When people come on vacation to Florida and visit a theme park, they most often head to either Disney World or Universal Studios. These two parks are not the only parks though that people visit. People visit SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Legoland, Kennedy Space Center, and many more as Florida is considered the ‘Theme Park Capital of the World.’ With all of the wonderful parks we have here in Florida, the two most visited parks people tend to visit in Orlando are Disney and Universal.
Both parks have things in them that make them unique and special which makes people love them. The question is, which theme park is ultimately the best park? Well, when it comes to Disney, their standard is nothing but beyond exceptional and delivers quite the punch when compared to Universal’s standards. Why is it that Disney is the ‘most magical place on earth?’ Why is it that Disney is a place where grown adults leave the worries of the world behind and make them kids again? What makes Disney, ‘Disney?’ Well, the thing that makes them ‘Disney’ is called the Disney Difference so let’s dive in to find out what really makes Disney, ‘Disney.’
The Cast Members
What can ultimately make or break your vacation is the quality of service you get from the workers at at theme parks. If you get bad service, you probably won’t be happy and most likely would not be coming back. If you were not aware, each worker at Disney whether it be a janitor, a train conductor, ride operator, or even show person, is called a ‘Cast Member’ as each person is part of the big ‘cast’ putting on this ‘show’ for you with each person have a specific role that ultimately benefits your overall vacation. Now, not to throw shade at the workers at Universal, but there is just something ‘magical’ about Disney’s Cast Members that is just superior to the way Universal does things. Maybe it is the energy the Cast Members bring into the parks. Maybe it’s the passion the Cast Members have for Disney. Even so, it may be that Disney Cast Members are more friendly and seem like they actually want to be there to make your vacation the best it could possibly be.
Perhaps it is really a combination of all of that but the thing that really sets the Disney Cast Members apart is the fact they are willing to go out of their way to make your vacation the most memorable, the most fun, and the most magical you could possibly ever have. For instance, say you have a child who for whatever reason starts to have a tantrum. They could be mad about not being able to go on a ride, sad they lost a balloon, or even just crying because they are bored in line. Then, as your child is crying a Cast Member comes up and gives your child a Mickey Sticker. Or, better yet, they do something you weren’t expecting and take you out of line and back through the exit and then let you get on the ride. Another instance may be that a Cast Member may decide to just give you a free Fastpass just because you were wearing a birthday or celebration button. Again, it is not that Universal employees are bad, is it just that Disney has higher expectations which is things like these that that set Disney Cast Members apart from any other theme park workers because they create this ‘magical’ environment that truly creates memories of a lifetime.
The Amount of Properties Disney Owns
One thing that Disney has that no other company really has in terms of size is the sheer amount of properties Disney has accumulated. What originally just started out as the Walt Disney Company, they now have grown so much and have all these properties which people love. In 2006, Disney acquired Pixar. In 2009, they acquired Marvel Entertainment. Lastly, in 2012, they acquired Lucasfilm. Within those companies, it brings about entire new stories and characters to the Disney parks incorporating these things people already loved making them love them even more. As they are now in the Disney parks, more people are coming to the parks to go on rides or see shows that are centered around their favorite movie. When it comes to Universal, they do not have that large ‘universe’ of properties as Disney does which then limits the things they can put into the park. As Disney has more things people love, that is the reason more and more people visit the Disney parks each year. If it was the other way around and Universal did have a large ‘universe’ of properties, Universal could very well be at the top of their game.
What is the number one thing that everyone does at a theme park? They go on Rides!! Without the rides, it shouldn’t even be called a theme park. Perhaps one of the big areas Disney excels in is creating stunning, technologically advanced, cutting-edge, amazing rides, whereas Universal has rides, but they are not that grand. For instance, Universal has 1 type of ride they primarily use: Simulators. Simulators are those things that put you into a vehicle of some sorts and ‘simulate’ an environment as if you were there doing the actual thing. A great example of a simulator would be when pilots get into a flight simulator to ‘simulate’ a flight in an actual aircraft. Universal has many of these kinds of rides, and they are not bad rides, it is just that Disney has variety.
Disney has ‘dark rides’, boat rides, roller coasters, shooters, and ‘Omni movers.’ Universal may have a lot of thrill rides, but Disney does have some thrill rides. Disney has all of this variety that gives you something for the whole entire family to do. You have rides little kids can go on, rides for a bit older kids, and even rides that many adults enjoy. As Walt Disney himself said, “We believed in our idea- a family park where parents and children could have fun- together.” That is exactly what Disney is; a place where parents and children come together to create memories that will last a lifetime. That is something that Universal just simply does not have.
Besides the rides that make Disney ‘Disney, the other thing that really sets them apart is the entertainment offerings Disney has. Disney offers many kinds of entertainment for you to see throughout your vacation and it ranges from ‘Broadway-style’ shows, stage shows, ‘streetmosphere’ entertainment, parades, and even fireworks! Each show is something special and can even give you goosebumps depending on the show. For example, there have been many people who have never seen the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom.
When they see it, they are in absolute awe and it leaves them with overwhelming sensations and has even made people cry because it just makes them so happy. When was the last time people saw a show at Universal and it made them cry? Probably never as Universal just does not have the shows to do that and well. All of the shows at Disney does something inside of people. It may be the fact they get to see their favorite characters on stage, maybe it is because of the story, maybe it is because the shows they see put a smile on their kid’s face which then makes you smile. Whatever the reason, Disney just has this vibe that makes you feel happy.
The very last thing that Disney does to make them stand out from other theme parks in is the storytelling they tell not just in the parks, but across the whole entire resort. From the moment you step foot onto the resort, the story begins. You may not see the story nor even realize there is a story, but the whole resort tells chapter after chapter of this continuous story. There really isn’t just one story, but actually many stories that Disney tells throughout the parks. You have the story about “letting your dreams take flight and finding your happily ever after”, you have the story of friendship, the story of love, you have the story of nature and the wild adventures. From the parades, shows, character meet and greets to even the theming around you, everything tells this story. Sometimes it is very obvious, and others, it is very subtle.
The thing that makes a great story is the way the story is told or presented. If the story is presented in a horrible way, the whole book is then trash. If the story is presented in an amazingly intricate way that is filled with adventure, love, villains, heroes, action, and every other thing, that story then becomes something special. That is what Disney World does. The power of a story can affect us in many ways. It can make us believe we can do anything, it can give us the power to escape reality, it can give us an adventure, help us to find love and even shape who we become. Without the story Disney tells, Disney would not be Disney. Because of the story Disney tells, it gives people hope, happiness, and things to look forward to. “That’s what storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope time and time again.” – Walt Disney
Disney World and really any Disney park across the world has this special ‘magic’ that other theme parks just simply do not have. It is the cast members that will make your vacation the most magical it could ever be, it is the amazing rides that people ride and fall in love with making them want to ride it over and over again, it is the sheer amount of properties Disney owns which in turns makes their parks better creating new experiences more people will love, it is the entertainment like the grand fireworks displays that create lasting memories in people’s hearts making them smile, and it is the amazing storytelling put on display that makes grown adults become kids again. It is these things, the things that are so simple yet different that makes Disney different from other theme parks, but it is this that is the ‘Disney Difference.’