When we talk about theme parks, there’s no way that conversation doesn’t include Walt Disney World. It’s an absolutely gigantic resort town with four parks and a few dozen hotels, and pretty much everything you could want in the world. Disney World brought the world to Orlando, and with it came a lot of potential competition. There are plenty of great entertainments in the area now, but none give the mouse a run for its money like Universal Orlando Resort.
Universal Parks & Resorts built the only place that truly rivals Disney in size and scope, but it honestly did a lot more than that. With its two parks, Universal CityWalk, and multiple hotels to choose from, Universal Orlando has something for everyone, including some things Disney just doesn’t have. Here are five big ways Universal Orlando Resort is actually better than Walt Disney World
Everything is easier to get to at Universal Orlando
Walt Disney World, as previously stated, is absolutely massive, and for the most part that’s a selling feature. Nothing else has four distinct and unique theme parks like Disney, but there is a downside to this size. Bypassing everything can be painful. With so much to do in so many places, you’ll have a disappointing time waiting for a bus to take you from wherever you are to wherever you want to go.
But Universal Orlando Resorts’ two theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, are right next to each other, and they’re also connected to Universal CityWalk, so everything is easy to get to. You can even travel from one Universal theme park to another via the Hogwarts Express. Wherever you want to be, you’re not far away, making it a more convenient vacation.
Universal Islands Of Adventure Has The Best Roller Coasters
Not everyone who frequents theme parks is a fan of thrill rides; there are usually other amusement parks that specialize in this sort of thing, but if you like thrilling rides like roller coasters, then you kind of have to visit Universal’s Islands of Adventure. It has two of the best roller coasters around, and they’re better than what you’ll find at Disney World.
Universal already had possibly the best coaster in the state of florida with Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. But then the station made the game even better with Velocicoaster. These are must-see attractions if you are a fan of roller coasters. Disney World has cool coasters; Expedition Everest and Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith are both great, but neither is as good as Universal’s top two, and you have to go to two different parks to ride them both.
Mardi Gras is the best theme park party
Festivals have become a big part of how theme parks try to entice visitors to not just come to the parks, but to come back again and again. At this point, Epcot is basically a permanent festival park, as there’s some sort of multi-week event happening there year-round. But while Disney World may have the number of events, Universal Orlando may have the top quality event during the annual Mardi Gras celebration.
Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Florida has become an absolutely amazing event not to be missed. It has gigs, often with far bigger names than those who will show up at Epcot. The Mardi Gras Parade is unlike any Epcot event. And the food is at least as good if not better than what you will find in the other park.
The most affordable universal hotels are really nice
If you’re going to a theme park on vacation, you have to stay somewhere. On the one hand, you want to stay somewhere nice, but if possible, you don’t want to spend all your money on the room. Walt Disney World has more than two dozen hotels, and they offer a range of prices and amenities. However, the long and the short of it is that you get what you pay for. The really cool places (which they really are) are really expensive, and the cheaper places are honestly not that great.
Universal Orlando Resort also offers a variety of hotel options. If you want to spend money on a very beautiful place, like the bay of Portofino, you can do it. But at the same time you can get a cheaper seat as one of the Endless Summer Resorts. You always get a nice room in a nice hotel and it won’t cost you more than a decent room in a town without a resort. You don’t have to choose between comfort and your wallet.
Halloween Horror Nights
Halloween is a big time of year at any theme park, and most of them will have special Halloween events. However, the one at Disney World is called the “Not So Scary” Halloween party for a reason. Much like how the Haunted Mansion is light on scares, it’s an event meant to let kids dress up and get candy, but it stays away from the real scares that many people crave during spooky season. .
Universal Orlando Resort (and Universal Studios Hollywood for that matter) shines bright every October with Halloween Horror Nights. It creates several legitimately spooky mazes based on some of your favorite TV shows and movies, with a few quirky ideas thrown in for good measure. If you’re looking for real Halloween thrills, Universal will deliver where Disney simply won’t.
Whether Universal Orlando Resort or Walt Disney World Resort is the “better” place will be a matter of taste, of course, but don’t assume that just because one is bigger means it has to be better. Universal has a lot to offer, and with the new Epic Universe theme park under construction, it’ll be bigger before you know it.