While Disney World’s Magic Kingdom (opened 1971) and the original Disneyland (1955) are generally the same park, there are a few differences. How do the two parks compare, and is one better than the other?
Size. Magic Kingdom in Florida is larger (Magic Kingdom is 107 acres, and Disneyland is just 80), but while Magic Kingdom may have more space, Disneyland has more rides and attractions. Magic Kingdom has taller buildings (this is especially obvious on Main Street and at the castle) and has much wider streets and wider and better lines. The wait times and comfort of waiting in lines are much better at Magic Kingdom. Magic Kingdom seems to have more FastPasses and shorter wait times. There is also more entertainment in Magic Kingdom lines, including hands-on entertainment at the Haunted Mansion and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh queues.
|Haunted Mansion facade at Disneyland.|
|Haunted Mansion facade at Magic Kingdom.|
Different Rides. Disneyland’s PeopleMover was closed in 1995, but Magic Kingdom still has the ride (there it is called the Tomorrowland Transit Authority). Disneyland’s Country Bear Jamboree attraction closed in 2001, but the bears still play daily shows in Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland. Disneyland does not have the Coursel of Progress, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Monsters, Inc. laugh floor or Stitch’s Great Escape. Magic Kingdom does not have Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden eye, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin, Matterhorn Bobsleds and others. Instead of The Hall of Presidents, Disneyland has Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln on Main Street, and instead of Swiss Family Treehouse, Disneyland has the updated Tarzan Treehouse (it was given the Tarzan theme in 1999). Although they have different names, Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland Speedway and Disneyland’s Autopia are the same attractions.
Rides in Other Parks. Some Disneyland Resort attractions, such as Star Tours, Fantasmic! and many rides in California Adventure, are spread throughout the other parks in Walt Disney World. Star Tours, Fantasmic!, Animation Academy, Tower of Terror and many more are located in Disney World’s Hollywood Studios. It’s Tough to Be a Bug is in Animal Kingdom, and Finding Nemo Subarine Voyage (called The Seas with Nemo and Friends) is at Epcot and features an actual saltwater aquarium as part of the ride.
Slight Differences Between Attractions. Visiting Disneyland or Magic Kingdom after you’ve become accustomed to one is like stepping into a bizarre Disney park! There are slight differences everywhere. Haunted Mansion has a different facade and is on the opposite side of the Rivers of America. Pirates of the Caribbean in Magic Kingdom does not have a drop, the bayou area with fireflies and the Blue Bayou restaurant. It’s a Small World in Disneyland features a giant facade that lights up, while the Magic Kingdom version is compact and has a smaller swinging clock face indoors. Main Street Cinema in Disneyland shows six classic Mickey Mouse cartoons, and while the facade is similar at Magic Kingdom, the inside is a shop. Each ride is slightly different but no less fun!
|Magic Kingdom's indoor |
clock at It's a Small World.
Disney World seems to have many more tourists, while Disneyland guests are largely local annual passholders. This makes for a different experience, as Disney World guests have more enthusiasm than Disneyland guests. Tourists who have never seen Soarin’, for example, will clap and cheer after the ride is over.
|Disneyland's impressive It's a Small World facade.|
Disneyland also seems to have more attention to detail, especially when it comes to paint. Disneyland’s paint seems shiny and new, while the paint on the Magic Kingdom castle seems to have been done carelessly when viewed up close (you can see paint drips, for example) or the paint is less vibrant. The seats on the railroad have been painted, while the Disneyland Railroad has beautiful wooden seats and much more to view from the attraction. (Can you believe that there’s no Primeval World scene at the Disney World Railroad?)
So is one resort better than the other? No. All four Disney World parks and the Disneyland Resort parks are brimming with that special Disney Magic. And while Disney World boasts more parks, Disneyland is still the original, and it has the title of the first park that Disney created. If you are a big Disney fan, you can’t go wrong at either park, and if you are a fan of one park, you’ll love the other!