Top 10 Rides that are Better at Disneyland Than Walt Disney World

The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California and the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida share a lot of the same classic attractions, however, many of these attractions are done much better at one resort than the other. Here are a few rides in which I find the Disneyland version to be superior.
The Top Ten
1 Pirates of the Caribbean Pirates of the Caribbean is a dark ride attraction located in various Disney parks, including Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida. The ride takes visitors on a boat journey through various scenes that depict a pirate-infested Caribbean island. Originally conceived by Walt Disney... read more

Absolutely no contest on this one, Disneyland's Pirates absolutely puts the Walt Disney World version to shame! After having ridden both, there is just no comparison. WDW's is practically an abridged version of the original, and Pirates was never supposed to go there anyway. The ride at Disneyland is twice the length and begins in a bayou setting right next door to the Blue Bayou restaurant. It also still has the talking skull, as well as lots of treasure-filled caverns at the beginning of the ride. WDW's has almost no buildup and is missing quite a few scenes, notably the scene with gunpowder and cannonballs near the ending. It really says something though that Pirates is one of the star attractions at Disneyland when it's not made nearly as big of a deal about at Walt Disney World. Needless to say, if you want to see a truly phenomenal dark ride with singing pirates, go to Disneyland.

2 Space Mountain Space Mountain is the name of a space-themed indoor roller coaster attraction located at five of the Magic Kingdom-style Disney Parks.

As someone who's more used to the Walt Disney World version of Space Mountain, I do have to say that that version has the more interesting track layout and I do like the beginning portion of the ride better as you go up the lift hill. The biggest (though not the only) problem with it as it is now is that it's just too darn rough, and that's largely due to lack of maintenance and refurbishments. On the other hand, Disneyland's offers a fairly smooth ride with onboard audio, and the standard two-in-a-row seating is much more comfortable than the bobsled-like vehicles on WDW's. I also have to give a thumbs up to Disneyland's queue and exterior, especially when it's lit up at night. As I said, the layout might not be that interesting, but the onboard audio and effects distract you from that and it's just an all around fun time. Meanwhile, you might need to see a chiropractor after getting off of WDW's... I am quite fond of the Space Mountain I grew up with and it's still lots of fun, but Disneyland's is truly a great ride.

3 It's a Small World It's a Small World is a water-based dark ride located in the Fantasyland area at the various Walt Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide; these include: Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris,... read more

Not gonna lie, this is largely here just because of the facade. It's so grand and enchanting, which on it's own gives it a huge edge over the WDW version. However, the facade is not the only thing differentiating the two, far from it. The interior scenes are completely different at both locations, not that that's a bad thing, but I do have to say that after watching videos of the two side by side, I prefer Disneyland's, for the most part. I don't really like the shoehorned in Disney characters (not present in WDW's), but other than that, Disneyland's seems overall better to me when looking at the scenes, especially the finale. It just seems so much grander and "legitimate," like this is the one true It's a Small World, and then you look at WDW's and you just don't get the same feeling. I can't say I'm a huge fan of the ride either way, that song does get pretty annoying after all, but watching Disneyland's gave me this feeling of enchantment that just seemed to be lacking in WDW's, so I'm giving this one to Disneyland hands down.

4 Autopia

I've actually never done either version (and why would I want to), but even still, it's extremely clear to me that Autopia beats the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway by miles. For one thing, it's much less of an eyesore and doesn't feel out of place and a poor transition between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland like it does at the Magic Kingdom. Secondly, Autopia has a much more interesting layout and makes good use of space, whereas the Indy Speedway just goes around in a circle and feels like a giant, smelly waste of real estate (which in my opinion, it is, but it still gets long waits so what do I know). Autopia also has the bonus of kinetics, coming into close contact with both the monorail and the Disneyland Railroad along the way, and the views are just all around much nicer. Indy Speedway just really doesn't have much if anything going for it, it feels completely out-of-place in the park, and I really hope something better will come along to take its place in the future.

5 Disneyland Railroad

Having been to WDW more, I am quite fond of that version, however, Disneyland's is a whole 'nother experience. Let's get the big thing out of the way first, the Grand Canyon and Primeval World dioramas, with nothing comparable of the sort at WDW. The biggest highlight on the train ride for sure, but aside from that, the views are just better in general on the Disneyland Railroad than the Walt Disney World Railroad. Especially towards the eastern side of the park, where you ride right through the It's a Small World facade and also right beside Autopia. More interesting than anything that can be seen on WDW's, that's for sure. For me, the highlight of WDW's is going through Splash Mountain, but you also do that at Disneyland, so it's not all that special. I'm perfectly fine with the way WDW's is, but Disneyland's just got it completely beat on this one.

6 Soarin' Around The World

Seeing as I haven't ridden Soarin' Around the World yet, I will just be basing this entry on the original Soarin' Over California attraction, in which case it feels much more at home in Disney's California Adventure than it does Epcot. (Now SAtW does fit Epcot better though). It may be the most popular ride at Epcot, but it doesn't really embody what Epcot is as much as other attractions, but it does, wouldn't you know, fit the spirit of California and it's just a much better experience knowing that you're actually in California. Whereas in Epcot, it just doesn't have the same effect. The queue is also much better at DCA, there's actually things to look at, you're not just in an unthemed, air-conditioned space. There's also no giant blue building ruining sightlines from certain parts of the park. Overall, it just works much better at DCA than it does Epcot.

7 Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters

I know I'm going to get a lot of grief for this, but I HATE Space Ranger Spin. The controls are so jerky and imprecise that I can barely score 3000 points, let alone the million my dad racks up! My inability to properly experience the ride has festered into an enmity for it, preventing me from setting foot in the attraction without the competitive drive removed.
But when my family flew to California for Disneyland, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the guns were actually ambulatory. I didn't struggle with the clunky controls as much, and had a much better time. Though the highlight of my Astro Blasters experience was claimed by another circumstance, I had a blast zapping aliens. I just wish that Disney World can replicate this experience someday.

8 Toy Story Midway Mania

While the ride is pretty much the exact same at both resorts, I highly prefer the ride's placement in Paradise Pier as opposed to Pixar Place (soon to be Toy Story Land). Walt Disney World's has the better queue no question, but what I don't like about it is that it's treated like a headliner attraction there as opposed to a nice side attraction which I think it should be, considering I don't think it's a particularly spectacular ride by any means. If anything, WDW's queue is better than the ride itself (which isn't how it should be). It also feels pretty isolated from everything else, and on top of that, 2-3 hour waits aren't uncommon, especially during the summer (though that's largely because of the shortage of rides at Hollywood Studios). On the other hand, the ride feels right at home in Paradise Pier and ties in with the theme of the land perfectly. I also love having California Screamin' in the background, there's actually some kinetics as opposed to just being off by itself. Toy Story Land might change my mind on it, but as it is now, I really like it as a Paradise Pier attraction. Last but not least, I prefer having the Mr. Potatohead animatronic out front.

9 Mark Twain Riverboat

Not just the Riverboat itself, but the entire Rivers of America feels much better done to me at Disneyland. A large part of this I think is due to its location in New Orleans Square, which on its own gives off more of an enticing vibe than a boat ride in Liberty Square. The river itself feels much more active over at Disneyland, partially due to the park's significantly smaller size, but also the fact that there is not only the riverboat, but the Sailing Ship Colombia and the Davy Crockett Canoes as well, not to mention Fantastic! at night. Whereas Walt Disney World only has the Liberty Belle and Tom Sawyers Island, and the Magic Kingdom is a lot bigger and more spread out as a whole, making the Rivers feel emptier in comparison. Lastly, the Riverboat and the river itself just feel much more like actual attractions at Disneyland and not something just to pass the time. Overall, Walt Disney's World river is nice, but I feel like the whole Rivers of America concept is just executed much better at Disneyland.

10 Splash Mountain Splash Mountain is a log flume at Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and formerly the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort, based on the characters, stories, and songs originally from the 1946 Disney film Song of the South until controversy & petitions regarding racial history since the George Floyd... read more
The Contenders
11 Haunted Mansion

While this version might be slightly shorter than the WDW version, it is the original one, it has the changing portraits in the hallways, and it has the holiday seasonal overlays, and especially the Halloween elements make the ride more fun and spookier than before, yet the music during the holidays really adds to the touch for making it extra magical and spooky.
Disney World never gives their rides holiday overlays, because they're being so cheap.

Two words for you. Hatbox Ghost!

12 Mad Tea Party
13 Peter Pan's Flight

While both versions are popular, the Disneyland version stands out more, yetit's more up to date and has a better soundtrack, and it still has Tic Tock Croc, while WDW removed it in their version shamefully.
Disneyland's still stands out as one of the best, though Shanghai's is a real winner, no competition intended.

14 Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a mine train roller coaster located in Frontierland at several Disneyland-style Disney Parks worldwide.

The reason why Disneyland's Big Thunder is better is because it has more of a story to it. I'm a coaster junkie and loved the Disney World incarnation, but when we visited Disneyland in 2017 I was blown out of the water by the dynamite scene. Florida's version just doesn't stand up to the real deal.

With the new affects and TNT scene not in Disney World.

15 Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway
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