Which Disney Park Has The Most Rides?

Written by David Yeh. Posted in Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort, Features, Walt Disney World

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Published on March 31, 2014 at 2:00 am with 46 Comments

MiceChat Moderator David Yeh rekindles an old debate between Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Folks often assume that the much larger Walt Disney World offers more rides. But, as David shows us, that’s not really true. This article isn’t about which resort is best, it’s about which has the most rides. Which park comes out on top? Read on.

Disneyland vs. Walt Disney World

West Coast vs. East Coast

Purist vs Tourist

All of these are examples of an age-old debate that never seems to end, nor will it anytime soon as each Disney park and resort continues to grow. There are fans who love both resorts and there are fans who definitely side with one over the other. Deciding which is truly better is never an easy task though, as childhood memories and emotions become as involved as if someone was defending their own religion. Feelings are hurt, friendships are tested, and that’s not what Disney is all about is it?

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I decided to take a more scientific approach to comparing the resorts, not to say which is better, but rather to say which is in need of more attention. Even when looking at attractions at the Disney Parks, favoritism is unavoidable. There are those who will declare, and rightfully so, that Tower of Terror in Florida is better. And many will point out that California’s Pirates of the Caribbean is the superior version and again, they’d be right. The purpose of this study though is to not determine which is the better version of anything but to instead look at the amount of bang you’re getting for your hard-earned buck. Which resort really does offer the superior theme park experience? And why?

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We need to start at the beginning and take a look at the term “attraction”. Walt Disney preferred the use of this term instead of ‘ride’ or ‘show’. Grouping them all together into a roster of ‘attractions’ was certainly classier, as a ‘ride’ back in those days were often associated with a dirty amusement park, not something that Disneyland would ever resemble (until 2001, I kid I kid).

Over the years, the meaning of “attraction” has changed, oddly enough, to become just about everything. From a Meet & Greet to a Museum Exhibit or Art Gallery; from a stage show production to a video game arcade, anything that isn’t a shop or restaurant is now an “attraction”. These attractions are all part of the great experience that Disney provides of course, but if you look at the Disney Parks, what is it that continues to bring guests from around the world to those gates on a daily basis more than anything else? What really gets people talking? It’s world class rides designed and executed by the Walt Disney Imagineers that excite, educate, stimulate, and attract guests both young and old. Sure, it’s great to meet Mickey and his friends but would you pay the price of admission to only do just that?

I understand that the Disney experience is different for everybody but for me personally, without the rides, there is no Disney Park. Even if I don’t ride anything, it’s great to just to see them, hear them, enjoy them vicariously through other guests. Seeing the Matterhorn Bobsleds traverse the icy slopes of Anaheim’s famous mountain is enjoyable for me, as is watching others brave the steep drop of Splash Mountain.

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Having gone to Walt Disney World a handful of times, I always felt that I ran out of things to do very quickly and didn’t quite understand why. To put it more plainly, once I was done with all of the shows and other attractions, I didn’t feel there was enough to ride. The WDW resort has four theme parks, so why did I feel that I didn’t get my fill of Imagineering goodness like I do at Disneyland?

So, I decided to count and see what was really going on. To do so, I use official sources. I obtained all of my data from Disneyland.com and WaltDisneyWorld.com. I merged the multiple listings of the Disneyland & Walt Disney World Railroad as a single ride for each park, since it’s essentially one attraction. Likewise, instead of listing only one entry for Main Street Vehicles, I counted each of them as a unique item.

So what makes a ride? If you can stand or sit and it transports you more than a few feet, it’s a ride. No 3-D movies, no exhibits, no Circle Visions, no Great Escapes, and no Laugh Floors. I’m also not including transportation that exists outside of the parks since they are not part of the paid park admission. Also excluded are the two water parks at Walt Disney World, which is a category that they will continue to dominate.

So are you ready to count with me?

Since I’m a thrill junkie, I thought it would be fun to start with just thrill rides.

 Walt Disney World Thrill Rides (in alphabetical order): 12

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Dinosaur
  • Expedition Everest
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Mission: Space
  • Primeval Whirl
  • Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Star Tours
  • Test Track
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Disneyland (in alphabetical order): 11

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • California Screamin
  • Goofy’s Sky School
  • Grizzly River Run
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Radiator Springs Racers
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Star Tours
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Four theme parks to two and the thrill count is almost identical. Some might be wondering but no, I did not forget the Barnstormer or Gadget’s Go-Coaster – both are lacking in real thrills and they would simply cancel each other out anyway. And of course later this year, Walt Disney World will add the Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster to their thrill numbers, but even then, shouldn’t the score in Florida be higher by at least 50% since they have double the number of theme parks?

Now let’s look at the total ride counts on their own (not “Attractions”).

Magic Kingdom: 27 rides
Epcot: 10 rides
Disney Hollywood Studios: 6 rides
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: 7 rides
Walt Disney World Resort Total: 50 rides
Unique to WDW: 23

Disneyland Park: 36 rides
Disney California Adventure: 21 rides
Disneyland Resort Total: 57
Unique to Disneyland: 30

Wait what? Disneyland’s two parks have more rides than all of Walt Disney World? How could this be? Surprised? I sure am! And there’s more rides at Magic Kingdom than Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom COMBINED! No wonder the attendance there wins year in and year out. To be fair though, Epcot wasn’t really in the game for the rides (and neither was Animal Kingdom really), but despite that, Epcot still has more rides than Animal Kingdom; and even Animal Kingdom has more rides than Disney’s Hollywood Studios. DHS has a combined attraction count of just 13, which only 6 of them are rides! How can anyone still argue that DHS is a full day park? If it wasn’t for Park Hoppers, how much would this park really be worth to visit for one day?

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It is also interesting to point out that Disneyland Park has the most rides (and attractions) of any Disney Park… in the WORLD. And sure, it’s been around the longest but it’s also one of the smallest. Wonder why you’re so tired when you visit Walt Disney World? It’s all the walking you have to do to get to much fewer attractions (and rides).

Of course, Walt Disney World still has more combined ‘attractions’ than Disneyland, with many more exhibits, walk-throughs, shows, meet & greets, and filmed presentations to fill up all that land. Walt Disney World also has a much fuller Downtown Disney, two water parks, golf and spas, several gorgeous resorts and arguably the better dining options offered at any theme park or resort. But to quote Ariel from the Little Mermaid, “But who cares? No big deal. I want more.”

More rides means more of Walt Disney Imagineering magic that you ought to be getting with your admission. More rides means more adventures and more things to conquer. When you were a kid didn’t you want to just tackle everything on that park map? I can only imagine that every family is doing the very same.

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I know the argument and heard it many times. “It’s not just about rides.” Of course it isn’t JUST about rides, but those who argue it isn’t about rides are probably those who go so frequently and so often that they don’t ‘need’ to do any of the rides to enjoy themselves. The millions of Annual Passholders at Disneyland literally go for a few hours only to have lunch and maybe hit up a ride, and they would be perfectly happy skipping a ride because they could do it next time. The difference at Disneyland though is that they have the option to go on all of those rides if they wanted to. Want to hit up all the water rides? Grizzly River Run at Disney California Adventure is less than a 15 minute walk to Splash Mountain at Disneyland. What are the options to do all of those rides while at Walt Disney World? Your park hopping bus or monorail can only get you so far. Are Magical Mornings or Extended Evenings that special if everyone in the entire resort is doing the exact same thing? But that’s another argument for another day.

Rides are what make the theme park experience feel full and it’s quite shocking to me that the fuller experience in that regard is at the one most people haven’t yet experienced: Walt Disney’s original Magic Kingdom, Disneyland. If each Disney Resort was a cake, from this study, it would seem that Disneyland Resort makes for a much better cake and just the right amount of frosting. Walt Disney World is a smaller cake in a bigger pan with a whole lot of icing.

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On every trip to Walt Disney World when you encounter Cast Members that find out you’re from Southern California (or when I was a Disneyland cast member), all of them right on cue would get that smug look on their face and say “It’s bigger over here isn’t it?” Looking at the rides, bigger doesn’t exactly mean better.

Below, a full list of what I included in the ride count. Each resort and each park lists are provided.

Walt Disney World (alphabetical order): 50

  • Astro Orbiter
  • The Barnstormer *
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Dinosaur *
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Ellen’s Energy Adventure *
  • Expedition Everest *
  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros *
  • The Great Movie Ride *
  • The Haunted Mansion
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment *
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Kali River Rapids *
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris *
  • Liberty Square Riverboat
  • Living with the Land *
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Maelstrom *
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin *
  • Main Street Vehicles – Horse Drawn Street Car
  • Main Street Vehicles – Jitney
  • Main Street Vehicles – Fire Engine
  • Main Street Vehicles – Omnibus
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Mission: Space *
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Primeval Whirl *
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith *
  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends *
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train * (opening 2014)
  • Soarin’
  • Space Mountain
  • Spaceship Earth *
  • Splash Mountain
  • Star Tours
  • Studio Backlot Tour *
  • Test Track *
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover *
  • Toy Story Midway Mania
  • TriceraTop Spin *
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Walt Disney World Railroad
  • Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress *
  • Wildlife Express Train *

Magic Kingdom (alphabetical order): 27

  • Astro Orbiter
  • The Barnstormer *
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • The Haunted Mansion
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Liberty Square Riverboat
  • Mad Tea Party
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin *
  • Main Street Vehicles – Horse Drawn Street Car
  • Main Street Vehicles – Jitney
  • Main Street Vehicles – Fire Engine
  • Main Street Vehicles – Omnibus
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover *
  • Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Walt Disney World Railroad
  • Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

Epcot (alphabetical order): 10

  • Ellen’s Energy Adventure *
  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros *
  • Journey Into Imagination with Figment *
  • Living with the Land *
  • Maelstrom *
  • Mission: Space *
  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends *
  • Soarin’
  • Spaceship Earth *
  • Test Track *

Disney Hollywood Studios (alphabetical order): 6

  • The Great Movie Ride *
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith *
  • Star Tours
  • Studio Backlot Tour *
  • Toy Story Midway Mania
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Disney’s Animal Kingdom (alphabetical order): 7

  • Dinosaur *
  • Expedition Everest *
  • Kali River Rapids *
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris *
  • Primeval Whirl *
  • TriceraTop Spin *
  • Wildlife Express Train

Disneyland Resort (alphabetical order): 57

  • Alice in Wonderland *
  • Astro Orbitor (note spelling difference)
  • Autopia
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  • California Screamin’ *
  • Casey Jr. Circus Train *
  • Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes *
  • Disneyland Monorail
  • Disneyland Railroad
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage *
  • Flik’s Flyers *
  • Francis’ Lady Bug Boogie *
  • Gadget’s Go-Coaster *
  • Golden Zephyr *
  • Goofy’s Sky School *
  • Grizzly River Run *
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train *
  • Indiana Jones Adventure *
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Jumpin’ Jellyfish *
  • Jungle Cruise
  • King Arthur Carrousel
  • King Triton’s Carousel *
  • The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
  • Luigi’s Flying Tires *
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Main Street Vehicles – Horse-Drawn Streetcar
  • Main Street Vehicles – Jitney
  • Main Street Vehicles – Fire Engine
  • Main Street Vehicles – Omnibus
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Mark Twain Riverboat
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree *
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds *
  • Mickey’s Fun Wheel *
  • Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! *
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride *
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey *
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Radiator Springs Racers *
  • Red Car Trolley *
  • Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin *
  • Sailing Ship Columbia *
  • Silly Symphony Swings *
  • Snow White’s Scary Adventures *
  • Soarin’ Over California
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Star Tours
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats *
  • Toy Story Midway Mania!
  • Tuck and Roll’s Drive ‘em Buggies *
  • •Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Disneyland Park (alphabetical order): 36

  • Alice in Wonderland *
  • Astro Orbitor (note spelling difference)
  • Autopia
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  • Casey Jr. Circus Train *
  • Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes *
  • Disneyland Monorail
  • Disneyland Railroad
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage *
  • Gadget’s Go-Coaster *
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Indiana Jones Adventure *
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Jungle Cruise
  • King Arthur Carrousel
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Main Street Vehicles – Horse-Drawn Streetcar
  • Main Street Vehicles – Jitney
  • Main Street Vehicles – Fire Engine
  • Main Street Vehicles – Omnibus
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Mark Twain Riverboat
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds *
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride *
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey *
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin *
  • Sailing Ship Columbia *
  • Snow White’s Scary Adventures *
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Star Tours
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats *

Disney California Adventure (alphabetical order): 21

  • California Screamin’ *
  • Flik’s Flyers *
  • Francis’ Lady Bug Boogie *
  • Golden Zephyr *
  • Goofy’s Sky School *
  • Grizzly River Run *
  • Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train *
  • Jumpin’ Jellyfish *
  • King Triton’s Carousel *
  • The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
  • Luigi’s Flying Tires *
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree *
  • Mickey’s Fun Wheel *
  • Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! *
  • Radiator Springs Racers *
  • Red Car Trolley *
  • Silly Symphony Swings *
  • Soarin’ Over California
  • Toy Story Midway Mania!
  • Tuck and Roll’s Drive ‘em Buggies *
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

I’d like to leave you with this quote from Walt Disney about his Florida project:

Here in Florida, we have something special we never enjoyed at Disneyland: the blessing of size. There’s enough land here to hold all of the ideas and plans we can possibly imagine.

Does Walt Disney World live up to Walt’s dream? Does Disneyland?  Which resort offers you the most value for your money? And which offers you the most bang for your buck!

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46 Comments

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  1. This is one of the best Disneyland vs Walt Disney World comparison articles I’ve read!

    • I agree completely!! We need more rides at Disney World, not $1.5 – $2 billion on magic handcuffs!!

      • I love that metaphor you used for MyMagic+!! Thats the best!

    • The best part of this statistical comparison is the typical Florida Cast Member comment at the end.

      Us Disneyland CM’s go to WDW occasionally for cheap vacations, and we get all the smug but clueless comments from WDW CM’s who’ve never been west of Alabama and say stuff like “Oh, you came to see what a really big theme park is like, huh?” And we smile politely and nod and think to ourselves, “Yeah, but this place is kinda run like a WalMart and there aren’t ENOUGH RIDES!”

      You can also do the same comparison with major outdoor entertainment; parades, fireworks and water spectaculars. Disneyland Resort has two different parades (Soundsational, Pixar Play Parade), two water spectaculars (F! and WOC), and one Castle fireworks show. Walt Disney World Resort has three different parades (FOF, MSEP, Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle), two water spectaculars (F! and Reflections of Earth), and one Castle fireworks show.

      Walt Disney World only has one extra parade compared to Disneyland Resort. And it’s the 15 year old Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade. Eek!

      Thanks for all the investment Team Disney Orlando!

      • I used to be a Cast Member at Disneyland, and I felt the same way when WDW cast would speak of their parks in a term as “better”. Walt Disney World Cast Members wouldn’t survive a DAY in our shoes! They experience super busy times during 24hr parties and Holidays. We experience super busy times EVERY DAY OF THE FREAKIN’ YEAR! They have no clue what its like to work in a park commanding 36 rides and narrow walkways. The work we did was so much more intense than what they do, I know cuz some of my friends moved to WDW and said the job was SO much easier because of less crowds. I agree, when I last visited, I was done with the parks on average between 2-4 hours and had plenty of time to return to my hotel and do absolutely nothing. With Disneyland, it takes up my entire day and pleasantly wears me out.

      • Ayalexander, I’m sorry but I have to say that if you left any WDW park within 2-4 hours of arriving, you have cheated yourself. If you go to WDW with the expectation that it’s going to be a disappointment and “worse” than DL, then of course you’re going to be disappointed by your experience.

  2. Great article, thanks.
    I’ve always been amazed at how many rides there are at Disneyland which my family really enjoy.
    I think Disneyland is really doing a great job being land locked and providing so many pretty fun rides. I know they are also leaving rides dormant and have several down for rehab at the same time but for their space they are near maxed out with rides.
    WDW so often acts like they are land locked the last 10 years tearing out rides like Mr. Toad, Snow White, etc to replace with something else.
    When you see the list of rides at Epcot, Disney Studios, or AK; it’s difficult to ignore how lame so many of them always were or have become.

  3. Comparisons like this never seem to really capture the differences well. How do you count the UK or Italy pavilions in World Showcase? Neither have a ride, show, or exhibit, yet they certainly add to the amount of stuff to do in the park. It’s no wonder WDW got away from ticket books when EPCOT Center opened, since so much of the experience is intangible in that format

    DLR has always been better for ride commandos, while WDW has taken a more holistic approach to the vacation. Yes, WDW could definitely use more rides and attractions, but it does a pretty good job of creating a week’s-worth of stuff to do, without completely burning you out. Additionally, some of WDI’s best work is in shows at WDW (American Adventure, Impressions de France), yet this list completely disregards them

    • ^ ^ And Walt Disney World, especially EPCOT could use a paint job.

    • Yeah WDI talent comes out with zero inhibitions at WDW… but in less than a year, the ride become run-down and in need of attention, and the WDW maintence teams are worse than Disneyland’s! And thats saying a lot because in recent years, the Disneyland maintenance teams have dropped in quality, but still manage to produce better work than WDW. Both times I went to Walt Disney World, I felt like the attractions were ‘tired’ and needed to be put out of their misery, and let me tell you Hollywoood Studios Fantasmic was a disappointment. I wasn’t entertained and the showmanship was a step down from Disneyland’s version. Shouldn’t it better, given its own personal arena and bigger budget?

      • Actually DHS Fantasmic may have its own arena, but Disneyland’s Fantasmic has the bigger budget. Eisner choose to officially announce Floridas Fantasmic at an annual Share holders meeting, to which he described it as a more “budget Conscious” version of the highly successful Disneyland show. But really, just watching to show and its obvious that DL’s has a much bigger production cost.

  4. Maybe we should ask, which is doing a better job maximizing opportunities with the amount of land they have, Disneyland or WDW?

    • ^ ^ Captain Action, if I were president of WDW I’d try to win you over by sending you there, putting you up at the Wilderness Lodge or the Animal Kingdom Lodge, giving you an unlimited Fastpass, and letting you have any ten meals at any ten restaurants. Did Disney World beat you up when you were a kid or run over your dog? :)

      Kidding, but there almost does seem to be a hidden interesting backstory to fuel your Ben Stiller in “Mystery Men” level rage against the place. Walt Disney World is just one Matt Ouimet. . .

      (and 2 new World Showcases countries, and Carsland-scale/quality investments in Future World and the Studios, and some new–possibly small & fun transportation systems for 3 moderate resorts to their very close by theme parks, and the world’s most extensive system of bike paths, bike shelters, and bike drop off points, and–uh–bikes. . .and a few other things)

      . . . away from being just fine.

      • Hey jcruise86, I don’t think it’s really too mysterious.
        Just a look at the list of attractions in the article:
        Primeval Whirl, Triceratops Spin, Wlderness Train, Dinosaur, Backlot Tour, “Great” Movie Ride, Imagination, Ellen’s Energy, Living w the Land, Grande Fiesta Tour, Nemo and Friends, Strobe Light Yeti, etc.
        Whole parks w 2-3 decent attractions.
        Add the Magic Handcuffs so I can book 3 fast passes to these attractions…

        Disneyland cherrie picks some of the best like:
        Soarin’, Star Tours, Tough to be a Bug (I just like it), etc.
        Best Fantasyland from Matterhorn to Casey Jr.
        The classics: Thunder Mountain, Pirates, Haunted Mansion.
        Unique; Roger Rabbit, Matterhorn, Indiana Jones, California Screamin’, Cars Land, etc.
        Just my opinion that WDW needs to get back in the game and compete.

      • Yeah, I mean I’m not a hater, but Disneyland does have one advantage: due to its “land locked” location, they usually build the ‘best’ of what they create because they don’t have room for a flop. Some argue that Critter Country’s Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is a quality step-down, but I still think its better than most WDW rides, even the thrilling ones. I mean all Critter Country has to do is put some animatronics in their Pooh ride (giggle), and that turn it from an A-ride into a C-ride. ‘Nuff said. haha

      • @Captain

        To be clear, most of what you listed weren’t really “cherry-picked,” as they originated at Disneyland. Of the copies, I think “bug” is superior at AK, given its terrific location.

  5. I agree with you assessment that WDW is spread out over more land and takes longer to take it in. I always enjoy my trips to Disneyland more than those to WDW.

  6. “How can anyone still argue that DHS is a full day park?”

    And yet we spend an entire day there, every visit, just fine.

    • ^ ^ You’re not alone. I love anything having to do with movies,
      except the truly terrible studios park at Disneyland Paris, which is hopefully starting a turnaround with Ratatouilleland, also known as Main Street Paris & Europe’s answer to Tokyo’s Pooh ride.

      • Studios in Paris blew my mind with how bad it was. Without exaggeration, I could jog from the gate to the back area, (over by Lights, Motors, Action, Bliss or whatever) in about 20 seconds.

        Very poorly-conceived park, which is a shame, since DLP is terrific. They should have built something like a European Adventure instead of Studios – sort of a modern, ride-centric take on EPCOT.

    • We’ve managed to spend an entire day as well at DHS since it’s fun to simply walk around the place. We also enjoy sitting in the cars and eating at the “perpetual nightime” Dine-In Theater (but they may want to refresh the trailers and cartoons they show on the big screen one of these years; there are hundreds if not thousands of available clips they might use). I wish this drive-in concept would be build in Disneyland. It would be packed all the time.

      While we are on the topic of DHS, how about that “Great” Move Ride………………..ugh. The animatronics, sets and schtick are really starting to show their age. I suggest they let the entire thing contimue to decay and deteriorate (like the Gene Kelly figure, which looks like a corpse) and then re-brand the attraction as the Great HAUNTED Movie Ride. With a few tweaks, props and retheming, it could become a really sinister crowd pleaser!

      • DHS is interesting to me, however its not my cup of tea, if I were paid to spend a week at ALL of Walt Disney World’s parks, you couldn’t pay me to go to DHS, only because I’m not a fan of the whole “movie backlot” idea. Plus with only 6 rides, the excitement is over. I love shows and walk-throughs and things, but I didn’t feel entertained with any of Walt Disney World’s shows and walk-throughs. Except for the Walt Disney Exhibit at DHS. That was the only exhibit i enjoyed there. If feel Disneyland provides more bang for your buck because they offer entertainment for everyone’s personal style. I mean there is a whole day worth of non-thrill rides for small kids, a whole day of thrills for thrill seekers and a whole day of shows for people who don’t like rides… but at WDW I saw EVERYTHING at each park and spent 4hrs tops in each park… and that was during busy summer! I felt cheated out of my money.

      • I won’t see the DHS Fantasmic because it lacks the boats I love in Disneyland’s version. And I don’t want to see the Beauty & the Beast show, and I think the Rock ‘n’ Roller coaster looks cheap, my daughter’s only thrill ride to skip is the Tower of Terror, and I’m sad to read about the stagnating Great Movie ride

        BUT I don’t hate the hate, I love that there’s a Walt exhibit, and I look forward to the Sci Fi Diner and the Prime Time 50s cafe. This park needs a “Star Wars” land and attractions that surpass the excellent Carsland at DCA.

      • ^ ^ I meant to write I don’t hate the HAT!

    • Us too! If anything, we will try to do Animal Kingdom in a half day, but in out last couple of trips we’ve spent more time there.

      • **our

  7. While I agree with most of this article, lost in the comparison is the resort and restaurant experiences at WDW. More visitors are tourists, and they stay onsite, and truly want to relax in their resort along with visiting the theme parks. Even the moderates are quite beautiful, and I enjoyed a recent stay in an Art of Animation suite…… But count me as one who loves the parks on both coasts, and will try to visit each resort, every year.

  8. The Disneyland Resort is currently wonderful and very impressive, and been since Matt Ouimet made it shine for its 50th Anniversary in 2005. I once (stupidly) wondered if Disney is letting Walt Disney World decline so they can really fix it up for the 50th Anniversary. Again, really stupid theory of mine.

    I think an interesting comparison now is between Disneyland and the Tokyo Disneyland, especially if we’re talking rides, as your article does. Tokyo Disney Sea is famous for its atmosphere, but how many rides does it have, counting the indoor kiddie rides as half a ride each? While Disneyland’s Tomorrowland is currently the resort’s weak spot, Tokyo Disneyland’s Tomorrowland is no Disney Sea either. And besides Toy Story Midway Mania, how many new attractions have been built at Tokyo D land over the last 10 years?

    And as Universal Orlando continues it’s Walt-paced growth, that resort will also hopefully come to be worthy of comparisons to Disneyland . . . eventually.

    Some Disney-loving families who spend $4,000-6,000 a year at the Walt Disney World might consider skipping it one year and spending what they’d spend there in two years on one trip to Japan or France instead. (Or spend it on a Disney cruise to Alaska or Europe, and take our family. :) )

    • I like your phrase, “Walt paced growth”. That says it well.

  9. I agree with what you’re saying, but for me, when I go to Disney WORLD, I also get 2 Universal parks out of the trip.

  10. Right on. I’ve been trying to convince my wife that Disneyland is worth the airfare to get to California. Once you’re there, it’s so much easier to get around and there’s much more to do! I’m really hoping we can get there during the next few years.

  11. The author points out that Epcot was never originally designed to be a traditional theme park. I would also go so far as to say that neither was Animal Kingdom. It may be hindsight to say now that neither of these parks were going to work as originally planned but I think it does help explain why there is such a disparity with regards to “thrill” rides/attractions at these two parks. As for Hollywood Studios, there is no excuse as to why it lacked in terms of rides/attractions.

  12. I wouldn’t have guess that, but for me I’d still take a full day at the World Showcase in Epcot (and not going on any of the rides there) over any Disney ride on either coast.

  13. My boyfriend & I have talked fore years about taking a long weekend and go to Disneyland. He thinks I only need one day at the parks. Yeah… NO! His argument is, “It’s smaller than WDW!” My retort is always, “Physical size wise, yeah, but they got nearly twice as many rides packed into that little space!” I should show him this article to hopefully finally make him understand I need a MINIMUM of 3 days. Plus it’s been nearly 25 years since my last visit to Disneyland and a LOT has changed since then.

    • ^ ^ Compromise. I think two days should do it, but you’re at the heart of Disney enthusiasm on Micechat, and many will disagree. Use Fastpass a lot and do one park per day.

  14. In my taste, Disneyland Resort Anaheim is my primary choice. I feel it is the perfect blend of relaxation and thrill that Disney theme parks should live up to. Being a former Cast Member I had to convince many WDW enthusiasts that their first experience at Disneyland Resort ‘may’ trump their WDW experience. I loved to plan their day for them, I simply asked “what can you do, what can’t you do, and what are you looking for in your experience” some would say “thrills and leisure”, some would say “shows and excersise” and some would just say “I wanna be a kid again”. And I went to work listing and circling rides and attractions for their whole day. There was always something for everyone, and when I went to Walt Disney World for the first time I told a guest relations cast member that “I want everything!” and even with experiencing everything there during the week, I managed each park in 4 hours tops during their busy summer season. I was dissapointed… especially since their maintenance is so low quality that most animatronics or special effects didn’t work. Some WDW enthusiats used to tell me that they felt they took a chance, spending as much money as they did on “a smaller resort” but with my itineraries, I showed them that there was much more magic to unlock, than they expected out of such a small resort. At the end of the day, WDW enthusiasts would come back to me and say they were pleased with their experience, they pointed out that there was a lot to do, and lots of places to relax despite the crowds and abundant rides, and they felt something unique, they said “maybe its the tiny buildings, maybe its the ‘cuteness’ but… I feel like there is a particular ‘magic’ here!” and i would explain that most guests would find that that particular ‘magic’ was Disneyland’s unique spirit of “Walt”. And they agreed.

  15. I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds watching people go down Splash Mountain entertaining. Also I personally love the Barn Stormer.. it’s a blast. I also love the extended evenings.. there is something magical about running around a mostly empty park in the dark that brings the kid out in me. I’ve never understood WDW’s apparent disdain of the classic dark rides.. those are the heart of Disney for me and hands down my favorite memories from my childhood. They would not cost much to (re)build.. and based on the insane lines at Peter Pan 90% of the time would be highly valued by guests. I would be happy with even more.. Lion King, Mary Poppins, Aladdin.. you name it. Pop me in a magic carpet and fly me around Agraba, over the desert, through the Cave of Wonders.. I’d be a happy camper. How cool would it be to get on your own carousel horse and bounce over the rooftops of london, past the bird lady, around the racetrack, and through a park filled with kites? These kind of rides would cost nothing compared to the technological wonders that seem to be the norm.