5 Attractions at Both WDW and DLR (and Which is Better)
I recently talked about what I felt were the defining characteristics that set apart Disneyland from Walt Disney World, but there are a lot of things between the parks that are "the same" (they aren't). One of our favorite parts of our Disneyland trip was being able to compare the differences between the rides we have at both parks (D, in particular, loved picking up on these). We got so many fascinatingly conflicting pieces of advice regarding the "matching" rides: don't bother, we have it here; oh my god you MUST do it at DLR it's so much better than ours! Obviously we had to decide for ourselves! These 5 aren't necessarily the only overlaps, but they're all pretty well known/staples.
1- It's A Small World
It's no secret, I am not this ride's biggest fan. Every time I get dragged along here at WDW, I get stuck in the dreaded "white room" behind a parade of endless boats while that ominous earworm burrows into my skull and remains for days. Still EVERYONE kept saying it was "better" at Disneyland.
What's the Same? The boats. The awful song. The ride mechanics and puppets. The "countries" around the world. Many of the props. The smell of dust and age.
What's Different? Load in is outside (see picture). Within the different countries, puppets from favorite Disney movies are peppered, giving you a fun sort of scavenger hunt while you're on the ride (thus distracting me from the music). Disneyland's hippo doesn't have a janky eye.
Which is Better? Disneyland. Hands down. I still wouldn't make it a frequent visit, it's fun being able to look for the character vignettes within the countries.
2- Pirates of the Caribbean
What's the same? The boats. Many of the pirate vignettes (the prison, the auction, etc.).
What's different? Disneyland's load-in area is an indoor Louisiana bayou area that back to the Blue Bayou Restaurant, WDW's load in (and queue) are all themed to feel like you're on an island in the Caribbean with a fortress. Disneyland's wait times are crazy long and have no Fastpass. Disneyland's ride is WAY LONGER, has multiple drops, MORE vignettes.
Which is better? Disneyland. Not even close. The ride was, like, 20 minutes long! They spent so much more time telling a story. Although I wouldn't wait in a 3 hour line for it, as a whole, it's just way cooler.
3- The Enchanted Tiki Room
What's the same? The birds. The Tiki Gods. Most of the songs.
What's Different? The holding area at Disneyland has access to Dole Whips, but no pre-show entertainment like WDW. The sitting area inside Disneyland's Tiki Room has a centerpiece and then people sit on all 4 sides around it on flat padded benches. WDW has curved rows of unpadded benches on 2 sides. Most of the music is the same, but Disneyland has a little singalong section with the "let's all sing like the birdies sing" section that WDW does not have. Disneyland has a big fountain in its centerpiece that WDW does not have.
Which is Better? WDW will end up taking this one based on just one not-so-small issue: lines. Enchanted Tiki Room at WDW is one of our "it's so crowded" refuges; there's never a big wait. At Disneyland? Not so much. It's packed, park open to park close. The padded benches are nice, but it's not worth fighting through crowds.
4- Haunted Mansion
What's the same? The stretching room, the ride vehicles, Madame Leota, waltzing ghosts, the graveyard, hitchhiking ghosts, most of the ride itself is pretty identical.
What's different? The mansion exteriors are very differently designed to fit with their locations within the respective parks. WDW has the Escher-esque stair room, Disneyland does not. Disneyland has the Hat Box ghost, WDW does not. But the biggest difference between the two is that, for a few months every year, Haunted Mansion gets a Nightmare Before Christmas overlay ("Haunted Mansion Holiday") at Disneyland. WDW gets no overlays.
Which is better? WDW's Haunted Mansion is fantastic. It has long held its own against all comers to hold a top spot on my list of favorite attractions at any park. But... I fell head over heels in love with Haunted Mansion Holiday on our trip. Rode it 3 times. Without that, I think the two would be pretty dead even for me, but that overlay pushes Disneyland to the top.
5- Tower of Terror/ Mission Breakout
Ok TECHNICALLY they aren't the same ride anymore, but....
What's the same? Mission Breakout was originally Disney California Adventure's Tower of Terror. So the exterior of the buildings and the ride vehicle and most of the physical movements between the two rides is identical.
What's different? Literally everything else. Mission Breakout gave Tower of Terror a Guardians of the Galaxy overlay, so now instead of entering a Haunted Hotel with a ghostly elevator shaft, you enter the Collector's display facility and go on a renegade lift with Rocket Raccoon at the helm to breakout the rest of the Guardians (who have been captured). While Tower of Terror's ride vehicles go up and down but also THROUGH some of the building, Mission Breakout only goes up and down. Mission Breakout is funny and loud and light-hearted, Tower of Terror is spooky and creepy and exhilarating.
Which is better? Tower of Terror has held a spot in my top rides just like Haunted Mansion for years. When I heard DCA was losing theirs for an overlay, even if it was for a movie I loved? I was scandalized. HOW. DARE. THEY. Haunted Mansion is a STAPLE. It's the very best that Disney has to offer. Y'all...
Mea Culpa. I loved Mission Breakout. It's so fun. And FUNNY. Light-hearted and engaging in a way that Tower of Terror is not (and that continues to keep my kid refusing to go near it). So, although both are great, if Hollywood Studios announced tomorrow that our tower of Terror was getting replaced with Mission Breakout?
In this light, WDW doesn't come out looking so great, eh? I'll say that these direct comparisons shed a bright light on the charm and personality that Disneyland has to recommend itself. But? I still wouldn't trade. ;)