Fly cheap from Nashville to Orlando for as low as $40 one way. That is a huge savings which will help offset the theme park costs or whatever activities you will do. I did a quick weekend with one day at Universal and one at Walt Disney World’s Epcot. Here’s a quick comparison.
Dealing with crowds
A big stress factor is the long lines and crowds. Both parks offer passes you can purchase to bypass the long lines at highly sought attractions. Disney once offered a Fast Pass, which has been replaced with the Lightening Lane as well as the Genie pass, making it a bit more complex, having to buy two different passes. I had to purchase the Lightening pass to ensure I could get on the ever popular Guardians of the Galaxy coaster, which had a 400 minute wait. However, to bypass the long lines for the adorable Ratatouille attraction, I had to purchase the Genie pass.
Universal offers an Express Pass which is very easy to use. I could use the pass at both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure on all rides accepting it. Overall, Universal was not as crowded which made it easier to navigate.
Universal wins hands down for its thrill rides and coasters. Marvel fans can look forward to battling villians in the amazing 3D Spiderman attraction, seeing Dr. Bruce Banner’s research before blasting off on the Incredible Hulk Coaster and more. Jurassic Park takes guests back millions of years, offering the VelociCoaster, one of the smoothest coasters in the city. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter invites muggles to journey from Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley, where whimsical buildings tower over the cobblestone streets. There are several rides including Escape from Gringotts and The Forbidden Journey.
Epcot offers Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy coaster, its newest attraction, which takes riders on a galactic indoor coaster. I am a fan and enjoyed the entire experience.
Universal’s City Walk, offers entertainment, shopping and dining conducive for all budgets. I indulged at The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen with a Cookie Jar shake. Of course, there are also dining options within both parks, such as Finnegans Bar and Grill at Universal.
Epcot offers the World Showcase where guests are taken through 11 countries. I enjoyed sampling foods from France, Mexico, Italy and Morocco.
Where to stay
I had a wonderful stay at The Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando, and was highly impressed with the hospitality and service. Enjoy complimentary breakfast and a daily happy hour. The hotel is about a 15 minute walk to Disney Springs where there is an abundance of shopping, dining and entertainment. I personally love eating The Original 1762 roast beef at Earl of Sandwich. I recommend buying an extra sandwich for under $10, which is great to take when hitting the parks. For unique experience, catch a ride on a vintage amphicar at The BOATHOUSE where you will ride into the water, and then cruise around the village. Cool off with a treat at Vivoli Il Gelato.
What to look forward to
The most exciting addition coming to Orlando…Universal Epic Universe. Stay tuned.