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Universal Studios LA vs Universal Studios Orlando

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

You get the chance to tour the studio and see how and where some of your favorite movies and television shows were made.

You might even get the opportunity to see current projects being filmed on the backlot and meet a star or two.

Universal Studios Orlando, on the other hand, combines three separate 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.

Both Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando provide different experiences with different attractions; there isn’t one perfect park combining them all. 

So,we’d suggest visiting both for the best experience.

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

Location

Due to its various attractions, Universal Orlando, in particular, can serve as a stand-alone holiday destination. 

Yet visiting Universal Studios alone isn’t enough; you must explore other nearby attractions too

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, 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 Orlando vs Hollywood Tickets

Universal Orlando vs Hollywood Tickets
Image: Hollywoodreporter.com, Wdwnt.com

The cost does play a significant role in which Universal Park you choose to visit, but there’s more too.

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 and let you experience the Hogwarts Express. 

Compared to Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Orlando tickets have more options due to its three parks. 

Universal Orlando one-day park-to-park general admission ticket costs about US$198 for those over 13 years old.

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

Express Pass

Express pass
Image: Tiqets.com

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

At Universal Orlando, an ‘Express Pass’ is 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 if you get there and find long wait times.

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

Both the ‘Express pass’ in Orlando and the ‘Universal Express’ ticket in Hollywood give priority access to the participating attractions. 

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. 

Universal Studios Hollywood vs Orlando Size

Universal Studios Hollywood vs Orlando Size
Image: Nbcnews.com, Spectrumnews1.com

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.  

Universal Studios Hollywood spans approximately 415 acres in size.

There is only one theme park at Universal Studios Hollywood along with a functional movie studio but no entertainment/shopping district or hotels owned by Universal.

It might not seem like much of a difference, but the live set and operational studios occupy most of the Universal Studios Hollywood area.

Moreover, Universal just started building a sizable third theme park in Orlando, next to the present Universal Orlando resort.

Universal Studios Hollywood vs Orlando Attractions 

Universal Studios Hollywood

Built on two levels due to its mountainous location, Universal Studios Hollywood has 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.  

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, in the lower lot.

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

  • Studio tour
Universal_Studios_-_Studio_Tour
Image: En.m.wikipedia.org

The big feature of Universal Hollywood is its working film studio tour that is unavailable at any other Universal park. 

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

The 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.

  • Secret Life of Pets and the WaterWorld stunt show

The Secret Life of Pets is an interactive five-minute 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.

WaterWorld, based on the 1995 motion picture Waterworld, 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.

Both these attractions are not present in Universal Orlando

  • Super Nintendo World
Super Nintendo World
Image: Facebook.com(NintendoAmerica)

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 huge, with more than 30 rides spread throughout its two amusement parks, thrills, water slides, and tranquil 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. 

  • Universal’s Islands of Adventure

Seuss Landing, Jurassic Park, and Hogsmeade Village in the Wizarding World are 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 

Themed after film and television, Universal Studios Florida is similar to its Hollywood equivalent. It does not feature a functional studio 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 not offered at Universal Studios Hollywood.

  • Volcano Bay
Volcano Bay

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 vast volcano featuring three water slides and a roller coaster.

Various raft rides, a lazy river, and a sandy beach are 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

For instance, the tram tour incorporates both the Kong and Fast and Furious attractions at 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 Orlando and Hollywood is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

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

The two Wizarding World lands at Universal Orlando—Hogsmeade Village and Diagon Alley—offer more amazing 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 

Time commitment 
Image: Nbcnews.com, Attractionsmagazine.com

Universal Studios Hollywood, including the one-hour studios tour, can easily be experienced in one day if you visit on a day with a generally low number of visitors.

However, the much larger Universal Orlando does not allow you to do and see everything in the parks in a single 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 

Universal studio orlando hotels
Image: Loewshotels.com, Tripadvisor.in, Booking.com, Wyndhamhotels.com

With eight on-site hotels and the Universal CityWalk, there’s more to enjoy at Universal Orlando. 

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.  

Which one should you visit? 

In terms of experience between Universal Studios Hollywood vs Orlando, we can differentiate between the two in the following two sentences.

Universal Studios Hollywood is better 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 to experience the Harry Potter Wizarding World.

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