Experience the Disney magic on both the East and West Coasts.

Disney has been making vacation dreams come true since 1955. 

Back when "the happiest place on earth" opened its gates in Anaheim, California, Walt Disney said, "To all who come to this happy place: welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future."

Sixteen years later in 1971, the most magical place on earth—AKA Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida—welcomed its first guests. While both resorts are magical destinations for kids and adults alike, there are plenty of differences between the two...and we're not just talking about their locations on opposite coasts. So, Disneyland vs. Disney World? Let's talk about it.

From the number of theme parks to hotels, here are 18 major differences between Disneyland and Disney World.

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Disneyland vs. Disney World

1. Number of Theme Parks

Guests heading to Walt Disney World have four different theme parks that they can visit: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Meanwhile, on the West Coast, guests can enjoy two theme parks: Disneyland Park and Disney's California Adventure Park.

2. Water Parks

Although Disneyland does not have any water parks, Walt Disney World is home to Disney's Typhoon Lagoon and Disney's Blizzard Beach.

3. Size

Walt Disney World is significantly larger than Disneyland, which is said to be approximately 500 acres. Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom Park alone is more than 500 acres!

4. Hotels

When it comes to booking a hotel, there are a number of options in Walt Disney World Resort compared to Disneyland Resort. There are more than 25 hotels in Walt Disney World—including Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney's Wilderness Lodge, Disney's Art of Animation Resort and Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. Disneyland Resort, on the other hand, has three Disney hotel properties: Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel and Disneyland Hotel.

5. Tickets

A standard one-day ticket to Disneyland is slightly cheaper than Disney World. The price of a standard one-day theme park ticket ranges from $109-$189 in Florida (depending on the park and date), whereas a standard one-day ticket to a Disneyland park ranges from $104-$169.

6. Star Wars

Star Wars fans will find Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, which features Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attractions, at both Disneyland Park in California and Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida, but only in Walt Disney World can they can book a voyage—a 2-night immersive experience—on the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.

7. Castles

Two different castles sit in the center of Disneyland Park and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Located in California is Sleeping Beauty Castle, which stands 77 feet tall. On the other side of the country is Cinderella's Castle. The 189-foot landmark is the "gateway" to the park's Fantasyland.

8. Avengers Campus

Walt Disney World's first Marvel-themed attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, opened in 2022. Meanwhile, Disney California Adventure Park opened a Marvel Cinematic Universe–themed land called Avengers Campus in 2021. The area houses the WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure and Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! attractions.

9. Indiana Jones

Unlike Disneyland Park which has the Indiana Jones Adventure thrill ride, Walt Disney World has an action-packed show at Hollywood Studios called the "Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular!"

10. Pirates of the Caribbean

The beloved attraction, which first opened at Disneyland Park in 1967, has one more drop in California than it does at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

11. Space Mountain

Space Mountain is another classic attraction that is different at the two parks. The rollercoaster's vehicle in Disneyland seats two passengers side-by-side, while riders are seated one in front of the other at Magic Kingdom. The latter also has two tracks.

12. The Matterhorn

The iconic Matterhorn can only be found at Disneyland Park. The attraction (Matterhorn Bobsleds), which opened on June 14, 1959, was "the first roller-coaster-style attraction" at the theme park.

Related: 15 Disney World Tips from an Annual Passholder 

13. Transportation

Getting around Disneyland can be a lot easier than Disney World. Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park are within walking distance from each other with the main entrances of the two parks facing each other. Disneyland Resort even offers different modes of transportation for guests to get around—there are complimentary Disneyland Resort parking lot trams, as well as the Downtown Disney District Monorail Station, which is available to individuals who have valid admission to Disneyland Park, and complimentary bus transportation that goes to and from Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park and the Toy Story Parking Area.

The parks in Florida are more spaced out, although guests can walk from Hollywood Studios to EPCOT. Like Disneyland, Disney World offers complimentary buses to get around, in addition to water transportation, gondolas and the monorail. 

14. Downtown Disney District and Disney Springs

Disneyland and Disney World both have centers for shopping and dining. The California destination is called Downtown Disney District. Walt Disney World's shopping complex was formerly known as Downtown Disney, but is now called Disney Springs.

15. Nighttime Spectaculars 

Different firework shows light up the sky over Sleep Beauty Castle and Cinderella's Castle. In early 2023, Disneyland Park debuted "Wondrous Journeys," which is a tribute to 100 years of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Over in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, the fan-favorite "Happily Ever After" is set to replace "Disney Enchantment" starting April 3.

Related: 120 Disney Trivia Questions and Answers To Make Game Night Magical

16. Fantasmic!

Both Disneyland and Disney World have a nighttime show called Fantasmic! featuring the one and only Mickey Mouse. However, the epic show is performed at an amphitheater in Hollywood Studios, and on and around the Rivers of America in Disneyland Park's Frontier Land.  

17. Different Lands

Galaxy's Edge, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Frontierland and Adventureland can all be found at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, but there are other lands like Mickey's Toontown, Pixar Pier, Grizzly Peak, Avengers Campus and Cars Land that, in the U.S., can only be found at the resort in California. Similarly, guests will have to travel to Florida to step into Pandora - The World of Avatar in Animal Kingdom or visit EPCOT for World Showcase.

18. Time

With more parks to experience, a trip to Disney World may require more time than one to Disneyland, which is something to consider before vacationing happily ever after!

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