You’ve booked your tickets, you’ve packed your bags, and you’re ready to leave for the most unforgettable family vacation in Orlando yet! At that moment, your tween or teen tells you that they have their heart set on visiting both Disney and Universal, which makes you realize that maybe you do as well!
How do you plan your trip to accommodate the best of what both have to offer? Which is better? We’ve made it easy for you by comparing Universal Vs Disney with everything from thrill rides, immersive experiences, and photo-ops to dining and the best resorts for tweens and teens. Keep scrolling, and we’re sure you’ll be glad you did!
Disney World with Teens and Tweens
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No matter your age, Disney World is a dream come true. Everything, from the meals to the rides, and even the restrooms in Disney World are designed according to elaborate themes. This makes for a fantastical experience that is rivaled by none! Every Disney park is built to provide the finest family vacation and provide everyone, from your teens to your littlest members, with enthralling and memorable experiences.
Crafting immaculately immersive experiences is a specialty of Disney’s and you’ll find nostalgia hitting you like a freight train at every juncture here. And yet, Disney World is about even more than magic and wonder.
Apart from providing the best in entertainment, shopping, food, and relaxation, Disney World also offers the thrills of a lifetime. Adrenaline junkies will enjoy the park’s many rides, which include everything from Summit Plummet to the world-famous Space Mountain. Add to all of this the various opportunities for photos and you’ve got a paradise for Insta-loving guests, teens, and adults alike!
Universal Orlando with Teens and Tweens
Universal Orlando is different from Disney World in one big way: it’s less magical but way more edgy, cool, and high-tech! Many older teens find the movie-focused theme park to be perfectly in tune with their brand of entertainment. This makes sense, considering that it is packed with rides designed to make your heart race in between all their speedy twists and turns.
While Universal is certainly popular among teenagers who want thrills, it has much more to offer than just that. Immersive experiences with simulators, exotic animatronics, and iconic live shows are just a few of the other things that Universal offers.
Thrilling rides at Disney World vs Universal Studios For Teens and Tweens
While Disney World for teenagers certainly includes enchantment and wonder beyond your wildest dreams, it also has its fair share of hair-raising roller coasters to get your blood pumping and hearts thumping! Whimsical themes aside, there are plenty of thrilling Disney world rides for teens, tweens, and teens at heart.
Horror and thrill go hand in hand at Disney’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. You start out stuck in an elevator in Disney’s 1950s-horror-movie-inspired Hollywood Tower Hotel, only to discover that it’s broken, and then proceed to get catapulted into a ride of a lifetime!
The Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is a win-win for teens who love roller coasters and rock music. This famous ride featuring Aerosmith’s hits will barely give you time enough to brace yourself before accelerating to 57 mph in seconds. The pace, along with three inversions, two loops, and a corkscrew, will have your heart racing, or, in words more apt – “rocking”!
The Summit Plummet, one of the world’s largest and fastest slides, is a bucket-list ride for water babies seeking hardcore thrills. It plunges you vertically down 12 stories at a speed of 55 mph through a dark tunnel and a massive spray of water, leaving you second-guessing your choice to get on!
Where Disney has some insane rides, Universal is a must-see for thrill-seeking youngsters due to its sheer number of roller coasters. When it comes to the best roller coasters in Universal, The Jurassic World VelociCoaster at Islands of Adventure takes the cake.
This beast of a coaster takes you on a monster-themed ride that only gets faster as it goes! It has an astounding 140-foot drop, a 360-degree barrel roll, and a monstrous pre-Jurassic tale with no brakes or stops to catch your breath.
When VelociCoaster leaves you wanting more, head to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, one of the best dark roller coasters out there. Discover stunning animatronic scenery while experiencing turns, twists, drops, and much more. Once you’ve recovered, ride the horror-themed Revenge of the Mummy coaster or try some action-packed rafting at Krakatau Aqua Coaster.
The Ko’okiri Body Plunge at Universal Volcano Bay is another ride to put on your list of must-tries. It drops you from the terrifying height of 125 feet at a 70-degree angle into the park’s volcanic summit. This waterslide is comparable to Disney’s Summit Plummet, which is saying something because neither is for the faint of heart!
Disney Springs Vs Universal Citywalk for teens
Take a break from the theme parks and treat your family to shopping at Disney Springs, an outdoor mall designed for everyone, be it teenagers, kids, or parents. Your first stop should be The World of Disney, a store dedicated to the most distinctive and adorable Walt Disney items and souvenirs.
Is your teen a little old to be a fan of Disney characters? Grab some Marvel-themed merchandise in the Star Wars Galactic Outpost or the Marvel Superhero Headquarters. Etsy-loving teens will find the cutest vintage outfits at The Dress Shop on Cherry Tree Lane.
With so many stores catering to individuals of all ages and tastes, it’s best to visit Disney Springs expecting to loosen the purse strings at least a little!
If you have a teen who does not appreciate shopping, the live entertainment at Disney Springs will keep them busy. Tweens and teens can board the Aerophile Balloon, a hot air balloon that takes you high in the sky to witness the area’s stunning scenery. Or, ride the water in vintage Amphicars before racing their siblings in a Lego competition.
Universal Citywalk is a significantly smaller shopping and entertainment center built for families with teenagers. Go restaurant hopping, play mini-golf at the famous 18-course golf club, relax in your recliner to watch a movie, or hit the bowling alley. Whatever you choose to do, you’re sure to have a splendid time.
Aside from all the fun activities, Citywalk is a must-visit for foodie tweens and teens to indulge in the best way possible. VIVO Italian Kitchen, Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar, and Antojito’s Authentic Mexican Food are just a few restaurants that offer unique flavors with every dish they serve. Satiate your sweet cravings at the crowd-favorite Chocolate Emporium before calling it a day.
Fun rides and immersive experiences for teens at Disney World Vs Universal Studios
Disney is one of the best theme parks for non-thrill-seeking tweens and teens who prefer to ride in a relaxing and immersive environment. Soarin’ Around The World is Epcot’s family-friendly suspended seat attraction that takes you around the world to experience the most iconic monuments and wonders. At Test Track, your teen will be blown away as they build a virtual automobile and put it through hurdles and a heart-pounding speed test.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Peter Pan’s Flight, Frozen Ever After, and Pirates of the Caribbean are nostalgic immersive attractions that transport you back to your childhood and make you feel young at heart. Watch the magical fireworks show at Magic Kingdom with teens to cap off the night.
While Universal is widely regarded as the most exciting for thrill-seekers, it also has its fair share of non-scary, fun rides that are immersive as well. Potterheads will have a terrific time aboard the Hogwarts Express. Your captivating journey will take you through the magical bricks to experience classic Potter moments.
Motion simulator rides like Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and Men In Black Alien Attack are perfect for teens who seek fun and mildly thrilling rides.
Watching shows at Universal is a fantastic way to enjoy the park without feeling like you’re missing out on all the action. The Bourne Stuntacular is a one-of-a-kind stunt extravaganza filled with battles, stunts, and danger at every turn. Catch the Horror Make-up show for a funny yet terrifying experience that demonstrates what goes into making a horror movie come true.
Both Disney and Universal have non-thrill rides and shows that you can enjoy without feeling like you’ll pee your pants. However, Disney definitely has an edge when it comes to non-scary, less exhilarating, yet incredibly immersive rides and experiences.
Photo-ops for Instagram-obsessed teens at Disney World Vs Universal Studios
Knowing where to get the most aesthetic Instagram pictures in advance is a must, especially when in Disney and Universal Studios with teens and tweens. When it comes to photo ops for social media, Disney and Universal do not disappoint! The crowds and wait times can get long, so it’s best to arrive early to get the best shots.
Whether you’re snapping a cheesy family portrait or a quirky single, Cinderella Castle is a must-have background! Tomorrow Land lanes will give you the perfect side-of-the-castle view. And when at Animal Kingdom with teens, check out the Tree of Life, Floating Mountains, and several graffiti signs that will make even your younger kids WANT to take a picture! Don’t forget to take some sweet sibling photos at Toy Story Land.
Universal Studios is no less than Disney when it comes to taking Pinterest-y photos. Unlike Disney’s Cinderella Castle, the Hogwarts Castle is easier to pose with without too many intruders in your frame. Get some cheerful shots at Truffula Trees in Seuss Landing or a sinister one with the Fire Breathing Dragon at Diagon Alley! Old-school teens will enjoy posing with the vintage cars displayed in front of Mel’s Drive-In.
No matter what your social media vibe is, Disney and Universal will have you covered!
Dining with tweens and teens at Disney World vs Universal Studios
Dining with tweens and teens is far more enjoyable and stress-free than dining with toddlers. Foodie parents should take advantage of this bonding opportunity when their teens’ palates are only beginning to grow. While most theme park lunches are fast food, Disney and Universal have a plethora of eateries that offer much more.
Epcot for teens is particularly exciting with its rich culture and many cuisines from the countries of the World Showcase. Indulge in a teen-favorite, gigantic, 19-inch classic Napoletana wood-fired pizza at Italy’s Via Napoli. Or, head to the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre at Hollywood Studios for a more exclusive dining experience. Prepare to be taken to the 1950s by dining in retro cars while watching amusing movie footage from the era!
You can’t go to Disney and not have some delicious sweet treats. Mickey-themed ice cream bars and tasty Mickey pretzels can be found around the park and are popular among teens, tweens, and adults. Other crowd-pleasers are the Incredibles-themed Num Num Cookie and the delectable caramel popcorn.
Universal is a strong competitor to Disney with its diverse selection of restaurants to grab some grub with teens. Islands of Adventure Three Broomsticks is a top pick among Harry Potter aficionados. This themed restaurant delivers, and in a big way! Try their famous fish and chips and frozen butterbeer to beat the Florida heat. Dive into the signature cauldron cake from Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop for your own Potter moment.
Tweens and teens will go crazy over the face-sized donut at Lard Lad Donuts. Remember to take a photo before you tuck in! Waturi Fusion from the Koka Poroka ice cream kiosk is another must-try for teens visiting Universal Studios.
Best Universal and Disney Resorts For Teens and Tweens
There are innumerable reasons to stay at Disney and Universal resorts while visiting these theme parks. Apart from being adjacent to parks and providing transportation, both Disney and Universal have spectacular action-packed resorts offering the best activities for teens and tweens.
Disney’s Pop Century Resort is unique in that each part of the resort is themed after a different decade of the twentieth century. Pop Century Resort has the largest arcade of any Disney resort, so there’s no reason your not-so-little one won’t love it!
The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are another excellent choice for families that enjoy the outdoors. Teens can choose anything from horseback riding and archery to relaxing in the action-packed pool area.
The Art of Animation Resort will appeal to true Disney enthusiasts. With the largest of Disney’s pools, an ultra-fun arcade, and art around every turn, you’ll need an additional day to explore this incredible place.
Adore the thought of infinity pools and a never-ending lazy river? In that case, it might be The Four Seasons Resort that is the best Disney hotel for teenagers.
The entertaining features and varied food selections at Universal Orlando Resorts make them teen favorites in their own right. Cabana Bay Beach Resort is a mid-century modern-themed hotel that transports you to another world. On your theme-park vacation, you should check out the hotel’s pools, lazy river, bowling alley, and arcade.
Loews Sapphire Falls Resort is an island-themed resort that will instantly transport you to Bali. Tweens and teens enjoy its Caribbean-themed cafes, arcade, and bicycle routes. The main highlight is the 16,000-square-foot pool that includes a beach, waterslides, and pool activities for real relaxing and fun times.
Disney World Vs Universal Studios – which one is better for teens and tweens?
The choice between Disney OR Universal has never been easy for parents. Universal provides thrill rides for older children when compared to Disney’s focus on magical experiences for the whole family.
Where you go depends entirely on what your child’s personality is like! Universal’s thrill rides will have the hearts of adrenaline-loving teens. In contrast, thrill-phobic tweens will enjoy the rides at Disney.
With this comprehensive guide, we hope you’ll make the right choice for your family!
Disney World vs Universal Studios: FAQs
Is Islands of Adventure with teens fun?
Islands of Adventure is a spectacular theme park for teens of all kinds. The huge diversity of rides at this theme park makes it great for a fun-filled family outing. Incredible Hulk, VelociCoaster, and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure are must-tries for thrill-seeking teens. For more tranquil ride experiences, try the Hogwarts Express and Jurassic Park River Adventure.
Which is the best Disney World park for teens?
Disney’s Magic Kingdom is arguably the best for everyone, whether you have a daring teenager or an easily-scared tween. Two of the best rides at Disney, Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain, are situated within this park. Don’t skip indulging in a cinnamon roll from Gaston’s Tavern while you’re at Magic Kingdom with teens.
Which are the best Disney hotels for teens?
Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Art of Animation Resort, and Four Seasons Resort are the best Disney hotels for teenagers. These hotels not only offer brilliant photo-ops, but come with action-packed arcades, pools, and much more!
Are the lines fun and interactive?
Both Disney World and Universal offer virtual lines for most rides, but it’s mainly Disney World that features interactive queues with games and activities. While Universal does a great job at creating suspense-filled lines with spectacular themed design elements and animatronics, it offers little to interact with for keeping busy while waiting.
Is the Kong ride at Universal scary?
This ride consists mainly of 3D visuals on screens and one face-to-face encounter with King Kong. Even the line is considered more scary and stimulating than the ride itself, so while Skull Island Reign of Kong is scary, it isn’t the most thrilling ride for a teenager.
Which do you prefer? Universal Studios for teens and tweens or Disney World?
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