When it comes to theme parks, Orlando has long been on the map as home to Disneyland and Universal Studios. However, the new contender for the must-visit title is California, which now boasts some big names too. As one of the most popular destinations in the U.S. for thrillseekers of all ages, Six Flags Magic Mountain is especially unmissable. So which location is right for you? The Orlando original or the California contender?
Discover Universal Orlando Resort in Florida by shuttle or car.

If you’ve got your own wheels…

The first point to consider when choosing which park is right for you is the travel time. With Universal Studios Orlando easily accessible with shuttles and cars from the city center, it is the obvious choice for those not willing to commit to a commute. In contrast, Magic Mountain sits about 40 miles north of Los Angeles. If time is of the essence, then Universal Studios is the choice for you.

Take a walk down Diagon Alley (and some pictures, too).

If your Instagram followers are coming too…

With the scenic City Walk, movie tours, and family rides, Universal Studios makes for the more photogenic destination. Head deep into Diagon Alley at Harry Potter World for photos you can show off to the Muggles at home.

Let your little ones go wild at Six Flag Magic Mountain.

If you’re traveling with the kids…

If this is a family vacation, then Universal Studios is the obvious choice. Although Six Flags has several child-friendly rides, Universal Studios has more options for younger guests. Additionally, simulators replace a few of the traditional fun park rides and are a lot less overwhelming for small children.

Swing by the Wizarding World at Universal Studios Orlando.

If you’ve got time to spare…

With two separate parks on-site and themed areas like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, most guides recommend dedicating at least 2 or 3 days (or even 14) to Universal Studios Orlando. In contrast, a day is usually more than enough for Six Flags — so it’s perfect for those with only a small gap in their itinerary.

Get ready for thrills and spills at Six Flag Magic Mountain.

If you’re ready to roll…

Roller coasters and rides are the main attraction for you? Then head to Six Flags Magic Mountain, which is home to 19 roller coasters and the world’s tallest pendulum ride, the 17-story tall CraZanity. Rather than focus on movie experiences or simulators, Six Flags adds new rides regularly so it’s the dream destination for any self-respecting adrenaline junkie.

Zoom down the tracks at Universal Studios. Then, head to the Islands of Adventure.

If you’ve brought your best walking shoes…

Entry to the Islands of Adventure is included in the Universal Studios 2-park ticket, so exploring the extended parks is a must! Bring your waterproof poncho because some of the most popular rides here include some serious splashes, like Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls (a log flume livened up with a roller coaster track).

Six Flags Magic Mountain offers season passes, which keeps costs down.

If you’re on a budget…

If you would prefer to spend your cash on tasty treats rather than entry fees, then Six Flags Magic Mountain is ideal. With regular sales on their single-day tickets and season passes, guests can keep their visits wallet-friendly. 

Travelers who are always hungry for more can snack their way through Universal Studios.

If you’ve got an appetite…

Are immersive dining experiences your thing? Then head to Universal Studios where you can enjoy snacks in the Hot Dog Hall of Fame. Wander the turf, and then chill out in the stadium seats while enjoying game-day treats like an authentic Milwaukee bratwurst and chili cheese fries.

Get looney with your favorite toons at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

If you’re a fan of classic cartoons…

As the home to your favorite Looney Toons characters, Magic Mountain is a must for any fans of old school icons like Daffy Duck or Bugs Bunny. If you catch one of the live shows, you can enjoy Sylvester and Tweety Bird getting up to no good in real-time.

Enjoy themed accommodation at Universal Studios.

If you’re staying overnight…

Most people spend a few days at Universal Studios, so it makes sense that they’ve established an impressive resort hotel. Choose between the Surfside and Dockside Inns — but don’t stress too much, at either spot you can take a break from the parks and visit the amazing pools and lounge areas.

Plan your trip