Questions? Our community can help!
CAN WE HELP SIMPLIFY YOUR TRIP?Connect with our travel agents
Universal Orlando sells tickets that range from one to five days in length. Regardless of the length of the vacation, however, the tickets can be broken down two major ways.
These are your basic tickets that allow you to visit either Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure, or the Volcano Bay water park. If you have a Single Day, One Park per Day ticket, you must choose one park. If you have a Multi-Day, One Park per Day ticket you must choose either park on any given day. Within that day you may leave and return to the same park, but you cannot switch parks.
These are your basic tickets that allow you to visit either Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure (or the Volcano Bay water park, if you get a 3-park ticket). If you have a Single Day, One Park per Day ticket, you must choose one park. If you have a Multi-Day, One Park per Day ticket you must choose either park on any given day. Within that day you may leave and reenter, but you cannot switch parks.
Universal Orlando tickets expire 7 days after the first use and children under 3 are free, but child tickets for ages 3-9 are only a few dollars discounted from the adult prices, despite the large number of rides with height requirements at Universal.
One of our big gripes about Universal is that there are never enough ticket windows open in the morning to accommodate the crowds. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you buy your admission in advance. Passes are available direct from Universal at universalorlando.com or by phone at (800) 711-0080; at the concierge desks or attractions box offices of many Orlando-area hotels; and through Guest Services at the DoubleTree Universal hotel (407-351-1000), at the intersection of Major Boulevard and Kirkman Road.
Many hotels and some ticket brokers that sell Universal admissions don’t issue actual passes. Instead, the purchaser gets a voucher that can be redeemed for a pass at the theme park. Fortunately, the voucher-redemption window is separate from the park’s ticket-sales operation. In addition, tickets bought online can be printed at home and contain a bar code that can be read at the turnstiles.
Universal's admission discounts change too rapidly to cover comprehensively here. The best online clearing-house for keeping up with the latest available offers is MouseSavers.com's Universal Orlando discounts and deals page. There are often deals for Florida residents, deals where you get a day or two "free" with the purchase of certain tickets, etc.
The lowest prices on electronically delivered one-day Universal tickets is through Orlando Ticket Connection, which undercuts Universal's online prices a couple of bucks. We'd love to hear from readers who have had experiences (good or bad) with Orlando Ticket Connection.
Multi-day tickets sold through travel agencies (like our own TouringPlans Travel) generally cost the same as the Universal Orlando website but often include access to Early Park Admission, even if you are not staying in a Universal Orlando Resort Hotel.
Universal charges $14 for domestic FedEx shipping of tickets ($19 for international delivery). If you want physical tickets mailed to you for the cheapest price and can order at least two weeks before your trip, consider using an online ticket wholesaler, such as The Official Ticket Center. Official Ticket Center advertises all their prices inclusive of tax and USPS Certified shipping, and has the lowest bottom-line cost on physical Universal Orlando tickets that we've found.
This table displays the price ranges for Universal Orlando tickets purchased online in advance. For discounted tickets from third-party vendors, please see that section above. All these prices include tax. The tickets listed as 3-Park include the Volcano Bay water park. Note that prices are date-specific, with higher prices corresponding to more popular travel periods.
|Ticket||Single Park Ticket||Park-to-Park Ticket|
|1-Day Child (3-9)||$121.41-$185.31||$179.98-$243.89|
In addition, 2-day, 3-day, 4-day, and 5-day tickets are available.
All Universal Orlando annual passes include park-to-park admission to both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, including discounts on events that cost extra, like Halloween Horror Nights and Rock the Universe. All annual passholders also receive up to 30% room rates at on-site hotels, and a number of other discounts as detailed below.
Here are the four types of annual passes offered by Universal Orlando:
So, should you buy a Universal Orlando annual pass, and if so, which one? If you are making only one trip to Universal within the year, are staying off-site, and plan to spend four days or fewer in the parks, then you should stick with standard tickets. If however you plan to spend five or more days at Universal's parks, anticipate returning to Universal within the year, or want to stay at an on-site hotel for more than one night, it is well worth your while to run the numbers on an annual pass.
As for which one to buy, first double check the current Power Pass blockout dates on Universal's website to ensure they don't conflict with your trip. Even if you're in the clear, at least one member of your party will want to pick up at least a Preferred Annual Pass for its discounts, especially if you are driving to the resort; 5 days of self-parking at $30 per day adds up to $150, which is about the difference in price between the Power Pass and Preferred. (Note that free parking only applies after your first visit; you must activate your annual pass at a park gate first before receiving free parking.)
If – and only if – you take advantage of all its amenities, the Premier Annual Pass is an amazing value. At up-charge of under $300 from the Preferred pass, you can get more than your money's worth in free valet parking alone, and the free Express after 4 p.m. is especially useful when the parks are open late. (Even though it's officially only valid only once per attraction per day, we've rarely been denied a re-ride, and can usually bring a companion along.) The free Halloween Horror Nights pass isn't valid Fridays or Saturdays, and can't be upgraded, which limits its value, but once redeemed it can be transferred to another person.