So your planning a trip to Disney World and Universal and you simply cannot decide on where to go? Join the club! So may options and frankly never enough time. I am a see it all and do it all person so I can tend to pack a heavy schedule, though I realize that isn't for everyone. On our visit to Disney World this past March I had a difficult time choosing how many parks to visit and what parks to visit. I travelled with 3 adults and a 2 year old, so as you can imagine interests varied. Below is my reviews on the parks of both Disney World and Universal Studios.
A must do for any visit to Disney. Magic Kingdom offers fantasy and magic around every corner. There are castles and roller coasters, comedy shows and features, Gaston will be lurking around, and there is the chance to dine in Cinderella's castle. We booked our fast passes in advance (a perk to staying in Disney), and discussed what rides were a must do for everyone in the group. Because the park packs a lot to do my recommendation is to split this visit into two days, spend day one in Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, and some of Liberty Square, and day two in Adventureland, Frontierland, and Fantasyland. FastPasses here are usually gone by the afternoon so a plan off attack is important if there are varied interests among the group and you have a big to-do list. Make sure to book a reservation for Cinderellas Castle with princess visits during your meal. This is a wonderful experience considering you will not find Cinderella, Jasmine, Ariel, Aurora, or Snow White wandering around the park or offering a Character Spot.
For foodies Epcot is exactly where you want to be. A mini flight of beer and a delicious snack from any of the counties will have you salivating at the thought. Epcot takes you around the world and back again. This park could be divided into two days, one day for the exploration of the countriesand another for the rides. The rides are not as nostalgic as Magic Kingdom, but offer enjoyment with its top attractions being Soarin', TestTrack, and the new Frozen Ever After ride. This park is quite large, so it will require a lot of walking depending on your points of interest. We picked one day for this park, but in hindsight I would go back and choose two days. One day for everything is rushed, but if your motivated you could be satisfied with one day.
For Star Wars lovers Hollywood Studios is where you want to be. Star Wars land is a work in progress, but Hollywood Studios has made vast improvements to draw in the visitors. Here you will find the famous Tower of Terror and Rockin Roller Coaster, but with Disney now owning Lucasfilm Star Wars is taking over. Currently they offer one Star Wars ride (which is awesome) and are expanding. They are currently creating a Star Wars land set to open in 2019. Hollywood Studios offers a number of shows ranging from The Muppets to Indiana Jones. The food in this park is delicious and offers a number of options. The rides/shows are good here and the park is on the smaller side making it easily walkable. Oh yes, and the Fantastic Show is still amazing and worth staying late for.
This Disney park caters to the animal lover in all of us. Offering the opportunity to see animals on the African Safari Tour, dinosaur rides, shows, and even animal encounters. This park closes earlier that other due to the animals schedule, I recommend you show up at opening to get the most of your visit and head to either Expedition Everest or the Kilimanjaro Safari. We chose not to visit this park, because we were staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I do love animals, but I found with limited time other parks were the way to go. Had we not gone to Universal, we would have chosen to go to Animal Kingdom.
Universal Studios & Universal's Islands of Adventure
For movie lovers and withe high quality rides Universal Studios can't be beat. This park offers Harry Potter, Transformers, Shrek, and those pesky little Minions. There are numerous places to eat that will satisfy everyones tastebuds. So make sure you grab your butter beer in Harry Potter World because it is as delicious as you imagined and you won't be disapointed. The lines can be long, but Universal offers a bit of entertainment while you wait from decor to videos. Universal does not offer fast passes. For a fee you can gain access to the express lines. We opted not get the pass, but if I were traveling with just adults and were motivated I could see it being useful and worth the money. Universal offers a rider swap program that was not as good of a deal as Disney, but has it positives. Universal offers separate rooms for families with children who are unable to ride the rides. Whats great about it is they play movies while you wait, it gated so kids can run around, and you do not have to go back in line when your ready to hand off the children.
Islands of Adventure is just as good as Universal Studios offering Hogwarts for the Harry Potter lover, the new 4D Kong ride (which is amazing), Jurassic Park river, Seuss Landing for the kids, and the superhero rides. There are also a number of delicious restaurants including Mythos which is designed to look like the inside of Mt. Olympus and offered a highly rated dishes. Universal is large and there will be a lot of walking. I recommend getting the duel ticket to ensure you see all of Harry Potter World because it is just too incredible to miss and make sure you take the Hogwarts Express to go from one park to another. I recommend two days to do the two parks. If you are doing one park one day will do.