With this being a Disney blog, it should come as no surprise that Disney World would be favoured over Universal Studios in Florida. While both parks have their bonuses, over twenty years of visiting both parks result in the next visit being a Disney only affair. In this, I want to break down my top five reasons that Disney is our choice. Please note this is an opinion piece. If opinions on the internet aren’t your thing, please click away now.
Coming from the UK, prices are already high enough and what you get for your hard earned cash will pay an important factor. Let us compare some of this (please note prices were taken at the time of publishing using a date range of the 15th of July 2018, putting prices right in the height of summer. A fourteen-day ticket was chosen as it would allow us to make direct comparisons).
A fourteen day Disney World ticket is going to set you back £419 for adults and £399 for children ages three to nine. Making it £30 and £29 a day respectively. Children under two years old don’t need a ticket. This covers all four parks and both water parks as well as including three fast passes day for you to book.
A fourteen day Universal Ticket for both theme parks and the water park costs £232 for adults and £224 for children ages three to nine. Making it £16.57 and £16 a day respectively.
Universal wins on the upfront cost. But what we take into consideration is that it is half the experience, literally. Disney has four parks, Universal has two. Disney has two water parks, Universal has one. Take from this what you will when booking your own tickets.
Skipping the Queues
It is no secret that in the height of summer when we usually go, the parks are running near capacity and lines are long. Both parks offer a version of skipping the queues, Disney calls it Fastpass+ and Universal, Universal Express.
Disney allows you to pre-book three fast passes either thirty or sixty days in advance depending if you just book tickets with them or opt to stay on property at one of their hotels, giving you the full sixty days. This is included in the price of your ticket. Note that not all Disney rides take Fastpass+ and there are still rides you need to queue up for. After your passes are gone for the day, you can keep booking an additional pass as you go.
Universal allows you to purchase your Universal Express which, if memory serves correctly does not include all attractions either, but allows you an unlimited number of passes. Again, using the same date ranges, in the height of summer when most people from the UK go, and when we do, this is an extra £76 per day, per person for one park or £85 for both parks in a day, per person. Meaning, if you were heading to the parks each day of your trip and wanted this each day, you are adding an additional £1190 per person to your ticket.
Let us give Disney this point. With an argument to be made about the ticket price as a whole and what you get for your money to be made in another blog post in the future.
There is no doubt in the past few years with both parts of Harry Potter in Universal as well as The Simpsons Universal are really upping their game regarding theming. So much so, people have claimed this has worried Disney and Pandora in the Animal Kingdom was a direct response to it. However, Disney runs with the idea that the magic is in detail. Where else does the queue become part of the experience? That hunting for hidden details become part of your day, be they hidden Mickey Mouse logos or hidden characters around a toilet block?
Another point for Disney.
Now, this is a point of contention in my family, some of us like the higher thrills of Universal coasters, some are fine with Disney and their mild thrill levels. I work on the balance, Disney is something our whole group can enjoy together, cause that is what it is all about really, isn’t it? Thrill-seekers can find their own adventures by sitting at the back of some of the Disney coasters. Have you tried sitting at the very back of Big Thunder? Entirely different experience from sitting in the front.
Chalk up another for Disney in my book.
The non-rollercoaster variety of rides. Dark rides, omnimovers, character meet and greets, shows and fireworks. The array that Disney alone offer, from memory, push it ahead. Universal has some great rides, but I always remember them being a little generic and feeling the same. It is just the magic and benefit of Disney, variety. The final point to Disney.
And there you have it! The reasons I choose Disney over Universal.