Disney World vs Disneyland Paris
Updated: Jul 29, 2021
Disney World or Disneyland Paris. Which is better? What are the differences between these transatlantic Disney Parks? Which should you visit?
To celebrate the grand reopening of Disneyland Paris we will look at the differences between Disneyland Paris and Disney World.
Which has the best rides?
Which gives you the best Disney experience?
Which is most affordable?
Let's start by looking at the differences between the two and the pros and cons of each!
2 Disney Parks and the Disney Village
Disneyland Paris has two Disney Parks: Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios Park. The parks sit next to each other so you can easily walk between the two!
Disneyland Paris is similar to Magic Kingdom at Disney World. It has a lot of the same lands and a similar layout. In this park you will find classic attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Walt Disney Studios Park is based around movie-making. In this park you will find Toy Story Land, Ratatouille: The Adventure, Crush's Coaster and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. They are currently transforming one area of this park to be a Marvel land and there is an expansion coming with Star Wars and Frozen!
There is also a shopping and dining district called Disney Village which is right in front of the Disney Parks. Here you will find a range of different Disney shops to buy all your merchandise and souvenirs as well as a range of restaurants to dine in.
The Disneyland Paris hotels are also in this same area. You can easily walk to the parks from your hotel which is a big bonus!
Easy To Get Around
Disneyland Paris is one of the smaller Disney Parks to get around. With less distance to cover you can really take time to soak up the atmosphere in the parks and notice the small details, such as the dragon under Sleeping Beauty castle!
The two Disneyland Paris Parks are next to each other, with Disney Village to the side and the Disneyland Paris hotels running off of Disney Village. With everything being so close together it makes it super easy to park hop, stop by your hotel for a rest in the day or pop out of the parks to dine in a Disney Village restaurant.
Less of a Disney Hangover!
Long days with a lot of walking can lead you to have a Disney hangover! You can feel lethargic with sore feet the day after a long day in the park. Luckily because of the smaller size of Disneyland Paris you can avoid the Disney hangover!
This is a big bonus for people travelling with young kids as it is less tiring for them.
Some of the Best Disney Rides in the World!
Disneyland Paris has a lot of the same rides as Disney World but there are some slight differences you will notice. In fact a lot of the Disneyland Paris versions are often better than their American counterparts!
Some of the rides that are even better in France are Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Tower of Terror, Pirates of the Caribbean and Phantom Manor., the French version of Haunted Mansion.
Disneyland Paris also has totally unique rides like RC Racers, Toy Story Parachute Drop and Crush's Coaster.
The mixture of familiar rides and totally new rides make Disneyland Paris a great destination to visit for all Disney fans!
Disneyland Paris can be more affordable, particularly if you are visiting from Europe.
One of the ways a trip to Disneyland Paris can be cheaper than visiting Florida is great value flight prices and the ability to get a train to Disneyland Paris.
You are able to travel by the Eurostar from the UK. This high speed train takes you right to Disneyland as there is a station, Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy, right at the entrance to Disneyland!
You can also get a high speed train from Charles de Gaulle airport straight to Disneyland Paris, which takes less than 15 minutes. Europe is well connected with trains so if you can get to Paris you can easily and quickly get to Disneyland Paris!
You are also able to get good deals for staying at a Disneyland Paris hotel, such as a free half board meal plan or free nights offers. Accommodation is cheaper per night at Disneyland Paris and includes park tickets which is a massive advantage over Disney World!
If you wanted to stay off-site there are hotels just one train stop away, with many hotels also offering a shuttle. In high season this is a really good way to save money.
The past three times I have been to Disneyland Paris I have paid less than £500 per person for a 4 night, 5 day stay with 5 days of pack tickets. This works out which is less than £100 a day for accommodation, park tickets and transportation.
The way to get the best rates is to travel off-season, in months such as November, January and February.
During school holidays and public holidays prices will increase so if you are able to travel outside of these times you will find cheaper prices.
7 Disney Hotels
Disneyland Paris has 7 hotels to choose from. The theming at the hotels are fantastic! You have everything from Cars, Toy Story and even a brand new Marvel hotel!
All of the hotels are within walking distance of the parks. It takes between 5 and 15 minutes to walk from the hotels to Disneyland. To be only a maximum of 15 minutes away is such a big bonus! The hotels also offer free shuttles to the entrance of the parks and Disney Village.
The Disneyland Hotel is beautiful and grand and is literally at the gates to Disneyland park! You could not get any closer! Some rooms even have a view looking down Main Street at Sleeping Beauty Castle!
As well as being super close to the parks, and restaurants in Disney Village, the biggest benefit to staying at a Disneyland hotel is that your park tickets are included in the price!
At Disney World you have to pay for your tickets separately as they are not included as part of your hotel package, which instantly adds hundreds to the costs of your trip.
A Train Station Right At The Entrance!
Disneyland Paris has a train station right at the entrance! If you are travelling from the UK you can get the Eurostar and be in the parks in less than 3 hours after leaving London.
If you fly into Paris you can get the high-speed train from Charles de Gaulle airport to Disneyland in less than 15 minutes!
The train station, Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy, is literally at the entrance to the Disneyland Parks so you could not get any closer!
For a small fee you can also leave your luggage at the train station and it will be transported to your Disney hotel, meaning you can head straight to the parks! One time I arrived at the train station and 15 minutes later I was on Space Mountain! You can't get better than that!
Sleeping Beauty Castle - The Best Disney Castle?!
Sleeping Beauty Castle is considered one of the most beautiful Disney castles in the world! In fact it often comes out on top of people's favourite!
The best elements of the Disney castles were combined into this elegant, iconic castle at Disneyland Paris!
What is also special about this castle is underneath it lives a dragon! You can also visit a gallery that overlooks Fantasyland and has stunning stained glass windows!
Great For A Shorter Trip
Visiting Disneyland Paris is a great way to experience Disney for a shorter trip.
Because of the smaller size of the parks you won't need as many days as when visiting Disney World. This is great for European people wanting a Disney fix or if you are visiting from further afield as part of a vacation to Paris.
Needing less time to visit helps to keep costs down as you won't need to spend out money for a longer stay in a hotel.
Some of the cons of Disneyland Paris!
Food Options Aren't As Good and Expensive!
The food options at Disneyland Paris are notorious bad. This is due to there being not as many restaurants to choose from, a lack of variety and uninspiring dishes. Dining at Disneyland Paris is also very expensive for what it is.
Your average quick service meal will cost around €14 and is mostly basic burgers, pizza and pasta. It is typical theme park food: the quality isn't the best and there is nothing too exciting about the options on offer.
Disneyland Paris also has a range of table service restaurants. More variety in the dishes can be found here and the options are more interesting but the cost is very expensive! It is typically over €30 for an entree and over €5 for Coca Cola!
Many table service restaurants will have a set menu, which can help you save some money. These cost on average €42 for a starter, main and dessert.
Many of the Disneyland hotels have buffets which cost around €25 and are all you can eat. This can be a good way to fill up whilst relaxing at your resort.
Disney Village has many restaurants, including chains such as Planet Hollywood, Five Guys, Vapiano, Starbucks and Earl of Sandwich. A lot of people's favourite places to dine are here, such as Annette's Diner. Because Disney Village is right in front of the parks you can easily stop here for breakfast, pop out of the parks in the day for lunch or dine for dinner after your park day before walking back to your Disney hotel.
Bad for Vegans, Vegetarians and People With Food Allergies
The food situation is even worst if you are vegan, vegetarian or have food allergies! There are very few options available and what is on the menu is often not that good.
Vegetarians will have to most lucky as you will be able to find at least one option on most menus. But with only having one option there is little choice as to what you can eat. It is a good idea to look up the Disneyland Paris restaurant menus before your trip so you can see which locations have the options you like best. This will ensure you won't get stuck with only one option that you don't like!
For vegans it is much harder. Disneyland Paris have said they will have vegan options on every menu but we are yet to see that. At quick service restaurants the vegan options are either a salad or chili. At every single quick service location! This can get boring very quickly and isn't great if you don't like these dishes. Depending on the time of year it may also impact your options as in the winter months many locations close and you aren't going to want to eat a cold salad every day!
There are a few vegan sides and snacks you can add such as fries, a side salad, a pineapple cup and a vegan Magnum ice cream.
Table service restaurants are hit and miss for vegan food. Some have clearly labelled vegan options and some have nothing on the menu at all!
Luckily the newly Marvel themed hotel, Disney's Hotel New York, has two new restaurants, both that have clearly marked vegan options so these are a good place to dine.
I am currently working on a Disneyland Paris vegan guide to be released in the future that will have all the plant-based options available to eat there!
If you are visiting Disneyland Paris with allergies it can be a bit more complex. Disneyland does have allergy menus at every restaurant that you can look at to see what is suitable for you to eat.
You can also speak to the staff when they arrive to see what options are available for you. Disney state that are equipped to deal with the 14 most common allergies and you don't need to contact the restaurants in advice for them to prepare these for you. Disneyland Paris does carry allergy-friendly meals which come pre-packaged, so it may be that you are offered one of these rather than something off the menu or cooked fresh for you.
It is a great idea to take a note with you with a French translation of your allergy so that the staff can easily understand what you need and what you cannot eat. You may also want to contact Disneyland Paris or your travel agent before your trip to get more details.
If you have any sort of dietary requirements it is a good idea to bring food with you for breakfast and snacks. There is also a supermarket which is one stop away on the train at Val d'Europe.
Luckily because Disneyland Paris is small you have to option to dine anywhere, not just the park or hotel you are in. You have the full range of restaurants on offer to you which makes dining with a dietary needs a bit easier.
For more information about dietary requirements be sure to check out the Disneyland Paris webpage all about this.
Weather Can Be Unreliable
Come prepared with clothing options! In the summer you will have sunny, hot days. In Spring and Autumn you may need some layers or light rain clothing for showers. In winter may need a thick, warm coat. Waterproof is also a bonus!
Luckily a lot of the rides and queues are indoors to accommodate the unpredictable weather so you can still have a fantastic trip even in the colder months.
WALT DISNEY WORLD
6 Theme Parks!
Disney World has 6 theme parks, including two water parks. There is so much to see, do and experience! As well as rides there are amazing shows, great shopping and fantastic dining.
Each of the four Disney World parks are totally unique. Magic Kingdom is you classic Disney park with rides to suit everyone, EPCOT showcases cultures from all around the world and highlights what is possible for our future, Hollywood Studios is the best park for fans of Star Wars, Toy Story and thrill rides and Animal Kingdom is a nature wonderland!
The Disney World Parks are significantly bigger and have more rides and attractions in them than the parks at Disneyland Paris. Because of this be prepared to walk a lot. On average you walk 20,000 steps a day at Disney World!
Because there is so much to see and do you need more time to visit Disney World. If you are travelling from the US at least 5 days would be best (more days are always better!). If you are travelling from overseas a two week trip is ideal.
Over 20 Disney World Hotels
Walt Disney World Resort has more than 20 hotels to choose from!
The hotels come in three categories: value, moderate and deluxe. This way you can choose a resort that best suits your vacation type, budget and the level of amenities you would like.
Disney World resorts have some great theming. If you want a full out Disney experience then choose a value resort. The moderate and deluxe resorts have more subtle theming but you can find rooms that have been decorated to match a theme, such as the Pirate Rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort or the new Incredibles themed rooms coming to the Contemporary Resort this year.
Over 200 Restaurants!
Disney World has fantastic dining and is known as a foodie destination! With over 200 restaurants on property there is something for everyone! A large range of cuisines are on offer and you can eat some really delicious food.
There is also lots of variety in the types of dishes you will find, something that you don't get at Disneyland Paris.
Come to Disney World with a big appetite as there will be so many foods and snacks you will want to try!
The 'Disney' Feeling
There is something just extra special about the atmosphere and feeling in Disney World! You can't quite describe it and you don't experience this magical feeling anywhere else in the world!
The 'Disney' feeling may be due to the scale of Disney World, how immersive it is, the incredible attention to detail, the fantastic customer service and the memorable experiences the cast members give you.
You Get To Stay In The Disney Bubble
The Disney bubble refers to the fact that you never have to leave the resort during your entire vacation! Because of this you get to feel the magical Disney feeling your entire stay!
Disney World is vast but luckily everything you could ever need is available to you so you don't need to leave and go off-site at any point.
Now the cons!
Very Large and Spread Out
Walt Disney World Resort is huge! Because of this everything is very spread out. You have to have transportation of some sort to get around.
Luckily Disney World has complimentary transportation. If you are a Disney World Resort guest you can get Disney buses to all the parks and Disney Springs. May resorts also have additional transportation such as the monorail, the Skyliner or Disney boats.
If you are visiting Disney World with a car don't forget to factor in parking costs. The charge for parking at the parks is $25. If you are a resort guest you get free park parking as you pay to park at your hotel.
If you are staying off-site you need to budget for transport getting to and from the Disney Parks. Some hotels offer a shuttle service, which may be free. May people use ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft or a local taxi company such as Mears to get to the parks.
Weather Can Be Unreliable
This feels familiar! Like Disneyland Paris the weather can be unreliable. Orlando can go from super hot to a massive rainstorm in seconds. Also be aware of hurricane season, which occurs from June through November.
Be sure to pack a poncho or umbrella for the possibility of rain. Rainstorms are often short lived so don't let them put a dampner on your day! Pop into a shop or join an indoor queue for an indoor attraction whilst the storm passes.
A hurricane closing down Disney World is incredibly rare. Disney World are amazing at dealing with this situation so have no fear that in the unlikely event a hurricane does happen during your trip you will be well looked after and safe!
Expensive to Stay On-Site
One of the biggest factors to consider when visiting Disney World is the cost to stay at a Disney World hotel. Rooms cost over $120 a night and into the thousands! This can be a big barrier for people as there are far fewer benefits to staying on-site now so is the high cost justifiable?
Disney World does have different categories of hotel to try to be more available to people no matter what their budget.
Value resorts are the most affordable but have the least amount of restaurants and facilities. They are great for people just wanting somewhere to sleep, solo travellers or families looking for a cost effective way to stay at Disney.
Moderate resorts are a good balance between a nice range of facilities and cost.
Deluxe resorts have the most amount of facilities and are the closest to the parks. They are also the most expensive ranging from over $500 to thousands of dollars per night.
Disney charge per room not per person, so the more people in the room the cheaper it works out. This is great for families as you can all stay in one room together and it works out the best value. Unfortunately for solo travellers this can make a stay very expensive.
To save money on accommodation many people stay off-site in Orlando. There are thousands of properties available, from hotels, villas, Air BnB properties and motels.
Check out my blog post all about this topic to learn everything you need to know about staying on-site or off-site at Disney World!
WHICH IS BETTER?
The great news is any trip to Disney is always the best! Disneyland Paris and Disney World have a lot of similarities but also enough differences to make them both destinations to visit!
Disneyland Paris is a great option for Europeans as a short trip to get a Disney fix, particularly if you get a good deal as it can be very affordable this way.
Disneyland Paris has some of the best versions of iconic Disney rides so this is definitely a park everyone should visit at least once to get to ride these!
Walt Disney World has more on offer and is great for a longer trip. There are so many different types of rides and attractions that everyone will have things they can enjoy, no matter what their thrill level is or what their interests are. Disney World also features Star Wars and Marvel so this can be fantastic for groups travelling with mixed taste in movies!
Disney World has the magical Disney feeling that you don't really get anywhere else! This is the key to why I think so many people love to visit Disney World!
The dining at Disney World is also incredible! There are so many famous snacks and meals to try that you could visit Disney World just for the food!
No matter which park you decide to visit you will have a fantastic time. If you want the full Disney experience book a trip to Disney World. To experience a smaller, more intimate park with amazing rides then be sure to visit Disneyland Paris!
If you want to start planning your next Disney World trip be sure to check out the Most Magical Shop for a full range of handy guides to help you plan every aspect of your trip!
Be sure to check out my other blog posts on a range of topics to help you plan and prepare your ultimate Disney trip!