8 Sept 2017

Disneyland VS Disney World

I have been very lucky to have got to visit both Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World Florida on multiple occasions and they are both two of my favourite places ever.

I have many fond and treasured memories of my trips to both destinations, for different reasons. It may be hard if you have not had the fortune like me to have visited either parks and are trying to decide on where you would like to visit first, if, like me you are a huge Disney lover, this is a tough choice. I personally have not found many direct comparison reviews so, I thought I would write this based on my experiences to maybe give a clearer idea of what both resorts have to offer. Now this may be different for everyone and these are only my opinions, which are a little biased based on my trips but hopefully it may give you a better idea of which resort you want to hit up first. Grab a cuppa or a coffee as I have a feeling this will be a long one!

1.The Disneyland Hotel
So firstly, let’s look at what Disneyland Paris has to offer. Probably the biggest thing is the Disneyland hotel, as you can see pictured above. Now not only does this provide one of the best ways to stay closest to the park, it also acts as a pretty breath-taking entrance to the Magic Kingdom if you are coming in from one of the other hotels in the Disney Village, or from the Eurostar or other rail links. Something which you don't get in Florida. Of course there are plenty of stunning hotels in Walt Disney World, however I have not had the fortune to stay at these unlike the Disneyland Hotel. Which is probably the most memorable and beautiful hotel I have ever had the pleasure to visit. The most comparable hotel looks and distance wise from the parks in Florida is The Grand Floridian, however this still doesn't get you as close. There is something so truly magical as a young child, I have been visiting Disneyland since I was 5, to quite literally live in Disney for a few days and never have to leave the park, this is something you get even with the hotels that are slightly further out in the Disney Village. You are sleeping where all the princesses and Mickey Mouse lives, even if it just feels like that. Obviously, the hotels in Florida can get you quite close but the parks are so spread out there is always that monorail ride, bus, car or tram ride in. 

2. Exclusive Parks and Attractions
Now in Paris, there are only the two parks, Magic Kingdom and Walt Disney Studios, as well as the Disney Village. There is still plenty to do but I would say even in busy periods within 7 days you can pretty much do everything. In Florida there are 4 theme parks in total and two water parks, as well as Disney Springs (which is a massive shopping and dining complex). I think it is safe to say that if you really want to get a good experience and try and do most things in Walt Disney World you need a good two weeks, if not more. Now again this probably goes without saying but with both resorts there are unique attractions and perks that are exclusive to either location. For example, in Walt Disney World there are exclusive shows such as Fantasmic, The Beauty and the Beast Show in Hollywood Studios, certain rides such as Soarin, Test Track and Frozen Ever After in Epcot (as well as many, many more across all the parks). Additionally, parks and lands themselves such as the new Pandora land in Animal Kingdom, are completely exclusive to this resort. This is the same for Disneyland, although on a slightly smaller scale, so for example there is the Ratatouille ride in Walt Disney Studios, a personal favourite of mine, as well as CineMagique and Animagique, two shows that I have been enjoying since I was very little. You also have the Moteurs…Action! Stunt show which has now been removed from Walt Disney World, also the Chaparrel Theatre, which hosts various shows depending on your time of visit.

3. Language
Ok so maybe to some people this is obvious, maybe it is not a big deal or perhaps you are multi-lingual and fluent in French. Anyhow, it is something to consider, especially if you have never been to Disneyland Paris before, so not to be surprised. Now it is obvious that you will have a great deal of cast members, signage, and general writing in French. However, what you may have not realised is this also applies to a lot of rides, all shows and some cast members and characters. I can remember back when I was little the shows and rides were in English and the French guests would have to wear headphones to listen in their language (obviously an incredible amount of them understood English perfectly anyway) however there has been a big shift in recent years and now all shows are in French and so are all rides wherever speaking is involved. So it may be worth considering if you are bringing young children, or like me are not too fluent in French. I for one find there to be something quite cool in hearing Buzz Lightyear speak French and enjoying the Star Tours ride from a French Perspective but you may disagree. Now I appreciate the park is in France so it only makes sense for a lot of things to be in French and although the vast majority of cast members are fluent in English just be prepared that character meet and greets may be slightly different as to the American counterparts as some things can be lost in translation and you do get the odd few cast members that are just more animated with the French speaking guests. Something to bear in mind.

4. Magic Bands
This may seem like quite a minor thing to most and in reality it is but you have to admit...they are just so cute! Magic Bands are only available in the Walt Disney World Florida resort at the moment so if you are to visit Disneyland Paris they are not available I'm afraid. Like I say this is a pretty minor thing, however if you are planning to visit Walt Disney World and questioning whether it is worth purchasing one or not, my answer is definitely do it. If you stay in a Walt Disney World hotel than these are included as your room key and park tickets but they are so much more as well. Like I say, not only do they save you having to keep track of paper tickets, which I don't know about you but I normally struggle to keep mine safe and in good condition. With the Magic Bands they are safely attached to your wrist, so no worrying about forgetting or losing them. They also act as your fast passes for rides, or for reservations at restaurants, you can link them to a card so you can essentially leave your purse at home and pay for everything on the band. They also...which I think is super cool...link to your My Magic Plus photo pass, so when you have those special moments with the characters, all you have to do is scan your band and the photos are automatically uploaded to your account. Not to mention they are customisable, shops around the parks sell different versions, if you don't want a solid colour, but there is a shop just outside the Space Mountain ride in Magic Kingdom where you can completely design your own band...so cool. Sadly, like I say these aren't in use in Paris yet but hopefully it won't be long before they are.

5. Food, food, food!
Lastly, but some may say most importantly, it is with considering the variations in the food that is on offer at both resorts. Personally, I find there is better choice across all of the Walt Disney World parks as opposed to Disneyland Paris. I feel that there is much more choice in terms of quick service restaurants, table service and snacks in general. Now, this is not to say, as many of you will know, that of course most it is still chicken nuggets, burgers, hot dogs and pizza, which is all great! However, in Disneyland Paris, especially in the table service restaurants, this are more fine cuisine, which is great if that’s what you’re looking for, but if you have young children or like me are just a bit of a fussy eater then this makes life a little more difficult. The food offerings are, of course, much more tailored to a European palette which can be a little disappointing when you are just craving some good old junk food, however there are still plenty of amazing snacks and treats to be found that are unique to the resort. Although, as mentioned, there is a great deal of fast food–esq offerings in the Florida parks it should be noted that should you wish to eat a bit more healthily this is also easier, well I find anyway, to do. There are more savoury and healthy fruit or veg snack options, if you keep your eyes out for them too. Lastly, from both my recent trips, it is worth noting that the food is also generally more expensive in Disneyland Paris, which a quick service meal for four of us generally costing a minimum of €40 and upwards for drinks other than water. If you are a Disney fanatic like myself and frequent the parks a lot this is just generally something you deal with, the food is generally overpriced in all resorts, however if you are thinking of visiting Disneyland Paris just take a little extra for food.

So I know this has ended up being a pretty long post, well done if you made it to the end! I hope this has helped if you were trying to decide between which resort or if you have a trip already planned and just wanted to find out a little more information. I love, love, love both resorts and have so many magical memories from both that I will always treasure. Let me know which is your favourite resort to visit or what tips or differences you have found between all the different parks in the comments below.


NB: My thoughts are with all of those affected in the storms and natural disasters that have occurred in recent time across Florida, Texas and Mexico. These are all such beautiful places that I hope will be able to stand strong in the face of difficult times.

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