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Can someone who loves Disney World also love Disneyland?

Can someone who loves Disney World also love Disneyland?

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Can someone who loves Disney World also love Disneyland? Isn’t that like cheating on your spouse? Is it okay to love both parks? I’m here to share why you should absolutely visit Disneyland even if Disney World is your “first love”.

I love Disney World

Credit: Monica

Disney World runs through my (Monica) veins. What started as an obsessive hobby of planning our family Disney vacations turned into a wonderful career opportunity (thank you, Kenny!). I do not live close to Disney World, but I still am blessed to make it down there every few months.

It’s familiar, my kids love their yearly trips to Disney World, and it even turned my once-grouchy Disney husband into a certified Disney lover. All this to say, I really do love Disney World. It is home to me.

But I also love Disneyland

Credit: PhotoPass

Not long ago, my young son saw the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay for Haunted Mansion on a television special we were watching. “Mommy! I want to see that!” he exclaimed. I, a Disney opportunist, decided right then and there we would see it the next year.

This is how our Disneyland trip came to be.

Being a Disney World gal, a trip to Disneyland seemed out of reach. It was on the other coast. Flights would be much more expensive. The planning would resemble our first Disney trip where I obsessively thought over every detail and learned a whole new vacation experience. It was unfamiliar and foreign. Could we really skip our annual family Disney World trip and go to Disneyland instead?

Credit: PhotoPass

Hearing my little boy tell me he wants to see the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay was all I needed to hear! For months I studied restaurants, attractions, hotels, and strategies. I made it work because I wanted to experience Disneyland just as much as he did. My kids became very excited, and we all counted down to our big vacation.

In the end, we absolutely loved every second of Disneyland. So, yes, it is possible for someone who loves Disney World to also love Disneyland. Here are three reasons why.

Reason #1

Credit: KtP

It is Walt Disney’s original park. Disneyland started it all, and it is the only park Walt was able to see completed from start to finish. There is something to be said for that. Waves of nostalgia hit me over and over again as I dined at Carnation Cafe, which was one of Walt’s favorite restaurants or as I sat on the original “it’s a small world” attraction.

Walking the same Main Street that Walt walked and waving goodnight to his apartment as we left Disneyland is something every Disney fan must do at least once in their life. There is even a special exhibit inside Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln with the original bench he sat on when he dreamed up Disneyland, early models of the park, and pictures of his time living in Disneyland.

Walt dreamed up special plans for his “Florida project” like a second Magic Kingdom and the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. There is no denying Walt Disney World is a very special place that Walt had a hand in, but Disneyland was his baby.

Reason #2

Credit: Monica

There are better versions of attractions at Disneyland. I’m not saying all Disneyland versions are better, but there are a few that stand out in my mind.

Fantasyland is infinitely better at Disneyland than it is at Disney World. Other than the Snow White refurbishment, those rides are still mostly the same as they were when the park opened in 1955. My daughter loved the Alice in Wonderland attraction, and we all were scared silly on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. I will say I do love Peter Pan’s attraction better at Disney World.

Space Mountain at Disneyland is also so much more fun. For one, the ride vehicles fit my entire family. It is not often all 6 of us can be in on one single ride photo. Disneyland’s version also has more comfortable seats and an overall smoother, more pleasant ride. I believe it also has better effects to make you feel as though you are actually traveling in space.

Credit: Monica

I also greatly prefer Disneyland’s version of Pirates of the Caribbean over the Disney World version. While the ride fits in with the land better at Disney World, it is so much longer at Disneyland. It is 16 minutes long at Disneyland versus 7.5 minutes at Disney World. I also really love “it’s a small world” better at Disneyland. Spotting the Disney characters woven into the ride was a fun experience for my daughters and I.

I really found it fascinating to compare each version of these rides. It was fun to experience my favorite attractions in a new way and see how they are done differently in other parks. Of course, we made the Haunted Mansion overlay a priority, and none of us were disappointed!

Reason #3

Credit: Monica

The character interactions are more spontaneous, rare, and authentic. While we did not get as many character autographs as we were hoping for, the character interactions at Disneyland are different. It’s not uncommon to exit an attraction and see Captain Hook greeting Guests. They are much less formal, roaming around from place to place instead of standing in one spot.

It is also not uncommon to see more rare characters. Wet met the Pirate Redd from Pirates of the Caribbean, and that is just unheard of. We later saw her with Captain Jack Sparrow! Several villains were in Town Square like the Queen of Hearts and Jafar. My Marvel loving husband and son got to talk with Loki for a few minutes in Avengers Campus.

They are so unpredictable, and that is what makes them very special at Disneyland. For hardcore planners like myself, it can throw you off at first. But, those spontaneous and authentic meets with characters you never imagined you would see make Disneyland a very special place.

Final Thoughts

Credit: Disney

Before our trip, my husband asked why I was invested in this Disneyland vacation. “Our home is Disney World,” he said. Yes, home is Disney World. But, there is nothing wrong with having love for another Disney destination. Disneyland has all the right pieces of nostalgia, spontaneity, and different experiences. When you put those all together you get a magic formula. It is different yet similar.

Disney World and Disneyland are both great for their own reasons. It is possible to love both!

Do you love both Disney World and Disneyland, or do you prefer one over the other? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below and share this post with a friend who also loves Disneyland.

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Susan Grabel

Thursday 12th of January 2023

I agree! Although WDW is my home, Walt walked the streets of DL. I was there last month and was privileged to visit his apartment. You can’t do that at WDW. I love both but I actually feel more nostalgia for DL because of Walt’s personal connection.


Thursday 12th of January 2023

LOVE BOTH!!! WDW is my Home also, as I have been going there since it opened and every year since. (Some years, multiple X.) DL is the 1st park and really is full of Walt. I've been to DL several times and enjoy it very much. This is one instance you can truly say, they are the same, but different and for every good reason.

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