The season of theme park price hikes is upon us, and now that Harry Potter magic, Minions mayhem, and Hollywood movie action is going to cost a bit more.
Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort have both increased ticket prices at the California and Florida theme parks, joining Disneyland and Walt Disney World as resorts whose admission can now be expected to increase annually.
The increase at both Universal parks is relatively small. At Universal Studios Hollywood, one-day tickets purchased online are up $3-$4 and two-day tickets are up $10, with one-day tickets now costing between $109 and $119 and two-day tickets costing between $139 and $169 (from $129 through $159) when purchased online.
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Tickets bought at the front gate are now $125, up $5 from $120. Admission at Universal Orlando Resort, which hosts two theme parks and Volcano Bay water park, increased $5 for one-day admission for standard and park-to-park tickets purchased online. (Tickets to Volcano Bay, which cost $67, remain unchanged since the “water theme park” opened last May.)
This pricing change follows Disneyland’s staggering admission updates, where single day tickets were raised as much as $11 when new rates were rolled out last week. Unlike the uptick in pricing for Disney admission across the board, which saw annual passes jump as much as $150, annual pass pricing for Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort remain unchanged.
February is quickly becoming the annual bearer of ticket increases, with competing resorts tending to influence each other’s pricing structures. Last year, Universal Orlando Resort followed Walt Disney World’s daily and multi-day admission increase; in 2016, Disney parks in California and Florida adapted a dynamic pricing model, which assigns different values for different calendar days of the year, after Universal Studios parks in California and Florida enacted the same for its online ticket sales.
With expansions coming to all of Disney and Universal’s bicoastal properties, the change in cost isn’t unjustified. Fresh off a successful Lunar New Year celebration, Universal Studios Hollywood is set to debut its DreamWorks Theatre 4-D attraction starring Kung Fu Panda, while Universal Orlando Resort is preparing to open a “Fast and the Furious” attraction as well as a forthcoming new Harry Potter ride, among other new experiences. Disneyland is prepping new fireworks and parade returns for PixarFest and the debut of Pixar Pier’s Incredicoaster, and Walt Disney World will open Toy Story Land on June 30. (Another possible reason for the recent ticket increase, of course, is Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, landing at both theme park resorts in 2019.)
Guests heading to Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort can keep a few dollars in their pocket by purchasing tickets online or on smartphones in advance; admission purchased online for the California park comes with complimentary early park admittance to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There are also easy ways to hack your Disneyland or Disney World visit to get more for your money, beyond simply attending the parks on lower-cost days.