Universal Follows Disney in Making Change You Won’t Like

Universal Orlando Resort is making a change in its annual pass pricing structure that guests won’t like.

Fans of Comcast’s  (CMCSA) – Get Comcast Corporation Class A Report Universal Orlando Resort are getting ready for their summer vacations with a trip to Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure. 

Or maybe they will opt for a ride on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios or possibly a thrilling trip on Jurassic World VelociCoaster and The Incredible Hulk Coaster at Islands of Adventure. Many might just want to cool off at Universal Orlando’s water theme park, Volcano Bay.

Guests are not likely to experience everything in every theme park in one, two or even three days. With about 14 rides at Universal Studios and maybe 16 rides at Islands of Adventure, it will likely take several days to get on every ride at those two parks and spend quality time at Volcano Bay as well.

With daily tickets at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure starting at $109 and $80 at Volcano Bay, it makes sense for local residents, as well most Florida residents outside the Orlando area, to purchase an annual pass if they are planning multiple visits to the parks over the year. Vacationers planning to spend four or more days at the theme parks might want to consider the annual pass as well.

Theme Park Annual Pass Challenges

Universal rival Walt Disney  (DIS) – Get Walt Disney Company Report has made it tough on passholders as it suspended its Disney World annual pass sales during the covid pandemic closure, brought them back shortly in 2021 with higher prices and new restrictions, then ended sales again except for its lowest tier, Florida resident-only pass. Out-of-state visitors are out of luck on annual passes at Disney World.

Annual passes are pricier for out-of-state visitors at Universal. In March, Universal raised the prices of all of its out-of-state annual passes by $50, including the 2-park Seasonal annual pass to $399; 2-park Power annual pass to $449.99; 2-park Preferred annual pass to $499; 2-park Premier annual pass to $714. Universal also raised the 3-park Seasonal to $499.99, 3-park Power to $559.99, 3-park Preferred to $606.99 and 3-park Premier to $904.99.

With those prices, Florida residents saved $100 on Seasonal, Power and Preferred 2-park and 3-park passes and $115 on the Premier  passes, Universal Parks News Today reported.

Inflation Hits Theme Park Prices

But wait. Universal wasn’t finished with raising prices in March. Inflation has hit theme park annual passes as just three months later, Universal on June 3 raised annual and seasonal passes by another $25 to $40, WDW News Today reported.

Now for out-of-state guests, 2-day Seasonal is $424 and 3-day is $524.99; 2-day Power is $474.99 and 3-day is $584.99; 2-park Preferred is $539.99 and 3-day is $649.99; and 2-park Premier is $754.99 and 3-day is $944.99. Florida residents get the same $20 to $40 increases but still save $100 to $115 per pass.

Universal Studios Hollywood took the opposite approach in January as it significantly lowered its annual pass prices through April 7, cutting its top Platinum price by $50 to $479, Gold pass by $20 to $259, Silver by $15 to $184, and California Neighbor by $10 to $149, the Orange County Register reported. The passes reverted back to their previous price on April 8 and remain at those price points today.

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