When it comes to Orlando vacations, there are two types of people: Disney fans and Universal fans. At least in theory.
And really, this rivalry is just as spirited as Republican and Democrat, Coke and Pepsi or Tastes Great and Less Filling.
The reality is that Disney and Universal offer two distinct, uniquely entertaining vacation experiences. For those of us who enjoy them both, the lack of proximity represents a problem. How do you plan your vacation around these two resorts? Do you drive or rent a car? Feasible, but kind of a pain. Do you choose one over the other? Well I love Universal, but it’s not really enough for a whole vacation. Disney is enough for 3 weeks worth of vacation if you have the budget, but sometimes you want to try a little something different. Additionally, choosing to alternate between resorts is far more bothersome to families who can only afford one vacation a year.
For years now, Disney’s central goal has been to keep guests on property. From the moment you step off the plane, Disney wants you to eat, sleep and breathe the Mouse. In many respects, this is both their best and worst feature. There is plenty of wonder to explore outside Disney. Many guests know this and want more. By denying them the opportunity, Disney forces some guests to make hard choices. In the past, the choice was easier. Universal has some world class rides such as The Mummy, Amazing Spider-man & Dueling Dragons.
However, since the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios has seen record crowds. Surely some of these people are choosing to stay at Hogwarts over Cinderella Castle. This number is bound to increase with the Harry Potter London Expansion (which is technically still just a rumor) and the Transformers 3D ride.
Currently, the only way to travel from Disney to Universal is to drive yourself or take multiple city buses from the Ticket and Transportation Center. The buses are cheap, but extremely inconvenient. Renting a car or driving is even more inconvenient if you’re only looking to do one or two days at Universal.
Should Disney examine ways to provide direct transportation to and from Universal? Perhaps a series of buses that charge $10 each way would be feasible?
The downside (theoretically) is that by making a trip to another park easier, Disney would be losing money we should be spending at their parks. Or course if a guest is really determined to go off-property, they’ll find a way.
However, by giving guests the option, Disney stands the possibility of stealing some hotel guests from the Universal area. There’s also the possibility that some of their guests might spend a day in Epcot. It’s unlikely either Resort will lose a significant amount of money.
Disney and Universal aren’t going to make nice any time soon, but both can benefit from allowing guests to travel easily between their resorts. Hardcore fans of these properties aren’t going anywhere. But for the rest of us, it would be one less problem to consider when planning vacations.