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Disney World Versus Universal Studios

Updated: 22 May 2013 03:05:22 AM

For the past two decades, there has been an unofficial turf war in Orlando between Walt Disney World and its main competitor, Universal Studios.

While their rivalry is a friendly one, both parks add new attractions each year in order to compete with the other.

The recent expansion of Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom has been thought by some to be a direct response to Universal's highly successful Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which, in turn, is being expanded for next year.

The truth is both parks have many things to offer and, at only 15 miles apart, many vacationers have difficulty choosing which destination they should visit.

Before deciding on where to spend your trip to Orlando, there are a few things you should consider.

Cost & Taste

Ticket prices at Disney and Universal are almost identical, so choosing a park should simply be a matter of taste and time line:

Taste: It always helps, when choosing a park, to see if there are specific attractions that appeal to your family.

If your child/teen enjoys Harry Potter or super heroes, then Universal Studios is a safe bet.

If they are fans of the Disney princesses or pirates, then it's Disney all the way.

For high-speed coasters, visit Universal.

If you want just the right mix of thrills and wildlife, Disney's Animal Kingdom is a must.

Attraction or Experience

Other guests choose Disney over Universal for the immersive feel Disney gives them, claiming that Universal is only an attraction while Disney is an experience.

However, one would be hard-pressed to claim that the theming at Universal's Islands of Adventure does not rival that of Disney.

It is false to believe that Disney is strictly for children and Universal is strictly for teens and adults.

While Disney World is definitely a better fit for families with very small children, both Disney and Universal have a fair share of intense thrill rides, gentler rides for younger children, and lots of family-friendly fun.

Everyone should be able to enjoy all of Disney and Universal's theme parks, no matter what age.

Time Factor

As time is always a factor when it comes to planning a vacation, the obvious needs to be said - it takes much more time to visit Walt Disney World than Universal.

That is, at least, if you intend on seeing all of it.

With four theme parks, two water parks, and a massive downtown area, Disney World requires a good chunk of vacation time, especially if it is your first visit.

Guests planning to visit all four of the parks should be planning for a vacation of at least five days.

Universal, on the other hand, with two theme parks, can conceivably be completed over the course of a weekend.

If you cannot afford to take a lot of time off from work, but want a theme park getaway, Universal Studios may be the better choice.

If, however, a trip to Orlando is a rare occasion for you and you are planning on a longer stay, you will find plenty to do at Walt Disney World.

Of course, in that case, you can always just throw rivalry to the wind and visit both Disney AND Universal Studios.

Remember participating in a timeshare viewing will allow you to save a lot of money, no matter which parks you choose to visit.

By Marie Ospina

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