Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Disney VS Universal: The Ultimate Showdown

Alright guys. I have now officially been a season pass holder at both parks. So here it is. The epic break down.

The Rides:


Universal has by far a lot more thrilling rides. You've got Hollywood Rip Ride and Rock-It, Hulk, and Dragon Challenge as 3 solid performing Rollercoasters. Dragon Challenge should really count as 2. Then you've got your slightly less vomit worthy, Transformers, Escape From Gringotts, Forbidden Journey, Revenge of the Mummy, Doctor Doom's Fearfall, River Adventure, and Ripsaw Falls. That's 11 pee-your-pants exciting points for Universal.

Disney is less exciting on this front. While there are technically "roller-coasters" at Magic Kingdom I wouldn't classify any of them as thrilling. They all have small drops and none of that weightless feeling I'm such a junkie for. Although, The Barnstormer, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain and Splash Mountain are listed on their site as thrilling I don't give any of them that title. Epcot has the audacity to call Mission:SPACE a thrill ride. Which for those of you who haven't been is a flight similar straight out of the 1980s. They also list Test Track, which I'll give the devil his do IS a great ride. I don't know that I'd classify it as thrilling but definitely a great ride. We'll give it half a point. Hollywood Studios is definitely where you want to be if you're a Disney thrill seeker not only do you have the Rockin Roller Coaster but it is also the home of the Tower of Terror. On top of that Hollywood also boasts Star Tours, which while it is another flight simulator is much more updated and exciting than Mission:SPACE. That's 3 points for them. You wouldn't expect Animal Kingdom to be the thrill capital of the world but I'll give it half a point for trying with DINOSAUR and a full point for Expedition Everest. Kali River Rapids gets another point since I allotted one to Jurassic Park's River Adventure and they're essentially the same ride. Totalling up to 6 points for Disney on the thrill front. 

Consensus: Universal wins for thrill seekers of all ages (who meet height restrictions)

For the younger crowd:

Universal has Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, which admittedly we never went to because the line was always a mile long. (I assume that means it's good?) ET Adventure although it does have height restrictions is a mild ride appropriate for any kid that's tall enough to sit on a bike, Kang & Kodos Twirl and Hurl, Men in Black Alien Attack (I'm giving it 2 points because I can), Shek 4-D, The Simpsons Ride, Terminator 2 3D, and Woody Woodpeckers Nuthouse Coaster. The Studios side racks up 9 points. On the Islands of Adventure side you have The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman, Caro-Seuss-el, The Cat in the Hat, High in the Sky trolley, One Fish Two Fish, and Storm Force Accelerator. Gaining them 6 more points. That's 15 mild kid-like attraction points for Universal.

Disney starts to really excel here. Animal Kingdom has A wildlife express train, Triceratop Spin, the kilimanjaro safaris (double points cuz I can), and Its tough to be a bug. 5 points. Hollywood Studios has the Great Movie Ride, Muppet Vision 3-D, Midway Mania, and One Man's Dream. 4 more points. Epcot has The American Adventure, Captain EO, The Circle of Life, Gran Fiesta Tour, Journey into Imagination, Living with the Land, Nemo and Friends, Soarin, Spaceship Earth, and Turtletalk with crush. That's 10 points just at Epcot. Magic Kingdom has Astro-Orbiter, Barnstormer, Buzz Lightyears Space Ranger Spin, Dumbo, Haunted Mansion, Its a small world, Jungle Cruise, Mad Tea Party, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Main St Vehicles, Winnie The Pooh Adventures, Monster's Inc Laugh Floor, Peter Pans Flight, Pirates of the Carribean, Prince Charmings carrousel, Stitch's great escape, tomorrowland speedway, under the sea, carousel of progress, and the disney railroad. That's 20 points for Magic Kingdom. Totaling 39 points for Disney. 

Consensus: Disney is the better choice if you have young kids who won't enjoy thrilling coasters.

Extra Points to Disney for having lots of Rides I can take my Toddler on like: Jungle Cruises, Kilimanjara Safari, Under The Sea etc. I think there are 8 of them. Where as Universal only has 2 that I'm aware of. 

Places to Sit:

This is not a cut and dry subject like Rides that I can provide details and a map of. All I can tell you is that Universal has a lot more shade, air conditioning, and sitting areas per visitor than Disney and that is super important to me, old people, and people with young children. For that I award them 20 points.

Play Areas:

Disney has the Swiss Family Tree House, Advanced Training Lab, The Boneyard, Casey Jr Splash N Soak, Conservation Station, Fossil Fun Games, Shootin Arcade, Movie Set Adventure, Innoventions, KidCot, Treasure of the Seven Seas, Project Tomorrow, SeaBase, and Wilderness Explorers. 14 points

Universal has 4 themed Arcades, camp jurassic, if I ran the zoo, discovery center, me ship the olive, Curious George goes to town, Fievels Playland, and A day in the park with Barney. I'd like to throw in some bonus points here, because these are ALL easy places to supervise your kids with a single entrance and tons of space for the kids to run around safely. 4 bonus points bring them to 15 points.

Consensus: I like Universal's Play Areas better, but both parks have plenty of space for your kids to play. They just might get trampled or lost at Disney.


Universal has Sinbad, Stories You'll hear, Poseidon's Fury, animal actors, Beetlejuice, Blues Brothers, Barney, Fear Factor Live and Horror Makeup. I'll throw in 2 extra because it's rare that nothing is happening at CityWalk on your way in. 11 points.

Disney has approximately 30 shows going on on any given day. So yeah, I'm not even going to try and list them all. 30 points.


I loathe Disney's fastpass+ system. Yes, it's free. But it's just a fancy name for a result of them over booking the park literally every day. They have to run the park that way or the wait time would be over an hour on EVERY ride. Universal's fast pass option will cost you extra BUT it actually cuts your wait time at ALL the rides. Worth it if you're only going for a day or 2. Universal gets 5 points

Food and Drinks:

Universal sells a refillable drink cup. 20 points. They have 13 restaurants at Studios and 12 at Islands of Adventure. 45 points total.

Disney sports 59 comparable restaurants. 59 points.

Bonus Points:

Disney: 2 water parks and downtown Disney. 30 points

Universal: CityWalk. 20 points


So points wise: 
Disney scored: 186
Universal scored: 144

This may make Disney seem like the winner here, but let's examine price before we make that decision. 

For my Family 2 adults, and 2 children:
4 days to do all 4 Disney parks will cost: $1640.12
186/$1640.12 points for value quotient of: .113
2 days to do 2 Universal parks will cost: $759.96
144/$759.96 points for value quotient of: .189

If you're doing annual passes: 
Disney: $3318.56 for a value quotient of .056
Universal: $1119.96 for a value quotient of  .129

If overall value is your game the winner is UNIVERSAL
In experience (especially for young kids): DISNEY

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