Disneyland or Disney World? Welcome back to our four part series, where we are debating this very question. In case you missed it, in part one we took a look at some of the key differences between Disneyland and Disney World in the areas of size and scope, atmosphere, and weather. In part two, we examined the topics of crowds, pricing, and hotels. In part three, we compared planning, transportation, and the parks. In our fourth and final part, let’s conclude our side-by-side comparison of Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World by discussing events, resort extras, and dining.
Disneyland Resort Events
The Disneyland Resort has lots of exciting happenings throughout the year. As well as offering several smaller events, Disneyland Resort is host to:
- Lunar New Year: This is a fun celebration at California Adventure filled with festive decorations and entertainment.
- Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend: This is a runDisney race event complete with Star Wars characters and entertainment.
- New Orleans Square Mardi Gras: This is an exciting happening in the New Orleans Square of Disneyland complete with lively jazz music.
- Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend: This is a themed runDisney race event filled with Never Land characters and entertainment.
- Independence Day: This celebration has themed merchandise, tasty red-white-and-blue treats plus a dazzling fireworks show.
- Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend: This is another incredible runDisney race event with courses that pass through both California Adventure and Disneyland.
- Halloween Time: This event includes Disney villains, Halloween crafts, dance parties, yummy Halloween inspired treats, themed merchandise, and festive fall decorations.
- Mickey’s Halloween Party: This party is held on select nights in September and October and includes exciting dance parties, trick-or-treat stations, character meet and greats, and dazzling fireworks.
- Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend: This is another runDisney race event this time with a Super Heroes theme.
- Holidays at the Disneyland Resort: This seasonal offering includes a special version of World of Color, holiday fireworks, a Christmas parade, snow on Main Street, U.S.A., holiday overlays to “it’s a small world” and Haunted Mansion, Sleeping Beauty Castle covered in sparkling icicle lights, themed treats and merchandise, and the entire resort adorned with festive decorations.
- New Year’s Eve Celebration: This event includes themed merchandise and treats, energetic dance parties, and a spectacular fireworks show.
Walt Disney World Events
Walt Disney World holds several thrilling events each year. In addition to offering multiple smaller scale occasions, Disney World hosts:
- Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: This remarkable runDisney event concludes with a marathon through all four Walt Disney World Theme Parks.
- Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend: This is a princess themed runDisney race event complete with Disney characters and entertainment.
- Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: This is a spectacular springtime event that includes thousands of beautiful flowers and topiaries, designer presentations, themed food and merchandise, and musical concerts.
- Star Wars Weekends: Let the Force be with you at this out-of-this-world event that includes Star Wars celebrities, themed merchandise and treats, autograph sessions, and thrilling entertainment.
- Epcot Sounds Like Summer Concert Series: Enjoy the music of incredible tribute bands included with your Epcot Theme Park admission.
- Independence Day: This patriotic celebration has themed merchandise, tasty red-white-and-blue treats plus a dazzling fireworks show.
- Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: A favorite fall event for foodies, this happening includes seminars, cooking demonstrations, tastings, music concerts, themed merchandise, specialty parties, and over 25 international marketplaces selling small bites and beverages.
- Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party: This is a light-hearted Halloween experience that includes special parades, exciting dance parties, stunning fireworks, and tons of trick-or-treating stations filled with candy for everyone.
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend: Perfect for the Halloween season, this is a thrilling runDisney race in the dark on a course haunted by Disney Villains.
- Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: This festive and heartwarming party includes a special holiday parade, entertaining shows, spectacular fireworks, hot chocolate and cookies, character dance parties, and even snow on Main Street, U.S.A.
- New Year’s Eve Celebration: This event includes themed merchandise and treats, exciting dance parties, and a dazzling fireworks show.
Both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World have a plethora of fabulous events each year. You really can’t wrong at either destination. Whether you want to run a race, eat yourself silly, or celebrate a holiday in grand style, the Disney Parks have got you covered.
Disneyland Resort Extras
Beyond the theme parks, Disneyland features several fun-filled activities. The resort offers:
- Downtown Disney Entertainment District
- Fitness Centers
- Kid’s Activity Center
- Movie Theatre
Walt Disney World Resort Extras
Disney World offers multiple recreational activities outside the theme parks. Options include:
- Carriage Rides
- Downtown Disney (Disney Springs)
- Fitness Centers
- Horseback Riding
- Kid’s Activity Centers
- Miniature Golfing
- Movie Theatre
- Water Parks (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach)
Comparing Resort Extras
Both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World offer a tremendous amount of activities beyond the theme parks. With so much to choose from, there is bound to be something for everyone in the family to enjoy at either destination. Of course, due to its vast size, Disney World has a more varied selection.
Disneyland Resort Dining
Disneyland Resort has close to 100 dining options throughout the destination. With a wide variety of cuisines, experiences, and price ranges, there is certainly something that will appeal to everyone. Whether it’s the fine dining of Napa Rose, the breathtaking ambiance of Blue Bayou, or the simple sweetness of a Mickey Mouse Premium ice cream bar from the nearest kiosk, you will not go hungry in Disneyland.
Walt Disney World Dining
Walt Disney World has nearly 300 dining choices throughout the resort. With an incredible selection of flavors, experiences, and price ranges, rest assured everyone in your family will be well fed. Whether you choose to dine at the unparalleled Victoria & Albert’s, the unique 50’s Prime Time Café, or the quaint Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, you will not be disappointed.
There is no question Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World both have plenty of places to eat. Keep in mind I am a super picky eater, so please take my comparison “with a grain of salt.” 😉 In my opinion, Disneyland has better quality and Disney World has better variety (she says, quickly ducking to avoid being hit by a flying churro). Now don’t get me wrong, you can certainly get a good meal in Disney World; actually a great meal, but you’ll need to do your research and most likely make a reservation to do so. At Disneyland Resort, I’ve never had a bad or even mediocre meal. From kiosk to table service, they’ve all been delicious. Maybe this is due to my own simple palate; who can say for sure? For true “foodies”, I have no doubt the diverse global flavors Epcot offers would have massive appeal to guests much more adventurous than I.
“Now it’s time to say good-bye,” because that’s it for the fourth and final part of our series! Do you have it all figured out? Have you picked a favorite – Disneyland or Disney World?
Looking for a more in-depth comparison of Disneyland and Disney World? Please check out my new book “A Tale of Two Resorts: Comparing Disneyland and Walt Disney World” by clicking here for more information or to read an excerpt.