How many days at Universal vs. Disney

chekhovgirl

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 13, 2011
We’ll be down in April and we have never been to Universal. We’ve been to Disney a bunch. Four adults, 15 year old, 13 year old. I planned to do:

2 days Universal park-to-park
1 day Hollywood Studios (my kids have yet to do Galaxy’s Edge, we were there in October and loved it)

However, yesterday my mom (not knowing the itinerary in my head) said casually that we can’t go without going to the Magic Kingdom. The thing is, I don’t want to do more than three park days. Should we keep it as-is or should we do one day Universal, MK, HS?

I guess my question is, can you do Universal in one day or will we want two?

Thank you!
 

keishashadow

Proud Redhead...yes, I have some bananas!
Joined
Dec 30, 2004
If mom is immovable on this, smile & Drop her off at MK.:earsgirl: Maybe another in your party May care to join her. No rule you have to be joined at hip in large group. The rest of you can enjoy SW @ Mgm. Pick her back up or have her/them uber back to hotel.

MK is my fav park, bar none but, nothing much new there other than SDMT. ROTR & GE is a must do for any SW fan

IMO when doing the parks, kids’ (teens included) special wishes trump adults, even if they happen to be funding the trip ;)

no idea when In April youwill visit, pre & post Easter is always busy & expensive at resorts. (We moved trip back 2weeks this year.)

staying on site with FOTL perk would be a great benefit for you

Are you buying park to park tickets? Recommend highly.

factoring in whatever park hours are (they not released yet for WDW), you might be able to work in half day at U your 2nd day there & close out MK that night

might even be able to get it all done in one day at U depending on hitting the above sweet spots. Don’t recommend it tho
have you considered doing a park on your departure day, to allow another day to work with, even if partial one?

good luck.
 
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  • bchbetha

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 27, 2016
    Do you have Express Passes?
    I personally think you need 3 days for Universal so going down to 1 would be a challenge. At that point you have a Disney trip, not a Universal trip. Do you go to Orlando often? You said you were there in October so it makes me think that getting to the parks isn't necessarily a once in a lifetime activity. Making this trip be all about Universal is what I would do if you will be hitting the parks again in the next few months.
    I think your original 2 days at Universal and 1 at HS is ok. But, back to my original question about Express Passes. And a bonus follow up of when in April?
     

    Nabas

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 5, 2013
    I don't know your family. Therefore, I can only speak in generalities. What I write below might be a perfect fit for your situation or might be way off. Only you can be the judge. However, hopefully this will give you something to consider.

    Based on our experience, Universal is more fun for teenagers. This assumes they like thrill rides and roller coasters. Conversely, someone closer to retirement age might not particularly like Universal. Yes, there are things to do for all ages but IMO Universal is more for someone who likes thrill rides.

    My guess is that the teenagers will want to experience at least the following at Islands of Adventure:
    1. Hulk
    2. Spider-Man
    3. Doctor Doom
    4. Dudley Do-Right (if it's hot)
    5. Kong
    6. Jurrassic Park River Adventure (if it's hot)
    7. VelociCoaster
    8. Forbidden Journey
    9. Hagrid's
    10. Hogwarts Express
    At Universal Studios, there's:
    1. Despicable Me
    2. Rip Ride Rockit
    3. Jimmy Fallon
    4. Mummy
    5. Transformers
    6. Fast and Furious
    7. Escape from Gringott's
    8. Men In Black
    9. Simpsons
    10. E.T.
    There could be rides (like VelociCoaster or Hagrid's) that they are going to want to experience twice. And there are other attractions that I have not listed that they might want to experience.

    The point is, there's probably 20 to 25 attractions that they'll want to do. Depending on when you go in April, it will either be packed (Easter week) or operating with reduced hours (after Easter).

    You're also going to eat (presumably) two meals.

    I just don’t see how you do all of the above in a single day, even with Express Pass.

    13 and 15 year-olds are the perfect ages for Universal. The Magic Kingdom is more of a "family" park, meaning it's great for the very young and old, perhaps less so for a teenager.

    Questions to ask yourself:

    Why does your Mom want to go to the Magic Kingdom? How many times has you Mom been to the Magic Kingdom? Will she ever go again?

    Frankly, does you Mom think of the 13 and 15 year-olds as little kids, or does she think of them as young adults?
     
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    Skywalker3

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 10, 2018
    I know that's hard. A lot of folks equate Disney with the Magic Kingdom, and she may feel like the trip isn't complete without going there. Like she may just really want to feel that magic of Main street and the castle......but, I'd still try and keep the 2 days at Universal, and the day at HS, (you already know how awesome Black Spire is,,) but try and make sure at some point on the HS day, going over to MK. Finish the night there with a castle shot maybe? not sure if you have park hoppers, but may want to do that.
    I wouldn't give up a Universal day to do it, especially for teens. Again, that's kind of assuming they're into the thrill rides, and HP. But just to not feel so rushed, and get a chance to take it all in, 2 days for sure.
     

    hhoope01

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 13, 2015
    Do you already have APs for Disney or Universal? I ask as long ago, we decided never to try and do both Disney and Universal in one trip. There are a few reasons for that.

    First, expenses go way up as you have to buy tickets to both sets of parks and each has much better "per day" ticket prices as you add days to your ticket. So a 1 day Disney ticket plus a 2-day Universal ticket for everyone will be much more expensive than a 3-day ticket to one or the other.

    Also, it takes time to get from Universal to Disney (or vice versa). If you are staying onsite at either, then you can maximize your time at those parks rather than getting up extra early/staying up late and fighting Orlando traffic to get from one to the other.

    And finally as mentioned by others, you probably aren't going to be able to do/see everything you might want at either Disney or Universal by splitting up your trip. You'll end up partially doing each of them.
     
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    keishashadow

    Proud Redhead...yes, I have some bananas!
    Joined
    Dec 30, 2004
    Do you already have APs for Disney or Universal? I ask as long ago, we decided never to try and do both Disney and Universal in one trip. There are a few reasons for that.
    You raise a valid consideration as to cost & working those passes.

    Although, many of us have long term kept done split trips & keep different park APs running. Often shuffling around trip Components to make it all
    work out/fit the travel budget.

    Even though U clocks in half the current price of WDW (when & if a non renewal can happen again) it still stings when renewal rolls around each year :faint:
     
  • CynBeth

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 17, 2011
    I would do 2 days at Universal and add another day at Disney. Your DM has this request for MK and I really think you should honor it.
     

    mamapenguin

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 15, 2006
    I would do the trip as you had it in your head. MK is my favorite WDW park, but a wish was expressed. I would respect that. I would not shrink the trip to one day Universal to add another Disney day. You need 2 days park to park to see everything. Universal is worth it. These short trips make my head spin, I need 5 or 6 days.
     

    AJA

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 16, 2008
    For teenagers they will have much more fun at Universal than MK. You will need a full 2 days for Universal.

    Save MK for another time.

    For my 17 year old Universal Is leaps and bounds more fun than MK.
     

    Matty123

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Nov 12, 2019
    I definitely recommend two or more days for Universal.

    You're saying that everyone in the family (including mom and kids) has already been to Magic Kingdom, yes? But that none of you have been to Universal, and only you have been to Galaxy's Edge? Going for the new experiences, especially those that the kids would most enjoy, makes the most sense to me. Would your mom see that point of view, or is your relationship such that you just can't disappoint her?

    My history with Universal/Disney:
    First trip, kids were 11, 9, and 4. We did a day at Universal (P2P), then a day at MK, then another day at Universal. Everyone (including spouse and me) was disappointed by the MK day and wanted more Universal, except maybe the four-year-old who honestly didn't care either way.

    Second trip, kids 16, 14, 9. We did one day at HS -- we're big fans of both Star Wars and Harry Potter -- and managed everything SW in one long but satisfying day. Then we did 3 days at Universal and still wished we'd had longer, since the kids were old enough for more rides. I do think Universal just hits the teen vibe better. Our next trip will be all Universal.

    Good luck with your decision!
     
  • ofcabbagesandkings

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 16, 2014
    If you’re will to pay for hoppers and Genie+, you could do SWGE and MK in the same day. If you buy the $ILL for ROTR, use your first LL for Smugglers and your second for Star Tours, you could be done with all the Star Wars rides before hopping to MK after 2pm, where you could then book more Genie+ rides from whatever is left. I personally would take all that money and just add more days to Universal, but to be fair, my kids got to experience SWGE once in the before times.
     

    fsjking

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 14, 2016
    We just did 5 days at Uni and 7 at Disney with a 14 and 17 year old. They were bored to death at Disney, and really disliked MK. Post trip, they said they'd rather have spent the week at Uni event after being there 5 days. I would definitely not dump the uni days.
     

    Jimmy Mouse

    My other car is the Monorail
    Joined
    Sep 3, 2017
    We just got back from an 11 night trip. 2 nights WDW, 3 Legoland and 6 Universal. It's a must to go to MK on every Orlando trip. We got to WDW early to have 2 park days. MK and EP. Legoland 2 park days and Universal 5 park days. So, I'm gonna have to side with your mom lol.
     

    chekhovgirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 13, 2011
    Thanks, everyone! I think my mom will get over not going to MK. We'll do one day at HS and I think we may go for the special that Universal is doing right now to get five days so we can space out our time there if we want. If she really wants to go to MK, she can spring for tickets for all of us. :) We will not rush Universal, thanks for talking me down!
     

    Ariel620

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 29, 2016
    Thanks, everyone! I think my mom will get over not going to MK. We'll do one day at HS and I think we may go for the special that Universal is doing right now to get five days so we can space out our time there if we want. If she really wants to go to MK, she can spring for tickets for all of us. :) We will not rush Universal, thanks for talking me down!
    I agree with all to keep the 2 Uni days. But to get that MK magic, you could eat at one of the monorail resorts and then watch the fireworks from there (Poly Beach is Great, Grand Floridian from lots of places near the water, or Contemp. on the Bridge to Bay Lake Tower). This is what I do on Universal only trips to get my Disney magic!
     

    ClapYourHands

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 2, 2018
    Thanks, everyone! I think my mom will get over not going to MK. We'll do one day at HS and I think we may go for the special that Universal is doing right now to get five days so we can space out our time there if we want. If she really wants to go to MK, she can spring for tickets for all of us. :) We will not rush Universal, thanks for talking me down!
    I think that makes sense. If her heart is set on that, then she can be the one who puts her money where her mouth is. Spacing out your days at UO will make them much more enjoyable because you’ll have time to enjoy be shows and atmosphere and take it easy. Short trips can be great, but are best for those who go frequently. You *can* do all the UO rides in a day or two, but it can be stressful and exhausting.

    If there’s something specific your mom really wants to do at MK, maybe consider doing a park hopper, and going over there after taking the kids to GE. If you rope drop, you can probably get done with whatever you want to do at HS by mid afternoon. Then go to MK and stay through park close. Since your UO trip will be more leisurely, you can always sleep in the next day. Upgrading to a hopper is cheaper than a two-day ticket.
     

    chekhovgirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 13, 2011
    I agree with all to keep the 2 Uni days. But to get that MK magic, you could eat at one of the monorail resorts and then watch the fireworks from there (Poly Beach is Great, Grand Floridian from lots of places near the water, or Contemp. on the Bridge to Bay Lake Tower). This is what I do on Universal only trips to get my Disney magic!
    Yes, we were thinking of doing just this! Going to poly for Dole Whips and fireworks. We're definitely going to Boma for a meal one day - not MK, but still trying to do some Disney things!
     

    chekhovgirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 13, 2011
    I think that makes sense. If her heart is set on that, then she can be the one who puts her money where her mouth is. Spacing out your days at UO will make them much more enjoyable because you’ll have time to enjoy be shows and atmosphere and take it easy. Short trips can be great, but are best for those who go frequently. You *can* do all the UO rides in a day or two, but it can be stressful and exhausting.

    If there’s something specific your mom really wants to do at MK, maybe consider doing a park hopper, and going over there after taking the kids to GE. If you rope drop, you can probably get done with whatever you want to do at HS by mid afternoon. Then go to MK and stay through park close. Since your UO trip will be more leisurely, you can always sleep in the next day. Upgrading to a hopper is cheaper than a two-day ticket.
    Yes, I was thinking about a park hopper, but afraid we wouldn't get everything in that we want to at HS, beyond just Galaxy's Edge. Will certainly consider it!
     

    Ariel620

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 29, 2016
    Yes, we were thinking of doing just this! Going to poly for Dole Whips and fireworks. We're definitely going to Boma for a meal one day - not MK, but still trying to do some Disney things!
    Stay for the electrical water pageant too, there is a special 50th anniversary tag on on the end now!
     


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