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Best of the 6 Disney/Universal Orlando parks?

Best park?


  • Total voters
    42

ThemeParkHistorian

Roller Poster
Which is the best park of the 6 Disney/Universal theme parks in Orlando?

Guide to Universal vs Disney World 2022 - Pros and Cons of Disney World vs  Universal


Animal Kingdom
Epcot
Hollywood Studios
Islands of Adventure
Magic Kingdom
Universal Studios Florida
 
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Steely Dan

Roller Poster
Maybe throw in the SWO and BGT next time to make it more of a competition?

As is, this poll really only has one answer for people who place an outsized level of importance on high-octane coasters.
 
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ThemeParkHistorian

Roller Poster
Maybe throw in the SWO and BGT next time to make it more of a competition?

As is, this poll really only has one answer for people who place an outsized level of importance on high-octane coasters.
BGT is in Tampa, and SeaWorld Orlando has great coasters but outside of that, Antarctica and Wild Arctic are nothing special. Park could use some more 'ride' attractions to fill in the day. Food and merchandise need major improvements, etc. It's my least favorite Orlando park, even tho it's still fine.
 
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Indy

Mega Poster
1. Islands of Adventure
2. Magic Kingdom
3. Animal Kingdom
4. EPCOT
5. Hollywood Studios
6. Universal Studios
 

Nitefly

Hyper Poster
Which maniacs voted Animal Kingdom?!

Expedition Everest is down at the moment and it’s exposing just how weak the park is. Aside from the rides, the animal exhibits are obviously good/OK.
 

StevenX

Roller Poster
The only reasonable answer here is Islands of Adventure. It's always been world class but I was blown away - having been there dozens of times before but not for 5 years or so - when I returned over winter. It's truly exceptional now, even moreso than it was when it first opened.

There's not even a debate in my mind about this. The Orlando Disney parks are years, if not decades, behind what Universal is doing.

I think a more interesting comparison would be between IoA, Disneyland Shanghai, Universal Beijing and DisneySEA, with a possible Europa Park wildcard!
 

Matt N

CF Legend
I’ve visited all of these, and I’m going to go with the consensus and pick Islands of Adventure. IOA is still my #1 park nearly 6 years on from my last visit; even pre-VelociCoaster and pre-Hagrid’s, I remember it being pretty magical for me in a way quite unlike any other theme park I’ve ever visited, and that’s due to a combination of it having both spectacular theming and some spectacular attractions; they have an epic lineup of both dark rides and water rides, and even though I’d have said coasters were a weaker link of the park, Hulk wasn’t half bad either; it still makes my top 20, from memory. And since my last visit, it appears that the park has had a phenomenal net increase in the quality of its coaster selection, as the spectacular looking Hagrid’s and VelociCoaster have opened since my last visit at the expense of only the Dragon Challenge coasters, which I was personally rather non-plussed by.

In terms of a ranking for the other 5; that might be where mine gets a little more controversial:
  1. Islands of Adventure
  2. Universal Studios Florida
  3. Animal Kingdom
  4. Epcot
  5. Magic Kingdom
  6. Hollywood Studios
 

ThemeParkHistorian

Roller Poster
I think a more interesting comparison would be between IoA, Disneyland Shanghai, Universal Beijing and DisneySEA, with a possible Europa Park wildcard!
This would be such an interesting snd fun discussion. Aren’t these the best theme parks in the world? All phenomenal parks. USJ should be in there too.
 

StevenX

Roller Poster
This would be such an interesting snd fun discussion. Aren’t these the best theme parks in the world? All phenomenal parks. USJ should be in there too.
Ah, yes - I always forget about USJ, maybe because DisneySEA seems to get top billing in Japan. But you're right, it definitely belongs up there!
 

Serena

Miss CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
1. IOA
2. Hollywood Studios

[Huge gap]


3. Animal Kingdom
4. USF
5. Magic Kingdom

...I still haven't been to Epcot 😅

Toyko DisneySea is gorgeous - but it doesn't have that many good rides and the ToT has 3 point seat belts :(
 
Has to be Islands of Adventure for me! A good mix of thrills and theming.

Second would probably be Magic Kingdom because I feel like that's the park where most of the Disney charm is felt (although the Floridian park has the least charm of the main gate parks) and it's the park where the kid in me wants to come out the most. They have the most iconic Disney attractions there as well, though none are particularly thrilling.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
I’ll admit I’m surprised at quite how much of a lead IOA has over the others in this poll; even though I too vote IOA by some margin, I thought I was in a distinct minority who preferred Universal to Disney, and I would have expected the vote to be far more split, possibly even weighted towards Disney. Whenever you ask the question of “Universal vs Disney”, it seems as though the vast majority prefer Disney, with some even implying that the two aren’t in the same league.

My previous thought was that the Universal vs Disney consensus erred far too much in favour of Disney on the whole for IOA to be so heavily favoured compared to the others, but I was clearly wrong. Has the installation of VelociCoaster really increased Universal’s reputation within enthusiast circles that much?
 

StevenX

Roller Poster
I'm not sure I'd say it increased their reputation per se, but it definitely solidified and reinforced it at least. I also think Universal have come through the last couple of years - maybe longer - a lot stronger than Disney. They've continued to invest and expand while Disney has slowed down and stagnated a bit - and many of the attractions which have been in development and construction for so long at this point aren't particularly exciting or revolutionary for the most part, and those which are sometimes have a slightly narrower appeal than Disney maybe had in mind.

I think a lot of enthusiasts held that view to an extent pre-COVID as Universal was doubling down on Harry Potter and starting to pump money into the parks whilst Disney continued to make very safe and samey attractions whilst their big projects such as Pandora seemed to take forever to see the light of day. I think that even carried over to Galaxy's Edge to an extent. I also think Star Wars isn't as universally (pardon the pun) appealing despite the strong acclaim and hype in some circles, and we're even seeing both those issues now happen again with the hotel.

For me personally, I'm not particularly wedded to the IPs of Universal - but I'd much rather have Harry Potter, The Simpsons and Jurassic Park than Avengers, Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy which all leave me extremely cold.

I think the most pronounced example of Universal overtaking Disney and Disney dropping the ball a bit is with the Web Slingers ride. There's now a direct comparison to be made between both using the same IP of Spiderman and Disney. Some would say it's not a fair comparison, but it's clear they're just not on the same level - despite Universal's being 20-odd years old.
 

sjparrington

Roller Poster
When I went to Florida I sadly didn't have enough time to go to Universal so I voted for Hollywood Studios despite not having the full picture because I thought it deserved some love.

Rise of the Resistance is an absolutely incredible attraction and even though I may not be much of a fan of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, it gets the aesthetics and vibe right so that all generations of fan can enjoy it. Tower of Terror is also a personal favourite of mine, it actually prompted me and my other half to start watching the original Twilight Zone.

Islands of Adventure has such a great collection of coasters that I have little doubt it will dethrone Hollywood Studios when I finally get over there, but still, I couldn't stand to see Hollywood Studios without a single vote.
 

chainedbanana

Hyper Poster
To me my favourite themed area in all of Florida is Diagon Alley - which of course is in USO, but the park in itself is weak.

Same with Pandora - which I think is one of the best themed lands at any Disney park globally, and I don't mean the rides - I enjoyed them but they arent the best Disney has to offer, but being in Pandora after dark with all the bioluminescence etc - so magical!

My vote therefore goes to Animal Kingdom as it also has EE and Dinosaur which I adore - and the park has the best coherence... oh and also the Dole whip with rum!
 

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
I haven’t been to any of them yet, but I’m visiting Sept, so I voted for the one I am looking forward to the most. Which should be fairly obvious to anyone who has had the misfortune to read my opinions on parks and coasters before…
 
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