Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    kristenk is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    .
    Posts
    5,915

    Default California - Disneyland or Universal, which would you pick?

    I'm thinking about including a Disney and/or Universal trip as part of our California trip this summer (most likely mid- to late July). We've never been to Universal (FL or CA). We've been to DisneyWORLD a few times, most recently 3 years ago, but never DisneyLAND.

    My questions:

    How much time do you need for each park?

    If you could only do one, which would you do?

    How good is the Harry Potter stuff at Universal Hollywood vs Universal Orlando?

    Are there any special passes or early admission things that are worthwhile? I feel like I'm trying to explore a whole new world and don't know the language.

  2. #2
    SnuggleBuggles is online now Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    .
    Posts
    41,843

    Default

    If you've been to WDW, I'd choose Universal.

    If you ask die hards, they'll say you need lots of days for DL. We have always made do with 1 day as we shove it into our itinerary when going to CA for other things (it isn't a trip to go to Disney). We did both parks in one day on a July day once- the parks were open until midnight so we had enough time. If parks are closing early, you might just want to pick a park if you only have one day.

    If you do Universal, 1 day is good. The Harry Potter part is much smaller than in Orlando. Hollywood only has Hogsmeade. Orlando has Diagon Alley (which is huge) and the Hogwarts Express. There's a way to buy Universal tickets that gets you some extra perks. Hopefully someone can chime in on that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    .
    Posts
    3,595

    Default

    I'd lean towards Universal. I have taken kids to WDW four times in last 11 years. Always did all the planning WAY ahead of time. I took just DD (almost 8) to LAND in February. We had a great time, but it was just like going to an amusement park. Not the immersive experience World can be. Nice because there really was no planning ahead for us. We just did the two parks and were there for 3 1/2 days. We were with another family who did not go "as hard" as we normally would. My whole normal family would have liked two days.

    But, I've also never been to Universal. So not much to compare to. We want to go, but this most recent trip was with only my youngest and I want to take the older two also.

  4. #4
    pharmjenn is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    1,097

    Default

    I agree with PP about doing Universal. We went in early December with DS10 and DH in an electric scooter, so had to move slower than normal, but were able to get the entire park done, including a few shows, before dinner. DS and I went back the next morning, but only did a few rides he wanted to try again and we were done in 3 hours. We had done Universal Orlando a year earlier and spent 3 days in those 2 parks and fully enjoyed it, but Hollywood is much smaller.
    mom to Billy 12/07

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    9,279

    Default

    Universal. You can do the entire park in one day.

    Sent from my SM-J700P using Tapatalk
    Latia (Birth & Postpartum Doula and Infant Nanny)
    Conner 8/19/03 (My 1st home birthed water baby!)
    Parker 5/23/09 (My 2nd home birthed water baby!)

  6. #6
    kristenk is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    .
    Posts
    5,915

    Default

    Sounds like we’ll be having a day at Universal! Thanks, everyone!


    Sent from my iPhone using Baby Bargains

  7. #7
    Tenasparkl is online now Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    2,267

    Default

    I like Universal because it's ten minutes from home, but it's no Disneyland. That being said, we just had some out of town visitors that loved their day at Universal. They bought tickets ahead online to get early admission into Hogsmeade and were happy with that decision. We met them at regular opening and they had already finished riding the big Harry Potter ride, doing Ollivander's and were using their new wands in the windows. Once the park officially opened that area was packed.

  8. #8
    klwa is offline Ruby level (4000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    NC.
    Posts
    4,457

    Default

    We took our three kids to California last summer. We've done WDW multiple times, but I've always wanted to do DL. For the trip, we did three days at DL, 1 at Universal, and 1 at Legoland. I felt like that timeline gave us a good amount of time at each park.

    As for which one I would do, it depends on your timeline and age of kids. Our big kids LOVED Universal. The youngest wasn't as big of a fan, but enjoyed the things she could do.

    For Universal, make sure you pre-buy tickets through Universal in order to get early entry. I haven't been to Universal Orlando since HP opened. () but DH & DS had been and I think Hogsmeade is pretty similar to the one in Orlando. However, as PP mentioned, there's no Diagon Alley or Hogwarts express.

    For Disney, if you get a 3 day pass, you get early entry to Disneyland on one day. We used that on our first day there, then got a prepark opening breakfast at Minnie's for our last day, which got us in the park at the same time as the early entry people. After eating, DH took the oldest two out before we saw all the characters to ride Space Mountain before the park officially opened. DD2 & I stayed behind to see one mroe character at breakfast. Worked great for us. Since we wanted to do Legoland as well, we got the Southern California CityPASS, which gave us 3 days at DL + 1 day at Legoland + (unused) 1 day at SeaWorld. Even skipping the Seaworld portion, it made the tickets cheaper than purchasing separately.
    -Kris
    DS (9/05)
    DD (8/08)
    DD (9/12)

  9. #9
    bisous is online now Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    .
    Posts
    10,893

    Default

    I have a lot of local friends with passes to Universal but mostly because they can't afford Disney! They like Universal but Disney would be pretty much everyone's first pick. I have only been to Universal once and it was 16 years ago. DH and I ran out of stuff to do and watched a movie in City Walk, lol. I think the Harry Potter attractions would be amazing to visit though and hope our family can do that sometime soon!

  10. #10
    Twoboos is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    .
    Posts
    9,550

    Default

    If you have one day I would say Universal. SIL did Uni a few months ago, and just needed a day to do all the HP still plus the backlot tour and a few rides and it sounded like enough time.

    If you have 2-3 days I'd say Disney. We just did DL (came on here to post a trip report!), even though we had done WDW last April vaca. It's the same but different. DL is somehow easier to manage, you can jump between the parks and if you stay onsite you get Early Entry to DCA one day and DL the other (so helpful to fitting in mostly everything!). Plus DCA had Guardians of the Galaxy (slightly obsessed ).
    "Every mother needs a wife." - Amy Poehler, Yes Please

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •