Disney Does NOT Need to “Be Fair” to Disney World

Cinderella Castle and Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Disney

For almost seven decades, Disney has been creating some of the most incredible theme parks the world has to offer. Beginning in 1955 with Disneyland, Disney has since built five more theme parks around the world — Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disney, and the Shanghai Disneyland Resort.

Now, each of these stunning resorts has its own magical feel, but there seems to be one resort, which is the star. That would be the Walt Disney World Resort. Encompassing approximately 43 square miles, Disney World boasts four theme parks, two water parks, more than two dozen hotels, and almost four hundred places to eat. And don’t even get us started on the shopping and dining mecca that is Disney Springs.

Best snack at Disney World Kernel Kitchen

Credit: Disney

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With so much to offer, you would think that Disney World fans would be really happy and content. But of course, you can’t please everyone, and they are no exception.

It seems that when almost anything new and exciting happens at Disneyland Resort, there are inevitably calls to “Be fair to Disney World!” But let’s be honest: Disney does not need to be fair to the resort that has almost everything.

epcot forever fireworks and spaceship earth

Credit: Disney Parks

Here is exactly why Disney has been more than fair to Disney World, and they don’t always need to put it first.

Disney World is WAY Bigger

Let’s start with the obvious, Walt Disney World is a lot bigger than any other Disney Resort. There are four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom — and two water parks — Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.

On the other hand, Disneyland Resort has two theme parks: Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disney also have only two theme parks. Shanghai Disney has one theme park and an area called Wishing Star Park, while Hong Kong Disney simply has Hong Kong Disney.

A family enjoying a sunny day outdoors; a woman in a yellow dress and a man in a striped shirt playfully chase two children wearing hats near an elaborate tree structure in a park.

Credit: Disney

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Being so much bigger means that there is so much more to do at Disney World. There are so many rides and attractions, hundreds of dining options, a ton of places to stay, and fun activities like miniature golf.

Venturing into Walt Disney World is unlike anything else because it is truly its own place. Here, you can forget about the outside world because you don’t have to deal with it if you don’t want to. In contrast, the other parks sit in highly populated areas and sometimes seem to appear out of nowhere.

Food at Disney World is So Much Better and More Unique

As we said above, between the theme parks, resort hotels, and Disney Springs, there are nearly four hundred places to eat at Walt Disney World. Guests can dine on everything from American staples like cheeseburgers, to authentic Italian pizzas, classic Mexican cuisine, French delicacies, and so much more.

Via Napoli

Credit: Disney

Related: The BEST Choices For Drinking Around the World at EPCOT!

EPCOT alone has eleven lands around the World Showcase, each with its own restaurant options. Guests can dine in Canada, Mexico, Norway, Japan, China, the American Adventure, Germany, France, Morocco, the United Kingdom, and Italy. That’s on top of the other restaurants that can be found in the park!

Several celebrities have also opened restaurants in Disney Springs: Jaleo by Jose Andres, eet by Maneet Chauhan, Chicken Guy! by Guy Fieri, and Morimoto Asia by Masaharu Morimoto, just to name a few.

eet by Maneet Chauhan

Credit: Disney

You might think that with so many places to eat, Disney would slack on the food quality. And while there are some places where the food does not have the best reputation, for the most part, guests LOVE the meals they indulge in at the Most Magical Place on Earth. Getting certain dining reservations can be a real battle because so many people want to enjoy the food the restaurants have to offer.

This leads us to our next Disney World food win. Disney World has so many unique dining options you just don’t get anywhere else. Even if they aren’t sit-down dining spots. Several Disney Springs spots even have a cult-like following, including Gideon’s Bakehouse, The Ganchery, and Amorette’s Patisserie.

Gideon's Bakehouse

Credit: Disney

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That’s not to say that Disneyland doesn’t have some great dining options, but they aren’t as extensive as Disney World. There are several new restaurants opening in Downtown Disney, but a couple of them are chains that are found around Southern California.

Disney World Has So Many Incredible Festivals

If you have visited Disney World in the past, then chances are that you visited during a festival. EPCOT is really the festival theme park, hosting the International Festival of the Arts, the Flower and Garden Festival, the International Food & Wine Festival, and the International Festival of Holidays. There are very few weeks out of the year when there is not a festival happening.

EPCOT International Festival of the Arts 2024

Credit: Disney

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Every EPCOT festival has its own unique theme, but one thing that they all have in common is the food booths that dominate the World Showcase Lagoon. What makes these food booths even more fantastic is that nearly every offering is a home run. Disney World chefs are at the top of their game and create so many amazing dishes. You would think that they couldn’t maintain the quality and taste, but they do.

Now, Disneyland Resort has some fun festivals too — the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival, Festival of Holidays (also at DCA), and Pixar Fest, which just returned to the parks in 2024.

pixar fest nighttime show disneyland sleeping beauty castle

Credit: Disneyland Resort

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While the festivals are fun, they do not compare to the ones at Disney World. The wide variety of food isn’t there, and many of the dishes tend to be hit or miss in terms of flavor. Disneyland festivals also seem to be the place where Disney tests outright weird food. You may remember the great PB&J Mac and Cheese debacle of 2022, although it is one we would like to forget.

It’s A Lot Cheaper to Visit Disney World

It’s no secret that a Disney vacation is not cheap, but that does not mean that all parks are created equal. Guests are shocked at how much more affordable it is to visit places like Hong Kong Disneyland. While Walt Disney World Resort is not the cheapest of Disney resorts, it is not the most expensive.

Disneyland Hong Kong

Credit: Hong Kong Disneyland

Disney World frequently offers special ticket discounts, as well as discounts on its hotels, so guests can save even more on their trip to the Most Magical Place on Earth.

Disneyland, on the other hand, is one of the most expensive Disney Resorts. Theme park tickets are available in a tier system, and if you visit on a weekend in the summer, one day at one park will set you back just under $200. At one point, it was even revealed that it was cheaper for Californians to visit Disneyland Paris.

disneyland paris

Credit: Disney

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Yes, you read that right. It was actually cheaper for California residents to board a plane and fly halfway across the world to visit a Disney park in Paris than to visit Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.

Hotel Options Galore!

So, we know that Disney World has four theme parks, two water parks, and almost four hundred dining spots. But did you know that they also have nearly two dozen hotels?

Disney World is one of the ultimate vacation destinations, and people travel to the Florida hotspot from around the world. Disney wants everyone to be able to stay on property, so there are a variety of hotel options. Guests can choose from Value, Moderate, and Deluxe Resorts.

There are also a fair number of hotels on Disney property that Disney does not own. However, the hotels work in conjunction with Disney to offer guests a variety of discounts and perks.

Disney's Art of Animation

Credit: Disney

Disneyland, on the other hand, has a grand total of three hotels — the Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Pixar Place Hotel, and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. Unlike Disney World hotels, all of Disneyland’s hotels are expensive. On the low end, Pixar Pier averages more than $300 per night, and prices at the other two are even higher.

Of course, Disneyland Resort is surrounded by a ton of hotels, but they don’t all work with Disney and you won’t really get any perks. Some offer free transportation to the parks, but that is about it. But that does not mean that there aren’t some fun (and cheaper) options just down the road from The Happiest Place on Earth!


Credit: Disney

Related: Guest Astounded at Astronomical Price of Popular Disney World Hotel

Disney World’s Nighttime Spectaculars Are Rarely Canceled

If there is one thing that Disney knows how to do really well, it is put on a nighttime spectacular. At Disney World, guests can enjoy fireworks shows like Happily Ever After and Luminous at the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. And over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there is the huge Hollywood Hills Amphitheater, where guests can watch Fantasmic!

Happily Ever After Fireworks Show

Credit: Disney

While the shows always say that they are “weather permitting”, it is rare that a nighttime show at Disney World is canceled. Guests will literally stand in the pouring rain as they watch fireworks explode over Cinderella Castle.

Disneylanders aren’t so lucky when it comes to nighttime shows. Because Disneyland is located in a heavily populated area, they have to be very careful when it comes to the fireworks. There are also noise ordinances that must be followed, so, for most of the year, Disneyland can only have a fireworks show on the weekends. During the week, they are only permitted to have a projection show.

Wondrous Journeys

Credit: Disney

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We also have to remember that Southern California is a very dry area, meaning it is much easier for a spark from a firework to start a fire.

Because of all this, you never know if a fireworks show will actually take place in Disneyland Park. If it is slightly windy, the fireworks will most likely be canceled. Disneyland cast members keep a sharp eye on the weather and will do things, like shoot black smoke rings into the air, to track how fast the wind is moving.

Disneyland Forever Fireworks

Credit: Disney

So, admittedly, Disney World does have a lot more than Disneyland, but that does not mean that it comes out on top in every category when compared to Disneyland. In fact, there are some things that are better at Disneyland!

Here is where Disneyland beats Disney World.

Disneyland Has an Unmatched Magical Feel

As the story goes, Walter Elias Disney came up with the idea of the brand-new theme park concept when he was visiting Griffith Park in Los Angeles with his wife, Lillian, and their daughters, Diane and Sharon.

He was watching his two daughters enjoy the merry-go-round when he decided that he wanted to create a place that adults and children could enjoy together. A place where adults could have as much fun as kids, and they weren’t forced to sit on the sidelines and watch.

Walt Disney at Disneyland

Credit: Disney

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On July 17, 1955, Walt Disney brought that dream to life when he opened Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. Since then, Disney has expanded its empire and has theme parks all over the world. Each theme park has its own magical feel, but none of them capture that quintessential Disney feel quite like Disneyland.

Walt Disney Disneyland

Credit: Disney

Walking under the bridge and into Disneyland fills you with a feeling that you just can’t get anywhere else. Walt had an apartment over the firehouse that is in the same condition it was in when he died. A lamp sits in the window, reminding guests that Walt is always watching over his dream.

Disneyland Park’s Smaller Size Can Be Beneficial

Those who have been to Walt Disney World can tell you that when walking down Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland Park, it’s easy to tell how much smaller Disneyland is from the Magic Kingdom. While that means that you won’t have as much space to enjoy, this smaller size can actually work in the park’s favor.

Main Street Disneyland

Credit: Disney

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This favor comes during the fireworks shows. The projections used during the shows tend to be much more detailed than the ones used in shows like Happily Ever After at the Magic Kingdom. In fact, Disneyland’s shows are becoming much more projection-heavy, giving guests so much more to enjoy and so many details to explore.

The smaller size also means that the music played during the fireworks is a lot louder. Have you ever watched the nightly fireworks spectacular in the Magic Kingdom and wished you could hear the music better? At Disneyland, you won’t have to worry about that. The loud music also helps really draw you into the show.

Mickey's Mix Magic

Credit: Disney

With Disneyland Resort being so much smaller, that also means that it’s easier to get from one theme park to the other. Disneyland Resort consists of Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park, and the Downtown Disney District. However, you don’t need to take a bus or monorail to get between them.

Disneyland and DCA are right across an esplanade from one another, and Downtown Disney lies right next to them. They are just a quick walk apart, making it very convenient to park hop!

Night view of Disney California Adventure Park entrance with an illuminated sign and moon decoration above the gates, reflecting a fair yet inviting ambiance.

Credit: Joel, Flickr

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Disneyland Doesn’t Make Guests Pay For Certain Extras

When you visit Walt Disney World Resort during Halloween or Christmas and want to see the fireworks, you can’t simply pop over to the Magic Kingdom to watch them. Disney requires you to purchase a ticket to either Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

However, guests visiting Disneyland don’t have to pay for that premium experience.

Halloween Screams Disneyland

Credit: Disney

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During Halloween and the holidays, guests visiting Disneyland Park on select nights can enjoy either Halloween Screams or Believe… In Holiday Magic! for no extra price. Of course, Disneylanders wouldn’t hate it if there was a Christmas party like Mickey’s Very Merry, but we are happy to just be able to enjoy these shows without having to worry about purchasing an extra ticket.

Disneyland Christmas fireworks

Credit: Disney

In the past couple of years, Disney World has also released exclusive popcorn buckets that can only be purchased during hard-ticketed parties. But at Disneyland, there have been no popcorn buckets that can only be purchased during parties. That means that Disneyland guests can get their hands on the fun pieces of merchandise just by heading down to the parks.

Disneyland Resort Has Better Character Experiences

One of the really annoying things about visiting Disney World is making a reservation to visit some of your favorite characters. You also typically have to go to designated spots if you want to see those characters.

walt disney world disneyland theme park disney character costume head inside hot visibility mickey mouse stitch pluto donald duck mr. smee mrs. incredible

Credit: Disney

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But over at Disneyland, you can frequently see characters walking around the park. Entering Disneyland Park, you are likely to see classic characters like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, and possibly Chip and Dale. In addition to that, you might see a princess making her way down the street. Or maybe even a villain like Cruella De Vil.

There are designated character meet-and-greet spots at Disneyland, but you should always keep your eyes peeled because you may see someone unexpected!

mickey toontown

Credit: Disney

Now, it’s important to remember that this list does not mean that Walt Disney World Resort is better than Disneyland Resort. In fact, there are many people who think that Disneyland Resort is actually better than Walt Disney World.

Walt Disney World might be bigger, but that bigger size can mean that it is much more overwhelming. It is arguably much easier to plan a trip to Disneyland than to sift through everything Walt Disney World has to offer.

No matter which resort you pick for your magical vacation, you are sure to have a great time and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Do you think Disney World gets more than its fair share in terms of “fairness”? Let us know in the comments!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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