Author: Mark Plante | Published: Wednesday March 30, 2022 09:26 AM

In our last post, we discussed the difference between two “Value Resorts”. One in Disney World (Pop Century) and the other at Universal Studios (Endless Summer-Surfside). Once all the we went through all the categories we came to the conclusion that both resorts were very similar, if not almost identical and that the biggest determiner on which was better was price.

It is no surprise that, right now, a trip to Disney World in Orlando will be much more expensive than a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando. But by how much?

To find out, we are going to compare apples to apples as much as we can. For our first trip, we will be pricing a five-night stay at a Deluxe Resort for two adults. We will also purchase 5 day tickets with Park Hoppers for Disney and 5 day Park to Park tickets for Universal. For food, we will factor in breakfast at the resort, a quick service meal for lunch, an afternoon snack and a sit down restaurant for dinner. We will not be including any transportation, souvenirs, or any other variables that would be out of each resort’s control. Our totals also do not include tips or gratuities due to them being subjective.

Our trip will be Monday – Friday, September 12 – September 16, 2022. This is represented as the “Slow Season” for both parks and both should generally have lower rates during this time.

The Resorts chosen for this comparison are Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Universal’s Portofino Bay Hotel.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Cost – Lake View Room$3,060.00
Tickets – 5 Days w/Park Hopper$1,153.10
Breakfast – Contempo Café$125.00
Lunch Total$225.00
Snack Total$70.00
Dinner Total (sit-down meal)$450.00

Universal’s Portofino Bay Hotel

Cost – Bay View King Room$1,953.00
Tickets – 5 Days Park to Park$717.80
Express Pass (included w/room)$0
Breakfast – Trattoria del Porto$160.00
Lunch Total$140.00
Snack Total$65.00
Dinner Total(sit-down meal)$400.00

The difference between staying at Disney World or Universal Studios Florida during the week of September 16, 2022 is an amazing $1,797.30.

Keep in mind there are differences between the two parks that were not calculated in this amount.

  • Disney World ticket does give you access to four theme parks, where Universal Studios Florida does only currently have two theme parks.
  • Universal Studios Florida does not require reservations to enter their parks. At Disney World, you must have a reservation to enter the first park of the day. If reservations are not available, you will not be able to enter the park.
  • Universal Park to Park tickets, you have access to both parks, all day. With Disney World’s Park Hopper, you have access to all four parks… after 2PM. If a park has reached capacity, you will not be able to enter that park and you will not know until you get to the park’s front gate.
  • Disney’s Genie+ only allows you to select one ride in which you can skip the line. You are not able to select a second ride until you have used the first. Some have reported that even at park opening, you are not able to select a ride time until well into the afternoon, and sometimes early evening. Universal Studio’s Express Pass allows you to skip the line on most rides in both parks without having to reserve a time. Also, Universal Studio’s Express Pass is only included in the cost of “Deluxe” Hotel Rooms. If you are not staying at a Deluxe Hotel, Express Pass would cost you anywhere from $85 to $125 per person, per day.

So at this point, Universal Studios has a much lower price for staying at a “Deluxe Hotel” than Disney World. I know that there are quite a few intangibles that make Disney World a more sentimental value. But at this time, Disney World seems to be pricing itself right out of the market. I am curious to see what happens in about a year from now when this huge “Travel Boom” due to everyone not being able to travel for the past two years due to COVID restrictions starts to subside and people realize just how expensive Disney is. Disney must realize that also in that timeframe, Universal Studios Florida will be getting ready to open their third gate, Epic Universe, a little further South on Universal Blvd.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, I hope that you enjoyed it. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate contacting Florida Theme Park.