It was bound to happen. I’ve been visiting Disneyland in California for 40+ years and recently made my first trip to Walt Disney World in Florida. Some comparisons were going to pop up. Blogs are rife with comparisons but I wasn’t going to buy into trying to decide which Park was “better” since they are both so different. Yes, there are similarities between Disneyland & Walt Disney World, but it wasn’t until I got home and downloaded the pictures from my camera that things started clicking for me.
There are some similarities between Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Not exactly the same, but definite “like” items. Of course I knew that there were alike attractions shared between the Parks but there were smaller details that caught me by surprise.
I took my pictures the same as I always do: No agenda, just snapping away randomly and occasionally grabbing a family member to pose. Some of the similarities made me laugh! I spent only a few hours in each Park so if they had been full days, I can only imagine the dozens more similarities I could have discovered.
In looking through the albums now, the sweet “alikeness” between my beloved Disneyland and my new crush Walt Disney World makes me sigh with delight. No need to compare the two Parks, but they are more alike than you think.
Both Parks feature this plaque over their entrance tunnels (I just happened to photograph the right sides at both Parks). That statement sets the tone of the day for me, so I was happy to see that it’s featured at Walt Disney World just like it is at Disneyland.
As you scroll through the images below I’ve placed the Disneyland images on the left and the Walt Disney World images on the right (just like they are placed on a map!)
Main Street Station
Both Parks have a Main Street Station but each have slightly different looks. Each have curved windows, a clock and an American flag waving up on top, for sure. The main difference noted between the two is the walkway area on the side of the train at Walt Disney World whereas at Disneyland’s station there is a hedge. The Magic Kingdom Welcome Show takes place at Walt Disney World to open the Park, something I wish that Disneyland did before rope drop. It was a very special way to greet early guests to the Park and I’m glad we were there to experience it.
Both Parks had a Lightning McQueen and a Mater, though each were in totally different form! The versions at Disney’s California Adventure Park rev their engines at the Meet n’ Greet just outside the Cozy Cone Motel. Guests can touch the vehicles and even talk to them (sometimes they talk back!) The topiary vehicles at Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival were kept behind a gate just out of reach.
Guests to the Disneyland Resort can also slip behind a “Car” from the movie for their own tour of Radiator Springs on the Radiator Springs Racers and that just couldn’t be cooler!
Yep, each have a big store on the same corner of Main Street U.S.A. The building styles were just so different. I’m accustomed to Disneyland’s quaint store front while every building at Walt Disney World just seemed…huge!
One building I don’t remember seeing at Walt Disney World was a Penny Arcade. Do they have one there like they do at Disneyland? I do love to watch the old-time “movies” there.
A Show in front of the Castle
We happened to catch the Disneyland Band playing in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle and who should come marching in, but Mickey himself! Just a few feet away from us and a parade of characters came following to dance around the Band. It was light and un-choreographed. It wasn’t even in the schedule so coming across it was just happenstance. Lots of things at Disneyland are like that.
In comparison at Walt Disney World for the scheduled show, Dream Along with Mickey, there is a stage and costumed dancers and about 20 rows of other Guests standing in front of us. The stage was so high that my little one in the stroller wasn’t able to see until we held him up.
Can I just say how enormous everything at Walt Disney World is? The buildings just tower over you. Cinderella Castle…enough said!
The Sword in the Stone
Located in the same area, in front of the carousel sits the Sword in the Stone. Plaques look about the same. Anvils are different tones (and facing a different way). But the sword looks the same. What makes me giggle is that even the plants in the planter beds are the same color at each different Park (Disneyland 2009 on the left, Magic Kingdom 2015 on the right).
Even three people couldn’t pull it out together!
I love a parade! I try not to miss them because Disney parades are just the best! We just happened upon the Festival of Fantasy Parade at Walt Disney World and noted that the parade route was much less congested than at Disneyland. We rolled up a few minutes before the parade started and had a great view of the action. Ariel and Sebastian the Crab make an appearance in both the Festival of Fantasy and Mickey’s Soundsational Parade.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
These pictures just put a smile on my face. It’s a rite of passage for my kids to have their photo taken inside Dumbo the Flying Elephant and as you can see, I took almost identical pictures of my little boy about a year (and the country) apart! We loved that there are two Dumbo the Flying Elephant rides running simultaneously at Walt Disney World. There is also an air-conditioned waiting area in the queue where kids can play (instead of standing in the hot sun like at Disneyland).
Autopia / Tomorrowland Speedway
I’ve always loved the little winding roads of the Autopia at Disneyland. The bridges you drive over and under and especially the little “off-road” section are my favorite! The vehicles of these two attractions are similar but that’s about where it ends. The Tomorrowland Speedway is basically a boring stretch of road, like a race track. I much prefer the shade-lined route of the Autopia.
At the end of Hollywoodland in Disney’s California Adventure Park is a little slice of California painted onto the side of a building. Same thing going on at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. However the street in Florida is a little less “glitzy” and there is a “Police Line – Do Not Cross” barricade instead of a cutesy velvet rope!
I can’t wait to get back to Walt Disney World and discover more! I saw so little of the Parks on my visit and would love to find more of these quirky similarities. What are you favorite alike things at the Parks? Share them in the comments!