# Has Disney Been Out-Valued By Universal?

Discussion in 'Disney Rumors and News' started by DisneyKidds, Apr 7, 2003.

1. ### DisneyKidds<font color=green>The TF thanks DisneyKidds for mo

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Another poster made an interesting comment in another thread that, basing a comparison of Disney and Universal on money (cost) and the value provided, Universal "has the market hands down."

Is this the case? Is the perception more important than the reality? Has this perception, be it true or false, negatively affected Disney's Orlando theme park business?

Let's throw out a few apples to apples facts.

Assume family X, consisting of 2 adults, one 14 year old, and one 8 year old, wants to go to Orlando for 8 days and 7 nights. Let's look objectively at the cost, assuming best discounts currently available for a moderate, on site resort. Assume that family X desires to purchase annual passes that can be used on a future trip. Assume family X spends the same amount on food and souvenirs wherever they go.

Option 1 is Disney. Currently, 7 nights at CSR with a discount code would cost \$728, tax included. Regular AP's for the family would cost \$1,510. Total lodging and pass cost is \$2,238.

Option 2 is Universal. Currently, 7 nights at Hard Rock Hotel with an Entertainment discount would cost \$1,050. In order to have AP's that are the equivalent of a regular Disney AP (admission to 4 theme parks) we'll assume that family X buys a Universal 2 Park Preferred AP and a Sea World/Busch Gardens Silver Pass. Cost of passes would be \$1,100. This provides family X to a years worth of admission to 4 theme parks. Total lodging and pass cost is \$2,160.

As one can see, the difference in price is negligible. Both options provide good accomodations at a nice resort, access to 4 well themed parks, and various AP discounts and benefits. Sure, someone might say that Hard Rock is nicer than CSR, or the Disney parks are better themed, etc., etc. - but either way you are at a great resort with lots of entertainment options.

Value is largely dependant on the person. However, at the same cost for the same lodging/admissions, can anyone consider one a better value than the other based solely on cost? Again, even if the cost is the same, has Universal cornered a market based on the fact that people THINK it is cheaper than Disney? Is the perception that Universal is cheaper a widely held one? Can Disney do anything about such perceptions? Should they?

What do you think?

2. ### Bob O<font color=navy>Voice of Reason<br><font color=re

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Their is no comparsion between the Hardrock Hotel which is a deluxe hotel as compared to a moderate in CSR. And the perk of Front of the line access totally blows away any comparsion in these packages!!
With this Unviersal/wdw comparsion only, Universal gives you much better options IMHO as it is cheaper, you stay at a much better resort, the ease of walking to the park with no buses/cars needed and FOTL makes it a slam dunk!!
And this takes into consideration the car trip to Sea World and a trip to BGT for those few who would use that option, but it is an excellant option and these 4 parks compare well to disney's four parks.

3. ### ChairborneRangr<font color=blue>Has never seen CoP<br><font color

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Run this same scenario with a the given family without annual passes.

WDW
All-Star Movies -- \$83 (icl tax) * 7 nights = \$581
5 day park hopper + 4 add-ons -- \$258+\$258+\$258+\$205 = \$979
total = \$1,560

USO
On-Site Hotel \$1,050 (from other post)
5 Park Orlando Flex Ticket \$201.5+\$201.5+\$201.5+\$162.5 = \$767
total = \$1817

That is 14% less.

I know ASM is no where near the resort that HR is. Is there a value resort on site at USO? If so use those numbers. As far as I'm concerned if it's onsite (for early entry and fotl perks) and has a pool, it's all I need. We spend very little time at the resort anyway.

It looks like the values are roughly equivalent.

5. ### DisneyKidds<font color=green>The TF thanks DisneyKidds for mo

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That may be the case, but Hard Rock is the cheapest on-site Universal resort so it is the closest to moderate as you can get. I don't know much about the hotel to comment otherwise. Likewise, CSR provides more amenities than the other Disney moderate resorts. Again, trying to stay out of the 'my resort is nicer than your resort' game, I'd say that each option provides you with mid-level (for that organization) accomodations and comparable park admission.

Your comments regarding FOTL are valid. I'm not sure I agree about access to parks. Does Universal provide any transportaion to Sea World? Busch Gardens is a long trip that you must provide your own transportation to. If most people wouldn't go there you are essentially paying for access to only three parks. How does that factor into the equation?

Let me say again, I am not trying to pick at Universal. I actually would like to learn more about it. I shouldn't say this, but if Disney pulls garbage in December like they are in May (no SpectroMagic currently scheduled) we will take several days and go to Universal/IOA .

6. ### DisneyKidds<font color=green>The TF thanks DisneyKidds for mo

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Unfortunately, for many the analysis only clouds further if you consider the All Stars. However, your point is well taken. That point is that Disney provides more options for you to create your own value, as is shown by Disney's cheapest option being less than Universal's cheapest, even if the lodging is not comparable in size or luxury.

7. ### Bob O<font color=navy>Voice of Reason<br><font color=re

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If i remember correctly yhe new Poyal Pacific is the cheapest hotel on site.
The hardrock isnt a mid level hotel like CSR is and is considered a premium hotel just like disney has several hotels on site that are considered premuim hotels.

8. ### DisneyKidds<font color=green>The TF thanks DisneyKidds for mo

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Take the resort issue off the table. With an Entertainment discount you can get the Swan or Dolphin for the same price as Hard Rock with an Entertainment discount. These resorts would be quite comparable. Both resorts give you walking access to 2 parks.

What does that leave us with? Park admission. Park admission is less in the Universal option. In the AP example it is \$1,100 for Universal/SW/BG vs. \$1,500 for Disney. As Bob pointed out, BG is so far removed that most families on an Orlando vacation probably won't go. So you are essentially paying \$1,100 for access to 3 parks (or \$367 per park), where at Disney you pay \$1,500 for 4 parks (or \$378 per park). On a per park basis things get back to being very comparable from a cost perspective. Universal does seem to gve you the option of spending less, but realistically you are getting less. Again, is Universal really the better value, or is that more perception based on personal preference?

9. ### Testtrack321<font color=blue>Good GOD, man, quit banging your

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Front of the line access is what pushes me away from Universal more and more. The last time I went, most of those in the Express Pass line were using the FotL access. And they wern't very nice about it. "Yeah, what is this? Our 5th time on this ride. Yeah, I know...." "Using Epxress Pass. HA! We don't need that."

10. ### daannzzzOMG...Theres my favorite scrambled

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I am going to Orlando on May 3'd for 15 days. I will do a couple days in Sarasota and then 4 nights at the Portofino Bay for \$170 a night. I was going to buy 2 one day passes to Universals parks but found on their website a 5 day pass for \$89. I have been to IOA before and I found half of it to be awesomely themed and half to be done just okay and there are not loads of rides for me as I don't do coasters or spinners, don't have kids and don't see lots of shows. I am looking forward to my time their. I am then going to WDW for 8 nights where I got reduced rates at my hotels but even if I didn't I would still prefer WDW because there is more to to in the vein that I like and it is mostly done better than Universal though they did to some catching up. It would take a lot from universal for it to become a better value....for me.

11. ### DisneyKidds<font color=green>The TF thanks DisneyKidds for mo

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You are right Bob, Royal Pacific is the cheapest (but not much cheaper). However, the steep Entertainment discount used in my example isn't available at RP. Absent an Entertainment discount you'd be hard pressed to find such a resort at half off. As best I can tell the cheapest rate at RP won't be any cheaper than the Entertainment rate for Hard Rock. Thanks for confirming that the cheapest, comparable Universal resort to the Disney moderates still produces a negligible price difference .

As I said, with all the different hotels and disconts available you are bound to find comparable on-site lodging at a comparable price, so perhaps we should leave the hotels out.

12. ### HB2KI Spit Hot Fire!

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You're comparing products (and their associated prices) to see if Universal is a better deal. Don't find a Disney resort that is the same price as HRH to use as your comparison.

HRH is a deluxe resort. Use a comparable Disney resort (Poly, Contemp, Boardwalk, etc). Swan / Dolphin are not Disney resorts. Now when you make you're comparison, the products you're comparing are apples to apples. Not apples to oranges.

When you compare a stay in a deluxe resort at universal with associated park media to a stay in a deluxe resort at Disney with associate park media, how do you end up?

13. ### KNWVIKINGDIS Veteran

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If I stayed on-site at WDW with just AP's, at the end of 8 days there would still be things I hadn't done or seen. IMO IOA/US is a 3-4 day trip,tops. I would be spending money to find other things to do and would have to a rental car in order to get there. And if I were a golfer, then WDW just keeps looking better and better.

14. ### crusadercalls the faithful to their knees

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Actually it is available at \$110.00 + 11.5% tax which comes to \$858.55 for 7 nights. The accomodations at a moderate Disney resort do not compare to any of the Loews' resorts at Universal.

15. ### KNWVIKINGDIS Veteran

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For the traveller on a short budget, doesn't the lack of an AS type resort at IOA/US basically inflate the value of WDW ? If the parks and not the resort is the focus of your vacation, why pay extra for a deluxe resort ?

16. ### jlambrigLet's Go Red Wings<br><font color="#1daf84">Made t

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I have stayed at both Universal and WDW several times for extended periods of time. The Hard Rock could be considered deluxe but it is not a Universal property. If you want to claim that Swan/Dolphin aren't Disney, don't claim HRH is Universal. It is a Hard Rock product on Universal property. It is a very relevant comparison and they are comparable properties. I have stayed at HRH in a 1 br suite, a family suite, and the regular studio. Some may consider it deluxe, I will not offer any opinion there other than to say it is the best apples to apples comparison when talking Dolphin and Swan.

As for value, it is all perspective. Having done USF and IOA, I have reached the conclusion that it was fun while it lasted but I have no desire to return. It is a been there done that. I don't feel totally immersed in my vacation experience as I do at Disney. This is both in trips by myself and with my family.

Disney has a better value for me because I have a much easier time forgetting there is a world outside of the parks and I relax more and therefore enjoy my time more.

Disney CM's are much better than USF/IOA. I have never had a USF/IOA employee strike up a conversation with my 5 yr old daughter and offer to trade pins with her. Or give her a crown and tell she is the princess for the day in England. Or be the girl who gets to "open" the park. Or recognizes the puzzled look on my face and asks if they can be of service without prompting from me.

I could care less about whether they paint while I am in the park. Or sweep the streets before the park closes. Can it be annoying? Apparently so. But so is rain or getting a cold or twisting my ankle while at Disney. It is still a better value for me than USF/IOA will ever be.

FOTL is a great idea and is nice to have. I enjoyed the perq. I will take the look on my daughter's face as she "wakes Tinker Bell up" over getting to ride some attraction sooner.

I applaud those who find USF/IOA to be a better value. They are two great parks for what they offer. Until they become more of what I desire in a vacation experience than Cedar Point South, WDW will be the better value

17. ### All AboardPor favor mantengan se alejado de las puertas

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First, I'm on neither side of this debate. As evidenced by how frequently I drive the 475 mile round trip to visit both of these places they are offering excellent value to me.

I'd compare HRH to Swan / Dolphin before Boardwalk / Beach / Yacht / Poly / Contemp. First, the HRH rooms are 340 sf and second, there are no balconies. It's a great place, don't get me wrong. I stayed there this weekend and will definitely go back. But, it's hard to draw a direct comparison to any Disney resort.

Also, in the pass example. Why does the Universal choice include annual passes to Busch and Sea World? Will the guests really go to Sea World more than just a day?

In my case it happened quite a bit this past weekend. There are plenty of examples of wonderful employees at Universal. Don "Blinkie" who works the Beetlejuice show and the Wild West show is a fantastic example. It seems that Universal gets a lot of negative comments about employees on these boards. Never could figure out why. I don't think I've had one bad experience at either WDW or UO.

But, your first two examples are controlled by the Company that should be trying very hard NOT to be annoying.

You sound exactly like me two years ago. I had not been to Universal in ages. There was a great deal of discussion about how great IOA was. I couldn't participate much since I hadn't been there. So, I decided that in order to form an opinion, I obviously had to check it out for myself. Peter Pirate can tell you that I was taken back by how wonderful a job they did. I spoke with him upon return and told him how shocked I was. I was expecting something decidely below the quality of a Disney park. What I got was quite the opposite.

18. ### raidermattBeware of the dark side. Anger...fear...aggression

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I don't really intend to debate this either, as I think value includes personal preferences, which can't be right or wrong. The answer to "Has Universal out-valued Disney" is going to depend on how much one likes what each offers.

It does seem that more people think Universal has improved its value proposition than think that Disney has improved theirs.

Also, I can't recall anyone ever saying that Universal has gone downhill, or is offering less value than it did in the past. Yet that complaint is often heard with regard to Disney. That could be telling, considering this is a Disney board, not a Universal board.

So my guess would be that if you measured the value perceived by guests at both resorts with respect to both resorts, and came up with some kind of "average value", we'd find that Universal had closed the gap with Disney. I think that what we'd see is the average value perceived about Universal had risen over the last 5 years, while the average value perceived about WDW had fallen over that same period.

Other than attendance figures, I don't really have any proof of that, other than the un-scientific observations I mentioned.

19. ### DisneyKidds<font color=green>The TF thanks DisneyKidds for mo

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I am trying, to the maximum extent possible, to make apples to apples comparisons. To compare most Universal/IOA ticket media to Disney ticket media is useless as Universal AP's only give you access to half as many parks. Furthermore, if a family were to spend a week in Orlando they could easily fill that week at Disney with a multi-day pass. I'm not sure the same could be said of just USF and IOA. Finally, I chose Sea World/BG as the ticket to add as Universal is affiliated with these parks in some way and Universal does offer a multi-day pass that includes these parks.

As for debating the issues of better hotels/better parks, I'm not that interested. How much entertainment value any one person gets from the money they spend at either place is very subjective. As for strict value based on getting a certain amount of lodging or admission for your dollar I think Disney and Universal are pretty equal. I'm sure that isn't by happenstance - business is business after all.

That gets back to the key question of why people perceive that they are getting a strictly dollars based better value at Universal, if that is what most people think - which I'm not sure it is.

20. ### crusadercalls the faithful to their knees

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Not sure where that perception lies. Value may be misinterpreted to describe the actual cash outlay for a UO vacation as being less than a WDW vacation for the same number of days. This falls mainly in the ticket pricing category since you cannot buy a two or three day park hopper for a 7 day WDW stay (excluding those who really research and work hard to accomplish this though outside means). I am speaking of the typical vacationer who will use the CRO or other Disney outlet when purchasing tickets.

Not every guest feels the benefit of a 4 park experience vs 2 parks especially with a teenage family and could percieve it as being charged more just to be allowed the right to park hop between any two parks.

21. ### DisneyKidds<font color=green>The TF thanks DisneyKidds for mo

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I agree with your point. That is why I tried to use a family going to Disney/Universal for a week and not just wanting to visit the parks for 2 or 3 days. Of course, if a family only wanted to do two parks and only wanted to visit those parks over three days I doubt they'd stay in a Disney hotel for the whole week. A two or three night on-site resort reservation does allow you to purchase a two or three day Unlimited Magic Pass. It would certainly give the Disney guest a lot more flexibility to stay on-site for a week if a 2/3 day Park Hopper were offered, but that flexibility would mainly be to go off-site so Disney isn't likely to offer such passes. They probably should though, as it might encourage more people to stay on-site at Disney even if they intend to go elsewhere. With things like FOTL access and the nice resorts Universal offers I can't see a lot of people wanting to stay in a Disney hotel if they are going to Universal, but they might.