It’s the age-old question among Disney fans: should you visit Disneyland or Walt Disney World? While we’d never want to choose between the two, there is one type of vacation that could prompt the question, a weekend getaway. If you only have time to stay for two or three nights, which is better for you — Disneyland in California or Walt Disney World in Florida? We’re breaking down the price of each to help you decide which to visit.
But before we jump into the price breakdown…
We wanted to share why you should book your vacation with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. The Authorized Disney Vacation Planners at Academy Travel are Disney experts and can share their tips and tricks for vacationing at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and every other Disney destination worldwide, like Aulani in Hawaii or Disney Cruise Line sailings around the world. They can do everything from book your hotel and dining reservations to recommend an entire itinerary for your trip, all at no extra cost to you. Click here for a free, no-obligation vacation quote from Academy Travel.
Disney Vacation Price Breakdown
So if you’ve only got time for a weekend vacation, should you travel to Disney World or Disneyland? As an example, we’re going to be looking at two-night stays in May, after the spring break crowds have left the parks and before the (heat) wave of summer begins. We will be comparing the cost of a “value” stay and a “deluxe” stay so you can view how much it would be to stay on either coast depending on your budget.
Walt Disney World is absolutely massive. With four theme parks, two water parks, Disney Springs, dozens of hotels, mini-golf, and so much more, you could spend weeks on a Disney World vacation — and many guests choose to do so! But with so much to do that can fill way more than just a week-long stay, is it possible (or even worth it) to visit Walt Disney World for just a weekend?
To help illustrate this, here’s how much a weekend in Disney World will cost you, based on a two-night stay with two-day park hopper tickets for two adults and two children.
Budget: A Disney Value Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort
Experience the unforgettable fads of the 1950s through the 1990s all over again. From yo-yos and Play-Doh® to Rubik’s Cube® and rollerblades, this Resort hotel salutes the timeless fashions, catch phrases, toys and dances that captivated the world through the decades.
A two-night stay at Disney’s Pop Century Resort with two-day park hopper tickets for two adults and two children will cost $1,814.50. Keep in mind that this subtotal does not include dining or flight. However, since you are staying at a Disney resort hotel, you will have the option of using Disney transportation to and from the airport (called Disney’s Magical Express) as well as all throughout Disney property, all at no extra cost to you. Also, Disney’s Pop Century Resort is one of the resort hotels in which guests have the opportunity of using Disney’s Skyliner gondola transportation system to go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot theme parks. This is a great perk of staying here.
Splurge: A Disney Deluxe Resort, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
Experience the charm and whimsy of turn-of-the-century Atlantic City at this waterfront Resort hotel. Make a splash at Luna Park Pool and delight in a massage at the state-of-the-art fitness center. Discover carnival games, unique dining and exciting nightlife on the Coney Island-style boardwalk. Strung like saltwater taffy along the shimmering Crescent Lake, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is located within walking distance to both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
A two-night stay at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn with two-day park hopper tickets for two adults and two children will cost you $2,624.50. Again, this subtotal does not include dining or flight, but you still get to use Disney transportation. Also, Disney’s BoardWalk is one of the most loved areas in all of Walt Disney World property since it offers amazing dining and entertainment, as well as views of stunning water scenery and the gorgeous lit-up boardwalk at night. You also get access to the Skyliner here!
Disneyland is the original Disney park. It’s where Walt walked (and often lived!). You can feel the history and nostalgia while walking down Main Street, U.S.A. And given the closeness of the parks to the resort hotels, it’s incredibly easy to navigate between Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Downtown Disney, and whichever hotel you’re staying at.
Here’s how much a weekend getaway at Disneyland Resort will cost you, based on a two-night stay with two-day park hopper tickets for two adults and two children. We’re comparing the cost of a stay at a Good Neighbor Hotel and a stay at a Disney-owned hotel.
Budget: A Good Neighbor Hotel, Tropicana Inn & Suites
After a fun-filled day at “the Happiest Place on Earth,” return to this 197-room, Mediterranean-style hotel, conveniently located next to the pedestrian walkway to the Disneyland Resort. Featuring comfortable accommodations, an outdoor pool and spa, and a personable staff, the Tropicana Inn & Suites offers a comfortable place to stay during your Disney vacation.
A two-night stay at the Tropicana Inn & Suites with two-day park hopper tickets for two adults and two children will cost you $1,612.64. This Disney-approved Good Neighbor hotel is right across the street from the Disneyland Resort, so you can walk to and from the parks with no problem. Transportation to and from the airport is not included in your stay, but you can read all about Disneyland Resort airport transportation options on the official website.
Splurge: Disneyland Hotel
Become immersed in the spirit of Disneyland past and present! Stay in the Adventure, Fantasy or Frontier tower—each an homage to the park’s original lands—and delight in the sleek, ultra-modern design at every turn. Located just steps from the Downtown Disney District, this hotel is a short stroll to both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park.
A two-night stay at the Disneyland Hotel with two-day park hopper tickets for two adults and two children will cost you $2,421.68. We always recommend the Disneyland Hotel if it fits within your budget. This is the premier Disneyland Resort hotel and — like all three Disney-owned hotels at Disneyland — it is within walking distance of the two theme parks since it’s located adjacent to Downtown Disney. You can’t help but feel the magic of Disney whenever you’re walking the hotel grounds. But also keep in mind that airport transportation is not included in your stay, so you will need to factor that into your budget.
So which is worth the price?
Of course, we’ll always say that every Disney vacation is worth it. Every Disney trip seems so be more magical than the last since Disney always knows how to make every experience special.
But when it comes to planning a weekend trip, we’d have to recommend visiting Disneyland Resort. While Walt Disney World would be easy to visit for a weekend if you live close by, it is absolutely massive. Walt Disney World offers enough fun and excitement that will make you want to spend over a week there, though it is perfectly possible to spend only a weekend if you’ve been multiple times before. But if you’re planning a first-timer’s trip to Walt Disney World, it’s recommended to spend around a week and not limit yourself to just a weekend.
That’s why we recommend planning your weekend getaway for the Disneyland Resort. Whether you’re planning a first-timer’s trip or you’ve been to Disneyland several times before, a weekend is truly the ideal amount of time to spend here. You will have the chance to park hop between Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park, shop, dine, and listen to live music at Downtown Disney, and check out all the hidden gems of the resort, all while having enough time to experience all of the magic.
Book a Disney vacation today!
Academy Travel is able to provide you with a free, no-obligation vacation quote to any Disney destination in the world. If you’ve read our price breakdown and you know whether you want to visit Disneyland or Walt Disney World on your upcoming vacation, then the Authorized Disney Vacation Planners at Academy Travel can book your trip for you and even take it to the next level. Click here to reach out to Academy Travel!
Which Disney destination would you rather visit for a weekend getaway: Disney World or Disneyland? Let us know in the comments!