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Best way to do BOTH Disney and Universal

Denver, Colorado
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41 posts
Best way to do BOTH Disney and Universal
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Hey everyone, my wife and i were planning a trip to Orlando just to visit Universal Orlando and Disney world. We were planning to go in November and would be using miles for our flights. Our goal is to do 3 days at disneyworld (visit all 3 parks) and then 2 days at Universal Studios (visit both parks).

I know that the parks arent in close proximity to each other and most hotels dont offer transportation to the other parks. What would be the best way to approach this vacation? We were planning to stay at one of the Disney hotels which have free transportation to the parks and also to/from the airport.

Would it make the most sense to stay at a Disney Hotel for the full 7 days? We werent planning on getting a rental car, so what would be the best way to go to the Universal parks each day?

My second option was to do 4 nights at one of the Disney hotels, then do the last 3 night at one of the Universal partner hotels. Would this route make sense? What would be the best way to get from the Disney Hotel to the Orlando one? How much would a cab ride be? (rough estimate)

My last option is to get a deal through Costco, which includes a rental car but not one of the partner hotels, so you dont get the perks associated with them. I like the idea of staying at the partner hotels to get the additional perks, like early admission etc.. Also, is one day per park enough? We are big disney fans and i have not yet done any of the Orlando parks. I have also desperately wanted to do the "world of harry potter," so in your guys opinion would one day be enough? or do you think 2 days for that park would work better?

Any help with our planning would be greatly appreciated!!

Worksop, United...
Destination Expert
for Orlando, Walt Disney World, Kissimmee
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70 reviews
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1. Re: Best way to do BOTH Disney and Universal
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Disney has four "major" theme parks....

Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.

There is easily enough to keep you busy for a very full day in each; I'd recommend two, in fact. And, as you've already worked out, there is much to be said FOR staying in a Disney hotel, at least for the duration of your Disney visits. (So....four days, or skip a park or two!)

It would NEVER be my choice to effectively "waste" a day moving hotels mid-trip. By the time you've packed up before checkout time, and checked out; moved your stuff to the next place, left it with the hotel, and then reserved enough time later on to check in and unpack again.....you don't have much left for entertainment.

In terms of getting from Disney to Universal, there is a good value combined ticket and transportation offering: http://www.dreamsunlimitedtravel.com/universal/

If you already have admissions, then it can be done by public bus for $2 but it's indirect and takes about 90 minutes. Or a taxi, or a shuttle, far quicker. Either of the latter will be substantially more costly than the transportation element of the combined deal above.

Louisiana
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2 helpful votes
2. Re: Best way to do BOTH Disney and Universal
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There are four Disney parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. I would allot a full day to each, two days at Magic Kingdom if you'll have little ones with you. Epcot can easily take a day and a half.

JMHO, but if you stay in a Universal resort with Express you should be able to see both Universal parks (Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure) in two days.

If we had seven nights I'd probably book 5 at a Disney resort and two at Universal. The downside is that, unless you move to Universal mid-trip and then back to Disney, you'll lose your Magical Express back to the airport.

You could take the ME to the airport and pick up a rental to use for the rest of your trip. I've picked up a rental at the Dolphin (on Disney property) at the end of the WDW portion of my trip before heading over to Universal in the past.

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: Best way to do BOTH Disney and Universal
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You may want to add an extra day as there are 4 Disney parks. Your itinerary sounds good in my opinion and gives you a full day at each park to take in the sights. I would get a guide to the attractions so you have an idea of the layout and which attractions you're most interested in.

The 4 days at Disney hotel and 3 at Universal could work if you don't mind changing resorts. However why don;t you check the websites or give a call to hotels to find out the cost of cabs or hired shuttle to the parks versus the price difference in hotels. If it's significantly more expensive for a different hotel just to take advantage of transportation...then might make more sense to stay put at one and take cab or paid shuttle. Then again there are early entrance advantages and unlimited express rides at Universal if you are a guest. If you don't stay at a Disney or Universal hotel, you won't get the guest benefits that both offer...although you might save money on accomodations. There would also be the cost of airport shuttle, which is free if you stay at Disney. Lots to think about...decisions, decisions!

Louisiana
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4. Re: Best way to do BOTH Disney and Universal
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I've done the Disney resort-Universal resort transfer quite a few times and it doesn't take me anything like a day. I am an early riser and don't really spread my stuff out though-tend to live out of the suitcase. I usually have Express check out at Disney so I load up the night before, get up early, drive over to Universal, get checked in and am at the Universal parks for opening.

It's worth it to me for the Express and resort perks :-)

Denver, Colorado
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41 posts
5. Re: Best way to do BOTH Disney and Universal
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If i was to switch hotels, what we would do is pack the night before, check out in the early morning and have the front desk hold our luggage, spend the day at one of the Disney parks, get back to the hotel around 6-8ish, take a cab to our Orlando hotel and check in. We travel quite often so getting ready and switching hotels will be no problem.

I looked at that website for Tickets with transfers and they seem pretty pricey. It would be over $400 for 2 day tickets for each of us. The Disney Hotel we are looking at staying is the one of the Port Orleans/Carribean hotels. If we were to take a cab each day from the hotel to Universal and back, any idea of the distance and cost?

Do you know if any of the Universal hotels have free airport transfers, and also how far is Universal Studios from the Airport?

Thanks!!

pa
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55,379 posts
6. Re: Best way to do BOTH Disney and Universal
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Universal Hotels have No Free Transport

I would just stay put at a Disney Resort ( Port Orleans Riverside http://allears.net/acc/faq_dxl.htm or Coronado Springs http://allears.net/acc/faq_cs.htm would be my top picks for Moderates ) Universal Parks can both be done in one day ( we do that alot ) The Ticket and transport Option works very well www.dreamsunlimitedtravel.com/universal/

Be sure to check back for discounts, you can book now directly with Disney or an Offical Disney Agent such as www.dreamsunlimitedtravel.com and then Modify later to include any new discounts ( can't change things up much if you book with on line sites such as Expedia, Orbitz etc )

A Taxi from Disney to Universal is $35 - $50 oneway depending on Resort Location, Disney is 47 square miles Big :)

New Jersey
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20 reviews
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7. Re: Best way to do BOTH Disney and Universal
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I am doing 5nights Disney and 3 nights Universal this summer. I am using Tiffany towncar service for the transfer. It's $115 for a van to take me from Disney Resort to Universal Royal Pacific and then Univ. to airport.

Portsmouth, United...
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139 posts
8. Re: Best way to do BOTH Disney and Universal
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hi i am in orlando and have used mears cabs from disney to id.they cost me $35 if that helps.

York, United Kingdom
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9. Re: Best way to do BOTH Disney and Universal
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Easy this. Stay at Disney and travel to universal via taxi (or another alternative) and buy the express passes otherwise you will be queuing a lot.

Fort Worth, Texas
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10. Re: Best way to do BOTH Disney and Universal
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We had wrestled with this same issue, and ended up staying at Disney, for the entire trip. It worked out perfectly. Harry Potter was our main reason for going to Universal, and the "Express Pass" is not accepted for the Forbidden Journey, so there was no need to stay at a Universal Hotel. You can buy an "express pass" for the other rides, when you are in the park, if you need them.

Many people go to both Universal and Islands of Adventure (where Harry Potter is located) in one day. We only planned on IOA, and went back to Disney by 2:30 in the afternoon.

The longer you stay at Disney, the less expensive the tickets. I would buy 8 day tickets, not much more than 4 day tickets. Free transport, dining plan option, EMH, etc.

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