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Universal Orlando Resort vs Universal Studios Hollywood – Which Theme Park is Best?

There are currently two major Universal locations in the United States:

  1. Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando, Florida
  2. Universal Studios Hollywood in Burbank, California

But which one is best?

I am an annual passholder for Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood. As such, I’ve been to both Universal locations several times.

Therefore, I can safely say the Universal Orlando Resort is better than Universal Studios Hollywood.

That’s not to say that Universal Studios Hollywood is a bad theme park – far from it. Instead, it’s just that the Universal Orlando Resort has a lot more to offer.

What’s the Difference Between Universal Orlando & Universal Studios Hollywood?

So, how does Universal Orlando have a lot to offer? And what’s the difference between the two locations?

The Universal Orlando Resort is made up of:

  • 2 theme parks (with a 3rd currently being built)
  • 1 water park
  • 8 on-site hotels
  • CityWalk (free to enter entertainment district)

Meanwhile, Universal Studios Hollywood is made up of:

  • 1 theme park
  • CityWalk (free to enter entertainment district)

Of course, the difference in the number of attractions means a significant size difference. Universal Orlando Resort covers 541 acres, while Universal Studios Hollywood is just 415 acres.

Universal Orlando is set to open a third theme park, Epic Universe, in 2025. The Epic Universe theme park is estimated to be 110 acres. However, since Universal currently owns 750 acres in the Orlando area, it’s expected we’ll see more expansions in the near future.

Meanwhile, the size of Universal Studios Hollywood doesn’t just account for the size of the theme park. Instead, it also includes the production studios which have been used to film:

  • Candy Cane Lane
  • Superstore
  • Good Girls
  • Bird Box
  • Dunkirk
  • Ted 2
  • Gone Girl
  • The Hangover Part III

You’ll see some of these studios during The World Famous Studio Tour.

What’s Unique at Universal Orlando & Universal Studios Hollywood?

Several attractions are unique to one of the two Universal theme parks in the United States.

The following is currently unique to Universal Studios Hollywood:

  • Super Nintendo World – Coming to Universal Orlando soon.
  • Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge – Coming to Universal Orlando soon.
  • Toadstool Cafe – Coming to Universal Orlando soon.
  • The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash
  • The World Famous Studio Tour
  • WaterWorld
  • Minion Cafe
  • Silly Swirly Fun Ride
  • Super Silly Fun Land

Meanwhile, the following is currently unique to Universal Orlando:

  • Hogwarts Express
  • Diagon Alley
  • Seuss Landing
  • Volcano Bay
  • Harry Potter And The Escape From Gringotts
  • E.T. Adventure
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
  • Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
  • Men In Black: Alien Attack
  • Race Through New York, Starring Jimmy Fallon
  • Jurassic World VelociCoaster
  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure
  • Caro-Seuss-el
  • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
  • Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges
  • Pteranodon Flyers
  • Storm Force Accelatron
  • The Cat In The Hat
  • The High In The Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster

What’s the Same at Universal Orlando & Universal Studios Hollywood?

Universal owns and operates both Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando. Therefore, there are several similarities. These include:

Rides & Attractions

  • Transformers: The Ride 3D
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • Revenge of the Mummy – The Ride
  • The Simpsons Ride
  • Jurassic Park: The Ride
  • Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey
  • Ollivanders
  • Flight of the Hippogriff
  • King Kong: 360 3D
  • Fast & Furious: Supercharged

Both King Kong and Fast & Furious are stand-alone rides at the Universal Orlando. However, at Universal Studios Hollywood, these rides are part of The World Famous Studio Tour.

Restaurants, Food & Drink

  • Lard Lad Donuts
  • The Three Broomsticks
  • Krusty Burger
  • Bumblebee Man’s Taco Truck
  • Cletus’ Chicken Shack
  • Luigi’s Pizza
  • HogsHead
  • Butterbeer
  • Coca-Cola Freestyle Refillable Cups
  • Refillable Popcorn Buckets

Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando & Universal Studios Hollywood?

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando is better than at Universal Studios Hollywood. That’s because at Universal Orlando, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is split across the two theme parks.

Diagon Alley (Universal Studios Florida):

Shops:

  • Ollivanders
  • Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes
  • Borgin and Burkes
  • Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions
  • Magical Menagerie
  • Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment
  • Quality Quidditch Supplies

Restaurants:

  • Leaky Cauldron
  • The Fountain of Fair Fortune
  • Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor

Attractions:

  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
  • Knockturn Alley
  • The Hogwarts Express

Hogsmeade (Islands of Adventure):

Shops:

  • Honeydukes
  • Zonko’s Joke Shop
  • Dervish and Banges
  • Owl Post
  • Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods

Restaurants:

  • Three Broomsticks
  • Hog’s Head Pub

Attractions:

  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Flight of the Hippogriff
  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Meanwhile, at Universal Studios Hollywood, there’s only Hogsmeade which includes:

Shops:

  • Honeydukes
  • Zonko’s Joke Shop
  • Dervish and Banges
  • Owl Post
  • Ollivanders
  • Gladrags Wizardwear

Restaurants:

  • Three Broomsticks
  • Hog’s Head Pub

Attractions:

  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Flight of the Hippogriff

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