Opting for the park-to-park option at Universal adds $40 to the cost of a one-day ticket, $5 more than the one-day park hopper add-on at Disney. The two-day base ticket at Universal went up $9, to $155.99 while the two-day park-to-park ticket increased $29, to $195.99. That makes the difference between the two-day base ticket, where you can visit one park per day, and the park-to-park ticket $40 (again) — double the previous price difference of $20.
Disney charges up to $60 for its park-hopper option, on tickets of four days or more. But remember that Disney offers four theme parks to Universal's two. The big increase in the price of going between the two parks in one day at Universal surely reflects Universal's expectation that demand for that option will surge after the Hogwarts Express train starts carrying visitors between Islands of Adventure's Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the new Diagon Alley land in Universal Studios Florida this summer.Tweet
I don't live in Orlando anymore, but I still have a Disney annual pass. I'm heading down for 3 days during Flower & Garden.
I know some people have a household size larger than 1, which complicates things, but I find it a lot more economical to get an annual pass and make 2-3 trips per year down there.
We never buy Disney parkhoppers. We are a one park a day kind of family. But, at Universal we just won't be able to ever go there unless we get the 2-Park pass to experience all of Harry Potter.
You know what Disney should do? They should build Star Wars attractions in both Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. Aren't they close enough to do that? Then they could have a Star Wars spaceship ride between the two parks to copy the Hogwarts Express. Then I'd buy a parkhopper that day to do both of the Star Wars attractions for sure. This being able to ride betwween the two parks is genius of Universal.
Real, true genius. It is making me do what I never dreamed I would ever do: buy parkhoppers (which I always saw as wasteful before, because we never went to more than one park per day).
*** And Robert if you decide to do a weekly vote on who would splurge for the two park pass in this scenario, at least do the non-park-hopping audience the service of showing them exactly how much it will cost them to ride ONE attraction - a train, no less. ***
As for the anonymous poster commenting on the price comparison between Universal and Disney hotels, you're grasping at straws. There are only marginal price differences in similar quality hotels between the two destinations unless you are staying at places like the Grand Floridian (especially if you factor in the cost of parking at Universal - it's free at Disneyworld). And if you are paying rack rates for Disneyworld hotels, then you need serious help in your travel planning. And before you post a counter, please register on TPI - I don't want to get involved in another protracted debate with someone who is not bold enough to put their name (or some facsimile) on their opinion.
Look, I'm not trying to pick at Universal Orlando (heck, I love the place and have since before all the fair-weather Potter fans hopped on the bandwagon - no offense intended, the more the merrier), but let's not try to sell Universal as a less expensive version of Disney. Years ago Universal was an exceptional, value priced add on to your Disney vacation, but those days are long gone. Nowadays, as Anon Mouse pointed out, both companies are pushing the limits of what most theme park fans can afford to spend on any one vacation. The only thing that saves my family money on a Universal trip is the fact that we only need three or four days for a nice, relaxing visit (fewer guests, fewer parks), as opposed to the requisite six to seven days at Disney.
Right now at Disney World you can ONLY meet the Frozen princesses at Epcot in a small gift shop at a theme park that has not been touched since 1982. The wait was 6 hours.
Captain EO, Universe of Energy and Journey into a cheap imagination just don't have the same pull in 2014
As for the rest of your post, it has nothing to do with anything. There are outdated rides and attractions in every park. And the fact that someone would be foolish enough to wait six hours for anything at a theme park speaks volumes about the person, not the company.
Universal is playing this expansion brilliantly, and I will tell you why. First, you have a new hotel going up that has 1800 rooms. The other three have a combined capacity of 2400 rooms.
Cabana Bay is a "budget" hotel, so the Unlimited Express perk will not apply, but they will still have early entry into the parks, just like the other hotels.
Universal is banking on filling that hotel with "on-site" guests, which means a good portion of them are going to book their trip through Universal and purchase two park tickets for X amount of days and not leave the property.
When you look at the options for a single day visit for both parks and the chances you will have of being able to visit both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, then, somehow get to ride / visit all the other attractions, it will be almost impossible, especially during the busiest months.
I think families will be more inclined to make Universal a destination stay vs a one day visit as it will be very hard to see it all in one day, unlike 5 years ago.
Any Disney fan knows, you cannot possibly ride everything and see all of the attractions at the Magic Kingdom in a single day, unless it happens to be mid January. You have to come back for a second or third day to get your money's worth to see everything MK has to offer. The days of FastPass manipulation / hording and using ride exits for quick entry with GAC cards are over.
That is Disney's way of forcing you to consider staying on site and purchasing park hoppers.
There are plenty of up-charge attractions at various amusement parks around the world (Skycoasters and Go Carts, for example) which appear to be the model for Universal's new train ride. But $40 a person is a STEEP up-charge, especially for a train. Case in point, my local zoo charges like $2.50 for a round trip on their train. Granted, it doesn't have video screens and detailed theming, but come on, man, it's still just a train! $40??? Really???!!!
I think you misunderstood. My point was Universal is getting to the point where people will have to stay on site to enjoy the parks. It is the only way you will have a fighting chance to see Diagon Alley for the first year or two unless you go on extremely slow days.
Disney has so much to offer, it is almost impossible not to stay on site and buy park hoppers if you want to get your money's worth.
USF used to be one of those places where you could spend just one day with a park hopper and see everything. Those days are gone for anyone not staying on the property in the three "premium" hotels, at least in my opinion.
Most of your day will be spent waiting for Gringotts, the Hogwarts Express, and Forbidden Journey. It is going be insanely busy and there is only one way you can make it a lot easier, which is early entry and possibly spread it over two days.
And you make a good point, a lot of folks are used to navigating IOA and USO with a one day park hopper and just hitting the highlights. It will be tough to accomplish that strategy going forward, especially when the Potter-only fans descend on the parks. Universal may see a significant down turn in park hoppers as folks extend their stay and save a few bucks by avoiding the egregious up-charge required just to ride a train.
The part of your previous post I targeted though was the statement that Disney forces visitors to consider a park hopper. Sure folks consider them, but they are not required and no one is being forced. And I am definitely not aware of an attraction at Disney that requires a park hopper pass just to ride. Universal is turning over a new card with this nefarious strategy, and I don't like what they are uncovering.
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.
My advice, get used to it. As the US economy improves, attendances will rise. Since these parks are already running at what is probably close to maximal attendance (Magic Kingdom certainly is) prices will continue to rise until they reach that optimal point on that good old supply/demand curve.
The good news is that this provides incentive to the parks to provide ways of increasing their capacity (either by enlarging their parks or adding new gates - both probably more achievable by Disney). The other positive is the flow on effect to other parks, such as Sea World and Six Flags who are able to compete for a slightly more coined clientele who are priced out of Universal and Disney.
Maybe its time to buy some shares.