View Full Version : Just visited DL & CA and compared to WDW

10-24-2005, 07:15 PM
For the past few years I have visited WDW in Florida, since its a one day drive for my family in NC. However, we just got back from a family reunion at DL & CA in Anaheim. As many of you already know its Disneyland's 50th anniversary. These are my comments.

They really spruced up and cleaned DL and CA adventure was impeccable too. Many of the same rides that the have at WDW are better at DL, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, Astro Blasters, Autopia, Toon Town in general, etc. Others are not, such as Playhouse Disney, Star Tours, the Castle, river rapids,Tower of Terror, for example.

Both Resorts have pro's & con's when it comes to rides. I still think the overall best ride/attraction is Mission Space and that's only at Epcot in WDW. But again, that's just a matter of preference.

Dinosaur in Animal Kingdom in WDW and Indiana Jones in DL are in essence the same type of ride. I liked better Dinosaur but the rest of my family liked the Indiana Jones ride. Go figure.

Fantasmic is a pain to watch in DL because there is no stadium for seating like in MGM Studios, but they use the Ferry Boat and the Columbia ship for the show which gives is a special flare, though in WDW the the whole stage is built for the show while in DL its a part of Tom Sawyer's island. Overall I think the WDW Fantasmic is much better. DL has more of the older dark room rides which can be very funny for kids. Though I found it to be odd the the Winnie the Pooh ride in DL is not in Fantasyland but Critter country. Perhaps that the reason its not as successful as in WDW.

I must admit that the Cinderella Castle in WDW is much more impressive than the sleeping beauty castle in DL. It takes a little time to get used to, and it does have its charm, and after all its still the original. I guess you could say, that just like any home in California, its smaller, much smaller.

One thing I noticed right out of the box is the service level at DL is not as good as is WDW. With a few exceptions, the cast members (employees) give more the impression that they're there to do a job, while in WDW the Cast Members constantly went overboard to make my experience unique. I'll never forget the night at Epcot once, the park was about to close and I took my son to the restroom before we left the park. The janitor was wiping the floor, he stopped wiping took a piece of paper towel and started playing with my son with the water faucet. That man deserved the cast member of the year award for his performance and attitude. These type of things just happened a lot in WDW, but very little in DL.

In WDW they have fastpasses for many rides, not so in DL. I went to DL in low season and on weekends it felt more crowed that WDW in their high season.

California adventure was a blast, the park is fantastic. The trip was worth it just to visit that park. Like all new Disney parks it could use a few more rides, but it has enough to keep you busy all day and make you come back the next. We loved Soarin'' and the Aladdin show. This is probably the best show overall the six Disney theme parks in the US. Its indoors with A/C and it last 50 minutes. I wish the Tarzan & Beauty and the Beast shows in WDW where under those same conditions, especially the A/C piece.

If you haven't visited any Disney park, either one is a good choice. Start with the closest one first buy make it a point to visit the other too. Both are very nice and have their unique character.

10-24-2005, 07:33 PM
I went to DL in low season and on weekends it felt more crowed that WDW in their high season.Just a quick comment about that... you also have to remember that DL is much smaller than Magic Kingdom to. (I'm talking about all of the walkways/space between attractions/que line setups, etc...) WDW has soooo much more land and could spread things out and make huge que lines to suck in all the guests.

I know it's just your opinion though, so I'm glad you agree that each park has it's pros & cons. Personally I'll always like DL better because of the overall "home/original" feel.

10-25-2005, 09:03 AM
Robkur, thank you. I enjoyed your post and your perspective. I'd like to visit WDW someday. I'm glad you enjoyed the left coast parks. I'm also glad that you enjoyed DCA, as I also enjoy that park as a great complementary experience to Disneyland.

Enter The Mouse
10-25-2005, 03:23 PM
I think that with a few exceptions, DL has more rides in each park. WDW has like six or seven in each park. I like how in DL you can just walk across the street to california adventure. But WDW is also a blast.

10-25-2005, 06:05 PM
I read your trip report with great interest. I, too, am a WDW veteran and will be visiting DLR for the first time very shortly. I have been reading these boards for some time now and have received a lot of good information about DLR. The vast majority of folks on this board seem to feel that DLR is much better than WDW, so I am expecting to be totally blown away by the wonder and the splendor of the DLR. I can't wait. Although you did have very good things to say about DLR, some aspects did not receive raving reviews. I hope I am not disappointed when I visit, and I hope I'm not setting my expectations too high. It was interesting to read a somewhat different perspective. By the way, exactly what didn't you like about Fantasmic. Please don't tell me there are a lot of crowds. From the sound of it, it seems like DLR doesn't have stadium seating.

Disney is just so much more to us than just theme parks. We love the wonderful dining opportunities, the vast amounts of recreational activities, and we absolutely love the festivals and special events. In fact, we just returned from WDW and were there for the Food and Wine Festival, the PGA Golf Tournament and MNSSHP. The parks were secondary to us this visit.

Since you are a WDW veteran, I am interested in your thoughts on the DLR restaurants. Which ones did you enjoy the most? I picked out a few that I think we will like very much. Also, I know that DLR is somewhat limited in size and doesn't have a lot of room for recreational activities, but were there any activities you can suggest that would be a nice afternoon break from the parks?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I, too, will be sharing mine shortly as well.

10-26-2005, 03:24 PM
Robkur thanks for a great post! I agree with just about all of your thoughts.
NYC I'll be interested to hear your thoughts too. I grew up going to DL every couple of years and it definitely has a big place in my heart (as well as a number of things WDW doesn't have). I can't really say I like WDW better, but I agree with Robkur that the level of service is higher, that and because of the sheer size of the place and the amount of stuff to do I really feel much more immersed in Disneydom there.

About Fantasmic, I actually much prefer the DL version, BUT it's always been a mad house when we've gone. (Just to warn you)
How fun to have a new Disney resort to explore.
Have a great trip!

The Genii
10-26-2005, 05:21 PM
I have spent much more time at Walt Disney World over the past 15 years, but more and more I find the Disneyland Resort a much more pleasant place to be.

Walt Disney World is hot, humid, and rainy far too much of the time. Having to drive or use the boats or bus system to get from one park to another or to your hotel is a tiring pain in the butt. At the Disneyland Resort I can walk to both parks from any of the three Disneyland Hotels. (And the Grand Californian is at the top of my list of Disney hotels.) It doesn't rain nearly as much at Disneyland, and the weather is generally dry (not humid). Much more pleasant. When I hear people bitching about how hot it is at Disneyland I can only chuckle to myself ... they obviously haven't been to Walt Disney World and had that 90 degree heat added to 75% humidity.

I was disappointed in Disneyland on my first two visits because it's so much smaller than the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. And there are also four parks in Orlando, while at the time there was only one in Anaheim (and, then, no Downtown Disney or Grand Californian, either). With the addition of California Adventure and the Grand Californian Hotel, they have really managed to turn the place into a resort where you can go for as long as five days and never see the outside world (a prerequisite, in my opinion, for a great Disney vacation).

On subsequent trips to Disneyland I began to appreciate its charms, and how much there is to actually do there. I enjoy the compact nature of it, with interesting things tucked into almost every corner. Compare this with how the folks who run Walt Disney World have been systematically stripping away everything that's so special in small ways: they ditched the band in the Magic Kingdom, have turned all the shops on Main Street into one long connected strip mall that sells the same trash as every other place in the park (the elimination of Center Street truly epitomizes just how clueless they are--as if the Emporium really needed another few square feet to sell more t-shirts).

With Matt Ouimett now in charge at Disneyland, the park looks better than ever. Things are clean and running much more smoothly. Rides are getting upgrades and new rides are being built (and even others planned). It's about time.

I also enjoy California Adventure--always have. People in California are very grumpy about it (the same way the Japanese are grumpy about Tokyo DisneySea) because it is not the same as the Magic Kingdom next door. People who visit Orlando have no trouble accepting a non-Magic Kingdom as a Disney park, but in California and Tokyo they have yet to make that mental adjustment. It has NEVER been economically feasible to open a park at its mature level of rides and attractions. Young parks need time to grow. Folks refuse to understand that.

I generally feel that all the rides which are shared by the East and West coast parks are either equal (Tough to be a Bug, Honey I Shrunk the Audience, Muppet Vision 3D, Big Thunder Mountain), or BETTER in Anaheim: Pirates is better, Mansion is better, Jungle Cruise is better, Space Mountain is better, Grizzly River Run just kicks the crap out of Kali River Run. Some folks feel that Splash Mountain is better in Orlando but frankly I can't tell the difference. The version in Tokyo seems far better than either ride in the USA.

So, if given the choice, I would pick the Disneyland Resort at this moment in time.

10-26-2005, 06:34 PM
I never understood what people meant when they said they felt immersed in the Disney Experience at WDW....or, someone said that, I can't rememer. And, that staying on property at Disneyland.....they didn't feel immersed. They just felt like it was a hotel next door.

I don't know how you'd feel immersed at Wilderness Lodge, or Animal Kingdom, with those hotels being so far away. I'm sure Grand Floridian is nice, (maybe that's the center of everything) but then you'd feel like you were too far away from Animal Kingdom.

With Disneyland everything is so close and handy, even the Harbor Blvd motels/hotels. Harbor Blvd felt magical to me, to an extent, and different than just any other street.

I'm really having trouble planning my WDW trip because everything seems so scattered and it's hard picking a place that's in the center of it all.:confused:

And then, with the short number of days....less than a week....I'm just wondering if I should skip the duplicate rides that I can ride at Disneyland, and just concentrate on the Epcot stuff that I can't do elsewhere.

I like a feeling of proximity, or at least perceived proximity. I'm not getting that feeling with my upcoming WDW trip.

10-26-2005, 09:07 PM
Well, I feel completely immersed at WDW because the onsite hotels feel like Disney and if you don't go offsite you don't even see anything that's not Disney -- nothing like Harbor Blvd just over the berm. It's not like being surrounded by a theme park the whole time, but the whole place just has a Disney atmosphere. I LOVE DL, but I am aware that I'm in the middle of a larger metropolitan area there. I can still feel immersed at DL (just not quite to the same extent) and I definitely understand having a preference for a more intimate resort. There is just so much open space at WDW that it's easier to forget the outside world is still there. IMHO

10-26-2005, 09:50 PM
I just want to say that I LOVE Fantasmic at Disneyland!! For many DLR fans the idea of being in the heart of Disneyland with the Park all around while watching Fantasmic magic is what it is all about. Is it crowed? Yes! Is it hard to disperse after the show? Yes! But the idea of going into stadium seating to see Fantasmic seems so cold and well Water Worldish. I was really dismayed the first time I saw on the WDW map that I would be watching Fantasmic from a stadium. I wasn't expecting that. I love it at Disneyland when the park lighting goes out and the spot lights flash over the crowd at the beginning of the show! It's wall to wall, ride to ride filled with people and I just love that! Just wanted to share that with other WDW fans who are visiting DLR for the first time. Regarding Fantasmic, be prepared to be there early to find good seats...in front of a water screen is best and to be caught up in a big crowd after the show. Sneak to ride Big Thunder Mountain or Splash Mountain right after the show(depending on which side of the Rivers of America you are on.

10-26-2005, 10:52 PM
I don't quite understand why some stay on property the whole time. You really have to get out of the resort and experience some other parts of California and Florida while visiting from out of state. :cool:

10-27-2005, 02:15 AM
The Genii - quote: It doesn't rain nearly as much at Disneyland, and the weather is generally dry

Last October (04) the area had as much rain in ONE afternoon as it does normally in a year. Completely ruined our day. And WDW is only humid if you go the wrong time of year. We always find just after Thanksgiving is best - and you get the Christmas stuff.

10-27-2005, 07:07 AM
I don't quite understand why some stay on property the whole time. You really have to get out of the resort and experience some other parts of California and Florida while visiting from out of state. :cool:

We definitely experience other parts of both Florida and California when we go, (especially the beach!), but for the Disney part of the trip we like to be immersed in the bubble. Often it doesn't make $$$ sense to be staying on-property when not doing Disney so for us it just makes sense to divide the trip into two parts.