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Our Review Of All Disney Parks In The World

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Last Updated on June 5, 2024 by Leslie Stroud

We are, first and foremost, travel addicts. We’ve visited over 35 countries around the world with our five kids and spent tens of thousands of dollars on memory-making. We’ve spent a significant amount of that money on Disney Parks worldwide. Once we decided to travel around the globe, visiting every Disney Park soon became a goal.

We achieved this goal in 2019 and continue to crave going to Disney. It’s perplexing why we still want to go and drop serious cash on these theme parks. Our travel wishlist continues to grow each year (instead of shrinking as we might have hoped once upon a time), and we continue to factor a Disney trip into each year of our travels.

What are Disney Parks like around the world? Is it strange to visit a park in another language? Let me share our review of each park and the experience of a foreign Disney lover.

The beautiful Enchanted Storybook Castle in Disneyland Shanghai

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What Disney Parks Exist Around The World?

Let’s establish your options for visiting a Disney Park abroad. There are 12 Disney parks in total in six locations over three continents:

United States

Europe

Asia

Disney cast members during the parade

Walt Disney World Resort

Location: Orlando, Florida, USA

This is the largest Disney resort with four massive parks:

  • Animal Kingdom
  • Magic Kingdom
  • Hollywood Studios
  • Epcot

Each park deserves at least a day (if not multiple) to enjoy them. They are spread out and require 15-30 minute bus rides away from each other.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • The most magical of all the parks due to their size in a traditional Disney way. Disney has been able to create another world and has the space here in Florida to take imagination to the limit.
  • It’s easy to access from around the world. Orlando is set up for tourism, housing the massive Universal Studios and other theme parks.
  • New rides and attractions are always underway, keeping this park fresh and exciting.
  • Fantastic shows and other attractions besides rides.

Cons:

Grant was thrilled to be close to the Winnie The Pooh float at Disney

Our Favorite Offerings

Our favorite thing is that we love staying on property and leaving the regular world behind for a true Disney vacation. Each of the four parks offers something different to different ages and can provide days and days of memory-making. When visiting Animal Kingdom and the parts of Asia, we felt transported back to our time in Asia!

Favorite Rides: Avatar and Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom, Haunted Mansion and Rise of the Resistance in Hollywood Studios, Frozen in Epcot, and Buzz Lightyear and Seven Dwarves Mine Train in Magic Kingdom

Where To Stay At Walt Disney World Resort

  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Where To Stay Off-Site

Disneyland Resort California

Taking a ride while in costume at Disneyland California

Location: Anaheim, California, USA

This resort has two parks:

  • Disneyland Park
  • California Adventure
  • The parks are beside each other, slightly smaller than Florida, and relatively easy to go back and forth on foot.
  • You could technically do both in one day, but you would be exhausted and unable to see it all (nor ride all the rides).

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Easier to navigate with strollers than the larger Disney World
  • Overall, more compact than Disney World
  • A more temperate climate that is pleasant most of the year
  • The original classic! This park was the first of Walt Disney’s vision realized
  • It can be combined easily with 1-2 days at the beach

Cons:

  • Still very popular in smaller places, so crowds can be intense
  • California can be expensive, as a whole, and crowded
  • Not many on-property resorts

Our Favorite Offerings

We love the Halloween Party and the later hours. This park caters to night owls. We like the ease of visiting other stunning parts of California and hitting some of our treasured food stops like Egg Slut, Sidecar Donuts, and Salt and Straw Ice Cream. The fireworks show here is also our favorite!

Favorite Rides: Indiana Jones, Peter Pan’s Flight, Toy Story Mania, Guardians of the Galaxy (Tower of Terror), and the Incredicoaster

Visited Anaheim Beach with the kids. It’s one of the closest beaches to Disneyland California

Where To Stay At Disneyland Resort California

  • Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa
  • Disneyland Hotel
  • Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel

Where To Stay Off-Site

Disneyland Paris

A birthday celebration at Disneyland Paris for Grant

Location: Marne-la-Vallée, Paris, France

Originally called EuroDisney, this resort has two parks: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. Like Disneyland Paris, these two parks are near each other and easy to go between.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • It’s pretty magical to be in Europe!
  • We love some of the food here (especially the Christmas market food)
  • Crowds tend to be much smaller than in the USA
Winter in Disneyland Paris

Cons:

  • The weather can be cruel! Either rainy and extremely cold or exceptionally hot
  • This park is currently a little “underdeveloped” compared to others
  • Construction will continue for a while
  • You cannot bring a rented stroller between the parks. With your receipt, you must return them and get a new one in the other park.

Our Favorite Offerings

We live in Europe, so we are partial to this park as our “home park.” However, it has a long history of mishaps and was the shame of Disney for many years as EuroDisney. Disney corporate took over a few years ago and has committed to bringing it up to standard. Until 2026 there will be many significant renovations. We can’t wait to see some new attractions like the man-made lake in Frozen World.

Favorite Rides: Ratatouille, RC Racer, Starwars Hyperspace Mountian, and La Tanière du Dragon underneath Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Where To Stay at Disneyland Paris

  • Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel
  • Disney’s Newport Bay Club
  • Disney’s Sequoia Lodge

Where To Stay Off-Site

Hong Kong Disneyland

Magic-filled weekend at Hong Kong Disneyland with kids

Location: Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Only one park is here in Hong Kong, although several new attractions were underway when we visited. This park is broken into seven sections that blend into one seamless park.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Relatively low on crowds
  • Plenty of classic rides, some with an Asian twist
  • We liked the food options. You’ll find Asian foods here; overall, food quality is better than in the USA.

Cons:

  • Smaller (maybe the smallest) of all Disney parks
  • Generally, this park seems a bit lackluster
Harry and his Mickey balloon in Hong Kong Disneyland

Our Favorite Offerings

The castle here impresses with a tour of several Disney princesses inside. Lantau Island has several other fun activities to combine with a trip here. This park is easily accessible through public transportation.

Favorite rides: Castle of Magical Dreams, Big Grizzly Mine Cars, and Iron Man Experience

Where To Stay At Hong Kong Disneyland

  • Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel
  • Disney Explorers Lodge

Where To Stay Off-Site

Shanghai Disney Resort

7wayfinders at Shanghai Disney Resort

Location: Shanghai, China

Like Hong Kong, Disneyland Shanghai has just one big park with different sections. But it is the largest park, land-wise, at over 900 square acres!

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • The Enchanted Storybook Castle is my favorite!!! It is the largest of the Disney castles and has a boat ride that goes through it.
  • Some of the best rides in the world are here
  • Fantastic parades and shows
  • Easy to access by train – best if you want to commute or travel around Shanghai

Cons:

  • Visas to get visit China are expensive and difficult to obtain
  • Shanghai is expensive
Enchanted Storybook Castle is the centerpiece castle of Shanghai Disney Resort

Our Favorite Offerings

This park will amaze you. Like the rest of Shanghai, it impresses with technical advances and cleanliness. We only had one day in the park, leaving us to crave a more extended stay. Like other Asian parks, we enjoyed some new foods here.

Favorite rides: Enchanted Storybook Castle, Tron Ride, Pirates of the Caribbean (best in the world!), and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Where To Stay At Shanghai Disney Resort

  • Shanghai Disneyland Hotel
  • Toy Story Hotel

Where To Stay Off-Site

TRON Light Cycle Power Run at Shanghai Disneyland

Tokyo Disneyland

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Disney Resort has two parks next to each other, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. This is our favorite Disney park outside of the USA and is touted as the best Disney Park by many. Interestingly, Disney corporation doesn’t own any part of this park. The owners, Oriental Land Company, pay licensing fees to Disney instead.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • This park has rides that don’t exist anywhere else, like Journey to the Center of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
  • Two full-sized castles that you can walk through. The first is the park’s icon, Cinderella Castle, and the other is the Beast’s Castle which opened in 2020
  • The most affordable Disney Park
  • Very fun food options like sushi rolls and bubble slushies!

Cons:

  • In June, there were lots of mosquitos (along with everywhere else in Tokyo). Better not to forget your insect repellent!
  • Not totally a drawback, but this park is much more popular with adults than children. Thus, parks can be crowded.
Lucy and Grace while waiting in line at Disneyland

Our Favorite Offerings

Favorite rides: Journey to the Center of the Earth, Mermaid Lagoon at Tokyo DisneySea, Indiana Jones, Raging Spirits, and Cinderella’s Fairy Tale Hall

Where To Stay At Tokyo Disneyland

  • Tokyo Disneyland Hotel
  • Disney Ambassador Hotel
  • Tokyo DisneySea Hotel Miracosta

Where To Stay Off-Site

What Is It Like Going To A Disney Park In A Foreign Country?

Language Barriers

If you’re a native English speaker, rest assured that you’ll be able to communicate with many people worldwide. Asia tourism is strong in English as it’s how European tourists talk in Asia. We had no problems communicating with staff at any foreign Disney parks.

Remember that the rides and attractions are in the local language, but overall we didn’t feel this lack much.  Disney is magical in all languages.

If you visit Disneyland Paris, you’ll still find many rides and attractions in English.  Shows like the Frozen musical have showtimes in English and French.  Be sure to ask about or show up for the language you want! It never ceases to amaze me how many languages Europeans speak, and Disneyland Paris is no exception. Most cast members speak 4-5 languages, and English is always one of them.

Food Differences

We enjoy consuming new cultures through our bellies as much as any other way.  Overall, the food in USA-based Disney parks is of the lowest quality and least healthy for you (not a shocker).  While eating churros and Dole Whip may be yummy all day, fresh fruits and veggies and an overall healthy balance of meals are not easily accessible in the United States.

We enjoyed the buffets in Hong Kong that served curries, stir-fries, and more.  I also loved the corn on the cob with Asian mayo from street vendors.

Paris Disneyland has some nice places to eat (as do all the parks), but we enjoyed the Christmas Market food stalls.  Delicious, flaky pastries, hot chocolate, roasted nuts, and more await you during the holiday season in Paris.

One of my favorite snacks was in Tokyo Disney.  They offer flavored popcorn in themed containers that you can re-fill around the park.  We carried these popcorn containers, which were great toys for many months in our full-time travel.

Our favorite park for food was Tokyo (again).  You can find plenty of unhealthy snacks and drinks and fun twists like the giant sushi rolls.  

Cultural Differences

Disney fanaticism runs deep into the world around.  Visit a Disney store in downtown Tokyo, and you’ll find lines to buy park tickets. However, cultural differences can make for some exciting moments in the parks.  Let me share some of our experiences.

In Hong Kong, we found mothers not wanting to get out of line with their children from rides and having their little boys pee in an empty soda container right in the middle of the line. They would then stick those bottles in their bags and keep on with the ride.

Also, in Hong Kong, you’ll find that personal space in line is very different.  Don’t be surprised to find the person behind you touching you or even pressing up to you in line.  This is true outside of Disney as well. Lines in some Asian countries are very intense, and people will go around you if they feel you are slow or have a gap in front of you.

Europeans can be a bit judgy in Disneyland Paris but share many cultural similarities.

In Japan, trash is NEVER thrown on the ground.  Outside of Disney, it can be challenging to find a trash can, and many Japanese carry their own trash home to throw away.  Disney Parks in Japan are exceptionally spotless.

In Shanghai, other children were so polite around the characters. My children didn’t think they were waiting to see the characters and butted them in line.   I had to have my children apologize!

Overall, cultural differences are small and something to chuckle aboutWe always know that as tourists, we are probably doing things incorrectly.  We try to welcome guests in new countries and pay attention to what seems to be the cultural norm.

Snuggly Duckling-themed restaurant in Fantasyland at Shanghai Disneyland

Other Fun Facts About Disney Parks Around The World

  • Biggest Disney Park: Disneyland Shanghai
  • Smallest Disney Park: Magic Kingdom in Florida
  • Each Disney Castle has its own theme:
    • Disneyland, CA: Sleeping Beauty Castle
    • Disney World, FL: Cinderella Castle
    • Disneyland Tokyo: Cinderella Castle
    • Disneyland Paris: Le Château de la Belle au Bois dormant
    • Disneyland Hong Kong: Castle of Magical Dreams
    • Disney Shanghai: Enchanted Storybook Castle
  • Disney park with the most rides: Magic Kingdom (Florida) with 23 rides
  • There are smells diffused into some of the parks, like Disney World, with machines called Smellitizer to pump specific smells into the air through vents near the ground. Like the sweet scent of Main Street, USA, or of gunpowder and ocean smells near Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • Employees use underground tunnels all over the parks to get around!
  • When Magic Kingdom first opened, admission was only $3.50. You can’t even buy a cupcake for that amount today.

Write in the comments which Disney is your favorite!

Xoxo,

Leslie

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Additional Reading

19 Essential Tips for Your First Disney Trip: Everything You Need To Know As A Beginner!

Disney World VIP Tour: Worth The Extravagance or Not?

Spending Halloween at Disneyland with Kids