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Old 01-25-2013, 04:04 PM   #1
Mike Bartenhagen
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Many Trips to WDW...Never To DL Please Help, How do they Compare?

We have been to WDW many times, every other year for a long time. Our kids could probably walk the parks blindfolded. We always enjoy the multiple parks and have never had a desire to go to DL instead of WDW. Last week I was given the opportunity to participate in a conference along with my family and in looking at the hotel information I see that we will be 10 minutes from DL on a trip with hotel and airfare paid for so I am seriously considering an extra day or two so we can visit DL. I am planner, it seems as though I will spend a year planning for a week trip to WDW and that's taking into consideration many trips to the park and a feeling that I have a very good understanding of the Walt Disney World parks, properties, transportation, etc. Contrast that to a quick trip to a park (DL) I have never really thought about visiting or understanding on a trip that will be coming up soon and I am feeling a bit overwhemed.

I have done some reading but would like some input from those that have done both WDW and DL. My opinion of WDW is that it's more of a region than a park....4 parks, 2 waterparks, countless properties, Downtown Disney, buses, trains, boats, miles and miles of road...it is massive. As I look at DL on google maps it appears to be more of a theme park in the middle of a big city.

As a starting point I have found this list from 2009:


Would you say this is still a valid list? As I said we have been on every ride at WDW many times most of them within the last few months so my goal with this trip would be to experience DL and California Adventure while being certain we visited the attractions that were unique to the two parks.

If the list is still valid that seems to be an awesome start for planning, if not any other input would be appreciated.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:12 PM   #2
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This is a really good thread that covers a lot of bases for WDW vets: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1162599
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:21 PM   #3
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DLR is more geared to the locals. Check the hours the park will be open for your dates-they are short during slower times of the year. The maximum number of days you can get is a 5 day ticket without buying extra days at full price or an AP.

The link above will give you the list of rides at DL/DCA that are different than WDW's. Hopping is very easy to do, although now they are taking everyone's photos as the enter the parks it might be more of a pain.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:22 PM   #4
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Mary Jo's list looks to be about three years old. So maybe she can update it? MJ, you reading this?

You refer to DL as if there is only one park. DL is part of Disneyland Resort and so it is more than just a single park. But it is much smaller than WDW.

There are many differences between the resorts. The thread posted by Giri in the PP will cover a lot of ground for you. It will help you start asking questions you do not yet know you should be asking.

And finally, I hope you can get at least two days at DLR. It really needs four days minimum. A two day trip to DLR would be sort of like a 3-4 day trip to WDW. Would you have fun? Sure. Would you miss a whole lot? Yes. A one day trip to DLR will leave your head spinning. Try to get at least two days. A third or fourth day will be better still.

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Old 01-25-2013, 04:24 PM   #5
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Let me start by saying don't compare. They are two very different experiences. We do both DL and WDW every year and love both for different reasons. We look for and enjoy what is unique about each.
There is something to be said about walking in Walt's foot steps and knowing that many of the things you are experiencing are the original. Don't get caught up in the size, embrace the fact that DL isn't so big.
I love that I don't have to plan so much and make ADR's for every meal.
My DS and her DH love DL but really don't enjoy WDW because of the size and they swear the CM are happier at DL.
Some of the things we look forward to at DL that we can't find at WDW: Mickey Mouse pancakes (River Belle Terrace), Indiana Jones ride, Blue Bayou, DCA, The Matterhorn, Fantasmic! on the Rivers of America not a stale theater setting.
Enjoy it, you too may just love Dl as much as WDW!
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:31 PM   #6
Mike Bartenhagen
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Thanks for the replies...the link was very helpful and did a lot to calm my planning concerns. We will most likely have 2 days to spend in the parks, not a lot but we just went to WDW in November and are going on a cruise in April so days out of school and dollars spend are a big consideration.
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:39 PM   #7
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I'll chime in to add that the two parks (DL and DCA) are super close to each other. Walking from one to the other is like walking to the monorail from the MK without the ramp. It definitely makes park hopping easier than at WDW, and it hardly takes any time compared to Florida.

You will notice that Main Street is shorter and the castle is much smaller... but that also translates to much smaller walks between rides. After a trip to WDW we are always surprised at how close all the rides are to one another in DL. Definitely makes touring the parks easier.

Also, if you get detailed park maps, you can see that there are lots of rides unique to DLR -- I would recommend riding those, plus some that differ from WDW (like Pirates, which is much longer and better at DL). There are some older rides (like Mr. Toad) that aren't at WDW, plus some like Cars Land, Indiana Jones, and Alice in Wonderland that have never existed in WDW.

We think of DL as a quick getaway and WDW as more of a long family vacation. They feel quite different, but we really enjoy both of them.

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