Disney World Or Disneyland? Picking The Optimum Vacation Destination


Summer is just about to kick off, and it’s not too late to plan that dream vacation. If you’re thinking about taking the family to Florida for an unforgettable trip to Disney World, or to California to visit Disneyland, keep reading. Not all Disney parks are created equal, and we’ve outlined a few ways in which they differ to help you choose the best destination for your next trip.

History: If you are a diehard Disney fanatic who has spent a lifetime admiring the work of Walt Disney, then Disneyland might hold a special place in your heart. It was the first of the two parks, opening in 1955, and the only park where Walt had the chance to enjoy the finished product.

Walt Disney had begun to lay the plans for the Florida park, but died five years before it opened in 1971. Even though Disneyland was essentially Walt’s first-born-child, he quickly saw limitations for expansion due to being enclosed by Los Angeles. This prompted Walt to begin acquiring land in Orlando, Florida. He chose an inland location to avoid hurricanes, and bought enough land to act as a barrier between any hotels or business that may have wanted to capitalize on Disney’s success. While Disneyland might have been the first of Walt’s major parks, Disney World was his no-holds-barred dream park.

Rides: Let’s cut to the chase: whether you’re taking your family to a Disney park for the first time, or you’re a seasoned Disney veteran who doesn’t even need a map to navigate the park, one thing is clear – it’s all about the rides. Thankfully, both Disneyland and Disney World have the classics. From Space Mountain to It’s A Small World to Splash Mountain to Haunted Mansion – whichever park you choose, you won’t miss out on any of the Disney fun. Whether you’re itching for the thrill of taking on The Tower of Terror, or wanting to rest your feet on Pirates of the Caribbean, as far as rides go, both parks have you covered.

Thankfully if you go to Florida, you don’t have to miss out on the California fun. Both parks house the famous Soarin’ ride, a 4D experience that takes riders on an aerial tour of California.

Tickets: Both Disneyland and Disney World allow guests to buy tickets at the park, or make reservations online early. One advantage that Disney World has over Disneyland is the implementation of MagicBands. MagicBands are a plastic wristband that stores information for your entrance tickets, dining reservations, photos taken on rides or by employees, and Fastpasses (Disney’s skip-the-line ride passes). These bands can also be loaded with money and scanned to make purchases anywhere in the park. Gone are the days of giving your teenager a twenty dollar bill and praying that they don’t lose it as they run off to explore the park on their own. Children can feel independent in their MagicBand, without you having to worry about them dropping their park ticket.

Disneyland has not yet started to use the MagicBand system. While people have been going to theme parks for decades without a fancy technology bracelet, you can’t deny a visit would be a little easier without having to keep track of tickets and Fastpasses for you and your entire family.

Size: Possibly the biggest difference between Disneyland and Disney World is the size of facilities. Disneyland, even though it was the original resort between the two, only has two theme parks: Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure.

Disney World, on the other hand, sits on 43 square miles in Orlando, Florida – for perspective, you could fit two Manhattans inside of the resort. Disney World is divided into four different theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom! If you’re wondering how it would be possible to cover 43 square miles in one vacation, don’t worry. Disney offers shuttle and train services between and inside of the parks.

Backstage: Navigating through any Disney park is like taking a trip through space and time. One minute, you’re in Tomorrowland – a part of the park dedicated to futuristic science fiction. The next minute, you’re in Frontierland, surrounded by pioneers and cowboys, gold mines and saloons. It’s the epitome of the Wild West.

According to legend, Walt Disney himself was hanging out in Tomorrowland in California’s Disneyland when he saw a cowboy walking to his assigned post in Frontierland. Can you imagine? A cowboy in space! Walt thought it was so absurd that when it came time to build the new park in Florida, he insisted that an underpark tunnel system be implemented for any of the behind-the-scenes business. This was to ensure the integrity of the magic of the park. When people visit “The Most Magical Place On Earth” they expect to be immersed in the magic, and something as simple as seeing a cowboy in space might ruin that. The tunnels are used for everything from trash removal to costume storage to emergency services.

Most people imagine tunnel systems to be an underground feature, but due to the nature of underground water in Florida, the system was actually created above ground, and the park was built on top of it. So when you plan your Disney World vacation, you’ll get to be part of an engineering feat that is designed solely for your enjoyment.

Weather: You’re probably wondering why we are trying to compare California and Florida weather. Both states are known for having some of the best weather in the country. Florida is nicknamed The Sunshine State, and Southern California has had countless songs dedicated solely to its sunny disposition. California has an average annual high temperature of just over 77 degrees, while Florida comes in just above at an average annual high of 79 degrees.

Which Vacation Will You Choose?

So how do you beat the heat while at a Disney Park? It depends on where you are. At Disneyland, you might have to stick to fanning yourself in line or trying to catch a wave on Splash Mountain. Disney World, however, has two water parks in addition to the four theme parks discussed above. And with easy transportation between parks, you can always take an afternoon to cool off on a water slide. Or, while staying at our Vacation Pool Homes, swing back to the house for some lunch and take a dip in the pool before heading back to the park to watch the fireworks.

When it comes to taking your family on an unforgettable vacation, we’ll let you decide which destination is best for you. But if you do find yourself in Florida on a Disney adventure, stay at one of our Disney vacation rentals – located close to the park for your convenience. Find a house that is right for your family, and make Orlando your home away from home with Vacation Pool Homes!