Theme parks are expensive. I know this. And yet, I’m kinda shaking my head about the prices I’m seeing to take my family to Universal Studios in Orlando. We’re considering a trip during the spring break season. And, the prices are blowing me away.
Let’s get some perspective. Disney World is pricey. But, there are strategies to make it more affordable. A special deal for Disney Vacation Club members earlier this year was good enough for us to grab annual passes.
People like to complain about Disney World finding ways to charge people more money to visit the parks. I’ve written about a bunch of special packages, like the private tour that gets you access to Avatar Flight of Passage (only the most popular ride at Disney World right now).
The fact remains that even the most affordable tickets at Disney World give you the opportunity to grab at least 3 Fast Passes, Disney’s version of a cut the line pass. Enter Universal Studios.
I Need A Degree In Astro Physics To Understand Universal Orlando Ticket Options
There are a dizzying number of combinations you can make with Universal Orlando tickets. The standard entry tickets can be found at a discount through various sources. However, no standard tickets come with Universal’s version of Fast Pass (called Express passes).
For a 2-day trip during the spring break season in March, Universal wants a whopping $1700+ for park access and express passes for our family of 4.
They’re really good at pricing, since I found myself saying, “Well, it’s only $200 more to add a 3rd day.”
What I should have been saying is, “Wait, that’s pretty much what I spent for 4 annual passes to Disney World.”
It’s very clear Universal Orlando is pricing based on demand. Wowsers.
The Final Two Pennies
This is an expensive, bad situation to be in. My kids desperately want to go to Universal Studios to see the Harry Potter attractions. The wait for popular rides during the spring break season is expected to be 2 to 3 hours without Express Passes.
Staying at a hotel onsite gets you “free” Express Passes. When I run that math, it’s about $500 more expensive in actual dollars than staying offsite for those days using points. Even if I split up the stay, then we’re moving multiple times during our vacation. Buying discount tickets elsewhere for Universal Orlando means paying more for Express Passes. Unless I’m missing something, I don’t see a good option here.
At least the next time someone complains to me about Disney World pricing, I can point them to Universal….
Does anyone have a super secret formula I haven’t discovered to make Universal Orlando affordable, or am I selling a kidney?