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Universal Studios LA vs. Universal Studios Orlando

Every theme park enthusiast asks which Universal Studios Park is better, Orlando or LA? 

The two most popular entertainment venues, Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Orlando, charm with exhilarating rides, breathtaking performances, and unique movie experiences.

Located within a real working movie studio, Universal Studios Hollywood offers a unique L.A. experience.

You can take a tour of the studio to witness the making of movies and TV shows, with the opportunity to see ongoing productions and possibly meet celebrities.

On the other hand, Universal Studios Orlando is a family theme park destination with three theme parks, including a water park. 

Featuring Diagon Alley, roller coasters in a larger area, and a central entertainment/shopping hub, Orlando Park can be a vacation spot of its own.

There is no one perfect park; Universal Studios Orlando and California both provide different experiences with various attractions.

Let’s look at all the similarities and differences between the two.

Which is better: Universal Studios LA or Orlando?

One would not travel to a city to only visit Universal Studios; you must consider other nearby attractions too.

Yet, due to the variety of attractions it delivers, Universal Orlando, can serve as a stand-alone holiday destination.

The distance between the airport in Orlando (MCO) and Universal Orlando is around 17 miles. 

While Burbank Airport (BUR) is about 7 miles from Universal Studios Hollywood, the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is around 25 miles away.

Outside the Universal theme parks, there are many more things to do and see in LA and Orlando. 

Universal Studios Hollywood vs Orlando Size

Covering over 540 acres of land, Universal Studios Orlando is bigger than its Hollywood counterpart and offers more rides, shows, and other attractions.

Universal Studios Orlando comprises two theme parks–Universal Studios Florida and Island of Adventure, a water park–Volcano Bay, a central internment hub– CityWalk, and eight in-house hotels.  

There is also a sizable third theme park in the works in Orlando, next to the present resort.

Universal Studios Hollywood spans approximately 415 acres in size. It features a single theme park, an entertainment hub and a working movie studio. 

The live set and operational studios occupy most of the Universal Hollywood area.

Universal Studios Hollywood vs Orlando Attractions

Universal Studios Hollywood provides a special fusion of movie magic and behind-the-scenes experiences. 

While Universal Studios Orlando has a huge selection of immersive theme parks and well-loved franchises, offering tourists infinite adventures in the heart of Florida. 

Universal Studios Hollywood

Built on two levels due to its mountainous location, Universal Hollywood consists of around 21 rides and attractions

The upper lot houses mostly family-friendly attractions, including Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, The Simpsons Ride, DreamWorks Theatre Featuring Kung Fu Panda and Harry Potter Wizarding World.

Super Silly Fun Land, an outdoor family play zone, is another attraction, perfect for kids.  

At the lower lot, you will find the more exciting rides, such as Transformers: The Ride-3D, Revenge of the Mummy – The Ride and Jurassic Park with its enormous animatronic dinosaurs.

There are a few popular attractions at Universal Hollywood you will not find in Orlando.

The big feature of Universal Hollywood is the working film studio tour it offers that is not available at any other Universal park. 

The backlot tour lasts roughly an hour and is available throughout the day.

This includes a tram ride to discover behind the scenes of well-known film and television sets and understand the filming of well-known memorable sequences.

Two impressive technological attractions—King Kong: 360 3-D and Fast & Furious: Supercharged—are part of the tour as well.

The Secret Life of Pets is an interactive five-mature ride for all ages that offers an immersive pet life experience with no scary drops or wild turns.

Visitors get to play the part of stray pups as they accompany the popular animated film characters on their search for everlasting homes.

This stunt show, based on a 1995 motion picture, features a ton of action, explosions, watery chases, and some goofy humor.

You can sometimes witness actors previously seen in minor television roles on shows like General Hospital and NCIS.

This newly launched area gives visitors a peek inside the world of Super Mario and his friends.

It features character encounters, dining, shopping, and the super-headlining Mario Kart Bowser’s Challenge attraction.

An immersive interactive game is also present; you get a power-up band to overcome obstacles and seize coins.

Universal Studios Orlando

Universal Orlando is massive, with over 30 rides across two theme parks, exciting water slides, and peaceful rivers at Volcano Bay.

The two full parks—Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure—located right next to each other, are easy to hop between. 

While Volcano Bay is easily accessible by shuttle. 

Seuss Landing, Jurassic Park and Hogsmeade Village in the Wizarding World are just a few examples of themed regions at this park. 

Home to phenomenal roller coasters, including the Incredible Hulk Coaster, Jurassic World VelociCoaster, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure, the park is perfect for thrill-seekers.

Universal Studios Florida, like its Hollywood counterpart, is themed around film and television. It does not feature a functional studio present and no studio tour.

The family-friendly E.T. Adventure ride and the 65 mph Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit coaster are two well-liked rides you will not find in Universal Hollywood.

Island-themed Volcano Bay water park offers 20 attractions, from the relaxing Kopiko Wai Winding River to the exhilarating Krakatau Aqua Coaster. 

The main attraction is a huge volcano featuring three water slides and a roller coaster.

Multiple raft rides, a lazy river and a sandy beach are also available.

Differences between similar attractions 

There are some similar attractions at both parks, including:

  • Jurassic Park: The Ride
  • Transformers
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • Revenge of the Mummy – The Ride
  • The Simpsons Ride
  • Fast & Furious – Supercharged

These rides and/or attractions differ slightly at the parks, but which is better: Universal Studios LA or Orlando?

For instance, the tram tour incorporates both the Kong and Fast and Furious attractions in Hollywood, while they are separate rides in Orlando with some differences in queues.  

Apart from the studio tour at Hollywood, a big difference between Universal Hollywood and Orlando is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The themed area (Hogsmeade) at Universal Hollywood features two rides, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff, the Hogwarts Castle and the shops with plenty of Butterbeer.

The two Wizarding World lands at Universal Orlando—Hogsmeade Village and Diagon Alley—offer more unique experiences for any Harry Potter fan.

The most important addition in Orlando is the Hogwarts Express train that connects the two theme parks. 

Florida has five Wizarding World attractions, including Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.

So, visit Universal Orlando if you want an extensive Harry Potter. 

Time Commitment 

Universal Studios Hollywood, including the one-hour Studios tour, can easily be experienced in a single day if you visit on a weekday.

But at Universal Orlando, with its much larger size, you can only try out some attractions in a day.

One would need at least three days to cover all the attractions in Universal Studios Orlando’s three parks

If you don’t have the luxury of time and want a park you can truly complete in a day, Universal Hollywood is the right choice for you.

Hotels 

With eight on-site hotels and the Universal CityWalk, your day at Universal Orlando won’t have to finish when the parks do. 

You can continue having fun before and after the parks open and close.

From the vintage Cabana Bay Beach Resort, and the Caribbean-inspired Loews Sapphire Falls Resort to the contemporary Aventura Hotel, you can select themed resorts that fit your budget. 

These hotels include transportation to and from the parks and early park entry in the accommodation rate.

Top hotels, including the Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando, Loews Royal Pacific Resort and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort, provide complimentary Universal Express passes with unlimited rides.

On the other hand, Universal Hollywood does not offer any on-site hotels and the associated benefits.  

Tickets

The cost will undoubtedly play a significant role in which Universal Park you choose to visit.

The one-day one-park basic ticket for Universal Orlando costs about the same as the one-day Universal Hollywood ticket.

However, most people purchase park-to-park tickets to experience all the park attractions.

These two-park or three-park tickets cost more but allow you to experience the Hogwarts Express. 

Compared to Universal Hollywood, Universal Orlando tickets include many more options due to its three parks. 

Universal Orlando one-day park-to-park general admission ticket costs about US$ 176 for those above 13.

Universal Hollywood one-day general admission ticket starts at US$ 107 for everyone over 13.

Express pass

There is a difference between the Universal Express line access at Universal Orlando and Hollywood.

At Universal Orlando, ‘Express passes’ are an add-on to the general admission ticket; you must always buy the tickets to enter the parks.

You can also upgrade to the Express Pass once you get there and find long wait times.

Universal Hollywood, on the other side, has a separate ‘Universal Express ticket that includes admission to the park.

The ‘Express pass’ at Orlando and the ‘Universal Express’ ticket at Hollywood gives priority access to the participating attractions once. 

You can purchase the Unlimited Express pass as an add-on at Universal Hollywood and Orlando if you need unlimited skip-the-line access to the attractions.

Don’t wait for the Express pass to sell out; buy the passes in advance online if you know you’ll be traveling during a busy period. 

Which one should you visit? 

If you are still wondering if Universal Hollywood or Orlando is better, the conclusion is—

Universal Studios Hollywood is best for those looking for a one-day theme park experience and seeing behind-the-scenes live working sets. 

Universal Orlando Resort is better for those looking for a theme park vacation and experience of the Harry Potter Wizarding World.

FAQs

Is Universal Studios better in LA or Florida?

Universal Studios in LA is smaller but provides a distinctive Hollywood experience with its studio tour. At the same time, the Orlando location is more prominent and has more attractions.

Which one is better depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re interested in seeing the behind-the-scenes of movie-making, LA is the way to go.

Orlando might be more suitable if you’re looking for more rides and attractions.

What is the difference between Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando a lot?

The main difference between Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando is the number and type of attractions. 

While Hollywood focuses more on behind-the-scenes experiences of movie and TV sets, Orlando has a water park and two theme parks with various popular franchise attractions, including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Is there a difference between Universal Studios in California and Florida?

Yes. While both parks have some shared attractions and rides, they also offer different experiences. 

Universal Studios in California provides a distinctive L.A. experience with a functioning movie studio. 

On the other hand, Universal Studios in Florida offers a larger multi-day experience with two theme parks and a water park.

Is Harry Potter better in California or Florida?

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is considered better in Florida, as it offers a larger and more immersive experience. 

Spread out between the lands of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, Orlando’s Harry Potter attractions provide more interactive experiences, rides and shops compared to the California location.

Is Universal Studios LA worth it?

Universal Studios in LA provides a unique experience where visitors can explore a real TV studio alongside enjoying popular theme park rides.
 
The recent addition of Super Nintendo World adds to the excitement, making it a worthwhile destination for family entertainment.

Is Universal Studios Orlando the same as California?

Universal Studios Orlando is not the same as Universal Studios in California. 
While both parks share similar attractions and experiences, there are notable differences. 

Featured Image: Facebook.com(UniversalStudiosHollywood), Facebook.com(UniversalOrlandoResort)

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