As Disneyland is about to launch its new Max Pass option (July 19, 2017), I’ve had so many people ask me about the differences between Walt Disney World in FL and Disneyland in Southern California. Growing up on both coasts, I’ve visited both and BOTH are amazing; but there are definitely differences to be aware of when visiting each!
#1: Theme parks and attractions
#2: Magical Express
Walt Disney World in Florida:
If you’re arriving by plane and flying into Orlando International airport and staying on at a Walt Disney World resort, you are able to take advantage of Disney’s free transportation, the Magical Express, to and from your resort. Your bags will be taken from the airport to your resort and you will be whisked away in an air conditioned motor coach to your final destination – Walt Disney World property!
Disneyland in Southern California:
If you arrive by plane in Southern California, there are many options to get you from your airport to Disneyland property, but there is not a free Magical Express option. Depending on which airport you fly into, there are different transport options available – be sure to check which is best for your family!
#3: Fast Passes
Disneyland in Southern California:
Disneyland also has Fast Passes, but guests are not able to “pre-select”. Instead, once you are inside the parks, you travel to the attraction that you would like to ride later, scan your admission ticket, then go ride another attraction while you wait for your Fast Pass time.
NEW: I previously mentioned Disneyland’s “Max Pass” option has launched, and is available at a price of $10 per guest, per day. The MaxPass will work within the Disneyland app and allow you to select a FastPass electronically for an attraction instead of having to walk to each individual attraction every time you want a new Fast Pass. Max Pass also allows each guest to receive unlimited PhotoPass privileges, too, including attraction photos.
The Max pass will NOT eliminate the traditional free Fast Pass system, it will simply be there as another option for guests.
Walt Disney World in Florida
When you are thinking about where to dine during your Walt Disney World vacation – your magic number is 180! All guests are able to make dining reservations 180 days in advance (from your check in date). If you are staying at one of Walt Disney World resort, guests are even able to secure those hard to find reservations and character dining 180 + 10 days out!
While visiting the Florida location, you are also able to sign up for one of Disney’s Dining Plans. There are three versions of dining plans available for those staying at a Walt Disney World resort. The dining plans is purchased and added to your reservation before you arrive and provides you with an allotted number of meals, drinks and snacks for your stay.
#5: Magic Bands
Disneyland in Southern California
Another difference between the two locations would be that Disneyland does not utilize the Magic Band system. Instead, your park ticket will be used for your theme park entry, photo pass option and Fast Pass / Max Pass options.
So – while so many ask the question, “which is better” – I can honestly say BOTH!
Disneyland is where the magic began - I can walk down Main Street and know that Walt's original vision is all around. Everything in Disneyland is just a step away and easily accessible for all ages.
Walt Disney World is an opportunity to truly see the world without leaving the comforts of home. One morning I can explore an African safari and the next minute be in the world of Avatar -- unbelievable!
Do you have a favorite location!