WDW vs Disneyland

I read an article online this morning about Disneyland — the writer was arguing that it’s better than WDW because Walt Disney was so deeply involved in the planning and the detailing.

So maybe my next once-in-a-lifetime trip should be to Disneyland. Which begs the question: what are the principal differences between the two. (I have actually been to Disneyland and California Adventure before, but a long time ago.)

What major rides does each have that the other doesn’t? Are the FPP and ADR rules different? Is the planning as traumatising for a DL trip? Is the weather more reliable and less rainy at DL? Does DL offer all the upselling opportunities (VIP tours, dessert parties, and so on).

I’m going to start a similar thread asking for comparisons between Universal Studios in CA and FL.

They still have paper FP, but also MaxPass that you pay for on the day so you can schedule FP on an app. ADRs are at 60 days (or 30?) and the QS is much better than WDW.

Rides that are at both parks are generally better at DL I believe.

I haven’t been but when you spend a lot of time on Lines you pick things up.


Here’s a couple TP blogs on this subject from this past year: http://blog.touringplans.com/2017/05/06/s6_disneylandbetter/ and http://blog.touringplans.com/2017/05/11/disneyland-rides-disney-world-fans-can-skip/ .


Thanks for your comments so far.

Are there major rides Disneyland has that WDW doesn’t? Indiana Jones springs to mind.

The Matterhorn, the GotG ride, the Cars rides. Probably more.

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I would say that @bswan26 is one of the resident “WDW vs DLR” experts - he has an excellent blog post on DLR for the WDW veteran with lots of information and photos. I can’t find the link, but hopefully he will see this and chime in.



This was written based on a 2012 trip, so some things have changed since then, but all of the ride descriptions/comparisons, resort and DTD descriptions, and dining comments are still applicable. As far as attractions go, the conversion of ToT to GotG and the closure of the back half of FrL are the biggest changes. There is also a lot going on around Paradise Pier that I haven’t really been following closely. This is best viewed on a PC. It’s in 12 parts, which should be read in order, as they build on each other.

@Grumpy_in_Tejas is literally on his way home from DLR as I write this, so he should have “up to the minute” updates…


And our flight is delayed again because of weather at DFW. They boarded us late and then announced another delay.

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Your blog was perfect — thank you!

Initially I was very put off going to DLR as I read your blog because of Sleeping Beauty’s castle! It’s just so disappointing!

But then there’s clearly a lot in the two parks and plenty of difference between DLR and WDW (MK).

I guess it’s also a cheaper trip because it’s shorter!

Plenty of food for thought!


There is a great tour “walk in Walt’s footsteps.” It is on my Disney bucket list. (https://youtu.be/OT8Yuy56ChE) There is also a World of Color dessert party and a Fantasmic dinner option. I have been to Disneyland many times, but never really did any of the extras. We were supposed to take our first trip to WDW, but unfortunately life got in the way. We cancelled, but scheduled a DLR trip to console me. As a result, we are doing some extras, such as staying at Disneyland Hotel, Fantasmic dinner package at Blue Bayou, etc. I will tell you that the planning is far less extensive at DLR and you can often get same day reservations at most restaurants (unless it is super busy). I know there are die hard WDW fans and die hard DLR fans, but I think both are special and offer something that other does not. If you go, I highly recommend you get MaxPass. So worth the $10 per person, per day investment. They are also starting a Disneyland after Dark series. I am intrigued to see what that is and what it will offer you.


Never been to WDW but been to DL a bunch. I am planning a trip to WDW and seems like it’s a lot more planning involved. And dining seems to be a big thing at WDW . One thing I can tell you is that you don’t really have to stay onsite. So many cheaper options and you can walk. If you do plan on going one adr that you’ll want to grab is blue bayou( if your interested). I still haven’t been but I know it’s a real popular one. I couldn’t get a res so I’m gonna shoot for a less busier time. Hopping is soo easy too! Parks are walkable from one to the other.


Rides at DL that WDW doesn’t have:
Indiana Jones (a much better version of the Disosaur ride at AK)
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Story book canal boats
Circus Train
A better version of Buzz Lightyear
A smoother version of Space Mtn.
Columbia sailing ship
Davey Crockett canoes
California Screaming
Silly Symphony Swings
Golden Zypher
Jumping Jellyfish
Mickey and the magical map show
Cars Land
Bugs Land

Pirates, Space Mtn and BTMRR are all better at DL.

The Haunted Mansion Nightmare Before Christmas overlay was delightful.

In my opinion DL has a charm about it that WDW just doesn’t have. Walt’s apartment!

The quick service food at DL is so much better than WDW. And served on real plates instead of paper. It has to be good or the locals wouldn’t eat there.
The whole New Orleans Square area is just delightful. Sitting there eating beignets and listening to jazz bands play is just relaxing and a lot of fun.


Be careful though. You may fall in love with DL as we have. This is our 4th trip there in 3 years. Not sure when I can talk DW into going back to WDW.

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Here is some food for thought regarding Fantasmic dinning. We did the Blue Bayou package a couple of trips ago. The food is great. The view is wonderful. The pavement you sit on is hard on your rear end. You will get wet.
We did River Belle Terrace this time. The food was less spectacular but, good. The view was great. The chairs, table and charging station and patio heaters were a huge plus. And it was cheaper than Blue Bayou.
Just my $0.02 worth.


This is all very interesting and helpful.

My thinking is this . . . When my dog dies, some years from now, I will be overwhelmed with grief. The idea is to jump on a plane and go straight to a Disney resort somewhere. I have two friends who I’d like to take with me because they’ve had awful lives and I want to see the look on their faces.

A WDW trip can easily get out of hand in terms of planning and expense. It seems like a DLR trip can be managed much more easily.

But no FOP.

I need to look into Universal.

(If you’re wondering why I’m being so morbid it’s because I can’t go away on holiday while my dog is alive because I won’t leave him in kennels and it’s very hard to find people to look after him. The two people I want to take with me are the people who looked after him when I went to WDW this summer. They’re about the only people who could look after him, and clearly I can’t take them with me and have them look after my dog at the same time.)

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I really loved Soarin’ at Epcot. I understand the film is fairly new. Do they have the new version at DLR?

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Yes they do. Soarin Around the World.

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That’s great! Score 1 for DLR.

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we have carsland!! its awesome. the whole land is themed just like the movie. And although guardians of the galaxy is just a rethemed tower of terror, the new ride is so amazing!! and also if you like harry potter then you could do one day at universal if you picked the off season

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So Universal LA has Harry Potter, too? That’s good to know.