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WDW Theme Parks Discuss Disney vs. Universal: The Never Ending Debate in the Vacation Planning forums; Okay, I was asked a question by Kaleigh and decided to start a thread on it. I know this has been discussed everywhere, but I decided to re-start it and ...
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    Ghost#1000's Avatar
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    Disney vs. Universal: The Never Ending Debate

    Okay, I was asked a question by Kaleigh and decided to start a thread on it. I know this has been discussed everywhere, but I decided to re-start it and give my imput.

    Disney vs. Universal
    The Ultimate Showdown

    Before I begin, let me explain a bit about myself. I am a teenage thrill seeker to the max! So that makes me a stereotypical Universal fan, right? WRONG! Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy Universal, I just don't LOVE it. I LOVE Disney and I LOVE SeaWorld, But Universal Just Doesn't get there for me. Why? I am glad you asked

    I am a Universal and SeaWorld passholder (Disney is just too expensive) and a Florida resident. So I am blessed with the ability to go a lot. The problem that I have with Universal is the Magic and Immersion factors, as well as the amount of stuff to do. Magic Kingdom and Epcot are both 2 day parks, right? DHS and Animal Kingdom can take up a whole day, right? Universal Orlando resort is, in my opinion, a one day resort. What does that mean? That means that I am able to complete BOTH UNIVERSAL AND ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE in one day. Now I haven't tried that with the new land, but when the lines cool off, it will probably still be a one day affair.

    How, you ask? Well, there just isn't that much to do. Including both parks, the number of rides (worth doing) totals less than twenty. Another problem, they are almost all E-Ticket. It is my opinion that a park should not be stuffed full of E-ticket attractions. With the proper utilization of Single Rider/Universal Express and time, before Harry Potter i could do it all in one day.

    Another problem, Universal doesn't enchant me the way Disney does. The moment I step into a restaurant, resort or park, I feel like I am somewhere over the rainbow. The staff, the theming, everything is welcoming and magical. I just don't get that in Universal. Maybe it is the grey donuts in Spiderman, or the big white building coming off of Hogwarts, but I am just not immersed. Sure, it has its immersive moments, but it is not constant.

    So the verdict? Universal is fun and is worth taking a day or two to do, but that is it. Universal will always be third for me in the theme park chain runnings, and it is a great place to be able to re-ride all of your favorites several times, but it is no substitute for Disney.

    So if the question is 'Is Universal worth checking out', I say yes.
    But if the question is 'Is Universal worth spending more than a weekend at a time at' or 'Is Universal better than Disney', than I give you a big whopping NO.

    Disney always wins out, but that does not mean Universal is not worth doing. It is still 10 notches above a Six Flags, but for a Florida native who takes several trips to Orlando a year, I will take Disney every time.

    What are your thoughts?
    "You are about to discover what lies beyond the fifth dimension...beyond the deepest, darkest corner of the imagination...in the Tower of Terror."

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    Re: Disney vs. Universal: The Never Ending Debate

    Thanks for this. Can you compare the rides to Disney? I, for one, think that Splash Mountain is the best log flume, hands down anywhere. Are Universal rides well themed, or does it feel more like Six Flags? Is there attention to detail in the queues, or only in certain rides? Is there a story element to everything? Thanks!

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    Re: Disney vs. Universal: The Never Ending Debate

    I like Disney and Universal but I think magic wise Disney wins hands down.


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    Re: Disney vs. Universal: The Never Ending Debate

    ^I still enjoy Universal, in my opinion, Disney is just better. Kaleigh, there is still a story behind most everything, it's just not as immersive or magical. The lines are somewhat themed, though the theming is usually limited to some creative architecture and a continuous video played above you. For example, in Spiderman, you walk through the cubicles in the daily bugle, however the theming can be lacking. The rides are still top notch as well as the storyline, however they can sometimes take a backseat to the thrills. Universal is mainly high octane thrills as opposed to the nice balance at Disney.
    "You are about to discover what lies beyond the fifth dimension...beyond the deepest, darkest corner of the imagination...in the Tower of Terror."

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    Re: Disney vs. Universal: The Never Ending Debate

    Since you mentioned log flume rides, I must say that the one ride that I LOVE at universal, is the popeye barge ride. Its not a flume ride and its more like Kali, but Kali River Rapids doesn't hold a candle to it... not even close. Splash Mountain I would say is both a dark ride AND a water ride, but the dark ride part of it is really the meat of the ride. Popeye was the most fun WATER ride I've ever been on, and it was one ride where I would have had fun no matter what the theme was.

    Besides that, I totally agree with everyone else. Islands of Adventure is a fun park to do every so often (I'm going on my trip this August, because it IS fun), but I would never do a "Universal trip". You can't make a whole vacation of it like you can with Disney World. I live all the way in Canada and I have a Disney Annual Pass (I'm going at least twice this year, and one of those trips would require a 10 day pass) but I would never buy a Universal seasons pass. It's pretty cheap to do 2 or 3 days and I've never felt compelled to do it any more than that when I go (and thats every 3-5 years).

    That being said, Islands of Adventure IS pretty fun and I recommend going there at least once... the Spider Man ride is pretty awesome and while the theming is inconsistent and not as well done as Disney, it's still pretty fun (While Disney was a huge part of my childhood, I also owned every Dr.Seuss book there was- it's fun to go through Seuss Landing and even do the kiddy rides). Just... don't make an entire vacation out of it!

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    Re: Disney vs. Universal: The Never Ending Debate

    i agree.. universals did feel a lil 6 flagish.. or kings islandish... im hopeing that hp world has better themeing set up.. the only reason were going back is because of hp world.. and the hubby wants to do horror nights
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    Re: Disney vs. Universal: The Never Ending Debate

    Oh, by the way, my favorite water ride IN THE WORLD is Dudley Do Right's Ripsaw Falls at Islands. Also, Popeye is better, but I wouldn't go so far as to say Kali couldn't hold a candle up to it. But that is why I am me and you are you.
    "You are about to discover what lies beyond the fifth dimension...beyond the deepest, darkest corner of the imagination...in the Tower of Terror."

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    Re: Disney vs. Universal: The Never Ending Debate

    Fair enough lol. Dudley doo rights WAS pretty good, I agree. But I think I liked Popeye so much cause firstly we did Kali after Popeyes on that trip, and I remember getting a tiny bit of cold water on me during Kali (another person got more wet) and on Popeyes we were ALL drenched to our underwear with nice warm water. And it went REALLY fast. But anyways, I guess not everyone likes being drenched haha.

    Also, I bet the Harry Potter theming will be neat, but the problem with IoA is that it's shaped like Epcot. So think of all the care that went into MK so that a guest will never see a cast member out of place, or a building sticking out that doesn't belong... and now think of IoA where you can be standing in the Harry Potter area and look out and see the Hulk coaster clear as day, as well as all the Jurassic Park stuff. They (probably on purpose) don't try to make the lands distinct and hide them from one another, and the result is that you never really feel immersed. I wouldn't say they're like 6 flags though... 6 flags is an amusement park, not a theme park- they don't even TRY to have a theme.

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    Re: Disney vs. Universal: The Never Ending Debate

    When people come to Orlando for vacation they either go to WDW, Universal, and sea world or just WDW. That is just what I have noticed but i could be completely wrong.

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    Re: Disney vs. Universal: The Never Ending Debate

    I have been to Universal once in my life and WDW 4 times. I like Universal but I almost can't bring myself to miss a day in WDW to go to Universal. Now however with Harry Potter's Wizarding World I can bring myself to do so because I am a Harry Potter fan. On my next trip we plan on doing a day in Universal but I am not sure we will return there again for some time. I too am a thrill seeker I live about two hours away from Cedar Point and I love it there. There is just such a level of emersion and forgetting your troubles in WDW that you can't find anywhere else (except in other Disney resorts). Disney may not have the tallest the fastest or the most inverted rides, but they simply have the best.
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    Re: Disney vs. Universal: The Never Ending Debate

    We like Universal....but it is NO WDW or DLR for that matter.
    Different leagues they are.
    I consider Kings Island in Ohio to be the BEST non Disney theme park one can goto.
    Disney has em all beat though...for all the obvious reasons.

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    Re: Disney vs. Universal: The Never Ending Debate

    Comparing WDW to Universal is like asking what do you like better; apples or oranges. They are both entertainment (fruit), but a theme park is not an amusement park. I'm glad there is something for everyone so that we all don't have to go to the same place.
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    Re: Disney vs. Universal: The Never Ending Debate

    Ghost#1000,
    I really like the way you put your opening commentary.It makes a lot of sense,in the way you said it.I agree with you about your comments.I have always liked WDW better than Universal,but I do like Universal also,like you said you did.I used to have a friend that worked at Universal and he got us tix each trip we came down there for several years.But he got married and he and his "ready-made" family moved to Vegas.Ah,no more tix.
    But I agree about Ripsaw Falls,best log ride you'll ever go on,and the Popeye river ride like Kali at Animal Kingdom,is tops in my book.
    I'll always pick Disney over any other theme park,no matter who it is.But I will say this,some newer rides at Disney wouldn't hurt.
    Park Hopper Dad!

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    Re: Disney vs. Universal: The Never Ending Debate

    Thank you very much Park Hopper Dad. What can I say, great minds think alike.
    "You are about to discover what lies beyond the fifth dimension...beyond the deepest, darkest corner of the imagination...in the Tower of Terror."

    Come check out my blog at http://monorailblue.blogspot.com/

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    Re: Disney vs. Universal: The Never Ending Debate

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost#1000 View Post
    Thank you very much Park Hopper Dad. What can I say, great minds think alike.
    This is true.
    Park Hopper Dad!

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