9 Big Differences 



The Castles

Both Disney and Universal feature an iconic castle. Cinderella’s Castle, is located at the entrance to Magic Kingdom and Hogwarts Castle, located at Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park.

The Theming

Disney World features theming based on the nostalgic Walt Disney World franchise. Universal Studios, however, features theming based on the entertainment industry, in particular movies and television.

Their Size

Disney World in Orlando is home to 4 major theme parks and covers 43 square miles of land. Universal Orlando Resort consists of 3 major theme parks spread over 840 acres of land.

The Thrill-Factor

Some people say that Disney World is for families with young kids and that Universal Orlando is better suited for families with older children and teens.

Skip the Regular Line Options

Disney's FastPass has been replaced by Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane Passes, which are ticket add-ons. Universal has Express Pass which is also a ticket add-on.

The Locker System

Every ride at Disney allows you to stow your personal belongings and Disney park bags at your feet.  Most rides at Universal, however, do not. You need to use the lockers  at the front of the park or at each ride.

The Entertainment District

Disney Springs is located 2.5 – 6 miles from each of the parks whereas you walk through CityWalk  to enter Universal Studios, which is much more accessible.

The Parking

At Disney World, each theme park has its own outdoor parking lot. Trams offer rides to the entrances. Universal has one covered parking complex. Escalators bring you into the transportation hub,  which is a 15 minute walk from the entrances.

The Customer Service

Disney employees are called Cast Members and are trained to be as positive and as nice as possible. Universal employees, called Team Members are hipper and edgier as well as have a more hands-off approach.

Which Should You Choose?


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