Universal Studios Orlando tips

Universal Studios Orlando vs Hollywood – Which is Better?

Universal Studios Orlando vs Hollywood? We compare the rides, lands, restaurants and entertainment across the two parks, so you can choose which is best for you.

Universal Studios has long been a favorite theme park among thrill seekers. Two of their main parks are located in the U.S., one in Orlando and the other in Hollywood.

You might know Universal Studios in Orlando as the option that has two parks: the normal Universal Studios, home to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the Revenge of the Mummy, and Islands of Adventure, where Hogsmeade and the Incredible Hulk Coaster is.

As for Universal Hollywood, it’s a little smaller but still has a bunch of exciting rides, including Mario Kart and Bowser’s Challenge, and it even has a backlot stage where you can go behind the scenes to see how some of your favorite movies are filmed.

In this article, we’re going to break down Universal Studios Orlando and Hollywood, with some of their similarities and differences, and which one you should visit.

Let’s dive in!

Universal Studios Orlando Vs. Hollywood

Universal Studios Orlando vs Hollywood

Universal Orlando vs Hollywood Rides

Nowhere does rides like Universal Studios; they theme their attractions based on well-known movies, making the overall experience much more enjoyable than your average theme park.

After visiting both Universal Orlando and Hollywood countless times, we can say that Universal Orlando wins when it comes to the number of rides.

Since Universal Orlando has two parks, it doubles the number of attractions that Hollywood has, from the Hogwarts Express to Dudley Do Right’s Ripsaw Falls. Having said that, you’ll have to purchase a two-park pass to be able to access all of them, making the day out more expensive.

That doesn’t mean you should overlook Universal Hollywood. The 18 attractions they offer are super fun and promise a good time for people of all ages, like the Dreamworks Theater Feature Kung Fu Panda.

Similar Rides Between The Parks

One downside we must outline about Universal Hollywood is that a good chunk of their rides can also be found in Universal Orlando, limiting the experience if you’ve already visited there.

Whereas if you’ve already been to Universal Hollywood, you can buy an entry ticket to Universal Islands of Adventure in Orlando, giving you another set of rides to try out.

Here’s a breakdown of the similar rides between Universal Orlando and Hollywood.

  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • Fast & Furious Supercharged
  • Flight of the Hippogriff (Islands of Adventure)
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (Islands of Adventure)
  • Revenge of the Mummy
  • The Simpsons Ride
  • Transformers: The Ride 3D

Different Rides Between The Parks

Universal Orlando has far more different rides from Universal Hollywood than visa versa. We would even go as far as to say that if you’ve already been to Universal Orlando and went to Hollywood after, you would feel like you’re in the same theme park all over again with some slight differences.

Keep reading to find out about the different rides at each park.

Universal Studios Orlando

  • Harry Potter and the Escape from the Gringotts
  • Illuminations Villian-Con Minion Blast
  • Hogwarts Express
  • E.T. Adventure
  • Hogwarts Express: King’s Cross Station
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket
  • Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
  • Men In Black Alien Attack
  • Race Through New York Staring Jimmy Fallon

Universal Studios Islands of Adventure

  • Jurassic World VelociCoaster
  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure
  • Carro-Seuss-el
  • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
  • Flight of the Hippogriff
  • Hogwarts Express: Hogsmeade Station
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
  • Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges
  • Pteranodon Flyers
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • Storm Force Accelatron
  • The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman
  • The Cat in the Hat
  • The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster

Universal Studios Hollywood

  • DinoPlay
  • Character Sightings
  • DreamWorks Theater Featuring Kung Fu Panda
  • King Kong 360 3D
  • MarioKart Bowser’s Challenge
  • Silly Swirly
  • Super Silly Fun Land
  • The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • The World Famous Studio Tour
Universal Studios Hollywood tips

Themed Lands at Universal Studios vs Hollywood

All of the Universal Parks are split up into different themed lands, basically, areas following a specific theme.

Universal Studios Orlando and Hollywood do have a few similar themed lands, following certain movies or styles, e.g., Jurrasic World and Seuss Landing.

The Islands of Adventure Park is different; this park’s areas are named mainly after certain cities in the USA, along with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

See below for the similar lands that the parks share.

  • Universal City Walk
  • Jurassic World/Park
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Hollywood (Islands of Adventure)
  • Springfield (Islands of Adventure)

Now, let’s look at each park’s unique themed lands.

Universal Studios Orlando

  • Marvel Super Hero Island
  • Toon Lagoon
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • Seuss Landing
  • The Lost Continent

Islands of Adventure

  • New York
  • San Fransisco
  • Hollywood
  • Production Central
  • Wood Woodpecker’s Kidzone
  • World Expo
Universal Studios Hollywood tips

Universal Studios Hollywood

  • Waterworld
  • Transformers Metrobase
  • Super Nintendo World
  • Studio Tour Plaza
  • Production Plaza
  • Minion Land
Universal Studios Orlando vs Hollywood

Which park is best for Families?

If you have small kids, you’re sure to want to have enough attractions to keep them occupied and smiling throughout the day.

All of the Universal Parks have something for families, but Hollywood has the least amount of rollercoasters, so if you have small kids, that might be a better option for you.

Families of various ages will prefer Universal Orlando because they offer a nice mix of children’s rides, movie-themed simulators, and rollercoasters, so all of your family members’ needs will be met. Plus, the characters at Universal Studios Orlando are great fun for children of all ages.

Universal Orlando vs Hollywood Parades

Without a doubt, no park does entertainment like Universal Hollywood. Between their Backstage Lot Tour, giving visitors access to a real-life movie set, and the Raptor Encounter experiences from Jurrasic Park, there’s endless fun to be had.

Universal Orlando does have its fair share of entertainment between the two parks, but not quite on the same level as Hollywood. Some of our main highlights there were the Blues Brothers Show and the Triwizard Spirit Rally in Islands of Adventure.

Universal Studios Orlando vs Hollywood

Universal Orlando vs Hollywood Restaurants

Food plays a big part in all of Universal’s parks: endless restaurants can be found in each of them, from Bubba Gump Shrimp in Hollywood to Illumination’s Minion Cafe in Orlando.

Here are some of the top restaurants at each of the parks.

Universal Orlando

  • Louie’s Italian Restaurant (pizza, pasta and meatballs)
  • Bumblebee Man’s Taco Truck (Korean beef, carne asada, and chicken tacos)
  • Finnegan’s Bar & Grill (shepherd’s pie and Guinness beef stew)
  • Richter’s Burger Co. (sandwiches, burgers and grilled chicken)
  • The Frying Dutchman (calamari, fried fish, and ships)

Islands Of Adventure

  • Three Broomsticks (turkey legs, beef pasties, and fish and chips)
  • Mythos Restaurant (Greek salad, pad Thai, and sandwiches)
  • Pizza Predattoria (pizza)
  • Thunder Falls Terrace (BBQ ribs, smoked turkey legs, and rice bowls)
  • Wimpy’s (cheeseburgers, chicken fingers, and salad)

Universal Studios Hollywood

  • Antojitos Cocina Mexicana (tacos and handcrafted cocktails)
  • Cletus’ Chicken Shack (chicken and waffle sandwich, double batter chicken platter, and chicken thumbs)
  • Firehouse Subs (sub sandwiches)
  • Panda Express (Chinese food)
  • Taco Bell (Mexican tacos)

So Universal Studios Orlando or Universal Studios Hollywood?

For us? Right now, it has to be Universal Studios Hollywood. We are big Mario fans. So this extra world has elevated the Universal Studios Hollywood park by far. Plus, the location in Hollywood and the backlot tour, give you a real sense of the complete theming; you are exploring a studio from old Hollywood and seeing the sets of iconic TV programs.

There are areas for improvement at Universal Studios Hollywood (some rides and lands can feel a little dated). However, the compact size and variety of lands makes this a perfect park for a one day visit.

HOWEVER. If you are looking to spend multiple days in a theme park, Universal Studios Orlando is a great choice too. We find the two (soon to be three) parks, overwhelming for a one day Universal Studios Orlando day. But if you have the time to really spend 2-3 days across the parks, then these parks can be awesome to explore as well.

Plus, Orlando is home to some of the best theme parks in the US like Magic Kingdom and Epcot, as well as the Kennedy Space Center and plenty of fun things to do on International Drive. This makes the Orlando park being a great option for those wanting a full 2 week vacation full of theme parks and rides.

So which do you choose?! Let us know below!

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