The Difference Between Disneyland and Disney World

When I was little, I thought Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida were exactly the same. I never really gave much thought to it, but, there are several notable differences between the two parks.

What’s the Difference Between Disneyland and Disney World?

If you’re planning your next family vacation, you might want to know what those differences are… especially because they’re on completely different sides of the country!

1. The Size of the Resorts

Disneyland is a much smaller resort. Disney World covers 43 square miles, compared to Disneyland’s 500 acres. The California resort is home to two parks: Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure. On the other hand, Disney World is home to four theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

2. The Rides

Although both resorts have about 20 of the same attractions, including Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and the Haunted Mansion, each resort also has attractions that are exclusive to its coast.

disney world tickets

Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida

Disneyland, for example, has the well-known California Screamin’ attraction, which is a thrill ride with big drops. Walt Disney World has the Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, its own thrill ride with a musical twist.

3. The Hotels

Walt Disney World has over 25 on-site hotels, ranging from budget-conscious options to luxurious hotels. The most iconic hotel in this resort is Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, although my favorite is Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort! (Art of Animation is also so much fun for kids. See?)

walt disney world resort

walt disney world florida

Disneyland, on the other hand, has only three hotels on site. This coast also has an iconic hotel that is exclusive to California, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel.

4. The Tickets

Guests at Walt Disney World who are staying on site are given a MagicBand wristband. The wristband is a hotel key, which holds hotel and dining reservations, park tickets, and FastPass+ benefits. This is awesome because it really adds to the experience and it keeps you from having to worry about keeping track of all your important resort information.

Although Disneyland does not have a MagicBand system yet, guests do receive a Key to the Magic card that is used for accessing the hotel room, entering the parks, and charging merchandise and meals.

5. The Transportation

Guests at Walt Disney World have access to buses, monorails, boats, and ferries to get to the parks. They certainly make it more convenient for guests to move around the parks and hotels.

disney world park hopper tickets

One of the benefits at Disneyland, however, is that due to its size, traveling to the parks is more direct and quicker. This makes it much easier for guests to park-hop! It even gives the option to take a monorail from the Downtown Disney District to the Tomorrowland section of Disneyland.

Have you visited both? If so, let me know which one is your favorite and why!

This is a guest post submitted by Farah Zamora, a journalism student at Florida Gulf Coast University.

About Christina

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I'm a blogger, media specialist, and most importantly... mother of two! I operate my own business, Media Maven, specializing in media relations, video production, writing, blogging, and event & on-air hosting.

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