Many theme park fans have a hard time choosing between Orlando’s juggernauts; Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort – and who can blame them? Both are some of the best theme parks in the world and offer experiences you can’t get anywhere else. Disney may be more catered towards families, while Universal’s audience errs slightly more grown-up, but Guests of all ages enjoy both destinations.
However, in general, Walt Disney World is more popular and successful than Universal. This means that the latter Park likes to playfully take a jab at its mouse-eared competitor every once in a while. Sometimes it’s just a shady tweet on social media, but Universal has been known to put blatant Disney references and parodies in their attractions themselves – all in good fun, of course. Let’s take a look at some times that Universal has poked fun at Disney in their attractions.
The Simpsons Ride
The Simpsons pokes fun at everybody – in fact, many consider it an honor to be parodied by America’s favorite cartoon family. If that’s the case, Disney should feel positively venerated by its treatment on The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Florida. Krustyland, where the ride takes place, is a definitive parody of Disneyland. You can’t go four feet in the queue without seeing a reference or parody of a Disney ride – including The Haunted Condo (The Haunted Mansion), The Sea Captain’s Queasy Time Lagoon (The Jungle Cruise), or Captain Dinosaur’s Pirate-Rip Off (The Pirates of the Caribbean). The ride itself features an extended look at the Pirates parody, with some familiar-looking ride and show elements. The Simpsons is now owned by Disney, though, so we’ll see how long these parodies last.
This attraction is now defunct, slated to be replaced with the all-new Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast, but during its tenure, it took quite a few jabs at Disney, as is the point of the Shrek franchise. The attraction’s queue featured some parody Disney ride posters, including Donkbo, the flying talking donkey at Dulocland, and Lord Farquaad’s Enchanted Tick Room. The attraction itself featured an unfortunate fate for a Tinkerbell-like character, who opens the film in a Disney-fied manner, only to get sent flying and crushed with a champagne cork at the end.
Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
This classic log flume attraction at Islands of Adventure obviously has some similarities to Splash Mountain, although the Disney references on it are more specific. At the end of the ride, Guests pass by its villain, Snidley Whiplash, who is locked inside Alottapoopoo Island Prison. He’s trying to convince a beaver holding the keys in its mouth to give them to him in an obvious parody of the famous ending scene on Pirates of the Caribbean. Earlier in the attraction, Guests enter a dark tunnel where they narrowly avoid being hit by a train in a parody of a similar scene on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
Jurassic Park River Adventure
The Jurassic Park film series already takes a few jabs at Disney – “Yeah, but, John, if The Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists.” The attraction has two references to the Parks; one is in the queue, where Guests view a cheesy “making of” video about Jurassic Park. In it, the narrator says, “But in the words of our founder, John Hammond, ‘I hope we never lose sight of one thing—that it all started with a mosquito.’” This is, of course, a parody of the famous “it all started with a mouse” quote from Walt Disney. In a more morbid turn, on the ride itself, Guests pass by another raft that has clearly suffered an unfortunate dinosaur attack – and bobbing in the water next to the abandoned boat is a pair of Mickey ears!
Twister: Ride It Out!
This is another defunct attraction, having been replaced with Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon. During its operation, though, it contained one sneaky reference to the Disney Parks. In the attraction’s queue, Guests walk through a house that has been ravaged by a tornado, complete with a car that has smashed through the roof. Eagle-eyed Guests who watched the car’s spinning tire could spot a pair of Mickey ears smashed under it!