Living on the east coast, we have access to both the largest of the Disney properties, a place known as Disney World, and Hersheypark. For those not in the know, Hersheypark is a relatively huge amusement park located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, that is owned by the Hershey company, the one that makes all of the chocolate. We went to Hersheypark a couple of weekends ago for the day. Unfortunately for us, it was a bit more anticlimactic than it might otherwise have been, as we had just a week before spent the week at Disney World. Bottom line is that it just don't get better than Disney World. Everything from the customer experience to the atmosphere to the ambiance (note to self: look up that word ...) to the customer service (remember my recent post).
The one plus we noted at Hersheypark, especially having two kids under the age of 7, is that Hersheypark has oodles of rides specifically for those little wee kids to ride. Bugs and animals and cars and trucks and planes all going relatively slowly around circle after circle, most with seats just big enough for a kid's butt and not nearly big enough for an adult butt (don't ask ...). And most of them have a button or two which the kids are fully expected to push approximately 500 times during their minute-and-a-half ride, the result being the loudest cacophony of irritating buzzing sounds imaginable. But, of course, it's fun.
Disney, on the other hand, goes more for the overall customer experience, as whenever you enter any of their parks you are taken to another place, another continent, another world. They really take the "theme" in theme park to heart. To that end, Disney is much bigger on shows and more themed rides, and therefore doesn't concentrate as much on rides specifically for people at pre-reading ages.
One more thing: The characters that walk around to "cheer up" the kids. At Disney World they are all over the friggin' place. You can't chuck a rock without hitting one. There are so many that many of them we don't even know who the characters are or which movies or cartoons they starred in. They are all over. At Hersheypark I got to shake the hand of a human-sized chocolate bar. And so did my son, while my daughter stayed far away and was scared for her big brother's life. From far away, though, it kinda looked like a very large square turd wearing a hat.
And that's it. Disney World is, of course, buttloads more expensive, but you definitely get what you pay for.