is 43 square miles or the size of San Francisco.
3. Disneyland has 2 parks: Disneyland and California Adventure. WDW has 4 parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom.
4. Disneyland has 3 resort hotels and Disneyworld has 29 resort hotels.
5. Disneyland and California Adventure are right across from one another and can easily be reached by walking. The 4 parks at Disney World are all far apart and require a bus ride or other transportation to reach them.
6. Disney World has free Magical Express from the airport. Disneyland has a paid shuttle from a few southern California airports.
7. Disney World offers extra magic hours to all guests staying at a Disney resort. The early or late hours are offered in all 4 parks on various days. Disneyland offers an extra magic hour to both Disneyland and California Adventure for guests staying on site at 1 of the 3 Disney resorts. They offer magic morning hour to Good Neighbor hotels. Anyone staying in a good neighbor hotel can enter Disneyland one hour early prior to park opening.
8. Disneyland is the original park and maintains the special history created by Walt. While they may have many of the same rides that Disney World does, they are just slightly different than found at world. They intentionally do things a little differently to keep the history alive and make them unique from Disney World. Small touches from extending a ride, or transforming one for a holiday are just a few of the ways Disneyland puts their special touch on the park.
9. Disneyland features Sleeping Beauty’s castle while Disney World features Cinderella’s castle.
10. Both parks have a monorail system but Disneyland connects Downtown Disney with Disneyland. Meanwhile Disney World connects Magic Kingdom, Polynesian resort, Grand Floridian, Contemporary resort, Ticket and Transportation center and Epcot.
11. Disneyland uses plastic tickets for admittance to the park, while Disney resort guests use a magic band at Magic Kingdom.
12. Fast Pass: 1 paper ticket at a time at Disneyland vs. 3 fast passes scheduled 60 days ahead for Disney resort guests and 30 days prior for all other guests. Disneyland only has a few rides that have fast pass capabilities while all rides and attractions at Disney World utilize a fast pass.
The bottom line is they are similar and they are different. However, you shouldn’t let that stop you from visiting both parks and deciding which one is your favorite.