Tower of Terror at Night
Credit: D23

The Disneyland Rides That Disney World Does Better

When Walt Disney World opened in 1971, it borrowed many of its star attractions from the original Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. Through the years, the tradition of cloning rides between Florida and California has become a common practice. However, only some duplicates are precisely the same. In some cases, the ride lengths were shortened to minimize wait times or condensed due to space limitations.

So let’s explore the top three attractions that genuinely shine in Walt Disney World.

it's a small world

Credit: Disney

1. “it’s a small world”

At first, one may assume that this signature attraction is precisely the same at Disneyland Park and the Magic Kingdom. And although that may be true regarding the contagious melody, its facade, queue decorations, and scenes all vary.

The ride in Walt Disney World clocks in at about a minute shorter than the original Disneyland Park version. Though some may argue this makes for a lesser version of the attraction, remember that sometimes a little bit of “it’s a small world” goes a long way.

The queue line at Walt Disney World is also primarily in a covered building, which helps keep people out of the Florida sun and rain while they wait. Guests visiting Disneyland Park aren’t as lucky.

The final scene in each version is also slightly different, and although it may not necessarily make one version better, it can still be argued that the Magic Kingdom’s version has a slight edge. Inside Disneyland’s “it’s a small world,” the final scene is a party/celebration scene of all the countries together. But in the Magic Kingdom, the final scene shows the citizens of the many nations coming together in a theme Park setting.


Credit: Disney

2. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

This opinion may be controversial (as almost all conversations about Tower of Terror and Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! tend to be). Still, I don’t think there’s any denying that Walt Disney World’s Tower of Terror is one of the best theme Park attractions ever built.

Although the Disney California Adventure version was rethemed to Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! in 2017, the ride system remains the same. In Walt Disney World’s Tower of Terror, it is painfully apparent that the attraction is a Disney Imagineering work of love. Its immersive storytelling and beautiful thematic design blends seamlessly with the Park’s sight lines (the same cannot be said of Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!).

Hollywood Studios’ headline attraction utilizes a unique layout that transports Guests between a pair of elevator-like ride systems, sending them through a hallway of Twilight Zone-themed paraphernalia. This special ride element is unfortunately absent when discussing California Adventure’s Tower of Terror or the Guardians of the Galaxy retheme.


Credit: Disney

3. The Haunted Mansion

This is yet another classic Disney Parks ride often mistaken for being an identical copy. Although both versions have different exteriors, each with unique queues, the main difference that makes the Disney World version superior is its added ride length. Though considered subtle by some, the Magic Kingdom iteration contains an extended hallway of portraits and the famous room of endless staircases. Some may argue that Disneyland’s haunted mansion provides a special charm with unique elements such as the Hatbox Ghost. But it seems he’ll be a new addition to Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion this year. I suppose that will bring the total of ghosts inside Magic Kingdom’s mansion up to 1,000…

Some Disneyland attractions are better than Disney World’s versions (Space Mountain). But that is usually the exception, not the rule. Anyway…these are just one Disney theme Park fan’s opinions. What do you think?

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and may not reflect the views of Disney Tips as a whole. 

About Steven Wilk