Disneyland vs. Walt Disney World Attractions (Part 2)
I boldly and proudly proclaimed my adoration for the Walt Disney World Resort in part 1 of this article series, and I’m sticking true to my morals. I have the most brilliant parents who knew to start me on Disney in my early years, and once that wide-eyed, stroller-bound baby version of myself got her first look at Magic Kingdom, I knew growing up anywhere but at the foot of Cinderella Castle is a life I would never want to lead.
Yes, Walt Disney World is definitely my Disney destination of choice, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t visited- and loved- the Disneyland Resort too! One of my good friends (we’ll call her Pam) is a huge Disneyland advocate, and she’s traveled there more times in the past 2 years than I have my entire life! She’s a seasoned WDW girl too though, and she even joined me on a fantastic trip to the Resort a few months ago!
We recently sat down and combined our extensive knowledge bases about the Parks on both coasts, before long, we got to comparing the similar yet very different attractions at the Parks on both coasts. Without playing favorites, we had any Disney Parks fan’s dream discussion and dived deep into the realm of attractions on each coast and answered the ultimate question: which is better?
Tower of Terror vs. Mission Breakout
Tower of Terror
The Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has kept the same theme consistently since its opening in 1994. When Pam and I were reminiscing about our fantastic trip to Walt Disney World, we pointed out the irony that the attraction draws its inspiration from the Hollywood Tower Hotel- neighbors to the rivaling Disneyland attraction.
As far as theming goes, you won’t find a more thorough execution. Pam and I took a slow walk through the queue together when we rode, pointing out the careful attention to detail in the cobweb-covered, perfectly abandoned lobby. Once on board the attraction itself, the story reaches its climax, and the random drop sequences kept us on our toes!
Pam may be partial to Disneyland, but she is not a comic book kind of girl. Never having seen any of the Guardians of the Galaxy films that the attraction is based on, the concept did not leave a lasting impression on her. When I steered the conversation towards Mission Breakout, Pam’s face dropped as fast as the drop sequence!
I, on the other hand, am a Marvel fan! I’ve been on both attractions and, looking at both with an open mind, there isn’t a real comparison at all. The Tower of Terror’s impeccable themeing and thorough storytelling is unmatched by most others.
The California counterpart actually used to be a version of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror too, but the haphazard overlay to Guardians of the Galaxy doesn’t fit on a building meant to serve a different purpose, and overall, the idea falls flat.
Winner: WALT DISNEY WORLD
Another attraction Pam and I rode together on our trip, Space Mountain always ranks up there with the best adrenaline-pumping moments of any vacation! The Walt Disney World version saw the most recent track and rocket updates, and based on its somewhat recent remodel, the ride should be a lot smoother than the older tracks out at Disneyland.
As far as themeing goes, both attractions are pretty similar. You’re in the dark, you’re in outer space, and you’re on a roller coaster. Period. As simple as it sounds, the differences between the two are paramount. The Disneyland version sees multiple overlays through the year- something Walt Disney World tried (and failed) at bringing to last years’ Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party- that majorly amp up the rider experience!
The Hyperspace Mountain overlay is the big one I’m referencing, and it crushes all versions of the Florida attraction like a free falling asteroid. The smoother ride and better track at Disneyland aside, this overlay speaks for itself.
With Hyperspace Mountain, we finally get a story from Space Mountain, and with the epic Star Wars music playing in the background, that’s one space journey both Pam and I agreed could be ridden and re-ridden for an entire day! Our choice on this one was clear…
Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree vs. Alien Swirling Saucers
Two coasts. Two Lands. Two different attractions. “Is there even a comparison?” Pam innocently asked when I brought this one up. From someone who’s ridden both attractions, I was a little taken aback by her question. In my mind, how are they NOT comparable? In her mind, though, Cars and Toy Story share nothing beyond the same movie studio.
Toy Story Land is the newest addition to Walt Disney World, and if we’re going to delve into the differences between these two attractions, we have to start with the themeing. Made to feel like you’re a toy in Andy’s backyard, Toy Story Land succeeds in bringing the whimsy and child-like feeling to guests visiting the land. When you’re surrounded by life sized green army men and meet Buzz Lightyear at eye-level, a more complete story will be hard to come by…
Until you visit Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure. Some compare it to Pandora, but in my opinion, Cars Land is the best themed land of any! You can dine at Flo’s and take an adrenaline-pumping tour of Radiator Springs aboard what I still think to be one of the most thoroughly-themed attractions in existence.
When it comes to the two attractions in question though, the concept is the same. The only difference is the themeing…and it’s major. Pam and I talked about this one for awhile, but after realizing that the only differences in the attraction lie in the soundtrack and general color scheme, we had to give our vote to the Land that boasted the best overall experience…
We set out to discuss our joint vacation and ended up diving deep into the world of Disney Parks attractions, and that’s how I know this friendship will be everlasting! We raved about our favorites and plead our cases for our favorites, but at the end of the day, she and I have nothing but love to share for these attractions. So at the end of our analyzation conversation, we reached a definitive conclusion: it’s time to plan a return visit!
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