FLORIDA: Downtown Disney vs Universal CityWalk

For adults and young adults visiting Orlando without the company of kids and are not fond of theme parks, they more often than not end up just visiting either Downtown Disney or Universal CityWalk or both. Families who are not looking to spend much and doesn't want every single day of their vacation just spent in theme parks, find themselves walking around at either of the two as well for a relaxing stroll. Here we'll take a look at both of them and we'll give you our humble opinion about both of them in certain perspectives.

FAMILY ACTIVITIES: Downtown Disney offers its guest a variety of activities aimed more for it's young guests. They offer free shows and street performances, interesting activities like Characters in Flight which is a tethered balloon ride, and they have a 4-story building of interactive Disney gaming experience called Disney Quest. Universal CityWalk also offers family-friendly activities but mainly centered on shopping and dining.

Downtown Disney Characters in Flight
Characters in Flight: tethered balloon ride
Disney Quest Downtown Disney
Disney Quest: an interactive gaming park

ADULT ACTIVITIES: About 50% of activities in Universal CityWalk is centered on bar scenes. They have a number of themed clubs and the very popular Rising Star where you get a chance to perform with their band on top of the stage in front of guests like you. It is a prime nightlife spot for tourists and locals alike and the performance of the Blue Man Group is always fascinating especially for adults. Downtown Disney's adult activities and nightlife is concentrated on its Pleasure Island area but you can't avoid seeing kids around at night which is sometimes depressing for dating couples who thinks that their vacation would have been more fun if they have kids or couples on a vacation who left their kids home.

Universal City Walk Citywalk
Hard Rock Cafe at Universal CityWalk
Downtown Disney Pleasure Island
Entrance to Pleasure Island

DINING: Downtown Disney has a variety of unique and themed restaurants for kids and adults alike. Most of their restaurants houses renowned chefs whose specialties revolves around the restaurant's theme. There are only about a dozen restaurants in Universal CityWalk and most of them are big franchises like the Hard Rock Cafe, Panda Express and Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville.

ARCHITECTURE: Universal CityWalk have a number of memorable architectures you can view up-close and take a picture of or with. The big NBA's Logoman statue, the Hard Rock Cafe designed like the Roman Coliseum, and of course, the Universal Globe. Downtown Disney also has a few pretty architectures but nothing that stand out and stick that much into memory.

Universal City Walk Universal Globe
Universal Globe
Universal City Walk NBA City
NBA's Logoman statue

CHARACTER SHOPPING: This is kind of tough to judge because it depends on which character you are looking for. Both has their main big store, World of Disney for Downtown Disney and Universal Studios Store for Universal CityWalk. We think that beauty is in the eye of the beholder in this category.

Downtown Disney World of Disney
World of Disney store
Universal City Walk Universal Studios Store
Universal Studios Store