Differences between the Magic of Disneyland and Walt Disney World: Part II (Guest Post - Alyssa Bode)

Hi! It's time for Part II of our comparison of the happiest place(s) on Earth! Let's start with some more history. If you haven't seen Part I, check it out here.

More History

There is a big difference between walking into the Magic Kingdom in Disney World and waking into be Magic Kingdom in Disneyland. When you walk in to Disney World, you know what you DON’T see? Cast Members coming in for their shifts or Cast Members leaving at the end of their shifts. Are they fairies that just fly out? YES!! Actually, just kidding. Walt noticed something when he began working on the World. When you walk in to Disneyland, you see Cast Members in their outfits for wherever they work inside the park (think Critter Country folks in Fantasyland - you don’t need to see Br’er Bear in line for Hyperspace Mountain). You see them on their phones. You see them “out of character.” Well, Walt thought that ruined some of the magic. So while constructing the World, Walt wanted an entrance that only guests would use and would NOT see any Cast Members walking into work. Hence why he build the Magic Kingdom on the second floor. That’s where the utilidors are for. Yes, there is a whole different floor and mini world going on underneath. All the magic can stay magical: let the less-glamorous stuff be happening beneath the park!

Getting dapper!

There is a tour in Disneyland that I’ve been wanting to go to but just haven’t had the chance to go to yet: In Walt’s Footsteps. Did you know that Walt and his wife Lillian had an apartment on Main Street above the fire station? Walt absolutely LOVED it there. Lillian could still entertain friends and family when they were there too.

Walt loved to walk down Main Street when the park was closed and just enjoy his dream. He also wanted guests and Cast Members to know when he was in the park. So in his front window they had a light. When he was somewhere in the park, that light would be on. After his passing in 1966, they decided to keep that light on, even to this day, to symbolize that Walt’s spirit is still present. All those 999 happy haunts are more than happy to have him with them!

More Food

If you’re like me, you love to look at pictures of new and classic pictures of Disney food on Instagram, (#disneyfoodie.) With the recent overhaul of Paradise Pier into Pixar Pier, this celebrates and highlights all the wonderful Pixar films we all grew up watching. California Screamin’ is now the Incredibles Coaster. Same ride, just different theme. The big hook is the food. From all the wacky themed churros, an “Angry” from an Inside Out hot dog stand, UP themed grape pops, the Jack Jack nom nom cookies, to the one I want to try the most - the abominable adorable snowman frosted treats - it all looks delicious and it appears that the food is as good as it sounds.

California Adventures

Since we are on the topic of California Adventures, I might as well shine some light on this wonderful theme park. Opening on February 8, 2001, it’s gotten a few overhauls in theming. At the beginning, it wasn’t a huge hit with guests. It now celebrates the essence of California. With Buena Vista Street, Cars Land, Paradise Garden Park, Grizzly Peak Pacific Wharf, Hollywood Land and Pixar Pier, you’re sure to get that California feel! My favourite rides are The Little Mermaid, Toy Story Mania, Soarin’ and of course, Guardians Breakout! Since Guardians Breakout opened, there have been talks about having a Marvel section. With nothing being official yet, no one really knows. Just in the past few weeks Disney finally closed down the Bug’s Life section, (that movie scared me as a child, so I wasn’t sad to see it go.) So that leaves Disney with some open land. What they do with it? No one knows... yet.


Where would Disney be without the good old fastpass system? It’s flipping hot outside and I want to go on Splash Mountain ASAP. That Guardians line is looking intimidating - where’s my fast pass line at? Although paper Fastpasses are still a thing, Disneyland now has a mobile app in which you can make Fastpasses (see here for some notable details). This system for the park is fairly new. I however, like the classic way. Disneyland still does the passes with good old machines located right by the ride you’re wanting to get on. You go up to said machine, put your park ticket in and out pops out your return time. In Disney World, it’s three Fastpasses a day (with an additional as you use them until park close), no matter how many parks you visit. Disneyland is far superior to this. With them still sticking to the classic, you can do AS MANY fast passes in a day between both parks until the park closes for the day! So if you want to do all the Mountains as many times as possible in a day without waiting forever in line, be my guest. These Fastpasses also apply to Fantasmic in the Magic Kingdom at night and World of Colour located in California Adventures. If your party is wanting to go and have great seats, this is where you need to go at rope drop first thing and get your tickets. I know people will say things are easier with all these apps and whatnot, but sometimes you gotta put down that mobile device and enjoy the Magic that’s right in front of your face.

Character Meet and Greets

Meet and greets are so different and unique at the Magic Kingdom. You’ve got your fresh Mickey pretzel and you’re walking around It’s a Small World and all of sudden here comes Peter Pan and Captain Hook. There is no Cast Member walking with them. There is no parade going on. So they find open space, gather some kids and some, umm, older kids or should I say, kid, they sit on the ground and they start playing a game.

Or you’re walking to your next ride and notice a ton of people looking at King Arthur’s Carousal. You go look and Mary Poppins and Bert are on the Carousel. Would you ever see this at Disney World? Nope. With it being a smaller park, you will notice characters have more freedom to go around. It’s super interactive and no matter how old you are, playing a game with Peter Pan and Captain Hook sure made this big kid feel like a big kid again.

With ToonTown still being a huge attraction in Disneyland, kids of all ages go there to see the Main Gang. Wanna go hang out with Mickey at his house? Then head over to Minnie’s house after? All doable in ToonTown. Goofy, Donald and Pluto will all be kicking around down there. There are rides there that are aimed for younger children, and there is even Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin there. This is also a Disneyland exclusive ride. Even if you don’t want to go for pictures I still recommend folks go for a walk around.

Well folks I think that’s about it for me! This article ended up being a lot longer than expected. But that just proves the contrasts between the parks. See ya real soon folks!

Do you have any fun facts to add about Disneyland or Disney World? Comment, subscribe and/or follow Stacy  and Alyssa on Instagram :)