View Full Version : Next June 23 - July 2 Disneyland or DisneyWorld?

08-11-2008, 11:32 AM
We are planning an extended family trip (my parents and my sisters family) next summer. We have been to Disneyworld and loved it but my Mom would like to go to Disneyland. It is farther (we live in StL, Mo) so driving would be really hard to do. The park is smaller but we could maybe see some of CA.

What is driving in the area like? Where is the closest airport (LAX?) Which hotel is best? The Disneyland Hotel was the first right? So I bet it is special! How many days would we want to see everything? For Disneyworld I don't like to have less than 5 to do all the parks and a day for "favorites". And more is ALWAYS better! ;)

What makes Disneyland special over Disneyworld?

Thanks for helping me think this through! I don't know how to decide really!

08-11-2008, 02:33 PM
Many of your questions are answered in this lengthy thread:

"A DLR Guide for WDW Vets" www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1162599 (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1162599)

Here are some short answers:

1. 3-4 days is about right at DLR

2. Disney hotels do not hold the same advantage at DLR as they do at WDW. You are correct that the DLH was the first Disney hotel at DLR. It is now one of three.

I always recommend people stay at a walking distance hotel. See "HydroGuy's Hotel Rule" www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1199862 (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1199862)

The dozen or so walking distance hotels at DLR make the DLR experience quite different from WDW. There is nothing like heading out your hotel room door and being at the DLR gates in 5-10 minutes.

3. There are many airport options. LAX, SNA (John Wayne) is the closest, Long Beach, Ontario and Burbank. Which is best depends on where you are coming from.

4. Driving in SoCal is like any major metropolitan area...very busy. Avoid weekday mornings and evenings and it will be better.

5. What makes DLR special over WDW? Here are my top four:

o Everything is within walking distance. Hotels, parks, DTD. No need to ever get on a bus or tram for your entire stay. Just use your feet.

o Ride concentration - WDW's four parks have only 10% more rides than DLR's two parks

o Weather - I think the weather in Anaheim is better than WDW year round, but especially in the summer. A June/July visit to DLR will be way more tolerable than WDW. Less humidity and no rain.

o Shows - The top ones at DLR are better than the top ones at WDW, IMHO. The Remember Dreams Come True firerworks/laser/special effects show is the best Disney has ever produced and is in another league than Wishes and Illuminations. Most people including me think that Fantasmic at DLR is better than at WDW. And the Aladdin stage show at DCA is better than any of the WDW stage shows, IMO.

WDW has its strengths too be sure, but DLR is not without strengths of its own. :)

Here is some info geared for summer visits:

"Getting The Most Out of a Summer Visit To DLR" www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1345319

08-11-2008, 02:53 PM
Everything I have read on this board indicates Orange is the most convenient airport to fly into. My mom did this on our trip last year and said it was super easy (she got on the Disneyland Express from there.)

If you have small children Legoland is always an option. We have never gone, but I've heard great things about it. We're going this winter, and I hope to do a trip report on it. If there are more adults in your party, you may want to take a trip to the beach in San Diego. I was just there a couple yrs ago, and had a great time. The ocean air smells nice, and the atmosphere is so laid back.

However, I don't really think you'd find much in CA that you cannot find in FL as far as things to do go. Unless you want to see the original and CA Adventure, I'd probably continue going to DW (especially if you don't have small children in your group.)

08-11-2008, 06:00 PM
Thank-you so much!
We would have kids 19,16,14,9 with us. Also Grandma and Grandpa, and DH and I, DSister and her DH. And anyone else up for the adventure between now and June.

I had not thought about the weather being nicer but that is a plus! Only 10% less rides? Wow they must be close together to walk to them all!

I am a little concerned about airfare. We had planned to drive to Orlando (about 20 hours from St Louis). I don't think I would ever make it all the way to CA in the car!!! I think it will be more expensive to fly next summer. But Disneyland is - well - the original and it would make my mom happy to get to go.

08-11-2008, 06:11 PM
Both parks are great in different ways. I 100 percent agree with the better summer weather comment. My take on the "land" vs. the "world" is that if you are only going to Disney once in your life, go to the world. It just has more to offer with the 4 parks, water parks, on property hotels, meals etc. BUT if you are a Disney freak like me, you need to do both because there are differences that are WAY BETTER in California. My tops: INDIANA JONES ride...not offered in Florida. Your older kids will LOVE THIS RIDE! Pirates of Carribean: WAY WAY WAY better in California...bigger, darker, better drops, better atmosphere in the "new orleans square" Buzz Lightyear: Better in Calif since you can pull the guns out of the cars (like Men in Black in universal) and aim. California Screamin': Rollercoaster in California Adventure. GREAT FUN for the coaster nuts. YES I agree with the Aladdin show being the best I have seen at any of the parks. Small World is MUCH bigger..more of a "centerpiece" but remember the castle here is MUCH SMALLER than in MK.
Materhorn: Another 'only in Calif" ride. Toontown: Twice the size and more fun stuff like gags for the little ones. Fantasyland: Bigger with more to offer..it is "the original". MORE DETAIL overall. New Orleans Square, main street...extra details and touches being the original. Downside: Its in the middle of a city...not a "world" of its own. Not the same destination feeling you get in Florida. BUT there is TONS to do in southern california besides the 2 Disney parks. Yes we LOVED Legoland, Seaworld, San Diego Zoo, Universal Hollywood, Hollywood, Knotts Berry Farm, Magic Mountain, Palm Springs Tram, etc etc etc. LOTS to do! Enjoy the planning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

08-11-2008, 07:33 PM
3-5 days would be a nice, leisurely tour of Walt's Park! With kids that age, you also might want to consider a day at Universal Studios. And maybe a day trip to the beach. I wouldn't do Legoland for your kids' ages; I have heard it's much more appropriate for younger kids.

As far as airfares, just start checking as early as possible and watch for prices to drop. You really want to check into all the airports, because the price difference can be surprising. We got flights from Seattle to Long Beach for $99 each way (and there's been a few since for $79 each way); but flying into SNA (Orange county) was going to cost half again as much.

08-11-2008, 07:54 PM
5 days is a good amount of time for summer touring of DLR as some others have said. DL itself is so much bigger than MK, not in size but the amount of rides. There are just a lot more rides there, you can compare between the two websites for specifics, but after doing Disneyland, MK always feels a bit of a letdown. The night time parade at DCA is really cool, better than anything at WDW, as are the DL fireworks better than MK and fantasmic is better at DL as well.

WDW itself though does give you a more immersive experience. The waterparks are a nice option. The hotels themselves are so nice and there are so many of them. More Disney restaurant options too, this is double edged though as the fare outside the park of DLR is really accesable and cheaper.

For airfare, LAX is nearly always cheaper. Hop a shuttle for 16 bucks a person to anaheim and thats all there is to it. I've flown into the closer airports and it really didn't matter all that much to me. LAX is often reported as being one hour away, took us 35 minutes each way last week. Once at 11am, once at 3pm. Depends heavily on traffic I'm sure.

For me, DL is special because of the amount of rides (9 in fantasyland for instance to WDW's 5 or so, and pooh is actually in critter county at DL), the proximity of the parks makes it very easy to get between them. I dont mind the buses at WDW but I sure don't miss them at DLR. This may be my personal thing but I find the street entertainment superior and there to be more of it at DLR compared to WDW. The park hours are longer on average too. Pretty much any duplicated ride seems to be better at DLR with a few exceptions.

I really like Disneyworld, I really like DLR. I think you should go to DLR simply because you haven't been there. Im skeptical of people that have been to both and say one is a lot worse than the other. Often some odd reasons are given that usually arent true and are just poor perceptions. I think both are great. If you want to go for 10 days or so, you shoud probably do WDW, you get less touring time per day there because of park hours and travel time and it makes a longer vacation more relaxed and doable. 5 days at DLR is great, more than that you could probably go see some other things in the area if you like. For me, four days is ok too, but like you more is always better, 3 feels rushed.

If you do hit up DLR these are must dos, some already mentioned
-Space mountain (shames WDW's)
-Indy (nothing like dinosaur in scope and immersion)
-Grizzly River Run (so much different than Kali)
-Monster's inc
-All the dark rides, Pinochio (one of my faves), Alice, Toad.
-The Alladin show is great
-Electric light parade at DCA
-Buzz is slightly improved at DL
-Autopia isn't quite so bland, a lot more scenery at DL
-Screamin', great coaster kind of like Rockin' but outdoors. Less theme, but im not sure how stellar aerosmith is anyways for a theme.

Some things you might miss include the waterparks, Animal Kingdom and be prepared for different food set up. Far less restaurants, and the hotels dont have the food court kind of things that WDW has at each one. This means eating at a restaurant there, one offsite (very economical at Denny's, Ihop, etc) or doing something else completely. The food in the parks is actually more varied than at WDW at counter service places, less burgers more diversity. Its also a bit more expensive for that diversified food, pizza and burgers are about the same. If you're offsite, you wont get anywhere near the immersion you do at WDW, if you're onsite you get some of it at least, I notice quite the difference and all 3 of the hotels are nice with DLH having the best disney theming, GCH is the nicest all around hotel and PP being kind of like a moderate is in WDW.

08-11-2008, 08:03 PM
I say DLR, becuase it is Walts Park, and for the same reasons others have already mentioned. When you walk into Main St., look up above the firestation (left hand side when looking towards the castle). There will be a little light on in a window, that was Walts apartment. That light is left on for him in remembrance that he will always be there, watching his happy guests.

08-11-2008, 08:35 PM
I'd say WDW only because at that time of year you are definately going to need a water park near by! :thumbsup2

08-11-2008, 08:59 PM
My family is planning a vacation with my brother and his family to DL for June '09.:grouphug: We went together to DW in '07 and now we are going to DL in '09. My immediate family has been to both since we are DVC members. I thought I was not going to enjoy DL as much as DW and boy was I wrong. Yes, it is not as large as DW, but there was so much still to see and do in Southern CA, besides DL. And the weather in CA cannot be beat in June if comparing CA to FL. At DL, I even think, some of the rides were better then the DW version. We also love the history and love that Walt put into DL. So I don't think you could go wrong whatever you pick. :banana:

08-11-2008, 09:11 PM
3-5 days would be a nice, leisurely tour of Walt's Park!

5 days is a good amount of time for summer touring of DLR as some others have said.FWIW, the OP said she likes to do 5 day trips to WDW. I would think a person with that mindset would find 5 days at DLR too much. A ballpark comparison is that DLR = WDW/2. In other words, a 2 1/2 day trip to DLR would be roughly equivalent to 5 days at WDW.

For us personally with teenagers and tweens, we did four days once and kids were bored on Day 4. We now do 3 day trips. But we are not a good comparison to the OP because we have been so many times. A first timer like the OP might want to go for 4 full days. My guess is that 5 will be too much for her - although it might be right for someone who likes to take 10+ day trips to WDW. :)

08-11-2008, 11:22 PM
Wow! Thank-you! We could easily spend 10 days at WDW we just have not found the vacation time on our last few trips to devote to the parks! We have tried to combine park time with a cruise the last 3 summers. I am sure I would not grow tired of Disneyland in just 5 short days! I could spend an entire day just soaking it all in!:lovestruc

We have been to universal in Orlando, is it similar in CA?

Our favorite ship the Mariner is headed out to CA next year maybe a cruise and Disneyland vacation is a possibility if DH could manage the time. How far is it to like the Grand Canyon from Disneyland? DH would like to see that. As you can tell I am all over the map with this trip! The only place we have really been to west of us is Vegas and that was only a few days at a time.

08-11-2008, 11:46 PM
I really dont like Universal in Cali. Lots of people do. Its kinda similar, but its not as good as Orlando. Ive heard others say they like it better as sometimes things are filmed there but thats rare so its nothing to count on if you're a one time visitor. There is just the one park there and they dont have a lot of the other rides unlike DL/DCA compared to WDW where most of the rides are still there just in different parks. Universal is in a nice place though and the way its laid out is very cool.

Only reason I said five days was lines at that time of the year. You'd really really struggle to get most done in 2.5 days, but I did say in my post that 3 would be doable and four in a more relaxed mode.

08-12-2008, 04:22 AM
I'm a born and raised St. Louis girl (I used to work at The Disney Store in Chesterfield from '95-'98), so I know her predicament and can give her some good comparisons for her questions. Everyone in STL goes to Orlando. Just the way it is. I bought DVC when I lived there and we went to WDW at least 2 times a year. I moved out her to Los Angeles 8 years ago and now we are at DL about every two weeks. I would defintely come out here to DL. I think the younger folks in the group might like to do the "hip thing" to come out to LA, the OC, and the Hills and hang out like a movie star. How often do you really get to do that?:cool1:

Driving here during the day is about like driving on I-40 from Downtown to the Interbelt at 4:30pm. Rush hour is like leaving downtown and going over the Poplar Street Bridge in a mix of rush hour and after a Cards game. You basically want to avoid being on a freeway between 7 and 10 and 3 and 7. Saturday traffic is still like an easy STL rush hour - crowded, but moving. Sunday morning are the best. Like I-270 during the mid day. My SIL won't drive here. My brother does it begrudgingly. I give them directions, because MapQuest doesn't allow for traffic flow and always wants to route them through downtown.

Orange County/Santa Ana/John Wayne (SNA) is the closest to DL and before American's departure as a hub, had 4 nonstops a day. No longer the case. LAX might have a better non-stop or either American or Southwest for you - it's a 4 hour flight on the way here and 3.5 hours home (I did it every two weeks for 1.5 years before I moved here). Either way, the drive isn't bad in a rental car. The freeways from LAX to Disney all have carpool lanes, so that cuts down a little time. If you don't want to do the car, then take the Gray Line Disneyland Express bus. Fast, easy, cheap! Straight to DLR in comfort. You could always take the bus and then get an Enterprise rental car delivered to your hotel on the day you want to go explore!

GCH is the coolest hotel (with an architecture tour every afternoon and you don't have to be a guest), but DLH has the better pool with a great slide. You can also get some nice lock-off suites in the Wonder Tower, where you have two bedrooms (one is a king suite with queen pull out in the living room and the other is 2 queen beds) where everyone can hang out. They may have these suites in the other towers, too, but I have only stayed in the Wonder ones. Not sure what PP has to offer, except an excellent breakfast buffet!

It's a 5 minute walk from the DLR hotels to the park plaza - go through security and look left at DL, look right at DCA. The entry gates are about 1000 feet from each other. Makes park hopping a breeze!

We have a nice weather phenomenon in June called June gloom. It's cool and slightly overcast with no rain and no humidity. VERY pleasant time of year to visit. With a group that age, you can do several days in the park, then take time to drive to some unique sites, like the surfing and shopping mecca of Huntington Beach or go see the unique sights/freaks/muscle men at Venice Beach with a quick pop over to Santa Monica (3 miles away from Venice), Rodeo Drive (15 miles inland), or Malibu (just a bit further up the coast) for some shopping and/or celebrity watching. There is also a new shopping/dining extravaganza that just opened up in walking distance from the DLR called Garden Walk.

If you really want to do Universal, it's VERY different than the Florida park. The teen group you have would like Universal. The park is built onto the side of a large hill, so you have escalators that take you to different levels of the park. The set rides, like Earthquake/Disaster, King Kong (which burned in the fire), Jaws and such are part of the tram excursion, so you don't have separate lines for those. Citiwalk is very nice - some good restaurants, too.

Universal really is a working studio (had friends that worked on productions there). They film all of the time, but certain times of the year see more work than others. Television shows and celebrities actually have summer vacations. Thing is that June/July really doesn't see much filming work - shows are on hiatus and most movies are usually in post production at that point, so the backlot is a bit dead. The fire has also closed some of the backlot -several shows and films had to move production because of it.

Best studio tour is actually the Warner Bros. Studio Tour. They are down the hill from Universal (less than a half mile from Universal's back gate to the employee entry gate at WB). They have a tour where you get on large golf carts with a guide and really tour the entire lot. During the down season, they will let you get off the cart and go onto soundstages where TV shows actually film. They even have a great museum on the lot, with amazing displays of historical items and a wild Harry Potter exhibit upstairs. This is not available for the general public, only employees and tour guests. They closed the lot to us family members after 911. Last time I did the tour with a visiting friend, we saw them shooting a scene for Gilmore Girls with Alexis Bleidel and I also caught George Clooney taking a break outside a soundstage while doing some additional scenes for Ocean's 12.

Of course this doesn't even cover our other cool things like the Wilshire Boulevard attractions like the La Brea Tar Pits, which is next to LA Co Museum of Art, and across the street from the Petersen Museum of Car Culture - possibly one of the coolest museums I have ever been to and I don't even like cars that much. Rodeo Drive is just 15 minutes straight down the street from there.

These are just some other things to do while here. Or, you could let the kids go wild on their own in the safe confines of WDW, while you hang out. Both have benefits! I'll stop now. My novel is mostly done! :woohoo:


08-12-2008, 09:29 AM
Nancy thanks for the comparison. I can and do drive 40 in traffic. (Well when it was open;) ). And we are in the city for Blues and Cards games all the time. I was thinking traffic would be much worse in LA. Picturing it just stopped most of the time. I miss the Disney store at the mall! And you are so lucky - Disneyland every 2 weeks with great weather too. I bet you don't miss STL too much!

Everyone has given me so much to think about! We are going to talk to the kids this weekend before the oldest heads back to college. We decided to allow them the choice. Other then airfare the trips would cost about the same amount and since we would drive for one and fly for the other about the same amount of days. So we'll see what sounds exciting to them. They have all been to Orlando several times and like most of us here assume if we say Disney that is the only option. We'll see what they think about it all.

08-12-2008, 11:56 AM
Nancy thanks for the comparison. I can and do drive 40 in traffic. (Well when it was open;) ). And we are in the city for Blues and Cards games all the time. I was thinking traffic would be much worse in LA. Picturing it just stopped most of the time. I miss the Disney store at the mall! And you are so lucky - Disneyland every 2 weeks with great weather too. I bet you don't miss STL too much!

Everyone has given me so much to think about! We are going to talk to the kids this weekend before the oldest heads back to college. We decided to allow them the choice. Other then airfare the trips would cost about the same amount and since we would drive for one and fly for the other about the same amount of days. So we'll see what sounds exciting to them. They have all been to Orlando several times and like most of us here assume if we say Disney that is the only option. We'll see what they think about it all.

Believe it or not, I actually do miss STL. My mom still lives there in Delmar Gardens, and so do my bro and SIL. We miss the Zoo. It's 30 times better than our LA Zoo (though ours is getting better), Shaw's Garden, the Muny, and Imo's, etc... I was completely shocked when they took out every store in the district! That's nuts!

I think you are doing the right thing by having the kids help decide. As we all know, unhappy teens are a surly bunch and can make or break a vacation. Good luck and let us know what you all decide!

08-12-2008, 07:19 PM
Disneyland Silly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

08-13-2008, 01:32 PM
I think you should do DL, because I think the heat will be worse in Orlando at time, and you can see the Electrical Parade at DL during the summer. :thumbsup2

I've never been to either at that time, though. But you really do need to go to DL at some point! :goodvibes

08-13-2008, 01:38 PM
I think you should do DL, because I think the heat will be worse in Orlando

It's always worse in Orlando!!! :thumbsup2