Double the Magic: How to be a Fan of Both Disney and Universal


When we first went to Universal Orlando, we felt like were cheating on Disney. Our boys were growing up going to Walt Disney World. Now, they were getting older, reading Harry Potter, and ready for new experiences. So, we gave Universal a try and loved it! While we never could afford Disney season passes, we were surprised at how affordable Universal season passes were. We purchased an acquisition package and went several times over the course of fifteen months. Despite our new love for Universal, we maintained our love for Disney. You can love both! Here is how to be a fan of both Disney and Universal.

Appreciate the differences.

Appreciate the differences between Disney and Universal. What do you love about each one? For me, I love the variety of Disney’s theme parks. A day at Magic Kingdom is very different from a day at Epcot and a day at Animal Kingdom. At the parks, I love tasting novelty foods in the World Showcase, strolling down Main Street, U.S.A, and riding the new cutting-edge attractions in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. For resorts, a stay in a cabin at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort is my favorite.

At Universal, I love the accessibility of their parks with CityWalk, which reminds me of being at Disneyland. In the parks, I love the Harry Potter-themed lands of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, which I believe are still the most immersive lands in all of Orlando. Universal also has my favorite water park – Volcano Bay. For resorts, my pick is always Lowes Portofino Bay Hotel. It gives me a taste of Italy in Orlando.

Whatever your favorites are at Walt Disney World and Universal, appreciate them. It is wonderful to have so many different vacation experiences in Orlando. So, rather than limit yourself to one, enjoy both!

Change it up.

Change up where you go. After going to Disney for so long, we went to Universal awhile. As soon as our Universal season passes expired, we did a week-long Disney vacation at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. This year, we went back to Universal and renewed our season passes. It is good to change it up. It makes you appreciate the parks more when you return.

Add in some magic.

Add in some Disney and Universal magic. Often when we do a Universal vacation, we add in some time at Disney. This fall, even though we were staying at Universal, we went to Hollywood Studios for one day to explore Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for the first time. On the flip-side, the last time we stayed at Disney for a week, we spent a day at Universal’s Volcano Bay. Adding in a day at a theme park can be expensive when you are not purchasing multi-day tickets. If you cannot afford that option, Disney Springs and CityWalk can give you a taste of each. At Disney Springs, we love shopping at the World of Disney, pin trading, and going to the LEGO store. At CityWalk, we love putt putting and eating at The Cowfish. Find creative ways to stay in touch with both. When the parties return, such as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, they are another great way to add in some extra magic.  

Follow your phase of life.

Lastly, follow your family’s phase of life. Even though I truly believe that there are options at both Disney and Universal for the whole family, the parks are more suited for different stages of life. Younger kids tend to gravitate toward Disney, and older kids tend to gravitate toward Universal. Disney is better for bigger family outings with older adults, where Universal can be better suited for groups of young adults. Enjoy the stage of life you and your family are in, and go to both parks.

People often ask me if I love Disney or Universal more. I just smile and say both. They are two wonderful vacation destinations. So, double the magic and love both!


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