Disclaimer: This page contains both text and image affiliate links. If you sign up using these links, we earn a small commission at no additional charge to you. Disfanchat is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Do a google search comparing Walt Disney World to Disneyland and you will find quite a few articles comparing the two locations. Instead of doing a complete rundown of every difference and similarity between the parks, I am going to revisit my article called Five Reasons This Disney Skeptic Became a Disney Fanatic.

Before traveling to Anaheim, California in May of 2017, I was warned by several Walt Disney World and Disneyland “experts” that the two park locations are different. Some even told me to save my money and go to another park altogether.  But when it comes to Disney, I suffer from FOMO in the worst way! (In case you didn’t know it, Disney is for adults too!) Creating The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is an art form for the Disney company.  There was no way I could go to California for the first time and not experience The original Disney park!

Of course, now that I have that checked off, I think I need to return so I can experience a Disneyland Christmas, but wait, I digress.

Let’s take a look at the original top five reasons I fell in love with Walt Disney World and see if Disneyland and Disney California Adventure would have yielded the same result.

Reason #5: Űber planner’s dream!

In my original evaluation of Walt Disney World parks, I listed that Walt Disney World was an Űber planner’s dream!  When planning for a Walt Disney World vacation, if you enjoy planning and scheduling things as much as I do, you are in for a great time!  Obviously, since the experience of planning a WDW trip has led to an entire cottage industry of bloggers, podcasters, specialized travel agents, and so on and so forth, the planning involved in a WDW vacation is immense!

But is this true of Disneyland? Well, no vacation can be had without some level of planning.  Certainly, I made a few plans for Disneyland, but overall the whole process is much more like any other theme park. You plan your dates, you buy tickets, and you go!  For you non-planners out there, this probably sounds very appealing. But, I confess, I was a little sad that there wasn’t more to do to prepare for my trip to Disneyland.   However, it did make for a bit more intrigue and that was enjoyable.

Since I know you an ŰBER planner like me, don’t forget these important items to bring to Disneyland.

Reason #4: Community

My fourth reason for loving WDW is the community around the whole experience.  There are entire Facebook groups dedicated to specific months of the year when people are planning to visit WDW.  As I previously mentioned there are podcasts and websites, and hey, I even launched a Twitter chat called the #disfanchat on Tuesday nights 9pm EST and a new blog link up called Mouse Fan Mondays right here on VeraVise WOW travel. You should come and join us.

Is there the same community around the California parks? Well, sure!  The Disney community encompasses all the parks in my opinion.  Are there as many Disneyland dedicated resources?  No.  I don’t think so, but that probably has to do with my answer regarding planning.  There just isn’t quite as much to plan for a Disneyland trip.  That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to learn before going, but it’s just not quite as involved as planning to visit the Orlando parks.

Reason #3 Multigenerational appeal

Here is where Disneyland and WDW parks are essentially the same. The rides are family friendly just as they are in Orlando.  There weren’t any rides that I recall in the Disneyland parks that my children and I couldn’t enjoy together.  There were some height requirements over in DCA that kept my youngest off of the coaster, but overall, there were far more rides that we could experience as a family than not.  In fact, I believe there were more rides in California than in Florida that we could ride as a family.

Reason #2: Amazing Immersion Experience

Again, this was true in both locations.  It was fun to experience new rides that aren’t in the WDW parks like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, The Storybook Land Canal boats, and Matterhorn to name a few.  I especially enjoyed Alice in Wonderland.  It reminded me of the first time I rode Peter Pan in the Magic Kingdom.

It was also great fun riding the rides that were the same or similar in both locations and looking for slight differences.  Pirates of the Caribbean was quite different (and better in my opinion) in California.  Splash Mountain is very similar as is Big Thunder mountain.  We didn’t get to do any character meals or meet too many character, perhaps that would have added a great deal to my experience.  If I ever go again, I’ll have to check out the Plaza Inn Breakfast with Minnie and Friends.  You can check out a great article on meeting characters at Disneyland in this post. 

Reason #1: The Number 1 Reason Disney completely won me over in Florida: I’m an allergy mom!

This is why Disney is given so much time on this travel blog!  If we are going to highlight service that goes above and beyond to WOW the customer, we have to carve out a significant section for the Walt Disney Dining services.  As a mother who is always having to call ahead, speak to managers, and try to educate staff with regard to the safety of the food they are giving my family, I so appreciate the Disney experience.  No one is looking at me with a, “Well, I think it will be okay” or worse, “I don’t have time for this”  expression on their face when I discuss my children’s food allergies at Disney.

As I shared in my original post, this is the #1 reason you will hear me shout the praises of the Disney World company!  I can’t speak for the parks outside the US, but inside the United States all five Disney locations, all the resorts, and all their subsequent eating establishments have an excellent program in place for those with food allergies.  This doesn’t mean that any one individual restaurant might stray from the protocol, but as a whole Disney outshines EVERY SINGLE DINING EXPERIENCE as an allergy mom I have ever had!

Speaking of how great Disney is with FOOD and FOOD ALLERGIES, don’t miss this amazing desserts at Disneyland.

The Takeaway?

So what’s the takeaway?  Overall, I enjoyed Disneyland and especially Disney California Adventure.  Would they have won me over as much as Walt Disney World did?  I don’t know.  I did feel like we waited in line way too much on numerous occasions. We were there before Maxpass started and I enjoy that Fast Pass Plus is included in the ticket price at the Florida parks.

This alone has pushed Disneyland down a little for me, but overall it’s DISNEY!  Would I go again?  Probably.  Would I get an annual pass and go six times in one year even though I had to drive over 10 hours like I do to the Orlando parks? Probably not.

If you are considering a trip to Disneyland, here is a great post with ideas on things to bring to Disneyland.


  1. We went to Disneyland & DCA last October and loved it. We were in Vegas and Cali anyway so made sense to visit. I liked that it was possible to do most of the things I wanted to in three days (I went to WDW when I was very little and when I eventually make it back will want to spend minimum of 1 week there, closer to 2-3 weeks, lol!) and also, like you mentioned, dietary requirements. I’m vegan and had no problem eating there – Universal Studios Hollywood on the other hand was absolutely rubbish for vegans and unfortunately as a Disneyland Paris AP holder, I know that DLP and France in general is not the best for vegans. I take a lot of my own food when I go but that wouldn’t have been possibly in Cali so yay Disney parks in America for addressing different dietary restrictions! 😀

  2. We just got back from Disneyland a little over a week ago. After going to Disney World three times in the last three years and loving it, we decided to switch it up a bit and do Disneyland. I grew up on the West Coast so I went to Disneyland every couple of years so there is definitely a nostalgia factor in it for me. I was worried though that I wouldn’t love it as much as Disney World. But I found that I like them both for different reasons. I was definitely disappointed in the fast pass system since there is no way I wanted to pay for the max pass when it’s free in Florida. But there were also things that I preferred at California over Florida. I’d definitely go again. #MouseFanMondays

  3. Project Manager by day, one of my biggest thrills for my Disney World trips is the planning. I think I’d probably feel the same way about Disneyland and my lack of options for planning. I do love that there are more rides for the whole family. Thanks for sharing and hosting on #MouseFanMondays!

  4. I think everyone has a preference between Disneyland and Walt Disney World. I grew up going to WDW, but then went to Disneyland as a mom. I feel in love with the vibe of California – it felt more relaxed and zen than Florida. We are headed off to WDW in a month to experience it as adults and I’m excited to see how I feel about it. However, ANY day at a Disney park is better than a day at work 🙂

  5. Interesting thoughts 🙂 I am a Disneyland girl through and through since I grew up in Southern California. I’ve only been to CA Adventure a few times, right when it opened, and I was not impressed. Might be worth another chance, but overall I would just prefer going to Disneyland again and again, especially the original 1950s rides.

    • From what I have heard from others, DCA is much better than in the beginning. I think the Fastpass thing really hung me up at Disneyland. Paying so much for just 2 days and spending so much time in line really frustrated me, but, as I said in the article, I still loved it. I’d still probably go again given an opportunity.

  6. I haven’t been to Disneyland since 2005 but feel the two parks have their own personal charm. I love that Disneyland in California is so nostalgic with so many of the original rides that Florida removed. They still have the Snow White Scary Adventures, Mr Toad’s wild ride and a few others that made me so sad when Florida replaced them. I think though Disneyland is smaller, it still has great advantages over the overwhelming size and amount of stuff to do at DisneyWorld. Though from one Disney nerd to another I love them all. Hope to see you tomorrow on Fly Away Friday!

    • I would agree! I think if I had had more time and not felt I spent so much time in line,I would have liked it better! I loved DCA the most, however. I’ll be there!

  7. So much fun! I’m already a Disney fanatic so there’s really no option for me not to be though, haha! Thanks for joining Fly Away Friday, hope to see you again tomorrow! xo

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.