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Disneyland vs Disney World: Which One Should You Visit?

Disneyland vs Disney World: Which One Should You Visit?

Have you ever wondered just how Disneyland and Disney World stack up against each other? The names are similar, so they are probably exactly alike, right?

Not so fast.

Even though there are definitely some similarities, there are lots of BIG differences between these 2 Disney parks.

Ready to find out more about how Disneyland compares to Walt Disney World?

Let’s go!

Quick overview

Disneyland is located in Anaheim, California and Walt Disney World is located near Orlando, Florida

We go into a lot more detail below, but if you just want a snapshot of how they compare, take a look at this infographic:

Infographic comparing Walt Disney World to Disneyland

Which park is older?

If you love history, you’ll love Disneyland.

Disneyland in California is the original Disney theme park

No matter how much we love Walt Disney World, there is one area where Disneyland will always win: history.

First opening its doors on July 17, 1955, Disneyland Park is the only Disney theme park designed and built under the supervision of Walt Disney.

Walt Disney

And when you visit it, you’ll find that the history just oozes out of Disneyland Park. You see (and feel!) it everywhere you look.

Sure, Magic Kingdom has some history, too.

But when you are walking down Main Street U.S.A at Disneyland, you are *literally* walking in Walt’s footsteps.

Walt Disney World, on the other hand, first opened on October 1, 1971, and although Walt Disney played a part during the early planning stages, he passed away on December 15, 1966 – almost a full 5 years before Magic Kingdom first opened its gate.

If you love Disney stuff because of the nostalgia, a trip to the Disneyland Resort should be on your bucket list.

Walts Apartment

Because while Walt Disney World is full of excitement and innovation, Disneyland is where you’ll find history, quaintness, and charm.

Which is bigger: Disneyland or Disney World?

Walt Disney World is huge, but Disneyland is quaint.

The Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort embody many of the same common elements: magic, happiness, imagination, creativity, fun, and, of course, a place where everyone is welcome to celebrate their love of all things Disney.

But, although they both start from the same mushy, emotional places that we love, there is one big, glaring difference: Walt Disney World is way, way larger.

Disney World is larger than Disneyland

In fact, if you placed Disneyland inside of Walt Disney World, all it would take up is one teeny, tiny, little corner.

Of course, that size difference makes sense when you consider what you find at each respective resort.

Disney World has four theme parks, two water parks, more than 25 onsite hotels, a large shopping district called Disney Springs, a couple of golf courses, and an area for sport competitions called Wide World of Sports.

Disneyland, on the other hand, only has two theme parks, the Downtown Disney District, and three onsite hotels.

To put it into perspective, Disneyland currently covers 510 acres and Disney World spreads across 27,000 acres or roughly 43 square miles (that’s twice the size of Manhattan)!

Disneyland’s Castle vs. Disney World’s Castle: which is bigger?

Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World have castles in the center of their hub and spoke layout.

Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty castle is 77 feet tall, but Disney World’s Cinderella Castle is over twice as big and stands at 189 feet tall.

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland is based on the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. Although it isn’t as large as the Disney World version, it does house an attraction called the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough where guests can see dioramas retelling the popular fairy tale of the castle’s namesake.

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Walt Disney World’s Castle, on the other hand, is called Cinderella Castle (not Cinderella’s Castle as it is often mislabeled) and its design draws inspiration from lots of castles, both real and fake – including Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Cinderella Castle

And, while it doesn’t house an attraction, it does have a restaurant called Cinderella’s Royal Table which normally hosts a character meal packed full of princesses, including Cinderella herself.

Is Disney World better than Disneyland?

Don’t get us wrong – we love everything that Walt Disney World has to offer.

With so many parks and resorts and things to do, when you visit Disney World it is easy to immerse yourself and fill a week or more with activities and experiences, all right there on property.

Walt Disney World

And, most of the time, that is exactly the kind of trip we want – especially since we genuinely love planning and Disney World’s size and complexities speak to that part of our personalities.

But, the smaller (yet mighty!) size of Disneyland lends itself to an experience that is both strangely familiar and totally different.

Disneyland Fantasyland

With fewer things to plan, fewer miles to cover, and fewer things (overall) to do, Disneyland trips can also be a lot less stressful. There isn’t the same sense of urgency. You can easily walk between the parks, and in many cases, to plenty of less-expensive off-site resorts.

We don’t think of either situation as better than the other. It’s just…different.

Do both Disney World and Disneyland have onsite resort hotels?

Both Walt Disney World and Disneyland have fantastically themed onsite resort hotels, but Disney World has a lot more.

In fact:

Disneyland has 3 official Disney hotels on property, but Disney World has over 25

The onsite hotels at Disneyland are located within steps of both theme parks and Downtown Disney, but there are also several offsite options within walking distance. These latter hotels are known as “Good Neighbor Hotels.”

disneyland hotel

Staying offsite is much more common at Disneyland compared to Disney World, especially because you can save money and easily walk to the parks, since Disneyland is smaller.

Disney World offers a slew of hotels, including Value, Moderate, Deluxe, and Deluxe Villa resorts.

And, many Disney World hotels come with perks, like having access to the Skyliner and being able to book dining up to 60 days in advance for your entire length of stay. There are also several Disney World offsite hotels that many prefer to book.

Both Disney World and Disneyland have hotels that range in price, incorporate Disney Vacation Club, have great theming and details, offer exceptional dining, and more.

Onsite vs. offsite

One of the things we love about the size of Walt Disney World is the fact that it gives you so many different options for trips.

It makes it easy to create different experiences, and staying at varied resorts keeps things fresh and new on each visit.

Goofy and pluto at the contemporary

Plus, we are suckers for being inside the “Disney Bubble” where we can stay semi-secluded from reality. While easy to do when staying onsite at Walt Disney World, at Disneyland it is nearly impossible simply due to its urban location.

At Disneyland, there simply isn’t a huge advantage to staying onsite. Of course, when we are looking for a splurge, you will find us at The Disneyland Hotel — but that is just because we love the theming and the to die for view from the Club Lounge.

But, for most Disneyland trips, you’ll find us counting the money we saved from staying at a nearby offsite resort.

Do Disneyland and Disney World have the same attractions?

As different as Disney World and Disneyland are, they do have a lot of the same attractions

But, even though the names are the same, many of the attractions aren’t completely similar. 

it's a small world disney world

The truth is, when you compare Disneyland’s versions of attractions to Walt Disney World’s, you’ll find that in nearly every case, Disneyland’s versions are better.

It pains us to admit that, but it’s true.

There are some exceptions. We personally prefer Magic Kingdom’s version of Haunted Mansion, for example.

But overall, Disneyland Resort wins in head-to-head attraction battles.

its a small world disneyland

We don’t say this to disparage the Florida versions. Instead, we want to encourage any Walt Disney World vets making their first visits to Disneyland to not skip any of the attractions that they’ve tried before at Walt Disney World.

Trust us on this.

List of attractions found at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland

Here’s a list of all the same attractions you can find at both resorts, with notes on how they compare.

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure (opening 2024 on both coasts)One person per row (Disneyland) and two people per row (Magic Kingdom). Both themed after The Princess and the Frog. [Formerly Splash Mountain]
Pirates of the CaribbeanThe Disneyland version has an outdoor queue, more scenes, two drops, and is longer, & overall better compared to Pirates at Magic Kingdom
“it’s a small world”Disneyland’s version incorporates Disney characters into each country; outdoor queue is breathtaking
Mad Tea PartyInside at Magic Kingdom and outside at Disneyland (prettier here)
Astro OrbiterIdentical, except for colors and design elements
Big Thunder Mountain RailroadNearly identical, but Disneyland’s has some cool special effects (like dynamite)
WDW / Disneyland RailroadNearly identical, except each have own unique twists: Disneyland’s has dinosaurs!
Dumbo the Flying ElephantMagic Kingdom’s has an interactive queue and two Dumbo’s that run at the same time
Haunted MansionDifferent exteriors; similar elements inside with own unique Easter Eggs and details; interactive queue at Magic Kingdom
Jungle CruiseNearly identical
King Arthur / Prince Charming Regal CarrouselThe same ride with different themes and designs
The Many Adventures of Winnie the PoohDisneyland has an outdoor queue and loading zone, bigger ride vehicles, different scenes and story
Mark Twain / Liberty Square RiverboatPretty much the same, but different names and deck views
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers RunIdentical
Star Wars: Rise of the ResistanceIdentical
Peter Pans’s FlightNearly identical, with a few different design elements
Space MountainOne person per row (Magic Kingdom) and two people per row (Disneyland); Disneyland’s ride vehicles have head rests; only one track at Disneyland
Star Tours — The Adventures ContinueNearly identical
Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki RoomDifferent pre-shows and queues; Disneyland has an Enchanted Tiki Garden you walk through
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters /
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Nearly identical, except the blasters can be picked up on Astro Blasters
The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure /
Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
Identical, except for name and queues; Magic Kingdom has a much better queue that is super detailed and immersive
Mickey’s PhilharMagicIdentical
Soarin’ Around the WorldIdentical, except for queues
Toy Story Midway Mania! / Toy Story Mania!Queue at Hollywood Studios is much more immersive, indoors, and has amazing detail
Turtle Talk with CrushPretty much the same, but both offer a different experience each time
FantasmicThey are very similar with the music and some of the floats, but Hollywood Studios’ takes place in a theater and Disneyland’s is on Rivers of America. Disneyland’s version also includes Pirates of the Caribbean on the Sailing Ship Columbia.

There are also a few attractions that use similar ride vehicles and even similar track layouts, but are very, very different.

For example, Test Track, which is at Epcot, and Radiator Springs Racers at California Adventure. Both of these attractions use the same car design, and may parts of the track are also identical – just themed way differently.

Another great example of this is the Indiana Jones Adventure ride at Disneyland Park and DINOSAUR over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Again, veterans of one of those attractions will see many similarities in ride vehicles and track layout with an entirely different theme.

And finally, Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout at California Adventure. Originally, the California version was a lot more similar to the attraction found in Florida. They were both themed after Tower of Terror and while the Florida version included more elements (like elevator cars that move outside the elevator shaft), most people viewed them as basically “the same”.

But, now that the version in California Adventure has been re-themed, you have an attraction that has a similar structure and a similar motion, but an entirely different theme. It also fits perfect into Avengers Campus.

What about Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Selections?

There used to be the now-retired FastPass+ at Walt Disney World and FastPass/MaxPass at Disneyland.

Now that those systems are long gone, we have Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Selections, which are built into the My Disney Experience app (for Disney World) and the Disneyland app (for Disneyland).

Hang onto your hat because if you are new to Disney planning, all of this can be a little confusing.

Disney World and Disneyland both give guests the chance to purchase Genie+ for the ability to skip the Standby Line at select attractions across all theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Disneyland Park, and Disney California Adventure).

radiator springs racers lightning lane entrance disneyland

Pricing is as follows:

  • Disney World: Park-specific pricing (varies based on park and date)
  • Disneyland: $30 (bought in advance as an add-on); Single-day purchase via app starts at $30 and varies based on demand

After you purchase Genie+, you’re able to choose the next available arrival time for a variety of attractions and other experiences.

When your return time is called, you’ll enter the attraction via the “Lightning Lane,” the new name for FastPass lines.

Similar to Genie+, Individual Lightning Lane Selections at Disney World and Disneyland have both similarities and differences.

It’s important to note that Genie+ and pay-per-ride Lightning Lane passes are separate from one another.

But, both are built into the Disney Genie system that’s available in the My Disney Experience and Disneyland app.

7DMT individual lightning lane

Essentially, this pay-per-ride option allows you to purchase a time to ride select popular attractions (a maximum of 2 purchases per guest per day) at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood, Animal Kingdom, Disneyland Park, and Disney California Adventure.

Once your return time is called, you can board the attraction using the “Lightning Lane.”

As similar as Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Selections are at both resorts, there are many differences as well.

In addition to reading our complete guide on how these services compare at Disney World and Disneyland, check out this handy chart.

genie plus comparison graphic for disney world and disneyland

How do you make dining reservations?

Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World have restaurants that typically require Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) if you want to dine there.

How you make dining reservations at Disneyland and Disney World is pretty much the same

In the past, Walt Disney World’s 180-day Advanced Dining Reservation window was sometimes a shock for Disneyland vets to get used to, but as it works now, you can make reservations for Table Service locations at both resorts up to 60 days in advance.

And with both parks, you can do so by booking online, via the My Disney Experience (for Walt Disney World) or Disneyland apps, or by calling each respective dining line (Disney World: 407-WDW-DINE; Disneyland: (714) 781-DINE).

disneyland dining reservations

Dining reservations go fast (here are some tips on how to snag hard-to-get dining reservations at Disney World), so you definitely want to make sure you book as soon as you can — and plan accordingly.

Keep in mind that for both parks, you also don’t need valid theme park admission to make dining reservations, but you will need a ticket and/or an Annual Pass and a theme park reservation to dine at a restaurant inside any of the theme parks.


Both Disneyland and Disney World also have Mobile Order for many Quick Service locations, along with Mobile Check-In (when checking in for Table Service reservations) and Mobile Walk-Up waitlists you can join (depending on availability) if you don’t have a dining reservation.

Advanced Dining Reservations are (typically) more important for Walt Disney World

Although both parks have restaurants that can be tricky to get into, when both Disneyland and Walt Disney World are fully open, aside from the busiest times of the year, we’ve always had decent luck snagging same-day reservations when visiting Disneyland.

The same is true for Walt Disney World, but primarily at Epcot.

The difference, however, is that Table Service dining feels a lot more part of the “experience” at Walt Disney World than at Disneyland. With so many restaurants, to choose from, strategizing your dining is a major part of planning a Walt Disney World vacation compared to Disneyland where you might plan only a couple special Table Service meals and dine the rest of the time at Quick Service locations.

Plus, Table Service dining at Walt Disney World is often used as a respite from the heat, something you don’t need as often at Disneyland.


Transportation is key in getting around Disney World, but walkability is a huge perk when visiting Disneyland.

Not only can you walk from your hotel (both onsite and many offsite) to Disneyland Park, California Adventure, and Downtown Disney, but you can easily walk between each theme park — they’re right across the Esplanade from each other.

Disneyland Esplanade

Contrast that to Disney World where, due to its size, transportation is a must. There are several options for guests, including: buses, the Monorail, the Disney Skyliner, and boats.

And although the size makes walking difficult, there are a few resorts that make it easy to walk to either Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios and Epcot.

But, there aren’t that many and the walkable locations can come with a high price tag.

Disney Skyliner over Caribbean Beach

Unlike Disney World, Disneyland doesn’t really require the use of transportation. Again, walkability is a huge factor. 

That said, Disneyland does have a Monorail that travels around the entire resort area. But, it is more of an attraction and less of a mode of transportation and when running. Only guests with valid theme park admission to Disneyland Park can board the Monorail either inside the park or in Downtown Disney.

The Monorail at Disney World allows anyone to take a trip on the highway in the sky.

As different as transportation is at Disneyland and Disney World, there are two options they have in common: guests can use a rideshare service or drive/rent a car.

Other transportation considerations

We are transportation nuts. We love boats and trains and gondolas and monorails and, yes, even buses (sometimes).

But, what we don’t love is waiting for them.

Bus stop at Caribbean Beach

To be fair, at Walt Disney World outside the busy mornings and park close, the lines for most forms of transportation aren’t usually that bad.

And – no lie – we still grin ear to ear when we take off in the Skyliner.

But, there is a reason why at Walt Disney World that the resorts within walking distance to the parks are so expensive: having the ability to walk is a game changer.

When you can walk to the parks, you get straight to the fun.

And at Disneyland, being able to walk everywhere means a lot of the hustle and bustle and worry of getting from place to place is eliminated.

Downtown Disney vs. Disney Springs

Downtown Disney and Disney Springs are similar in the sense they provide a shopping, dining, and entertainment experience to guests without needing a park ticket for admission.

They even have some of the same offerings, like the massive Disney merchandise store guests know and love — World of Disney. Plus, they also both have a popular ice cream spot — Salt & Straw.

Downtown Disney map

However, the major difference is that Downtown Disney is much smaller than Disney Springs. It pretty much sits right in middle of the Disneyland resort between the onsite hotels and both theme parks.

You can easily enjoy it in one day or less. On the other hand, you can take an entire day at Disney Springs because there’s just that much to explore.

Download the PDF

Disney Springs Map
Disney Springs Map

Truly. Even if shopping isn’t your thing, there are all sorts of live entertainment and places to eat that you can stay busy with no problem at all.

It’s not just the shopping…or is it?

Both Disney Springs and Downtown Disney are the perfect options if you want to have a non-park day or need something to do after a long day riding attractions.

But, between the 2, we typically view Disney Springs as a destination and Downtown Disney more as a fun walkway and a place to grab some food or do some light shopping as we head between the resorts and parks of the Disneyland Resort.

Park Hopping

Both Disneyland and Disney World allow park hopping, meaning that if you have a ticket that allows it, you can go back and forth as much as you like between the available parks.

Before the pandemic, guests who had park hopping access via their Annual Pass or those who purchased a park hopping add-on could visit multiple parks per day whenever they wanted to.

But, that has since changed for both resorts.

points of light on spaceship earth

Like always, guests still need a ticket or an annual pass with Park Hopper benefits to be able to park hop. But now they also need to make a theme park reservation.

Here’s how it works for both parks:

  • Park hopping at Disney World: Guests have to make a Disney Park Pass reservation for the first park they plan to visit and enter that first park prior to visiting another. Park hopper hours at Walt Disney World start at 2 p.m. each day. (Tip: you can enter the park you’re hopping to starting at 1:47 p.m.)
  • Park hopping at Disneyland: Guests with Park Hopper tickets will make a park reservation for the first park they plan to visit at the start of their day. Then, starting at 11 a.m. that same day they can hop over to the other park.

Should you hop?

If you are heading to Walt Disney World, our advice is that unless you are absolutely positive you’ll want to go between the parks, you should wait to add the Park Hopping option to your ticket. That’s because if you get there and decide you are too tired to hop, you can’t get a refund and Park Hoppers can be expensive (especially if you have a large family).

But, if you don’t have the Park Hopping option and once you arrive decide you *do* want to hop, you can always add it onto your ticket. Keep in mind, though, you can’t add Park Hopping to just one day. It is all or nothing.

But, when it comes to Disneyland, we almost always recommend people get the Park Hopper up front.

Disneyland esplanade banners

The fact that you can walk between parks in just a minute or 2 makes it so easy to pop in and out. It is especially useful in the evenings or around meal times.

Which has better weather: Disneyland or Walt Disney World?

There is no denying that the weather at Disneyland is amazing. Their location in Southern California means that most of the year, you’ll encounter moderate temperatures with very little rain. More often than not, you won’t even need a poncho or a fan to battle the heat.

Disney World is another story. There are certain months that are cooler, but there are also several times of year when it is just plain hot and extremely humid.

poncho rain disney world

Not to mention, during the hotter days, rain and thunderstorms are common. Oh, and there’s also hurricane season to keep in mind.

Disney World trips usually require you to pack ponchos, umbrellas, and fans. Plus, it’s important to plan not just your schedule, but what to wear and what to pack in your park bag.

You can keep track of Disney World weather with our monthly crowd calendars.

Disneyland typically has better weather than Disney World.

Disneyland’s weather is the stuff that dreams is made of. And Disney World’s? Well, lets just say it isn’t as nice and leave it at that.


The Disney parks are known for their nighttime spectaculars and fireworks. They both make evenings that much more magical.

happily ever after main street projections

But, unlike Disney World, Disneyland is known for frequently canceling its fireworks due to weather, specifically wind.

If there is bad weather at Disney World, fireworks and nighttime shows won’t happen either, but Disneyland has more cancellations.

We recommend trying to see fireworks every night at Disneyland just in case they are unexpectedly canceled.

Virtual Queues

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at Epcot and TRON Lightcycle / Run at Magic Kingdom and World of Color at Disney California Adventure are the only attractions across Disney World and Disneyland offering a virtual queue.

On September 23, 2021 the virtual queue was paused for Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios and on January 10, 2022 for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. Disneyland also paused the virtual queue for WEB Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure on November 4, 2021 and for Rise of the Resistance on November 22, 2021.

A standby queue is being used for all of these attractions, along with the opportunity to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane spot.

A virtual queue can always return at a later date or “from time to time.”

Virtual queues can come in handy, especially because they gives guests the chance to ride popular attractions without having to physically wait in line.

How the virtual queue works at Disney World

At Disney World, you join virtual queues in the My Disney Experience app.

Here’s a condensed explanation of how the virtual queue works:

  • You need valid theme park admission and a park reservation (where the attraction is located) to grab a boarding group
  • There are two distribution times: 7 a.m. (you can try to join from your hotel room or at home) and 1 p.m. (the second drop; while Disney officially states guests must be inside the park for the 1 p.m. drop, we’ve learned that as long as you’ve tapped into the park, you can try to join the virtual queue at 1 p.m. from anywhere)
  • Depending on the attraction, the park where the ride is located must be your first park of the day (you cannot park hop and join the virtual queue). However, if you are able to get a virtual queue spot for TRON at 7 a.m. and the virtual queue for Cosmic Rewind is available after 2 p.m. (official park hopping time), you will be eligible to get a virtual queue for both.
  • If you’re lucky enough to snag a spot in the virtual queue, you’ll receive a push notification via the My Disney Experience app when it’s time for you to board (you have up to 1 hour from the time of the alert to go to the entrance of the attraction)
tron virtual queue boarding group tracker

Important: Each guest can enter the virtual queue no more than once per day. Guests may not hold a boarding group for more than one experience at the same time. If more than one experience is using a virtual queue, guests will need to enter those virtual queues one at a time.

There’s also an option for registered guests of Deluxe, Deluxe Villa, Swan and Dolphin, and Shades of Green resorts to try to join the Cosmic Rewind and TRON virtual queues at a 6 p.m. drop time during Extended Evening Theme Park Hours. Learn more.

How the virtual queue works at Disneyland

At Disneyland, you join the virtual queue in the Disneyland app.

Here’s how the virtual queue for World of Color works:

  • Guests with a valid ticket and theme park reservation for the same day may be able to join the virtual queue in the Disneyland app beginning at 12 p.m., subject to availability
  • To access the virtual queue, you must have entered Disney California Adventure with a one-park ticket or Park Hopper ticket, or Disneyland Park with a Park Hopper ticket
  • If the virtual queue reaches capacity, you can visit the Paradise Bay viewing area 30 to 45 minutes before showtime to check in with a Cast Member for walk-up viewing options
  • Guests with a virtual queue selection will receive a notification through the Disneyland app to enter the viewing area via one of the 2 marked entrance points (Blue or Yellow), approximately 45 minutes before the show begins
world of color virtual queue at disney california adventure

Important: Joining the virtual queue for World of Color is not required to view the spectacular, but it is highly recommended. Additional viewing for each performance is located around Paradise Bay on a first-come, first-served basis.

What things are unique to Disneyland & Disney World?

Even though Disney theme parks are all about Disney, they are still special in their own way. The following are unique to both Disney World and Disneyland.

If you visit Disney World a lot, you should focus more on the lands and attractions that are different at Disneyland. The same goes for if you’re an avid visitor of Disneyland, but rarely travel to Disney World.

Tiana New Orleans Square Disneyland

Here are the main lands and parks that are unique at each location:

  • Disneyland Park: Mickey’s Toontown, New Orleans Square
  • California Adventure: Cars Land, Pixar Pier, Avengers Campus, San Fransokyo Square
  • Disney World: Animal Kingdom as a whole, Epcot, specifically the World Showcase, both water parks

Park Reservations

For Disneyland and Disney World, guests ages 3 and older need valid theme park admission and a theme park reservation in order to gain entry.

The purpose of park reservations is to control capacity. Both use theme park reservation systems and while relatively the same, there are a few differences.

Let’s first start with Disney World’s system, which is called the Disney Park Pass System.

Disney World theme park reservation availability

There are three “buckets” of available reservations: one for Annual Passholders without resort reservations (can only make a certain number of reservations at a time based on pass type), one for resort guests (including those with Annual Passes), and one for ticket holders with onsite resort reservations.

The latter two buckets can make park reservations for their entire length of stay.

Important: Starting with Disney World visits on January 9, 2024, theme park reservations will no longer be required for date-based tickets (these are the standard ticket options offered at Disney World).

As for Disneyland, there aren’t any buckets of available reservations. Plus, guests can only make park reservations up to 120 days in advance.

Disneyland’s reservation system also allows you to book tickets and make reservations all at once.

theme park reservation availability at disneyland

But, if you aren’t ready to buy just yet, just like Walt Disney World you can also check park availability before purchasing tickets for Disneyland.

Disneyland regulars going to Disney World

Are you a regular at Disneyland and considering visiting Disney World for the first time? Here’s what you need to know.


Disneyland and Disney World are both truly special places that are worth experiencing. If you need help planning a vacation to Disney World and/or Disneyland, Small World Vacations can help.