The WDW versions are both much large. This is great for visual effect,
but the intimacy of Disneyland's is a plus. Main Street at Disneyland
still has a unique feel to it with each shop offering a different
type of merchandise for the most part (this is starting to disappear,
but its sort of still there). WDW on the other hand felt like a
mall to me after a while. Especially with the new enlarged Emporium.
Remember Dreams Come True / Wishes
Remember Dreams Come True was originally created for Disneyland's 50th Anniversary and has been running seasonally since. The highlight of this show for me is the E-Ticket in the sky segment. This is the middle third of the show and takes you on a tour of your favorite Disneyland attractions and shows. Also unique to Disneyland is Tinkerbell's flight path. She is able to go back and fourth, up and down as she flies through the air, compared to the original single pass on a wire which is what Walt Disney World still uses in Wishes.
Peter Pan and Small World
The first thing you will notice about these three Fantasyland attractions
is that the facades @ Disneyland are much more impressive in detail
and scale. The WDW versions are very plain and dare I say boring.
The interiors are very similar. Small World is the biggest difference.
At Disneyland it has an exposed canal, where as at WDW it is level
with the sets. The sets also seem more elaborate at Disneyland.
I would give the edge to Disneyland's versions of the attractions.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Disneyland's version of the attraction is much better in my opinion.
The length, two waterfalls, extended caves, and reverse waterfall
to exit put it over the top. The queue area and facade are better at WDW,
the old fort is impressive, but the ride itself just can't compare. The WDW version feels rushed to me where as the Disneyland one takes the time to set up the story and immerse you in the experience. In Orlando the finale appears just as I am settling in.
This was pretty much a draw. The WDW version has the "ruins" where you spend a portion of the ride inside which is interesting,
but Disneyland has added some additional effects in recent years such as the explosion in the gorilla scene..
The two attractions are similiar but still different. The exterior and approach to the WDW version is more impressive in my book with the mansion sitting up on a slight hill, where as at Disneyland its just sort of there. I think having the Mansion off by itself a little on the River works better than with the train and Splash Mountain so close like Disneyland. In 2011 the Mansion queue was modified and a new first scene was added outside. This is an interactive courtyard to snake through while in line and set up the attraction. I think this is great. Also the hitchiking ghosts at the end of the WDW attraction are now computer graphics and the interactions are great! The foyer at WDW with the fireplace is great to enter into (where as Disneyland its just an empty room), but the stretching rooms at Disneyland are substantially better since they do stretch (spoiler - its an elevator at Disneyland and not WDW). Having time to walk by the changing portraits before boarding the Doombuggy is nice at Disneyland. Most of the ride through portion is similiar between the two now a days, but the WDW version has a few extra scenes (the Library and endless stairways).
Tea Cups, Dumbo, Carrousel
All a draw. Pretty much the same both places. In 2012 WDW opened a second Dumbo and now features an indoor queue area which makes those hot Florida waits more barable.
This is also a draw. The shows themselves are virtually identical now.
Autopia vs. The Indy Speedway
The Disneyland Autopia that re-opened in 1998 is quite a bit better than WDW's speedway.. The variety
of cars and additions to the track at Disneyland put it over the
top. At WDW its a very "boring" and short track. Some of the Indy
theming is cool at WDW, but overall Disneyland is better due to the longer ride experience, more interesting sights along the track and variety of cars.
Disneyland RR vs. Walt Disney World RR
This is a tricky comparison. The large trains and the longer route
at WDW are great, but the additional stops at Disneyland are also
a plus. I enjoy both of them. I like WDWs because you get out to
what feels like real wilderness. But Disneyland's acts as a much
better transportation mode. Also the diaramas at Disneyland are a nice plus.
Swiss Family Treehouse vs. Tarzan's Treehouse
The WDW Swiss Family Treehouse is much more impressive to look at,
but I think more kids can relate to the Tarzan version now a days. I enjoy the Swiss Family Treehouse better..
The edge here definitely goes to WDW. The monorail is actually an
essential mode of transportation. Its great to use to get around.
Where as at Disneyland its still mostly an attraction. Yes you can
use to to get to Downtown Disney and back, but how many people actually
do that...The WDW trains are much larger, have air conditioning, and the ride is smoother. The new Mark VII trains at Disneyland are cool to look at and everyone gets a window almost but there is no A/C and there are still only two stops on the line.
WDW's version is much better. For one thing you can get straight
to the exhibits and do not have to watch the same Tom Morrow clip
over and over and over again. Also it seems to have more cutting
edge technologies. I know having more space and a less constraining
building really helps to put EPCOT's version over the top. Also
I think its gotten so much better since the large video game section
has shrunk at WDW.
Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain
The three Mountains are much more impressive at WDW. Having more
land really makes the facades much large and more interesting. The
rides themselves have mixed reactions from thrill seekers, which
I am not.
Star Tours, the Adventure Continues
Exactly the same film/simulator experience. The building at the
Studios is more impressive to me because of the forest set outside.
Tom Sawyer Island
Another tough choice. I think WDW has the edge because it is large
and has more caves to explore. But with the addition of the Pirates Cove activities to Disneylands its really a draw.
Mark Twain vs. Liberty Belle
The Mark Twain impressed me more. The ride experience is pretty
much the same in terms of going around the river and seeing the
sites. WDW feels more like your in the backwoods to me due to the larger area, but Disneylands journey with New Orleans Square works better.
Disneyland's version is much better in my mind. The show relies
much less on video and more on live action. The Peter Pan segment
on the Columbia is much better than the Pocahontas segment in WDW.
The finale of the Mark Twain steaming around the river is much more
impressive than the Steamboat Willie boat used at the Studios. Yes
almost every seat in Florida has an unobstructed view, but I really
like watching NOS being transformed into a theater every night. Its
still hard to believe the show is 10 years old at Disneyland (debuted
Kali River Rapids vs.
Grizzly River Run
They are both extremely well themed river adventures. I have to
give the edge to GRR in terms of overall ride experience, but to
Kali in terms of theming. GRR seems a bit longer and the larger
lift hill and two drops add to the experience. Kali on the other
hand gets you much wetter (which may or may not be a good thing).
The "jungle" that Kali goes through is visually interesting
and great. One other advantage GRR has is Free lockers near by to
store your items in where as Kali has a center area to try and keep things dry.
Muppets, Tough to Be a Bug, Captain EO vs... themselves
These three 3D movies are the same in both parks. Some of the theater
effects are slightly different but the overall experience is pretty
much the same. The buildings in WDW are much more impressive from
the outside, but inside are very much the same. If you have seen
them in one place seeing them in the other is for the most part
the same experience so you can use your time better elsewhere probably.
Toy Story Midway Mania!
The ride experience between the two coasts is identical. You play the same games in the same trams, in the same order. The main difference between the two is the queue. At DCA it is an outdoor queue and you only have a standby line (and sometimes a single ride one). At WDW the queue is inside and you have the option of using Fastpass, assuming you can get one before they are gone for the day. I was a little disappointed at WDW to see that Mr Potato Head is located in the middle of the Standby Queue so if you use Fastpass you will not see him, where as in Anaheim he is outside for everyone to see, even those walking by. The WDW queue is much more elaborate and consists of Toys, games, etc.. that are sure to bring back some great memories for many. In Anaheim you pass some of similar props as your game tram goes from the queue area back to the show building and then when it returns at the end, but it is not as impressive as WDWs. The WDW version does a much better job of setting up the story since it has the interior queu to shrink you down to the toys size. Due to the space at DCA the story is not set up as cleanly. The midway theme works better at DCA since it is on a midway, where as WDWs version being at the Studios park is kind of awkward to me.
Goofy's Sky School vs. Primeval Whirl
These two attractions are quite different, but both are "Mad
Mouse" designs. I did not get on Primeval Whirl (due to lack of interest). So this comparison will only be observations. Whirl
seems to be a little better because you get to spin as you go through,
but Sky seems tighter and faster.
Indiana Jones Adventure vs. Dinosaur
I know its unfair to compare these two but it is the same ride technology so I thought it would be interesting.. Indy beats Dino hands down. The overall theme of the attraction
is so much better. Dinosaur is an interesting ride, but most of
it takes place in the dark and its just not that much fun. Compared
to Indy where you see almost everything and experience several different
areas. Also Indy has a much more elaborate queue to pull you into the world. The show building for Dinosaur is immersive but the storyline for Indy puts it over the top.
Test Track vs Radiator Springs Racers
We have to wait and see on this one till the new version of Test Track opens at EPCOT later this year. Based on what I have experienced and seen I would say the Radiator Springs Racers will come out on top. It is going to be hard to beat the immersion of driving through Ornament Valley, the stop in Radiator Springs and then the Race itself. Test Track is more "thrilling" due to the higher speed finale but the Racers are a much more complete attraction.
Little Mermaid, Ariel's Undersea Adventure
Cannot compare yet since I have not experienced the WDW version, but from everything I have seen and read the ride portion is identical. The exterior queue I give the nod to WDW based on the pictures.