top of page

Disney vs. Universal? Who Wins the Theme Park Game?

Disney vs Universal

Its a debate among the theme park critics recently, the war between Universal & Disney in Orlando. Which one is going to come out on top.

The longstanding rivalry between Disney and Universal traces back to the early 1990s when Universal debuted its inaugural theme park. Disney, responded by launching Disney-MGM Studios (now known as Hollywood Studios). Initially, Disney held a dominant position in the theme park industry, attracting visitors with its iconic characters and immersive experiences. However, the landscape shifted dramatically when Universal introduced the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This groundbreaking addition proved to be a game-changer for Universal, drawing in crowds and revitalizing its financial performance. Suddenly, Universal became a competitor, enticing guests to plan trips specifically to experience the magic of Harry Potter. The introduction of this beloved franchise not only elevated Universal's status in the theme park realm but also set the stage for an ongoing battle of creativity and innovation between these two entertainment giants.

Epic Universe
Epic Universe

In 2025, Universal will introduce a new park - Epic Universe, causing a lot of excitement in the theme park community. The immersive rides and theming are generating a lot of buzz due to their novelty and fun factor. Besides being new, Epic Universe is also huge and has potential for future growth. Could Epic Universe propel Universal to the forefront of the Orlando theme park scene? I believe so!

Regrettably, Disney World's CEO Bob Iger has stated that they are not concerned about the new park, but in reality; they should be. Universal is paying attention to their visitors, and they are factoring that in with the new park. Epic Universe has more family friendly rides, and is staying away from screen only attractions. Disney's latest attraction, Tiana's Bayou Adventure, has not been successful. This controversial alteration has not only disheartened Disney enthusiasts, but the disappointing ride itself is plagued by technical issues and poor animatronics. As much as we'd all love a 5th Disney Park, it won't happen anytime soon, as Disney needs to focus their money on upgrading and changing what they do have.

In 2025, Disney seems to be stepping back and letting Universal take the spotlight, a decision that strikes me and others as unusual. I believe this is not the ideal time to pause but rather an opportunity to reveal something remarkable! Fans are growing disappointed, and theme park enthusiasts are arguing that Universal is currently ahead, a view I share. My recent visit to Disney was rather underwhelming; the park appeared neglected and in poor condition. The attractions felt outdated, with Space Mountain covered in dust and cobwebs on its tracks, missing the magic it once possessed.

While a new theme park would be hard to beat, Disney's plans for 2025 seem underwhelming to me as a consumer. The addition of a new Country Bear Jamboree is nice, but it's not enough to entice me to visit the park for an outdated show. The long-overdue re-theming of Dinoland USA is a step in the right direction, but it appears that it won't be completed by 2025. The introduction of a Zootopia Tree of Life Show at Animal Kingdom is a promising upgrade from the Bugs Life show, yet these minor changes don't really influence my decision to visit Disney World.

Being a travel agent, I witness the frustration among guests visiting Disney. The once loyal supporters, including myself, are disappointed with the alterations and reductions. The removal of the Magical Express, complimentary FastPasses, and the continual rise in prices have left people feeling like they are being charged for every little thing. One advantage I find Disney has over Universal is the food, but let's face it, that's a simple adjustment that Universal has also taken into account. (During my last visit, I enjoyed an incredible pulled pork sandwich at Volcano Bay.) The trend in Disney World vacations is changing, and fans are now rooting for Universal's success. I am booking Universal only vacations, instead of a couple Universal days added to a Disney trip.

Butterbeer Universal Studios

I have grown up going to both Disney & Universal. I have enjoyed both for different reasons. I am a mom to 4 kids, I don't live in the state of Florida, but I vacation there often. I would say that I am the perfect candidate to write this blog. I have no bias towards either park, except my own experiences. I look forward to 2025, and I am the Disney fan cheering for Universal! This competition is beneficial for all of us travelers. The introduction of new parks, rides, and attractions is providing us with exciting experiences to anticipate!

What is your opinion? Is Universal winning the the theme park game? Let me know what you think of Disney vs. Universal!

Happy Travels!

Planning a Florida trip? Receive a FREE vacation quote, CLICK HERE!

Follow on Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook.

Recent Posts

See All


Beach Waves

Join the Fun: Be the first to know of amazing travel deals and new blog posts!

Thank You!

bottom of page