Worthing versus Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Orlando, Florida

So here we are – the final leg of my world circumnavigation looking for somewhere better to live the The Mighty Worthing – and what a place to finish off. We are in Orlando, Florida, USA ready to go out with a bang. I’m excited, and so are you. Yes you are.

...and I just can't hide it

...and I just can't hide it

In this installment of Worthing versus the World I’m including the newest reason to go to Orlando – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure – as well as the classic Walt Disney World with Mickey Mouse and the Magic Kingdom.

Anyone who’s been to Disneyland will know the It’s a Small World song, which wisely teaches us:

It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears
It’s a world of hopes, its a world of fear
There’s so much that we share
That it’s time we’re aware
It’s a small world after all

But is Worthing the best place in this small world of tears, fears and butterbeers? 42 points will win it, but is that even possible? Let’s find out.

1. Is the weather better than Brighton?

Totally! We were there in May and it was super lush and sunny. Check it out:

Me, the Magic Kingdom and sunshine at 9 in the morning

Me, the Magic Kingdom, blue skies and sunshine at 9 in the morning

One of the coolest things was the snow we saw. Yes dear reader, snow in Florida! I had pretty high hopes for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter but I was truly amazed when we walked around the corner in a sunny American theme park and found ourselves in this snowy, magical, English street.

Christmas shopping, but in shorts and t-shirts

Christmas shopping, but in shorts and t-shirts

It was absolutely brilliant. It even snowed for real while we were queuing up for a ride. That blew my tiny mind that did.

To misquote a non-Disney fairytale, the weather was not too hot and not too cold, it was juuuuuust right. Add to that the excitement of snowy rooftops and it can only be – 10 points

2. Proximity and quality of the seaside (a pier must be present for full points here)

Since coming back to the UK we’ve been staying with family and friends until our house is vacated. Everywhere I go everyone has been really welcoming, and 100% of them have said “Here’s some towels, help yourself to anything in the fridge, I’m afraid we haven’t got a pier.” Even though my family don’t live in houses with piers, I have still had a lovely time with all of them. So far.

There isn’t a pier at Disney or at Universal Studios either. They don’t even have seaside, but there are lakes and rivers and paddle steamers.

Paddle steamer taxiboat

Paddle steamer taxiboat

All of that stuff is lovely. It can also be bloody exciting if your lake has The Incredible Hulk roller-coaster next to it.

This was my second most sweary roller-coaster. To see the one that made me swear like a sailor with a stubbed toe, click here., click here

This was my second most sweary roller-coaster.

To see the coaster that made me swear like a sailor with a stubbed toe, read The Travelling Mallorys.

I was glad to be near water, but it wasn’t salty, and there definitely wasn’t a pier to be seen anywhere – 4 points

3. Local delicacies and quality of food

If a picture speaks a thousand words, here is a 2,000 word essay on the food at Disney World and Universal Studios.

Mmmmmmmm...ribs, beans and coleslaw




Pretty much all the food was American junk food classics, but it was everything you could want from an American junk food classic. Best chicken nuggets ever, lovely pizza, greasy fried chicken and the stupid amount of meat shown above for lunch – 10 points

4. Friendliness and attractiveness of the locals

One of the best things about Walt Disney World is that the people there are all really nice. Some might argue that they’re paid to be nice to me, but I know for a fact that they are all exceptionally nice people that are too friendly for normal society so they have to go and work in Disney World.

It’s a different story at Universal. We saw a really good show about monster make-up where a little kid was heckling and the bloke on stage said “Watch out kid. This ain’t Disney – we don’t have to be nice to the children!” which cracked me up.

The sugary niceness of Disney mixed with the genuine affability of Universal and occasional can’t-be-arsedness of staff in both parks added up to a decent amount of friendliness. They also had a bit of Britishstyle grumpiness thrown in. I actually found the mixture preferable to Worthing’s residents ongoing and boring complaints about parking  10 points

5. Availability and quality of real ale

America is not known for it’s real ale. I don’t rate any of the beer I’ve had there, and I’ve tried plenty of beers in plenty of bars in plenty of towns. Even in EPCOT’s England World they had rubbish beers on tap, so I ended up with something just as British but less aley.

I'm the one with the Pimms, dahling

I'm the one with the Pimms, dahling

It had got to the point where I was wishing the days away until we got home and could get into The Downview for a pint of Harveys, but then we visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and my entire beer-drinking life was turned upside-down. Turned upside-down by this:

Butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Butterbeer is the drink of choice for Hogwarts students and I have to say, those kids know what they’re on about – it’s AMAZING!

You have two choices – frozen or cold. I had both (obviously) and would recommend the cold by a country mile. It’s the darker one on the right of the picture above. It looks like beer, but it tastes like butterscotch and cream soda. It doesn’t have any booze in it, but a) I didn’t actually mind as I was drunk on excitement and b) it means you can sit in a pub full of kids drinking pints of beer which is totally awesome and will form the second part of my Mallory for Worthing Mayor Manifesto. If you missed the first part, here is your chance to catch up.

As you’re drinking the beer the head stays there and leaves rings on the glass. We had it in the Hog’s Head which is done out to look like the pub from the film, and is fantastic fun. You really do feel like you’re in the ‘real’ one. You also get called Muggle occasionally, which tops it off a treat.

I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I think I like Butterbeer more than Harveys. Yes, I do. I’m sorry. – 10 points

So that means the final score for Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Orlando, Florida is 44 points! They said it couldn’t be done, but I have discovered a place that is better to live than Worthing.

It’s a theme park in America which may pose some problems in terms of moving there permanently. Actually, it’s two theme parks in America. Now that really is going to complicate things. I need to talk to my wife.

Read about our Orlando adventure on The Travelling Mallorys

Our Florida photos on Flickr



Filed under USA, Worthing versus the world

6 responses to “Worthing versus Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Orlando, Florida

  1. Simon would so move to Disney if I let him. Looking forward to trying some butterbeer this week…

  2. Sounds like you have been away too long, American Food and Butterbeer. Methinks over exposure to sun. Try a hat and say fifty hail Harveys.

  3. Greg

    I saw the same show. I nearly cried with laughter at the “we don’t have to be nice to kids” thing. I look forward to hearing of your move to the house of mouse!

  4. Rox

    If you could only visit one, which would you choose?(I’ve been to Disneyland, Anaheim) thanks!

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