This site contains affiliate links. Please see policies for more information.
I have gotten this question A LOT since my two recent trips to both parks. Before I get into my feelings let me say that this is 100% just what I think/feel. I have another friend who I know feels the opposite and that’s awesome.
First of all, let me say if you give me the opportunity to go to either park the answer is YES.
Both properties are SO different to me and feel different too. WDW is obviously huge. Way huge in fact the entire Disneyland Resort (Disneyland Park, DCA, the hotels and Downtown Disney) can fit into the parking lot of the Magic Kingdom at WDW. How’s that for crazy right?!
So the big difference off the bat is that if you stay on property at WDW you’re in the giant bubble. But doing that big has disadvantages, such as, it can take quite a while to get from your hotel to the park you’re going to or vice versa. Disneyland is definitely more quaint and walkable.
WDW has done a really good job with interactive line queues and keeping kids interested and busy before and after the main attraction which slows you down a bit (in a good way). Disneyland holds a lot of history and nostalgia because it was Walt’s dream come to life (which by the way is talked about in the new fireworks and World of Color shows that are awesome).
It’s hard to compare the two because of the extra parks and water parks that WDW hold although it makes it that much harder to see it all on a “normal” vacation timeframe. EPCOT, though not created as Walt’s original plan, is very cool and deserves maybe a couple days all on it’s own. Animal Kingdom is also such a different experience and will certainly wear you out after a full day (or maybe even 1/2).
All that said (though I’m sure there’s much more to say), Disneyland feels like “home” to me. I went for the first time when I was 3, then again for the first time with my brother, for the 40th, 50th and now 60th celebrations. I took my kids their for their first times both barely walking (at 10 months old) that I bought them shoes on the way in. It’s where my Mom introduced me to that magical feeling you get when you first set eyes on Main Street USA. It’s where you can look to the left above the fire station and imagine what Walt Disney must have been like as a father/grandfather in his apartment. It’s what I know. (And also even though it feels humid to me, it’s WAY drier than FL)
So if you forced me to choose, I choose home. But don’t force me because I still want to visit both and Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort, Aulani, a Disney cruise…
Editing to add – I also much prefer a “go with the flow” vacation as opposed to a strictly scheduled one. While I really LOVE the magic bands and the convenience they give, the whole system is much more scheduled at WDW (which does help with line times) and it just adds that extra bit of stress that you don’t get when planning a Disneyland vacation. Now, NOT having the schedule makes some people stressed so this is definitely a personal opinion.