Cancelled Disney, Changed to a Universal Vacation!

RamblingMad

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 29, 2019
I did a Universal vacation this past weekend. It was great. I don't think I could do Universal for a full week.

However, my suggestion is to hit the parks in the morning, and then hit the water park in the afternoon.
 
  • nicolebridget22

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 25, 2016
    You made a very smart choice. I'm usually a ga ga Disney girl--but we just got back from our worst Disney experience ever. We totally planned to go next summer, and now I am looking and learning all about Universal for this reason! Disney was SO SO packed--worst I've ever seen. They did not have the park hours to compensate for the crowds. Even the FP line regularly took 15-20 mins...we paid over $600 for an after hours party and it was just swamped with people (and wait times to all major rides!). We felt so taken advantage of for what we paid. Enjoy--and I'd love to hear about your vacation afterwards! We've never been to Universal!
    Thank you! I'm hoping to make a little trip report this time, since I found that Universal TR's aren't as plentiful as Disney, although the TR's I have found are wonderful and got me really excited for this trip. I'm so sorry your Disney trip was disappointing, but I feel your pain. We went for 2 weeks in 2016 and had buyer's remorse after. It was way too busy and, I'm sorry, crowds really do affect EVERYTHING. Not sure what the solution to that is, but for us it means finding a different way to vacation. I hope to have lots of good things to report!
     

    RamblingMad

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2019
    You made a very smart choice. I'm usually a ga ga Disney girl--but we just got back from our worst Disney experience ever. We totally planned to go next summer, and now I am looking and learning all about Universal for this reason! Disney was SO SO packed--worst I've ever seen. They did not have the park hours to compensate for the crowds. Even the FP line regularly took 15-20 mins...we paid over $600 for an after hours party and it was just swamped with people (and wait times to all major rides!). We felt so taken advantage of for what we paid. Enjoy--and I'd love to hear about your vacation afterwards! We've never been to Universal!
    Planning WDW is super stressful. And you can still hit the Disney resorts for food if you want.

    The crowds at Universal are light until about noon, but you can hit so many rides in the morning before the big crowds. And there’s nothing to plan. It’s great. It’s like Disneyland.
     

    nicolebridget22

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 25, 2016
    This. A million times over. It's what has driven us from Disney to Universal. In Disney's attempt to make things "easier" on guests, they have pushed some away. It's not just your personality type. If you want to do Disney the way it should be done, and go to restaurants you want to, ride all the rides you want, there is no relaxing. There is no spontaneity. There is no deciding, "Hey, instead of going to Epcot today, let's go to Magic Kingdom." Yes, you CAN do that, but it won't be an overly productive day. I will always love WDW parks, resorts, etc. But I just don't have the patience for it anymore. A vacation shouldn't be stressful, and that is exactly what WDW is now.
    Yes. This is how Disney is losing us too. On our last Disney vacation we were very stressed out, constantly running from one "appointment" to another...rides, meals, events. It was exhausting. I thought I was going to have an aneurism on our first night because the Spectro Magic parade started and kinda trapped us in Liberty Square, then we had to fight our way to the front of the park, and I was worried we wouldn't make our ADR at California Grill in time and would also miss the firework viewing from there (we did). And that was a trend that continued throughout the trip. We're really into sleeping late and just kinda going where we want and doing what we want, you know whenever, so I don't think Disney is the right "home base" for us anymore. We will spend a day at Magic Kingdom on this trip though, so I can visit the Haunted Mansion
    :love:
     

    blewits

    Wendy
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2002
    I find this discussion so incredibly interesting. I’m die hard Disney, but I’m becoming so aggravated with the planning involved.

    Also, sentimental with Disney. I took my kids there.

    I don’t know Universal material. Not even Harry Potter so much.

    But I would like to relax. And not pick restaurants and rides 180 out for eating, and 60 days out for fast passes.

    It’s becoming ridiculous.

    It is ridiculous.

    Thanks for the honest posts. I’m booked for WDW right before Christmas to take a German niece who has never been. If it’s awful, we may need to find something new.

    It should not be this difficult to freely give people my money.
     
  • disneywithfive

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 9, 2006
    I find this discussion so incredibly interesting. I’m die hard Disney, but I’m becoming so aggravated with the planning involved.

    Also, sentimental with Disney. I took my kids there.

    I don’t know Universal material. Not even Harry Potter so much.

    But I would like to relax. And not pick restaurants and rides 180 out for eating, and 60 days out for fast passes.

    It’s becoming ridiculous.

    It is ridiculous.

    Thanks for the honest posts. I’m booked for WDW right before Christmas to take a German niece who has never been. If it’s awful, we may need to find something new.

    It should not be this difficult to freely give people my money.
    Yes, we are paying for the aggravations !!!! How crazy is that?!?!?! 🤣🤣🤣

    I’ll have to say, we still go to Disney but not as often and we just plan on hitting the highlights and that’s it. Universal continues to step up their game and is just a relaxing vacation.
     

    blewits

    Wendy
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2002
    I find this discussion so incredibly interesting. I’m die hard Disney, but I’m becoming so aggravated with the Thanks for the honest posts. I’m booked for WDW right before Christmas to take a German niece who has never been. If
    Yes, we are paying for the aggravations !!!! How crazy is that?!?!?! 🤣🤣🤣

    I’ll have to say, we still go to Disney but not as often and we just plan on hitting the highlights and that’s it. Universal continues to step up their game and is just a relaxing vacation.

    Curious. I’ve read other post where people complain about Universals parks not being as pretty, or clean, or “magical”, or as detailed or as well landscaped as Disney.

    Since you’ve done both, what is you observation?
     

    disneywithfive

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 9, 2006
    I find this discussion so incredibly interesting. I’m die hard Disney, but I’m becoming so aggravated with the Thanks for the honest posts. I’m booked for WDW right before Christmas to take a German niece who has never been. If



    Curious. I’ve read other post where people complain about Universals parks not being as pretty, or clean, or “magical”, or as detailed or as well landscaped as Disney.

    Since you’ve done both, what is you observation?
    Yes, they are different and I think it really depends on who is with you. We have teenage children and they love the thrill rides. Disney has some but not as many as US/IOA. Disney’s better geared to younger children though. My handicapped child can’t ride the thrill rides so Disney serves her needs there.

    To me, Universal is just as clean as Disney. They have parades, character interaction, and the express pass is a bonus. I don’t have to plan my trip - just go and ride what we want.

    I think the park food (counter service) is on par with Disney. I like the options at City Walk too.

    The hotels are really close and I can get a better price on them then Disney. Even Cabana Bay is nicer as a value report then the All-Stars.

    As a whole, and possibly due to my age, I have just gotten tired of having to plan my entire stay down to the minute to get everything done at Disney. Certainly it’s a choice I make to do that but I feel pressured to make those plan in order to get to see and do a few things we want at Disney. Universal and IOA aren’t as large and hence, they don’t require as much planning.

    We became converts in 2009 after my first trip to US (before Harry Potter even). I had procrastinated about going and had fed into all the reviews that Universal wasn’t up to snuff with Disney. But my husband talked me into it and I was truly glad he did. We felt such freedom during that stay and we weren’t exhausted upon returning home.

    Is US for everyone? Probably not. But I have found we spend more time there then Disney due to the reasons stated above. I guess I feel like I get better value from US then Disney.

    Sorry for the ramble. Just give it a try once and you will see what I’m saying. Just don’t compare Universal’s parks to Disney as they are different elephants.
     

    blewits

    Wendy
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2002
    Yes, they are different and I think it really depends on who is with you. We have teenage children and they love the thrill rides. Disney has some but not as many as US/IOA. Disney’s better geared to younger children though. My handicapped child can’t ride the thrill rides so Disney serves her needs there.

    To me, Universal is just as clean as Disney. They have parades, character interaction, and the express pass is a bonus. I don’t have to plan my trip - just go and ride what we want.

    I think the park food (counter service) is on par with Disney. I like the options at City Walk too.

    The hotels are really close and I can get a better price on them then Disney. Even Cabana Bay is nicer as a value report then the All-Stars.

    As a whole, and possibly due to my age, I have just gotten tired of having to plan my entire stay down to the minute to get everything done at Disney. Certainly it’s a choice I make to do that but I feel pressured to make those plan in order to get to see and do a few things we want at Disney. Universal and IOA aren’t as large and hence, they don’t require as much planning.

    We became converts in 2009 after my first trip to US (before Harry Potter even). I had procrastinated about going and had fed into all the reviews that Universal wasn’t up to snuff with Disney. But my husband talked me into it and I was truly glad he did. We felt such freedom during that stay and we weren’t exhausted upon returning home.

    Is US for everyone? Probably not. But I have found we spend more time there then Disney due to the reasons stated above. I guess I feel like I get better value from US then Disney.

    Sorry for the ramble. Just give it a try once and you will see what I’m saying. Just don’t compare Universal’s parks to Disney as they are different elephants.
    No. I’m glad you rambled! 😆. That just tells me I need to try it. I also have teens now and we all love thrill rides.

    I’m planning this trip for Disney in December (taking a niece from Germany for the first time) and the planning of rides 60 days out is insane. But I have to do it if we want to ride the good stuff. It’s maddening. It’s stressful. It’s a pain.

    I’ve already had to plan where we are eating and when. 😡

    But. It’s Disney. And I love WDW. But I really should give it a try over at Universal. The idea of being able to just walk around a park, and pick a ride and a meal even, is something I long for. I miss it. I don’t mind a 30 minute queue. even an hour if it’s worth it. I have major issues with 90+ minute Queues.

    Perhaps after this Disney visit, me and the husband could go down in the spring and check it out ourselves for a fat minute. Not enough time to do it on this upcoming trip.
     
  • disneywithfive

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 9, 2006
    No. I’m glad you rambled! 😆. That just tells me I need to try it. I also have teens now and we all love thrill rides.

    I’m planning this trip for Disney in December (taking a niece from Germany for the first time) and the planning of rides 60 days out is insane. But I have to do it if we want to ride the good stuff. It’s maddening. It’s stressful. It’s a pain.

    I’ve already had to plan where we are eating and when. 😡

    But. It’s Disney. And I love WDW. But I really should give it a try over at Universal. The idea of being able to just walk around a park, and pick a ride and a meal even, is something I long for. I miss it. I don’t mind a 30 minute queue. even an hour if it’s worth it. I have major issues with 90+ minute Queues.

    Perhaps after this Disney visit, me and the husband could go down in the spring and check it out ourselves for a fat minute. Not enough time to do it on this upcoming trip.
    Stay at one of the three hotels that gives you express pass the first time you go. If even for one night as you will get two days of express pass - both check and check out days from the time the park opens and closes each day. You will have to check into the hotel first thing in the morning even if you’re rooms not ready but express will be active from that point on until the park closes on the day you check out.
     

    blewits

    Wendy
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2002
    Stay at one of the three hotels that gives you express pass the first time you go. If even for one night as you will get two days of express pass - both check and check out days from the time the park opens and closes each day. You will have to check into the hotel first thing in the morning even if you’re rooms not ready but express will be active from that point on until the park closes on the day you check out.
    Wow! Sounds like value is better already. That’s pretty incredible.

    Hearing that, it makes me hate this whole Tier 1 FP+ thing at most WDW parks even more.

    I’m really going to have to get my feet wet. I’m getting tired of Disney charging me more money to screw me over more. I won’t even buy the evening party tickets anymore. To much money and they over sell so many of them now.

    The resorts are overpriced to say the least. The food is too.

    I’ll stop now. I’m just getting mad. Lol.
     

    disney11fan

    I'm not politically correct
    Joined
    Apr 13, 2010
    Wow! Sounds like value is better already. That’s pretty incredible.

    Hearing that, it makes me hate this whole Tier 1 FP+ thing at most WDW parks even more.

    I’m really going to have to get my feet wet. I’m getting tired of Disney charging me more money to screw me over more. I won’t even buy the evening party tickets anymore. To much money and they over sell so many of them now.

    The resorts are overpriced to say the least. The food is too.

    I’ll stop now. I’m just getting mad. Lol.
    Sounds like you own DVC ....stop it people it's just a little humor to those that buy...😁😁😁😁🙈🙉🙊
     

    disney11fan

    I'm not politically correct
    Joined
    Apr 13, 2010
    I did a Universal vacation this past weekend. It was great. I don't think I could do Universal for a full week.

    However, my suggestion is to hit the parks in the morning, and then hit the water park in the afternoon.
    Do you know if they have universal express to their hotels?
     

    RamblingMad

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2019
    Do you know if they have universal express to their hotels?
    They don't. But it didn't matter. Getting early into one park was good enough. We were able to ride 6 attractions before lunch time with waits all less than 30 minutes. And single rider lines were mostly walk ons while they remained open.
     

    disney11fan

    I'm not politically correct
    Joined
    Apr 13, 2010
    Planning WDW is super stressful. And you can still hit the Disney resorts for food if you want.

    The crowds at Universal are light until about noon, but you can hit so many rides in the morning before the big crowds. And there’s nothing to plan. It’s great. It’s like Disneyland.
    I'm an old cart 60+ . Do they, universal ,have slow rides?
     

    RamblingMad

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2019
    I'm an old cart 60+ . Do they, universal ,have slow rides?
    The slow rides are mostly at universal studios with the thrills mostly at islands of adventure. You're not going to find classic dark rides like at Disney. However, if you really want to do Disney like Universal, I highly suggest Disney in CA, rather than in FL.

    Also, 60+ is nothing. Don't sell yourself short. Sixty is the new forty.

    I have a couple of friends in their 60s that actively repel down canyons on a near monthly basis. One of my friends is in his 70s, and he does rim to rim in the Grand Canyon every year.
     

    disney11fan

    I'm not politically correct
    Joined
    Apr 13, 2010
    The slow rides are mostly at universal studios with the thrills mostly at islands of adventure. You're not going to find classic dark rides like at Disney. However, if you really want to do Disney like Universal, I highly suggest Disney in CA, rather than in FL.

    Also, 60+ is nothing. Don't sell yourself short. Sixty is the new forty.

    I have a couple of friends in their 60s that actively repel down canyons on a near monthly basis. One of my friends is in his 70s, and he does rim to rim in the Grand Canyon every year.
    very cool. Your right . I do bike ride at least 12-15 miles a day. And for 65 I guess I'm doing ok.
     

    UOAP

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 19, 2019
    I find this discussion so incredibly interesting. I’m die hard Disney, but I’m becoming so aggravated with the Thanks for the honest posts. I’m booked for WDW right before Christmas to take a German niece who has never been. If



    Curious. I’ve read other post where people complain about Universals parks not being as pretty, or clean, or “magical”, or as detailed or as well landscaped as Disney.

    Since you’ve done both, what is you observation?
    I know you weren't asking me but I'd love to answer this. I think Universal landscaping is world's better than WDW. It's not as "clipped," but they use local flora in a spectacular way. When we stay at Portofino we always walk to the parks instead of taking the boat because the walk is gorgeous. Not a bunch of planted flowers, but lovely flowering bushes, different types of bamboo, etc. We live on the Gulf Coast so I would pay to talk to whomever does their landscaping so we could do our yard the same way! As for clean, Disney USED to be known for being pristine, but our last 2 visits were shocking. Trash all over the place and the bathrooms STANK. Universal seems cleaner, although neither live up to Disney's old standards. "Magical" is in the eye of the beholder. The HP areas are amazingly magical. WDW wins for nostalgia, but I grew up going to DIsney, and only went to Universal for the first time in my late 30s. I do not love toon lagoon theming. It seems a bit cheap (although the water rides are fantastic). But I love Port of Entry and the Jurrasic Park areas. Universal hotels beat the pants off WDW resort hotels, especially now that Disney removed so much theming in the rooms. And it's magical not to be forced to plan every second of our vacation 6 months in advance. That is the most magical part of Universal. I just get to relax. I will always love Disney, but I just don't feel like my hard earned money is appreciated by them. I'm just one of the masses. Universal makes you feel special. And the team members seem happier and seem like they are having more fun.
     

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