Universal tries to fight 'Magic Your Way' with 'EarlyBird Exclusives'

September 12, 2006, 2:06 PM · Universal Orlando's making a bid to win back Orlando-area visitors whom Walt Disney World's tried to lock into the Mouse House with the 'Magic Your Way' ticket program.

Disney's program offers steep prices for one-day and short visits, coupled with massive discounts for buying close to a week's worth of admissions. The effect, and intent, has been to get visitors to commit to spending their entire week in Orlando at Walt Disney theme parks, instead of taking a day or two, or more, for the Universal or SeaWorld parks.

The program's been a huge success for Disney, helping the Mouse drive attendance gains while Universal has remained flat. But now, Universal's fighting back. Universal has offer five consecutive days of admission for the price of a two-day park-hopper pass, but under its new "EarlyBird Exclusives" plan, visitors can get seven consecutive days' admission to Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure for $85 - less than $20 more than the price of a one-day, one-park ticket.

Will that be enough to make Disney visitors consider a switch to the Universal Orlando Resort? You tell us....

Replies (11)

September 12, 2006 at 3:10 PM · Nah, I think Disney won't feel the burn from it since I still believe most people come from out of state and country to specifically go to Disney World. However, it will give Universal a much needed boost in attendance!

Suprised it too so long for them to do this!

September 12, 2006 at 4:39 PM · Can you honestly spend 7 consecutive days in Universal?
September 12, 2006 at 5:24 PM · I could. I could ride Hulk and Duelng Dragons days at a time and not get bored.
September 12, 2006 at 9:09 PM · Hey, I like IOA and the studio, but I can't imagine spending more than two days there; maybe three if lines are really long. My last trip, we did one day at BGA, one at Sea World, 2 days at Universal and then five at Disney -- yeah, it was a longer than average trip.
September 13, 2006 at 4:03 AM · David hit it right on the head! The Universal experience is a two day gig at best and if you stay on property one could realistically see everything in one day without rushing. Universal AND IOA both need new attractions and the property needs a couple new restaurants. Bubba Gumps was a nice addition, but the NASCAR Cafe and NBA City are two of the worst places to eat, period!

Make it worth people's time and money and they will come and stay!

September 13, 2006 at 8:05 AM · The idea that everything at Universal can be seen in one day is a myth. The idea that it can be done without rushing is ludicrous. We had 2 last July with Express Plus, and will want 3 next time because there are several attractions we missed, although we did repeat a couple. However, 7 days would be overkill.
September 13, 2006 at 8:43 AM · It is not a myth that you can do everything you want at Universal in one day; I've done it twice, both times without any form of Universal Express.

Here's how you do it:

1) go on a light-crowd day (i.e. not July!). The two times I tried this were the week before Labor Day and early December (not on the weekends, either).
2) get there before park opening; they usually let people in early, even on a slow day.
3) go to IOA first; USF has more attractions that don't have long lines, so you can hit that later.
4) take advantage of the single-rider lines on a number of attractions.
5) time your meal break(s) for non-peak times (i.e. lunch before noon).

September 13, 2006 at 12:36 PM · I agree that each park can be done in less then a day. Don't know if you could do both parks in one day, go at low volume times from open to close, don't shop, eat on the move, it is doable. 2 days are more then enough.
September 13, 2006 at 12:48 PM · The price is amazing even for two to three days. I think Universal's issues go deeper than just the cost of admission. The last time my family and I went, we had a miserable time. The employees seemed disgruntled and were unhelpful (not all but enough), they had closed the Express Pass system to all except resort guests (and those who pay an extra $20 for the Express Passes), things looked worn and dirty, etc. This was an extremely different story a couple of years ago - the parks were great.

So, the cost may be $20 per day but in order to have a good time, you need to pay an extra $20 per person per day for the Express Pass. How do you like that racket?

September 13, 2006 at 3:52 PM · Lets recap, shall we? Disney has no lines at all. Disney employees are always so happy. Disney is very cheap and you can enjoy each park over and over.....yeah, right.
Each park has pro's and cons. And each person likes one park over the other. The bright side and the thing that you have to look at is that you can get 7 days for the price of 2. Where are you economic professors at now? Even if you dont go all 7 days you can hit Universal for three and still save money. Not only can you hit Universal, but you can take your time....and still save money.
And even during the busiest times, I've never waited more than 60 minutes at Universal. Cant say the same about disney. Its all about planning and attacking. You have to know when to arrive and when the rush starts.
September 14, 2006 at 5:04 AM · We spent 2 days at IOA and 2 days at USO nov. 2005. The longest we waited in a line for any ride or show was 20 minutes. Our 4 children were able to see it all and do it all and then go back and ride the favorites again! Overall 4 days were more than enough. I think we paid $99 for a 2 day pass with 3 days free, so $600 bucks for 4 days of fun for 6! Fairly inexpensive and now with this new pricing even cheaper! We are going to DW in april/may 2007, tickets for 6 are going to run us over $1200 so we will stay off-site to save money. We plan on doing all 4 parks and Disneyquest.(If you have been to disneyquest let us know if it is worth the $$ keep in mind 4 kids!) We hav'nt been to DW since 2000 and cant wait 2 go on all the new rides they have added in the last 7 years!

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