Instagram Settles the Disney Vs. Universal Debate

in Disney Parks, Universal Studios

Mickey Mouse waving in Toon Town, the Minions standing by the Universal Studios globe

Credit: Disney, Universal, Edited By Inside The Magic

There will always be a debate over who has the better theme park empire: Disney or Universal. However, when you use social media as a metric, specifically Instagram, there really isn’t any competition.

Universal versus Disney_feature image
Credit: Inside The Magic

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While everyone has their favorite local theme park, the debate over the best theme park brand always winds up becoming Disney Vs. Universal. It’s no wonder why. Both companies have access to iconic brands, like the Disney Princesses, Harry Potter, Marvel, Minions, Toy Story, Jurassic Park, and The Lion King. And don’t forget about special areas and events like Super Nintendo World, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, and Halloween Horror Nights.

For a long time, Walt’s company has easily remained at the top. Between Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, it’s hard to top the House of Mouse. However, according to a recent study, the Walt Disney Company has been dethroned.

Universal Reigns Supreme in Recent Study

Guests of all ages posing happily with the Minions
Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

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According to a recent study conducted by the Westgate Palace Hotel at Universal, the best American theme park is Universal Islands of Adventure, located within Universal Orlando Resort, narrowly beating out the Magic Kingdom for the top spot by less than one point.

While many other parks were featured in the top ten, including Dollywood, Silver Dollar City, Cedar Point, and four other Disney parks, there are some questions regarding the overall ranking of this study. The three key points focused on were Instagram hashtags, monthly Google search volume, and the percentage of “excellent” reviews on TripAdvisor.

Guests look on inside the Magic Kingdom besides the Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse statue, Partners, at Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Disney

Looking at the limited amount of data provided in the press release, it was clear that the TripAdvisor reviews held more weight than the other two metrics. For example, 74% of the 52,310 reviews for Islands of Adventure were “excellent,” compared to 69% of the 69,536 for Magic Kingdom. However, Islands of Adventure had 38,670 “excellent” ratings compared to Magic Kingdom’s 48,029.

This information can be interpreted in numerous ways. Since barely any statistics regarding the monthly Google search volume were provided, the only other metric to judge the situation is through Instagram hashtags. And when it comes to social media, there’s no question about which product reigns supreme.

Disney Dominates on Instagram

mickey and minnie 50th magic kingdom Disney World
Credit: Disney

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When looking at Instagram hashtags, Magic Kingdom is clearly the champion, with 8,012,859 posts in 2023. Compare this to Westgate Palace Hotel’s number one park, Universal Islands of Adventure, which only has 854,821 posts. That’s barely over a tenth of Walt Disney World Resort’s flagship park.

In fact, that doesn’t even compare to the sixth-best theme park on the list, Animal Kingdom, which boasts 4,752,545 posts, more than five times as many as Islands of Adventure. Even EPCOT, which doesn’t appear in the top ten, destroys the Universal theme park with over 4.9 million posts.

Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park in Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Disney

However, this doesn’t decide which theme park is the best overall. What if we just put in the names of the biggest brands for each company? Using Universal Studios as a hashtag brings in a total of about 7.1 million posts. Compare this to Disneyland, which sits at an astounding 32.4 million posts. However, that likely includes the other Disneyland Parks in the world, which is unfair to all the Universal parks.

Then what about Walt Disney World Resort? Well, that depends on the phrasing you use. Inserting Disney World brings up around 18 million posts, while Walt Disney World brings up 10.4 million, and Walt Disney World Resort only brings in 708,000. If you focus on just the basic names of the companies, Universal brings up 4.5 million posts and Disney results in 95.4 million.

A surprised minion in front of the Villain-Con Minion Blast sign inside of Universal Studios Florida
Credit: Inside The Magic

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When you’re using Instagram hashtags as the primary metric to decide the best theme park in the United States, there’s no question regarding who is the winner. It seems that the best way to make this decision is by visiting different parks for yourself and making up your own mind.

Which do you prefer, Disney or Universal? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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