Disney Deluxe Resorts vs Universal Premier Hotels

Theme Parks

Disney Deluxe Resorts vs Universal Premier Hotels

Need help deciding where to stay on your next vacation to Orlando? If you plan on visiting both Walt Disney World and Universal Studios during your trip, you may be wondering which property to stay on. If you are looking to stay in the best resorts that either property has to offer, look no further! Here is a breakdown of the Disney Deluxe Resorts vs Universal Premier Hotels.


DISNEY DELUXE RESORTS

UNIVERSAL PREMIER HOTELS


Room Sizes

Disney Deluxe Resorts

The rooms at Disney Deluxe Resorts are typically larger than any of the other resorts on Disney property.

In the Epcot Resort area, you will find the Boardwalk, Riviera, and Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. The Boardwalk’s average standard room size is 370 square feet and the rooms at the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts are 380 square feet. The smallest standard room size of all the Disney Deluxe Resorts is at the Riviera Resort. At just 220 square feet, it is smaller than even most Disney Value Resorts.

In the Magic Kingdom Resort area, you will find the Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian, Polynesian Village Resort, and the Wilderness Lodge. The Wilderness Lodge is one of the smallest of all the Deluxe Resorts coming in at 344 square feet. The Polynesian is slightly larger at 415 feet for a standard room. The standard rooms at the Contemporary are 437 square feet. However, the largest of all the standard rooms at Disney Deluxe Resorts is at the Grand Floridian at 440 square feet!

In the Animal Kingdom Resort area, the Animal Kingdom Lodge offers standard rooms at 344 square feet. (pictured below)

As far as price goes, Disney Deluxe Resorts can run anywhere from $450-1200+ per night on average.

Universal Premier Hotels

Although Universal has less hotels on property than Disney, they still offer up good competition on room sizes! The rooms at Universal’s Premier Hotels are larger than the rooms in any other category on Universal property. They are also the most luxurious rooms on Universal property.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel’s standard room sizes are very large at 450 square feet! These are the largest standard rooms at any of Universal’s Hotels. The Royal Pacific Hotel’s standard rooms are 335 square feet and are the smallest of the Premier Hotels at Universal.

Then, falling right in the middle, are the Hard Rock Hotel’s standard rooms at 375 square feet. (pictured below)

As far as price goes, Universal’s Premier Hotels can run anywhere from $274-549+ per night on average.

Winner – Universal Premier Hotels

Although Disney has many more Deluxe properties to choose from, Universal wins this category. When looking at Disney Deluxe Resorts vs Universal Premier Hotels, not only are the rooms larger on average, but you also get more for your money!


Amenities

Disney Deluxe Resorts

Disney’s Deluxe Resorts offer a lot of great amenities. While most people don’t think of this as an “amenity”, all Disney Deluxe Resorts are accessible via interior hallways. Value or Moderate Resorts mostly have exterior hallways, meaning you access the room through a door located outside. Interior hallways are a great way to escape bad weather or excessive heat, especially in the Florida sun like the one seen below in the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Disney Deluxe Resorts also have amazing, immersive theming and beautiful pools! The best swimming pool on Walt Disney World property can be found at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts (one of the deluxe resorts from our list!).

If you need to unwind after a long day at the parks, there are also relaxing spas at some of these resorts! Kids will be delighted to know that many of these resorts also have fun arcades! In addition to this, Disney resorts also offer a lot of recreational activities including movies under the stars.

Universal Premier Hotels

Universal Premier Hotels also offer a lot of great amenities. Similar to Disney, they also offer themed pools and poolside movies. There are game rooms for the kids (and kids at heart) in your party! Complimentary fitness centers are great if you want to keep up your active lifestyle while on vacation. While relaxing by one of the beautiful, themed pools, you can rent a cabana and relax in luxury!

If you are staying at one of the Premier Hotels, you have access to the Mandara Spa at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel. (pictured below) Another popular amenity is the 24-hour room service – a luxury that many hotels do not provide.

Winner – Disney Deluxe Resorts

Although both Disney and Universal offer an impressive list of amenities, Disney is the winner in this category. The pools at Disney’s Deluxe Resorts are nothing short of amazing! As I mentioned before, Storm Along Bay, the pool at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, is the best pool on Walt Disney World Property. The recreational activities that are offered, and interior hallway access to rooms, at the resorts also make it worth the money you spend.


Dining

Disney Deluxe Resorts

The Deluxe Resorts at Disney World also have fantastic dining options. Some notable table service favorites include ‘Ohana at the Polynesian Resort, Topolino’s Terrace at Riviera Resort, California Grill at the Contemporary Resort, and many more! There are also many popular character dining locations at these resorts. ‘Ohana hosts a breakfast with Lilo, Stitch, Pluto and Mickey Mouse featuring breakfast food favorites with a Polynesian twist! Topolino’s Terrace hosts a character breakfast as well featuring a unique flair on classic breakfast dishes. Over at the Contemporary, you can dine with the Fab 5 (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto) for breakfast and dinner! *Character dining is currently unavailable at ‘Ohana and Topolino’s Terrace.

There are so many great dining options at these resorts, it is worth coming to check them out even if you are staying at a different hotel or property.

Universal Premier Hotels

There are quite a few good dining options offered at Universal’s Premier Hotels. At Portofino Bay Hotel, you have a choice of three great Italian restaurants: Mama Della’s Ristorante (pictured below), Trattoria del Porto, and Bice Ristorante. All three restaurants have delicious food and mouthwatering desserts!

At the Hard Rock Hotel, they serve up some great American fare: The Kitchen and The Palm. You can get a juicy burger at The Kitchen or a superb steak at The Palm. If you are looking for Pan-Asian cuisine, head over to the Islands Dining Room at the Royal Pacific Resort!

Winner – Disney Deluxe Resorts

Universal Hotels have some great places to eat but Disney wins this category. Disney offers a wide variety of restaurants and food choices. They also have restaurants where you can dine with your favorite characters! Disney has some of the best dining locations ever and they can’t be beat!


Extra Perks

Disney Deluxe Resorts

Perks are mostly everybody’s deciding factor of which resort to stay at! Disney’s Deluxe Resorts used to offer the best perks – extra magic hours, complimentary transportation to and from the airport, free magic bands, etc. Unfortunately, in recent years, they stopped offering those incredible extras. They do, however, still offer some extra perks for staying on site.

As of right now, the extra perks that you can get while staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort are early theme park entry and extended evening hours. Early theme park entry allows you to enter the park 30 minutes prior to park opening. Extended evening hours are available on select nights during the year only to guests staying at Disney’s Deluxe Resorts and Villas.

Another convenient perk that most people don’t know about is that if you buy something in any of the parks, you can have it delivered right to your hotel room instead of carrying it around all day. (*This service is currently unavailable) Although Disney no longer offers complimentary Magic Bands with your stay, you may still purchase them and use it as a credit card and room key throughout your stay.

Universal Premier Hotels

As a guest of Universal’s Premier Hotels, you will have access to some of the best perks of any theme park resort/hotel! The best perk of all is that when you stay at either of these three hotels, you are given a free Universal Express Unlimited Pass for the length of your stay! *You must have valid park admission to claim this offer. This perk is huge because the Express Unlimited Pass is $109 per person per day!

With the Express Unlimited Pass, you can skip the regular lines on any of the attractions at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Unfortunately, this does not apply to Volcano Bay, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and Pteranodon Flyers. Another great perk is that you get Early Park Admission! You can enter Volcano Bay thirty minutes prior to opening and either Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure one hour prior to park opening! With this awesome perk, you can get the popular rides done at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and then enjoy the rest of the park at your leisure. Hotel guests also get priority seating at select restaurants throughout the resort.

Like Disney, guests are also able to have items purchased at the park delivered to their rooms and are able to use their room key to charge items.

Winner – Universal Premier Hotels

Universal wins this category by a landslide. Getting the Express Unlimited Pass is a perk that you can’t even compete with! Can you imagine if Disney offered free Disney Genie + with your stay at a Deluxe Resort? That would be the only way to change the ruling of this category.


Park Transportation

Disney Deluxe Resorts

Disney transportation is one of the most convenient perks that come with staying on property. If you are staying at one of the “monorail” resorts (Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian), you have one of the best and easiest ways to get to Magic Kingdom – the monorail! At any of these three deluxe resorts, you are only a couple monorail stops away from the Magic Kingdom. These resorts are also close enough to walk to the Magic Kingdom. You are also able to take a water taxi to certain resorts. Other resorts, like the Riviera, have the option of taking the Skyliner. The Skyliner takes you to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. The rest of the deluxe resorts on this list offer the Disney buses as their primary form of transportation. 

Universal Premier Hotels

Like Disney, Universal’s Premier Hotels offer complimentary transportation to the theme parks and Universal’s CityWalk. If you stay at either of the three Premier Hotels, your choices of transportation are water taxis, shuttle buses or convenient walking paths.

Winner – Disney Deluxe Resorts

Disney wins the transportation category. Not only do they offer more options, but it also just feels more convenient. Disney property is huge and not having to rent a car and drive all around and pay for parking is a great perk. Between the monorail, the ferries, the water taxis, the skyliner, the buses, etc., the transportation options can’t be beat.


Overall

As you can see, both Disney and Universal have excellent perks and amenities that make staying on property worth it. If you had to choose between Disney Deluxe Resorts vs Universal Premier Hotels based on this guide, I would say that Disney Deluxe Resorts are the best choice.

They have it all from excellent theming, amazing food, to unbeatable customer service. The company has this special way of making you feel like you’re home. Although the price can be very high, it is worth it.

That is not to say that staying on Universal property isn’t worth it – it 100% is! If you are planning on spending most of your vacation at Universal or if you are a bigger fan of those parks, then I would recommend staying there over Disney. Otherwise, Disney wins the title! If we can somehow convince Disney to offer free Disney Genie + with your stay at a Deluxe Resort, that would be unbeatable!

Which would you choose when comparing Disney Deluxe Resorts vs Universal Premier Hotels? Have you ever stayed at any of these resorts or hotels?

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