Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom, what is the difference?


If you’re a Walt Disney World junkie, like I know you are, you might not think there’s any reason to travel across the country to see Walt Disney World’s bigger (but smaller) brother the Disneyland Resort.  Why would you? It’s basically the Magic Kingdom park right?  WRONG.

Visiting the Disneyland park is like stepping back in time, into Walt Disney’s mind and original vision.  Sure the Magic Kingdom park is beautiful and grand, but there’s a beauty and enchantment to the simplicity of the Disneyland park that you just don’t get anywhere else.  Not only that, but a lot of the well loved rides in the Disneyland park are quite different than their Walt Disney World counterparts.

small world

One of my favorite differences is It’s A Small World!  Not only will you see a major difference from the outside structure of the attraction, but the inside differences are even better!  Recently, the Disneyland park added Disney character to the different countries and cultures represented throughout the ride!  You’ll find Alice in England, Lilo in Hawaii, Aladdin and Jasmine flying high on a carpet in the Middle East and Woody and Jessie in the good ole U.S. of A, just to name a few.  During the holiday season, nothing beats a view of It’s A Small World from the Disneyland park……it’s knock-your-socks-off beautiful!

The Pirates of the Caribbean ride is another great example of an attraction that’s located in both parks, which boast huge differences.  First of all, there are two drops to the Disneyland version……that’s right folks two, and not only that but there are different scenes depicted throughout the ride as well as a MUCH different (and dare I say better…..yep, I do!) ending.  No spoilers though, you’ll have to see it for yourself!

The Disneyland park is also home to a few original attractions, which you won’t see at all at the Magic Kingdom park ( or at least you won’t see it any more)!  These include:

  • Alice in Wonderland  (one of my favorites!)
  • Casey Jr. Circus Train
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
  • Indiana Jones Adventure  (think Dinosaur, but with Indiana Jones!)
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride  (remember when it was in the Magic Kingdom?? …….it’s still alive and well in Cali)
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
  • Snow White’s Scary Adventure  
  • Storybook Canal Boats
  • and everything in Mickey’s Toontown!

…..plus many more attractions similar in name and subject with slight variations, and don’t get me started on food, shows and parades!  There are some wonderful original shows and parades that you’ll only see at the Disneyland park!  All amazing and unique!  If you miss Mickey and the Magical Map while exploring the Disneyland park, you’ve seriously done yourself a disservice!  It’s fantastic!

And food…….oh the food!  Warm Mickey shaped beignets, Monte Cristos with a view of Pirates of the Caribbean, eating Walt’s Chili in the Carnation Cafe on Main St U.S.A, dessert at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe……..(oh, excuse me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard).  I can’t even list all the wonderful dining options available in the Disneyland park that you won’t see anywhere in the Magic Kingdom, which is all the more reason why you should try it out for yourself!

Don’t buy into the lie that the Disneyland park is just a boring and smaller version of the Magic Kingdom park…….it might be smaller in size, but it’s bigger in Disney character and well worth the trip!


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