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WDW or Universal this Christmas?

Dr. Ludwig von Drake

Active Member
Original Poster
We're planning a trip this December to Orlando, but are having difficulty deciding between WDW and Universal.

I've got reservations at All Star Movies. Four-day tickets and five nights (two rooms) for our family of seven. The cost for room and tickets is $4327.

I've also got the same dates reserved at Universal. Two rooms at the Royal Pacific, and Florida annual (seasonal) passes. Total cost here for room and tickets is $3934.

We are Florida residents (4 hours away). We've been going to Disney since 2002, but have only been to Universal twice (in 2019). We usually have Florida annual passes.

The room and ticket costs are within 10% of each other, so that cost difference is not an issue.

Disney thoughts (plusses and minuses):
  • Plus: In my opinion they do the holidays better than Universal. Decorations, food, merch.
  • Plus: All Star Movies is well-themed if you love Disney (and we do).
  • Plus: Better / more food choices.
  • Plus: Resort hopping (holiday pins, gingerbread houses).
  • Plus: We've got a lot of gift card money racked up from using two Disney Chase Visa cards.
  • Minus: No fastpass yet announced for December.
  • Minus: All things in the resort are expensive, particularly dining.
Universal thoughts:
  • Plus: Unlimited fastpass for Royal Pacific guests.
  • Plus: Annual passes!
  • Plus: Bigger rooms, fancier hotel.
  • Plus: Walk to parks.
  • Plus: Butterbeer.
  • Minus: Less Christmas atmosphere.
  • Minus: Limited dining in parks.
The family is split 4 to 3 on where to go. We have a while to think about it. Cancellation of rooms in is November for Disney, December for Universal.

Any thoughts?
 

JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
I'd enjoy the holiday more at Disney with more options to enjoy more variety there than at Uni. Plus I've had more holiday feel and spirit delivered from a Dis stay than a Uni one. Plus you have those added gift cards and rewards to go through. Or you could just take a day to visit Uni to get that in for those who want to go.
 

CynBeth

Active Member
Could you extend the trip a little and do a few days at Universal either before or after also with a day at SW to experience their holiday stuff and the rest of the time at Disney?
 

Mousertainment

Well-Known Member
Another vote for both!

I bet Christmastime at Wizarding World would be fantastic. But Disney at Christmas is truly special. If you can, why not enjoy the best of both worlds? :)
 

Giss Neric

Well-Known Member
We're planning a trip this December to Orlando, but are having difficulty deciding between WDW and Universal.

I've got reservations at All Star Movies. Four-day tickets and five nights (two rooms) for our family of seven. The cost for room and tickets is $4327.

I've also got the same dates reserved at Universal. Two rooms at the Royal Pacific, and Florida annual (seasonal) passes. Total cost here for room and tickets is $3934.

We are Florida residents (4 hours away). We've been going to Disney since 2002, but have only been to Universal twice (in 2019). We usually have Florida annual passes.

The room and ticket costs are within 10% of each other, so that cost difference is not an issue.

Disney thoughts (plusses and minuses):
  • Plus: In my opinion they do the holidays better than Universal. Decorations, food, merch.
  • Plus: All Star Movies is well-themed if you love Disney (and we do).
  • Plus: Better / more food choices.
  • Plus: Resort hopping (holiday pins, gingerbread houses).
  • Plus: We've got a lot of gift card money racked up from using two Disney Chase Visa cards.
  • Minus: No fastpass yet announced for December.
  • Minus: All things in the resort are expensive, particularly dining.
Universal thoughts:
  • Plus: Unlimited fastpass for Royal Pacific guests.
  • Plus: Annual passes!
  • Plus: Bigger rooms, fancier hotel.
  • Plus: Walk to parks.
  • Plus: Butterbeer.
  • Minus: Less Christmas atmosphere.
  • Minus: Limited dining in parks.
The family is split 4 to 3 on where to go. We have a while to think about it. Cancellation of rooms in is November for Disney, December for Universal.

Any thoughts?
I think you forgot to factor in that this year is WDW 50th. I know we don't have a clear picture yet of what Christmas will be like at WDW during their 50th Anniversary but I know for sure it will be better than the normal ones. Also, it will only happen once during the entirety of the celebration so might as well experience it. There will always be next year for Universal.
 

Trackmaster

Well-Known Member
Don't forget the most important factor in the decision:

VelociCoaster!! Its amazing and everything its hyped to be. Even if you're not much of an extreme rider, its comfortable and smooth enough that a lot of people who aren't ordinarily into that kind of stuff are still having the times of their lives and approving.
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
Maybe do Universal but pick up tickets to a Christmas party at Disney one night (assuming they offer it and the dates work).
I like this option! Best of both worlds.

I'd choose Universal in a heartbeat (with unlimited express passes from staying at a premium resort, and you may be able to shave off some of your hotel costs with annual passholder discounts) for any time of the year that crowds are expected to be high. Adding in a Disney party, if the budget allowed, would give you a few hours to steep yourself in the Disney atmosphere with less stress than a visit during regular hours.
 

aliceismad

Well-Known Member
When you say Christmas, do you mean that you'll be on vacation for the actual week of Christmas? That might make a difference vs. earlier in December due to crowd levels and the value of the Uni "fastpass."
 

GraysonsDad

Member
We're going in December and doing something similar- staying at Disney with 5 day park hopper tickets. Set aside a couple of days for Universal also.
 

Figgy1

Premium Member
For a shortish trip I'd choose UNI. EP would be one of the deciding factors. Maybe take a day to Uber down to Disney to resort hop to see the Christmas decorations at DTD and the resorts
 

danlb_2000

Well-Known Member
We're planning a trip this December to Orlando, but are having difficulty deciding between WDW and Universal.

I've got reservations at All Star Movies. Four-day tickets and five nights (two rooms) for our family of seven. The cost for room and tickets is $4327.

I've also got the same dates reserved at Universal. Two rooms at the Royal Pacific, and Florida annual (seasonal) passes. Total cost here for room and tickets is $3934.

We are Florida residents (4 hours away). We've been going to Disney since 2002, but have only been to Universal twice (in 2019). We usually have Florida annual passes.

The room and ticket costs are within 10% of each other, so that cost difference is not an issue.

Disney thoughts (plusses and minuses):
  • Plus: In my opinion they do the holidays better than Universal. Decorations, food, merch.
  • Plus: All Star Movies is well-themed if you love Disney (and we do).
  • Plus: Better / more food choices.
  • Plus: Resort hopping (holiday pins, gingerbread houses).
  • Plus: We've got a lot of gift card money racked up from using two Disney Chase Visa cards.
  • Minus: No fastpass yet announced for December.
  • Minus: All things in the resort are expensive, particularly dining.
Universal thoughts:
  • Plus: Unlimited fastpass for Royal Pacific guests.
  • Plus: Annual passes!
  • Plus: Bigger rooms, fancier hotel.
  • Plus: Walk to parks.
  • Plus: Butterbeer.
  • Minus: Less Christmas atmosphere.
  • Minus: Limited dining in parks.
The family is split 4 to 3 on where to go. We have a while to think about it. Cancellation of rooms in is November for Disney, December for Universal.

Any thoughts?

Big factor is whether Disney at Christmas this year will be fully back to normal or not. Universal does some great stuff for Christmas I am pretty sure they will be back 100% this year, not yet sure about Disney.
 

rreading

Premium Member
Toss a coin if you can't decide and love both, win win really?

Haven't been to universal so I don't have a perspective (although since you're close, the annual passes at Universal could swing my vote. I would think a shorter universal trip and use the AP to return in the Spring or Summer)

That being said, commonly I'll make a decision just to see what I really think about it. If I choose one way and then find myself regretting the fact of the decision, I take it to mean that I chose the wrong one. My impression is that my gut knows what I really want to do even if my frontal lobe considers things differently
 

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