Universal Studios Takes Back Seat to Disney


Earning My Ears
Feb 15, 2001
We just completed a 10 day trip to Orlando which included 2 days at Universal Studios-only. Don't ask! We picked-up on an internet deal through the Hilton Grand Vacation Club http://www.hgvc.com which included accomodations and the two tickets.
Our two kids, ages 13 & 11, enjoyed Universal and City Walk. My husband and I on the other hand could have done without it.
We're Disney fans and DVC members and found Universal to be a complete step down from the Disney experience. Here's why:

a) Rather then family oriented, the park seemed to attract teenagers. My mother would not let me out looking like (or acting like) most of the young teens we saw walking the park.
b) The attractions (shows) were short and did not compare with the Disney attractions. Fortunately, the lines were short so we were only minimally disappointed.
c)If the wait is any longer then 5 minutes for King King, Twister, Earthquake, MIB or Jaws-I'd consider moving on!

What we liked:
Jimmy Buffets, Terminator and Back to the Future.

Would we go back? No, we'll spend our time and $ at Disney.
Most teenagers are part of families. We are going to Orando next year. We are spending 4 days at the Disney parks to for my sister's family (which includeds a 6 year old) can enjoy Disney. Then we are spending 4 days at USF so that my family and our 13 year old can enjoy those parks.

We have been to all the parks. We enjoy US/IOA much more than the Disney parks. Not because one is better than the other, but just because that is how our tastes run.

Just my .02.
And I keep telling the Universal Execs to quit allowing weird looking teens into the park!!
I agree! MIB is definatly not worth a 10 minute wait. I'd much rather wait 20 or 30 minutes to ride Buzz Lightyear at Disney. And I agree that Twister is nowhere near long enough; they should make the tornado stop moving right in front of the audience for awhile for no reason. That would be great for adding to the length of the attraction. And I also agree, Universal should screen their guests better; If I owned the park I'd only allow guests ages 4-10 and 19-65 in the park. Oh and by the way they would have to go through a behavior screening before being allowed in.


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We all must have different definitions of family.
It is my opinion that "family" consists of (and this is average) 2 adults and 2 kids. Now I have been to Disney many times and have found little to keep me interested. The rides (except TOT) are designed for 4-9 year olds.This is catering to only one part of the family. Universal has something for me, my wife and daughter (age 11).There is something for tots and even senior citizens. In fact my daughter went to Disney when she was 4 and never wanted to go back again and so far hasn't.It's a matter of personal taste.
It seems from your post that your kids liked Universal but you and your husband didn't.That's fine but I can tell you Universal takes a back seat to nobody when it comes to rides, The top rides in Orlando(as voted by many publications)is Universal. The Portafino and Hard Rock resorts are the finest in Orlando.And Citywalk has some of the finest dining anywhere.
Give Universal another try.It's really not so bad. It's a relief to me to walk a Universal street and not get my heel bumped by a stroller, to by a beer anywhere I want and to see some of the finest entertainment in Orlando. I can't do that at Disney.
hi, what a difference, we spent a week in orlando last sept, 1 day each at us and ioa, then we went to disney for 5 days...to us, disney was ok, but there were no comparison in the rides, ioa was much better...we love thrill rides...my daughter, who was 7 is tall for her age and she was able to get on dueling dragons and the hulk....that was the highlight of her week, but put her on a ride with fire and she cried and cried, everyone has different tastes...but this august we are skipping disney and spending 4 days at universal..
I don't know. Maybe I'm weird (well, Ok, I know I'm weird) but I don't see why one park has to be "better than" another.

I like all the Disney parks and I like both USF parks for different reasons.

I don't think it does much good to post sweeping generalizations about anything. You aren't going to convince anybody to change their mind and I wouldn't cancel my trip just because of what you say.
Disney and Universal intentionally cater to different audiences. While each tries to please as many guests as possible, they each appeal to different groups of people.


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Mahalo for your report.
We do not feel the same about the parks. We went in 1994 and spent 1 day at US and 4 at WDW; in 1999 4 days at WDW and 3 days at USO; and last month 3 days WDW and 5 days USO. Never did it with teenagers, only small DGS or alone. But the teenagers we saw seemed to look the same as the teenagers we see at home.
I am happy your kids enjoyed themselves.
I also agree that both parks cater to different wants and ideas.

We have been to Disney in '98 and will be going back to Disney and cruising 11/01. We are also doing Universal/IOA for 3 nights staying HRH. Can't wait. We like great thrilling rides and we are anticipating to get that at Uni/IOA. We also like the theming at Disney and enjoy ourselves too. Therefore, we are anxious and can't wait for our great 12 day excursion. :eek:
Each park has its own merits. I like them all, the Disney parks and Universal and IOA for different reasons and I personally am thankful we live in a democratic society that allows us to think and do things differently all in the same country. I consider Disney to be classic, it will always have a special place in my heart because of my childhood memories, I go to Disney and I feel like a kid again. I go to Universal and IOA to enjoy the thrill rides I love, the rollercoasters and water rides are awesome, and the Express access that resort guest get make it even better. Try staying on site at Universal (HRH or Portofino) and see what a difference it makes. Walking to the parks within 5 minutes time, walking on to practically every ride or show is an major advantage over Disney, but, then again, the details Disney displays has not been surpassed yet by anything I've seen. I like to find the good in everything and if you look hard enough you will ALWAYS find something! JMHO! :D :D :D :smooth:
Originally posted by mirthmaiden
I don't know. Maybe I'm weird (well, Ok, I know I'm weird) but I don't see why one park has to be "better than" another.

I like all the Disney parks and I like both USF parks for different reasons.

I don't think it does much good to post sweeping generalizations about anything. You aren't going to convince anybody to change their mind and I wouldn't cancel my trip just because of what you say.

My wife and i have annual passes to universal and seasonal passes to disney. The international food and wine tasting should about to start at epcot and we will go there 10/21 to stroll and have a relaxing day. 10/20 is MIB shoot-off day and Mythos.

I totally agree with mirthmaiden, each park has its ups and downs and what i like about living in orlando is that i can pick a park to siut my mood that day:smooth:
Too bad you didn't seem to enjoy the parks too much. Our last 4 trips to Orlando have been to Universal (and Epcot) only!

How did you like the Hilton Grand Vacation Club?

I've never encountered any awful teens while we've been there. I'm not saying there aren't any, we just haven't run into them. As for how they dress, they are not my kids! (My turn is coming:rolleyes: ) I love the enthusiasm teen have.
I was disturbed to hear those comments about the teenagers. I hope you realize that your Disney Darlings will some day be teenagers too. I agree that bad behavior should not be tolerated and that parents need to supervise teenagers also. But come on, did your parents like what you wore in your teen years? Lets remember, just because someone looks different than what you may like, they are not automatically bad. I know some good kids (who I must admit do look a little intimidating), that love their families, god and their country. They are just trying to express themselves during some difficult yers of life. I hope that everyone enjoys their vacations. We all work very hard for them. Peace to all
OK, I'll jump in.
I love both parks for what they are. Disney is the ultimate vacation, with all the resorts to choose from, many parks, both theme and water, great crowd control, etc., and detail, detail and more detail.
USF with IOA is the place with the latest and greatest. They've made things so much easier with covered parking, moving walkways, a much better Express experience, awesome rides (I'll take MIB over Buzz Lightyear anyday), etc.
My dream vacation: (4) days at the Universal complex, (6) days at Disney, and one more at a Shuttle launch!

(Everybody has one............................. an opinion.)
I'm sorry, Disney is getting old and has dropped the ball as far as ride innovation goes. They put up Rockin Rollercoaster and TOT, but then they stopped.

I have been on every Disney attraction hundreds of times. They have to give me something new. I mean seriously, spend a few hundred million on putting some themed E-Ticket rides into the Epcot Countries, demolish "The Land" Pavillion, add Indiana Jones to the Magic Kingdom, put a more exciting track into Space Mountain, and come up with a new Star Wars ride for MGM. If that all happens, Disney will have my business back! I won't even talk about Animal Kingdom except to say they need 3 new coasters to even think about getting me back in that park again!

Look at Universal, they recognize that the Kong Attraction is getting old and becoming unpopular. They are going to replace it with a brand new MUMMY attraction. I like to hear that. That is the kind of news that makes me think they really care about getting my business back in the future.

Sure if you have kids Disney is great. But what happens when your kids become TEENAGERS??? Maybe they won't feel like riding in Whinnie The Pooh's honey pot anymore. If you spend your time in Fantasyland, you won't see teens at Disney. But go to Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Rockin Rollercoaster, TOT, Test Track if you want to see where the teens are at Disney.

I don't understand how the shows don't compare. If you want to talk about a let-down, try to sit through the Pocohontas show at Animal Kingdom. It is really really bad and way too long! Universal has popular shows like Beetlejuice, Wild West Stunt Show, and the Sinbad show at IOA where a guy engulfs himself in fire and jumps off a ledge. If that's not entertaining, then call me crazy!

Let me also suggest a few Disney attractions to skip if the wait is any longer than 5 minutes: It's a Small World, Jungle Cruise, Enchanted Tiki Room, Country Bear JamBOREe, Hall of Presidents, Peter Pan's Flight, Dumbo, Snow White, Pooh Adventures, The Barnstormer, Buzz Lightyear, Indy Speedway, Any Ride or show in the Land Pavillion, Body Wars, Living Seas, The racist Mexico Ride, Innoventions from 5 years ago, The awful Canada film, Journey To your Imagination (No, your imagination cannot afford a fresh coat of paint), Universe Of Energy (Ellen Degeneres=Annoying), The Magic of Disney Animation Tour (See Robin Williams in a 1989 film), Backstage Pass 101 Dalmations (props from a cheesy live action version of a classic Disney animated feature), Star Tours, ABC Sound Studio, Pocohantas and her Friends live show, Tarzan Live show, Train to Conservation station.

That about covers all the attractions you need to skip when visiting Disney if the wait is more than 5 minutes.

Would we go back? No, we'll spend our time and $ at Universal and IOA.

I agree with the original post for this-- I was just getting ready to put my "trip report" on here, and I just happened to see this one do I thought I would read it first. Boy- I was truely disappointed with USF!! We just got back last night. The only thing I can say was terrific about the whole day ( went to USF on Wednesday) was no lines!!! Man,you could just walk on these rides- or shows. It was awesome. I don't like the layout of the park,but what I was really disappointed about was everything you went on did that fake "oh my gosh we are going where we aren't supposed to go" thing for about every ride. It sure seemed like it anyways. Also was cool- Creed (which isn't my favorite band- but I do like their music) was there filming a new video- so that was pretty neat to see all these big wigs around that set up. They had the streets like it was flooded. Neat.
Anyway, on to post my trip report- I just want to say - I too won't ever go back to USF- I will spend my money at Disney!!!:p


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