Is it worth getting a Universal Orlando Resort Annual Pass?


The dragon breathes fire over Diagon Alley. Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels.



Universal Orlando Resort has been offering its full arsenal of annual passes since reopening. There are several options, so value differs depending on individual uses.


Benefits

Before calculating the money behind each pass, there are some additional benefits aside from park entry that should be taken into account. Passholders at every tier receive:

  • Access to the UOAP Lounge Presented by Coca-Cola

- Open from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

-Located at Studio Styles on Hollywood Boulevard in Universal Studios Florida

-Spots for charging phones

-Purchasable Coca-Cola beverages

-Exclusive passholder merchandise

-Complimentary, collectible buttons every month

  • Early park admission on select dates

  • Exclusive dining locations and menu items

  • Early access to limited flavors at Voodoo Doughnut

  • Discounted tickets to Halloween Horror Nights

  • Universal Orlando Hotel Room Discounts


The Basics

As we break down pricing and features of each annual pass option, it is important to keep in mind Universal's pricing practices for adults in 2021:

  • One Park Per Day Ticket: Starts at $109

  • 2-Park, 1-Day Ticket: Starts at $164

  • 1-Day Volcano Bay Ticket: Starts at $80

  • Parking: $26 per vehicle, free after 6 p.m.

  • Express Pass: Starts at $69.99 per person

  • Halloween Horror Nights: Ranged from $67-$102 in 2019

For simplicity's sake, all pass breakdowns are 2-park passes without Florida resident discounts. The rule of thumb goes like this: if a pass holds value to you and you plan on going to Volcano Bay semi-frequently, opt for the pass that includes it. If you are unsure, consider sticking with the 2-park pass for your first year, and then circle back to adding the third park when it is time to renew.


To get a Florida resident discount, you must show a Florida ID.


And lastly, all passholders get a discount when renewing, so your most expensive pass purchase will often be your very first one (outside of occasional price increases and the natural increase that comes if you wish to upgrade your annual pass).


The Seasonal Pass

  • Price: $269.99

  • Includes blockout dates

  • Includes blockouts for concerts

This basic pass is great for those who go during non-busy seasons and stay at Universal Orlando hotels, as they get provided with complimentary transportation. At its affordable price, it makes back its value after just two days at Universal Orlando Resort, so long as those days are not within the blockout dates of Jan. 1–3, March 27–April 10, July 1–31 and Dec. 18–31.


The Power Pass

  • Price: $319.99

  • Includes fewer blockout dates than the Seasonal Pass

  • 50% off regular daytime self-parking

The Power Pass is a great value for those who want to visit more frequently than the Seasonal Pass might allow. It still exceeds its purchase value after two trips to the parks, and also includes 50% off self-parking, which brings its short-term value close to that of the Seasonal Pass, and better than that in long-term value. Its blockout days include Jan. 1–3, March 27–April 10 and Dec. 18–31.


The Preferred Pass

  • Price: $359.99

  • No blockout dates

  • Free self-parking

  • Early park admission on select dates

  • 10% discount on dining (excluding alcohol) and merchandise

This is perhaps the best value for the standard vacationer and local, as it still meets its value after two trips to the parks. Two 2-park passes and parking for both days, before taxes are applied, costs $380, which is more than the price of this annual pass.


And that is before all the additional benefits of owning an annual pass are factored in.


The Premier Pass

  • Price: $509.99

  • No blockout dates

  • Free self-parking

  • Free valet parking

  • Early park admission with greater availability

  • 15% discount on dining (excluding alcohol) and merchandise

  • One free Halloween Horror Nights ticket (on select nights)

  • Universal Express after 4 p.m.

For the ultimate Universal Orlando Resort fan, this pass packs value for those who visit the most. One night at Halloween Horror Nights and three park days (with standard parking) exceeds $630, making this meet its value after just a few trips.


No matter how you divide the benefits and pricing, nearly every Universal Annual Pass holds incredible value. It is one of the fairest deals in all of theme park traveling, with perks that incentivize returning long after you have exceeded the price of your pass.

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