Walt Disney World vs Disneyland - The Great Debate

"Which is better...Disneyland or Disney World?" 

One of life's age old questions to which there will never be an answer.

When friends or family would ask where we traveled over the last couple weeks, most seemed to have the same reaction when I told them Disneyland and Vegas. "Disneyland?" they would ask, perplexed as to why a guy would travel cross-country to visit a place that he can find 90 minutes away in Orlando. As any Disney fan can tell you, however, there are many stark differences between the two resorts, and the debate as to which is better is one that will never be resolved.

Proof I Won at Toy Story Mania

My heart of course belongs to "The Florida Project," and as I walked the grounds of Disneyland last week I couldn't resist making comparisons to Disney World in Orlando. While any attempt to resolve this Great Disney Debate would be futile, what follows is this Disney World fan's perspective on the original House of Mouse. 

Things I love about Disneyland 

The Original - There is a aura of nostalgia around Disneyland that one can never experience in Florida for one key reason....Walt himself. As you enter Disneyland you're quickly reminded that this was Walt's park, with the sight of his still intact apartment above the fire station on Main Street. 

The Monorail - In Orlando the monorail serves as a source of transportation between some of the parks and resorts, while in California it is basically a ride. There is one important difference, however, which makes this version better than it's Florida counterpart....you can ride in the back. As a monorail junkie, being allowed to ride in the back ranks among the top 5 coolest things I've ever done....OK so "coolest" might not be the right word here.

Park Hopping - Try walking out the front gate of any park in Orlando, and enter another within 2 minutes. Yeah, it can't be done. At Disneyland, however, the entrances to both parks are literally a stone's throw apart, making park hopping quite easy. Which is good because I quickly grow tired of the crowds in Disneyland, and prefer the more laid back California Adventure (more on that later). 

Space Mountain - The Disneyland version is better...Trust me.
Music, Faster, Side by Side Seating = Better

Food - In Orlando your choices for quick food on the go are pretty much limited to lame burgers, chicken nuggets, turkey legs, and cardboard pizza. Try finding spicy Korean beef and rice or soups served in a fresh sourdough bowl in the Magic Kingdom. Go ahead, I'll wait...

Things I not-so-love about Disneyland 

Seclusion - There is none. Thanks to its thousands of acres of property, the outside world rarely makes an appearance in Orlando, however this is not the case at Disneyland. There are 14 IHOPs within a two block radius of the resort, and guests of such fine establishments as the Jolly Roger Motel and Candy Cane Inn could pole vault into the park if they so chose. Staying at one of the Disneyland hotels can help in overcoming this obstacle, but your wallet will also be far lighter as a result. 

Crowds - OK, so at any theme park there are going to be crowds, Cartman taught me that. But at Disneyland park in particular, the layout can cause the experience to feel less like a theme park and more like Times Square on New Years Eve. California Adventure seems to handle the crowds much better, although I guess one could argue that is also due to a lack of attendance. Either way, prepare to take lots of baby steps...literally. 

The Matterhorn - As a kid, I always wanted to experience this ride...As an adult, it leaves me feeling like I was in a head on car accident.
On The Matterhorn - The Smile Belies My Pain

I tried really hard here to come up with more things I don't like about Disneyland, but in the end I failed. The fact is I love Disneyland, just in a different way than I love Disney World, sort of like the relationship I have with my dog and cat. 

As expected, my trip to Disneyland had no impact on my allegiance in the Great Debate. What I learned, however, is that it is imperative to have an open mind when visiting Disneyland as a Walt Disney World fan.  The differences between the two far out number their similarities, but as my mom told me when I was a kid, being different makes you special, and Disneyland certainly is different.

~Insert Dude-like Closing Here~