Universal Orlando Vs. Walt Disney World: Which is the Better Choice For Holidays?

The holiday season is upon us, and if you’re planning a trip to Orlando, you might be wondering where to go to have the best themed holiday experience possible.

The holidays at Disney World

If you’ve narrowed your choices down to Disney World and Universal Orlando, you know both resorts have their pros and cons for the holiday season.

Let’s compare so you can decide where you want to spend your jolly holiday time!

General Holiday Entertainment

When it comes to entertainment, it might be hard to decide which resort is best. Unlike Universal, Disney World has a special ticketed event, Mickey’s Very Merriest After Hours (which some might argue isn’t worth the high price).

Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration

However, Universal has a Macy’s balloon parade, which we’ve always loved. All you’re going to get at Disney World are character cavalcades unless you pay extra for the after hours event, where there will be a holiday parade. Universal also has the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular, which EVERY guest at the park has access to — no special extra ticket required. It’s a fun retelling of the Grinch story!


Winner: Universal

ALL of the Entertainment Announced for EPCOT’s 2021 Festival of the Holidays!

Holiday Decorations

Disney World has four theme parks and decks each park out in holiday decorations — and each park has its own style! You’ve got the glitzy holiday decorations at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the more Earthy decorations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, decorations that represent each country in EPCOT’s World Showcase, and classic holiday decor at Magic Kingdom.

Holidays in Magic Kingdom

By comparison, Universal decor is on a smaller scale. The parks do have a magical holiday Hogwarts, a fun Christmas-themed Tribute Store, and Seuss Landing as Whoville. But overall, it’s still small in comparison.

Harry Potter Holidays

Winner: Disney World


At Disney World, the characters usually have their holiday outfits on, although this year, we’re not sure they’ll trade their shiny new 50th Anniversary EARidescent outfits out for holiday gear. The parks also have distanced meet and greets in various locations. And we get to see Santa.

Holiday Buzz Lightyear

But Universal has the King of Christmas (sorry, Santa), and guests visiting that resort get to meet him. We’re talking about the Grinch, who has the best character interaction ever! He’s just so much fun! Plus there are all the Whos in Whoville, and how can you not be in the holiday spirit with them around?

Best character interaction ever

Winner: Universal

Price and Deals

Disney World is NOT cheap during the holidays, and hotel rates tend to go up the closer to Christmas you get. It’s also difficult to find any kind of discounts during the season, so if you want that whole Disney World Christmas experience, it will cost you extra.

The Holidays at Hollywood Studios

However, Universal Studios often posts deals for the holiday season, so if you want to do the holidays at a theme park on a budget, Universal is where you’ll want to go!

Hogwarts Castle

Winner: Universal


Disney World has a ton of holiday activities for guests. First, there’s EPCOT’s Festival of the Holidays that not only offers up tons of holiday foods, but also its own scavenger hunt (with a prize), and the Candlelight Processional, which is narrated by celebrities. And there’s plenty of entertainment, along with Storytellers.

Storytelling in Norway

Universal doesn’t really have anything comparable, meaning that EPCOT is where you want to be to get the full WORLD holiday experience.

Sing It at the Holidays at Unviersal

Winner: Disney World

In the end, Disney World for the holidays wins out over Universal as a whole, but depending on what you want to do for the holidays — and how much you’re willing to spend — Universal could be the better choice. Ultimately, it’s up to you.

We’ll be covering the holidays at both Disney World and Universal, so stay tuned for more!

NEWS: The Holidays Are Coming Back to Universal Orlando

Which do you prefer for the holidays — Disney World or Universal? Let us know in the comments.

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