When Walt Disney World opened its gates in Florida in 1971, Disneyland started taking the proverbial backseat to its younger (and much larger) sibling.
Disneyland was just a theme park. Disney World was a destination.
Of course, since then Disneyland has made great strides in making its resort a vacation destination as well, but Disney World has also continued to grow. With four theme parks, two water parks, and 33 resorts and hotels, Disney World is now the world's largest and most-visited resort.
But Disneyland has many things going for it that Disney World doesn't. Check out five of them after the jump.
5. Club 33!
Sure, not everyone has access to it, but how cool is it that the park has a secret members-only club located inside? And they serve booze! Disney World doesn't have anything comparable in the Magic Kingdom or otherwise, which is odd because you'd think they'd try and cash in on the ridiculously high annual fees they charge members for the privilege of dining there.
4. Better Rides!
Disneyland has numerous rides that can't be found anywhere in the entire Walt Disney World Resort (Matterhorn Bobsleds, Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, etc.), but even the rides that appear in both parks are better in Disneyland. Pirates of the Caribbean is significantly longer in Anaheim than it is in Orlando; Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad are more intense (to be read: older, faster, and more rickety); and the exterior of It's a Small World is a beautiful Mary Blair-inspired structure while the one that exists in Florida feels more like the entrance of a wine cellar (though that will change when Fantasyland gets a huge facelift in 2013).
3. It's Small!
Disneyland is the mom and pop shop to Disney World's big-box store. Its size may prohibit it from expanding in the way its kid sister has over the decades, but the quaintness of Disneyland is one of its many charms. Bigger isn't always better. Unless you're talking about checks, drinks, or presents, of course.
2. Disney California Adventure!
Yeah, it's taken awhile for this park across the way to find its groove, and Disney World definitely has its fair share of other parks to visit. But if you've spent more than an hour in Disney Hollywood Studios you know that's more than enough time to see everything, and if you've visited Animal Kingdom you know it's an amazingly beautiful park with very little to do once inside. But California Adventure is coming around, especially with the refurbishments they've been tackling in recent months. It will never have the charm of Disneyland, but the park is definitely an added bonus to the overall resort package.
1. Walt Built It!
Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966; Walt Disney World Resort opened five years later on October 1, 1971. This means that Walt himself never set foot in the actual park. But Walt built Disneyland, not only with his genius but also with his bare hands. He sat on its benches, pedaled his bike over the bricks of Main Street, and rode the train around the track. His fingerprint is Disneyland, and you won't find one of his fingerprints in Disney World.