Universal vs. Disney: Deciding Between Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort

Visitors heading to Orlando often find themselves wondering which theme park is better: Universal vs. Disney? Both major theme park resorts offer on-site hotels, waterparks, and large theme parks full of attractions.

There are some key differences to experiencing Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando and our guide breaks down the differences between these two popular resorts.

In our guide, I will compare the attractions, hotels, theming and more at both resorts. Keep reading for everything you need to know when deciding between Universal vs. Disney!

Universal vs. Disney Overview

Adequate planning helps make your vacations enjoyable with fewer unexpected obstacles at both Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World. Proper planning places you many steps ahead of most theme park guests.

For example, how would you feel showing up at the wrong theme park because you thought Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge could be found at Universal Studios Florida theme park? What about searching all morning for Hogwarts Castle inside the Magic Kingdom only to find out it exists at Universal Orlando Resort about 15 miles away? What if you brought your child to Disney’s Animal Kingdom to experience Jurassic World only to find out that brand of dinosaur lives over at Universal Orlando Resort?

Universal vs. Disney

In fairness to recent vacationers that made those costly mistakes, even theme park media confess confusion over what intellectual properties thrive at Universal vs. Disney. For example, only a few Marvel characters can appear at Walt Disney World. However, Universal’s Islands of Adventure has a themed land called Marvel Super Hero Island. Also, even though the Disney Company bought the rights to Fox properties, guests can currently visit the Simpsons at Universal Studios Florida. This makes the battle of Universal vs. Disney for your vacation budget challenging.

Universal vs. Disney

Bart Simpson

Is Universal Studios part of Walt Disney World?

With international visitors being able to purchase Disney and Universal combo tickets, a common confusion needs clarification. Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort compete for your theme park vacation budget. They compete against each other, like Coke and Pepsi. Universal Orlando Resort resides in the city limits of Orlando. In contrast, Walt Disney World resides outside the city limits of Orlando. Though people frequently make the mistake of thinking these two resorts are the same, they are very different.

Mickey’s Backyard BBQ Walt Disney World Character Dining

Walt Disney World consists of four theme parks, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, along with two water parks, numerous hotels, and a major shopping and dining complex, Disney Springs. As you might expect, Walt Disney World functions as part of the Disney Company. The Disney Company runs media operations such as ABC, Disney+, and ESPN.

Universal vs. Disney

Universal Orlando Resort consists of two theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, its water park, Volcano Bay, eight hotels, and an entertainment district called CityWalk.  Universal Orlando Resort enjoys being owned by NBCUniversal. NBCUniversal functions as part of the Comcast Company. Besides internet technology, this group operates Peacock and NBC television networks. As you can see, Universal is not part of Disney. The battle of Universal vs. Disney plays out in various levels of media, not just theme parks.

The Term Universal Studios Orlando

We have a critical word of caution about terminology and ticket purchases for Universal Orlando Resort visitors. Some guests purchase incorrect ticket media for a day at Universal Orlando Resort. The typical online usage of the term “Universal Studios Orlando” leads directly to some of these issues.

The title “Universal Studios Orlando” directly relates to nothing. No such place exists. Though this phrase appears online, no theme park property goes by that name. Remember, Universal Orlando Resort's theme parks are Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure.  The entire resort is called Universal Orlando Resort.

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Ticket Confusion

Every week, we hear reports of guests showing up with tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood, thinking they bought tickets to a Hollywood-themed studios park in Orlando. In many cases, the term “Universal Studios Orlando” confuses these guests. Though this term should not lead to this confusion, the term continues to do so, according to guest service reports. Once again, only a tiny portion of Orlando area theme park guests consult sources like this before visiting the theme parks. With Disney’s Hollywood Studios entertaining guests over at Walt Disney World, the levels of confusion grow exponentially. We realize this sounds odd to some. Yet, ticket errors continue based on team members’ reports at Universal Orlando Resort. For the record, the tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood only work in California.

Also, people buy tickets to Universal Studios Florida theme park thinking they can visit Islands of Adventure also, only to find out that information is false. When chatting with these guests at guest services, often the issue relates to thinking Universal Studios Orlando is the actual name of the resort. Universal Parks and Resorts branded its theme parks poorly through many previous ownership groups. This poor branding leads to some confusion. When you purchase ticket media to Universal Orlando Resort or Walt Disney World, please make sure you know the relevant details before you arrive.

What are the Main Differences Between Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort?

Both theme park resorts create an environment for a fun vacation. However, Walt Disney World operates very differently from Universal Orlando Resort. Some of these differences rank as slight. Walt Disney World refers to employees as “Cast Members.” Universal Orlando Resort calls them “Team Members.” Universal Orlando Resort identifies their levels of dining as quick-service and full-service. In contrast, Walt Disney World calls this counter-service and table-service. Numerous terminology differences exist between the two theme park resorts.

Universal vs. Disney

Ohana Restaurant at Walt Disney World

However, both theme park resorts have pros and cons. The differences should be explored to determine which works better for your group in this battle of Universal vs. Disney. Though covering all the differences between these incredible theme park resorts would take days, the rest of this resource intends to help guests evaluate the essential pros and cons for their next Orlando area theme park adventure.

Size of Universal. vs Disney 

Walt Disney World offers more theme parks, dining options, entertainment outside the theme park, hotels, and just more to do. The land owned by Walt Disney World dwarves the area used by Universal Orlando Resort. This disparity will reduce some when Universal’s Epic Universe theme park opens in 2025, but not much.

Still, Walt Disney World takes up more geographically than many cities. In fact, Walt Disney World covers more than 40 square miles. Thus, guests desiring to move from one section of Walt Disney World to another must plan for the time it will take. Walt Disney World offers an extensive free transportation system. The time needed to navigate travel can be an hour or more, depending on the chosen location. Guests sometimes express surprise that walking between sections of Walt Disney World is impractical.

Universal Orlando Resort’s current property resides on less than two square miles. With the addition of Universal’s Epic Universe in 2025, Universal Orlando Resort will almost double in size. Yet, this space remains insignificant compared to Walt Disney World’s vast land area.

Guests must plan more when navigating the larger Walt Disney World property. One should bear that in mind when deciding between Universal and Disney. Since Universal Orlando Resort covers a far smaller space, you can reasonably walk to almost the entire resort property. As a result, the free transportation provided at Universal Orlando Resort works very efficiently with short distances to cover compared to Walt Disney World. Also, with a central parking garage near Universal CityWalk Orlando, guests will always take a short walk or quick shuttle bus trips to anywhere on the property.

Universal vs. Disney Theme Park Attractions

The major theme park attractions drive most people to visit these resorts. In a discussion of Universal vs. Disney, the theme park attractions carry considerable weight. Both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort offer remarkable theme park attractions. However, each company excels at different styles of attractions. For the theme park consumer, this allows a wide variety of choices. For some intergenerational groups, a few days at both places creates the best of both.

A common oversimplification when deciding between Universal vs. Disney is that Universal Orlando Resort offers more screen-based attractions and thrills. Whereas Walt Disney World provides more practical sets with fewer screens and fewer high thrills attractions, making it better for the entire family. In fairness, this makes a good starting point for the discussion. However, that starting point only tells a portion of the story.

Thrill Ride Factor

In recent years, Walt Disney World added more thrilling screen-based attractions like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Avatar: Flight of Passage. With Tron Lighcycle/Run opening, another coaster for thrill-seekers with many screen-based elements to enjoy will be at Magic Kingdom.

Universal vs. Disney

Jurassic World Velocicoaster queue

Even though Universal Orlando added two new attractions in Islands of Adventure, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and Jurassic World Velocicoaster, with more practical elements and fewer screens, both those coasters could be argued to be more thrilling than anything at Walt Disney World, except maybe Rock N' Roller Coaster. With more thrill rides at Universal Orlando, younger kids and non-thrill seekers will have fewer options.

Though motion sickness issues for guests have increased at Walt Disney World with recent attraction additions, Universal Orlando Resort offers more thrills equating to a higher chance of motion sickness. The attractions Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and The Simpsons Ride are the most common motion sickness-inducing attractions. If you are prone to motion sickness, consult your medical professional on the best way to experience any theme park attraction. Still, Universal Orlando Resort brings more thrills and spills, as they say.

Universal vs. Disney Attraction Differences


Though Tron Lightcycle/Run marks the first time a Walt Disney World attraction forced riders to place many of their belongings in ride lockers, Universal Orlando Resort has been doing this for far longer. Universal Orlando Resort provides free small lockers for riders for many of its attractions. When experienced Walt Disney World fans visit Universal Orlando Resort, they often complain about having to place items in lockers. Also, since Walt Disney World guests often bring large backpacks and bags, the frustration grows since those will not fit in the small free lockers at Universal Orlando Resort. Larger lockers will cost $2 per use at Universal Orlando Resort.

At Universal Orlando Resort, eight attractions offer ride lockers since guests cannot take their bags with them on those attractions. Also, three attractions have metal detectors, so you cannot take any items onto the attraction. Of note, Jurassic World Velocicoaster utilizes a double-sided locker system that allows you to take your belongings through most of the queue.  If you expect to bypass these security measures, please think again. Guests have constantly been turned away due to attempts to circumvent these measures at Universal Orlando Resort.

Height Requirements

With a higher percentage of thrill rides, Universal Orlando Resort has more height restrictions for its attractions. However, height restrictions still exist even in the Seuss Landing area of Islands of Adventure, with kid-friendly attractions themed to Dr. Seuss’ works. Very young children will even be limited regarding some attractions in this area.

Univeral vs. Disney

Seuss Characters at Islands of Adventure

Many attractions at Universal Orlando require riders to be at least four feet tall. The Incredible Hulk Coaster demands that riders be four and a half feet tall. If anyone in your group fails to reach those height requirements, you must plan for who will stay with non-riders. Fortunately, the rider swap system works well at Universal Orlando Resort.

When comparing Universal vs. Disney, Walt Disney World attractions have lower and fewer height restrictions. Thus, Walt Disney World offers far more attractions the entire family can enjoy together. If your group comprises smaller children, Walt Disney World will be more accessible regarding height restrictions.

Ride Vehicle Restraints

One downside of more thrilling attractions involves the ride restraints. For example, the coaster manufacturers that Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort use vary regarding safety restraints for riders. All the attractions achieve the highest level of safety. However, guests of specific sizes and shapes will sometimes not fit certain attractions to accomplish this.

Depending on the style of restraints, the issue for some would-be riders may relate to being too tall, too large of thighs, chest size, and shoulder width. Sadly, more thrilling attractions demand tighter restraints. As Walt Disney World guests learn with Tron Lightcycle/Run, just because you fit on one ride does not equal fitting on another. Even though particular rows and seats exist with some attractions for larger guests, some guests find out too late that they will not fit.

Generally comparing Universal vs. Disney in this aspect, Universal Orlando Resort attractions have far more restrictive ride restraints than Walt Disney World. Some of this directly connects to the need for riders to be more secure due to inversions on the coasters. However, Universal Orlando Resort rides often employ tighter restraints than comparable rides at Walt Disney World. If you visit Universal Orlando, you can find the ride test seats for each attraction before entering the queue if you have concerns about your body shape being accommodated at the desired attraction.

Universal vs. Disney

Metal Detectors at Incredible Hulk Coaster at Universal's Islands of Adventure


Also, if you wish to film the attractions at Universal Orlando Resort, we have some bad news. Only some Universal Orlando Resort attractions allow filming. Metal detectors at three attractions make this impossible for those attractions. Still, guests officially may only film during an attraction at some Universal Orlando Resort offerings. Universal Orlando Resort team members have been known to stop attractions due to people attempting to film the experience. In contrast, Walt Disney World allows filming during most of its attractions. Since policies at Walt Disney World Resort appear to be changing slightly as of the time of writing, please check before filming,

Water Rides

In the battle of Universal vs. Disney involving water rides, guests will see a stark difference. Universal Orlando Resort likes its water-based attractions. For example, the Islands of Adventure theme park provides guests with three exciting water rides, Jurassic Park River Adventure, Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls, and Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges. Unlike the Walt Disney World water rides, you WILL get wet on the Universal Orlando Resort versions. The Universal Orlando Resort water rides are more intense. Yet, on some of them, you will feel like you fell into the lake and then under a waterfall. You will get wet!

Universal vs. Disney

Over at Walt Disney World, the water rides play a less thrilling role. Kali River Rapids and Splash Mountain, soon to be Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, will not be as thrilling or get you as wet as the Universal Orlando Resort water rides.

Finally, regarding the difference in attractions, Universal Orlando Resort excels at themed thrill rides. Walt Disney World specializes in more family-friendly storytelling with its attractions. However, both offer thrills and family-friendly attractions at each of their theme parks.

Universal vs. Disney Food and Beverage Differences

The dining experience for many guests highlights their theme park vacation. Comparing Universal vs. Disney regarding food and beverage, both resorts offer various dining options. However, based on the resort's size and number of hotels, Walt Disney World’s number of restaurants dwarves the number of dining options at Universal Orlando Resort. If you crave a specific type of cuisine, Walt Disney World sells it. Universal Orlando Resort might not.

Chef Art Smith's Homecomin"

Chef Art Smith's Homcomin' at Walt Disney World

Generally, Universal Orlando Resort food and beverage cost less than Walt Disney World’s offerings for a comparable item. Exceptions exist to that rule, but that is a good starting place. Yet, Universal Orlando Resort provides nothing that compares to Morimoto Asia, Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, or Victoria & Albert’s. Also, Walt Disney World offers guests more variety in lounges and theme park counter service meals. Universal Orlando Resort has great lounges and quick service options, but not as many.

Univereal vs. Disney

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras Parade

Both theme park resorts create grand food festivals. Universal Orlando Resort’s Mardi Gras and winter holiday food festival provide better value than Walt Disney World versions. Still, Epcot reigns supreme with food festivals for most of the year.

Universal vs. Disney

Character Breakfast at Topolino's Terrace at Walt Disney World

Character Dining

Walt Disney World wins the battle easily if you want character dining. Universal Orlando Resort offers very few character dining opportunities. Walt Disney World offers character dining at select resort hotels and inside theme parks. At the time of writing, the only year-round character dining option on Universal Orlando Resort property is Marvel Character Dining.  That dining experience recently reopened. The character interaction counts as fabulous at Marvel Character Dining, but the food quality falls below even Walt Disney World’s average standard for character dining.

Advanced Dining Reservations

Besides the usually higher price for food and beverage at Walt Disney World, guests should be aware of one more negative compared to Universal Orlando Resort. This essential factor weighs heavily in Universal Orlando Resort’s favor if arguing for Universal vs. Disney. Like many things at Walt Disney World, far more planning is required. You will most likely need reservations to dine at a table-service restaurant on Walt Disney World property. This increases in difficulty slightly if you wish to have a table-service dining option inside one of the four Walt Disney World theme parks since you will also need a theme park reservation for that theme park. We will discuss theme park reservations later.

Dining reservations at some top restaurants quickly disappear at the 60-day mark. Currently, the reservation booking window opens 60 days in advance. So, if you want to dine at Topolino’s Terrace, Ohana, Chef Mickey’s, or Space 220, you must be awake at 5:45 a.m. Florida time to book your reservations 60 days in advance. Based on the advantage on-site hotel guests receive in table service reservations, your choices may be minimal for top restaurants, even 60 days in advance for some restaurants. Universal Orlando Resort offers a less stressful process for reservations by comparison.

Both resorts have increased mobile ordering options for counter/quick service dining. When comparing Universal vs. Disney in terms of counter-service dining. Walt Disney World’s system works far better than the Universal Orlando Resort mobile ordering system. No matter which theme park resort you visit, make sure you have an updated version of their mobile app.

Butterbeer Islands of Adventure



Before moving on to the next significant difference between Universal vs. Disney, an iconic beverage should be mentioned. Butterbeer, a non-alcoholic sweet treat, changed the theme park game in Orlando. This Wizarding World beverage sold at Universal Orlando creates long queues during busy days.

According to legend, the sale of this popular beverage paid for the construction of the Hogsmeade area in Islands of Adventure in one year of sales. This beverage demands your attention if you are a Wizarding World fan or a Muggle. The drink comes in cold, hot, and frozen varieties. Universal Orlando will sell you butterbeer ice cream, potted cream, and fudge if you prefer butterbeer in a more solid form. In addition, some of the most immersive quick-service theme park restaurants exist in the two Wizarding World areas of Universal Orlando Resort. Walt Disney World offers nothing that compares to the quality and popularity of butterbeer.

Universal vs. Disney Shows and Characters

Walt Disney World Resort excels at shows and nighttime spectaculars. Universal Orlando Resort offers quality end-of-the-park day spectaculars, like the Nighttime Light Show on Hogwarts Castle. Still, these cannot compete head-to-head with Walt Disney World fireworks and projection shows. Though Universal Orlando Resort’s “The Bourne Stuntacular” rates as one of the best shows in the Orlando market, Walt Disney World provides guests with far more shows with far more variety.

Walt Disney World provides numerous Broadway-style shows and even shows based on animatronics. With multiple nighttime fireworks shows, some daytime parades, and cavalcades, Walt Disney World offers far more than just great rides.

Universal Orlando Resort presents a more casual theme park adventure regarding characters and parades. When a parade happens (currently no daytime parades) at Universal Orlando, guests will not need to line up hours in advance for a good viewing spot as opposed to Walt Disney World guests. The parades and nighttime spectaculars at Walt Disney World draw larger crowds. In addition, navigating your way around after a parade or fireworks display, for example, at Magic Kingdom, demands patience.

In contrast, Universal Orlando Resort generates less stress for guests regarding shows and characters. Universal Orlando offers far more “streetmosphere” with taxicab drivers, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Boop, and others in Universal Studios Florida. You will find more backtalk from Universal Orlando Resort characters and shows with even a raptor encounter. Also, the amusing Horror Make-Up Show might involve the line, “we do not have to be nice to children here,” depending on the version of the script they follow. Also, Universal Orlando Resort does not feature as many popular characters for young kids. Still, that may change with more use of the DreamWorks characters and two Minion-based attractions being open soon.

Seasonal Events

As mentioned previously, both theme park resorts create seasonal food festivals. The Epcot versions cover most weeks of the year. Universal Orlando Resort focuses on Mardi Gras from February until mid-April and the holiday season from mid-November until the end of the year.

Boo to You Parade

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Theme parks love holiday events. Visitors do, also. The theme park Halloween season in the Orlando area starts as early as the second weekend of August. Walt Disney World highlights its Halloween with Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. In contrast, Universal Orlando scares the pants off of you with Halloween Horror Nights. As you might expect, the Disney version is far more family-friendly. In comparison, Universal recommends that no one under 13 attend their Halloween after-hours event.

Universal Classic Monsters Legends Collide Halloween Horror nights House.

Both theme park resorts decorate and celebrate Halloween during the day. Yet, both spooky seasonal events require purchasing after-hours tickets. Following a pattern, the Universal Orlando Resort’s Halloween after-hours separately ticketed event costs less than the Disney version of an after-hours Halloween event.

Winter Holiday Season

Christmas starts at some Orlando area theme parks as early as mid-October. Walt Disney World celebrates the holiday season in every way imaginable. The signature event of their holiday season is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

This party shows off so much of what Disney does well. The character interactions, the parade, shows, and fireworks reflect the holiday season with some Disney magic. However, this magic comes with the price tag of purchasing a separately ticketed park admission for the after-hours party at Magic Kingdom.

Grinch Breakfast

In contrast, in the battle of Universal vs. Disney, Universal Orlando Resort builds off the mean one himself, The Grinch. The Grinch brings some sass and attitude to the holidays. Universal shows off with a nighttime parade featuring giant balloons, a special Grinch show, Grinch breakfast, and a Grinch meet & greet. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter areas comes alive with Christmas too. The best part of Universal Orlando Resort’s holiday celebration relates to the cost. Almost all the holiday activities are included with park admission. So, unlike in Lake Buena Vista at Walt Disney World, guests do not need a special after-hours ticket to embrace the complete holiday experience.

When comparing Universal vs. Disney regarding seasonal events, Orlando area visitors have a bountiful harvest of options. The final decision comes down to the preferences of your group.

Genie+ vs. Universal Express

 Disney Dose has previously written resources for the best use of Genie+ at Walt Disney World. Genie+ and the lightning lane system that replaced the “FastPass” system at domestic Disney theme parks. This system allows guests to enter a shorter queue for attractions they have booked in advance. The previously written resource covers this in more detail since this line-skipping system requires its own article to explain.

As with many differences between the two theme park resorts, the Disney version demands more planning.  When comparing Universal vs. Disney, in most cases, the Disney version costs more than the Universal version. However, in this case, the Universal Express system costs more. Still, the Universal Express system demands almost no planning.

Universal Express Pass

Guests with Universal Express Passes can enter a shorter queue like the FastPass/Lightning Lanes without pre-scheduling their arrival window. Universal Express sounds terrific if you are familiar with the stress of waking up before 7:00 a.m. each morning of a Disney vacation to book your first attraction with Genie+. However, everything is not greener on the Universal Orlando Resort side.

Yes, you can skip the standard queue for most attractions with Universal Express. However, some large negatives exist with the system, such as:

  1. Universal Express costs, depending on the level purchased, at least $90/day on low-crowd level days. On higher demand days, the price has reached up to $350/day per person for usage at the Universal Orlando theme parks. Universal Orlando looks expensive now compared to the Disney price of $15-$29 for Genie+.
  2. Despite the high price tag, Universal Express Pass privileges will not provide access to a shorter queue for some of the popular rides at Universal Orlando Resort. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure does not currently accept express passes. Also, Pteranodon Flyers does not accept Universal Express access either.

In fairness, guests at the three premier hotels at Universal Orlando Resort receive unlimited express passes with their stay. This privilege draws many people to pay more for those hotels. Yet, guests staying elsewhere will pay heavily for Universal Express passes. The system is straightforward at Universal Orlando, but a price must be paid.

On-Site Hotels

Following the predictable pattern, Walt Disney World operates about three times as many hotels as Universal Orlando Resort. Generally, Disney hotels offer more elaborate theming. However, in partnership with Loews, the Universal Orlando Resort hotels cost less for the same quality of hotels at Walt Disney World. Also, all the Universal Orlando Resort hotels sell Starbucks coffee in their lobbies if you must have a coffee before tackling the parks and want to avoid long queues for your morning coffee within the parks.

Water Parks

Universal Orlando Resort boasts the best water park in the Orlando area with Volcano Bay. This water park demands more planning to enjoy when putting Universal vs. Disney side by side. In addition, guests staying off-property will face a few challenges getting to this water park. However, some on-site hotel guests can walk to Volcano Bay. For example, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort sells Volcano bay view rooms being so close to Volcano Bay.

Blizzard Beach Height Requirements

Blizzard Beach

However, the larger Walt Disney World Resort contains two water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Though in recent years, only one at a time has been open. However, at this time, we hear both Disney water parks will be available soon, at least for the summer. These Disney water parks lack some of the latest technology compared to Volcano Bay. Still, they do not require reservations (more about that later), so they allow a relaxing break from the stress of a theme park vacation. In fact, these water parks cost less than Volcano Bay over at Universal Orlando Resort.

Annual Passes, Theme Park Reservations, and Park-Hopping

 Walt Disney World offers so many things to do and enjoy. However, Walt Disney World generally costs more and requires more planning in advance than Universal Orlando Resort.

For example, what if you live outside the state of Florida and decide to use a timeshare near Walt Disney World for two weeks? This formerly great vacation plan faces significant hurdles now. Being an out-of-state visitor, you cannot purchase an annual pass to Walt Disney World. They cost around $1300 per person plus tax when sold to out-of-state guests previously. At this time, we have yet to learn of a new price if annual passes ever return to being sold to out-of-state guests. This means your only option would be to buy a multi-day ticket which costs about $880 per person plus tax for ten days. You must pay for parking each day at Walt Disney World without an annual pass, so add a $25/day parking fee to your budget.

Epcot Height Requirements

Spaceship Earth at Epcot

Theme Park Reservations

If you can stomach that price for your group, you still need to make theme park reservations. You must make a theme park reservation to enter a Walt Disney World theme park now. Theme park reservation slots sometimes run out. The days of showing up at whichever Disney theme park you decide that day are over.  So, you can buy a theme park admission ticket and not be able to go to the Disney theme park you want that day.

To add to the complexity of Disney theme parks in Florida, the idea of park-hopping can only happen officially at 2:00 p.m. each day. Park-hopping involves starting at one theme park and then visiting another afterward, so hopping to a new one. Depending on your plans, I think the 2:00 p.m. park-hopping rule might be essential to remember.

In contrast, Universal Orlando Resort will gladly sell you an annual pass to make your theme park experience enjoyable. Universal Orlando Resort demands no theme park reservations in advance. Universal Orlando Resort wins if you want a more casual theme park day in the battle of Universal vs. Disney.

universal studios en orlando buy 2 days get 2 days free

Suppose you have ticket media to Universal Orlando Resort allowing park-to-park access. In that case, the only rule about park-hopping at Universal Orlando Resort is to wait ten minutes between entering one park and the other theme park. However, you can park-hop as early and as often as you like.


Universal vs. Disney discussions ultimately comes down to your group’s preferences and needs. If you are looking for a more cost-effective, thrill-inducing, less stressful, butterbeer-filled vacation, then Universal Orlando Resort might be up your Diagon Alley. However, if you have kids under 48 inches tall, prefer less thrilling but highly themed attractions, and want more dining variety, and far more shopping options, then the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse should earn your focus. Of course, many Orlando visitors enjoy both. The ultimate solution to the puzzle of Universal vs. Disney revolves around trying both.

Excited to Plan your Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando Vacation

Our blog will help keep you updated on vital information for your next Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando Resort vacation. The team of writers works hard to provide all the latest updates about events in the theme parks and tips for making your theme park days magical. Subscribe to our free deals newsletter for helpful planning information, exclusive Disney deals, and access to the lowest-priced Disney tickets anywhere. Also, you can find more information on planning your vacation here:

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