Is Disney World Doomed by Universal’s NEW Epic Universe Theme Park?

Should we be worried about Disney World?

Magic Kingdom

Disney World has been a juggernaut in the theme park industry for decades, but could it be losing its footing? Despite having built a major Star Wars expansion in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and talks of further expansion and revitalizationthe narrative around Disney World isn’t entirely optimistic. That conversation is only enhanced with the predicted success of Universal Orlando Resort’s newest theme park.

Disney Vacation Planner

So what exactly does Disney World have to worry about? Universal’s new Epic Universe theme park may not only draw in massive tourism numbers but also cut into Disney World’s total revenue. 

Is this claim based in reality? Let’s look at a few scenarios


First, let’s examine the IP comparison. Disney owns many beloved IPs that have kept fans entertained for a century. Inversely, Universal is expanding its theme park offerings to include more of its own IP brands while maintaining the rights to popular brands outside of its studio.


While Disney has its fair share of popular IPs such as Pixar and Marvel, Universal can counter with the likes of Illumination/DreamWorks, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and now Nintendo. With Universal’s selection growing faster, it’s fair to assume some fans of those properties may choose to visit Universal over Disney World.

Islands of Adventure

Universal Orlando used to require a much shorter trip than a trip to Disney World. However, with the opening of Epic Universe, Universal will now operate three theme parks and one major water park in Orlando. 

Universal’s Volcano Bay

There is still more to see and do at Disney World when examining scale, but Universal is quickly closing that gap and now it won’t be surprising if visits that used to be split between Universal and Disney World force tourists to choose one or the other for budget and time reasons. 

Epic Universe is the shiny new toy right and that could sway guests to dedicate sole vacations to the Universal Orlando Resort.


Staying on the topic of swaying, Universal’s infusion of new and returning IPs, such as Harry Potter, Nintendo, How to Train Your Dragon, and Universal Monsters could only make its prices look like more of a steal when compared to Disney World.

Right now, base tickets for one day are pretty similar, but Universal’s ticket prices plunge during multi-day stays compared to Disney’s. Universal offers a lot of similar hotel perks to that of Disney World hotels, but it does so with more budget-friendly lodging options.

Concept art of Terra Luna and Nova Stella Nova Resorts adjacent to Epic Universe ©Loews Hotels

If Universal’s prices remain competitive, families looking for excitement on a budget will continue to consider Universal over Disney World.


Per The Wall Street Journal and a Universal spokesperson, “Guests have told us they love our brand of immersive storytelling, and that if we gave them more of that, they’d give us more of their time.”

The narrative around Disney World, whether fair or unjustified, is that Disney World isn’t delivering to its fans enough in a timely manner. Whether that’s a product of instant gratification or not is debatable. Universal delivering a new theme park RIGHT NOW while Disney World only has barely detailed (at least publically) plans of expansion isn’t the best look.

It also doesn’t help Disney World much that Disney keeps committing a sizeable portion of its $60 billion expansion over the next decade to its cruise line and the Disneyland Resort. It may not be the actual case, but Disney World feels left out to the general public.


Finally, perhaps the biggest evidence to suggest Disney World might be in trouble comes form the research firm MoffettNathanson LLC. Its analysts suggest Epic Universe could cut into Disney World’s attendance by roughly 1 million visitors in 2025 and 2026 while boosting overall attendance at Universal Orlando Resort by over 8 million.

WOW! So Empty!

So is all lost for Disney World? Not quite.


It’s hard to press the panic button for Disney World right now. Let’s examine some facts.


Universal may be catching up to Disney World (which is still debatable), but that’s just it — it’s still catching up and not officially caught up. 

Look at it through the lens of sports or gaming. Disney World built such a large lead when it comes to tourism in the area that it can afford a few years of not being considered the “top dog” so long as it gets right at some point in the future.

Animal Kingdom Expansion Plans

Another positive way to look at Universal Orlando’s success from Disney’s perspective is that it may form healthy competition that drives Disney to be more innovative.

During a shareholder meeting in April, The Walt Disney Company’s CEO Bob Iger referenced that Disney has known about Epic Universe much longer than the public has, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land were innovative strides by Disney.

Disney CEO Bob Iger

While fans may criticize Disney World for not having immediate plans for a fifth gate, it does show that The Walt Disney Company isn’t staying dormant with their Florida property.

Disney World may not be expanding rapidly, but it is expanding. Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom both have planned renovations and expansion and talk of a fifth park hasn’t been ruled out. Disney isn’t going to go out without a fight.

Happily Ever After

Most importantly, Disney World isn’t bleeding financially and talks of its demise are incredibly premature.

Per The Wall Street Journal, “The Disney division that includes theme parks—plus cruises, video games and consumer products—posted $32.5 billion in sales for the fiscal year.” By comparison, Universal’s parks division brought in only $8.95 billion. Universal has a long way to go if it wants to be the next Disney World.

Magic Kingdom

The Walt Disney Company and the Disney Parks have built up DECADES of consumer loyalty that resulted in a stranglehold on the global theme park industry, let alone Orlando’s.


With unique and beloved IPs, a rich history, and an unlimited amount of nostalgia that you can’t get anywhere else, including at the Universal parks, Disney World isn’t likely to be in any serious trouble in the near future.

Orlando has become what most consider the theme park capital of the world, and Disney World remains the king of the kingdom. It has adapted over the decades to new challengers and has remained dominant, handily. Until it truly gives us cause for panic, there’s no reason to consider its demise.

Universal Orlando

As theme park lovers, we’re fortunate to live in a time where Orlando offers not one, but two theme park juggernauts that offer amazing and unforgettable experiences! We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for both of these truly wonderful resorts!

In the meantime, stay tuned right here at AllEars for all the latest Disney World and Universal Orlando news, tips, and more!

Why Epic Universe Actually HELPS Disney World

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Do you think the success of Epic Universe helps or hurts Disney World? Share your thoughts in the comments below!