Harry Potter is well worth a visit to Universal Studios. However, Disney has better customer service hands down. I’ve lived in Florida most of my life, and I’ve been on plenty of Universal and Disney related trips. If anything goes wrong, Disney will be on top of it. On one trip to Disney,for example, my hotel screwed up my reservation for the Cirque Du Soleil show and lost our tickets. They found the tickets before our show time, and they gave us a park credit for $100. We missed our dinner reservations for before the show, but we still ended up having enough time to grab a bite to eat, and the park credit paid for it.
When we had issues on our last visit to Universal, the customer service people were rather rude and did not want to help us or compensate us for their screw up. I paid for a hotel/tickets package and got double charged for the hotel and our ‘special gift’ was never delivered to our room. It was a harry potter themed surprise that was suppose to greet us in our room, for my little cousin. He was so disappointed when we got to the room and there was nothing there. I eventually had to go down to the front desk and ask where it was, and it took another day and a half before I finally got the darn thing. There were some other things that went wrong; it was just not a good trip. I ended up hanging up on the first customer service person I spoke to because they were just awful, and when I called back I got someone who was more reasonable, but told me that I had to send an email to some other department. I ended up calling a third time, and I finally stopped getting passed around by a billion different departments, got the hotel charge refunded, and got free one day two park passes, but it was like fighting tooth and nail with six different people who all thought it was not their job to help me. I didn’t even want passes originally, I just wanted my double charge for the hotel refunded, but I got frustrated. They offered the passes as a way to have a ‘do over’ for our nightmare trip.
Disney dining is a lot more impressive and tastier than Universal, if that’s a deciding factor. Epcot is my single favorite park, it’s beautiful and has amazing dining options. The new Diagon Alley is a close second, because of how awesome the atmosphere is. I think the only downside to the potter parks is that they feel like a constant product pitch. I love being pitched their products, but it would be nice if they expanded a little more by way of rides. The interactive wands were a great upgrade, I think they added a lot; they are a tad expensive, but super fun.
Universal studios has pretty standard cafeteria food for the most part, but the old Universal park has some decent restaurants. There’s a good seafood place, and a pretty decent Irish pub. The fancy restaurant in Islands of Adventure – Mythos – has gotten good reviews, but I’ve been less than impressed the three times I’ve eaten there. It is a beautiful restaurant though, and maybe I just came on bad days.
To sum up, I think Disney has more attention to detail, better food, and better customer service. Downside is that a lot of their rides are geared toward children – although I am of the ‘children of all ages’ team. Universal has more ‘adult’ thrill rides and Harry Potter, but their customer service leaves something to be desired.
If it was up to me, I would stay on site at Disney World and enjoy the experience. There are some awesome packages, and if you book now with a visa card you can even get free dining included. 🙂 Although it’s first come first serve for the free dining packages. But, even if I was staying at Disney I would still do two days at Universal.