To the average visitor, there aren’t that many differences between Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. While each park has attractions that are wholly unique, there are a lot of things that you’ll find on both coasts — Disney fundamentals like castles, Mickey Mouse and iconic mouse-shaped snacks. Heck, both Disneyland and Walt Disney World share a lot of rides! No matter if you’re on the East Coast or the West Coast, you’re going to find Space Mountain, The Haunted Mansion and It’s a Small World. And they’re exactly the same, right? Oh, so wrong.
While both American Disney resorts have rides with the same (or similar) names and nearly identical themes, the experiences are pretty different. So we decided to compare 12 comparable rides from each coast to see which is better. After all, just because you’ve been on one version of Pirates of the Caribbean, that doesn’t mean you’ve been on them all.
So how did we compare one Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to another? Well, this writer has been lucky enough to go to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. And as we rode each attraction, we noted things like differences in theming, tracks, storyline, animatronics and queues. You know… all those things that make a Disney ride a Disney ride. And we learned that there are just as many differences as there are similarities.
That being said, there are some rides that are just too darn similar to compare. Whether you’re in Anaheim or Orlando, your experiences on Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Peter Pan’s Flight or the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh are going to be virtually identical. But these 12 rides offer surprisingly different experiences. So what are you waiting for? Click through to see our bicoastal battle between the rides at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.