Why I Hate That I Love Universal

I’ll admit, when my husband wanted to go to Universal instead of Disney I protested. I’m a hardcore Disney fan, and can’t betray my beloved Mickey like that.

What if Disney knew I cheated on them? I’m not kidding, that was a real concern. I could have stepped foot in Islands of Adventure and a Disney cast member could have jumped out from behind a garbage can and banned me for life. Silly, I know, but I wasn’t sure if I was ready to take that risk.

Well after some convincing, I begrudgingly went along and my husband even wore a Mickey shirt to rub it in. I’m ashamed to say I had one of the best days of my life.

Here are three awful reasons why any Disney fan should visit the amazing Universal Orlando Resort.

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1. The Attractions

I don’t like saying this out loud, but Universal has some incredible attractions. From roller coasters to simulators, they are amazing. Don’t get me wrong, Disney has some super rides too, but Universal just has more of them. Every time you turn around there is a new thrill. Shame on you Universal for making me have so much fun. It’s some sort of Harry Potter trickery to have such happiness inducing rides – the kind you want to ride over and over again, because you can’t get that smile off your face. A curse on you and your fun machines.

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2. Captivating Live Shows

Really Universal? Bringing in all of my favorite performers for concerts? How is that fair? I love my Disney, but when I compare who will be performing, Universal wins hands down. I can’t help it if I want to see most of your shows, and haven’t heard of half of Disney’s.

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3. After Dark

My Downtown Disney has the lock down on after hours fun… okay, well they did have it… and they absolutely will again once all the construction is done in the year 2203.  With Universal’s great shops, restaurants and bars available right now, it’s hard to justify what will be. When you are hungry on vacation today, it’s harder to feel full with that meal in the future. Do you taste the juicy meat? Nope, just the construction dust.

CityWalk is way more convenient too. It’s nice to walk out of the parks and be right there in the action. As much as I LOVE Downtown Disney, I don’t love the screaming kids on the bus ride there.

All in all Disney is still my main squeeze. I can’t get enough of its loving, but I now have a dirty little secret on the side – Universal.

Shhhh… don’t tell the Mickey police.

Author: Genevieve Pelletier can be found on Twitter and her website.

*The information contained in this article represents the opinion of the author, and not necessarily the opinion of the DIS.

  • Otto Tieleman

    Brand loyalty is a strange thing for sure and I just don’t get it. It makes people forget to look around them, beeing critical and losing out on other experiances and that is a shame. If it is to any ones comfort a lot of rides and experiances build at Universal are build by companies and even imagneers that also had their hands in making WDW.
    What I expecialy love about Universals parks is that they don’t try to copy Disney, they do their own thing so it actualy complents Disney very nicely.

  • Sue

    On our trips to DW we have always added Universal to our trip. We were there the year they opened and when Islands of Adventure open we added two days. This past summer we went to SW for the first time and now SW is my granddaughter’s favorite. Next time we go we are going to add Discovery Cove and maybe I360 to our list. Its a lot of money but we don’t get to go often and try to squeeze in everything Next time will be my 20th trip to DW

  • Denise Rambo

    We love Disney but we have also had Annual Passes for Universal for years (which are not much more than a 2 day ticket when we renew). When we go to Florida, we do both parks for a couple of days – we switch off. I don’t even compare the two. We go to Disney for one kind of feeling and to Universal for another. It’s like comparing apples and oranges.

  • Jeanne

    On my last trip to WDW last December, we did a day trip to Universal (not my idea – I’m a
    Dis-snob too!). My traveling companion insisted that we do at least the Harry Potter stuff, which we did, and I have to say they are indeed thrilling! Since the Express Pass excludes the HP attractions, we didn’t include it in our day’s ticket, so we stood in line for 45 minutes for the Minion attraction. Otherwise, after spending so much time in Diagon Alley, we didn’t have a whole lot of time left before our shuttle took us “home” :).

    The biggest difference I noticed in the two “worlds” to me is this: Universal (as the author states) has LOT OF RIDES…huge rides, thrill rides, rides for kids, rides of adults, anything
    you can imagine. Disney is more of a “whole experience” designed to give your thrills, but also the attention to the details in theming and consistency is without equal…it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

    Universal’s park layout (or what I could figure out in the time it took us to get from the entrance all the way back to HP) is like little individual “lands” with no transition between them. When you leave Cat in the Hat, you are WHAM into the next one…

    I love Disney’s way of having you only see and experience things that pertain to the area you are in, and then a soft transition from one to the next.

    Will I ever go back to Universal – maybe…never say never – but probably not real soon. For me, Disney will still be my favorite destination.

  • Lisa Barker

    It is so nice to find there are others! I LOVE DISNEY but I also love Universal. We will usually divide up our yearly trips. Last year we stayed at Cabana Bay and really loved the resort. It was nice to have a food court, Starbucks, several pools including a lazy river (bring your own tubes). Their shuttle service was a breeze. I also love Citywalk and all the close restaurant options. One key difference is that Universal’s rides aren’t as accommodating as Disney (with the exception of Snow White Mine Coaster) if you are a larger person. We will still enjoy Disney, but we will also enjoy the 25th Anniversary of Halloween Horror Nights and our glow in the dark alcoholic beverages this Fall!

  • Aurora Jubilee

    I think us Disney lovers have fun at Universal because we are so used to
    Disney that we have lost the surprise element. I can tell you where
    every bathroom, and even every water fountain is on Disney property. I
    don’t totally know my way around Universal, and I don’t read about it,
    so every few years when I go, it’s a surprise. Harry Potter is still
    the only thing that’s really exciting to me there, and I thought the
    Simpson’s ride was cool. Honestly, though, it feels like a cheaper
    level theme park to me, like Six Flags, Cedar Point or Carowinds. I
    grew up going to all of these different theme parks, but Disney has my
    loyalty because it it has heart!