WDWers visit DL - my comparisons

baseballgal

Mouseketeer
Joined
Oct 21, 2011
We are WDW veterans who just completed our first trip to DL last week Despite the MASSIVE crowds and lines, we managed to get everything done - and the main coasters we rode multiple times. The first day we did 8 am - 12am but after that we were more chill with the hours. We got there at opening but left earlier as the kids wore out. We did get the max pass and (I think) we used it very efficiently. I was glad I did because the general consensus that I got was that even on busy days, lines wouldn't get too crazy, but we saw lines for some rides at 2 1/2 hours!! I prefer the magic band and FREE fast pass system in Florida, but we got the hang of this easily and I kept close watch on the time when I could get the next FP. That was really key. Wifi was a bit spotty but usually not too bad. My kids (9 and 11) loved Space Mtn, Indiana Jones, Incredicoaster, Radiatior Springs Racers and the Guardians ride. RSR's fast passes were usually gone by lunch time and we only got to ride it twice. I do prefer the "splash" of splash mtn in WDW as opposed to the soaking ride in DL. But we liked Guardians way better than TOT, and RSR was also much better than Test Track. Buzz's ride was much better in DL as well. Space Mtn was a split for us as to which was better. And my kids loved Incredicoater (though it definitely lacked the normal and elaborate Disney theming!) and Indiana Jones, which are totally different from anything at WDW.

Our personal take is that food was better in WDW. However, we usually do the dining plan so I don't have to hear my husband mentally adding the costs of every entree. The kids choices definitely seemed more limited in DL. It may have just been where we ended up eating and we love to eat in Epcot which has so many options. I did like the mobile ordering options and the River Belle patio seating for the fantasmic viewing was our splurge. It was very nice but definitely not something I would pay for again. I was glad I hadn't mentioned the kids would get light up toys (I thought I saw that somewhere and was going to let them be surprised. Instead I was the one surprised as they didn't get anything.) Counter service-wise, we really liked French Market. We also didn't see too many interesting choices with the Food and Wine, but the kids did participate in the Jr Chef with Goofy and that was fun!! Some of the F&W shows looked cool but I had no interest in paying another couple hundred dollars to see them.

Characters were around (if you used the app to find out when and where) and I liked that it prevented hour longs waits for a character picture. With a little planning, you could get a picture with just a couple minutes of waiting. It was super fun to see Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps (my kids loved Zootopia!) But I didn't like that the characters didn't have photographers with them so we couldn't do group pictures. And since MaxPass included photos I was disappointed with the lack of photgraphers in DL. We did get one with the Mickey and Walt statues. There were a lot of photographers around in DCA and they did lots of fun family shots for us - some of my favorite Disney pics ever. Also, IMO, Indiana Jones needs a ride picture (right at the end when the boulder is coming at you).

I enjoyed the more cozy atmosphere but with the crowds the narrow streets were hard to navigate at times. I was disappointed with the lack of a castle picture due to construction issues. And my other BIG issue was there were a LOT of ride breakdowns while we were there. is this because it is an older park??? The following rides all broke down while we were either in line or on the ride: Matterhorn (twice! - but we did get the multiple experiences fast pass to make up for that), Grizzly River Rapids, Space Mtn (also twice in one day - again got multiple experiences fast pass both times), Monsters (we had to get out of the car and walk back to the entrance and wait another 15-20 minutes to ride it again, Haunted Mansion stopped twice for about 5 minutes both times while we were on it in one ride, Golden Zephyr closed right after we got off of it, Buzz stopped for a couple minutes while we were riding (we did get to keep shooting) and Star Tours was temporarily stopped just as we were nearing the front of a stand by line. We waited it out about 15 minutes and it was good to go. Just couldn't believe that all happened over just a few days. We were apparently bringing some bad vibes around. Despite this sounding like a complaint fest, we loved the trip, the kids enjoyed the park and are already asking about a "next time." I would definitely return to DL for another trip in the future. It has always been on my bucket list and I am thrilled I got to experience it with my kids.

Thanks again to all you guys who gave me tips before our trip! They were all useful and made our trip a "trip to remember."
 

Frederic Civish

“I’m just here for the Ears.”
Joined
Apr 18, 2018
We also do both. This year I currently have 2 trips planned to Disneyland, and maybe a 3rd in July. We'll see. And I have one trip planned to DW. Total time at DL will be about 10 days and the 1 trip to DW will be 9 days. This is a pretty typical year for us, but, since we will be getting Annual Passes at DL (as well as our APs at DW), and since DL is closer and we can drive, we tend to go more often. We also always get MaxPass, but it never seems to have much left to schedule after about 11:30 in the morning.

DL is great. I especially enjoy Radiator Springs Racers, Guardians of the Galaxy and the Frozen show (used to love the late, lamented Aladdin show). Cathay Circle is a wonderful restaurant. On the other side, Pirates and Haunted Mansion. I like Bengal BBQ and French Market is always one of our favorite places to eat, and I like the whole New Orleans area, including Cafe Orleans. Downtown Disney at DL has a few good restaurants, but it doesn't hold a candle to Disney Springs, in ANY way.

I prefer DW and I think my family will agree. At DL you give up the California Adventure rides, but you get Animal Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Lodge, both of which I love. (Though Grand Californian at DL is my second favorite lodge and I do love it too.) Also, though the rides aren't as good, I do still like Hollywood Studios and some of the restaurants there. Magic Kingdom beats Disneyland Park. Just nicer in general. The 7 Seas Lagoon and monorail resorts are really convenient and beautiful. California Grill at Bay Lake Tower is some amazing food, and view. Boardwalk area is always interesting. Epcot is always fun, and when you add in all the Epcot restaurants and the restaurants at various resorts and Disney Springs, and the ease of transportation and places to stay at DW, I think there is no question that it is far superior. But I wouldn't complain about either place, obviously.
 

jormom1030

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
We were just at DL in a March. Fantasmic at DL blows the one at WDW out of the water. We also did the River Belle package too. When that pirate ship comes around the corner was our favorite. We agree that we like the food better at WDW. We loved all of Cars Land. We liked all the other rides you mentioned, but we agreed that we like WDW better.
 

CarolynK

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 31, 2000
Your first day was a long one!! There's no way my (grown) kids would tolerate that, especially with fighting those crowds. We were there just before you, March 28-31. We had 4-day non-hoppers. We've been visiting DLR since 1999, and this trip was probably the most crowded we've experienced and that includes a Christmas trip 2 years ago (NOT crowded).
DLR is such a different guest vibe: when my kids were little, we never went to WDW's MK if we had a DLR trip planned, because we knew that they'd get their Fantasyland fix in DLR with much smaller lines.
As for ride breakdowns, we didn't experience any during our short visit, BUT on our December visit 2 years ago, rides were shutdown often, due to rainy weather...this can't happen in Florida!
BTW, didn't you recognize Indiana Jones as the twin to WDW's Dinosaur ride?
 

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