It’s one of the most controversial debates in the Disney universe: what Disney theme park is better? Two TravelingMom writers who both happen to be huge Disney fans decided to settle the question once and for all. Karyn Locke offers her perspective on why Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida is the obvious choice. And don’t miss the other side of the debate from Disneyland fan Leslie Harvey.
Walt Disney World is seriously a way of life for my family. It’s the driving force behind our bi-annual road trip to Central Florida every year and all I have to do is bring up the words and there’s an instant smile on my teen daughter’s face. I’ve researched both Walt Disney World and Disneyland and have chatted with other Disney-passionate folks about what makes each location better than the other, but it’s totally obvious for me: Walt Disney World for the win! Looking for a reason why it’s better? I’ve got ten!.
1. More Theme Parks to Love at Walt Disney World
Disney World? Four main parks- Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom- plus two water parks and Disney Springs.
43 square miles versus 500 acres.
2. On- Property Hotels
Here’s one of my favorite points to bring up in regards to differences between Walt Disney World and Disneyland. I love checking in at our chosen resort, slapping on our Magicbands, and heading to the parks. I also love the theming of each and every on-site Walt Disney World resort. From the whimsical, larger than life icons in the value resorts to the giraffes sleeping below our balcony in Animal Kingdom Lodge, there’s no way I could ever choose a favorite.
3. Free Transportation
The ability for my family to park the car (we road trip down to Florida twice a year) and let Disney do the driving is a blessing. After making a 1,000+ mile journey to Central Florida, parking the car and leaving the car for a week is perfection. And whether it’s by bus, monorail, or boat, kicking back and relaxing while heading to or from the parks is my way of relaxing. While you’re on Walt Disney World Transportation, ask the driver if they have any transportation cards. My daughter has recently begun to collect them and she loves scoring new additions. Oh, and if you hit Magic Kingdom at rope drop, you can take a ride on an old-fashioned form of Disney transportation- for free!
4. Magicbands and Fastpass+
I remember when Disney released the details of Magicbands a couple of years ago. There was so much positive hype of their ability to incorporate room keys, dining reservations, the Disney Dining Plan, and even shopping (you can add a credit card to the bands and use them to pay for all of your purchases!), that I, along with so many others, was sold on the concept. Throw in cool colors and limited release Magicbands and I’m a happy camper.
Although the Fastpass+ system had its glitches in the beginning (I was one of the lucky ones that had the pleasure of testing them out before the official release), I’m loving the seamless way I can schedule my family’s Fastpass+ selections ahead of time. With three selections in any one park per day and the ability to choose additionals after the first three have been used, it certainly saves my family’s feet from running from one Fastpass machine to another.
5. Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Game
My 13 year-old daughter is a HUGE fan of this free game in Magic Kingdom! With paid park admission, we head to the Firehouse on Main Street U.S.A. every day and receive a new pack of free playing cards. The game is a good vs. evil style and my daughter has a blast defeating Disney villains. Did I mention it was free?
6. More Dining Options
More theme parks equals more dining options. My family’s favorite place to have a sit-down style meal is in the World Showcase at Epcot. The meals are as authentic as they can get without traveling to another country, the cast members are from each of the 11 countries making the ambiance that much more realistic, and we’ve yet to tire of the varied and fun menus.
7. Twice the Castle
Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom is well over double the height of Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland. Coming in at 189 feet versus 75 feet, the glass-slippered beauty’s tribute is viewable from nearly everywhere in the park. Although Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland is short and sweet, the sheer size of Cinderella Castle gives every first timer to Magic Kingdom the same wide open gape.
8. Water Parks
Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are two on-site resort waterparks that families love, especially during the hot, humid Central Florida days that go hand in hand with summer travel. And whether it’s a day trip or included in a resort package, a trip to one of the water parks is a must.
9. Star Wars Weekends
My husband is a Star Wars fan and this tribute to the movie series is well-worth a trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World! Star Wars actors and celebrities, along with character meet and greets, special fireworks displays, and even Jedi Training Academy is worth the price of admission for kids of all ages- including big kids, er, adults.
10. First Family
How does this sound? You head to rope drop at Magic Kingdom, only to be chosen as First Family. You get to head inside the park with other cast members, have special rides on Walt Disney World Transportation, and then right before the park opens, you get to participate in the Welcome Show. Sounds like a dream, right? Every day, this dream comes true for one super lucky family at Magic Kingdom. It’s totally based on pure luck and being in the right place at the right time, but this one is a giant dream for my family- and we were able to experience it on our last trip! A dream come true, indeed.
Convinced? We recommend Undercover Tourist for discount Disney World tickets.