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Universal Studios: Hollywood vs. Orlando?

With two prominent locations in the United States, Universal Orlando and Universal Hollywood, whats the difference? Which one is better? I have recently been to both parks and they each offer a fantastic array of attractions, but there are distinct differences between the two that can influence your choice. Let's dive into the unique aspects of Universal Orlando and Universal Hollywood to help you decide which one suits your vacation desires.

Volocicoaster Florida Vacation
Universal Studios Orlando Florida

Universal Orlando Resort: Where Fantasy Meets Reality

Three Theme Parks: Universal Orlando offers three theme parks: Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay. This variety means you'll have a wide range of attractions and entertainment options to choose from.

Although both parks have Harry Potter attractions. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is divided into two distinct areas: Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida and Hogsmeade at Universal's Islands of Adventure. Here, you can explore Hogwarts Castle, ride the Hogwarts Express, between parks and enjoy magical experiences like butterbeer. (Frozen is my favorite!)

Volcano Bay: Universal Orlando boasts its own water park, Volcano Bay. It's a tropical paradise complete with thrilling water rides, a massive volcano centerpiece, and a relaxed island atmosphere perfect for a day of aquatic fun. This water park was definitely a highlight of our mom & son vacation and one of the best water parks I have been too. We loved the Krakatau Aqua Coaster!

Proximity to Other Attractions: Universal Orlando is situated in close proximity to other popular attractions in Orlando, including Walt Disney World and SeaWorld. If you want to explore more than just Universal, this location offers convenience.

Universal Studios Orland Florida
Universal Studios Orlando

Universal Studios Hollywood: The Entertainment Capital of LA Original Studio Tour: Universal Studios Hollywood is unique in that it offers the iconic Studio Tour, where you can explore a real working movie studio. You'll have the chance to see movie sets, encounter famous characters, and get an inside look at Hollywood's entertainment industry. This ride is long (45 min) and includes rides from the Orlando park that you don't expect, my entire family loved this ride.

Compact Layout: Universal Hollywood is more compact compared to its Orlando counterpart, making it easier to navigate and experience multiple attractions in a single day. Its unique layout of an Upper & Lower lot have a lot to offer in smaller spaces. In the lower lot you have the brand new Super Nintendo World, and the updated Jurassic World.

Hollywood Vibes: Being in the heart of Tinseltown, Universal Studios Hollywood has an unmistakable Hollywood ambiance. You can stroll along CityWalk, visit the famous Hollywood Boulevard, and even catch glimpses of celebrities.

Making Your Decision

Universal Orlando or Universal Hollywood? You can't compare the the two. They may have some of the same rides, but these are two complete different Theme Parks and you simply can't compare them. My family & I enjoyed them both for different reasons. The small layout of Hollywood was very convenient and we rode & saw everything in a day, but there is not a hotel on site and they don't have the big thrill rides. Orlando can not be done in a day, with three different parks (and a 4th being added in 2025) it is a vacation experience for the entire family. Because of its multi-day experience, Orlando can be expensive for large parties/families.

Ultimately, your choice between Universal Orlando and Universal Hollywood will depend on your preferences and travel plans. Universal Orlando offers a larger, multi-park experience with the addition of Volcano Bay, while Universal Hollywood provides a unique opportunity to explore a working movie studio in the heart of Los Angeles. Both locations offer incredible entertainment, thrilling rides, and unforgettable memories, so you can't go wrong with either choice. It's all about what kind of magic you're looking for in your Universal adventure!

Which park do you like better? What is your favorite ride? Comment below!

Ready to book your Universal Vacation? CLICK HERE. I am a certified FORA travel agent as well as a Universal Studios and specialize in family vacations to theme parks.

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