Universal Orlando Raises Ticket Prices; Matches Magic Kingdom
Universal Orlando Resort today raised its prices for admission tickets, increasing the price of a one-day, one-park ticket to the $105 charged by Disney for the Magic Kingdom. That's the highest price in America for a one-day ticket to a single major theme park.
Admission prices rose for other ticket combinations, as well. A one-day, Park-to-Park ticket — which includes admission to Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure on the same day — is up $8, from $147 to $155. A Park-to-Park ticket is required to ride the popular Hogwarts Express train that travels between the two Wizarding World of Harry Potter lands at the resort. The original Potter-themed land, Hogsmeade, is in Islands of Adventure, while Diagon Alley, the newer land which opened in 2014, is in Universal Studios Florida.
Here are the new prices for multi-day tickets:
- Two-day Base $169.99, up from $149.99
- Two-day Park-to-Park $219.99, up from $194.99
- Three-day Base $179.99, up from $159.99
- Three-day Park-to-Park $229.99, up from $204.99
The latest increase follows an increase in annual pass prices last fall and a daily-ticket price increase nearly a year ago, in February 2015.
Typically, Universal Orlando has raised its prices after a Walt Disney World price increase, but it appears that Universal is getting ahead of the pitch this time. But if you're on the fence about buying some Disney World tickets, now would be the time to move. We'd bet that the chances of an imminent WDW price increase just went up substantially.
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Wow, $50 bucks to ride a train. Yikes.
Do ticket prices (not Annual Pass prices) at Universal Studios in California usually match the ticket prices in Florida?
And that's why I have an Annual Pass even though I live 950 miles away.
USO is making a bold move... The hype around WWOHP can only last for so long. And for the same price, I'm sure that 99% of people would rather visit the Magic Kingdom opposed to USO. Don't get me wrong, USO and IOA are wonderful parks, but nowhere near the level of quality that WDW is on. And I'm not the only who thinks this, just look at MK's attendance vs USO's attendance. MK brings in over double the amount of people that USO does. I wouldn't be surprised if attendance at USO plateaus in the next few years.
You are Obsessed with Disney if you don't see how Universal is raising the bar in Orlando. Yes. Disney is the leader and most likely always will be. However, saying "The hype around WWOP can only last for so long." is SO short sighted. The internet exploded today with the announcement that "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" will be released as a book the day after it premiers on stage in London. I believe that much like the classic Disney movies which were re-released every seven years (back before current technology changed that model) generations to come will fall in love with the boy who lived. Yes the Magic Kingdom's attendance is massive, but that park is also massive in size and was built to accommodate much larger crowds than anything at UO. You say USO (sic - USF) and IOA are no where near the quality of WDW. Curious, have you been to either of the Universal Parks since the opening of WWOHP? You may be surprised.
Paying $50 to ride a train is relative. Complaining about it is pointless. We get it by now...you don't agree with it.
This is a terrible move on their part. I don't care if they are having a meet amd greet with Jesus Christ himself, they don't offer enough to charge over a hundred bucks. I'll pay to ride king Kong when it opens. After that I'd rather spend the near thousand dollars a day it would cost for my family to enter universal at Disney and stay at the Grand Floridian. I love Universal, this news makes me quite sad honestly.
So for a family of 4 that train ride is now $200, plus an unknown wait in line. No thank you!
Relative to what, Kevin? Booking a fare on the Amtrak from KC to Saint Louis? Oh wait, it's only $30 for that train! And it wasn't a complaint, it was a statement of bemused incredulity.
Universal appear to be investing in attractions. Disney are doing nothing, and have done nothing for years - so i find it hard for them to justify a price increase, especially when at Hollywood Studios they have been steadily gutting the park for the best part of two years now.
$50 for a single ride is insane, and that is essentially what it is. Park hopping really does no cost the company at all to provide as a service, and it offers the benefit of the company of helping smooth the crowds between the two parks. Considering you are paying half the price of a day admission for a single ride, I think it is a complete rip-off, no matter which company is charging it and how immersive that ride is.
How much is that wishes dessert party again?
I'll pay it, I think Universals rides have been the most epic of the parks lately. I love Disney, always will. Universal just has this feeling of grandness in scale lately. Skull Island is just starting to look so massive in the photos. It gives me the feeling of staring at the brochures of new rides as a kid, not really knowing what's going to happen, but you're sure it's gonna be great. I'm excited to see how Avatar land turns out too, I'm hoping Disney knocks it out of the park. Maybe I'm in the minority on my enthusiasm for King Kong, not sure, but he is awesome in size and Im really hoping they make us feel quite small in his company. Kongfrontation did
I've said it before and I think it still stands: As someone who has never visited the Florida parks, they could get as expensive as they want and I would still pay that price...once. However, if I don't feel that the parks justify the price, I am not very likely to return until major investment has been made at all parks. Perhaps it's because I live in Southern California and visit Disneyland regularly (and USH whenever they add a new attraction), but from my perspective a lot of the Florida parks (across all chains, not just Disney or Universal) appear to have little revisit value once you've seen them, especially at the prices they change. I don't know...I guess I'll have to wait until I get a chance to make a Florida trip to find out.
I think ticket prices are not only about demand and paying for new attractions; they are also about prestige. By matching the ticket price of the Magic Kingdom, Universal says "hey, our parks are just as good as Disney's top product."
At 59 and living in the UK I feel my time at these parks are done. Don't get me wrong, I have had many happy trips to both Disney and Universal with and without the kids. However, $250 is now a little too much for a days entertainment with Q's that go round the block several times... Last year my wife and I went to Holiday World, free parking, free soft drinks, free sunscreen. True they didn't have star wars, harry potter, the mouse etc etc etc... However, we had a fabulous time in a friendly well run park. I guess all we'll be doing now when we visit, if we go at all, will be the smaller parks like Holiday World, Dollywood and Silver Dollar City. Disney, Universal... you were great but now you're just too expensive when you add parking, food, drink... It was fun, now it's done.
How much Disney World charge to park hop? $50 and you get to ride a bus, boat or monorail.
How much does Disney World charge to park hop? $50 to ride a bus, boat or monorail. I'd rather pay Universal's train that is at least an attraction.
Correction, Jim, guests do not have to park hop to utilize Disney's transportation services. Additionally, this discussion is about Universal's price gouging, there is no need to bring Disney into the conversation - their time will come.
Clicks article to read comments and see if Rao makes a remark about the train. Takes a shot of rum and goes about day...
The $50 is not just for the train but also allows the visitor to cherry pick attractions to create a virtual ultimate park. Imagine a park with Hulk(coming back soon), Spiderman, water rides of Toon Lagoon, Kong (soon)Jurassic River Adventure, Hippogriff, Dragon Challenge, FJ, Hogsmeade Express, Mummy, Transformers, MIB, Simpsons, Gringots, Rip Rockit, Despicable Me, Horror Make Up Show, ET and if you have time Seuss Landing and Camp Jurrasic.
@James Rao and yes their is an upcharge to add park hopper to Disney's one day tickets.
Robert, that's a great spin, but I am not buying it. Perhaps a job as the "PR Jedi" for Universal is in your future? And yes, Disney charges to park hop, but visitors do not have to park hop to use their transportation. Also this article is not about Disney so I am not sure why folks keep bringing them up - they will get blasted soon enough when they raise their prices.
The Base ticket vs the Park to Park (or Parkhopper) ticket has been a added value for a few decades now. Hogwarts Express kinda changed the game since it is literally an added attraction as part of the benefit of purchasing the park to park option.
James $50 is for Park to Park. Oh Whatever.. Disney Fan boys strikes again....hahahhaha...
Disney's Park Hopper add-on is $64 after their price increase. $64 for 4 parks. So Universal's $50 is cheaper and it covers the ride and two parks.
I don't know why we keep playing the comparison game, but okay, here goes: whether I park hop or not I have to pay $50 to ride the train at Universal. Disney has no such requirements on their transportation services.
Just a quick comment that it looks like the prices listed above are the online, in advance prices. The gate looks to be about $20 more per ticket.
Yes, Universal would force you to buy the Park to Park pass to go on that one ride. And Universal would force you to buy the Front of the Line pass to skip the lines. Disney doesn't require you to buy Park Hoppers to go on any ride or to use Fastpass+. So this means Disney is cheaper? Only relatively cheaper since you're paying for parks that you might not want to visit like DHS until Star Wars Land opens. Going to DHS or Animal Kingdom with a lack of attractions without a Park Hopper is a waste of a day pass.
What's with the 50 dollars for a train ride comments? I've been paying the upcharge for park to park tickets way before that train came along and will continue to do so, same as many other people. The train is just an added perk. You can't ride it unless you have a park to park ticket, true, but you also can't go to the other park without one either. Same as any other themepark. I don't get what the big deal is. They are all ridiculously expensive one way or another any way you slice it.
As long as they keep expanding and provide wonderful experiences, I have no problem with nominal yearly price increases. And if you're going for a full vacation, be it Disney or Universal, single day tickets are really inconsequential. The majority buy multiple day packages or AP's. The cost of those is usually drastically different in price, especially the more days you attend. On my previous Universal AP, and I'm a tourist and not a local, I ended up getting 35 days of attendance for $199.98, or less than $6 a day. Most people don't go that much, but it does show that you can get good value by going more than a few days. I remember reading on OU that only apx. 10% of Universal tickets sold are single day purchases. So these high single day prices don't really affect many people at Universal or probably WDW also. .
Anon, I did not bring Disney into the conversation. I simply responded to a couple of false / misleading statements about their transportation system. My initial comments were focused solely on Universal and their practice of forcing people who don't normally park hop to spend $50 to ride a train.
I think the increase is irrelevant as long as people will and do pay the price to enter the parks. Personally, I don't by the park to park pass to ride the Harry Potter train. We do it so we can go on the rides that are within both of the parks. The train ride is nice once or twice but because the scenery/ride doesn't change I'm okay with missing it when the lines are long.
James, it doesn't matter if you didn't bring it up. The conversation naturally brings up several issues. You said "$50 bucks to ride a train". Sure, but it is more than just that. It is a Park to Park pass too.
I have to pay admission to ride Disneyland's transportation monorail.
Anon Mouse totally agree with you. It's great if you want to visit both parks in order to go on all the rides. One great thing about Universal is the parks are next door to each other so you don't have to take any special transportation and can just walk between the parks taking advantage of any long or short wait times between the park rides.
Jim, the monorail is included with your single park pass. You do not pay an upcharge to ride it.
Wow...you guys are not very smart. Even Disney offers a park hopper ticket WITHOUT an E ticket attraction to transport you to the other park. Think of it as a bonus. Oh and also you are not paying 50$ to ride a single attraction...there is a whole other theme park you can enjoy for that 50 dollars! I get it if you don't like paying for a park hopper to ride the hogwarts express but the argument being made is invalid. You are essentially saying you prefer thr Hogwart attraction not have been built and to pay 50 dollars to walk across to the other park...illogical.
it's like a hornet's nest in here!
James the monorail does not give you access to a Park, just a ride to a park....
I didn't make the comparison, I just keep responding to erroneous info.
You said or typed - 50 for a train ride..
Can you really sneak into the queue??? Dude, send me a PM with the details! I'm in!
This thread shows what's wrong with this website. Like the title of the article says, a 1-day ticket to Universal now costs the same as MK.
Are people really complaining about an 8 dollar increase in the park to park? dont think of it as 50 dollars to ride the train. you are paying 150 for two parks where as disney you would have to spend 200 for two parks. if you cant afford an 8 dollar increase, then you shouldnt be going to orlando for a vacation.
It would be pretty tough to slip a party of 5 through the check in area. They scan your ticket just like at the entrance. Maybe one person could skip through if it was real busy & the attendant got distracted or confused though.
The train is free with the second-park admission. You're paying $50 to get the second park's 20+ attractions and getting the train thrown in for free. (Evidence: If the train is down and not running, people continue to pay the $50 for the other attractions--and yes, there have been a few times when the train has not been running due to technical issues).
Rob, I need you and Brian to create a diversion while me and the rest of the Rao clan make a run for it! I'll give you $25 a head which will cut my costs in half! Now how you and Brian create that diversion is up to you, but I hear shouting, "Look, Hermione!" might work. Whatever you do, don't yell, "Free Wands!" because no one will believe you.
I feel like you are missing the point with universal then. the parks are literally right next to eachother, unlike Disney where you have to take a monorail or drive. the train is an attraction, it isnt just a train over. realisitically you arent even going that far, but since its an attraction they move the train slower and you watch a harry potter theme video that makes it seem like you are traveling a long distance.
Aargh. Communication is dead. Or there are lots of Universal PR people spinning their tall tales today!
That $250 is a lot.
Yes, Anon, it is. Thank you for feeling my pain.
I look forward to the day when we no longer argue the semantics about pricing strategies at Disney's and Universal's parks.
^Like any politician, he will just raise taxes so the government, in all its generosity, can subsidize the $50 reducing the cost to $1 per guest. Sadly, with the massive increase in taxes, we'll only have $0.50 to spend.
I find it amusing that every year's price increase brings a huge rehash of the Hogwarts Express issue. Like I said previously, it's a variable upcharge that is only available as part of a package. If you purchase this package and only use it to ride Hogwarts Express, you're paying $50 for the ride itself (which, while I haven't ridden it myself, hardly seems worth it). If you choose to instead explore both parks on the same day, you're paying for a lot more than just the ride, so it becomes a $2-5 upcharge depending on what else you do (with everything else also being a $2-5 upcharge). I can't think of another good theme park example, but I can think of something similar at a few connected ski areas: You can buy a ticket for one area or the other, or you can pay more to ski both areas and access the lift/trail that connects them.
The HE has been a financial bonanza for Universal. Hardly anyone purchases single park tickets anymore (single day or multiple day plans), according to various insiders. This was genius on their part to get people to visit both parks and spend more, especially the Disney day trippers. I would seriously doubt they will change that policy.
James...why don't you park hop? A one day park hopper is less expensive than a 2 day 1 park per day ticket. Now when I visit Universal I visit 1 day and park hop. There are not that many great attractions and too many 3D rides. If anything requiring a park hopper to ride HE will lower guest spending. At least it did in my case.
When I travel to Universal they almost always have early closures, like 7 or 8 pm. Hardly enough time to do all the things I want to do at the pace I want to do it. I usually get three or four day single park tickets, stay at one of the three express pass hotels, and take my time. But you're right, in the future a two day one night hopper package might be the best option. Then I can use the other day to visit SeaWorld and ride Mako, Manta, and Kraken.
As with WDW, the price per day drops dramatically when you buy a multi-day ticket. And with everything that the resort has to offer, you'll be hard pressed to do it all in one day anyway. I did it one time (because it was a short trip and I only had one day allocated for Universal) but that was before Potter, and I shelled out for a FOTL pass (and that wasn't cheap).
I'll add this: if you're not made of money and want to get the best value on your Orlando vacation, the best deal is a multi-day, one park per day ticket. And if you're staying multiple days, why on earth would you want a park to park ticket? Unless, of course, you don't mind shelling out an extra $50 for the Hogwarts Express.
@James Rao: What part of "park hopper" don't you understand!?!? Do you even get the point that it's more than a train ride for $50? It's a whole nother.... Just kidding! Lol ;-P I haven't posted in some time but I had to come out of hibernation after I read the comments for you! I haven't laughed and cried so hard in quite some time! I felt like it was the scene from Finding Nemo where Squirt is telling Marlin how to exit the East Australian Current, "It's like he's trying to speak to me I know it". I had to keep looking back at your posts and make sure it wasn't in Latin or Japanese or some other language and maybe my iPhone translated them for me but nobody else! Haha
You're not the only one crying over this thread, brother, I assure you!
I will agree with you regarding being at universal. most the time I dont care to ride the rides. I just enjoy the atmosphere there.
So we all agree park to park is $50 more. Rao and crew see it as a barrier to an attraction (basically). Those who disagree with Rao and crew think of the park hopper benefits first and the attraction as an added benefit.
Hey James - while at Universal Consider CowFish restaurant in CityWalk area. We went there last May and enjoyed it...
Thanks Anon Poster 220.127.116.11, I can indeed be consistently bullheaded all day long!! ;)
Honestly Universal Orlando is a 3 day resort (including Wet N Wild). Everytime I visit UO (every 3-4 years), I usually spend 3 days there and I find that I'm able to do everything at the resort in this timespan. So I can't see why anyone would need more than a 3 day ticket unless you want to do everything twice. The resort is modest in size.
Considering how Universal has really stepped it up in recent years, I can swallow the price increase (not that I'm happy about it). Universal is where it's happening right now, and part of me can't blame them for taking advantage of that.
@Disneyobsession Sometimes you just want to slow down and smell the dino droppings.
James Rao - if you want to diss Universal, I would expect that you to call the park by its proper name - USF.
Well, you certainly told me, anon poster 18.104.22.168!!! However, I would prefer you take the time to actually point out anywhere in my statements where I "dissed" Universal as a whole. A little constructive criticism never hurts, but your comment is so vague I honestly don't know what to do with it.
Yes, James, you have the right concept of touring. Leisure and relaxation are the major assets at Universal. We too, slow up there to smell the roses. No need to do combat duty and spend 12 hours running through a park from attraction line to attraction line. Use hotel express, go to the parks for 6 or 7 leisurely take your time hours since there are no lines to wait in. And spend rest of the time enjoying all of the amenities at the hotel resorts & excellent large themed pools, Citi Walk, walking the beautiful landscaped path ways, riding the water taxis, and just relaxing in the shade or sun.
James, it's definitely a money gouger. Why did they change their original plans for the HE? Obviously, it was to "encourage" people to pay the extra upcharge to gain access to the other new ride opening with Diagon Alley. After all, what's another fifty bucks when you've spent thousands for your Orlando vacation? So why not blow a couple hundred bucks to put your entire family on one ride?
I think it is just a question of demand... people is traveling a lot because of the cheap gas prices. I actually work for an online booking service and the hotel prices have gone up as well because of the demand, it is not "price gouging". Take tonight for example: try to find a hotel in any major city in the US with a king bed (Valentine's day)... it is REALLY difficult if not impossible... The parks have been really crowded lately so it is only logical that the prices will increase. Am I happy about it? Heck NO! but I know I am saving around $75 on gas every time I go to Orlando from South Florida so it's not that bad (and of course, we have annual passes that we pay monthly anyway).
Now, I do agree with James on the train issue... I think it is ridiculous. We have annual passes so we can ride it but we never liked park hoping, we don't need to do it and it is a waste of time. You still have to wait for the train and even though it is AMAZINGLY similar to the one in the movies and the movie inside is cute, I haven't found the point yet... That is something I think Universal is using to rip people off... (they are owned by Comcast after all)...
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