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Disney or Universal for a 13 year old boy and 9 year old girl

(29 Posts)
CountryLovingGirl Tue 06-Dec-16 17:27:45

Hi,

So, Florida next August (still pondering though). I don't want to pay for both Disney and Universal as we have other plans but which one would a 13 year old boy and a 9 year old girl prefer?

My son hates Disney films and any sight of a Disney Princess and he's off! But, I know the magic of Disney would work with him if he was there (and his friends have been so he would go too).

NotMrsTumble Tue 06-Dec-16 17:31:54

Probably Universal, ds11 and dd14 preferred it to Disney, BUT if you can squeeze in Disneys Hollywood Studios it might be worth a visit if your kids are in to Star Wars.

Sunnydaysrock Tue 06-Dec-16 17:37:24

Universal is great, much more diverse. Get the ticket you can use in both parks on the same day. So much cheaper than Disney too! Have a great time, you'll love it.

CountryLovingGirl Tue 06-Dec-16 19:36:42

I think Universal is the best choice and I have noticed that it is cheaper to go there - even better! DS has never been into Star Wars so I am not bothered about that.
We quite fancy doing other things in Florida too - so we aren't in theme parks all day, every day. I fancy a trip to Kennedy Space Centre though. I guess you can do that in a day??

RusholmeRuffian Tue 06-Dec-16 20:42:16

Definitely Universal. The Space Centre is definitely worth doing and is an easy day trip from Orlando.

Sunnydaysrock Tue 06-Dec-16 20:52:54

Gatorland is a great half day out. It's off the Orange Blossom Trail. Huge crocodiles and gators in natural swamp areas, plus loads of other animals, shows etc. The Space Centre is worth it (though my husband and son did that whilst me and my daughter shopped). Clearwater Beach is gorgeous and we do it in a day (though staying a week next time). Celebration is a traditional style town (though actually not that old), definitely worth a visit too.

CountryLovingGirl Wed 07-Dec-16 07:39:45

My husband isn't a fan of theme parks but he liked Universal last time we went (although it was the CA one). He wants to do other things while we are there so I am trying to find a way of pleasing all :-)
My daughter is a big fan of dolphins so I know she'd love to go to Clearwater Marine Aquarium but I have heard it gets very busy (due to the Dolphin Tale movies).
I have found a great flight from our nearest airport so looking for a hotel close to Universal. Or a villa!

underneaththeash Wed 07-Dec-16 07:45:27

I think it'd be a real shame to go all the way to Florida and not do Disney.

Universal is great, my 9 year old loved it last year, however, it has less in-between rides (so lots for little ones and lots of big scary rides). It depends if your daughter is into that? I'd also check the height restrictions, my son is massively tall so was able to get onto everything.
Universal is also a lot less magical that the Disney Parks.

Could your husband do Universal with the 13year old and you do Disney with your 9yo?

atticusclaw2 Wed 07-Dec-16 07:51:29

Universal at that age (for your 13 year old, not your 9 Year old) but bear in mind that Universal is MUCH smaller than Disney. Disney is four parks and two water parks. It would take you a week to do it. Universal is two smaller linked parks and it is possible to do it in a day (unless you haven't bought express passes). There are far fewer attractions but they are more spread out. There is a water park but it's extra.

Do NOT under any circumstances try to do universal without express passes, you will spend your whole day in queues even if you go at a quiet time. Express passes are extortionate and so most people in the know plan a night at a universal hotel because you get the passes free and it is cheaper to stay at the hotel than to buy the passes. Plus you get let into the park an hour earlier than everyone else.

Go straight to Gringotts or you'll spend half the day queueing there even with express passes.

To do Harry Potter fully you have to have tickets to both universal parks because The Hogwarts Express takes you between London and Hogsmeade.

We've done Disneyworld four times and Universal 3 times. Universal has Harry Potter, Spiderman (although probably not for long given that Disney now owns Marvel), Hulk (although I think its still closed and is likely to be for a good while) Jurassic Park, Transformers, The Mummy, Shrek, Despicable Me. It therefore appeals more to teenagers.

atticusclaw2 Wed 07-Dec-16 07:55:30

There are also dolphins at Epcot BTW.

I agree with pp. I would not do Florida without Disney. I would do Florida without Universal. Disney still has lots for older children space mountain, expedition everest, mission space, Test track, Tower of Terror, Star Tours, the Aerosmith one, Thunder mountain, Soarin..

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 07-Dec-16 08:06:02

I think Atticus here is referring to the Disney's Dolphins in Depth. Unfortunately all participants have to be at least 13 years old.

The Hulk coaster is now open.

atticusclaw2 Wed 07-Dec-16 08:15:51

Oh that's a shame I didn't realise it was 13. You can still see the dolphins in the tanks but I can appreciate that's not quite the same.

Attila is right, currently no major closures at Universal sorry to mislead you OP. Hulk is open (although you have to be 54 inches). You wouldn't get me on that thing if you paid me though..

NicknameUsed Sun 11-Dec-16 20:23:27

"Do NOT under any circumstances try to do universal without express passes, you will spend your whole day in queues even if you go at a quiet time."

We were there in July and managed to avoid the huge queues, except for the Hogwarts ride (which I hated)

DD and I don't do roller coasters and thrill rides, and they generated the longest queues. It helped that we were staying just round the corner and went back a lot in the evenings.

PatriciaHolm Sun 11-Dec-16 23:03:45

We took our then 9 and 10 year olds to Florida in August 2015 and did just universal, no Disney. Didn't miss it at all!

We did Miami, keys, Anna Maria island, Kennedy space centre as well and had a fantastic time.

cornflowerblu Sat 17-Dec-16 15:42:32

100% universal, it's much better than Disney. You'll be fine without express passes, we did it in August and the queues were fine

cornflowerblu Sat 17-Dec-16 15:46:16

Also I'm not sure that the Magic of Disney would appeal to a 13 year old. Firstly we found the magic kingdom especially rather tired and old and secondly none of mine found Disney at all magic, they liked some of the rides but Disney wasn't that inspiring for them. They really loved Universal though so next time, if we went back we would do 2 days Universal, one day in a water park and Kennedy space centre, I wouldn't touch any of the Disney parks except possibly, at a push, the studios

Hulababy Sat 17-Dec-16 15:52:51

"Do NOT under any circumstances try to do universal without express passes, you will spend your whole day in queues even if you go at a quiet time."

I disagree personally. Have been 7 or 8 times now and only ever once with express passes, and always at busy times - summer holidays and half terms. Always managed to do all the rides. Summer holidays were less busy than over February half term. Longest queues have been Harry Potter and you can't use Express passes for them anyway. Express passes were great - came with our hotel package. But they are very expensive and can't be used on the HP rides. I'd rather do without the Express pass and spent it on an extra day somewhere else.

chipsandpeas Sat 17-Dec-16 15:57:30

id do both if you could, i done disney in 1 day but very rushed and same with the 2 universal parks done in the same day, the queues for the harry potter stuff was a nightmare and we ended up giving up on gringotts we had express passes which were a lifesaver

Beebeeeight Fri 23-Dec-16 18:46:46

Disney isn't just the magic kingdom.

I loved Epcot at 14.

MadisonAvenue Fri 23-Dec-16 18:54:45

My husband isn't a fan of theme parks but he liked Universal last time we went (although it was the CA one). He wants to do other things while we are there so I am trying to find a way of pleasing all :-)

We've been to both and Universal in Orlando is much MUCH bigger than the one in LA. Bear in mind that you'll need more than one day to do it justice.

If you decide to go to Disney then the Hollywood Studios park might be more suitable for your son.

EmpressoftheMundane Fri 23-Dec-16 18:55:18

I think Universal is probably better pitched to your 13 year old. It has more big, fast, physically intense rides than Disney.

That said, only Disney is Disney. It's the biggest, best and the original imho. With Disney, you get a level of detail and a depth to the narrative that you just will not find anywhere else.

BestIsWestofBedfordFalls Fri 23-Dec-16 18:56:45

We loved Universal and weren't keen on Disney but our youngest was 14.

EwanWhosearmy Fri 23-Dec-16 21:33:51

We took our teens to Universal back in 2004 and they loved it.

We took our 9yo to Disney and Universal this year, and TBH if it wasn't for the HP stuff Universal was a dead loss.

It didn't help that it was freezing cold and wet, so all the loitering outdoors one normally does in Florida wasn't pleasant, but as a PP said there seemed to be little kids rides, and the big stuff (& DD is a wimp). Nothing for inbetween. We loved the Mummy ride but DD hated it. There just didn't seem to be enough there overall, and I was glad we only had 2 days at Universal.

Disney isn't just MK. DD loved AK and found Epcot quite entertaining. There just seemed to be more to appeal to a 9 yo girl at Disney than Universal.

MissBeehiving Sat 24-Dec-16 07:03:40

Mine love both but volcano bay is opening in June, which is universals new water park which would tip it for us.

I like the express passes and usually the cheapest way to get them is to book one night in a universal hotel - you get early entry to the park then too.

lovelyupnorth Fri 30-Dec-16 14:38:04

The queues at universal are unreal. Having spent two days there give me cedar point in Ohio or Alton towers every day.

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