Wanderlust: Bigger is not always better

Posted on Apr 11 2014 - 6:45pm by Guest Writer

By Maddie Bernard, Columnist

Disney Parks, nicknamed the happiest place on earth, is quite possibly the only place that can make anyone feel like a little kid again. This past spring break, I traveled to Orlando, Flo. with my family and visited the mother of all Disney Parks, Disneyworld — specifically the Magic Kingdom. I have been to Disneyland, Calif. in the past and was excited to compare and contrast Disneyland with Disneyworld.

Each year, 52.2 million people visit Disneyworld, and it is one of the most visited theme parks in the world. Disneyworld is located on 25,000 acres of land and consists of four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom — downtown Disney, two water parks and 24 resorts.

Needless to say, it is huge and very crowded. But I, being the Disney freak I am, was ecstatic to be visiting a whole world dedicated to Disney and could not wait to see what this huge theme park had in store. However, during my 15-hour day at the Magic Kingdom, I found that bigger is not always better. There were many occasions my family and I found ourselves hopelessly lost, and had to rely on our map everywhere we went. At times, it was very overwhelming.

The theme parks are not located within walking distances of each other, so you have to drive from place to place. This was extremely different from Disneyland and California Adventure because the parks are located about 100 meters from each other, and it is very fun to run from place to place instead of packing up the car and completely moving.

I also found that in order to visit multiple parks in one day at Disneyworld it costs about $160, while in Disneyland it is only $135.

The attractions in Disneyworld’s Magic Kingdom are extremely spread out, and it took a long time to walk from place to place. Sometimes it seemed like there was more scenery than attractions in the park, whereas in Disneyland there is a new ride around almost every corner. They also placed many of the other large attractions such as the Tower of Terror and Rock-n-Rollercoaster in other parks in an attempt to attract visitors.

My family and I found ourselves constantly comparing the two parks, saying things like, “That’s not like how it is in Disneyland” and being somewhat disappointed. For instance, there were many attractions that were simply not present in Disneyworld’s Magic Kingdom. The beloved Matterhorn ride, the Indiana Jones ride, some other kiddy rides and the Toon Town section were not in Disneyworld.

I understand that Disneyworld needs to be somewhat different from Disneyland to attract visitors, however, in Disneyworld there were no new rides to compensate for the missing attractions. There was a small circus themed area and an area called “New Fantasyland” to try to make up for the loss of Toon Town, but these areas mainly consisted of scenery and were fairly dull, such as Belle’s Castle, which you could not enter unless you waited two hours to get in.

My family and I spent 15 hours at the park, and when we left around midnight, there was still a 45-minute wait for the Peter Pan Kiddy ride. In contrast, during Disneyland’s final hours, you can hop onto any ride without waiting in line. Because Disneyworld is the mother of all theme parks, it needs to be able to accommodate thousands of people each day. However, in has become too industrial and has lost a bit of magic along the way.

In Disneyworld there were hour-long lines simply to get your picture taken with a character, whereas in Disneyland, Peter Pan approached my 6-year-old brother, and the two skipped through Fantasyland fighting Captain Hook together for 30 minutes.

Overall, if you are planning on having a Disney vacation, I recommend going to Disneyland. We live in Washington which means it is closer. The airfare will be more affordable as well.  Also, the park hopper passes are somewhat cheaper, and you will get to experience more thrill rides along with the large amount of kiddy rides.

While Disneyworld is a wonderful place to spend a family vacation, I found that I enjoyed my time at Disneyland a little bit better. For the best Disney experience though, visit the park where the prices are lower, the lines are shorter and the magic lives stronger.