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Juliann McGowan

Independent Travel Agent

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Walt Disney World or Disneyland?

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Walt Disney World or Disneyland?

Walt Disney World and Disneyland both have so much to offer you on your next vacation. Throughout this post, you will learn highlights of the East and West Coast Theme Parks. 

Starting at Walt Disney World, located in Orlando, FL, this property has 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a large shopping & restaurant district, and over 20 themed resorts to stay at! Below are park breakdowns for you to reference and compare which parks are best for your family’s visit:

Magic Kingdom - Home to many of the Walt Disney World classics- including rides that have been in operation since opening day in 1971 like Haunted Mansion, it's a small world, Peter Pan's flight, and more. This is where you will see the iconic castle and fireworks.

Animal Kingdom - Come face to face with a lion on Kilimanjaro Safaris, have giraffes cross your path, ride on the back of a Banshee, and more at this park! Plus- one of my favorite character meals is here: Tusker House- where your Disney favorites are dressed in their adorable safari gear!

Epcot - Features the World Showcase which is popular to eat/drink around the world- as well as kid crafts and stations at every country. In addition, step into the future with rides like Mission Space, Test Track, and Soarin'!

Hollywood Studios - Step into the magic of movie making and your favorite movies here. Plus- ride the very first attraction dedicated solely to Mickey and Minnie Mouse! Be sure to catch the nighttime spectacular of Fanstasmic before you leave!

Typhoon Lagoon - Transport your family to an island that was a tropical paradise that developed into a small resort destination “Placid Palms Resort.” One day, a typhoon threw all manner of ships, surf boards, submarines, and everything else across the island, essentially “redecorating” and transforming the resort into Typhoon Lagoon. (This is one of my favorite backstories for a Disney Theme Park)

Blizzard Beach - A ski resort that has transformed into a water park due to rising temperatures melting the snow. (Not as themed as Typhoon Lagoon, but still a great waterpark!)

Disney Springs - A destination at Walt Disney World that features an eclectic mix of unique boutiques, one-of-a-kind eateries and jaw-dropping entertainment that will have you wondering where the day went.

Note: No tickets are required to visit Disney Springs.

I won’t go into the details of each resort available at Walt Disney World, that would be a separate blog post on its own! But, there are 3 main types of resort categories at the Disney parks and these include Value, Moderate, and Deluxe. 

The Value Resorts, these are going to be your most basic resorts, great for those families who aren’t planning on spending much time at the resort! These resorts have basic pools (no waterslides), a food court, and all of the rooms have an exterior entrance (motel-style). But, most of the rooms are newly refurbished at all of the Value Resorts, and they are so nice!!

The Moderate Resorts are similar to the value resorts, but also have a few extra perks. Those perks include, the main pools have great waterslides and theming, some have sit-down restaurants in addition to the food court, much larger resorts to explore, most also have a playground available for your kids to wear out some energy. These rooms are also bigger than value resort rooms, some will sleep up to 5 guests.

Finally, Deluxe Resorts have the most accommodations for their guests and will give you the most luxurious feeling when traveling to Walt Disney World. These resorts all have interior entrances to the rooms, whether it’s through the lobby or an additional building on property. With the pools, children’s activities, yard games etc. you definitely get a different feeling on these resort grounds than the value and moderate categories. Majority of the Deluxe resorts have a quick-service location as well as multiple table-service restaurants (some character, some fine dining etc). Also, a huge perk of staying Deluxe also gives you Extended Park Hours on select evenings at select Disney parks. 

I recommend having 4 full park days for Walt Disney World vacations with 1 rest day in the middle of the week (7 days total) - an ideal schedule looks something like this:

Sunday - Travel & Check in Day

Monday/Tuesday - Park Days

Wednesday - Rest Day

Thursday/Friday - Park Days

Saturday - Travel & Check out Day

Now, let’s move to the west coast to Anaheim, CA to the Disneyland Parks! Disneyland is a much smaller resort, which is nice when you have little ones, but don’t turn away even if you are a group of adults - the charm at Disneyland is worth a trip!

Disneyland has only 2 theme parks and 3 on-site resort hotels, which makes this resort much easier to enjoy in a shorter amount of time. Another huge bonus with it being much smaller, is you can walk everywhere. All 3 of the resorts are within walking distance to the theme parks - meaning those with strollers, once you arrive at the Disneyland Resort you never have to fold up the stroller unless you choose to ride the monorail or train! 

Disneyland Park - Visit the Happiest Place on Earth and enjoy a collection of classic and newer attractions that will warm your heart. This is where Sleeping Beauty Castle is homed and where you can currently celebrate the 100 Year Anniversary Disney Animation.

California Adventure - Watch favorite stores come to life right in front of you. Team up with Avengers, gear up for fun in Cars Land, and experience incredible attractions on Pixar Pier. Grizzly Peak will take you on an adventure outdoors that you have never experienced, and Buena Vista Street for shopping and dining are great spots not to be missed!

Downtown Disney - Much smaller shopping/dining destination on the west coast to experience. No tickets are required for this location, and if staying at a Disney Resort, you will walk through Downtown Disney to visit either Disneyland Or California Adventure.

All 3 of the resorts at Disneyland (Grand Californian, Disneyland Hotel, and Paradise Pier) are very comparable. The theming is different for each - Grand Californian is themed to Northern California and a huge perk of this resort is your entrance to California Adventure is separate from other guests - you enter right into the back of the park vs going through the crowded turnstiles at the front. Disneyland Hotel is themed for each of the main Disneyland lands and the pool is themed to a monorail - super fun! Paradise Pier is currently being reimagined to be Pixar Themed, and I can’t wait to see it complete!

My recommended length of stay for visiting the Disneyland Resort would be 4-5 days total. I recommend spending 2 days in Disneyland and 1 day in California Adventure! A rest day isn’t as necessary at this resort, but is definitely nice if you have the time to build it into your schedule.

Overall both parks offer completely different experiences each time you return. Even if you have visited Walt Disney World, Disneyland has a whole different vibe and vice versa!

Trying to decide which one you want to visit can be tough, but booking your vacation with me ensures that you will have all of the knowledge needed to make the best choice! Send me an email today and we can start planning your next magical vacation! 
Juliann McGowanJuliann@vincentvacations.comProfile: My Travel Profile at Vincent VacationsNeed A Vacation Quote? Use my Travel Inquiry FormMy socials:Instagram | TikTok |

Juliann McGowan

Walt Disney World or Disneyland?

Philadelphia Travel Agent Near Me

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Traveling to the Disney Parks has always been a huge part of my life! It was our vacation spot growing up, and I have celebrated major milestones at the parks - also worked for the Disney Company too! Currently as an annual passholder, you can find me at the parks multiple times a year to make sure I am up to date on all of the Disney tips and tricks! With so many details that go into planning a Disney Vacation, from dining reservations to Lightning Lanes to navigating the parks,  I have found a true passion for assisting families in having the most magical vacation possible! Planning vacatio...  Read More >>>

An expert destination wedding travel agent near me with five star luxury travel packages with a luxury travel company, Vincent Vacations.

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3 Reviews & Success stories

A Wonderful Trip Thanks to Juliann!
A Wonderful Trip Thanks to Juliann!

I decided to plan a girl's trip with my sisters and I, but I had no idea where to start! Over the years Disney has added a lot of features to the process of buying tickets, making reservations, and even buying food at the parks. Although they were added to make the process easier, it can be overwhelming if you're like me and have no idea what you're doing. But Juliann was a HUGE help! Juliann is professional, knowledgeable, and was extremely patient with me throughout the whole process! Thanks to that, I had a stress free trip and had an awesome time! Thank you Juliann!! I can't wait to work with you again:)
-Carla Hurtado

Best Experience!

I had always wanted to go to Disney World, but I didn't know where to start. Luckily Juliann came across on my for you page on TikTok. I sent an email for a quote and got a response that I was happy with. I had never used a travel agent before, Juliann was very proficient and knowledgeable. She made the process super easy and I'd recommend her to anyone! Thanks so much!

-Carla Navarrete

Book with Juliann!

Juliann was AMAZING to work with! She got back to me quick with options for our trip and when I had a list of questions to ask she answered all of them for me! She had amazing tips to make our trip one of a kind and made sure to let the resort know about our special events going on. It was a birthday trip for me and a pre-wedding get away as well. When we were on our trip she gave us a number to get ahold of her in case we  needed anything. It turned out that we did have a small glitch with our Memory Maker the first day and so I reached out to her. She got back to me fairly quickly letting me know she would look into it, thankfully the glitch cleared itself up and everything worked out great! I highly recommend her to anyone who is looking to book a trip. I know that I will be reaching out when we decide to make another trip in the future!
-Kelsie Haggard

3 Reviews

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