It is impossible for a Disney fan to go to Universal without comparing the two. In the end, all four of us decided we liked Disney much more than Universal, but that is only part of the story.
Disney spends all of its time targeting every age group from toddler through senior citizen. This is not true for Universal. At Universal, you won't see a lot of baby strollers and even less Senior Citizen Scooters! Universal is designed for 15 to 35 year old's and it shows in every aspect of the park. The motion rides here are far more intense than Disney and there are a lot of them. The park features several real serious Roller Coasters along with a bunch of Motion Simulator Rides. Karl would love it!
The softer, gentler side of Universal was pretty weak. The live stage shows were well below Disney standards but I really did enjoy the BeatleJuice Rock & Roll show. The Sinbad show is another story, it was so bad I kept looking for the guy that told me I was on candid camera and the whole show was a hoax. The parades and street entertainment wasn't much better.
What was great about Universal? Harry Potter! Harry Freakin' Potter! I have never read a Harry Potter book or seen a Harry Potter movie but this place is astounding! There is a segment of each Universal Park dedicated to the Harry Potter Series. The design, architecture and ambiance pulls you in and you become part of the story, even if you are like me and don't know the story. The secrecy and mystery of the place is magical. It is tucked behind a London building facade with no signs that say "Harry Potter This Way", you just have to know the secret of where it is. Once inside, you are sucked into the story. There were more black capes and magic wands here than you can possibly imagine, and the Dragon? WOW!
I don't think we will be going to Universal again, but if Karl ever joins us, I am sure we will!