Sunday, July 6, 2014

Disneyland v. Walt Disney World: Picking my Favorite Resort

I’m breaking up my non-scheduled and irregularly-posted Harry Potter blog posts to write about something else that I’m rather passionate about: Disney Resorts.  I have been contemplating for some time which resort I like more, so I figure writing my thoughts, feelings, and opinions would help me sort it all out.  I will be evaluating the resorts on a couple of criteria, and picking a winner for each criteria.  I will then add up the total points and pick an overall winner.  Though to be fair, some criteria will be worth more points.  I’m sure this is a reasonable system, and my thoughts will never change in my life.

The first one is based on an assumption that will never come true – either everything at each resort is completely free, or I become so rich that spending money however I want at a Disney Resort doesn’t matter.  Like I said, not coming true, but I would love if it did.  If I had this option, I would pick Walt Disney World (WDW) over the Disneyland Resort (DLR) because there is so much more to do.  4 parks, 2 water parks, Disneyquest (not all that great to be honest), Downtown Disney (has more to do than DLR’s Downtown Disney), 28 hotels, 4 golf courses, 2 mini golf courses, and a whole host of things I didn’t know you could do there until I googled it (kayaking, wakeboarding, parasailing, boat rentals, etc.) would be more fun than 2 parks, 3 hotels, and Downtown Disney.  This doesn’t automatically give WDW the win for favorite resort though, because I will never have that much money/time, and even if I did, I don’t go to WDW to go kayaking.  However, WDW gets the win for this section.  WDW 1 – DLR 0

Travel Experience:  I will admit that this situation is biased to where I grew up.  Getting to DLR from St. George is a 7 hour drive.  Going to WDW is several hours of flying.  I kinda go crazy in cars.  If I’m not driving, I tend to get a little sick after a while.  Flying takes a little longer, and can be more stressful, but there is also more to do.  Also, not having to stop for bathroom breaks is a big plus when you have 3 younger brothers, and all of your bladders get full at different times.  Plus, I think flying adds to the vacation experience of it all.  I don’t fly much, so I generally equate it with something fun when I do.  WDW 2 – DLR 0

Vacation Experience:  If you are going to visit either resort, I feel like you should give a full day to each park, even if the park doesn’t deserve it (I’m looking at you Epcot).  So having 4 days for WDW and only 2 for DLR tends to make WDW better.  You are able to get away for longer, and take advantage of the vacation.  WDW 3 – DLR 0

Proximity vs Inclusiveness:  I am combining these because they feel like opposites to me.  Everything at DLR is right next to each other.  It’s easy to park hop, or get to Downtown Disneyland, or even leave the property if you want.  However, you don’t always feel like you are in your own little space.  California is very prevalent and noticeable.  For WDW, I have some info to share with you – according to WDW is the same size as San Francisco.  So ya, it’s inclusive.  It’s just hard to navigate everything on your own.  Each has its perks and downfalls – instead of giving each park a point and having this section mean nothing, I will give WDW a half-point because I like their option slightly more.  I’m just not that big a fan of park hopping.  WDW 3.5 – DLR 0

On a budget: This will depend on where you live.  Since I am writing, it’s based on Utah.  If any of you aren’t from Utah – deal with it.  Because of the closeness to Utah, DLR basically wins.  It’s cheaper to travel there by car, but flying isn’t all that bad.  Because of the 3 close-ish airports, you get more options on flights, which makes them cheaper.  So if you live in northern Utah, I would look into flying.  Also, because the rest of California is right there, you can find some alright hotels within walking distance.  Unless you are staying onsite at WDW you will need to rent a car, call a cab, or stay at a hotel with shuttle service – after paying to fly across the country.  WDW 3.5 – DLR 1

The 1-park test:  In my situation (living in Utah) you wouldn’t fly to Florida to only visit one park and then fly home.  It’s slightly more reasonable for DLR, but still doesn’t make a lot of sense.  So we will remove budget/travel constraints for this scenario, which is you can only go to one park for one day.  For me, the answer is the Disneyland (DL) park. Not only is it bigger than Magic Kingdom (MK) by 53 acres, but there is more to do at that park than any other park.  Most people who haven’t been to WDW don’t realize just how separated everything is, or what isn’t included.  For example rides at DL not found in MK (but may be found in other WDW parks) include the Matterhorn, Indiana Jones, and Star Tours.  The list may not be long, but I love those rides dangit – I don’t want to have to park hop to 2 other parks to get their equivalents in (in all fairness, expedition Everest and Matterhorn aren’t the same, but I put them as equivalent as far as theming/idea).  And DLR would still win if you did a 2 parks to 2 parks test (I would include MK and Disney’s Hollywood Studios from WDW). I feel so strongly about this section, that this is worth 1.5 points.  WDW 3.5 – DLR 2.5

New Rides/Expansion:  The newest ride/section at DLR is Carsland, and WDW got the new Fantasyland.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to ride the 7 dwarfs mine train ride, but I think Radiator Springs Racers would have won.  WDW has more room for expansion though, and I think Avatar-land will be pretty awesome once it’s finished.  Short term, DLR gets the win, though WDW has a much easier time expanding and getting new rides.  This is a half point victory.  WDW 3.5 – DLR 3.0

Weather/Air:  WDW is more humid, DLR air can be dirtier (again with the rest of California being right on top of you thing).  WDW is hotter.  Winner DLR, but this isn’t major, so .5 point victory here. WDW 3.5 – DLR 3.5

Nostalgia:  I could go on for a long time here and break this down.  To save you some time I will say that DLR wins.  There is childhood nostalgia, family nostalgia, and gradnight nostalgia going on here.  WDW has no childhood nostalgia, and less family nostalgia than DLR.  It does have “I worked/lived there” nostalgia (not that strong), and Honeymoon nostalgia.  So DLR basically wins 3-1 on the nostalgia count.  Disney parks are better with more people, and with kids, and I have more experience with bigger groups at DLR, as well as with kids (or while being a kid) as well.  DLR 4.5 – WDW 3.5

Disneyland Resort gets the win.  Thanks for reading – or more like thanks for clicking.  Eventually I will blog about the Harry Potter movies, but we’ll see if that ever happens before this month is over.

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