I wanted to make this post separate from the "Why do you love WDW better than DL" thread because I don't love one more than the other. As a longtime DLR vet, however, I can't help but make some comparisons.
A little background first. This was our 2nd trip ever to WDW. A trip to WDW is much more expensive for my family than a trip to DLR because we live in the west and we have 3 kids. Due to the expense involved, we will probably have to wait at least 5 years before going again. The financial aspects of such a voyage put a damper on my excitement for this trip, which was aggravated by Al Lutz's recent criticisms of WDW and Kevin Yee's "Decline by Degrees" columns.
But I was very, very pleasantly surprised. No, the trip didn't go perfect and I had a few gripes that I've talked about in other threads (specifically here and here). But overall we had a wonderful experience at WDW. Here are some things I really loved about WDW:
1- CM's- Whereas most of DLR's CM's are locals, WDW has quite the diversity of CM's. I paid special attention to where they were from and I loved how they hailed from all over the world. Overall, CM morale seemed to be higher than their colleagues at DLR. It was also nice to see some older CM's. CM's at WDW were very friendly and I ended up making several trips to City Hall to fill out congrats cards. In particular, E.J. from the UK was the best Jungle Cruise skipper I've ever seen and he got some nice comments from me at City Hall.
2- Guests- Again, whereas many DLR visitors are locals with annual passes, seeing huge diversity of guests was a nice change. We stayed at the All-Star resort and it was amazing to hang out in the food court with people from all around the world- all there for the same reason- to have a good time. In a way it kind of felt like family. I spent a few late night hours in the guest laundry chatting with a group of teenagers from Brazil. And being from the West, it was cool to interact with so many people from East of the Mississippi.
3- MK's hub and wide walkways- As a DLR vet whose been very frustrated by crowds in recent years, let me just say that MK's hub layout is awesome.
4- Monorails- At DLR, the monorail is an attraction. And frankly, it's more of a pain than it's worth. I loved the efficient monorail system at WDW. My kids got to ride in the front of the monorails several times and we met some neat monorail drivers that told us cool stories and facts about them. I'm sure the drivers at DLR are just as nice. It's just that the monorail is much more a part of a WDW trip.
5- The expanse of land- This is a double-edged sword. On one hand it makes parkhopping much more complicated than at DLR, but there are a lot of plusses. I love riding the monorail over the jungly greenery that blankets the property. You can see old trails and roads, and I wish I could just trek them all. I also love the ferry ride to MK. The distance between the parks and rest of the world gives it more of an isolated, Disney zone feel and that was really nice.
There were a lot of other things I loved about WDW, but these were some of the highlights for me.