WDW or Universal first stop

We are going on a 14 Day holiday to Orlando. 10 nights Disney, 4 night Universal.

I am not sure which of the two we should do first ? I am travelling with my wife and two kids 8 and 11 years old. None of my kids have ever been on a rollercoaster before but they are very adventurous so i am not worried about them being scared.

So my thoughts were to do Disney first to get them used to the thrills so they will enjoy Universal more.

But I am also worried that Universal will feel like a let down after Disney world ?

What would you do ? We will probably never return as this is an international destination for us.

Any advise on this would be excellent.

EDIT My kids meet all height requirements at Universal and WDW


I like your idea of doing Disney first to get them used to the thrills. I wouldn’t worry about Universal being a let down.


This is a big one for our family too, Mark. We went the other way. The main reason is that we find (outside of Potter) UOR has zero charm. So for me, it’ll depend on how invested in the Disney IP your kids are. Ours are a lot older but I think UOR is about height not age. Even if they want to go on, they may be restricted. It’s not a biggie at the end of the day, you’ll still have a great time! We’re from the UK an have to go in the kids holidays. To keep it affordable we’re doing the Holiday Inn outside the gate then the Royal Pacific and then renting DVC points at OKW for 11 nights. That was a steal!


We visited Florida from Australia in January with our 10 year old son. We did Universal first and loved it. But (other than Harry Potter) it just doesn’t compare to Disney. You will enjoy both either way, but there is something to special in saving the best till last. There are also enough rides at Universal to build up across four days to the big rides, without using Disney for that purpose. Again, either way you are going to have a great time :blush:


Famous last words :laughing:

I think your plan to start at WDW and ease them into thrills is perfect!


Where are you staying at UOR? If you are staying at a Deluxe resort and will have unlimited Express Pass, I would definitely do Disney first. We did a Disney/UOR trip in 2021 during Covid when there was no Genie+. The lines at Disney weren’t too bad, but after being at UOR and having unlimited EP for 3 days, waiting in the lines at Disney felt long. I would have swapped those in retrospect so that we finished at UOR when we wouldn’t have had to wait in lines hardly at all.


Staying at Hard Rock and Beach club Villas


We did a 1 BR suite at Royal Pacific and then Boardwalk Villas 1 bedroom. We liked the BWV better with the full kitchen and the washer/dryer. If I had to do over, I would have done Disney first. Did a load of laundry before checking out, and then moved to UOR. But that’s just me. It might be a little better to do UOR–>WDW now with Genie+ and some VQs. But nothing beats unlimited EP at UOR where it is available for nearly every ride except Hagrid’s.

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I would also plan at least a 1/2 day at Volcano Bay. When I went there in 2022 with my son who was turning 14, I wasn’t crazy about the idea. We ended up going twice we loved it so much!


We did a similar trip in August 2019, intending for it to be a one-and-done because we also live far from Florida. My kids were a bit older than yours, 13 at the time (twins), and we asked this same question about which to do first, Disney or Universal. The advice we got at the time was to end with Universal because it will feel like a nice relaxing way to end the trip after the super planned and scheduled time at Disney. So we did 7 days at Disney and then 4.5 days at Universal (with Express Pass from staying a premier hotel) and absolutely loved it. My kids were big Harry Potter fans, so that did help to make Universal seem pretty magical. I did not think it was a let down after Disney at all, but we are perhaps not as Disney focused as some? We enjoyed some of the other theming at Universal, like the Minions ride, the Jurassic Park ride (this was before Velocicoaster, and also possibly before my kids had even seen any of the Jurassic Park movies?). And for my 13 year olds, the thrill rides at Universal really trumped many of the rides at Disney - they loved being able to use the Express Pass to ride Hulk over and over again. Having the Express Pass really means that you can be a lot more relaxed about your time, I found. We also loved Volcano Bay. We visited both of the Disney water parks, too, but it was nice to end with Volcano Bay because it was just so much better than the Disney water parks, in our opinion (the fast lazy river was amazing).

Long-winded way of saying I think you’ll really enjoy doing Disney then Universal.

Our one-and-done trip was so much fun we are doing it again this year. We are going August 2023, my kids will be 17, and we are going to try doing it in the opposite order this time. We will do Universal first then Disney, partially because we could better hotel discounts at Disney during the 2nd week, partially because crowd predictions suggest Disney will be a bit less busy the 2nd week, and partially because we want to try Universal at the beginning of our vacation because we were admittedly pretty tired after 7 days of Disney last time! I am a little worried with doing it in this order that the Disney rides will be a bit anticlimactic for the 17 year olds, but there are quite a few new rides that they should be excited about - Tron, Guardians, and all of Galaxy’s Edge.


We did a similar trip in August with our 2 boys who were 9 & 12 at the time. We did UOR first (4 nights at Portofino Bay) and then Disney (8 nights at the Yacht Club). I like that order the best. UOR is so fun and it was a great kick off to our trip. But I liked saving the Disney magic for last. Plus I feel like having the longer portion of the trip to look forward to during the first part. Good luck!


Some great advice, thanks for the effort

I found going to Universal after going to Disney very jarring. Disney makes many awkward interactions charming and fun, while Universal is much more to-the-point of things, but it’s not nearly the same quality of experience. Always upgrade your experience as your trip goes on, going the other way is harder.

Even though you’re picking great places to stay at both spots, I think you’ll find the feeling of being “in the bubble” stronger at Disney than Universal, and there’s something just so immersive about that. I also think you might get some element of “ride fatigue” on a 14 day trip, and Universal is much more ride focused than Disney (and especially if you’re staying at Beach Club and have such an easy walk to the World Showcase) so later in your trip you might appreciate more the ability to just walk or Skyliner over to Epcot or DHS for a show and maybe 1 ride, or a tour of a couple pavilions. I don’t think you can really go wrong either way for a “once in a childhood” trip but for those reasons I’d do Universal first then Disney. You’ll still be able to “build up” to more intense rides even during your first 4 days at Universal, with plenty of time for re-riding given the time you have and express passes. We did that in only a day and a half at Universal.

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We always do Disney first. The parks are open longer and the logistics(Genie plus, transportation, etc.) are exhausting. Universal with the hotel express pass is so easy and relaxing. A good way to end a long trip!


I’m with the Disney first crowd. We’ve spent the last 2 years focused on UOR with the occasional trip to WDW for a few days and it’s just so much more relaxing on the UOR side, especially with Express Pass. And my thrill seeking DS loves to end his trips with the likes of Velocicoaster, Hulk, Hagrid’s and Mummy (usually with many, many Velocicoaster!). But it really is a personal preference I think.


We’ve only done WDW before, but we’re about to do 2 days at UOR (with EP) and then 4 at WDW. I was thinking “save the best for last” when planning. I also think with UOR closing earlier while we’re there (7/8pm) maybe we won’t be too worn out going on to WDW from there. I’ll report back after the trip and see what I think looking back on it!

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In a vacuum, I would do WDW first, but I would also look at the calendar and if theme parks were expected to be more crowded for a portion of my trip, I would would go to UO for the more crowded part (especially given that you are staying at Hard Rock).

What month are you going?

Most definitely start with Disney and then finish with Universal!!! My kids are all ready to be done with Disney after about 5-6 days, and Universal is just fun fun fun for them. It is so much easier with express pass, also.


We do the opposite.

We love starting at universal getting in all the thrills. We then love taking a breadth and coasting through Disney for the remainder of the trip. The stress levels lower, the touring becomes more relaxed and familiar, the cares float away inside the Disney bubble.

We tend to be “less” exhausted when we arrive back home when going in this order.