When it comes to theme parks, Disney World still pretty much maintains its hold on the theme park resort market in Orlando, Florida, there’s a strong indication that could soon change.
For starters, last year, a new study revealed that the most popular theme park is now Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure, followed by Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Yep, Disney is already at #2 with many people. However, now with all the big announcements Universal has released about its upcoming third park, Epic Universe, Disney could have some super serious competition on its hands when Epic Universe opens in 2025.
That’s right, Epic Universe could give Universal Orlando the upper hand and create three specific threats for Disney World to face in just a year.
Universal will become a week-long vacation spot
The one thing Disney World now has over Universal Orlando is that with its four parks, it’s often a week-long destination for people visiting the resort. Universal Orlando has always been a 1-3 day vacation for most with its two parks. However, with the addition of Epic Universe, which will have a total of FIVE new lands, visitors to Universal Orlando will need more time to see and do everything they wish.
That makes Universal Orlando more of a vacation destination, especially now that it’s also getting two new hotels near Epic Universe, putting it right up there with Disney for week-long trips. Visitors who spend a few days at Universal while visiting Disney World will now be more inclined between the two.
A Universal Orlando vacation is easier to plan than a Disney World vacation
Yes, planning a Disney World vacation is a LOT. It’s managed to become a LITTLE easier now that park pass reservations are no longer required for most visitors, but you still have to think WAY ahead if you want to experience certain events, dine at certain restaurants, and even ride certain rides. You have to understand the ins and outs of Genie+ and how Individual Lightning Lanes work if you want to skip the standby lines. You’ll also find yourself glued to your phone and the My Disney Experience app because almost EVERYTHING at Disney World is tied to it.
On the other hand, a vacation to Universal Orlando is a lot simpler. It’s a trip that allows for way more spontaneity. You also don’t need to use Universal’s app if you don’t want to so you can put your phone away. Universal does have a paid skip-the-line program (which is free if you’re staying at certain Universal hotels) called Express Pass, but you don’t have to book reservations for rides like you have to with Disney World’s Genie+. At Universal, You just show up at the ride when you’re ready and scan your pass in the ride’s Express lane. Not all rides are included, but it beats having to use Genie+ to book specific times to ride attractions in Disney World.
In Disney World, you have to book dining reservations 60 days before the first day of the trip or you risk not dining where you want to. At Universal, you’re much more likely just to be able to walk into a table service restaurant whenever you want without having to plan ahead.
Disney World hasn’t opened a new theme park since 1998, when Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened. The one thing Epic Universe will have over Disney World is that it’s 100% new. It’s not just one little land added to a theme park. It’s a new park with five different-themed lands, including one land with an original theme.
A lot of us go to Disney World A LOT, so we’re not getting that new feeling much, save for one new ride that will open in 2024, as well as a re-themed Country Bears Jamboree. If you’re craving an experience that is ALL new, Epic Universe is going to be way more appealing. We’re talking new lands, new rides, new experiences, and new restaurants.
So when 2025 rolls around and Epic Universe opens, Disney World might suddenly find itself emptier. The only way Disney World may be able to compete is by announcing something BIG and new itself, like a fifth park. We’ll have to see how things play out, though.
What do you think? Will Disney World lose visitors when Epic Universe opens? Let us know in the comments!