WDW versus DLR, the epic battle!

I have created this thread to start an incredibly friendly, non-heated debate over which is better: WDW or DLR. Okay. Not exactly.

Rather, if you compare same/similar rides at DLR versus WDW, WHAT makes each park’s version better/worse? I’m not asking anyone to even be loyal. You might list a differing positive for both parks for any given ride. You can lament a park’s shortcomings if you want as well.

Now, I haven’t been to DLR since I was a teenager, so I’m not really going to directly answer myself.

But take Space Mountain as a start. I know that the general consensus is the the version at DLR is better. I watched video of each one with the lights on to get a feel for what is different about them, and for the most part the track layouts are fairly similar, although the actual train and track designs are modified.

One MAJOR difference I see, however, is something that I’m not sure why they can’t do at WDW itself…that is the use of the soundtrack. The soundtrack seems to add a LOT to the experience in the DLR version, and I wonder if they could adapt a similar soundtrack to the version in MK. MK’s really has almost no soundtrack…just some inexplicable sound effects here and there.

On the other hand, I kind of like the launch tunnel and landing tunnels on the MK version a little better.

So have it. Pick a ride and compare them from the different parks! And it doesn’t JUST have to be WDW versus DLR. You can compare to other Disney parks as well. The important thing is just explaining WHY. :slight_smile:


The first time I went to DL was 2015 and DW 1971. When I walked up to the DL haunted mansion I was SO giddy cuz I was walking in the front door… the FRONT DOOR, not through the horse stable, servant’s entrance around the back but the front door. And the exterior looked so different. It was fun. I’ve been there for their Halloween and Christmas overlays now too. I really like the Christmas overlay… it’s nice to see some things change up.


Disneyland is my home park but I will start with an obvious example of a ride at WDW that is * gasp * better than its counterpart at DLR!

Tower of Terror.

Ok, so now the Disneyland version is Guardians of the Galaxy, which is different enough from ToT that it can stand on its own and is really a different ride. But comparing the original ToT at WDW to its counterpart at DCA, the WDW version is hands down the better of the two (and one of my favorite rides ever).

The biggest difference is the ride-through portion. At DCA, the ToT took place entirely within the shaft - your vehicle never left the original elevator shaft. At WDW, as those who have ridden it know, there is an interlude where you drive from one shaft to the other, with all sorts of creepy special effects in between.

I’m glad that both GotG and ToT exist now - I wouldn’t necessarily want ToT back at DLR, even if it was the WDW version - but it’s clear to me that the WDW original is better.


Good thread idea! This may come in handy for me, because my family and I are going back and forth about whether to go back to WDW next year (after 2 cancelled trips this year) or to go to DLR which we have never been to (assuming it’s open of course). Latest family vote was DLR 3 to WDW 2. Looking forward to reading what everyone has to say.


I do enjoy looking the the DL makeover of ToT to GoG though… very pretty.


This thread is too painful!! My first ever trip to Disneyland WAS scheduled for exactly 19 days from now… :cry: :laughing:


Here’s another obvious one:

Pirates of the Caribbean is CLEARLY better at Disneyland. The DL version has the charm from being worked on directly by Walt Disney, it’s longer (~15 minutes vs. ~7 min) and has more show scenes, it has the Blue Bayou restaurant in the loading area, etc.

But the biggest thing for me is the drops. The Disneyland version has two decent sized drops (18 ft and 13 ft vertical). They aren’t Splash Mountain level thrills, but being in the dark and with the mood set, it can be very effective at tingling your spine and stoking those butterflies. It’s a great introductory thrill ride for kids.

The first time I rode PotC at WDW, after going down the drop I thought, “that’s it?” IASW is more thrilling. (I couldn’t find a good source on the height of the drop, but sources give 14 ft as the length. The comparable measurement for DL is 52 ft length for an 18 ft vertical drop.)


PotC DL > MK
HM DL < MK… Except for the holiday overlay.


Disneyland has way better character feels for this family. Love just having them happen by. And they didn’t get besieged when we were there.

Also - GOTG is the best ride in the history of rides.

Also - the layout of the parks makes so much more sense to me at DLR.


I can’t encourage you enough to give the west coast a whirl. It had such a great feel. It’s worth experiencing. You don’t even have to come away with “I like this one more.” If the playing fields were even, my family would pick DLR. But it is easier to get to WDW for us.


Indiana Jones is better than Dinosaur, because the theming, story, soundtrack and details are much better. I am not sure if they have the same layout with different themes or if it is just the same ride system.

Space Mountain in DLR is smoother, and the soundtrack makes the ride.

I preferred the details at BTMRR on DLR, specially the city.

DLR’s iasm building is more charming, with the boats and canal outside.

WDW’s castle is much, much more impressive. At DLR it’s more of ‘really, that’s it?’

I couldn’t find anything different about MFSR or Star Tours.

I either don’t remember or didn’t try both versions for other rides.


Space Mountain = DLR
So the real difference in Space Mountain at DLR vs. MK is the relative smoothness. And it is possible that in the process of being jerked around so much I am not paying that much attention to the ride itself. Space at DLR is a transcendent experience. (I may be exaggerating.)

Splash Mountain = MK
Splash at DLR has a shorter ride portion and you get a condensed storyline. The MK version is way better.

Little Mermaid = MK
The ride itself is essentially identical, but the DCA version is in an opera hall (that’s what it reminds me of anyway) and the MK version is a castle on an ocean bluff! The outside and queue are what makes the MK version better.

Teacups = DLR
The DLR teacups are an enchanting wonderland with trees and colorful lanterns. I love it! :heart_eyes::heart_eyes::heart_eyes: The MK version does not have the same charm.

Pirates = DLR
See @Jeff_AZ’s comments

ToT = HS
See @Jeff_AZ’s comments.
GotG, however, is like my favorite ride ever. I like it better than ToT actually. It’s just fun and exhilarating.

Peter Pan = MK
The queue is amazing and the ride seems longer - extra scenes? Can anyone confirm? The only edge DLR has is the building that houses Peter Pan is chock-full of charm. But not designed for a line.

It’s a Small World - DLR
At DLR IASW is basically a castle with a moat and woodland creatures made out of topiary! It’s outsides are what set it apart from MK. You have to see it. And on the hour, the clock opens and there’s a little show.

Barnstormer/Gadget’s Go Coaster - DLR
Gadget’s and Barnstormer seem to be basically the same coaster, but Gadget’s has much cuter theming.


Haunted Mansion and Winnie the Pooh were two rides that have differences but I couldn’t pick one over the other. I might pick HM at DLR just for the building, however.


Yes, yes, yes and yes!





I barely like F! at WDW and we watched it twice at DLR.


So far I’m getting the sense that for those who have been to both, DLR holds its own or tops WDW in a lot of areas. This is definitely encouraging me to consider going. What about food? Obviously there are wayyy more options at WDW overall, but in terms of quality, am I going to find enough good TS and QS options at DLR for 3-4 days without repeating any?


Ok. I heard again and again that DLR wasn’t as good for dining, but as far as QS goes, I had some fabulous meals. We did NOT do any TS, so hopefully you will get some great responses for that.
paging @Wahoohokie @lolabear_la @Ms.BarbsWildRide

And post 10 in this thread:


HM at DL is spectacular. And the theming of it in the area itself is a favorite of mine. I love feeling immersed in the idea of the area as I approach the attraction. That overlay is something I look forward to every year. And I can’t forget to mention the Hatbox Ghost. I’m going to miss that most as we focus more on WDW.

That being said, HM in MK is gorgeous as a stand alone building as, imo, it doesn’t fit in well with frontier feel of the island or the colonial buildings next to it. I do love the Escher-esque hall when first loading into the buggy. I also feel the lines for DL are a lot longer than MK, but again it might just be because I’m trying to see it during overlay.

Like you said, both have their amazing qualities.


brunch at https://disneyland.disney.go.com/dining/disney-california-adventure/lamplight-lounge/?CMP=OKC-19013078_GM_DLR_dining_lamplightlounge_NA

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