wdw vs dl

Discussion in 'Disneyland (California)' started by msdis, May 9, 2001.

  1. msdis

    msdis DIS Veteran

    Dec 5, 1999
    We are WDW diehards and DVC owners but we are thinking about visiting DL. I've read both good and less than good things posted here which I greatly appreciate but am having a hard time to decide if DL is for us. WE have become used to using points to stay at DVC resorts which cost us next to nothing for dues by comparison to paying to stay at the resorts. We want to stay on property but in checking on line they appear to be real expensive even with DC discounts, and using points is not an option this year. A lot of people talk about staying off property. Staying off property at WDW is not the same as staying on in our opinion but proximity off sounds better at DL. Any feedback from anyone about this? Also what about the experience in the parks at DL compared to WDW? Also, to do the parks to death, hang out and check out all the resorts and downtown Disney would take about how many days to do at a moderate pace? I was thinking a week but could stay longer since this will probably be a once in a lifetime event. We have enough ff miles for free air which would be real expensive from where we live so paying extra for a memorable experience would be worth it to us if we thought the same magic as WDW would be at DL. Otherwise we will just plan another WDW trip or Disney cruise since we know what to expect. Thanks so much for any thoughts, opinions, both good and bad about this.
  2. Tink33

    Tink33 Disneyland Parade High Kicker

    May 3, 2000
    msdis - I think that Disneyland offers a different type of Magic. What makes WDW so special to you? Is is the theme parks, the characters, the restaurants, the hotels, the rides...or is it the special feeling that you get when you walk through the gates?

    If you could give some insight into what makes WDW so special to you, I am certain that we could let you know if Disneyland is for you and your family.

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  4. Tikiman

    Tikiman He kuikawa ka 'ikena o kela wahi ho'oku ka'a e wai

    Apr 28, 2001

    I am a Native Californian but I love WDW much more that Disneyland but Disneyland is worth visiting. There are so many original Disney things to see and many of the rides that are the same as the ones in WDW are better in Disneyland. Yes it is smaller even with Downtown Disney and the DCA but it is all worth seeing. I know it is more expensive to stay at the Disney hotels and the other hotels are very close to the parks but my suggestion is to still stay in either the Disneyland hotel or The Grand Californian. You will find it easier to get in and out of the parks. Both resorts have easy access to the parks, either walking or monorail. Just like in WDW, if you stay at their hotels they make it easy to go back to your room in the middle of the day.

    You will not need a week to see everything at the Disneyland Resort area like you do in WDW. I would say 3 or 4 days would be enough.

  5. SweetP

    SweetP Earning My Ears

    Aug 16, 1999
    We were at Disneyland from May 3-8th and that was more than enough time to visit both theme parks plus we took one day and went to Universal Studios.

    One thing to keep in mind is that you would want to schedule your visit during off-peak times. The crowds were really nice and moderate. The longest we stood in lines were 15 minutes may 20 max. But with fast pass it was great. Disneyland will fill-up quickly and everyone runs to Frontierland/Adventureland or Fantasyland. So I would suggest heading over to Tomorrowland first.

    Staying off-site is nothing like staying off-site in Orlando. You must remember, at WDW you are submerged into a total vacation with the majority of the other guest being on a true vacation also. Whereas with Disneyland, you are at an amusement park in Anaheim. And quite a few of the guest are local, at least this was my experinece. So it is a totally different feeling.

    Be aware that the "air" of Disneyland is totally different from WDW. There are lots of cast members at Disneyland that are just doing their job. At WDW, the cast members take the positions a step or two the extra mile. As for myself, I can't go back to Disneyland again but it is worth trying for yourself so you can understand the difference.

    Happy Planning!!!
  6. LuvTigger

    LuvTigger <font color=deeppink>Just wanted to add that I'm a

    Jul 3, 2000

    I can see that you're going to get a wide variety of answers to your questions!

    I think everyone agrees that WDW and DL are just different and cannot be compared, but it is not to say that one is better than the other. WDW was built to improve on Walt's original idea of DL, and one of the things he felt went "wrong" was that he didn't buy enough land in Cali., and as a result, hotels profited from the success of DL by sprouting up all around the perimeter of DL.

    I totally agree that while at WDW, it is not the same to stay off property, and I am one of those who swears by staying on property there. DL is a different story. Staying "on property" is more of a luxury, but not a necessity. It's nice to stay at the DL Hotel, and I will be staying at GC this fall because it's gorgeous, but if I don't stay at a DL Hotel, I don't feel like I missed out.

    And yes, there are hotels literally across the street from Disneyland, many are walking distance (5-10 minutes). Convenience is not as big an issue at DL. I can't really help much about the length of time to explore everything since I haven't been there to see DCA and DD yet, but DL can be done in 2 days at a leisurely pace. (Hint, head to Indiana Jones FIRST!) I've heard many have done DCA in a day.

    If you stay a week or longer, I would also visit Universal, Magic Mountain if you're a roller coaster enthusiast, and maybe Knott's Berry Farm. If you stay longer than a week, you could drive down to San Diego and visit Sea World and San Diego Zoo. San Diego Wild Animal Park is interesting too. If you have kids, I hear Legoland is fun for them.

    Obviously, no one can really say whether or not you will be disappointed if you don't see it for yourself. But personally, I would do it at least once for the experience. Also, many would argue that DL somehow seems more "magical" then MK. And there are quite a few things you will find there that you won't at WDW (Indy, Matterhorn, Blue Bayou, Fantasmic! is different...).

    I enjoy both WDW and DL, and I think most people can enjoy both individually as long as you don't go to one expecting it to be like the other.

    Let us know when you make your decision!
  7. *Flower*

    *Flower* Needs to Win the Lottery!!

    Jan 3, 2000
    We grew up in CA, and are now on the east coast.
    We try to get back to the west coast to visit family, and included in that trip is ALWAYS a day at DL.
    We've decided (only our opinion, you understand) that we enjoy PoC and HM MUCH BETTER at DL.
    Also, the Blue Bayou is a MUST for us, because their clam chowder is to die for. They used to do a stuffed mushroom appetizer that was a meal combined with the soup.
    There's a secret place in Injun Joe's cave where my DH and I used to hide and watch the feet go by when we were dating. And you could see outside too!
    I really enjoy the Sleeping Beauty diorama in the castle, we usually do that every time we go. We actually got to do the Rocket Rods on our last trip- it's a shame they decided to close it.
    Fantasmic is something to be seen at DL.... I've seen it in both venues, and although I enjoy the amphitheater setting at WDW, the Rivers of America setting can't be beat!!!
    Of course the DCA opened after our last trip out.

    Whatever you decide, have a great time- and have a bowl of chowder for us!!!

    :sunny: :earseek: :wave: :jester: :bounce:
  8. MaryAnnDVC

    MaryAnnDVC "Mare", DISing since '99; prefers being tagless

    Feb 9, 2001
    We're WDW diehards also, and recently became DVC members. I'm heading to California with our 3 kids (no DH this trip) in two weeks to visit my sister, but the kids and I will be spending ONE night at the Disneyland Hotel (on points) to do Disneyland and DCA.

    In a way, I didn't want to DO Disney at all. I had finally reached the point with WDW that I didn't have to do so much research, and I really wanted this to be a relaxing trip visiting my sister. But I also felt like...who knows when or if we'll be back to California (I went once before, 12 years ago when oldest DD was 10 months) and I want my kids to at least have been to DL once as a kid.

    I don't expect to do everything in two days, but I hope we get to do a lot. My kids have turned more cowardly about rides, it seems, as time goes on. I'm disappointed, but then again, maybe it's a good thing...less we have to do. :rolleyes:

    I'll try to post something when I get back about our experiences and comparisons of the WDW and DL.
  9. Luv2Roam

    Luv2Roam DIS Veteran

    Jun 3, 2000
    We spent 8 days at WDW last January and 3 days at DL/DCA just recently.
    WDW is better, I think, no question. But DL is certainly very enjoyable and worth the trip. It does have some big pluses.
    The best side is that it is perfect for park hopping. You have nice hotels, restaurants, the two parks and DTD all right there.
    We walked through all the resorts to see what we were missing by staying off site. They all were very nice, as you would expect. But I felt pretty good knowing I ws paying $54 a night as opposed to $200+ a night to stay on-site. We spent very little time in our hotel when we went to WDW or DL.
    We thought the food everywhere around DL was more expensive -- even more so than WDW. And we thought WDW was high. For the most part, the food was just okay. The food quality was better at WDW. DH says the coffee is much better at WDW with better selection. ;)
    It was nice to have a rental car (no need for a car at WDW). If we did want something else we could easily have walked to the hotel and driven somewhere. (Unlike WDW. Bus to hotel, if we had a car, it would have been a DRIVE to anywhere.)
    The food selections are not like WDW. The stores are not near as big and can't sell as much. Not near the good merchandise that WDW has.
    Hollywood Back Lots is a minor, minor attraction. MGM @WDW is a major attraction.
    Three days was plenty. We could easily have snuck in a tour, but didn't. But we really enjoyed going and glad we did.
    The weather was better in CA than WDW.:bounce:
  10. Cindy & Mickey

    Cindy & Mickey Earning My Ears

    May 2, 2000
    Growing up in Florida, I've been to WDW more times than I can count, and it's my favorite place on Earth. My favorite park is EPCOT, but MK is downright home-sweet-home. Living away from Florida for a number of years, I have to get back to WDW at least once a year, or I get seriously depressed (the Mickey Blues).

    We recently moved to Northern California, and took our first trip to DL. There's a strange sense of disloyalty I felt as a WDW die-hard...similar to last summer when we went to Islands of Adventure in Orlando, and I had to admit I really liked the place.

    Well, there's enough similarities with DL that you'll compare some things to MK, but there's enough differences, too, that it makes for a wonderful vacation. You won't be disappointed. Just as crowds at MK can ruin your day, DL gets crowded by mid-day, so travel off season.

    DCA reminds me of MGM plus Animal Kingdom, with a Boardwalk in the back. DCA has lots of elbow room, and the kids (9 and 11) loved DCA even more than the parks at WDW.

    We stayed off property at DL, and the hotel felt like a business traveler's hotel (as it was). I would have preferred to stay onsite, if even for one night, just to keep the magic going.
  11. raidermatt

    raidermatt Beware of the dark side. Anger...fear...aggression

    Sep 26, 2000
    We've been to DL about 6 times, but it's been almost 9 years since we last went. We are going in August and will be staying on-site for the first time. We took our first trip to WDW last year, and have subsequently joined DVC.

    Convenience wise, staying off-site at DL is not really a problem. The streets around DL are full of hotels/motels. Many are within walking distance, and most have shuttles to DL. I can't really speak to the on-site experience, since this will be the first time we've done that. We stayed on-site at WDW, and it was easy to see why that was the right choice.

    How long you'll need at DL depends on when you are going. If its during a peak season, 2 days will be needed. I've heard 1 is enough for DCA, and another for DTD should be good. But of course, theres a lot of non-Disney things to do in LA, so you may want to consider that.

    As for the parks themselves, I've heard very few people say that MK is "better" than DL. DL seems to have captured the magic, while MK hasn't quite found the whole package yet. Its hard to put a finger on, but most Disney fans get it once they've been to both. HOWEVER, I have to say that the overall WDW experience of being on-site and having Epcot, AK, MGM, etc is truly awesome.

    I guess what I'm saying is a trip out here to CA would be a good idea, and I'm sure you won't be disappointed. Whether you enjoy it as much as WDW will be something only you can decide. But regardless of which you choose, the magic will be waiting...
  12. casiland

    casiland Disney Fanatic

    May 2, 2001
    Being a west cost girl, I've been to DL more times than I can count and have enjoyed everyone. I will be doing DCA for the first time in Sept. so I can't say anything about that. I enjoy being able to stay off-site and not feel like I'm missing anything. I've only stayed at DLH once and wasn't all that impressed with it. I'd rather stay off-site and use my money for other things. I also agree the the Blue Bayou is a must. We never miss it. I also enjoy the luxury of not having to bus or monorail to everything. Just cross the street and your there.

    Also it is more spread out so you feel like you're really going from one land to the other. They don't overlap like they tend to do at WDW.

    We just recently returned from our first adventure to WDW and I have to say I was a little disapointed with the whole experience. I've always had this fantasy in my head about it being so much greater and grander than DL but it wasn't in my opinion. Most of the rides that the parks share are better at DL. The one exception to this is the Snow White ride. I was impressed with WDW's. The rides that I was really looking forward to Tower of Terror was not at all what I expected. I was greatly disappointed. Honestly though I think the 2 biggest drawbacks for me was the humidity (DL is a dry arid heat) and the smoke that lingered from the fire. I would like to visit WDW again in the future though to see if I just had bad luck the first time. My sister said that her second experience was a lot better than the first.

    Ultimately if you are a true Disney fan you will enjoy yourself no matter which park you're at. Enjoy your trip:) :)
  13. Judy from Boise

    Judy from Boise Watch out – might take away your

    Aug 24, 1999
    I had the same reaction my first trip to WDW. I expected WDW to be much better than DL, and was very dissapointed that they were not AS good in many instances. I think that is why Epcot became a favorite.
    I love the WDW vacation experience......but if you could "Blink me to a park" I would pick DL hands down.

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