Universal Challenges Disney with New Approach to Park Vacationing

Disney vs Universal

Two theme park hot spots in Central Florida are in a never-ending battle for Park Guests. The neighboring competitors of Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort are digging deep as Universal unleashes a new approach to its vacation destination.

Disney AND Universal Fans

It’s no secret we are HUGE Disney fans. We’ve visited Walt Disney World Resort repeatedly and can’t get enough of the magic. While we may be Disney Passholders, would it surprise you to know we are Universal Orlando Passholders as well?

cinderellla castle fab 50 characters
Credit: Disney

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Even though Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will always feel like our home away from home, we thoroughly enjoy our family time exploring the Harry Potter Wizarding World, Jurassic Park experiences, and thrilling attractions at Universal’s two theme parks, including Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Disney Is Ahead, but Not for Long

But here’s the kicker… Walt Disney World Resort has always had the upper hand. With double the amount of Parks, Resorts, and experiences, Disney wins out for that true family vacation destination.

Yes, in addition to its Parks, Universal has its CityWalk shopping and dining district along with Volcano Bay Water Park, but Disney has Disney Springs and TWO water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.

Cinderella Castle at Night
Credit: Disney

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A Guest visiting Universal’s Parks will quickly find much of the experience can be tackled in a two-day period. But… that’s all about to change.

“Weeklong Destination”

The Universal Resort is operated by Universal Parks and Resorts, a division of Comcast’s NBCUniversal. On October 27, 2022, Comcast shared its third-quarter earnings report with some Park highlights.

As shared by @AshleyLCarter1 on social media, the Comcast CEO, Brian Roberts, stated: “I’m especially excited for Epic Universe to open in the summer of 2025, which will transform Universal Orlando into a weeklong destination.”

Epic Universe

That’s right! Did you catch that “weeklong destination” terminology? Waiting in the wings is Universal’s brand-new theme park called “Epic Universe,” which Universal has deemed “The Most Immersive and Innovative Park We’ve Ever Created.” Universal goes on to describe the new theme park as:

Epic Universe
Epic Universe Art Rendering (Credit: Universal)

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“Universal’s Epic Universe will offer an entirely new level of experience that will forever change theme park entertainment. Guests will venture beyond their wildest imagination, traveling into beloved stories and through vibrant lands on adventures where the journey is as astounding as the ultimate destination.”

Disney’s Slow Operation

The construction of the new Universal Park is now full-speed, making some of Disney’s slow single-attraction construction projects look embarrassing, including Magic Kingdom’s TRON Lightcylce Run and EPCOT’s Journey of Water Inspired by Moana.

Tron construction
Credit: Disney

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Yes, Disney has reported “what if ideas” that include the expansion of Magic Kingdom lands featuring Encanto (2021), Coco (2017), and a Villain’s land, but these are just blue sky LANDS vs. an entire, confirmed theme park. Disney’s EPCOT is also under transformation, but with trimmed projects, it seems like Walt Disney Imagineering may be missing the bigger picture.

Even if Walt Disney World FINALLY decides to build a fifth theme park instead of focusing its efforts on new Resort Hotels, we’re fairly certain at the construction speed it currently holds, we are MANY YEARS away from completion for a project such as a new Park.

Epic Universe Squashing Disney’s Size

PLUS – to put the massive size of the new Universal Park into perspective, Epic Universe will be 750 acres. Magic Kingdom Park is 107 acres; EPCOT is 300 acres; Disney’s Hollywood Studios is 135 acres; Disney’s Animal Kingdom is 580 acres. No Disney Park tops the size of the incoming Epic Universe.

The size will be a huge factor in this Disney vs Universal neighboring competition for Orlando vacationers’ attention.

Tree of Life
Credit: Disney

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Epic Universe will feature the theme park attraction experience on its 750 acres, including an entertainment center, hotels, shops, restaurants, and more.

Bring on Summer 2025

Epic Universe is currently scheduled to open in the summer of 2025. THIS is when the real competition will begin as Universal transforms into a “weeklong destination.” Will this Disney Annual Passholder and Disney Vacation Club member be spending a week with Universal? You better believe it!

About Jamie Sylvester

I'm a Disney nerd! A kid at heart who loves the magic and memories of Walt Disney World. I follow all things Disney and enjoy the vacations, day trips, weekend getaways, and geek out over the planning of such events. My goal is to experience as many Disney desserts and cocktails as possible! Married to another Disney nerd and blessed with a daughter and son, we thoroughly enjoy the magic at Disney and are here to help others experience the magic as well.