Forgive me if I venture over to the Dark Side a bit. Yes, I’m going to talk about Universal Studios Orlando. With the addition of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a lot of Disney guests are visiting Universal Studios and what they’re finding, what I personally found, were two really great theme parks. No, it’s not Disney, but here’s a little confession: In some areas, I thought the theming was superior. In fact I liked it so much, I bought an annual pass.
Unlike Disney however, Universal doesn’t offer a lot of discounts, which surprised me. I figured that Orlando’s de facto “red-headed stepchild” would practically be giving rooms away. The reality is, there’s only one guaranteed way to get a discount if you’re staying on Universal property: Buy an annual pass. Here’s how this can work for you.
A two-day park hopper ticket for an adult costs around $140. For about $100 more, you can buy an annual pass. Now for most people, there’s really no need for this pass; you’re only going to go a couple times probably that year. What you’re buying for are the discounts. For the fall, I’m seeing are room discounts at the three hotels that range in savings from around $100 – $150 a night. That’s a nice savings in itself. Keep in mind that only one member of your party needs to buy an annual pass for the whole group to take advantage of it.
If room discounts were the only discount an annual pass gave you, I’d still be impressed, but Universal takes really good care of their passholders, so in addition to room discounts, you’ll get 10% off all merchandise and food in the parks, plus an additional 15% off park tickets for everyone else in your party. You’ll also get free parking. And should you, by some lucky chance, come back within the year, you can always take one day from your Disney trip and head over to Universal for a “free” day of fun.
Before you buy an annual pass for the discounts, make sure they’re available for your travel time. You or your travel agent can call Universal Orlando and check. They’ll send you directly to the hotel you’re interested in. Once you’ve confirrmed there are discounts, just go ahead and buy the pass, get your pass number, and call the hotel back and book your room.