Disneyland vs. Disney World: Ride Comparisons
There are many attractions which are the same in Disneyland and Disney World. However, Some rides share the same name while other rides provide the same experience under a different theme. Which is better, Disneyland or Disney World?
My family and I live in South Louisiana. My wife and I both grew up going to Disney World because it is simply closer.
In 2012, my wife and I briefly visited Disneyland in California during one of my business trips. We really enjoyed our time there and vowed to come back with our children.
And, we kept our promise and visited Disneyland in 2017 with our children.
Which park has better rides? This is a very common question I get asked quite often from friends and family.
Therefore, I decided to do a ride comparison of our favorite similar attractions: Disneyland vs. Disney World: Ride Comparisons.
So, Lets get ready to rumble…
California Screamin’ vs. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
Winner: Disneyland, California Screamin
California Screamin and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster are both high-speed roller coasters.
California Screamin is located in Disneyland’s California Adventure and Disney World’s Hollywood Studios houses Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
Why is California Screamin better than Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster? Length of ride, visibility, and wait times.
The length of the California Screamin ride is much longer than Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
California Screamin is outside, so visibility is awesome. I like to see what is ahead – sort of adds to the excitement.
And, wait times seem much shorter at California Screamin than Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
These 2 roller coasters are similar in many aspects such as they both launch to a countdown at the beginning and they both go in a loop.
California Screamin is longer and has 1 loop compared to 1 loop and 2 inversions on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. However, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster seems faster, but this could be an illusion because it’s in the dark.
In summary, this was a close comparison and simply came down to personal preference.
Pirates of the Caribbean – Disneyland vs. Disney World
Winner: Disney World, Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean in Disneyland and Disney World share the same name; however, they are very different.
The attraction is located in Liberty Square in Disney World and it is located in New Orleans Square in Disneyland.
Why is Pirates of the Caribbean better in Disney World? The ride queue and the theme matches.
While Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean has 2 drops and is a bit longer than it’s Disney World counterpart, the first scene just doesn’t make sense. What does a Louisiana swamp have to do with Pirates in the Caribbean?
Louisiana certainly has a rich pirate history (Jean Lafitte), but Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean does not take place in the muddy waters of the Mississippi River delta.
My opinion may be biased because I’m a Louisiana native.
The rides are very similar other than the queue and Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean stroll through the Louisiana swamp.
Test Track vs. Radiator Springs Racers
Winner: Disneyland, Radiator Springs Racers
Disney World’s Test Track and Disneyland’s Radiator Springs Racers are completely different experiences, but share the same car-themed concept.
Why is Radiator Springs Racers better than Test Track? The overall experience is much better. Honestly, there is really no comparison.
Most importantly, the scenery in the ride is simply awesome. The breathtaking waterfall, audio-animatronics, tire changing/new paint scene, and the big race make Radiator Spring Racers a complete experience.
Nevertheless, Test Track is a much faster ride and it may be more appealing to car racing enthusiasts.
Splash Mountain – Disneyland vs. Disney World
Winner: Disney World, Splash Mountain
Splash Mountain is located in Disneyland Park in Disneyland. It’s Disney World counterpart is located in the Magic Kingdom.
Why is Splash Mountain better in Disney World? The sitting arrangement and the presentation.
Regarding comfort, the sitting arrangement in Disney World is side by side, which allows you to sit next to someone familiar. Disneyland’s Splash Mountain is a single file seating arrangement.
Ultimately, Splash Mountain in Disney World presents the ride’s story much better & has a few more scenes.
Guardians of the Galaxy vs. Tower of Terror
Winner: Disneyland, Guardians of the Galaxy
Disneyland’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Disney World’s Tower of Terror are the same ride. Guardians of the Galaxy recently changed it’s name and theme.
Why is Guardians of the Galaxy better than Tower of Terror? The ride is longer and the scenery/graphics is much better.
I’m not a Guardians of the Galaxy fan. In fact, I haven’t seen the movie. However, this ride inspired me to watch the movie. It’s really that good.
However, Tower of Terror may appeal to nostalgic Disney followers.
Haunted Mansion – Disneyland vs. Disney World
Winner: Disney World, Haunted Mansion
These attractions are the same with a few minor differences.
The Haunted Mansion in Disneyland is located in New Orleans Square. In Disney World, it is located in Liberty Square.
Therefore, the architecture is different. Disney World is colonial while Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion resembles a southern home.
Why is the Haunted Mansion better in Disney World? Simply for consistency reasons. It is better for 9 months out of 12.
From October through the New Year, the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland gets an upgrade based on the movie “The Nightmare before Christmas.”
During this time, it is better than Disney World’s Haunted Mansion. Disney World is better for the other 9 months of the year.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Disneyland vs. Disney World
Winner: Disneyland, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
As you know, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride in Disneyland and Disney World share the same name.
Why is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad better in Disneyland? It’s quite simple, Disneyland’s ride received an upgrade in 2014.
In summary, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Disneyland is smoother and has special effects. The line is much shorter and cooler as well.
Toy Story Midway Mania – Disneyland vs. Disney World
Winner: Disney World, Toy Story Midway Mania
Again, this was a toss up. Essentially, Toy Story Midway Mania is the same experience once on the ride.
Why is Toy Story Midway Mania better in Disney World? Simply because of location.
Disney World’s Toy Story Midway Mania ride is located in Hollywood Studios in the Pixar Studios area.
On the other side of the country, Disneyland’s Toy Story Midway Mania ride is located in Paradise Pier among the other boardwalk games.
Personally, I associate Pixar with Toy Story so this makes sense to me.
Soarin’ Around the World – Disneyland vs. Disney World
Winner: Disney World, Soarin’
Why is Soarin’ better in Disney World? The location is more appealing.
If I would have answered this question before Soarin’ was renamed to Soarin’ Around the World from it’s previous name Soarin’ Over California, I would have chosen Disneyland.
Soarin’ Around The World is located in Epcot and this is more fitting for a ride around the world.
Ultimately, these rides are exactly the same experience.
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters: Disneyland vs. Disney World
Winner: Disneyland, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
Why is Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters better in Disneyland? The Astro Blasters can be removed.
This ride is exactly the same; however, the Astro Blasters are attached to the ride in Disney World.
In Disneyland, they are removable, which makes blasting the space monsters easier.
Disneyland vs. Disney World: Which has better rides?
So, After a 10 round fight, it is a draw: 5 – 5.
Since I have visited both Disneyland and Disney World, I do not concern myself with which has better rides.
Why? Because they are both awesome.
Nevertheless, if I find myself in Disneyland and I miss Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, I will stroll over to California Screamin. The same goes for each ride comparison mentioned in this article.
Rides Only at Disneyland – Disneyland vs. Disney World
Here are a few rides which are only in Disneyland and not in Disney World.
Disneyland Park: Snow White’s Scary Adventure
Disneyland Park: Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Well, That’s a Wrap
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