Having a hard time deciding between taking a vacation to Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando? Why not visit both? If you want to spend a few days at Walt Disney World and a few days at Universal, you can easily split your vacation between the two. If possible, I suggest devoting a day to each theme park. Walt Disney World has 4 parks – Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. Universal Orlando has 3 parks – Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios and Volcano Bay. Staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel and Universal Orlando Resort allows you to take full advantage of all the perks you have as an onsite guest and get the most out of the time you have for your vacation. Staying on-site at a Universal resort is so much better than just hopping over to the parks for a day. When you consider the benefits of staying on-site it is definitely worth doing. Even just staying a couple nights at Universal can completely enhance the experience.


Walt Disney World Resorts

There is nothing better than staying at a Disney Resort hotel when vacationing at Walt Disney World! With over 25 resorts to choose from, there’s one that fits everyone’s budget and needs.

Perks to staying on-site:

  • Early Access to FastPass+ Planning – On-site guests are able to reserve FastPass+ selections 60 days in advance; off-site guests reserve at 30 days in advance.
  • Extra Magic Hours – Spend extra time in a select park each day. The park may open one hour earlier or stay open 2 hours later for onsite guests.
  • Complimentary MagicBands – Choose from 8 fun colors; pink, green, red, purple, orange, yellow, blue or grey or for an additional cost you can now choose one of the upgrade options featuring favorite Disney characters and designs. These will be used as your room key, park admission, redeeming FastPasses and dining plan credits, you can even link a credit card to them to use for charging merchandise.
  • Stay in the middle of the magic – Each resort is wonderfully themed and adds to the magic of your vacation.
  • Complimentary Transportation – Disney’s Magical Express will transport to and from your airport and Disney Resort hotel. Also, you may enjoy free transportation to the theme parks and Disney Springs.
  • Disney Dining Plans – Adding a dining plan to your package is available to on-site guests. Disney Dining Plans add convenience to your vacation.


Universal Orlando Resorts:

Plan a stay for part of your vacation at one of the Universal Orlando resorts:

  • Value Hotel – Endless Summer – Surfside Inn & Suites, Dockside Inn and Suites (Coming in Spring 2020)
  • Prime Value Hotel – Aventura Hotel, Cabana Bay Beach Resort
  • Preferred Hotel – Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
  • Premier Hotel – Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Staying at a Universal Orlando Hotel comes with perks.

Perks to staying on-site:

  • When you stay at one of the select Premier Hotels: Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel or Loews Royal Pacific Resort, you receive free Universal Express Unlimited Passes. The Express Unlimited Passes allow you to bypass the regular lines by providing express access to separate lines with a shorter wait time at each valid attraction. This pass is valid for both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure and has unlimited use at the participating attractions. This is an invaluable benefit to your vacation.
  • Enjoy early park admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Volcano Bay one hour before the park opens.
  • Free Water Taxis & Shuttles makes it easy to hop between your hotel and the theme parks and CityWalk. Also, CityWalk is within walking distance to most of the hotels.
  • Resort-Wide Charging Privileges are available by using your room key.
  • Free Merchandise Delivery from the Universal shops to your hotel.
  • Priority Seating is available at select Universal restaurants. (select hotels only)
  • Complimentary Universal CityWalk Club Access for guests 21 and older.
  • Pool hopping between the resorts is allowed with the exception of Endless Summer – Surfside Inn & Suites.

Transportation Options:

Whether you choose to start or end your vacation at Universal, you can add on transportation to your Universal vacation.

This includes one-way transfer service from your Walt Disney World hotel to your Universal Orlando Resort onsite hotel and one-way service from your Universal Orlando onsite hotel to the Orlando International Airport (MCO). If you choose to visit Universal Orlando first, you can include one-way transfer service from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to your Universal Orlando onsite hotel and one-way service from your Universal Orlando onsite hotel to your Walt Disney World hotel. Then take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express for the other portion of your split stay.

Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando – Which should I do first?

If you have young children that may not ride as many rides, I recommend starting at Universal for a few nights and then head over for the remainder of your vacation time at Walt Disney World. If you have adults only or adults and teens, you may want to spend a little more of your time at Universal at the end of your vacation. No matter which you choose, combining both theme parks into one vacation will be a blast! Let’s get started planning your Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando vacation!

I am a vacation planner affiliated with Travel with the Magic. I specialize in Universal vacations and Disney destinations – Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. Contact me to book and start planning your next vacation! Melanie@travelwiththemagic.com