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 now has 3 parks – Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios and the new water park, 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 enhance the experience 100%.
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. 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 and Parking – Disney’s Magical Express will transport to and from your airport and Disney Resort hotel. Also, parking is free at your hotel and the theme parks if you choose to drive your own vehicle. Also, you may enjoy free transportation to the theme parks and Disney Springs.
- Disney Dining Plans – Add 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 five on-site Universal resorts: Cabana Bay Beach, Loews Sapphire Falls, Loews Royal Pacific, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Portofino Bay and a 6th resort scheduled to open in August 2018, Universal’s Aventura Hotel. Staying at a Universal Orlando resort comes with perks.
Perks to staying on-site:
- When you stay at one of the select Premier or Preferred Resorts: Loews Portofino Bay, Hard Rock Hotel or Loews Royal Pacific, 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.
- Priority seating at select restaurants throughout the resort.
- Enjoy early park admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Volcano Bay one hour before the park opens.
- Stay in the middle of all the fun with CityWalk within walking distance and you can pool hop between the resorts.
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