What Is the Difference Between Disneyland & Disney World?

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Disneyland is much smaller than Disney World.
Disneyland is much smaller than Disney World. (Image: Handout/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Wild and theatrical rides, dancing costumed characters and an abundance of family fun may make all of the Disney destinations seem like a magically similar world of entertainment. However, Disneyland and Walt Disney World offer two distinctly different opportunities, with the main similarity being the quality of enjoyment. These subtle differences and the starkly different locations set these two pleasure domes apart.

Basic Facts

Disneyland, located at the center of Orange Country in California, is officially called Disneyland Resort, but people refer to it as Disneyland for short. Disney World, located in central Florida near Bay Lake and outside of Miami, is called Walt Disney World Resort. Disneyland was first opened in 1955, and Walt Disney formulated the idea of founding the theme park after visiting Griffith Park in California. Disney World was formed after the success of Disneyland, and it officially opened in 1971.

Unique Attractions

Each park has a special set of attractions. Disneyland contains Walt Disney Story, Indiana Jones Ride, Tarzan's Treehouse, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Casey Junior Circus Train, Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin and Storybook Land Canal Boats. Disney World contains the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Tomorrowland Transit Authority, Swiss Family Treehouse, Hall of Presidents and Carousel of Progress. Although these attractions are not the only unique aspects, they represent some of the main differences in terms of the parks' major offerings.

Difference in Operations

After founding Disneyland in California, Walt Disney envisioned the Tomorrowland exhibit as a unique and futuristic realm, which was why he became disappointed when he saw a costumed cowboy character walking through the Tomorrowland exhibit. As a result, he sought to change the way in which Disney World would operate. He designed a series of tunnels and underground passages in Disney World, which would allow workers to walk around without destroying the concepts of the themed areas. Disney added many other additions to the new Disney World that fixed certain operational issues that Disneyland was experiencing, according to the Disneyland website.

Different Additional Facets

In addition to the internal differences between the two theme parks, there are a variety of factors that make the two places different. Disneyland is landlocked in Orange County, and it cannot expand. So, it doesn't have a lot of the extra offerings that Disney World has. Disney World is significantly larger, and it features a lot of external elements, such as the Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center and MGM studios.

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