Differences between Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida

There is a lot of confusion around the differences between Disneyland and Walt Disney World. People often think that the two places are the same. Although there are many similarities between the two, these Disney parks are very different.

History of the parks

Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World are rich in history. Disneyland is the original park though. It was built in 1955 when Walt Disney was still alive. He was very hands-on with the creation. His vision for Walt Disney World was to create an even bigger Disney park, with room to grow. The design was based on the success of Disneyland. Sadly, Walt Disney passed away before Walt Disney World was opened in 1971.


The first difference between Disneyland and Walt Disney World is location. They are on opposite sides of the United States. Disneyland is located in Anaheim, California. Walt Disney World is located in Orlando, Florida. Both locations provide bright, sunny days most of the time. Disneyland was constructed in the middle of a populated urban area, whereas, Walt Disney World was constructed in a private, secluded area.

Size of the parks

The most notable difference between these two Disney parks is size. Disneyland is about 500 acres and Walt Disney World is about 27,000 acres. Disneyland offers a more compact and manageable experience with two theme parks and three on-site resorts. Walt Disney World offers a more grand experience with four theme parks, two water parks, five golf courses, and over 25 resorts.

Ticket access

The ticket prices for Disneyland and Walt Disney World are comparable per theme park. However, there are a different number of theme parks at each location. Disneyland has two theme parks; Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. Walt Disney World has four theme parks; Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios, as well as, multiple other paid attractions. Each theme park requires a separate ticket to enter.


Despite the vast size difference, they both offer roughly the same amount of attractions. Both Disney parks have their own exclusive rides that can only be found at that location. There are a few rides that can be found at both Disney parks, but they are still very different from one another.


Disneyland has a monorail system to help guests get around. However, transportation is not required as everything is within walking distance. This includes both theme parks, all three on-site resorts, and the Downtown Disney shopping center. Walt Disney World is much bigger, so transportation is required. They offer shuttle buses, monorails, skyliners, boats, and ferries to help guests navigate between resorts, theme parks, and the Disney Springs shopping center. Guests are also welcome to bring their own car or pay for a ride-share option.

Disneyland and Walt Disney World are both magical vacation destinations that offer great memories and experiences. The differences are mainly in size and geography. You will have an awesome time at either one! They may share a lot of similarities, but there is still something special and unique about each one. 

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