Universal Orlando Resort for Newbies – Comparable Disney Experience at Universal
Whether you are a long-time Walt Disney World guest or visiting Orlando for the first time, planning a visit to Universal Orlando Resort poses a lot of questions. In this article, we will compare some offerings you know at Disney to equivalent options at Universal.
We have found Universal’s attractions, across the board, are more intense than Disney’s. For example, while Peter Pan’s Flight and E.T. Adventure are equivalent attractions (slow-moving dark rides with a suspended ride vehicle) E.T. features slightly more intense special effects and movement. If you believe someone in your party might be scared or unable to handle an attraction we recommend finding an on-ride video of the attraction to compare (search YouTube for the attraction’s name and “Universal Orlando”).
- If you enjoy Space Mountain, check out Revenge of the Mummy (indoor rollercoaster)
- If you enjoy Star Wars Rise of the Resistance check out The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man or Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (multi-media dark ride)
- If you enjoy Rock’n’Roller Coaster, check out The Incredible Hulk Coaster (inverting, launched roller coaster)
- If you enjoy Big Thunder Mountain Railway or Expedition Everest, check out Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure (scenic roller coaster)
- If you enjoy Star Tours, check out The Simpsons Ride and Race Through New York starring Jimmy Fallon (stationary motion simulator)
- If you enjoy Splash Mountain, check out Dudley Doo Rights Rip-Saw Falls (comedic log flume) or Jurassic Park River Adventure (shoot the chutes ride past elaborate scenes and audio-animatronics)
- If you enjoy Kali River Rapids try Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-rat Barges (river raft ride)
- If you enjoy Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, check out Men in Black: Alien Attack (interactive shooter dark ride)
- If you enjoy Peter Pan’s Flight, check out E.T. Adventure (suspended dark ride)
- If you enjoy The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, check out The Cat in the Hat (dark ride)
- If you enjoy It’s Tough to be a Bug, check out Shrek 4-D (3D movie)
- If kids enjoy Goofy’s Barnstormer try Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster or Flight of the Hippogriff (kid-friendly roller coasters)
- If kids enjoy Dumbo the Flying Elephant or The Magic Carpets of Aladdin try One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish or Kang and Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl (rotating “flying” kids flat ride)
- If kids enjoy The Mad Tea Party try Storm Force Acceleration (rotating flat ride)
- If kids enjoy The Boneyard try Camp Jurassic (kid-friendly playground)
There was a time when Universal’s food quality averaged “regional amusement park quality” levels. This all changed with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s dedication to quality and freshness. Since then the parks and CityWalk transformed their food offerings to worthy of the world-class resort. Now nearly everything offered is of good to great quality for an affordable price; in fact, it’s easier to say what to AVOID (anything in Marvel or Toon Lagoon, for instance) than it is to say what to seek out.
- If you enjoy Rainforest Cafe and T-Rex Cafe check out Toothsome Chocolate Emporium or Hard Rock Cafe
- If you enjoy ESPN Club and CityWorks check out NBC Sports Grill & Brew
- If you enjoy Beaches and Cream check out The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar
- If you enjoy Fontera Concinca and check out Antojitos
- If you enjoy Terralina, Tuto Italia, or Trattoria al Forno, check out Vivo Italian Kitchen or Mama Della’s Ristorante
- If you enjoy Le Cellier or other steakhouses, try Bigfire or The Palm
- If you enjoy Blaze Pizza check out Red Oven Pizza Bakery
- If you enjoy The Rose & Crown or Raglan Road check out The Three Broomsticks, The Leaky Cauldron, or Finnegan’s Bar and Grill
- If you enjoy Skipper Canteen check out Mythos
We love Universal’s hotels which offer great value for the amenities and money. The seven different hotels offer their own mood, atmosphere, amenities, and theme at price points that range from under $100 to over $500 a night. We find Universal’s hotels to match, or eclipse, the quality of Disney’s hotels at a fraction of the cost.
- If you like the Polynesian Resort, check out Loews Royal Pacific Resort
- If you like Riveria Resort or Grand Floridian, check out Loews Portofino Bay Resort
- If you like Caribbean Beach Resort, check out Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
- If you like Pop Century, check out Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort or Hard Rock Hotel
- If you like Disney’s All-Stars Resort (I mean, relatively “like”), check out Endless Summer Inn and Suites (a way better hotel)
Do you have questions about Universal Orlando Resort? Leave your questions and comments below!