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Thinking around taking your family to check out Harry Potter at global Orlando Resort? Can’t wait to ride the hogwarts Express? Be all set for some severe sticker shock. In ~ times, universal Orlando ticket prices can make Disney people look downright affordable —even v Disney’s most recent round of pricing changes. Universal is clever with how they assist you decision to part with a great chunk of your wallet. Because that example, if you want to journey the hogwart Express (we absolutely did!), you’ll have to purchase the park-to-park option. There’s literally no other method to ride among the most popular rides in the park.

All plank the hogwart Express to take you between Universal Studios and also Universal islands of Adventure.

When our household planned our an initial trip to global Orlando Resort, we were reasoning that three days would certainly be the ideal amount the time to explore both amusement parks the Universal has to offer. Us quickly discovered that three-day tickets with Express overcome (Universal’s version of a FastPass) would price usmorethan buying annual passes. Two-day tickets through Express overcome weren’t that lot cheaper. In short, it to be time come head under the hare hole that constitutes the various yearly pass alternatives that global Studios Orlando offers. To save you some of the pain, we’re going to walk you through what you require to know if you’re waffling do the efforts to decision if a universal Orlando annual pass is precious it for your family.

Universal Studios Orlando: yearly Pass Types

Universal Orlando features four different varieties of annual passes. Throw in the fact that you have the right to buy a two-park or a three-park version and also your head may start come spin simply a bit. The four varieties of yearly passes at universal Orlando are:


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Seasonal Pass

The Seasonal happen comes v a host of blackout dates:

January 1–3, 2019April 12–27, 2019July 1–31, 2019December 21–31, 2019

There’s additionally ominous language about concert dates: “Seasonal Passholders space blocked out of global Studios Florida on every concert dates and will only receive accessibility to Universal’s islands of Adventure. Concert days will it is in announced at a later on date.”

If you pick the three-park option, you’ll it is in blocked out of the water park, Volcano Bay, for essentially the entire summer (June 14 v August 18). Yikes!

Universal Studios Volcano bay (Photo by Summer Hull / The points Guy)

This pass is likely not a good match for families and also probably only makes feeling if you live in Florida or can gain there rather easily. Plenty of of the many popular days are blacked out, and also the concert schedule additional complicates matters.

Seasonal passholders do get on-site hotel discounts and discounts on specific special event tickets. The on-site hotel discounts have the right to be valuable if you publication one of the hotels wherein all guests receive Express Passes through their room reservation.

Power Pass

The power Pass might not have the most proper name. Similar to the Seasonal Pass, there room a number of blackout dates:

January 1–3, 2019April 12–27, 2019December 21–31, 2019

There room no concert night restrictions. However, if you choose the three-park option, you’ll be minimal from entering the water parks prior to 4pm from June 14 with August 18.

Power passholders obtain the very same special event and on-site hotel discounts as Seasonal passholders. In addition, castle get cost-free admission to certain concerts and events, such together Mardi Gras.

Lastly, power passholders get a 50% discount top top self-parking.

Preferred Pass

Preferred passholders have actually no blackout dates for the two key parks, universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. For three-park passholders, accessibility to Volcano bay is limited to 4pm or after native July 14 v August 18.

Preferred passholders reap early access to the parks, generally one hour prior to park opening. There space blackout days for this benefit. Currently, every one of November and December are blacked the end for at an early stage admission at global Studios, wherein Islands of Adventure does have some dates obtainable in both months.

Along through the discounts that strength passholders receive, preferred passholders obtain discounts ~ above food and merchandise also as cost-free self-parking.

Premier Pass

The Premier happen represents the finest value, by far, that the yearly pass choices at universal Orlando.

The restrictions component is pretty straightforward. There are at this time no blackout days for Premier passholders. This contains early park join as well. The Premier pass is likewise the only pass the comes with cost-free Universal Express consisted of after 4pm every day. During peak times (and even shoulder seasons) refer Passes have the right to be frighteningly expensive unless you are continuing to be at choose resorts the convey it together a perk of remaining at that property. Otherwise, this is where the true value of the Premier pass pays off together you could stay wherever you wish and still obtain some Express happen benefits.

The official written preeminence on universal Express because that Premier passholders claims that you deserve to only use your to express option when per ride per day uneven you have the Express unlimited Pass. I remember considering this restriction as soon as we to be debating whether to buy annual passes or not. By the time we in reality visited universal for the first time, ns had fully forgotten about it. That wasn’t till a couple of nights later when some regional friends spicy the restriction the end to us. Nobody had actually stopped us native riding a ride more than once. As it’s been defined to me, employees generally look the other way unless the to express lines space backed up, despite of course the can’t it is in guaranteed.

Along with all the benefits of the wanted pass, Premier passholders additionally are entitled to one cost-free Halloween fear Night ticket. Considering these start at around $60 for an development purchase, this can be a huge factor in identify the worth of an yearly pass if your family is up for that event.

Halloween horror Nights

Halloween horror Nights mark vital footnote for universal Orlando annual passholders of all types. These space days as soon as Universal closes the park early on to put on an elaborate Halloween show, complete with haunted homes throughout the parks. The schedule because that Halloween fear Nights operation from mid-September to at an early stage November (September 14 with November 3 in 2018, because that reference). Through the exemption of Monday and also Tuesday, universal Studios will close in ~ 6pm. Archipelago of Adventure will frequently stay open a bit later, yet you’ll desire to inspect the schedule closely because October is typically a slow time of year.


18 month of an yearly Pass for the Price that 12

Universal resort Orlando is right now running a promotion where new annual passholders and renewing members deserve to enjoy much more time to use their annual pass. Through April 4, 2019, if you purchase or renew an annual pass, you’ll obtain up come six totally free months the extra time to use your pass.

Seasonal and also Power passholders will obtain three complimentary months. Preferred and Premier passholders will receive six cost-free months. We’re going come dive right into the math shortly, however these free months really tilt the equation toward annual passes and away indigenous purchasing conventional tickets for numerous visitors.

Be mindful that to get the bonus month you should not only purchase, but likewise activate the passes by April 4, 2019.

Enjoy bother Potter many times v your yearly pass.

FlexPay for annual Passes

FlexPay is a rather unique way to pay for layout park tickets. Global Orlando will sell you an annual pass and enable you to make payments. You’ll have to put under a deposit of around 50% the the purchase price for the happen you choose. Then, you’ll pay the balance in 11 same monthly payments. There’s an interesting strategy wherein you might buy an annual pass and also pay the monthly amount as soon as your year is increase to prolong the pass just a few months if you were trying to squeeze in one more trip. We had contemplated this for our passes. However, the six complimentary months is probably a much more attractive option.

20% Discount because that Renewals

If you’re a current yearly passholder and thinking about renewing, global is supplying a 20% discount if you salary your regeneration in complete as opposed to making use of the FlexPay option. As long as you to be able come afford payment the renewal in one lump sum, this is a pretty hefty savings for a household of four.

Universal Orlando yearly Pass Pricing

As pointed out earlier, universal Resort Orlando has actually a full of 3 parks. A two-park pass gets you accessibility to global Studios Florida and also Universal’s archipelago of Adventure. The three-park choice includes accessibility to Volcano Bay. The pricing because that a two-park yearly pass ranges from about $325 to $596. As you deserve to see indigenous the table below, the 20% discount on rebirth takes a vast chunk the end of the price as soon as you integrate it through a potential six-month extension. The pricing the the Seasonal, Power and also Preferred overcome is close sufficient that i don’t see too plenty of solid factors to pick the Seasonal or Power. Provided the blackout dates and restrictions, they’re much harder come get great value the end of. Heck, the cost-free parking and discounts on food and also merchandise could easily sheathe the difference in the price of upgrading come the wanted pass.

New Pass$324.82$378.07$420.67$596.39
Free Months3 months3 months6 months6 months

The pricing on three-park passes follows a similar ratio come the two-park passes. You’ll salary a pretty kind premium to include on the water park alternative (from $110 to nearly $200 extra). Single-day Volcano Bay ticket run around $80 depending upon season. In ~ a ceiling minimum, you’d must visit the water park at the very least twice to make this worth her while, and potentially 3 times through the Premier pass. Your mileage may vary; but I would certainly imagine you have the right to find much more affordable water park choices elsewhere. And, girlfriend could always just to buy a single-day water park ticket come go through your yearly pass if you simply want to provide Volcano just a try.

New Pass$430.25$494.15$536.75$781.70
Free Months3 months3 months6 months6 months

Is a universal Orlando annual Pass appropriate for You?

The decision come buy an yearly pass most likely comes down to just how much you prefer standing in line and how often your household wants come visit. The key attractions, such as the harry Potter attractions in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, can have quite long lines. Currently for fast & Furious, Skull Island, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and The significant Hulk Coaster are also consistently at the very least 30 minutes and also frequently one hour or more. Unlike Disney World and their FastPass system, if you want to reduced the heat at global you’ll must fork over some cash. Through young youngsters (up to teenage years), i don’t think it’s feasible to attempt global Orlando, and also especially the harry Potter rides, throughout peak times without an refer Pass choice (or a arrangement on just how to take care of tantrums).

You’ll sometimes discover individual ticket specials for global Orlando. There’s a current promotion whereby you have the right to buy a two-day ticket and also receive 4 days the park access. If you to be planning come visit for four days, the would alleviate your price to about $50 a job to get in the parks. If you’re considering refer Passes, they typically start at $80 per human per day and also go way up from there. During holidays, I’ve viewed prices nearly as high as $200 per day because that the Express limitless option.

If you stay at a top-tier global Orlando Premier resort that offers Express Passes, such together Loews imperial Pacific, climate the express Pass problem doesn’t go into the equation. However, if you continue to be at a ar like the new (and much more affordable)Universal Aventura Hotelor Loews Sapphire Falls, then Express passes are really much a factor to consider as they room not consisted of at those properties.

The new Universal Studios Aventura Hotel (Photo through Summer Hull / The point out Guy)

If we assume an average ticket price of $100 all-in and also another $80 per day for Express overcome (and lock can conveniently cost method more), you need at most four days in the park to do it worth your while. Include in some savings ~ above parking, merchandise and also a Halloween fear Night ticket and also a Premier yearly pass would pay for itself in three days in ~ the parks end the food of 18 months.

To placed this an additional way, Mommy points visited universal Studios and also Islands the Adventure because that one-day in respectable while over there to testimonial the Aventura Hotel. Because that a one-day (after 2pm) ticket to the parks through an to express Pass, it expense her $243.87. The 15-month renewal price top top a universal Orlando two-park pass is just $16 much more than she one-day afternoon ticket. That’s slightly apples come oranges, but shows you how quickly the striking price for an yearly pass comes right into play at global Orlando.

Universal Express pass sticker shock — those prices space per person

Bottom Line

If girlfriend think strategically, there space so countless ways to get a most value the end a global Studios Orlando annual pass. That can be intentional, provided how universal prices to express Passes for individual tickets and that they’re offering a much longer time frame if you’re buying or renewing an annual pass. It can be counterintuitive come think around buying an yearly pass for a single trip. But, it may really well be your ideal option. If 2 or more trips autumn within the valid duration of your annual pass, climate the equation gets even much more interesting — especially with the six month bonus running till April 2019.

As always, when you decision to make a purchase, think strategically around which credit transaction card you must use come pay. Template park ticket are frequently excluded indigenous the travel category on many cards, therefore look come a map such as the Citi Premier® Cardthat awards bonus point out on entertainment. Or, just use the card in her wallet that supplies the ideal return on everyday spending.

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If you have actually done the math on even if it is a universal Studios Orlando yearly pass is ideal for her family, we’d love to hear your believed process.