As millions of people flock to Orlando, Florida, and Anaheim, California, each year from all over the world to visit Walt Disney World and Disneyland, it’s easy for casual visitors to forget that there are four other Disney resorts around the globe, each offering up unique experiences and that signature sprinkle of pixie dust that you can only find at a Disney park.
Aside from the parks on both American coasts, die-hard Disney fans make the journey to all six Disney parks around the globe — the Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, and the Shanghai Disney Resort.
It’s a common misconception that all Disney parks are merely just carbon copies of each other — and while each individual city has plenty of incredible, awe-inspiring places to see and things to do, it’s equally worth it to pay a visit to see Mickey Mouse, because you’re sure to find magical experiences no matter where in the world you are.
These are 10 of the biggest differences between the Disney parks around the world.
Local culture is celebrated by way of merchandise, holiday celebrations, and guest traditions.
As soon as you enter the main gates at every single park, you’re sure to find crowds of people donning their Mickey ears. And even though you’re unmistakably in Mickey’s territory, the worldwide parks do a great job of celebrating local culture.
At the Tokyo Disney Resort, the first Disney resort built outside the United States, crowds can get massive hours before the parks even open, with eager visitors of all ages fully decked out in Disney gear.
In fact, don’t be surprised to see people run as soon as the gates open — this tradition is informally called the „running of the bulls,“ and while it might seem alarming at first, guests here are encouraged to be polite and respectful.
In Paris, where visitors come from all over Europe, guests tend to move at a more relaxed pace. But you might notice more smoking within the parks and ride lines.
Both Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland celebrate Chinese New Year have elaborate festivals and parades, but every park has their own special holiday celebrations and traditions, making special times of the year all the more magical.
The iconic castles differ around the world, too.
Each Disney destination around the world features a „castle park,“ celebrating iconic Disney princesses and characters.
Perhaps the most famous example is Cinderella’s Castle, which you can find at Magic Kingdom in Orlando and at Tokyo Disneyland. Aside from slight differences, these two castles look nearly identical.
Up until 2018, both Disneyland in Anaheim and Hong Kong Disneyland featured similar version of Sleeping Beauty Castle, but Disney recently announced plans to upgrade the castle in Hong Kong, which will pay tribute to the princesses, in 2019. Disneyland Paris has a slightly different version of Sleeping Beauty Castle, called Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant.
Shanghai is home to the biggest castle, a princess-themed structure called Enchanted Storybook Castle, and it’s the largest one Disney has ever built, towering at 197 feet tall, compared to Anaheim’s 77 feet.
Visitors enter the Disneyland parks to a slightly different version of Main Street USA, but Tokyo’s version, called World Bazaar, is covered to account for extreme weather in the city. Shanghai is the only park without this signature opening land, instead featuring a unique Mickey Avenue and the Gardens of Imagination, paying tribute to traditional Chinese gardens and the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac.
The parks vary greatly in size from each other.
Though each Disney park is a solid vacation destination on its own, some are simply much bigger than others.
The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando is by far the biggest property, with five traditional theme parks (Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom), two water parks (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach), as well as 21 different resorts, eight golf courses, the Disney Springs shopping and dining district, and so much more.
US City Traveler cites it as the most popular theme park in the world, bringing in more than 52 million guests annually. And if you wanted to do everything Disney has to offer in one trip, it’d be next to impossible — popular Disney blog TouringPlans estimates it’d cost around $30,000 to do and see everything, and they’ve been chipping away at it for nearly two decades. At roughly 27,000 acres, it’s massive.
For comparison, Disneyland Paris has two parks and seven resorts, while Tokyo Disney Resort and Disneyland each have two parks and three resorts.
The Shanghai Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort each have one park and two resorts, with Hong Kong is one of the smallest in the world at about 68 acres.
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Source: Business insider