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Is It Worth It? 3 Reasons to Travel to Disney World as a Californian

Family animal kingdom
Credit: Disney

A tale as old as time, the ongoing debate between Walt Disney World (Orlando, Florida) and Disneyland (Anaheim, California) is harder to settle when you live within earshot of either.

Disneyland made its mark on the U.S. as the first Disney Park in 1955. Less than an hour’s drive from Los Angeles (depending on the traffic), Disneyland quickly became a staple for Southern California families and beyond. With Sleeping Beauty Castle at its center, Disneyland offers Guests two Park experiences: Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park.

disneyland railroad

Credit: Disney

Many Disney enthusiasts appreciate the nostalgia of Disney’s original theme Park with classics like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, the shorter distances between attractions, and the overall accessibility. With so much Disney magic packed into a small theme Park close to home, one Californian,  u/OnlyOpening8827, took to Reddit to answer an age-old question:

Is it worth it to travel from Cali to Disney World? Or just stick to Disneyland?

Is it worth it to travel from Cali to Disney World? Or just stick to Disneyland?
by indisneyparks

In the post, u/OnlyOpening8827 highlighted the challenges of a cross-country haul with three small children vs. the 90-minute drive to nearby Disneyland, slowing the impulse to book a Disney vacation.

As expected, the thread lit up with close to 200 comments, and the reviews were mixed. Disney fans stand firmly on their sides of the map, closest to the Disney Parks they were accustomed to visiting throughout their lives. That said, most commenters urged the original poster to take the plunge and head to Florida’s most magical place.

Based on the fan opinions in the thread, these are the top reasons to make the trek to Orlando from California to visit Walt Disney World.

Walt Disney World Entrance Sign

Walt Disney World Entrance Sign / Credit: Spectrum News 13

Related: Iger Confirms Status of Annual Pass Valid for Disneyland AND Disney World

1. Disney World is an Immersive Experience

When you visit Disney World, you’re swept into an immersive experience. Especially if you stay at a Walt Disney World Resort, you’re bound to experience the magic long after you leave the Parks. For reference, the whole of Disneyland can fit inside The Magic Kingdom’s parking lot, and u/East_Kaleidoscope995 emphasized how the sheer size affects the Disney World Guest experience:

Disney world is absolutely enormous. When you’re there, you live entirely within the Disney experience in a way that you don’t in Anaheim. There are four parks, which offer unique experiences that Disneyland doesn’t have. There are also two water parks, something else not found at Disneyland. And the amount of stuff to do at the resorts? It would take a months long vacation to truly explore it.

There’s a reason why Disney world is the most visited theme park in the world, year after year.

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2. Parks with No West Coast Equivalent

With only two Parks to explore in Disneyland, most of the ground can be covered in a short weekend trip. While that could be a preference for some, Disneyland has no leg to stand on when comparing California Adventure to Walt Disney World Parks like Animal Kingdom and EPCOT. Commenter u/Chris-Jean-Alice had this to say:

I’m a little surprised at the responses here. It’s definitely worth it to try if you know you already like or love Disneyland. Epcot and Animal Kingdom are two totally unique parks with no west coast equivalent. But really it’s the resort offerings and the hotels that give you a totally different vibe, lots to explore, fun places to eat and drink. It is different than Disneyland, the people at WDW are by and large not local and not laid back exactly, they’re tourists. But if you go when it’s not oppressively hot, you should have a good time.

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3. More Magic to Explore

While a trip to Disneyland can be a segment of a California vacation or an easy day trip for locals, the magnitude of Walt Disney World makes it the main event. With four Disney theme parks, two water parks, Disney Springs, themed Resorts, and endless shopping and entertainment, Walt Disney World offers a vacation worth experiencing, even as a west coaster. As an Annual Passholder for Walt Disney World living 20 minutes from Disneyland, u/FriendSellsTable summed it up:

I like Disney. I like to vacation. Disney World is both Disney and a vacation combined.

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Related: Disney World Annual Passholders Free From Park Reservations (Kinda)

Whether or not you’re a ‘Land loyalist, there are plenty of reasons to justify a Walt Disney World vacation. Even if it’s just once, seeing Cinderella Castle from Main Street, U.S.A., is well worth the trip.

About Kaitlin Morelli

A Disney World Guest since before she could walk, Kaitlin is a Jersey girl and former Virginia Tech Hokie. When she's not listening to the 'Moana' soundtrack on repeat with her baby daughter, she's writing, singing, and strumming the ukulele. Kaitlin is passionate about finding the best Disney Park tips n' tricks and moments when pop culture and Disney collide. She's looking forward to eventually taking her first Disney trip with her favorite fan in the making: her daughter.

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