Disney Planning – US

Happy Friday everyone!  I started a planning series a while ago and thought I would break it down into things I was working on at the moment.  Currently I have a top secret party I’m pulling together, and so I don’t spoil the surprise I’ll hold off about writing about it until it’s passed.  But the Hubby and I are planning a few trips to Disney this year and I wanted to share some of my planing tips with you. So for the next few weeks on Friday, expect to see a whole lot of information about the happiest places on earth.

One of the absolutely first things to think about when planning a US Disney vacation is where would you like to go.  Disneyland in California, Disney World in Florida, a Disney Cruise, or perhaps an Adventure By Disney.  There’s a lot of perks when you plan a Disney vacation and there is a huge price tag to go with those perks.  I’ve not pulled the trigger on either a Cruise or one of the Adventures by Disney because while I am a diehard Disney fanatic, I think there are other travel companies out there that may still do both cruising and travel adventures a little better.  Now with that said I have dreams of one day touring the Grand Canyon with someone close to Mickey Mouse but I’m not sure I’m ready to part with that cash.

For this blog post I’d like to discuss the pros and cons of the two US based parks, both have awesome draws to visit, and then both have downers to them as well.  I’m going to assume that if you’ve chosen to visit either of  the Disney parks you’ve gone through the sticker shock of the trip and now are looking to decide which resort would be better suited for you. Let’s start with Disneyland.


Disneyland is composed of two theme parks, 3 hotels and a shopping district (they are currently working on a few expansions but let’s keep to what’s tangible at this point in time).  While very compact, there is a lot to do, usually when we stay we block out 2 days for Disneyland, and 1 full day for Disney’s California Adventure. In addition we give about a day or at least a few solid evening jaunts to the Downtown Disney district (shopping and dining) and now a days if we’re staying at one of the Disney Hotels we usually give a day split between Downtown Disney and the pool/bar areas of the Disney hotel.  One of the greatest assets of Disneyland is the ability to walk the entire Resort – it is compact enough to that you can walk from South Harbor Way over to the Disneyland hotel in about 20 minutes.  As long as you have a good set of shoes on you will never have to get in your car or use transportation (unless you want to) when you are at the Disneyland resort. The major downside of that is you’re still cramming a zillion people into that area, and recently with the Diamond Celebration, there are a lot of people in the parks all the time.  From an age perspective I would say both young and old will enjoy the parks, and recently they’ve added more attractions for an even younger crowd by adding characters from Disney Jr in parts of Disneys California Adventure. There are plenty of places to eat in all areas of the resort and pricing can rage from relatively cheap to really expensive depending on what experience you’re looking for.  And lastly one of the big swayers for me (aside from being a CA native and loving the fact that I can travel to Disneyland in about an hour) It is the birthplace of Walts dream.  There is something to be said for walking to the start of Main Street USA and looking to see if the lamp is on over the firehouse.  Knowing that at one time Walt Disney Hiself sat in that window and watched people come in to enjoy his vision.  Even with the crowds and the noise and the pricing it truely is a magical place.

Disney World

Disney World is composed of 4 theme parks,  2 water parks, a shopping district and 20 plus hotels, I believe it is spread across 25,000 square acres.  Please hear me when I tell you this place is huge.  Last year we stayed at the Contemporary Resort and were able to walk to the Magic Kingdom, but that was it, you can’t walk just down the way to get to another park.  And in that sense it’s awesome, the parks are each different, they have plenty of land to expand and do wonderful attractions with, they create a sense of magic that you can only see in Florida.  But there you are a captive audience, you don’t go off there resort to have lunch – it would take you too long to get there and back. You stay at one of their hotels – although I did see that there were some hotels pretty close to Disney springs the last time we were there.  Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind at all and I think it allows for the creation of magic that only Disney can make, and truly love it.  One of the major down sides to Disney World has to to with the attitude of the guests.  It was explained to me by a lovely woman on our Safari last year.  We were commenting on how different the people were in comparirison to Disneyland, how some we’re rather snotty to the staff and seemed to be rushed with a me first attitude.  She smiled at me and said “that’s because this will be the only time they visit and they want to make sure they see everything they can.”  I realized right then and there that I was doing a little bit of the same and made a conscious decision to slow down and make sure that we came to visit again.  Know when you go you won’t see everything, unless you have more than a few weeks to visit. And make sure to pick the places you really want to see before you go – make your reservations, plan your routes and try try try to enjoy what you’re doing while you’re there!

Since we’re visiting Disneyland first this year – my next few posts will be about planning a trip to the happiest place on earth.  I hope you enjoyed the is comparirison and I hope it helps in your own Disney decision making.

Until next time!



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