Florida Islands of Adventure travel Universal Universal Studios

5 Reasons to visit Universal Orlando over Walt Disney World

There’s no doubt about it, Walt Disney World is the King in the theme park industry. Universal Orlando Resort on the other hand is trying to wrestle away that title. In many areas they are coming close. 

Before Universal Orlando was only one park. Today it is two theme parks (Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure), a water park (Volcano Bay), 7 resorts and a shopping and food district (CityWalk). They want you to spend your week here instead of Walt Disney World and they are making a good case. 

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This year 2020, Universal Studios turns 30 on June 7, 2020 in first opened on June 7, 1990. It has come a long way since then and really is a place to go visit. Today we list 5 reasons why you should visit Universal Orlando Resort. 

IT’S FOR FAMILIES 

A lot of people have this idea stuck in their heads that Universal is only for teenagers and adults. You couldn’t be further from the truth. While Universal DOES have some rides geared towards teens and adults like Hulk and Rip Ride Rockit. There are many kid friendly rides and attractions that children love too. 

Universal is for kids too!!!!!!

My daughter’s first time going to Universal was when she was 8 and she was able to ride almost all of the rides. Some she was a little too scared to ride and I can only remember two where she was too short. I was a little surprised that she was almost able to ride everything at the two theme parks. 

The two kid zones (Woody Woodpecker’s kidzone and Seuss Landing) are amazing. While Seuss Landing’s theming is a little better (it’s newer after all) there are plenty of things to do to keep the kids entertained for hours. Woody Woodpecker’s nuthouse coaster is a great first roller coaster for kids. Plus the climbing nets in Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone look so fun. Wish I was a kid so I could climb around and get lost too.

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Over at Seuss Landing I dare you to find a straight line. I bet you won’t and that’s part of the fun of this area. Kids will love all the unique sites to see and the fun rides. Take a dark ride and learn all about the Cat in the Hat. Or take a ride high in the sky and maybe you will spot the who’s from whoville. 

HARRY POTTER

One of the biggest draws to Universal Orlando Resorts has got to be the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are amazing. You can get lost spending hours walking through both locations exploring all the fun and exciting shops, food and entertainment.

Make sure to look up while walking around Diagon Alley. The huge dragon on top of Gringotts Bank is an impressive site. It is really impressive when he’s spitting fire. 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is more than just amazing theming. It’s also has some amazing rides. Check out Escape from Gringotts for a fun indoor dark coaster in Diagon Alley. Or have a thrilling ride on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey through the Forbidden Forest as you try to escape the Dementors over in Hogsmeade. Be sure to have a park to park ticket to ride along the Hogwarts Express as it takes you between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. 

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FOOD 

For a couple years the food was nothing to write home about or even write a blog about. Today it is much better. With places like Three Broomsticks, Mel’s Drive in, Richter’s Burger co. There are so many great places to get a bit to eat in the theme parks.

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Make sure you head over to Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade and get yourself a butterbeer. Grab a frozen one in the summertime to help cool off from the Summer Florida Sun. The foam on the top really brings it all together. I could probably just drink a whole cup of that delicious foam. But if butterbeer and theme park food isn’t what you’re looking for there’s more. 

For just a short walk outside the main gates at both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure you will find amazingly delicious quick bites and sit down food at Universal CityWalk. Grab a crazy donut at Voodoo Doughnut. You can find one as big as your head.


Or run on over to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. for a great seafood fix. The Run across America Sampler was delicious. The shrimp was cooked perfectly and the far out dip was amazing. Oh and the desserts were fantastic. We got the sampler since we couldn’t pick one dessert. Just wish I had room for another.  

One of the best deals in any theme park in Orlando has got to be the refillable cup. If you love the Coca Cola freestyle machines you will love this deal. For around $20 for one cup you can refill it as much as you want (every 5 minute or 10 minutes) with 100 different sodas, powerade or even icee’s. If you are planning on spending all day at Universal it can save you a bunch of money when you consider one cup of soda will run you about $4 a piece.    

RIDES

Universal Orlando Resorts has some amazing rides. Both fun for kids and adults. Minion Mayhem is a fun 3D ride that puts you in the middle of all the chaos those crazy minions are cause. Or strap in and help out Agents J and K save the world from an Alien Attack. Of course one of my favorite rides has got to be the Simpson Ride. While I am sad Back to the Future was replaced, the Simpson Ride is a lot of fun.

Island of Adventure has awesome rides as well. These are more of your “Bigger” kid rides. Take a cruise through Jurassic Park and embark on an 85 foot drop. If you don’t get soaked enough on Jurassic Park. Try to find a dry spot after riding Dudley Do-Right Ripsaw Falls. You will be soaking wet from head to toe.

Don’t worry you can easily dry off with one ride on the Incredible Hulk Coaster with it’s 67 mph top speed. This coaster is considered by many to be the most intense coaster out of the 7 Orlando theme parks. It’s not hard to see why. 

EXPRESS PASS 

Express Pass is Universal’s SKIP THE LINE pass. Unlike Walt Disney World’s FastPass+, Express Pass is an additional option that you pay for. This pass starts at around $70 per day and the price goes up from there depending on which one you want and for how many parks. If you stay at a Universal Primer level hotel you get the Express Pass for free.

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I would suggest you get the pass when you arrive at the theme parks and not before. Depending on when you go you may not need to get one. Sometimes you can find all rides have waits under 30 minutes and there is no need to spend an additional $70 plus to skip lines. During peak season it can help you cut wait times down a lot. You are just better off waiting till you are at the park to decide if you really need to spend that added money. 

Of course if you are just planning on going for one day and want to experience all you can at both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure this will help you do that. Plus it is much faster than WDW’s FastPass+.

I don’t remember waits using the Express Pass being longer than 10 minutes. At Disney you could be waiting for close to 30 minutes using the FastPass. When they say Express Pass they really mean express.

There you have it 5 reasons why you should choose Universal Orlando Resorts over Walt Disney World. Universal really is making great leaps to catch up to what they are doing over at WDW. With amazing food. Fun and exciting rides. Universal has everyone covered.

Let us know in the comments before if you visit both Universal and Disney when you visit Orlando? I know we do but what about you. Will you plan a Universal trip the next time you are in Orlando?  

We started a new Facebook group called US Travel Bloggers. Join if you would like to post your own travel blogs or are looking for different unique content. We will post out last articles and fun tips, hints and tricks. It’s new and we are just now starting to try and build it.

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