WDW versus DLR, the epic battle!

oh my… The Grand Californian has some of the best dinning… The Craftsman Grill’s burgers are yummo! https://disneyland.disney.go.com/hotels/grand-californian-hotel/dining/

@Jeff_AZ - I didn’t page you bc you were already here BTW


Thanks for the quick recommendations. They look pretty good. So in general, taking Epcot WS out of the equation, is there enough quality and variety to be had in the 2 DL parks for someone used to WDW?

QS, the warf is always a fun option at CA. We’ve taken the hit and cancelled a few reservations and just did the warf instead. For some unexplained reason, the clam chowder sourdough bowls are ALWAYS better at the exit of Pirates in DL, but he warf is a close second. No where in WDW have I personally found comparable clam chowder. In all honesty, it might just be childhood sentiment mixed in there mucking up my taste buds, but it is what it is.

To make this easier, here are my family’s favs when it comes to DLR

MUST DO (For my Goofy family) DINING!

Storytellers Cafe. My kid loves Chip and Dale and the food is reasonably good for buffet.

Breakfast at Flo’s in Car’s Land. Every single breakfast not at Storytellers is here. I’m obsessed with their breakfast tamale…not even sure why, just am.

I already mentioned the Warf and the chowder from the exit at Pirates, but I’m putting it in here because I’m saucy like that.

Snack time…pretzels and anything from the Cozy Cone. Great snackers like churros and pretzels and some amazing adult beverages.

The beer hut across from Boadwalk Pizza has some of those amazing stuffed pretzels everyone’s been craving.

The old Pizza Port (Now Alien Planet) is yummy for lunch or late night dinner.

Mint Julep bar for Mint Juleps

And we usually have dinner at either Wine Country Trattoria for yummy carb overload or Blue Bayou for mostly ambiance (and more of the mint juleps!).

Then we finish with Ghirardelli for hot chocolate (on those colder holiday nights).

We also take one meal and do Splittsville, only because it took SO LONG for Cali to get it and their sushi has no business being that good…AT A BOWLING ALLEY!

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I think so and there will be less walking required at DL too… so easier, quicker access to all the food :wink: My DH and I enjoyed so many good meals at DL, even room service was good at GC. Getting around is much easier at DL, everything in both parks and in Downtown Disney is just a quick walk. I forgot about DT… Tortilla Jo’s makes custom guac at your table. :yum:


We did
Galactic Grill for lunch - pretty much Cosmic Rays, but I love that yogurt was an option instead of fries (2018).
Hungry Bear for dinner.

Lunch AND dinner at French Market bc we saw more than one thing we wanted.

Flo’s for lunch (you can’t NOT eat there).
Smokejumpers Grill for dinner for the spiciest meal I’ve ever had in WDW :heart:

Pacific Wharf (different items for different family members) for lunch. My Mexican food was awesome.
Red Rose Taverne for dinner - and we wished we’d found this earlier.


I humbly disagree, but only long term.

My family just made the hard decision to stop going to DL and DCA all together. It is certainly worth checking out, but we personally run out of things to do. My 12 year old only goes to DCA for the tire swing at Trail and maybe Racers if we are able to get on. At DL he only does Splash and Autopia. After 4-ish days both him and my husband get bored. Where as we found two solid straight weeks at WDW a year is just right.

I “might” get my husband to do DL again after our son moves out…but that’d just be proximity over a need to be there. Instead we are looking to buy a place in Orlando to start staying a month at a time.

It is clear to me that I could travel with @qwerty6 to a Disney park anytime. I agree with her on everything. To add on, the QS at DLR is awesome. Seriously, you do not need to spring for TS, except for a special occasion or the amazingness of the character swarms at the Plaza.

I agree with what has been said about GOTG and TOT. They are each spectacular just as they are now. Plus what has been said about SM and Indiana Jones. That said, I am going to be buck a few trends here.

While the outside of the HM at DLR is beautiful, I fully love the look of the one at WDW, something about the architectural style sings to me and creeps me out at the same time. Additionally, the ride itself is better at WDW, the Escher stairs and lost of little details make WDW hands down better. I can’t remember all of the reasons why, but i was very disappointed the first time I road it at DLR (I have never seen the overlay).

Its a Small World. Undoubtedly the DL IASW is an original Walt creation. The outside is show stopping gorgeous. But I prefer the inside of IASW at WDW. I find the DLR version claustrophobic. The dolls are too close to you and I do not care for the IP. The WDW version has massive rooms and landscapes with so much going on everywhere your eyes can look. I like it way better.


Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. These should be the same, but somehow they aren’t. I love the goat/dynamite story line with the DLR version and the inclusion of Yellowstonesque landscaping. It’s just more fun.

California River Run vs. Kali River Rapids. There is no competition. California River Run is a fun water ride through a beautiful themed landscape (that also reminds me of national parks). Kali River Rapids is, not.

Test Track vs. Radiator Springs Racers. Test Track is a fun ride. Radiator Springs Racers at night is an experience. The rock work is beautiful and the theme is great.

WDW is my home resort. My parents are from Florida, I grew up going there, and I live on the east coast. But I love DLR more. There is a spontaneity there that comes from visitors who are doing this over and over again, not marching through a once in a lifetime trip. The CA talent cannot be beat. I had to cancel my June trip where I was finally going to bring my family (I have always gone solo to DLR during West Coast work trips). I cannot wait for next April when we will get our make up trip.


While I just sang an ode to DLR, I don’t disagree with this either. Long term there is so much to do at WDW, with all the resorts and the different themed parks. My family tends to do short trips that are completely different from each other, which is why I have been able to keep them going back for more.


Small World note DL vs MK too…DL Small World will stop almost anybody in their tracks during the holidays. Breathtakingly gorgeous lights over every square inch. And a wait time of over 3 hours most nights. I have a picture of it but it’s on my downstairs computer.

I do agree on the differences of inside being better in MK though.

I will ALWAYS have a soft spot for any of “Walt’s attractions”.

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I feel like attraction to attraction comparisons come out pretty equitable. There is as much to do in the two DLR parks as in the four WDW parks. In either case, familiarity can add up.

I have six kids, so WDW always feels “fresh” to at least one of my kids who may have just aged up to a point. As for me, I don’t even want to sit through Nemo or Festival of Lion King again. But when we did DLR everything felt new.

I liked IASW at DLR because it had Disney characters IN the dioramas. They were fun to spot.


I got one…this is fun!

Blue Bayou vs. San Angel Inn!

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Let me know when you want to meet at DLR. :wink:

I suppose the vastness of WDW lends itself to this nicely. The character dining alone can make it so you never repeat yourself.

But I also never felt like I needed to enhance our DLR trip since it was our first as a family and just the basics were enough.


I’m laughing WAAAAY too much at this. I’m actually giddy at the thought of more than one child, let alone six!

My average day at DCA

Breakfast at Flo’s.

Tire swing for the next 4 hours. My husband and I take turns running to the bathroom or for beer and pretzles. Then Hubs goes back to the hotel to nap while my backside falls asleep from not moving off this bench for 2 hours straight.

Light lunch and a walk to Cars Land and around the lake.

Back to tire swing until they close at dusk. Then we head to DL for Autopia and Splash until close.

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Do you live in the area? Have APs?
I am a commando. At WDW. At DLR. At Walmart. At work. I couldn’t do one thing for four hours if I tried.
Wouldn’t it be easier to put up tire swings in your yard?

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You know…this whole kid thing is really starting to affect my Disney time…

No one told me about this before I had him.


I didn’t even think to compare Grizzly River Rapids and Kali! Yes, Grizzly is way better! Also poor Test Track doesn’t stand a chance. LOL Cars Land in general is just WOW!

Our favorite QS:
Bengal Barbecue in Adventureland is a must eat for us every time.
I also like the bao at Tropical Hideaway and the lumpia.
Agree that Red Rose Taverne is very nice but I can never get my kids to eat there.
Flo’s is fun.
The Pacific Wharf Cafe is a favorite because of the bread bowls. We often buy a loaf to take with us too.
A new favorite is the Angry Dog on Pixar Pier just because my DD20 loves spicy. The condiment station has a variety of sauces from ketchup (keeping it together) to Buffalo hot sauce (raging).
I like Jolly Holiday as well on the hub.


DCA is not super kid friendly now that Bugs Land is no more. Not enough for little ones to do for sure.


Not mentioned yet, but pretty obvious: weather is pretty much no contest unless you enjoy the daily summer downpours and humidity.

ETA: I have never been to southern CA so I say this only from what I’ve heard.


Yes, but no way my husband would every do it.

We’re in Vegas, but we were going down a few times a year. I grew up there and was actually a cast member for a few years in and after high school.

My son loves most of the CM’s at swings (giving you massive side eye Ranger Tim). They sometimes really do make it a point to interact with the kids instead of just shipping them through. Also, only child syndrome. He loves making friends with the other kids in line and will spend hours racing them or chasing them around trail. Seeing as DL was such an important place in my early adult life, I can give up a few hours a day so he has a chance to make his own memories.

Besides, I get mine later when we go back to WDW and he gets to stay in the hotel while hubs and I do date night at Le Cellier or Chefs de France.