Walt Disney World Resort 25 Miles
Made up of four theme parksMagic Kingdom® Park, Epcot®, Disneys Hollywood Studios® and Disneys Animal Kingdom® Theme Parktwo waterparksDisneys Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and Disneys Blizzard Beach Water Parkand entertainment centers like Disneys BoardWalk Entertainment District and Disney Springs, Walt Disney World is truly where dreams come true!
Does This Give Universal An Edge
Universal Studios joins Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Line, which recently loosened their mask requirements. Disney will follow Comcast’s theme parks sooner rather than later, but, at the moment Universal Studios may have an edge when it comes to bookings from consumers who desire a more normal experience .
“It remains to be seen if Disney will respond with a similar policy update, or it will continue to be more cautious. In summer 2021, Disney waited another week until June 11 to follow Universal.,”WDWMagic.com reported.
Disney has, however, been bringing back some events that had been sacrificed due to social distancing. The company has already brought back nighttime fireworks and parades, as well as most shows and some of its buffets.
“Buffets have long been a mainstay experience at the Most Magical Place on Earth –that changed dramatically with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, and not just at Disney parks,” wrote Theme Park Tourist, a popular Disney blog. “The return of buffets to restaurants around the world has long been a delicate issue, one Disney has had to navigate carefully.”
A Look At Disney’s Reservation System
Disney has a reservation system that operates on its website and app. In order to make a reservation, a guest must attach a valid ticket or annual pass to his or her account.
Once that’s done, the prospective visitor can then check to see which parks have availability on the days their party plans to visit.
You May Like: Pet Friendly House Rentals Near Disney World
At Universal I Had No Problem Getting Tickets For Both Theme Parks On The Property
Universal Orlando’s two theme parks were operating on a first-come, first-served basis, but resort guests received priority access.
I was able to enter the parks an hour before off-property guests, and throughout my day, I could freely hop back and forth between Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida.
Disney Highlights For Kids
Magic Kingdom, as I said, is awesome with little kids. The benefit of attractions at the Magic Kingdom is that even the more thrilling ones, or the faster ones, are still very tame. Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain are fast, but not so much so that kids who meet the height requirements wont love them.
The highlights of the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT and Hollywood Studios for small kids are going to be a lot of the character-focused rides, and there are a lot of those. Whether your child is into Frozen or Peter Pan or Toy Story there are rides in each park to get them excited. A fun way to enjoy Star Wars land in Hollywood Studios is to explore it with our Star Wars: Galaxys Edge scavenger hunt. This is a great way to still visit the area even if small kids dont want to or are too short to ride Smugglers Run or Rise of the Resistance.
In Disneys Animal Kingdom, the Kilimanjaro Safari and Navi River Journey are both great with small kids, and then there are lots of shows and entertainment options for them too. Animal Kingdom has some great big kid rides too, so its our top pick for visiting Disney World with a family of mixed ages.
Read Also: How Much Is A Day Trip To Disney World
How To Get Universal Express Pass Unlimited For Free
Universal ExpressPass and Universal ExpressPass Unlimited allow you to skip the lines at most attractions. ExpressPass Unlimited allows you to bypass the lines repeatedly. ExpressPasses are sold in limited quantities so booking early is highly recommended. Expect to pay about $100 per person, per day for this benefit, prices vary by day.
If you stay at one of the Universal Orlando Premier hotels: Portofino Bay, Hard Rock and Royal Pacific, youll get ExpressPass Unlimited for free!
For this reason, Portofino Bay, Hard Rock and Royal Pacific sell out, so booking early is highly recommended.
Universal Studios Orlando 10 Miles
This entertainment complex is made up of two major theme parksUniversal Studios and Universals Islands of Adventure®. Dont miss thrilling rides like the Incredible Hulk roller coaster, the Amazing Spiderman 3D Adventure and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter®. Stroll along Universal CityWalk® for after-hours entertainment and exceptional dining.
Can You Stay At Disney And Go To Universal
The short answer is you can.
As a Disney World guest, you are entitled to free transportation around the Disney property, but thats the only transportation that Disney provides.
Why? Well, Disney doesnt want you to leave their property at all. Its understandable, but dont worry, like we reviewed above, there are various ways to get to Universal Studios from Disney World.
As a DVC member, I almost always stay at a Disney resort and I almost always also go to Universal Studios. There is nothing stopping you from making that trip outside of knowing how to.
You can add your visit to Universal anywhere within your trip. Use a Disney vacation planner to plan out your trip high level.
When youre building your trip to Universal into your itinerary, you should treat it just like any other theme park day. Theres going to be a lot of walking, a lot of fun, and just an adventure day. Make sure to build in rest days into your vacation.
The More Affordable Universal Hotels Are Really Nice
If youre going to a theme park on vacation, you need to stay somewhere. On the one hand, you want to stay somewhere nice, but if possible you dont want to spend all your money on the room. Walt Disney World has more than two dozen hotels, and they run the gamut of prices and amenities. However, the long and the short of it is you get what you pay for. The really nice places are really expensive, and the cheaper places honestly arent that great.
Universal Orlando Resort has a variety of hotel options as well. If you want to spend some cash for a really nice place, like the Portofino Bay, you can do that. But at the same time, you can get a less expensive place like one of the Endless Summer Resorts. You still get a nice room in a nice hotel and it won’t cost you any more than a decent room in a non-resort town. You dont have to choose between comfort and your wallet.
You May Like: Disney World Hotels With Suites
Everything Coming To Walt Disney World Universal Orlando Resort And Seaworld Orlando In 2022 And Beyond
2021 is so last year, and I think I can speak for many of us when I say Im looking forward to 2022 and all it has to offer. Its worth noting that as difficult as 2021 was, there were some inarguable upswings to the year that deserve us pausing a moment to take in and appreciate.
For starters, the general good news to come out of 2021 was the return of the parks to normal pacing. At Walt Disney World Resort, all eyes were on the 50th anniversary celebrations. Two new nighttime spectaculars, Disney Enchantment at Disneys Magic Kingdom and Harmonious at EPCOT both received mixed reviews, but Remys Ratatouille Adventure and the expansion of EPCOTs France Pavilion in general was received warmly by guests and critics alike. In fact, EPCOT seemed to get the most meaningful attention of any park, with two new stores opening to guests in addition to the debut of Space 220 Restaurant. Disney Genie+ was also officially installed as a replacement of the beloved FastPass reservation system.
So, what does 2022 have in store for guests? Weve created a comprehensive list here that identifies the attractions and events youll want to mark your calendar for. We even get into what to expect for 2023 and beyond!
Should You Choose Disney World Or Universal Orlando For A Family Vacation
You know that we have a special place in our hearts for Disneyland in California, and that wed visit in a heartbeat. But did you know that when it comes to Florida, we have two loves that tear us apart? Disney World or Universal Orlando is a common topic in our household. Which should you choose?
Weve broken down the primary differences in the parks and shared what we love about each. If you need to choose between Disney or Universal, this guide will help you make the best decision for you or your family
What you’ll find…
Read Also: Winnie The Pooh Ride Disney World
Best Restaurants At Universal Orlando
Between the more healthy options at Universal and the fun/nice sit-down restaurants, you have lots to choose from. We like dining at Universal better than the Disney World dining options because the quality of the food is the same or better and the prices are the same or better. So that means it really does come down to the dining atmosphere.
The restaurants in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter are both wonderful, and you cant beat them for theme. The Leaky Cauldron and the Three Broomsticks both feel like a completely different world. Their food is good and the kid portions are large enough that they leave satisfied .
In Universal Studios, Fast Food Boulevard is a Simpsons themed quick service area with such a wide variety of choices that its an easy option for a family or group. And for a nice sit down meal with table service, Lombardis in the San Francisco area is a good option .
In Universal Islands of Adventure, there are lots of options we stand behind. Fire Eaters has several healthy choices. Mythos is delicious and for being the nicest restaurant with Universal Orlandos parks, it also holds the best value for sit-down dining.
As you go through Jurassic Park and Cartoon Lagoon, youll find more quick service dining, but again, the quality is surprising. Overall, the food at Universal Orlando beats the food at Disney World.
How To Decide Your Travel Plans
Your travel plans will come in two phases, possibly even three.
First, you must decide whether to fly or drive to Orlando.
Afterward, youll choose whether to visit Walt Disney World or Universal Studios to start your trip.
Based on past experiences, I would suggest Disney.
The company offers Magical Express, which means that a bus will transport you from the airport to your hotel.
Disney offers this service free of charge, and, during non-pandemic times, Magical Express will even take care of your bags.
Universal Studios also offers airport pick-up, albeit for a fee.
You can schedule Universals SuperStar Shuttle Program for $39 per adult, $29 for children.
Should you only need one-way service, the price drops to $23. Still, for a party of four, youll pay $100 or more.
At that price, you may choose to rent a car or investigate other airport transportation options.
Once youre at your first destination, your next choice involves how to get from one theme park to the other.
Ordinarily, Id recommend a ride-share service like Uber or Lyft. However, COVID-19 concerns may make you wary about this idea.
In that case, a rental car makes a ton of sense. You can depart the airport without waiting for a shuttle/van.
Then, you can drive between resorts whenever youre ready. You control the itinerary better this way.
Ill level with you, though. What weve found works best for us is to start our vacation at Walt Disney World.
Don’t Miss: House Rentals In Florida Near Disney World
What’s Coming To Other Florida Theme Parks In 2022 And Beyond
Ice Breaker Feb. 2022 SeaWorld’s first multi-directional launched roller coaster is coming! It’ll feature four launches both forwards and backward that will ultimately launch you into the steepest vertical drop in Florida at 100 degrees. Expect lots of twists, turns and airtime!
Altitude Burgers now open Take your tastebuds to new heights at this brand-new burger bar .
Edy’s Ice Cream Parlor now open We all scream for ice cream! The new ice cream parlor features mega-monster shakes, brownie sundaes and hand-dipped ice cream cones. You can also create your own sundae with your choice of over 13 signature flavors of Edy’s Ice Cream.
Lakeside Grill now open Formerly the Spice Mill, Lakeside Grill offers a modern spin on Mediterranean cuisine, including grilled kabobs, falafel and hummus. Lakeside Mediterranean Nachos and the Lakeside Mediterranean Burger are also on the menu for those who don’t want to stray too far from classic theme park fare. The restaurant’s redesign features a 600-gallon aquarium that houses marine reef fish and live coral.
Busch Gardens Tampa
Giraffe Bar now open Located at Serengeti Overlook, this new bar will have panoramic views of Serengeti Plain to accompany cocktails, flights of local craft beers, wines and spirits. For snacks, the menu features vegetarian shareables, such as loaded hummus and oversized Bavarian soft pretzels.
LEGOLAND Florida Resort
Which Should I Choose Disney Or Universal
Disney Worldcalling all Mickey and Star Wars fans?
Universal Orlandocalling all comic and Harry Potter fans?
I firmly believe that neither Disney World nor Universal is better than the other.
You literally cannot go wrong in choosing either they are both awesome!
I will say, however, that I like the overall atmosphere better at Disney, but the overall ride experiences are better at Universal.
My suggestion would be to do both parks on different occasions if you have the time and the funds.
Make your Disney World vacation all about Disney since it takes longer to see all of the parks.
Combine your Universal vacation with some days at the beach, or go there for a long weekend since it takes fewer days to do all of Universal.
For a point of reference, our 3 boys were ages 8, 10, and 12 when we visited Disney World in Orlando.
They were ages 10, 12, and 14 when were went to Universal Orlando for the first time.
These ages worked for us, and we wouldnt change a thing as we felt they were at the perfect ages for both.
We appreciated having visited Disney first when the kids were a bit younger and then visiting Universal when they were older and tall enough to go on all of the rides.
Do you have a preference between Disney World vs. Universal Studios? Id love to hear your take!
Also Check: Pay For Parking At Disney World
Universal Studios Vs Disney World: Which Should You Visit As A Family
Central Florida is a popular family vacation destination due to the several theme parks in the area. Disney World and Universal Studios are the two major theme park companies that attract millions of people every year.
When traveling with your family, finding a vacation destination that has something everyone will enjoy doing can be tedious.
If you know youre ready to take on some of the worlds best theme parks, Central Florida is where you need to be. But when comparing Universal Studios vs. Disney World, which is the best place for you and your familys getaway?
How Far Is Universal Studios Florida From Disney World
Despite both being absolutely huge theme parks, you may be surprised to know that they are actually located quite close to each other. In fact, Disney World is only about 9 miles away from Universal Studios, which means, if you are driving the most direct route in good traffic, the journey time is only approximately 15 minutes.
Universal Studios is located closest to Orlando, found towards the Southwest of the city. Disney World is just a little bit further out, located more to the South of Orlando. Both are very close to the main Orlando Airport, so you wont have far to go to either of them when you first arrive for your vacation.
You May Like: How Much Does Cost To Go To Disney World
How To Get To Universal Studios From Walt Disney World
For guests staying onsite in Walt Disney World, there are a few different ways to reach Universal Studios.
Keep in mind that while getting around Walt Disney World is easy with free transportation provided by the Walt Disney Company, these services are limited to the Disney theme parks and resorts. They will not transport you to a non-Disney property.
If you have more than one day free during your Disney World vacation, I highly recommend spending some time at Universal Orlando. There are various options for transportation between the two resorts.
Read on to know more.
How Many Parks Are At The Walt Disney World Resort
When you visit the Walt Disney World Resort, there are four theme parks and two water parks to choose from.
Disneys Magic Kingdom was the first park on the resort complex to open in 1971. While everything about Disney is magical, this is the park that people consider to be the most magical place on Earth. When you think of Disney World, this is the park that generally comes to mind.
It has the classic Cinderella Castle that so many people love. This 107-acre park has six themed areas and attractions primarily based on Disney classics and some newer films and characters. The Magic Kingdom is the perfect park for the entire family.
Eleven years later, in 1982, the 300-acre park, Epcot, opened to the public. Walt himself came up with the name for the park as The Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, but everyone knows the park as Epcot.
The theme park was to showcase a community concept based on the Worlds Fair. The park has a focus on technology, science, and the arts.
One side of the park has rides surrounding these themes, while the other side has 11 pavilions showcasing different countries from around the world. You can eat and drink popular cuisine from countries like Mexico, Japan, and more.
When Hollywood Studios opened in 1989, it was going by the name MGM Studios. Disney officially changed its name to Hollywood Studios in 2008.
Recommended Reading: Dates For Disney World Christmas Party