The increase is part of a restructuring of Universal Orlando's theme park tickets, to what the resort is now calling Universal's Select. Much like Walt Disney World's "Magic Your Way" ticket packages, the new pricing structure is designed to get people to opt for longer stays at the resort: The price per day decreases the more days you buy.
Of course, the old online-only $99 deal might have been the best deal going in Orlando. But at that price, one could argue that it was *too* cheap - many folks bought the pass and used it only for a day or two, as it was cheaper than buying a one-day, two-park Universal Orlando pass at the gate, and the same price as buying it online. Charging more might convince some visitors to spend more time at the parks, to "get back the value" from their purchase.
Now, Universal charges between $79 for a one-day, one-park ticket and $170 for a seven-day, two-park ticket. (Those are adult prices. Prices for kids ages 3-9 run $10-$20 less.)
These tickets also expire within 14 days of first use, a restriction that prevents visitors from buying tickets now for use on future vacations. (The old $99, seven-day ticket expired after seven days, but some other unused Universal tickets did not expire.)
The changes come just in time for the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter this spring. Will this price increase reduce the number of fans slamming the park for its opening? Is it a smart move by Universal to increase revenue at the one park almost certain to post at attendance gain this year? Neither, or both?
Let's hear your thoughts, in the comments.Tweet
I wonder if the Orlando Flex ticket will also go up because of this.
This way I won't spend any Money at Universal during my spring trip. I wonder how many people will do the same.
It makes sense for them to raise the price, although I think that a $70 increase is a bit high. Universal remains a 3 day destination. Regardless of it's significance, Harry Potter is not an expansion, it's a renovation. The hot new ticket in town? yeah, but the economy is still volatile, and people are still watching their money. I don't think that the $170 price will get people to stay longer. What I think is that people will spend the same amount of time in the park and they will spend less in the park. I would have called it at $140 or even $150 so that my customers had a little more money in their pocket to enjoy their day. People aren't as happy when they have to watch their money inside the park, and more people than ever are watching their money these days.
Plus, the deal made it difficult for Universal to forecast daily attendance based on ticket purchases. The new structure gives Universal a much more definitive look at its near-term attendance. When someone activates one of these three-day tickets, say, Universal can be pretty sure that they are coming back twice in the next 14 days.
Before, Universal had no solid way to know if someone using the $99 ticket would be back six times, or not at all, within the next week.
(Personally, I think $40 is the over/under on whether you're getting a great deal on a one-day top-20 theme park ticket. Under $50 is a good deal. More than that and either you're not really trying, or the park is stiffing you on deals.)
I think it is crazy to raise the rates that high, especially in this economy. If they added admission to some other parks like Sea World, Aquatica, or Wet and Wild, then maybe there would be added value to be captured by the non Disney parks. When we visit Orlando it is either all Disney, or all the other parks. As the price for the extra days is reduced for extra days, it makes sense to stay with one park or park package. At $170 for two days of entertainment at Universal, I think I would be more inclined to spend my time at Disney, or other attractions. I think the price increase will make people think twice about including Universal in their theme park plans when they want to visit other parks during their day.
Compare that to shows in Vegas or NYC. $115 for 2.5 hours.
I will be going (and staying at Portofino!) hope to see y'all there.
Absolute worst case-- the lines are shorter for me.
Excellent point. My friends, family, and I have always opted for the $99 ticket, even if we did not necessarily have a second day planned at Universal. We bought it just in case. With this new pricing scheme, however, I would definitely plan on at least two full days at Universal, and probably three.
I hate to play the moderate fence sitter, but on the other hand, a 70% increase in price seems ridiculous. Frankly, if I was visiting Orlando in 2010, I would not plan on visiting Islands of Adventure, both for the immense crowds this should draw and for the cost of admission. The park is getting really dilapidated - everything needs a fresh coat of paint at the very least. Paying that much extra to experience, basically, one new ride and some new scenery seems ridiculous.
The three day/ two park pass is still a good deal, though. Thanks to Harry Potter, I think people are more likely to stay one more day than they normally would. For me that means 2-3 days instead of 1-2.
I predict that Universal will drop the price on that 7 day pass pretty soon, once they realize their mistake.
I mean, I understand that they need to raise prices, but in time for Harry Potter? Has a park raised prices because of this before!
I bet many folks will only buy a one day pass – go to IOA for most of that day, spend about two hours at USF to hit Mummy, Rip Ride and Simpsons…
Again what about the Orlando Flex Pass, will this have to be increased…?
An adult 2-day ticket is only $109 (or $134 with park hopping).
Yes, they raised the ridiculously cheap online advance purchase 7-day hopper from $99 to $170, but they also have cheaper 1, 2, 3 ,4 5 and 6 day tickets and those are the tickets most people will be getting.
The 2-4 day tickets seem VERY competitive with Disney.
If someone really wants a 7-day ticket to Universal, they're probably better off looking at a seasonal annual pass for about the same price.
At some point, Universal's going to have to support this new structure with some ads explaining it - and explaining why Universal thinks it is a better deal than Disney.
I'd go for the 3 day pass if I were visiting Universal. The rest of my vacation would be spent either at the beach or visiting another park. While paying that price though, the thought of being able to get a Cedar Fair Platinum Pass for $160 would be crossing my mind. One from Ohio can use that one a lot.
No way in hell would I pay that kind of money for USF. To think they would try to change their pricing structure to meet Disney's is a joke. You could spend a week at Disney and only hit the tip of the iceburg of things you can experience.
Spend a week at USF and by day 4 you are going to see a movie on site or taking a cab off site.
This move took a lot of balls, but no brains.
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