I’ve noticed recently that sometimes folks, young and old, new to Disney and seasoned veterans, are getting a little turned around when they talk about Disney. They will either say Disney World when they mean Disneyland and vise versa. Though I have not heard of anyone confusing either of these with Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney, Hong Kong Disney, or soon to be Shanghai Disney. This mix up is understandable. After all, all of these parks share the name and ideas of Walt Disney. Many of these parks also share rides and characters. Many people just refer to all of the different properties as Disney, which isn’t wrong. This probably adds to the confusion as well.
The reason many people refer to one park or property as just Disney is because they feel like that one place is their Disney. This might be because it is the only property they’ve ever experienced so they don’t know what the other properties are like. Their Disney may also be their favorite property among the different parks they’ve visited. There are several reasons it may be their favorite and all are personal preferences. It may have been their first experience with Disney, which gives them certain expectations for the other properties. They also may be able to visit one property more frequently because it is more accessible than the others.
Another reason may be that a certain property is their favorite would be because they are more comfortable at that property because of size, knowledge of the property, or the unique things at that specific property. Most of the time when I say Disney and I’m not talking about the Company as a whole then I am referring to Walt Disney World. I find that this particular property is “my Disney” because it’s the property I visit the most and the property I have worked at. I am most comfortable and familiar with this property as a whole.
It is important to understand that although the philosophy of the Walt Disney Company is evident throughout all of it’s properties, the properties themselves do have differences. One difference that occurs in each property is that each one has a different princess’ castle. Walt Disney World is located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida; but most people just say Orlando since it is so close. This property consists of four major theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios (formally know as MGM), and Animal Kingdom. There are also two water parks: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, River Country closed in 2001. There are also two miniature golf courses: Fantasia Gardens and Fairways, and Winter Summerland Miniature golf courses. There are several golf courses available to guests as well, some played on in PGA tours: Lake Buena Vista, Magnolia, Oak Trail, Osprey Ridge, and Palm Golf course. Walt Disney World does have Downtown Disney, which consists of the marketplace, Pleasure Island, and the West Side. There are a multitude of resorts for guests to stay at on property. They are categorized as deluxe, moderate, value, or campground. All of these properties also provide different forms of transportation for their guests: buses, boats, monorail, and trains. Another difference is that Walt Disney himself never saw the opening of Walt Disney World.
In contrast Disneyland is located in Anaheim, California. This property consists of two theme parks: Disneyland and California Adventure. There is a Downtown Disney on property. There are also three resorts for guests to stay at on property: Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, Disneyland Hotel, and Paradise Pier Hotel. There is a monorail that runs from the Downtown Disney district to the Tomorrowland section of the Disneyland park but there are no buses, or boats. Most guests find that everything on property is easily accessible on foot so there is no reason for more modes of transportation. Walt Disney was there for the opening of this property and oversaw the development. Also size is the biggest difference. Disneyland can fit into the Magic Kingdom and it’s parking lot, with room to spare!
There are many similarities among the Disney properties so it is easy to just call them all Disney. If someone is talking about one of the properties and just calls it Disney there is a way to tell what property they are talking about. There are unique differences to each property. This doesn’t mean that anyone is wrong by calling it Disney, everyone does it.
But next time you’re curious about which Disney is which, just look for some of those helpful hints. Or better yet go visit all the properties you can and try to decipher it yourself and figure out which Disney is your Disney! So enjoy your Disney travels and as always have faith and trust and may your Disney sprinkle you with that extra sprinkling of pixie dust!
Jess was born and raised on Long Island, New York but once college began so did her adventures. She’s lived in Florida, Wisconsin, and now South Carolina. Her family is part of the Disney Vacation Club and has been visiting since she was a little girl, and continuously goes every year. Besides being a big Disney fan she has also been a Disney Cast Member working in Magic Kingdom, and she counts it as one of the most magical experiences. She worked with everyone’s favorite elephant Dumbo, Cinderella’s Carousel, and Mickey’s Philharmagic. Jess has also visited Disneyland, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, and gone on two Disney Cruises. She has so many great memories from Disney besides running half marathons and 5ks, birthday parties, and family reunions. If asked where she would want to go it is almost always Disney, and when asked why, it is almost always because she can eat awesome gluten free food! And it doesn’t hurt that there is always faith, trust, and pixie dust with magic in the air!