Universal Orlando raises annual pass prices, expands blockout dates to Islands of Adventure

January 3, 2011, 3:55 PM · Universal Orlando's significantly expanded blackout dates in 2011 for annual passholders who want to visit its Islands of Adventure theme park. Compare the 2010 Power Pass blackout dates with the 2011 Power Pass blackout dates.

Hogwarts Castle at Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park

Clearly, Universal's trying to hold down crowds at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the popular new land in Islands of Adventure with the expanded blackout dates on its least expensive annual pass.

The number of blackout days drops from 26 days to just 7 days for visits to the Universal Studios Florida theme park. However, Islands of Adventure is blocked out in 2011 on an additional 59 days, for 66 blockout dates total. The blockouts include the entire month of July, plus the first two weeks of August and last two weeks of April. The price of the Power Pass jumps $20, too, from $139.99 to $159.99 for Florida residents.

Annual passholders can get into the park on those blackout dates without buying a regular ticket by opting for the more expensive Preferred or Premier Passes, neither of which have blackout dates. The Preferred Pass remains $219.99 ($229.99 for non-Florida residents), but the cost of the Premier Pass is going up, from $289.99 to $349.99, an increase of $60. The Premier Pass includes free valet parking and front-of-line Express pass privileges after 4 pm, as well as other in-park discounts. No changes to renewal prices have been announced yet.

Replies (10)

January 3, 2011 at 7:06 PM · I'm thinking next year's attendance report is going to be ... interesting.
January 3, 2011 at 7:37 PM · ...to say the least!
January 3, 2011 at 7:55 PM · Universal visitor numbers till q3 2010 are already public: http://www.sec.gov/cgi-bin/browse-edgar?action=getcompany&CIK=0001262450&owner=exclude&count=40


January 3, 2011 at 8:01 PM · Annual passholders get a newletter in the mail every few months as well (my whole family's had them for years). I noticed something interesting on the latest one. A little asterisk down at the bottom said that they were changing the policy so that they can add or remove passholder privileges at anytime and it takes effect immediately regardless of when you got your pass.

In the past if they changed something but you had your pass already, you were grandfathered into the old rules (mostly discounts). Not anymore. I wonder what else they plan to change this year...

January 3, 2011 at 8:30 PM · So, my annual pass from last July will be no good for IOA this July?That's pretty messed up. There is NO WAY I will be able to convince my family to get annual passes ever again. As far as the customer goes I think Disney just trumps universal. Very upsetting =(........Oh well.
January 3, 2011 at 9:43 PM · I renewed my Preferred Annual Pass in November 2010 and the price went up to $160 from $120 for the previous year. It remained as no blackout dates and general parking included. By my bad math skills, that was a 33% increase. I expected all the passes would have been similarly increased. Preferred pass renewals were for several years about 50% to 60% the price of a new pass. That old rule of thumb has been shattered.

About 2 years ago, Universal gave me a free month on my pass if I took a very long and tedious survey concerning prospective pass types and benefits. I had to say which of 3 versions I liked more, not necessarily if I liked any of them at all. There were about 25 different combinations having 1)various numbers of blackout days, 2)prices, 3)extras such as discounts and some other things. I remember I didn't like any of them because all of them were worse than the Preferred annual pass. Luckily, all they did was raise prices on the 365 day passes and kept benefits about the same.

January 4, 2011 at 3:38 AM · Does this change price/eligibility of tickets for UK customers purchasing through tour companies like Virgin Holidays? For example, last momth I bought a 14 day unlimited entry pass to both parks for June 2011.
January 4, 2011 at 9:23 AM · Unless I missed something, Preferred Pass holders do not get free self parking anymore.
January 4, 2011 at 10:02 AM · Universal again ripping off the FL residents. Raising the prices by 20 bucks but blacking out more dates? For 2 bucks less you FL residents can get Fun Cards that let them visit both Busch Gardens and Seaworld with NO blackout dates all year long. Busch is even adding a new coaster this Spring and the price of the Fun Card only went up by less than 10.00. I won't be renewing my AP for Universal this year.
January 4, 2011 at 12:39 PM · Yes, you missed something. Preferred Pass still includes parking according to the description on the Universal site:

You can enjoy 365 days of unlimited park-to-park admission to both Universal Studios Florida & Universal's Islands of Adventure with no blockout dates, free parking^, and discounts on food and merchandise for the regular price of $219.99 plus tax.

and then, at the bottom of the same page, the little caret symbol clarifies the details which have been the same for years:

^Free self-parking is not valid on your first visit to the parks. On-site hotels parking not included.

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