Saturday, April 25, 2009

Compare and Contrast...

Disneyland Resort vs. Walt Disney World Resort...hmm.

At first glance it would seem to be apples to oranges. I mean, how can you compare all those hotels, those four theme parks, two water parks, golf, miniature golf, and sports facilities (including motor sports) to the little plot of land in California?

Having been to WDW in January of 2009, and DLR in April of 2009, I was struck by the differences. First among them is, obviously, size. Though DLR is small, it packs a lot into that area. We stayed at the Grand Californian, which had a private entrance to DCA, and is steps away from Downtown Disney and the Disneyland park. That in itself is a plus, in my opinion. Steps, not miles. We would walk out of the hotel and find ourselves among several additional dining choices, including House of Blues, Tortilla Joe's, Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen, an ESPN Zone, Catal and a pizza place (that I won't attempt to name since we didn't go there and I don't really want to look it up at this moment). We did check out the World Of Disney store briefly, and I checked out the Compass Books (which I really like), but other than those two, the Lego store briefly, the Alamo rental car place, and the Pin Traders, we really didn't experience the shopping. But some of them look to be on a par with what you find in DTD in Florida. I like the intimacy of this setting over the expansiveness of the WDW acreage.

Second is the quality of the parks. Well, DCA is undergoing its makeover, but it was still the park my kids wanted to go to, mostly because they're both now lovers of rollercoasters and they wanted to do California Screamin' over and over again (we did it 3 times on our vacation). They also really enjoyed Toy Story Midway Mania. (So did I.) And Soarin' is better in CA. The queue is better, and the film quality is better, also. (It's the same film, just not as beat-up, in my opinion. The print is just a little better.) I enjoyed the Blue Sky Preview Center. And the other, smaller rides were enjoyable for the boys Mike and Sully to the Rescue, the Muppet show, and even the Orange Stinger.

The crowds in the park were not unbearable, and the size felt more manageable than some of the Florida properties, even when they don't have much more to offer than DCA does.

Disneyland compares to the Magic Kingdom, and while I really like Florida's TTA and the Carousel of Progress, I enjoyed the ride on Space Mountain quite a bit more than the Florida version (pre refurbishment). The Haunted Mansion experiences are similar, but I like the California Pirates more. Star Tours felt well placed to me in Tomorrowland, unlike that Stitch attraction, and unlike the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, which we liked, but which I think would probably be better in the Hollywood Studios). Big Thunder Mountain is the same, as far as I can tell. I like Everest over the Matterhorn as both a themed experience and as a thrill ride, but of course, now we're including DAK in the comparison.

Florida's dining options in the parks blow away the California alternatives, though some of this might be because the hotels and downtown, not to mention the real world, are in such close proximity to these parks that they don't feel the need to offer great dining options in CA. But I much prefer the dining in Florida, and that's before including Epcot into the equation. Then Florida runs away and hides.

Of course, Epcot has to be mentioned. One resort has it, one doesn't. As it is probably my favorite park, I think it tips the scales in the direction of Florida. But it isn't by as much as I thought it should be.

More on this topic? Perhaps. Lately life intrudes on my blogosphere existence, so my blogging is likely to get less frequent. But I hope to have something to add to this comparison later. Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

Future Guy said...

Interesting article. I've never been to California, so I've often wondered how the two properties compare.