Most of us think a vacation is a time to get away, relax, and stop making decisions for a while. Even when you are at “The Happiest Place on Earth”, however, there may be some decisions that have to be made.
Included among the many choices that you have in the Orlando area is the wide variety of theme parks to choose from.
You may be wondering which is better, Epcot or Universal? You might even wonder if you have to make the choice or if you can do both.
Understanding a little more about the different parks can help to make the decision easier. Often, it comes down to the age of the people who are visiting and what your expectations are for the day.
Epcot vs Universal Studios – Which Is Better?
Many of us have been going to Disney for years and it may be a time-honored tradition in your family. If that is the case, one of the most important things to consider is the reason why you are visiting the parks.
- Disney tends to be for memories. That includes visiting Epcot, which we may have done since we were little children. We get a nostalgic feeling when we go to Epcot and we want to share that feeling with our family.
Epcot can be a fantastic experience, both for young children and for young and old adults. There seems to be a gap in the middle that is difficult to please at this particular theme park.
Epcot does offer some rides and some of them are fantastic. They also have other things that teenagers and preteens usually enjoy, but most of what that age group would enjoy would be found at Universal.
Here’s an overview video of Disneys Epcot park.
In other words, Epcot can be fun, although some may consider it to be a little on the boring side. If you’re looking for an adventure-packed day that is full of twists, turns, and high-speed adventure, then Universal has more to offer.
Then again, both Epcot and Universal have a lot to offer in their own way. They are both great theme parks, although they are different from each other and are not associated with each other.
Epcot is a Disney park and “Universal Studios” and “Islands Of Adventure” are owned by Universal. These two Universal parks are right next to each other and Epcot is around a 30 min drive.
Perhaps you could start by asking yourself, what is it that you want to see? Doing so will help to make the decision on which park to visit easier.
Check out this overview video of Universals Islands Of Adventure Park.
Epcot vs. Universal for Adults
Another thing to consider is the age of the people who are going to be visiting the parks. If you are an adult that just wants a relaxing day with some adventure as a side thought, then Epcot has a lot to offer.
This includes what most people think about when they visit Epcot, they think about the “big silver golf ball”. Spaceship Earth (The golf ball) has certainly been a mainstay of the park for decades and it is worth visiting, even though the ride is a little on the slow side.
Don’t sell Epcot short, however, because it can offer something for the entire family. As an adult, you are likely to enjoy wandering around the World Showcase and visiting countries without ever leaving the United States.
There is also plenty of good food and drink at Epcot.
Of course, you will find some of the same at Universal Studios, but Epcot is really built around food in many ways. After all, they host a food and wine festival every year that is not to be missed!
On the other hand, if you are a young family with children around 8 years old, it is likely that you are going to have some whining and complaining coming your way during the day. Epcot is fun, but the thrills are few and far between.
Epcot is also a huge park that requires a lot of walking which can quickly become tiring for some younger (and older) guests.
As an adult, you will likely appreciate what Epcot has to offer. It doesn’t matter if you are enjoying the rides or if you are just taking in the World Showcase, it’s a relaxing and enjoyable day.
In fact, it’s the pace that most adults appreciate, not to mention the fact that Epcot is a lot less crowded than Universal.
If you haven’t been to Epcot in a while, it is well worth a visit. They continually update the park and there is always something new to see. If you’ve never been to Universal, it is also worth a visit.
Universal offers both adventure and the studio area, which gives you the ability to slow down and enjoy some shows and maybe some window shopping.
One other factor that should not be overlooked is how the day ends. There is nothing quite like spending a day at a theme park and then watching the fireworks show as the grand finale.
- Both Epcot and Universal offer fireworks but there is a difference. Epcot has a fireworks show that happens every night and they change the show from time to time.
Universal has regular fireworks shows, but they only happen on selected evenings.
As a pro tip, you may want to consider ending your walk around the World Showcase in Mexico. It’s a great place to sit and have a drink and it offers an excellent view of the fireworks. Be sure to get there early and grab some nachos!
How Far Is Epcot from Universal?
If you were to drive, it would take you about 30 minutes to travel the 14 miles between Epcot and Universal. A lot of it depends on traffic and the time of day, but 30 minutes is a significant amount of time when you are sitting in a vehicle while the parks are open.
Since Universal and Disney are in direct competition with each other in the Orlando area, there is no transportation that is offered by the parks. You can get transportation from Disney to Universal or vice versa, but it is not always the most convenient.
Perhaps one of the best-known ways to get yourself from Epcot to Universal is using Mears. They are well known, but they are also inconvenient.
Mears does offer a shuttle service and other choices for getting from one area to another but you have to book your trip at least 24 hours in advance. They will pick you up at a resort but they may stop numerous times, extending the time that you are in the shuttle.
Another reason why Mears is inconvenient is because of the return trip. When most people are trying to get from Universal Studios back to their Disney resort, they just want to do so quickly. Mears does not offer that quick option.
- Similar to taking a bus at Disney, you are going to be stopping at every resort along the way until they finally get to your stop. It can be a long drive at the end of a long hot day.
Perhaps the most convenient way for you to get from Epcot to Universal is to take a rideshare service. Most people simply call an Uber or Lyft. It’s relatively inexpensive and convenient.
Check out this YouTube video that shows the drive from the Disney area to the Universal theme parks.
One other option to consider is a taxi. They do tend to be a little more expensive than Uber and other rideshare services, but it is a possibility.
- If you have rented a hire car for your vacation and want to visit both of these parks on the same day, you should also be aware that you will need to pay the parking charges at Epcot and Universal on the same day.
Can You Do Epcot and Universal Studios at The Same Time?
As we discussed, Epcot and Universal Studios are not affiliated with each other. They are within the same area and certainly within driving distance if you want to do both on the same day, but you can’t do both on the same ticket.
Is it possible to do Universal Studios and Epcot on the same day? Absolutely! It’s better if you can take a day at each of the parks, but if you only have one day and want to experience both parks, you can do it with a little planning.
Both Epcot and Universal Studios offer a different overall experience. That is why splitting the day is a choice for families that want more than just one park has to offer.
- Personally, I don’t park hop between these parks on the same day as It means I spend less time away from the entertainment I have already paid for, and I really don’t want to pay for parking twice on the same day!
With this, said you can always keep the kids happy by taking them to Universal in the morning. It will allow you for a more relaxing day in the afternoon as you wander around Epcot and the World Showcase.
The best way to do it is to go to Universal Studios in the morning. Get an early access pass and stay until lunchtime. You can then enjoy Epcot in the afternoon and stick around for the fireworks show.
Can you buy an Epcot And Universal Studio Park Hopper Pass?
Some people who want to do Epcot and Universal studio on the same day would like to have a single pass that allows them to do it. That ticket does not exist.
If you want to do Epcot for half a day, you’re going to have to buy a ticket for the full day. The same is also true for Universal Studio. As discussed this will require extra parking charges as well.
To put it plainly, you are going to pay for two full tickets to visit Epcot and Universal on the same day. You also have part of your day cut out of the middle because of the necessary travel time from park to park.
On rare occasions, Epcot does run a special that offers a midday entry into the park. That special is not offered at this time, but you can always check the Walt Disney World website to see if something comes up.
All in all, you can’t go wrong by visiting either Epcot or Universal. Both are world-class theme parks that offer a lot for people of all ages.
Have a magical day!