From their outward appearances Disney's two flagship theme parks seem quite similar. They both have a big castle, comparable atmospheres, and many of the same rides. However, after visiting them both, a number of items come up which clearly demonstrate the Anaheim original's superiority. Now, please keep in mind that this is only when directly comparing Disneyland and Magic Kingdom as individual parks; not the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts as a whole. Given the choice of visiting either resort, I'd go for WDW any day. But, Magic Kingdom is clearly the weakest of the parks there. So, here are the top 5 reasons why Disneyland is better than Magic Kingdom:
5. Weather: Maybe it's just me, but I'll take the dry heat of Southern California over the humidity of Central Florida any day. You'll definitely be sweating if you visit Disneyland in the middle of July, but at least it doesn't feel like you're walking into a sauna every time you step outside. But, personal preferences aside, the weather can have a profound effect on your enjoyment of any Florida theme park. Due to frequent lightning storms, certain rides will have to close unexpectedly for safety reasons. There were multiple occasions on my last trip to Disney World where I was almost to the front of the line for a ride, only to have it be closed because of a lightning warning.
4. Matterhorn: This towering white mountain and the fast-paced bobsled run contained within is easily one the best rides at Disneyland. It's a classic attraction that still manages to be very thrilling. Magic Kingdom does not have this attraction at all, nor anything comparable to take its place. Riding the Matterhorn is one of the things I look forward to most when visiting Disneyland and guests of Magic Kingdom are definitely missing out.
3. Haunted Mansion Holiday: Every October to December since 2001, Jack Skellington has taken over The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland to create Haunted Mansion Holiday. This complete re-themeing of the attraction is a yearly treat for any fan of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. While this treatment has also been given to the Haunted Mansion at Tokyo Disneyland, Magic Kingdom has had no such luck, only adding another notch to Disneyland's belt of superiority.
2. Authenticity: There's just something about Disneyland, you can feel the fact that it's the first of it's kind. From the moment you enter the park and walk underneath the train tracks, you know you're in a special place. Magic Kingdom just cannot copy the aura of history and authenticity you get from visiting Disneyland.
1. Space Mountain: Of all the rides that are at both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom, Space Mountain has the most noticeable difference in quality between the two parks. Thanks to several upgrades Disneyland's version has received over the years, Magic Kingdom's Space Mountain feels like it belongs in Fantasyland with the other kiddie rides. D-Land's guests are treated to a smooth, thrilling ride accompanied by on-board speakers playing an awesome piece of music by film and television composer Michael Giacchino (The Incredibles, Up, Lost). Magic Kingdom, on the other hand, offers a bland and clunky experience that feels like it hasn't been given any real improvements since it opened.