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Compare and Contrast

Remember English Lit?  Compare and contrast blah blah blah, and do it in a thousand words.

Its why I’m in broadcasting . . . humor trumps grammer.

But I did have a chance to do a little C&C on my vacation recently as I visited two different theme parks . . . Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.

(Disclaimer:  I am a Disney Theme Park FREAK! I have been to Disneyland six times and Walt Disney World five.  This was my first exposure to Universal)

Cost:  Crazy Expensive admissions both places.  Although, we did have a deal where we bought 2 days at Universal and got two additional free.  Unfortunately, we only had planned two days there on a tight schedule so those were wasted.  Advantage : NONE

In Park Food:  CRIMINALLY EXPENSIVE in both parks.  What are they making these burgers outta?  Endangered Species?  No justification whatsoever for a 25 dollar lunch, ANYWHERE.  Dinners were even worse. Dinner for 9 in EPCOT with tip was over 400 dollars.  Do the math there..  And it was mexican food, probably the cheapest food to prepare EVER!  Rice and Beans?!?! Pennies!  Chips and Salsa?!?  A Few More Pennies!  For that kinda money, MONTEZUMA himself should have been our server.  And Harry Potter Land at Universal was just as bad.  Honestly, 18 bucks for fish and chips?  or 14 dollars for a turkey leg?  More like Harry Potter and the PONZI Scheme.  Advantage:  Sure as heck not the consumer!

Parking:  Both places were $25 a day. BUT Universal has a covered parking garage close to the park, and moving sidewalks to the parks which means you don’t have to wait to get to your car. Disney has huge tracs of land (actually used to be swampland) that your car sizzles in during the Florida heat and you have to walk to a tram stop to wait for a tram to take you to the drop off point where you walk to the gate.    Not so big a deal in the mornings, but on the return trip, BOY do you appreciate no waiting and a moving sidewalk!
Advantage : UNIVERSAL!!

Wait Times:   Disney has an app that shows you wait times.  Some of them like AVATAR was a three hour wait!  NEVER doing that again.  NO BATHROOMS in the queue line!  TWO and HALF Hours for the Dwarfs Mine Train (which we have never gotten to ride), Even old rides like Peter Pan’s Flight are an hour to two hour wait. In fairness, we utilized the free Fast Pass system as much as possible, and many rides were not more than 30 minutes wait.  Universal  has a “fast pass” type of system, but you pay extra for it.   But the longest we waited for a ride was and hour for the Harry Potter Makes You Throw Up ride (not its actual name but pretty spot-on description for me anyway).  Most other ride waits were 30 or less.  BIG difference: The queue lines at Universal were “universally” engaging and entertaining that made the wait seem MUCH shorter than at Disney. And they were all inside, out of the elements (rain, and HEAT). Advantage : UNIVERSAL

Generally Walking In The Parks:  Disney Parks are HUGE!  And there is ALOT of real estate between rides and attractions (the more to sell you crap with shops and stands with my dear)  Universal Parks are more compact.  You can actually see from one end to the other.   Especially if you’re traveling with folks with mobility issues, cranky kids, or blistered feet . . . Advantage : UNIVERSAL!

Quality of Attractions:  This one is tough.  Universal has alot of Thrill Rides and has taken the motion-3D and 4D ride to a new level.  The Avatar ride at Animal Kingdom, Star Tours at Hollywood Studios, and Soarin’ at Epcot are about all Disney has with this new tech (although the new Galaxy’s End could be added to this list).  But its hard to beat the classics like Pirates (although I abhor the new “PC” version.  They’re PIRATES for cryin out loud.  They’re supposed to do offensive things like rape and pillage!) of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, etc.   But they are not as interactive an experience as the ones a Universal (Holy @#$%^ King KONG is AMAZING!) Depending on your taste, Advantage: BOTH.

Bottom line:   I had a wonderful time with my family and friends at both parks.  I drove 3000+ miles in 4 days, walked 47+ miles in 6 and am so BROKE, i can’t pay attention.

That’s a successful vacation.