To be fair, for most of us I suspect the biggest deciding factor between visiting Disneyland or Disneyworld is distance. Which one is closer to you? On the East coast we hit Orlando, and on the West, Anaheim makes more sense. In the middle of the continent though some more thought might go into the decision. We have traditionally been a Disneyworld family, since it's so much closer, but this past January we made that trek to California, so we had a chance to compare.
The biggest difference is definitely size. I loved how compact Disneyland was! Right off the bat you have two parks instead of the four at Orlando, but even within each park the rides and attractions are closer together. At check in the cast members warned us to be prepared for longer line-ups, but less time walking. To be honest I didn't find the lines bad, but I really appreciated how quickly I could move from one area to the next. Even a bigger deal for me - the two parks are located right next to each other, across a courtyard beyond a single ticket entrance. This was such a treat given that I'm used to long bus rides among parks. And - Downtown Disney leads into the ticket booth area. Everything is right together!
|Let's be honest - as long as these two are there, you know it'll be a good time!|
|California Adventure Park at night, from our room|
What does Disneyworld have the Disneyland doesn't? Well, more variety in rides and attractions, and more shops and restaurants in Downtown Disney. The Animal Kingdom park is a true treasure, and something Disneyland can't rival. If your family is interested in wildlife, this is a real draw. On our last visit we stayed at the Animal Kingdom Villas at Kidani Village. Although we had a long drive to get to most parks, we had an amazing experience with the African wildlife living just outside our room.
|You won't get zebras unless you visit Disneyworld|
And I truly felt the "Welcome home!" when I visited both. Basically, you can't go wrong.