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If you are a Disney expert, chances are you are curious about visiting “the other parks” in Orlando.  Universal Parks and Resorts have probably piqued your interest, especially if you have a Harry Potter fan in your family.  If you are visiting Universal for the first time, you may expect it to feel the same as visiting Disney parks.  While there are some similarities, it can feel like a very different experience.
Universal Studios - What to expect

  • Parks:

    There are currently two theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.  It is only a 3-minute walk between the entrances, or guests can ride the Hogwarts Express between the two Harry Potter areas located in each park.

 

  • Tickets:

    Guests can purchase both single park tickets and park-to-park tickets. With the purchase of a single park ticket, the guest must choose one of the parks to visit all day and excludes visitors from riding the Hogwarts Express between the two parks.  A park-to-park ticket acts much like the Disney Park Hopper.  Guests with the park-to-park ticket can enter each park as many times as he or she wishes during the day.  68% of guests who purchase the single park ticket upgrade to the park-to-park ticket during their stay. Universal Studios - What to expect

 

  • Express Pass/Unlimited Express Pass:

    This is Universal's answer to Disney’s FastPass service, but acts in a completely different way. Express Pass is an additional fee to add on to your ticket and allows the guest front-of-the-line access to each ride one time. Unlimited Express Pass can be added to your tickets for an additional fee for front-of-the-line access as many times as you want.  Guests do not need to schedule a time while using either of the Express Pass options.  Simply show up, show the ride attendant your Express Pass and proceed to the front of the line.

 

  • Attractions: Universal Studios - What to expect

    In general, Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure attractions have a higher intensity than Disney.  Simulators and roller coasters dominate the park. There are a few Disney dark ride-style attractions scattered throughout. Universal Orlando is a fabulous destination for daredevils and adrenaline junkies.  If you aren’t a thrill seeker, there is still plenty to see and do with a vast array of shows, character experiences and less intense rides.

 

  • Resorts: Universal Studios - What to expect

    Like Disney, staying in an on-site resort property is a huge advantage. There are currently five Universal Resort hotels: Cabana Bay, Sapphire Falls, Royal Pacific, Hard Rock and Portofino Bay.  Staying at any of these resorts gives guests free transportation to and from the parks via shuttle buses and/or water taxi, as well as exclusive early entry into one of the parks.  If you choose to stay at Royal Pacific, Hard Rock or Portofino, guests also receive complimentary Universal Unlimited Express Pass for the length of your park tickets, which can be up to $89 per ticket per day.

 

For further clarification or to inquire about pricing, please contact your Me and the Mouse Specialist. All of the Me and The Mouse agents are highly educated in Universal parks and promotions.

Julie Stewart

Disney Vacation Planner