Wow! 3/28 and 3/29


Disney Nut
Jun 4, 2000
My wife, three kids and I went to Universal and IOA this past week for the first time. I am a huge fan of the Disney Parks, but have never drifted up to Universal before. This time we stayed at Fort Wilderness, but did only the Universal and IOA parks.

We were totally and completely blown away. The rides, shows, and overall environment of the parks were as good or better than anything that I have ever seen. After being very disappointed with the AK, and enjoying but not being thrilled with more than a few items at D/MGM, we were kind of expecting more of the same. We are still talking about the trip.

At Universal Studios we were there from open to close on a fairly slow day. No waits on anything but MIB until later in the day. We then used Universal Express(Still working the bugs out of that), and saw about 80% of the rides and shows. MIB is incredibly fun! We did it twice, Jaws (A BIG surprise on how fun it was!) 3 X, and everything else but the Stunt show and Nick. We LOVED the park.

It rained ALL DAY at IOA on Thursday, but we stuck it out and did most of the attractions. My wife (a semi-Theme Park Junkie) and I (Love everything they throw at me!) agreed that Spiderman was the most incredible attraction that we have EVER SEEN ANYWHERE! It is great because it directly hits the target of being exciting enough to please even the toughest kid (Roller Coaster Junkies) and is gentle enough for the young and the elderly. We rode it twice and both times everyone in the car broke into applause at the end of the ride. It is a true FAMILY attraction!

The biggest surprse for me was the level of immersive theming on everything. Every ride, from the largest to smallest, had a story. IOA installed a little Unicorn Coaster for the kids right next to Dueling Dragons and it had music, theming, and special voice-over recordings to add a special story to that tiny ride. Whoever is driving that level of theming and detail at Universal and IOA is a genius. The latest big E-tickets at Disney have that, but the smaller elements seem to be missing it.

Staff Training was a bit hit and miss. We encountered many folks who had not been adequately trained. We actually had a CM scold us for being in the wrong side of a Q line that hadn't been roped off. My kids were a bit shocked by that. We complained to another CM who said that she would speak to the attraction lead about the employee. Most folks though, were genuine and kind and helpful.

The last surprise was the food. As good or better in quality than Disney, it was significantly less expensive for a large family. (I would guess about 1/2 the price at counter serve restaurants) than I have spent at WDW. We finished our first day at the Hard Rock cafe and spent 55 bucks for a family of five. The same meal would have cost me 100 dollars at any full service restaurant anywhere in WDW.

For the bottom line, here is the words of my 14 year old son:

"At disney I like Tommorowland, Disney MGM studios, CountDown to Extinction (Now Dinosaur), and Disney Quest. At Universal I liked everything we did"

(We exited the "CAT IN THE HAT" and he wanted to go again, saying that it was "Surprisingly Fun" That's pretty amazing for a 14 year old boy")

Disney will always be a very special place to me. They need to pay attention to Universal though. There is magic there!

Thanks Universal for a great couple of days.

Your Newest Fan.
I think the quote by your son pretty much sums Universal Orlando up! It's hard to find something not to like for anyone age 10 and up. Even kiddie rides are made to be fun for everyone. I live in Tampa and never had the desire to go to Orlando until IoA opened. Disney was fun a couple of times but it is designed for families with smaller children. Orlando never had a park that appealed to thrill seakers and we finally have a whole resort. In my opinion, Universal Orlando is not good for families with very small children. It's hard to beat Disney for that. But for theming with thrills, Universal Orlando all the way!


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Thanks for your trip report. I agree that Disney is for families with younger children, but US/IOA is for everyone. In the words of my son, "Disney has too many princesses..."
Mahalo for the trip report DFG! Gosh you are fast, I should get going on mine...
I am so glad your family had such a great time at USO. Did you try Jaws when it was dark? It was like an entire different experience. Did you see the MG parade?

Great report! Thanks for taking the time to write it. We're doing both WDW and Universal next month but I'm looking forward to Universal more than WDW. And considering we're doing WDW first, I think the timing will be perfect.

1996 Bought New House
1997 Local Theme Park
1998 Watched Disney Videos
1999 Painted House
2000 Tent in Backyard
2001 ASMovies !!!


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