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Ask It: Universal Orlando Instead of Walt Disney World?

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For many years, Universal Orlando Resort has upped its game in terms of attractions, restaurants, and resort hotels. This summer, with the opening of the Volcano Bay water park, Universal keeps pushing forward on becoming a primary vacation destination instead of second fiddle to Walt Disney World. So we’re curious to see if this may change your vacation plans. Here’s this week’s Ask It:

With Universal’s new offerings (like Volcano Bay), are you considering an onsite vacation to Universal instead of Walt Disney World?

  • No (46%, 542 Votes)
  • Planning both WDW and Universal (30%, 352 Votes)
  • Yes (24%, 275 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,169

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Voting is open here and on Twitter, and feel free to share your views in the comments.


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Julia Mascardo

Former writer, editor, and social media manager of TouringPlans. Embarking on new adventures with husband, kid, and cats.

6 thoughts on “Ask It: Universal Orlando Instead of Walt Disney World?

  • I always feel in the minority with this question. I am such a Disneyphile. My 3 tween to teen kids and I went to Universal for two days in September. We loved Harry Potter and meeting the Lorax was the coolest thing, but the rest was hot and boring. Universal basically has two rides. You either have a roller coaster or a 3-d movie type ride. There are a couple water rides and that is it. NO real creativity. As someone who gets motion sickness there was not much for me to do. I also spent more per day there than at Disney and by noon the second day my kids were begging for us to leave and go back to the hotel at Disney. Dinner was on my dining plan both days so though I spent more money, I got very little for that money. Now it was brutally hot the week we were there and Universal seemed much hotter than the Disney parks. They have less shade and more concrete. With all the new Christmas stuff this year I asked my kids if they want to go back on our trip in December and they loudly said no.

  • We did this just last week. We took advantage of the buy two days, get two days promotion, and stayed four nights at Cabana Bay. We had a great time with our two little ones. With the playgrounds in the parks and the lower crowds, they had plenty to do. My preschooler loved the theming, and playing with a wand in the Harry Potter areas. Our toddler loved the playgrounds. For us, walking on to rides as single riders was great.

    Also echoing Emily above- walking to everything is great (and we’ve stayed at the Contemporary). No security lines, no delays! Also, deciding what to eat and just walking up to it- excellent. And plenty of opportunity to enjoy the pool.

    That said, it’ll likely be the only time we do this in 10 years. There’s definitely a gap between preschool and teenager that Universal doesn’t serve well.

    • I think it depends on how tall your children are and if they like thrill rides and Harry Potter. My kids liked Universal as preschoolers, but they loved it at ages 5, 6, 7, 10, and 11. My youngest was 6 on our last trip and was absolutely devastated that she was about 3/4″ too short for Rip Ride Rockit. We’re planning a trip for this summer, and my now 11-year-old is excited beyond belief that she’ll be able to ride everything. And both kids can’t wait to see Diagon Alley.

      • Oh, and the 6-year-old’s favorite ride that trip–which included Disney and Universal–was The Mummy at Universal.

  • Universal is just so easy ! If you stay at one of the onsite hotels you can walk or water taxi
    to everything. No having to plan in advance fast passes and restaurants and if staying at one of the 3 original on site hotels express pass is included 🙂 No hours waiting for buses and sitting on a long crowded bus ride. Shops and city walk on your doorstep 🙂
    The hotels are first class and beautifully themed. Plus your security check is done on entry to your boat transport or as you enter city walk by foot so no lines and delays at the parks and you can walk or take the hogwarts express to park hop 🙂

  • Now that I’ve been to both resorts several times, what I appreciate about Universal is the close proximity of everything. To get from park to park, or from park to resort usually only takes a 10-15 minute walk. Disney is so spread out that getting from place to place can take an hour or more if using Disney transportation. I find this makes for a much more relaxing vacation. Also, my kids are at the age where they just LOVE Harry Potter!

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