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Are Universal Studios and Hollywood Studios the Same?

Orlando is ground-zero for theme parks, so it’s no surprise that Universal Studios and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, two of the biggest and best in the world are located there.

Since both theme parks have attractions based on classic movies it’s easy to see why they might get confused for one another. 

Similar themes, close proximity, and even similar names have led people to wonder if the parks are actually one and the same but they are not.

Hollywood Studios and Universal Studios are two distinct parks, that focus on different characters, movies, settings, and general guest experiences. 

Universal Studios and Hollywood Studios are two large theme parks dedicated to movies and movie production. In fact, both parks are filming locations for blockbuster movies in addition to being theme parks. 

We’ll discover the similarities between each park and explore how very different they are in this article. 

How Are Universal and Hollywood Studios Similar?

People riding on a roller coaster based on the Toy Story franchise

Both Universal and Hollywood Studios are theme parks based on classic movies and their creation. If you’re hoping to do meet-and-greets with characters from your favorite movies, you can take pictures with many of them in both parks.

Each park contains a mix of shows and rides. While the content of both rides and shows is different, thrill-seekers and theater patrons can both find great opportunities in each park. 

Both parks are located in Orlando, Florida, and are only separated by 12 miles (19 km). If you’re willing to pay entrance fees and only spend a little time in each one, you can visit both parks in a single day. A twenty-minute drive is all it takes to get between them. 

Universal Studios (Orlando) is connected to another two parks: Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay. 

Hollywood Studios is one of seven parks that make up Disney World, which includes The Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, Blizzard Beach Water Park, and Disney Springs Shopping and Dining Venue. 

In this way, both Hollywood Studios and Universal Studios are part of a larger group of parks.

Disney owns parks around the world, but the most famous are Disney World (in Orlando) and Disney Land (in California). 

Universal Studios operates parks in Los Angeles, Orlando, Osaka, and Singapore. Both brands of theme parks have a worldwide reach. 

Universal Studios

People walking through Diagon Alley in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal Orlando is a destination for thrill-seekers and ride-lovers. Big rides like the Hollywood Rip Rocket are found throughout the park and are great for getting your blood pumping. 

Family-friendly rides like the Men in Black Alien Attack are great to take kids on. 

Outside of roller-coasters, Universal offers some amazing movie experiences. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Diagon Alley lets you step right into the famous location of the series. 

Marvel World and Dr. Seuss Land each offer their own charm, connected to beloved movies and characters produced by the studio.

Visiting Universal Studios opens up access to both Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay. Islands of Adventure is centered around adventure with plenty of exciting rides and the original Harry Potter World inside. 

Volcano Bay is a waterpark that offers roller-coasters, resorts, fine dining, and poolside lounging. The Hogwarts Express train ride connects the parks, meaning you don’t have to leave Universal to visit them. 


  • Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Diagon Alley
  • Hogwarts Express ride between parks
  • Island of Adventure Coasters
  • Volcano Bay Water Park
  • Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
  • The Simpsons Ride
  • Resort and hotel areas

Hollywood Studios

Statues of characters from the Toy Story franchise in Disney's Hollywood Studios

As part of the Disney conglomerate, Hollywood Studios is more focused on Disney-owned properties. Live shows include Beauty and the Beast, Indiana Jones, and the Muppets. 

Star Wars fans will love the park, as it has an entire section dedicated to the franchise. 

Hollywood Studios may be more focused on live shows and theater than Universal, but it’s home to some amazing and famous rides. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is an elevator-style, drop ride themed after the spooky television show it’s named after. 

Rock n’ Roller Coaster is more of a traditional thrill ride, but it features music from Aerosmith. 

Visiting Hollywood Studios opens up the rest of Disney World’s parks. With a park-hopping pass, you could spend the morning hitting your favorite rides or catching a show in Hollywood Studios and then head over to any other Disney Park. 

Bus and boat transportation from Hollywood Studios can take you to other parks without the need to drive over yourself. 


  • Toy Story Land
  • Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Rock n’ Roller Coaster
  • Wonderful World of Animation
  • Live shows: Beaty and the Beast, Muppets 3D, Stunt Spectacular
  • Access to other Disney Parks

Which One Should You Visit?

If you’re going to be in Orlando but only have time to visit one of these two amazing parks, which one is worth your time? 

Frankly, both offer great experiences and are more than worth a visit. Which one is better really comes down to personal preference and which experiences excite you the most. 

Big fans of Harry Potter will love being able to visit Diagon Alley and Gringotts in the Universal Parks. They also tend to have more adrenaline-pumping roller-coasters and more of a focus on rides than Hollywood Studios. 

Big Disney fans will likely enjoy Hollywood Studios more. For children, there’s more focus on shows and character spotlights where you can meet them and snap pictures. 

They’ve also added a large section for Star Wars in the last few years. 

It’s also worth considering if you’re bringing small children, which other parks you want to visit, as well as your accommodation situation. 

Both parks are worth your time, but visiting the park that better serves your interests and family needs will end up being more fun.


Universal Studios and Hollywood Studios are amazing theme parks in Orlando that are both dedicated to movie and Hollywood themes. Despite some confusion, they aren’t the same park and have distinct characteristics. 

Hopefully, after this reading, you have a good idea of the differences between each park and can figure out which one you’ll enjoy more. 

If you have to pick between them, whichever one you choose is going to provide amazing shows, fast-paced rides, and a treasure-trove of film history.