Orlando is filled with fun places to visit, amazing spots to eat and memories made that will last a lifetime. The theme parks, the shows, the rides and the restaurants all make Central Florida a destination worth returning to. Many visitors love to come back every year! Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort are two top destinations that keep travelers visiting over and over again. Rides on the tea cups? Classic. Screaming on Velocicoaster? Epic. Whether you visit with family, friends, or solo, you’ll love Orlando’s theme parks. Disney and Universal are pretty close to each other so many will enjoy both on their trip to Orlando. How far is Universal from Disney? Usually around 25 minutes but that completely depends on the time of day you’re going. We explore that fully below and cover everything you need to know about getting between these two places.
Orlando theme parks: How far is Universal from Disney?
You can definitely visit both Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort on one trip to Orlando, Florida. Both Disney and Universal are conveniently located right next to Interstate 4, called I-4, which is the east to west highway in town.
As for exits, Disney is in the 60 range and Universal is in the 70 range. There are multiple exits for each destination, but they are around thirteen miles away from each other, depending on where you’re coming from at Disney. There is one main drop off at Universal. It’s easy to get around. From there you can walk to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and CityWalk. Parking for Volcano Bay is in the same area but you’ll follow signs for that water park specifically. If you plan to park at Universal, know that regular parking is $27 for the day. There are two main parking garages that connect to everything.
How far Disney and Universal are time-wise largely depends on the time of day. The speed limit is high on I-4 so, if there isn’t any traffic at all, you could cruise over in a dream scenario in around 20 minutes. The more likely length is about 30 minutes.
Unfortunately, it’s possible to run into major traffic during rush hour or when there is an accident on this road. Around the 8:00 a.m. hour and 5:00 p.m. hour there is usually congestion during the week. You will likely run into stop and go traffic if you are on I-4 headed from Universal to Disney on a Friday or Saturday night, visiting during a peak time or around a holiday weekend.
Remember that Walt Disney World Resort alone is around 43 square miles. It can take fifteen minutes to get from one side to the other. Universal Orlando Resort is smaller and much easier to get around.
How far is Universal Studios from Disney Springs?
For those looking for a great day of shopping and dining, or for some great magical souvenirs, Disney Springs is the perfect place to be. The Disney Springs restaurant and outdoor mall type complex is located on the south west corner of Walt Disney World Resort property. This makes it the closest Disney area to I-4 and in the direction of Universal Orlando Resort.
Getting from Universal to Disney using Mears, Uber, Lyft
One option for getting around is the trusted company Mears. They operated Disney’s Magical Express during its run. Now the company offers the Mears Connect service independently. This brings guests to and from the airport for a fee.
You can use Mears attraction transportation to book a ride for any party size. Mears offers taxi services, vans and motor coaches. A quick search brought back results of $53.50 one way from The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa to Universal Orlando Resort. This may vary due to the specifics of your trip.
Uber and Lyft are always an option. Uber says the average price for a trip from Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is $22.00 in the most economic option to $51.00 in a higher priced vehicle. Note that you won’t be able to take a Minnie Van, the polka-dotted Disney version of Lyft, to Universal. They don’t leave Disney property aside from airport deliveries when offered.
Public transportation from Disney to Universal
Based on a quick search, public transportation is probably not a good option. Yes, Orlando has a bus system. If I’m understanding correctly, it could take nearly two hours to get from Disney’s Animal Kingdom to Universal Orlando Resort mid day. This is not even a peak traffic time. Time is valuable on your trip! The one option that might work is taking a bus from Disney Springs to Universal Orlando Resort. In the Maps app on an Apple device, this popped up as a 55 minute trip in the early part of the day. This particular route would require a transfer and a 13 minute walk. Again, probably not the best use of your precious vacation time. However, if you want the most economic transportation and aren’t in a rush or plan to use Lynx public transportation to visit other places on your trip, this could work.
There is a train in Central Florida but it doesn’t connect to Disney or Universal directly. The Brightline, slated to open in 2023, runs from Miami all the way up the state and veers left through Orlando to Tampa. There were plans to connect to Disney Springs at one point. Those plans have been changed as the line was suddenly altered without much explanation in 2022. This would have been an absolute game changer for those visiting Orlando if it were planned better and more accessible to tourists.
Is Universal worth going to?
With so many new and wonderful things coming to Universal Orlando, many Disney fans might be finding their way to Universal for the first time. Especially as the Disney annual pass 2023 situation is still up in the air and all passes are not currently available. All Universal Orlando Resort annual passes are for sale and the perks that come with them can be pretty amazing like free Express pass after 4:00 p.m. As the third Universal Orlando theme park, and excitement for it, rises many are starting to learn more about Universal Orlando to see if it’s something to fit in on their Orlando trip.
Universal has a lot to offer, especially when it comes to thrill rides. No one beats Universal’s thrills. The rollercoasters are top notch and the Jurassic Park attractions are great. I’d say the biggest draw at Universal is probably Harry Potter. You don’t have to be a major fan of the films or books to enjoy the Wizarding World land in each of the parks. If you saw and liked any of the movies, it’s worth visiting. There are quite a few rides with screens that might count out those who get motion sickness. If you get a two park ticket and aren’t set on riding every ride, you can definitely do both parks in one day.
There isn’t as wide of a selection of hotels at Universal Orlando Resort. The resorts you’ll find are great but there are only eight official hotels. Most Universal hotels have fun pools and restaurants like Disney. I’ve noticed the prices are usually much better than Disney but can vary greatly without obvious reason. One of their top tier resorts might cost $286 per night then $600 another night that isn’t in a peak season. Disney has more than twice the number of options when it comes to resort hotels. Many people choose Disney World hotels for their Orlando vacations. It all depends on what you like and where you prefer to be. Universal doesn’t have a nightly fireworks show as of 2023. If you like to end your night with sparkles in the sky, Disney resorts are the way to go.
DVC Resale Experts Help Make The Magic Last
Are Orlando vacations your favorite? Central Florida has so much to offer theme park fans. If you want to visit all of the magic again and again, you may want to consider the Disney timeshare. Disney Vacation Club, as it’s called, is a flexible, point-based timeshare that allows you to choose when you visit and the size of the accommodations you stay in based on the amount of points you purchase. It’s possible to save thousands when you buy a resale DVC contract.
Universal Destinations and Experiences, the full name of the theme park division of the company, does not have a timeshare. You may, however, see kiosks with representatives of Westgate Resorts, a third party timeshare, in the Universal parks. There are other timeshares in the Orlando area that may be closer to Universal but there aren’t any that have the proximity like Disney does. If you want a timeshare that is steps away from the magic of theme parks, Disney Vacation Club is a great choice. Walt Disney World is located in between Universal Orlando Resort, Legoland and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
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