A hard choice for many Orlando tourists is whether to visit Disney World or Universal Studios.
They’re similar in many regards, but ultimately very different experiences.
Each appeals to different age groups.
While Disney World has a lot of great attractions for teens and they will have fun, there’s no doubt that looking at it as a whole, Universal Studios Resort is better for teens.
Here are five reasons why…
1. Better Thrill Rides
One of the first things that comes to mind when thinking of Universal Orlando is its mega thrill rides.
Disney World has some amazing thrill rides, but none of them are as intense as the ones at Universal. Here are some of the best, so you can see what I’m talking about.
A unique roller coaster experience based on the Jurassic World series that puts you in a raptor paddock. It has two launch sections, a top-hat, a near-vertical drop, and much more.
The reason it’s unique is while it has inversions, there are no overhead restraints – there’s just a lap bar. This allows for more freedom of movement. Your body flies wildly with the twists and turns. It is an out-of-body experience.
Arguably the most terrifying part is when you roll upside-down over the lake. I’ve been on the ride many times, and yet I still scream my head off in that part.
I’d go as far as to say it’s the best roller coaster in Orlando. It’s the perfect blend of terror and thrills.
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Okay, maybe this is actually the best roller coaster in Orlando. It’s too hard to decide!
Based on the Harry Potter movies, Hargid’s Motorbike Adventure is a high-speed roller coaster through the Forbidden Forrest. It has multiple launch sections, a backward drop, as well as a freefall drop. It has pretty much everything.
Related: Which Park is Best for Harry Potter?
Revenge Of The Mummy
A creepy, eerie journey through a cursed Egyptian temple that ends with a killer roller coaster section in the dark.
It has Hollywood movie effects, a spooky atmosphere, and a fantastic roller coaster section with plenty of air-time.
It’s like stepping into a classic Universal horror film.
Disney World has one or two scary rides, but none that will get your spine tingling like this.
2. Less Kiddy Rides
As you can tell, overall, the rides at Universal are catered to teens. There aren’t actually many kiddy rides. Not all of them are intense roller coasters, but there are only a few slow rides.
Compare it to Epcot, which arguably only has one or two rides that’s good for teens.
To name a few rides at Universal for teens, there’s The Amazing Adventures Of Spider-Man, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Jurassic Park River Adventure, and pretty all of the Harry Potter rides.
I love Peter Pan’s Flight, The Haunted Mansion, Living With The Land – all those great rides at Disney World. But if you’re seeking rides that have a little more energy, look no further than Universal.
3. More Convenient To Go Park-To-Park
Universal Studios Park and Islands Of Adventure are right next to each other. It’s less than a five-minute walk to go from the entrance of one park to the other. Plus, there’s the Hogwarts Express, which takes you from park to park.
The fact that Universal is smaller than Disney World actually works as a strength, given how easy it is to go between the parks, hotels, and City Walk.
4. Better Affordable Hotels
One big thing that really sells Universal is that it has more high-quality affordable hotels.
The cheapest hotels at Disney are decent, but there aren’t as great as the ones in Universal.
Cabana Bay is a value hotel which is particularly appealing to teens,
You can get a cheaper rate at Cabana Bay Beach Resort than an All Stars Resort.
Cabana Bay has plenty of things to do, including a bowling alley, a lazy river, and two pools.
Also, the theming at All Stars Resort is catered towards kids, while Cabana Bay theming is catered to the whole family, taking on a fun 50s and 60s beach resort vibe.
And Cabana Bay Beach Resort Hotel is just one example.
There are plenty more great affordable hotels at Universal Resort, like Aventura, Endless Summer, and Sapphire Falls.
5. Wait Times
Disney is infamous for having some ludicrous wait times. Some of the most popular rides like Rise Of The Resistance can easily get up to three hours on a weekend.
Wait times at Universal can be long in the summer, but they’re manageable.
The popular rides could reach an hour’s wait, but most of them weren’t that long. Some of the best rides, like Harry Potter And The Escape From Gringotts, were only a twenty-minute wait.
Meanwhile, I was checking wait times at Hollywood Studios, and everything was at least an hour.
This means you can get more rides done in a day and get more value out of the ticket.
Related: Should I Get Universal Express Pass?
Alison Meacham is the founder of EverythingMouse Disney Blog. For over 15 years she has shared her love of Disney Parks, Disney Cruises and Universal Orlando. In over 30 years of Disney Travel she has spent countless months in Disney Parks and has sailed on over 45 cruises. A British native and now a United States resident she splits her time between California, Florida and the UK. And spends a serious amount of time sailing the seven seas. She helps over 200,000 people per month follow their Disney travel dreams.