Disney World vs Universal Studios

Disney and Universal are the most popular theme parks in Florida. Many fans love to debate which park is truly superior to the other. (Photo from Kaylee O’Brien)

Walt Disney World and Universal Studios are entertainment complexes located in Orlando, Florida.

Both of these amusement parks make millions of dollars of revenue annually, bringing in tourists from across the globe.

There is debate among local and international amusement park fans on whether Disney or Universal has the better parks, but what park is truly better?

Disney vs Universal Common Comparisons

In 2022, Disney alone had a $40.3 billion dollar economic impact on Florida.

Universal Studios welcomes all age groups, but caters towards teenagers due to their more thrilling rides and attractions.

Meanwhile, Disney’s target audience consists of families with young children who are seeking wholesome and appropriate content for all ages. 

Disney and Universal offer many similar aspects such as rides themed around movies, options for adults and children, and plenty of unique food items.

Although this debate will be between the two Orlando parks, Disney and Universal also have parks in California as well as other places around the world.

Disney and Universal’s Most Popular Themed Lands

Harry Potter and Star Wars are among the most popular movie franchises.

Star Wars Land can be found at Disney’s Hollywood Studios while Harry Potter World is located at Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure. 

Disney and Universal truly bring the movie franchises to life within all of their parks. This attracts superfans to come and experience the feeling of living in their favorite movies.

Fans can watch live shows, meet their favorite characters, and try foods exclusive to the movies all while being at the Orlando theme parks. 

Being in these themed lands is truly an amazing experience.

In 2022, 11 million people visited Universal’s Islands of Adventure. 

Previous to the opening of the Harry Potter World, Islands of Adventure only had 4 million visitors in a single calendar year.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios welcomed 10.9 million visitors in 2022, only 0.1 million less visitors than Universal. 

Harry Potter and Star Wars are the most popular lands amongst the Orlando theme parks, but both companies have plenty of other themed lands within all of their parks.

The Different Disney and Universal Parks

Walt Disney World consists of four amusement parks; Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and Hollywood Studios.

Disney also offers Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon which are two separate water parks.

Compared to Disney, Universal is lacking in the amount of parks they have.

Fans can visit Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure for a regular theme park experience, or Universal’s Volcano Bay if they are wanting to try a water park.

Disney has twice as many parks as Universal does, but in 2025 Universal will be opening a new park called Epic Universe.

Disney and Universal Price Differences

Although visiting all of the Disney and Universal’s parks can be a blast, visiting these parks can be super expensive.

Disney’s one day theme park ticket costs $109.00 dollars for everyone ages 10 and up.

They do provide special offers such as a 4-Park Magic Ticket which includes admission to each of the 4 parks, but only one park per day.

This ticket is $99.00 dollars per day, meaning a total of $396.00 dollars per ticket.

Universal prices their tickets a bit higher, costing $119.00 for a one park – one day ticket.

Both Disney and Universal offer special passes for those who are able to visit the parks more often.

Universal offers four kinds of passes; a Seasonal, Power, Preferred, and Premier Pass. These range between $325 and $790 dollars.

Disney only offers one pass – the Incredi-Pass which retails for $1449 dollars.

The Different After Hour Events

For a separate cost, people can attend Disney or Universal separately ticketed events.

Disney does After Hours events at Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and Typhoon Lagoon.

Disney typically hosts these limited-capacity events from 9:30 PM to 12:30 AM.

Tickets range from $75 to $165, and in my opinion these events are worth the cost.

They also have seasonal after hours events such as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

Disney’s special ticketed events are very wholesome and not scary.

On the other hand, Universal Studios hosts Halloween Horror Nights every year in the fall.

This event is very popular and it features haunted houses and scare zones.

Horror Nights fans can purchase tickets starting from $82.99.

The event is held from 6:30 PM – 2:00 AM which makes Halloween Horror Nights more worth the cost.

Leesville Students Opinions

Plenty of students, staff, and members of the Leesville community have been able to visit the Disney and Universal theme parks or after hour events.

The results on an Instagram poll posted by Myceanan were divided.

58% of students prefer Disney compared to the 42% of students who prefer Universal.

Disney fans voiced their opinions on why they think Disney has the better parks.

“Disney has multiple parks that have a lot of different rides with a lot of diversity,” said Lily Bendell, sophomore. 

Also wanting to voice his opinion, Matt Macia, senior, said, “Even if you’re not a fan of the Disney movies, you’ll still have a fun time down there. [Disney’s] good for you and your family, and maybe your future kids.”

Meanwhile, many Universal fans have many reasons why they believe Universal is the superior park.

“Universal is definitely better. It’s more for older kids while Disney is directed kinda towards children,” said Lindsey Ziolkowski, sophomore.

Universal has entertainment for everyone.

“Universal is more suited for all ages. They have rides for little kids and adults,” said Kate Daly, junior. 

Which Park is Better

All in all, both parks would be suitable for anybody willing to spend the hefty cost to attend. 

It’s hard to compare which park is actually better because it all depends on your personal preferences.

Personally, I like Universal more than Disney.

I prefer riding more thrilling rides and I believe that Universal offers a wider variety of roller coasters.

I also tend to like Universal’s theming a little more than Disneys because Disney can be childish.

People are die-hard fans on both sides of the argument so it truly just depends on your preferences.

If you are interested in knowing which park you would like the most, then seeing the parks for yourself is probably the best bet.


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