Disneyland VS Walt Disney World … in 1996

UPDATES:

  • 2019-04-10: A few more notes about the year, and some formatting updates.

In summer of 1995 I started a job that would have me traveling. I found myself in Irvine (just down the road from Anaheim), California several times a year, as well as in Orlando about as often. I ended up with annual passes to both parks for 5 years.

I recently came across a post I made in the rec.arts.disney.parks newsgroup back in 1996. I thought I’d share it here, as it was my opinions then on Disneyland versus Walt Disney World…

TIMELINE NOTE: In 1996, California only had one park — Disneyland. Their second park wouldn’t open until five years later (and I’m not even sure it had been announced yet in ’96). At Walt Disney World, there were only three parks – Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney/MGM Studios. Animal Kingdom was still two years off.


Posted on 6/1/1996:

KShre wrote:
> I was just wondering what or if there is a difference between the rides

I mainly go to Florida’s version but have had the chance to visit Disneyland three times in the past six months.  There are _major_ differences in some, and in most cases Disneyland is better, honestly.

> that are at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, such as Pirates,
> Haunted Mansion, 20,000 Leagues, Star Tours. Also wondering the same about
> the shows such as the Country Bear or the Tiki Room?

Pirates is about twice as long at DL with many more scenes.  WDW has a better queue area, so it might be worth checking out.  Also, the ship battle scene has different cannon effects.  Some updates (such as the fighting pirate shadows) are not at WDW.  Also, WDW has been made politically correct in several spots.  The scene with the men chasing the women is all women chasing men in Florida, and the pirate in front of the barrel with the show (and the woman sticking her head out) is now holding a treasure map in Florida.  Ride to notice these details.  Also you don’t go “up” at the end, rather you exit somewhere else and ride up a ramp.

Haunted Mansion is _very_ similar but all the updates Disneyland got this  past year have not happened at WDW.  A few minor differences at WDW are  worth seeing, though.  Little Leota is in the ride rather than near the  exit ramp.  The queue area doesn’t go through a hallway with pics but the  waiting room (before the stretch room) has a fireplace and changing  picture.  The attic is the older (no “I Do!” heads or mystery piano) version.  DLs has more neat updates, but WDW is still worth seeing for the minor changes.

20,000 Leagues is closed.

Country Bear is showing the original Jamboree (and not the vacation
hoedown) plus it has a neater exit area in Florida.

Tiki Room I don’t know about.

Star Tours is almost 100% the same inside but has a much neater outside at MGM and more ride vehicles (most rides are similar but hold more).

Space Mountain at WDW doesn’t have the digital sound system but does have two tracks and the seats are front to front, rather than side to side.

Splash Mountain is much much nicer and larger (original animatronics and  not ones from an old AA show 🙂 with different logs as well.

(hopefully you can tell I’ve been researching the same thing – my trips  to DL have been in the evenings so I spent most of the time just riding  things that they don’t have at WDW then riding things they do have to  compare)

The castle at WDW doesn’t have the walk-thru but does have a restaurant.

Tomorrowland is completely revamped (well, almost) at WDW and worth  experiencing everything there.

The Jungle Cruise has a “cave” it goes through at the end but otherwise is similar to DLs.

Big Thunder is larger and has a city scene not present at DL.

The train doesn’t go through any grand canyon or dinosaur land at WDW,  but does have some scenes to see that are different.

Tom Sawyer island has a neater and larger fort, but not as many caves.

Hall of the Presidents is worth seeing – not just one president like Mr.  Lincoln.

Overall more updates have been done to minor things at Disneyland than  WDW, and also maintenance (chipped paint, scratches, burnt out lights) is  poorer in Florida than DL.

So, my thoughts.  E-mail me if you want further tips.


Looking at this now, I can see many things that have changed. Disneyland got the P.C. changes, and WDW eventually got some of the updates. But overall, it seems most of it still rings true today, 23 years later.

I’ll also add that Disneyland was in the process of a decline where it, too, would have burnt out bulbs and chipping paint all over the park. I don’t really think it recovered until it was preparing for the 50th anniversary in 2005. From what I’ve been reading on Twitter, it seems like Walt Disney World is in a similar place right now, also gearing up for it’s 50th anniversary. But, the additions and updates made at Walt Disney World in the past ten years sure give it a great boost over the version I was speaking about in 1996 (which seemed like it was only minority updated since the ’70s).

Thoughts?

Until next time…