Now that we’ve discussed the things that Universal Resort Orlando does better than Disney theme parks, let’s look at the situation from the other perspective. The Walt Disney Company’s position of dominance in the theme park industry speaks for itself. Uncle Walt invented the concept, and his Imagineers have maintained that legacy for more than 60 years.
With so much experience and natural expertise, Disney theme parks are basically cathedrals for escapist entertainment. Any theme park tourist can enter a Disney park and immediately feel transported to a better place. There’s true beauty in this transformation, and several aspects of design work together to build the backbone of Disney infrastructure.
Universal, the new kid on the block, has mimicked Disney as best that they can, but they’re still the students. Despite decades of competition, Disney has effortlessly maintained its status as the teacher and leader of the theme park industry. Here are five ways that Disney dominates Universal in building a better vacation experience.
Which is your favorite ride at Universal Studios? Is it the motion simulator for The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man? Maybe it’s the motion simulator for The Simpsons Ride. Actually, I think most people would select one of the two Harry Potter dark rides, both of which are…motion simulators.
Universal Studios ride designers might have a type. Virtually everything they do has a degree of sameness to it. While some novelty exists with attractions like Jurassic Park The Ride, Skull Island: Reign of Kong, and Revenge of the Mummy, most of Universal’s popular attractions fall into the same category. That’s unfortunate bordering on lazy.
Contrast the situation to Disney. A person who enters the park and walks down Hollywood Boulevard has the following options. They can go straight ahead and enjoy The Great Movie Ride, a masterpiece of narrated escapism that celebrates classic Hollywood. They walk past that section, turn left, and wind up at Toy Story: Midway Mania!, an interactive attraction with the feel of both a videogame and a carnival challenge.
Alternately, a theme park tourist could turn right on Sunset Boulevard. There, they’ll have a choice of the world’s greatest drop tower dark ride, The Twilight Zone of Terror, or the most kickass roller coaster in Orlando, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. And if someone is absolutely determined to ride a motion simulator, there’s always Star Tours. Disney even plussed it in a way that nothing at Universal can match. It has custom randomization built in, which allows it to offer a different ride every time.