A Tale of Two Resorts (2016)

Comparing Disneyland and Walt Disney World: A Traveler's Reference

by Kristi Fredericks | Release Date: November 8, 2015 | Availability: Print, Kindle



You've got your work cut out for you. Between Disneyland and Walt Disney World, there are over 400 places to eat, over 300 things to do, and scores of accommodations where you can lay your weary head at night. Crunch that data!

Or don't, because Kristi Fredericks has done it for you. In A Tale of Two Resorts, the most comprehensive reference book available for Disney's two biggest U.S. destinations, Fredericks cuts out the fluff and sticks to the facts, and boy, what a lot of facts! Everything imaginable about both resorts is covered, including:

  • Key similarities and differences between Disneyland and Disney World
  • Capsule commentaries about everything you can ride, watch, and do at both resorts
  • Capsule commentaries about everywhere you can eat at both resorts, from snack stands to table service
  • Capsule commentaries about everywhere you can stay at both resorts, either on-property or off
  • Timely charts and advice about crowds, weather, events, budgeting, trip planning, and more

Whether you're going to Disneyland or Disney World - and especially if you're still trying to make up your mind between the two! - A Tale of Two Resorts will give you all the information you need to make the better choice, and plenty of advice for planning the perfect stay.

Table of Contents


1Lay of the Land






7Planning Timeline


9Admission Tickets


11Theme Parks

12Resort Extras


14Organizing Your Day

Final Thoughts

A Tale of Two Resorts: it was the best of times, it was the…best of times. That’s right, friends, there is no “worst of times” when you are talking about a Disney vacation. Any Disney trip, whether you choose Disneyland in California or Walt Disney World in Florida, is destined to be an amazing and magical experience.

I have a love and passion for all things Disney. I have visited Disneyland and Disney World countless times throughout my life. I’ve celebrated many special milestones at both resorts, including my senior Spring Break, graduation, honeymoon, and several birthdays. The memories I have from times shared with family and friends at Disneyland and Disney World are cherished ones.

Both of these resorts have unique and wonderful experiences to offer. As far as which is best, well, that’s up to you. I don’t declare a “winner” in this book.

Instead, I provide you with detailed descriptions of both resorts and important things to consider when visiting either—or both. Each chapter is broken down into a side-by-side analysis, valuable information about each resort, and then my own personal thoughts.

I hope this guide will help you to make an informed decision and pick the place that is the best fit for you and your loved ones. And if you can’t decide, we’ll call it a draw; you’ll just have to visit both Disneyland and Disney World, and then get back to me.

Whatever you do, prepare to enjoy the “best of times”.

Kristi Fredericks

Kristi Fredericks is a lifelong fan of all things Disney and has been visiting the resorts since she was a baby. She is thrilled to share her passion for the Disney parks and feels that there is nothing better than enjoying a Disney vacation with the ones you love.

Kristi is the founder of the website DisneyWorldEnthusiast.com and a blogger for TouringPlans.com. When she isn’t busy reading about, writing about, or planning for Disney, Kristi enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, watching movies, and playing games.

Kristi lives in Colorado with her Prince Charming husband and two sons who are growing up to be huge Disney fans as well.

A Chat with Kristi Fredericks

Coming soon...

In this excerpt, from Chapter 1, "Lay of the Land", Kristi Fredericks takes a quick birds-eye view of Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Disneyland Overview

Disneyland is an approximately 500 acre (0.78 square mile) resort located in Anaheim in the heart of southern California. The resort itself is a sanctuary surrounded on all sides by busy streets, hotels, shops, and restaurants. To put that in perspective, imagine the feel of Central Park in New York City and you’ll have a sense of what Disneyland is like. The resort includes two theme parks, three Disney hotels, dozens of restaurants, and a shopping and entertainment district. The two theme parks, Disneyland Park and California Adventure, sit directly across from each other on either side of the esplanade, requiring about a five-minute walk from entrance to entrance.

Walt Disney World Overview

Walt Disney World is an approximately 25,000 acre (40 square mile) resort located in Lake Buena Vista in steamy central Florida. The resort is expansive, about the same size as San Francisco, with roughly one-third set aside as conservation land. Disney World features four theme parks, two water parks, twenty-six Disney hotels, a campground, four golf courses, hundreds of restaurants, and a shopping and entertainment district. The four theme parks—Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom—are scattered across the property and connected through a transportation system of boats, monorails, and buses. Getting from one park to another usually requires a ride of about 30 minutes of less.

For What It’s Worth

Now that you’ve read the first few pages of this book, you might be thinking…sweet, problem solved, I’m going to Disney World. It has so much more to see and do. More is always better, right?

Well, it’s all relative. As I tell my kids, more is better when you are talking about dessert, but not when you are talking about how much homework the teacher gave you. The same applies for visiting a Disney resort.

With all that it has to offer, Disney World might be perfect for a family taking a weeklong trip or someone visiting from overseas for an extended holiday. However, for some people, a place of that size and magnitude might be overwhelming. Disneyland, though smaller in scale, may be exactly right for someone on a long weekend getaway or who plans to spend time visiting other sites in the area. Having made that comparison, I know people who spend just a weekend in Disney World visiting their favorites spots, and other people who can easily have a week’s worth of fun at Disneyland.

To get beyond the obvious, we’ll have to look quite a bit deeper at each Disney resort.

Don't be fooled by the big picture: A Tale of Two Resorts contains enough at-a-glance, hard data about Disneyland and Disney World to satisfy even the most grizzled trip planner.

In this excerpt, from Chapter 4, "Crowds", Kristi Fredericks explains the differences between Disneyland and Disney World crowds.

Disneyland Crowds Explained

Disneyland crowds are greatly affected by how many local tourists visit the parks each day. Disneyland offers a variety of annual pass options that many locals choose to purchase. Weekends and nice weather days always see a jump in attendance as annual pass holders take advantage of their close proximity to the resort. Fridays and Mondays are also more crowded than the rest of the weekdays as locals extend their weekends.

Another factor that impacts the Disneyland crowds is the number of people visiting the area for conventions. The Anaheim Convention Center is the largest facility on the West Coast and hosts thousands of visitors each year. Although the attendees are usually occupied for several hours a day with business, these travelers often bring their families with them to enjoy Disneyland while they work. With the extremely large conventions, you can see a slight bump in the attendance levels at the parks which can make it challenging to find a hotel room. The facility is only a short 15-minute walk to Disneyland, so it always a good idea to check the calendar of events at the Anaheim Convention Center’s website (AnaheimConventionCenter.com) to see whether a large event is scheduled during your vacation.

The crowds are also greater when Disneyland has a special event. During the year, the resort hosts unique celebrations and happenings like Mickey’s Halloween Party (more on Disneyland events in Chapter 5). For the most up-to-date details, visit the calendar of events at Disneyland’s website (Disneyland.com) to see if there is something scheduled during your trip.

Walt Disney World Crowds Explained

Unlike Disneyland, Walt Disney World is visited most frequently by out-of-town tourists. Because of this, Disney World doesn’t normally see the unexpected swings in attendance due to weather or weekends.

Disney World crowds are most affected by the school calendar. Whenever kids are out of school, expect the parks to be more crowded. This includes traditional school breaks during spring (generally March or April), summer (June through August), and winter (the week before Christmas until the Monday after New Year’s Day). However, you will often see larger crowds develop during other holidays as well, such as Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, and Columbus Day, as families try to make the most of these long weekends.

Disney World crowds grow during special happenings. The resort is host to several special events throughout the year (more on Disney World events in Chapter 5) such as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. For the most up-to-date information, visit the calendar of events at Disney World’s website (DisneyWorld.com) to see what is scheduled during your vacation.

A Tale of Two Resorts includes a detailed month-by-month crowd level calendar to help you pick a travel time when everyone else is staying home.

About Theme Park Press

Theme Park Press is the world's leading independent publisher of books about the Disney company, its history, its films and animation, and its theme parks. We make the happiest books on earth!

Our catalog includes guidebooks, memoirs, fiction, popular history, scholarly works, family favorites, and many other titles written by Disney Legends, Disney animators and artists, Mouseketeers, Cast Members, historians, academics, executives, prominent bloggers, and talented first-time authors.

We love chatting about what we do: drop us a line, any time.

Theme Park Press Books

The Unauthorized Story of Walt Disney's Haunted Mansion The Ride Delegate 501 Ways to Make the Most of Your Walt Disney World Vacation The Cotton Candy Road Trip The Wonderful World of Customer Service at Disney Disney Destinies Disney Melodies The Happiest Workplace on Earth Storm over the Bay A Historical Tour of Walt Disney World: Volume 1 Mouse in Transition Mouseketeers Down Under Murder in the Magic Kingdom Walt Disney and the Promise of Progress City Service with Character Son of Faster Cheaper A Tale of Two Resorts I Saw Ariel Do a Keg Stand The Adventures of Young Walt Disney Death in the Tragic Kingdom Two Girls and a Mouse Tale Ears & Bubbles The Easy Guide 2015 Who's the Leader of the Club? Disney's Hollywood Studios Funny Animals Life in the Mouse House The Book of Mouse Disney's Grand Tour The Accidental Mouseketeer The Vault of Walt: Volume 1 The Vault of Walt: Volume 2 The Vault of Walt: Volume 3 Who's Afraid of the Song of the South? Amber Earns Her Ears Ema Earns Her Ears Sara Earns Her Ears Katie Earns Her Ears Brittany Earns Her Ears Walt's People: Volume 1 Walt's People: Volume 2 Walt's People: Volume 13 Walt's People: Volume 14 Walt's People: Volume 15

We're always in the market for new authors with great ideas. Or great authors with new ideas. Whichever type of author you are, we'd be happy to discuss your book. Before you contact us, however, please make sure you can answer "yes" to these threshold questions:

Is It Right for Us?

We specialize in books that have some connection to Disney or theme parks. Disney, of course, has become a broad topic, and encompasses not just theme parks and films but comic books, animation, and a big chunk of pop culture. Your book should fit into one (or more) of those broad categories.

Is It Going to Make Money?

There's never a guarantee that any book will make money, but certain types of books are less likely to do so than others. They include: hardcovers, books with color photos, and books that go on forever ("forever" as in 400+ pages). We won't automatically turn down these types of books, but you'll have to be a really good salesman to convince us.

Are You Great to Work With?

Writing books and publishing books should be fun. The last thing you want, and the last thing we want, is a contentious relationship. We work with authors who share our philosophy of no drama and zero attitude, and the desire for a respectful, realistic, mutually beneficial partnership.