Monday, January 25, 2010

Walt Disney World Favoritism

In 1955, Walt Disney opened what is arguably the Happiest Place on Earth: Disneyland. It has brought joy to billions of people during its 55 years of operation, and is the original Disney Theme Park.

In 1971, Walt Disney World opened. It is, historically, the second Disney Resort and has four theme parks, two water parks, and 24 themed hotels (compared to Disneyland's two theme parks and three hotels). WDW has EPCOT and the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

Disneyland is the second most visited park in world at 14.8 million visits in 2007. Walt Disney World is the first most visited park in the world at 17 million visits. One's on the west coast, and one's on the east coast. They are both Disney parks, but any Disney fanatic you ask will prefer one over the other.

Personally, I like Disneyland better. It is the original. It is more magical with more focus on what makes Disney uniquely Disney. There is a certain atmosphere at Disneyland that you lose at Walt Disney World. Disneyland is authentic. It feels like Disney World was created so that they could have a park on the East coast. I haven't quite been able to put my finger on the exact reason, but I feel that Disneyland is an all-around better park than Walt Disney World.

Many would disagree. In fact, an overwhelming majority would disagree, if my research means anything. While searching for stories and things for the site, I have found that there are many more Disney World fans than there are Disneyland fans.

The first place I looked was on Google. No, I wasn't looking for a website, but was simply looking at the amount of pages on the web that mention each park. Disneyland appears on 12,800,000 unique webpages compared to Disney World's 29,600,000. The Floridian theme park is on the internet more than twice as often as its Californian counterpart.

Next, I went to one of the most popular Disney forums around, DIS Boards. It didn't take long for me to notice the same recurring theme of Disney World favoritism: WDW had over 5,000,000 posts and Disneyland barely had 500,000. The theme park from California seemed like more of an afterthought, actually; the top of the page contains numerous links to different discussions about WDW (weddings, camping, different languages, individual parks within, etc.), then it moves on to discussions about the Disney Vacation Club, "Global Neighbors," and the Disney Cruise Line. Then, finally, it reaches a link to a discussion regarding Disneyland. But even then, there's only one link compared to WDW's 12. Yes, the Walt Disney World favoritism is living large at one of the most popular forums, DIS Boards.

But the madness doesn't end there. If you go to the Disney Parks homepage, every single list on the site (the lists composed of Disney destinations: Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, etc.), begins with Disney World and has Disneyland come second.

The drop down list for finding prices has Walt Disney World set as its default location. The "Give a Day, Get a Day" promotional site has the Cinderella castle from Disney World as its home page, and Disney World first on its "Select a Location" list. When you are ordering a Disney Theme Park DVD, Disney World comes first on the list. It's almost as if it's Disney's policy to have Disney World always come before Disneyland.

Heck, even Google Maps doesn't once mention California after a search for "Disney parks."

But why is this? Why must Disneyland always come second? It's not fair. Disney World shouldn't come first--Disneyland came into existence first. Without Disneyland, Disney World wouldn't even exist. It always has been, and always will be, the original. It is more magical and more historically important than its sister in Florida.

I am sure that Disney World steals the attention since it's bigger and more popular, but I still think that Disneyland takes the cake as the best Disney park.

Oh well, this was merely an observation. And, also, a sort of public service announcement; now you know that Disney World favoritism is out there and is apparent everywhere you look.

I love every single bit of every single Disney park. Don't get me wrong: I love both Disney parks. I just happen to like Disneyland a little bit better.

Long live Disneyland.


Unknown said...

I love Disneyland. I grew up in Arizona, so it was always a vacation spot when I was young. I went twice last year, once for my birthday, and once for my sons birthday. I've never been to Disneyworld, I hope to go someday, but I think Disneyland will still hold that special place in my heart. I think there is something to be said about it's originality and it's longer history. As far as Disneyworld's preferential placement all over their website, I think they probably make more money from visitors there than they do at Disneyland. It seems harder to get off of Disney property to spend money elsewhere on food, lodging, etc. but that's just a theory.

Unknown said...

In my oppinion, Disneyland Paris is the best of all the Magic Kingdoms. Not only is the biggest but also it is the most beautyful and well themed.

Craig Wheeler said...

My best guess is that Disneyland makes most of its money from locals who make several trips a year, while the money coming into Walt Disney World is more dispersed in origin. The typical WDW visitor is not a local. And I believe visitors from out of the country are more likely to choose the east coast park.

Assuming this is all true, then the disparity you see on your Google search is to be expected. As is the fact that they put all the WDW listings first on the website -- it's better to make things easier for someone making a first trip or infrequent trips rather than making things easy for a local who just buys an AP at the beginning of the year and doesn't interact with you online much after that.

Connie Moreno said...

AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! I couldn't agree with you more! And the reason Disneyland is so magical is's the only Park Walt ever touched!!

Drew said...

i agree WDW does seem to be put in the spot light more than Disneyland...I love Disneyland hack I live down the street; but it's probably cause Disneyland is a locals park like TDL and WDW is a tourist park..idk I still love Disneyland and it will always be MY favorite, but i do have a soft spot for ECPOT.

Dreemfinder said...

Disneyland was designed by a genius for people. Disney World was designed by a committee for a mob.

Disneyland is a fraction of the size of the Magic Kingdom, with several times as much to see and do.

Want to understand the difference? Walk from Space Mountain to the Tiki Room in Disneyland; it's a stroll. Try the same trek in Florida... better bring some water... and comfortable shoes!

Mark Floyd-Thaut said...

Disneyland will always be my home park. I've been to DL numerous times and WDW a few. You're right in that there's just something special about DL, that WDW is lacking. Although I love WDW and enjoy my time there, it just seems so big and so corporate, while DL is more quaint and has to many qualities that make it more magical. It's funny, many of my WDW friends complain that DL gets all the "cool" stuff. Holiday overlays, better fireworks. Yet they get better parades. It's a give and take.

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