The Walt Disney World Entrance sign on World Drive welcomes you!

The Walt Disney World Entrance sign on World Drive welcomes you!

The Disneyland Resort invites you to enjoy all it has to share!

The Disneyland Resort invites you to enjoy all it has to share!

By Mike Ellis.

Walt Disney World Resort.  Disneyland Resort.  Now that you have learned that there are absolutely incredible things to experience at each resort, and that you can see some truly unique things at one resort that you won’t find at the other, which set of Disney Parks should you choose when planning your vacation destination?

In this post, I’m going to try and help you answer that question.  For many of you, this may be a non-issue; you may, for various reasons, already have chosen one resort over the other.  For others of you, though, this may be more of a question, and the answer may not be so easy.  So, let’s get to work to help you choose the right resort destination for you and your family.

 Criteria #1: Location

The first thought I have is where you are in relation to the resorts.  Walt Disney World Resort, of course, is located in Florida; Disneyland Resort is located in Southern California.  Which location do you live closer to?  For my family, since we live in Raleigh, NC, it is almost a no-brainer for us to choose Walt Disney World as our destination.  If you live in Oregon, Washington State, or other western states, it may be an easy decision for you to choose Disneyland as your destination.  Location does matter a great deal, in my opinion.

Criteria #2: Budget

In many ways, your proximity to Walt Disney World or Disneyland will dictate how much it will cost for you to travel to that destination.  For example, our airfare to LA for us (a family of 3) ran over $1,000 — which was the best we found for our trip, and many people tell us was a very good rate for the three of us.  However, if we had chosen Walt Disney World instead of Disneyland, I know without a doubt that it would have cost us hundreds of dollars less to get to Florida than it did to get to LA.  So location to a resort is a key component in how much your vacation is going to cost.

Criteria #3: Interests

In the posts the past two days, I went out of my way to highlight the attractions that you have at one park that you don’t have at the other.  Keep in mind that there are a lot of attractions that you can find at both parks, such as Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and so on.  I think, though, what it comes down to is what interests do you have?

If you are a food person, and want to experience Disney Dining to a high degree, then I believe that Walt Disney World is for you.  Certainly there are incredible restaurants that you can eat at at Disneyland, and we ate at three good ones — Blue Bayou, Ariel’s Grotto, and Storyteller Cafe — but for the sheer number of choices and the Disney Dining Plan option, you can’t go wrong with the restaurants at Walt Disney World.

Criteria #4: Party Size

The size of your vacation party can be a big factor for which resort you select.  If you are the head of a tour group visiting from Brazil, for example, and you are bringing 500 people to a park, well, you aren’t going to cut it at Disneyland.  There just isn’t enough resort room space in my opinion.  Your only choice is Walt Disney World.

At the end of this mini-series, I hope that I have given you some good, common-sense ideas on how to make a decision on which resort to plan for your next vacation.  Do I believe that someone on the west coast should only visit Disneyland Resort, and someone on the east coast only visit Walt Disney World?  Of course not.  With the right planning, you can visit any of the parks in the Disney system; Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disney, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disney, and even Shanghai Disney when it opens — the choices are limitless.

It is my belief that my immediate family, having now been to Disneyland and experienced a lot of what there is to offer there, won’t need to go back anytime soon — but we may very well go back later.  Disneyland will still be there, as will Walt Disney World — so if you can’t make it to one park right now, don’t worry — they’ll keep improving it and it’ll be there when you can make it.

If I can help you in planning any travel adventures, whether they be Disney, non-Disney, Disneyland, Walt Disney World, or anything in between, please feel free to reach out to me.  My services are free to you, and it is my goal to help you plan the best vacation you can — at a price point that will leave you feeling like you totally got your money’s worth.  Just click on one of the images below to submit a quote request, and thanks for stopping by on this journey to Disneyland and back to Walt Disney World!






About the Author

Mike Ellis ()

Mike has been a Disney fan since his first trip to the Magic Kingdom in 1979 when he was 11 years old. Since that first trip, he has seen parks open, lands close, and attractions come and go, but one thing remains the same, his love for Disney is as strong as ever. His Disney adventures caused him to start My Dreams of Disney because he wanted to document for his family and friends all of the special Disney Memories he has enjoyed with his family, and since that first post in 2010, Mike's hobby has become his passion! Now a Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations for six years, Mike has helped many of his readers plan and have incredible Disney vacations of their own. Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and . Also, connect with us on our Pixie Vacations by Mike Ellis Facebook page to submit a quote request or learn more about all of your possible vacation destinations!


2 Responses to “How to Determine which Disney Parks to Visit”

  1. For now we pick Disney World because we are in Missouri, but one day I would love to got to Disneyland as well

  2. I waited for years to get to Disney for the hoidlays and then ended up there each of the last two Christmases. I loved Disney decked out for the hoidlays and I think that it’s my favourite time to visit now too! Love your photos the castle is so beautiful!Lisa recently posted..