There are so many questions for those that have never been to either Disney World or Disneyland before. While it can be an overwhelming process, I am hoping to ease that for you with a blog series meant to help those who have never been, and have alot of questions! For today, let’s discuss two big items: First…….
Walt Disney World vs. Disneyland (California)
Walt Disney World, located in Orlando, Florida, spreads across over 30,000 acres. Disneyland, located in Anaheim, California, covers around 100 acres with the expansion of Star Wars Land. The difference between the two in itself is mind-blowing to me!
Walt Disney World is home to four parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom) and currently twenty five on site resorts, ranging from value resorts to luxurious deluxe accomodations.
Disneyland is home to two parks (Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park) and three on site hotels.
One of my MV travel specialist friends best summed up how to decide between which park to vacation at: Time. What do you have time for during your vacation to Disney and what do you hope to get out of it? You can easily squeeze in a great Disneyland vacation in 3-4 days, covering both parks, and have an amazing time. It would allow you to spend around two days at each park. Or, if you have more time to spend, you could adventure to Disney World, and spend 8-10 days there, soaking in the Florida sun, while taking in all Disney World has to offer.
Next, moving on where to stay:
Resort and Hotel Options
As mentioned earlier, there are a variety of resorts available, depending on your budget. To say that Disney vacations are only for those who have money to blow, is not necessarily true. I, myself, have always felt that I have budgeted well for our trips, no matter where we stayed, and we have stayed everywhere from the value resorts to deluxe accomodations. If you are flexible with your dates, I can help you find that dream vacation in the resort of your choice! Here is a short breakdown of resorts. Keep in mind, there are many levels to each resort. There are standard rooms, rooms for more than 5 guests, preferred rooms, rooms with a garden, pool, or standard view, villas (even treehouse villas!), and other options that will deviate the cost.
Disney World Resorts
Deluxe resorts are priced the way they are for a variety of reasons, but I’m going to give you my own personal story and why we chose a deluxe resort to purchase through Disney Vacation Club. Deluxe resorts typically have better location and accessibility to the parks. Remember my son, and his walking condition? We needed to use a wheelchair and having a resort that was on the monorail loop of pickup and dropoff was a necessity for us, even if it meant paying a little more upfront. It saved us time, which saved HIM time and fatigue from being on his feet. So, on the monorail loop, we are just two very short stops away from Magic Kingdom. On the other end, we are a three minute walk to the TTC (Ticket and Transportation Center) and could once again, take the monorail to Epcot from this location. On top of that, deluxe resorts are all beautifully themed with fantastic decor and you truly feel you are swept off into another time, another place just by spending time at your resort. Each resort has amazing food and gift shops, some offer beach access, and most offer truly unique character dining opportunities. We have always agreed to spend a “day” of our trips just at our resort, relaxing, and taking in all it has to offer. A day to reset our batteries, and to spend a day in the sun, letting the kids swim while we relaxed as well. We felt it was our own private getaway, just being there.
Moderate resorts are typically priced middle of the road, although, certain times of year, there are only a few hundred dollars separating them between either the deluxe or the value, depending on when you travel. Their amenities and proximities are nice and I have always been pleased with what I had when staying at the moderate resorts we have chosen. Again, Disney never disappoints. Depending on which resort you choose, while you will not be as close to the action as you are on the monorail loop, the moderate resorts offer some unique themed rooms (pirates, princesses, etc), amazing food, and family friendly pools for down time. It may take a little longer by bus to get to your park destination of choice than what you would experience riding on the monorail, but again, being “middle of the road”, the experiences I have had, were always handled promptly and never alot of waiting. These resorts are spread out, and can allow for some great outdoor and indoor activities, as each resort also has their own theme, as did the deluxe resorts.
Value resorts are the least expensive of the resorts at Disney World. They offer over the top, larger than life, statues and replicas of favorite Disney characters. When our children arrived for the first time at a value resort, the first thing they noticed where all of the enormous statues and replicas. It felt very real and personal to them and reminded them of why they wanted to be on this trip. We encountered great food, great swimming and, as with every resort we have stayed, fantastic service from Disney cast members. Value resorts are the furthest away by bus from most locations, so while you are definitely saving money by staying here, you will spend just a bit more time each day geting to and from the parks.
The biggest and most important question you have to ask yourself when choosing a resort would be this: What is more important to me/my family: My time in the parks/proximity to my resort, or the value of the dollar I will spend? Once you know that, choosing a resort is a much simpler task.
The Grand Californian is the “grand” daddy of the hotels at Disneyland. It is the closest to the parks and has immediate access to California Adventure park. It has more of a craftsmen theme, with lush woods and stone. It has character dining, restaurants, an arcade, several pools, as well as a spa. It has over 700 rooms and suites, including rooms that are handicapped accessible. When it comes to cost, it is typically the most expensive of the three hotels.
The Disneyland Hotel is the original hotel of Disneyland California. It houses more of a classic feel, and has over 900 rooms and suites, including handicapped accessible rooms. This hotel offers many types of themed rooms including: Pirates of the Caribbean, Adventureland, Big Thunder, Mickey Mouse, and Fairy Tale. Character dining is also available here, as well as many other restaurants and lounges. There are several pools for the family, and the proximity to Disneyland is just a monorail ride away. The Disneyland Hotel is the middle of the road in cost of the Disneyland California hotels.
Paradise Pier is also just a monorail ride away from Disneyland. With over 400 rooms and suites, including handicapped accessible rooms, Paradise Pier is the most budget friendly of the three hotels at Disneyland. With a unique roof top pool, character dining, and panoramic views of California Adventure, Paradise Pier is an amazing option with its beach themed rooms.
What I always found so magically intriguing was that Walt Disney himself walked on the grounds of Disneyland. There is so much of him there. The history alone makes the trip worth while. While Disney World encompasses so many of his visions and what he also had plans for, there is something quite magical about knowing that he was there, once upon a time, in Disneyland.
Please let me help you in making your dreams coming true and adding some magic to your world. I would be happy to give you a custom quote to see what options would suit you best for your dream getaway adventure!
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
In my next blog, we will discuss Disney Dining Options!