California Adventure vs. Disneyland

Going to Disneyland soon?  Trying to decide between California Adventure vs. Disneyland was a decision we had to face for sure.  In this blog, I’ll share with you our consideration and decision process, so hopefully, you can have an easier time deciding one versus the other.

California Adventure vs. Disneyland

As difficult as this decision might sound, I would like you to consider that as I would tell my daughter this is a first world problem.

What do I mean?

My sarcasm comes from the point that you can’t go wrong with your decision.  Really.

I do understand that if you only have one day in Anaheim, and need to choose California Adventure vs. Disneyland then that could be a little more serious consideration, but if you have more than one day; for sure you should at least visit each park once.

In fact, if you get a multi-day ticket as we did, you can always do California Adventure or Disneyland one day, and then the other park the following day.  Then you can take a vote among your family members to decide which park will break the tie in a 3-day park, or get more visits in a 4 or 5 days ticket.

California Adventure vs. Disneyland

Why did we go to California Adventure first?

If you read my previous post about the Disneyland Disability Access Service you know that my 4-year-old son is autistic and we enjoyed the DAS service during our vacation at Disneyland.

We heard from some friends that it was better to get the DAS at California Adventure vs. Disneyland, because of the lines.

This was the main reason we decided to go to California Adventure first.  Pure convenience.

At the end of the day, this decision didn’t affect the number of days we went to each park, because with our 5 days tickets our plan was 2 days at each park, and then the last day we were going to decide where to go between California Adventure vs. Disneyland.

California Adventure vs. Disneyland comparison

Now speaking about the real differences between parks, this part of the post is intended to highlight the pros and cons of each one (from my humble perspective)

California Adventure Pros:

  • Less Crowded than Disneyland
  • Smaller
  • Adult friendly beverage can be found
  • Food selection was good (maybe because it was the Food and Wine Festival)

California Adventure Cons:

  • Not too many rides
  • Oriented mostly to smaller children (this is only a cons if you have older children complaining about it)

Disneyland Pros:

  • They don’t call it the happiest place on Earth for nothingCalifornia Adventure vs. Disneyland
  • Rides are still awesome, even in our 40’s
  • There is so much to do
  • The parades are fantastic
  • Cooler characters are walking around

Disneyland Cons:

  • Even in crowded days, Disneyland has more crowds
  • It’s a larger park and so things are more dispersed
  • Not very good food selection

California Adventure vs. Disneyland: Which one is the winner?

I am writing this review of California Adventure vs. Disneyland sitting by Ben, and when I asked him this question his answer was one that I have to agree with:  It depends!

The winner of this contest depends on how you feel, what’s your mood, etc.

For instance, if you are an introvert like Ben, then you probably will feel more comfortable at California Adventure, because even if it’s crowded, I guarantee it will be less crowded than Disneyland.

However, if you are an extrovert like me, you probably prefer Disneyland, because there are so many things going on, all the time, at all angles, everywhere.  There is actually not a dull moment at Disneyland.

But again, they have strategically placed the rides in a way that in order to enjoy all the coolest rides you need to go to both parks.  For example, California Adventure has the Incredible Roller Coaster, the Guardians of the Galaxy (previously called Tower of Terror) and the Grizzly Rapids.  These are all thrill rides that compliment comparable rides at Disneyland like Thunder Mountain, Indiana Jones, Space Mountain, and Matterhorn Bobsled.

Then you have to face the way they have placed the “family friendly” rides in both parks.  California Adventure has rides like the new Carsland, Toy Story Mania, where I got 108,900 points which were a crime compared to every other person in our family.

Here is the proof.

California Adventure vs. Disneyland

But Disneyland has the rest of the nostalgic rides that everybody loves like Dumbo, the Matter hat, and of course, it’s a small world.

California Adventure vs. Disneyland

What if I have to pick between California Adventure vs. Disneyland?

If I had to choose between California Adventure vs. Disneyland, I’m pretty certain I would decide to give the vote to Disneyland, just because I find there are many more things to do, however, to make it fair here is the poll at our house:

Carmen – Disneyland

Ben – California Adventure

Stefan – Wants to find a way to go to both, which doesn’t surprise me, so each park gets a vote

Sofia – Disneyland

Patrick – Disneyland

Sarah – California Adventure

Emma – I can’t be convinced she had a good time at all.  I’m sure it’s the age, but she was not happy at any time during this vacation, and so I have disqualified her vote

Hank – Disneyland

With the votes above you can see that Disneyland is the winner of this competition.

Does that mean that we wouldn’t or didn’t have fun at California adventure?

We will have fun at either park.

In Conclusion

Both parks are amazing and having to pick one over the other is a hard decision and I wouldn’t dare to do it unless I was only there for a day, but that wouldn’t be much of a vacation.

If you are planning a vacation to Disneyland, I recommend you get at least a 3-day ticket pass.  That way you can spend one day at each park, and then decide where to spend the third day.

In our case, we did a 5-day ticket pass and that allowed us to see the parks as I’ve never seen them before.  We spent two days at each park and then democratically decided to spend the last day at Disneyland.

So, based on your family, what do you think it’ll be your choice?

Remember to travel and travel frequently.

Carmen

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