Why Universal Orlando Resort over Walt Disney World?

Why are people saying that they prefer visiting the Universal Orlando Resort over Walt Disney World?   Tourism in the Central Florida area has regained momentum and there appears to be a shift in preference for the type of theme park people want to experience.   What are guests now looking for that Universal Studios Orlando offers that they can’t experience at Walt Disney World?    Here are some of my thoughts that resonate from working in this industry for many years.

 

  1. There is a perception that Universal has better thrill rides that are cutting edge, where the vibe is edgier than ever before. Tourists are looking for that thrilling moment in time where they relate to the modern attractions that are more mature and relevant to the world today.   They just don’t want to sit in a car that moves around to entertain, they are looking for attractions that provide exhilarating thrills along with the underlying entertainment. 
  2. Universal is much smaller and guests don’t have the overwhelming feeling that they will not be able to do everything without having to spend their life’s savings. There are only two incredibly theme parks, along with a water park.   Guests don’t feel the pressure or hassle to get from one park to another as it is a short walk or train ride between parks.  Ticket pricing is comparable between parks, however the amount of time to experience Universal is considerably less and families don’t have to pay for 4 parks.
  3. Universal has attractions that can be experienced by all ages and are relevant to movie franchises such as “Harry Potter”, “Jurassic Park” and the “Fast and the Furious”. These are franchises that have stayed current and updated and enjoyed by all ages.   Disney attractions stirs up nostalgia of childhood movies, like “Peter Pan” and “Little Mermaid”, and this is apparent in about 100% of their attractions.    There isn’t a newness or updated feeling to their parks that makes them feel modern like the entertainment and attractions found at Universal.   
  4. Entertainment and festivals are more current to today’s times and can be enjoyed by all ages. From the edgy Halloween Horror Nights to Mardi Gras, Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Grinchmas or to the beloved Macy’s Holiday Parade, guests of all ages can relate and feel attached to this entertainment.
  5. Universal Orlando Resort has themed resorts that are mostly within a walking distance to their parks, whereas most Disney resorts require a ride on a bus, monorail or by personal cars between all their theme parks.

 

For myself, I have come to appreciate the newness and maturity of what Universal Orlando Resort has come to offer.   I still feel the nostalgia found at Walt Disney World; however, I feel rushed or overwhelmed by the sheer size of their parks, and the relevance of their parks has waned in my adult age.   I look forward to experiencing how Disney overcomes the perception of not being relevant in today’s times and to the ever-changing societal needs, however Universal has set themselves apart as they continue to be relevant for all ages.

 

Written by Rick McMasters

 

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