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Universal Studios Florida vs Islands of Adventure

Better park?


  • Total voters
    37

chriss.moyer

Newcomer
Jun 23, 2018
35
I know, it's been asked thousands of times since 1999, but the parks are always changing! So i'm curious as what overall everyone thinks. Which is the better park? If you were in/stopping through Orlando, or if you only had one day at the Universal Orlando resort, and had a one day single ticket to either of the two theme parks, which would you choose? Based off the parks right now.

Would it be the original park, Universal Studios Florida with it's Production Central, New York, San Fransisco, Diagon Alley, World Expo, Springfield, Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone, and Hollywood lands?

Or the newer park, Islands of Adventure with it's Port of Entry, Suess Landing, The Lost Continent, Hogsmeade, Jurassic Park, Skull Island, Toon Lagoon, and Marvel Superhero Island lands?

Explain which is place that is more worth it, better, mention rides/atmosphere/restaurants/theming/if either of them are one of the best theme parks ever designed haha (this poll is easy, the question is obvious for me), etc.​
 
Jul 10, 2012
796
Brooklyn NY
I don’t know why, but I always feel like I have a better time in Studios. I think because there’s more rides in a more compact location that I enjoy going on. Going around the park, I can ride Mummy, Gringotts, Men in Black, ET and see Bourne and not have to walk through too many “dead” zones.

In Islands, on an average day, I’m only really gonna ride Spider-Man, Forbidden Journey, and Hagrids. I only do Hulk if I’m in the mood and if I want to change my clothes, Popeye and Dudley. That means on an average day, I need to walk through 2 islands no matter what direction I walk in, where I’m not riding anything.

That being said, I think Islands has a better theme. Its a more interesting place to spend time and has more variety in the types of rides, but I feel I get more done at Studios.
 

HHNObsession

V.I.P.
Dec 17, 2019
176
I’ve never understood how more people think Islands is better than USF. I feel like most of islands is so outdated and has so much dead space. Seuss, lost continent & Toon lagoon all need to go. I think Potter is the only real stand out at that park. Thankfully the new JW coaster will add a little more excitement. I truly have a way better time at USF. That’s just me though.
 

Disneyhead

Legendary Member
Jul 24, 2008
11,406
Orlando, FL
I’ve never understood how more people think Islands is better than USF. I feel like most of islands is so outdated and has so much dead space. Seuss, lost continent & Toon lagoon all need to go. I think Potter is the only real stand out at that park. Thankfully the new JW coaster will add a little more excitement. I truly have a way better time at USF. That’s just me though.
Seuss? Really?

I think not.
 

MrBlonde

Member
Aug 7, 2018
554
Tough decision, but USF wins for me because I feel like I spend more time there between the two.

1. I've always liked Diagon vs. Hogsmeade and Leaky Cauldron does a really solid breakfast.
2. HRRR may be a bit rougher than Hulk but it's close enough. Also secret Rainbow Connection is in it.
3. Mummy and Gringott's are my preferred pair over HPFJ and Spider-Man
4. Chez Alcatraz
5. MIB is also a top ride for me with re-rideability than IOA doesn't have.
6. Fast Food Boulevard and Finnegan's beat the non-HP food options of IOA.
 

Cup_Of_Coffee

Veteran Member
Aug 7, 2018
5,072
For me its Islands, and has always been Islands for my favorite park of any. For me personally, here is why I love it:

- Port of Entry and its music literally take me to another place unlike any other theme park I have ever been to, a total transformation from Citywalk.
- All of the IPs there have a special connection to my childhood, whether it be from the park itself (Dudley's and LC) or just from my childhood (literally everything else) it is pure nostalgia everytime Im there.
- Spiderman, FJ, Hagrid's, and JP River Adventure are my favorite rides at the resort past Mummy, so again, easy winner. Ive never ever gotten so wet on JP River that Ive had to change or really take signifiant time to dry off, of course Im on vacation when I'm here so I naturally care less, but it has never bothered me. Vacation or not, you need to prepare to change after the TL water rides which is a bit of a knock against it, but they're also really fun and well done rides that I always feel Im "surprised" about because I ride so little.
- I much prefer distinct IP based lands than "Production Central" which houses.... Minion Mayhem and Shrek and HRRR? Id take the thematic landscape of Islands everyday.
- MYTHOS

The ONLY thing lacking, ONLY, Imo, is a proper show. If they added 1 show and did nightly Hogwart's shows throughout the year, than I really think it'd be widely considered the best park in the USA. Just my take though, updating JP to JW eventually I can only see helping this park.
 

Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
20,256
Pittsburgh area
I change my mind from vacation to vacation. They're both pretty great, and for different reasons. Thus my constant back and forth on which is number one. If Fast & Furious would have turned out to be a really good attraction, that would
have solidified USF's position. But alas, it did not turn out well, and that leaves a big gap in the park that had both Disaster & the Beetleguise Show in that spot previously.
 

JungleSkip

Premium Member
Feb 15, 2010
21,937
The Mushroom Kingdom
Islands and it's not particularly close. For me, Islands is the second best theme park in America behind Disneyland

-Incredibly balanced attraction lineup
-My favorite theme park ride in the world in Hagrid
-My favorite dark ride in Spider-Man
-Some great play areas
-The best river raft ride I've ever experienced
-Great food
-Some decent bars
-The only bad area I can think of is the TL Theater area

USF just has too much stuff that is in need of replacement or I have little to no interest in. FFL, KidZone, F&F, Fallon, Shrek, etc.
 

shiekra38

Legendary Member
Dec 13, 2009
13,857
Florida
Islands and it's not particularly close. For me, Islands is the second best theme park in America behind Disneyland

-Incredibly balanced attraction lineup
-My favorite theme park ride in the world in Hagrid
-My favorite dark ride in Spider-Man
-Some great play areas
-The best river raft ride I've ever experienced
-Great food
-Some decent bars
-The only bad area I can think of is the TL Theater area

USF just has too much stuff that is in need of replacement or I have little to no interest in. FFL, KidZone, F&F, Fallon, Shrek, etc.
We're jaded cause we visit a lot, but IOA is hands down Universal's best park as of 2020

There are a few areas that could receive needed expansions and it would be the most well rounded park around
 

JawsVictim

Veteran Member
Nov 3, 2015
1,887
USF used to be my favorite park in the world. It had the perfect balance with their variety of attractions. It’s since lost its charm for obvious reasons that are constantly debated by fans.

IOA however, now offers the balance and nostalgia I long for from USF. In their current states, it isn’t even close. IOA wins.
 

vgp

Newcomer
Oct 8, 2020
26
I think time of year and crowd levels determines it. In the heat of summer I'd take IOA every time, more room to spread the crowd out a bit along with water rides and more frozen beverage stands and a theme that seems to fit sunny days a bit better (aside from Hogsmeade). There's less of a natural circular flow with USF as far as where the crowd goes, so you get more bottlenecks and I try to avoid it on busier days. Conversely, on a cool, sparsely populated day give me USF every time; the park looks great at dusk especially on the bridge between San Fran and the Simpsons area and in general it has a cozier, "leisurely stroll through the city" feel.
 

belloq87

Veteran Member
Dec 7, 2009
5,271
Universal Exports
I think time of year and crowd levels determines it. In the heat of summer I'd take IOA every time, more room to spread the crowd out a bit along with water rides and more frozen beverage stands and a theme that seems to fit sunny days a bit better (aside from Hogsmeade). There's less of a natural circular flow with USF as far as where the crowd goes, so you get more bottlenecks and I try to avoid it on busier days. Conversely, on a cool, sparsely populated day give me USF every time; the park looks great at dusk especially on the bridge between San Fran and the Simpsons area and in general it has a cozier, "leisurely stroll through the city" feel.
Aesthetically, there's still plenty to appreciate about USF. I honestly like the theme-work of most of the areas.

20 years ago.... USF.

Today... IOA.
 
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tielo

Veteran Member
Nov 9, 2013
2,314
The Netherlands
I didn't vote as I like them both for different reasons.
Universal Studios has an amazing collection of rides and shows that I love. Everything Potter (rides and shows), MIB, the Simpsons area, ET, Horror and Make-up show, Blues Brothers and Bourne, Fallon and Mummy. But it also has HHN, Christmas and Mardi Grass and I love all of these festivals.
Islands is better themed, I love Port Authority, the whimsical of Dr Suess (and the trolley train ride at night with Christmas decorations). I like how the Mythical area looks (but non of the attractions). Potter again is top. I love everything about Jurassic Park and look forward to see Kong and Popeye is my favorite raft ride. The Marvel area doesn't look very nice to me but Hulk and Spider-man are my all time favorite rides.
 

JungleSkip

Premium Member
Feb 15, 2010
21,937
The Mushroom Kingdom
20 years ago.... USF.

Today... IOA.
I don’t even have to go back 20 years. I’d say 2014, right after Diagon opened things were pretty even. Disaster was still there, Springfield and Transformers were relatively brand new, Diagon was fresh, and Hagride, Kong, Nighttime Lights, and the coming Velocicoaster weren’t even rumors (well, maybe Kong).

But since then USF hasn’t improved (honestly it’s gotten worse with the Disaster to F&F change) and gotten more stale while IOA has added homer after homer
 

WAJAS

Veteran Member
Aug 15, 2014
3,519
--Classified--
USD is a better park to just hang out and wander in, but IOA definitely has the better rides. I used to be (pre-COVID) an AP, so my preference is more the former. Not to mention some of my fellow travelers can't do a lot of the more extreme rides at IOA.
 

belloq87

Veteran Member
Dec 7, 2009
5,271
Universal Exports
I'd have given USF the edge up until Jaws went away. It's been a steady decline in enjoyment for me ever since, as they've really added no rides during that time that I particularly enjoy to any real extent. Though Diagon Alley -- as a land -- is great, of course.

While IOA, in that time, has added two rides I really like a lot (Kong and Hagrid), and I already thought it was a great park to begin with.
 
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Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
20,256
Pittsburgh area
I don’t even have to go back 20 years. I’d say 2014, right after Diagon opened things were pretty even. Disaster was still there, Springfield and Transformers were relatively brand new, Diagon was fresh, and Hagride, Kong, Nighttime Lights, and the coming Velocicoaster weren’t even rumors (well, maybe Kong).

But since then USF hasn’t improved (honestly it’s gotten worse with the Disaster to F&F change) and gotten more stale while IOA has added homer after homer
Good point. F&F just caused a gap that didn't exist before. Big time subtraction of what was there.