If I am being honest, I had no idea whether or not I would like Disneyland. I had heard a lot of things, and sadly a lot of those things were not good. While I’m not sure if these negative pieces of knowledge were just from a few grumpy Gusses or the Park is really not as magical as I believed it to be, I generally live by the mantra that I will try most things once. And I usually don’t just take someone’s word for things because I generally do like forming my own opinion. So we hopped on a plane and headed west for the original park, Disneyland. Now if I already spoiled it, or if you’re following us on Instagram, then you will know that we loved it. I didn’t witness any of the negative aspects I had been warned about, or who knows, maybe I was too oblivious to care?
Regardless of my personal feelings about the Park, G and I agreed that it was eerily familiar. It was the same magical and happy place, but in a different way. So rather than sit here and tell you all of my sappy feelings about the Park, I’m going to tell you the facts about how it is different from Walt Disney World, since that is really the big question I had on my mind before the trip.
Here are 5 ways Disneyland is different than Walt Disney World.
The rides are better.
This point actually can be argued since its not quite a “fact” but when I say they are better, I don’t necessarily mean better as in I like them more. I mean they are better as in they are all more updated, a lot of the rides are actually longer, they’re smoother, the details are more prominent and they honestly just seem more well maintained. We were only there a short time, but I would bet they don’t break down as much as they do at WDW. And honestly, if we could get their version of Space Mountain in Orlando, I’m sure a lot of people would save thousands on their chiropractor bills every year. Just sayin.
Everything is walkable
There are only two Parks at Disneyland and they are directly across from one another. Not only are the Parks within walking distance from each other, but the Disneyland Hotels as well as the Good Neighbor hotels are also within walking distance of the Parks. As inconvenient as it can be to have to walk home after a long day of the Parks, standing in a long line waiting for a bus only to have to stand on that very bus can also be considered an inconvenience. Pick your poison. And if you’re really yearning for the bus ride back to your hotel, don’t worry, there are city buses and some hotel shuttles available for you at the end of the night.
You can’t plan too far ahead
So, I haven’t decided if I like this better or not, but you can’t really plan too far ahead. I’m so used to booking my ADR’s at Walt Disney World 180 days out and my FastPasses at 60 days out. With Disneyland though, you can’t book your Fastpasses until your Park day. You can’t even book them until you are inside the Park. And dining reservations can only be made 60 days out. Regardless of that though, we were still able to get all of the Fastpasses and dining reservations we wanted, so don’t let the lack of planning panic you if you are used to Walt Disney World’s planning timeline.
There are a lot more locals in the Parks
Maybe it’s because Disneyland isn’t as big and not considered a major travel destination or maybe its because there are actually just more locals with annual passes there, but whatever the reason, it definitely made things run a lot smoother. As much as I love Walt Disney World, there are times when it gets busy that I feel like no one has a clue what they are doing. It becomes almost chaotic. Now I’m not saying I only saw Disneyland veterans here, but it was much easier for me to find a few people who knew what they were doing and follow in their tracks until I learned the ropes for myself.
It’s not as easy to plan
Don’t worry, I didn’t write this in error as a repeat of my third point above. I mean the actual trip itself is not as easy to plan. Unless you’re quite familiar with the layout of Anaheim and the Parks beforehand, its actually really confusing. I feel like Walt Disney World is more complicated to plan because there are more things to do, but its a more straightforward process. I plan to write an entire post dedicated to this, but even several of my friends who are Disneyland locals told me when I started planning that it wasn’t “as easy” and that I would probably need some help. And they were right.
So there you have it, 5 ways Disneyland is different than Walt Disney World! What did I miss? I know I missed quite a few things here, so be sure to leave a comment below about the differences between these two destinations!