33 Things That Make Disneyland Better Than Disney World
Disclaimer: this is my personal opinion, and as a California native who has been to Disneyland countless times (far more than Disney World), I fully recognize my bias. That said, Disneyland is actually the best and way better than Disney World. Whether it's the history of the park or the wild rides it has to offer, here are my 33 reasons why Disneyland is the most magical park of all.
— Additional reporting by Lauren Harano
It's actually doable in a day.
You're not wasting time (and energy) walking long distances and waiting in lines for transportation from park to park, so park-hopping is a piece of cake. Plus, Downtown Disney and the three Disney resorts are within walking distance. To compare, Disneyland is spread over approximately 500 acres while Disney World is spread over nearly 25,000 acres.
It features the iconic Matterhorn Mountain with the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride.
According to Disneyland, "the Matterhorn Bobsleds was the first tubular steel roller coaster in the world when it opened in 1959, and it set the standard for modern-day roller-coaster design." It was also just refurbished in 2015.
The refurbishment included a new-and-improved Harold the yeti!
The Haunted Mansion gets a Nightmare Before Christmas makeover every Fall.
Which is just one of the many amazing things about Halloween at Disneyland.
It has a gingerbread house in the ride that changes every year.
It's the only park with a unique, themed gingerbread house in the Haunted Mansion Holiday ride.
Big Thunder Mountain's latest refurbishment made it even smoother and cooler.
In fact, Disneyland has a history of better refurbished rides compared to Disney World.
Even though it's smaller than Disney World, it has more rides.
According to their official websites, Disneyland has 93 attractions and Disney World has 175 (excluding the two water parks). But these include shows and other non-moving "adventures." If we're comparing apples to apples, I used these guys' methodology for what constitutes a ride at Disney World: "We consider it a ride if it moves." They came up with 51 rides at the four parks that make up Disney World. I used Disneyland's official list and the same rules to come up with 54 rides at the two parks that make up Disneyland.
It has the Indiana Jones Adventure ride.
Arguably one of the best rides out of all the parks.
It has an epic fireworks show.
It's a dazzling, all-encompassing show you have to see to believe.
It has Cars Land.
There really isn't another Disney park land quite like it — you really feel like you've stepped into a movie. And it looks as cool in the daytime . . .
As it does at night.
It has Radiator Springs Racers.
This Cars Land attraction is the perfect blend of cheesy old-school fun and exciting high-speed thrills.
Splash Mountain is longer.
It has California Adventure.
It's beautiful, it features more of the "adult" friendly rides, and, most importantly, they serve alcoholic beverages!
Cheers to that!
Pirates of the Caribbean is longer.
And better. It has two waterfalls, extended caves, a reverse waterfall to exit, and a more immersive experience with better storytelling.
Celebrity sightings are aplenty.
Thanks to its proximity to Hollywood, celebrities are always visiting the park. There's even a Twitter account that helps you find them.
It's a Small World is better.
It has a prettier facade and the ride is more elaborate and substantial than Disney World's.
It has a refurbished Peter Pan's Flight.
The refurbished ride has new special effects.
It has the Alice in Wonderland ride.
It's a really adorable "dark ride" that's been there almost since the beginning. In 2014, it was was updated with enhancements like digitally projected images and effects.
Southern California's weather is pretty mild compared to Florida's. I've got one word for Disney World during the Summer: humidity.
You can stay at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa — which is actually IN the park.
Besides just being a beautiful woodsy-themed resort, it even has a private entrance to Disney California Adventure Park.
Space Mountain is better.
Disneyland has had a more thorough, and more recent, refurbishment of Space Mountain with a smoother ride and better-quality on-ride sound.
The tickets are cheaper.
Obviously, there are a lot of options you can take advantage of with Park Hoppers, multiple days, etc., but for one adult, a one-day regular Park Hopper ticket at Disneyland is anywhere from $159 to $209, while the same ticket at Disney World costs anywhere from $109 to $159 (depending on how busy park the park is on the date of visit) with an addition of $65 per ticket for 1-day Park Hopper ticket.
It has Pinocchio's Daring Journey.
Another "dark ride," Pinocchio's Daring Journey is spooky, fun, and even a little chilling.
It has World of Color.
This vibrant water and fire show at Disney California Adventure is a must watch.
It still has Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.
The ride at Walt Disney World has closed.
It has Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin.
Which is a wild ride!
Fantasmic! is better.
Disneyland has made this water show even better over the years, adding high-definition projectors, a new Maleficent dragon, and World of Color-like fountains. Disney World doesn't have any of these features, and instead of the Mark Twain riverboat for its finale, it uses a two-level barge.
It has California Screamin'.
The wood-mimicking steel roller coaster is modeled after boardwalk-style coasters and is one of the fastest rides at any Disney theme park.
It has the castle walkthrough in Sleeping Beauty Castle.
In 2008, it was enhanced with new technology.
It has the Storybook Land Canal Boats.
These are too enchanting to miss.
It has the Casey Jr. Circus Train.
Just look at their detail!
It has Mickey's Fun Wheel.
This "eccentric wheel" in Disney California Adventure has sliding and fixed gondolas.
It has the Sailing Ship Columbia.
The magic of Walt Disney.
As Walt's first park — and the only one that he visited when it was completed — this park has more history and a certain indescribable magic that doesn't exist at the other Disney parks.