Trying to make sense of the pricing for hotel v express


#1

Apologies if this has been asked before, but I think I’m missing something in the pricing at Universal.

We are visiting Orlando again from the UK as a family of 4 in August. Not our first visit but now the kids are older - they are now 21 and 16 I think they will want more time at Universal for the ‘big’ rides. Last time we came we bought the Universal Express passes and they were great, made the day very simple. But in August they will be expensive, prices aren’t on the universal site yet but for July is $149 per person per day.

We already have accommodation booked as will stay in a villa. But looking at the universal site I can book a room at the Royal Pacific Resort for $284 for 2 adults plus I assume some tax. If I’m reading it right that then gives us the express passes for 2 days (check in and check out day for both guests? Buying those direct is $600…twice the price??

So even discounting the benefits of staying closer and early entry etc it would make sense to do this unless I’ve missed something? I can’t figure out why Universal would price that way, unless so few people buy the express passes anyway? Appreciate they are expensive but we are spending a lot coming from the UK anyway and are fortunate enough to be able to afford it so it seems a no brainer?


#2

You haven’t missed anything, that’s the way they price. We did 1 night at HRH last trip for that reason - we wouldn’t have bought Ex Pass separately but it was such a good deal to stay there and I’d always wanted to.


#3

Going for the first time in July and you are absolutely correct! I’ve done tons of research and have found the same thing over and over. For a family of 5, staying at RPR, we are basically staying for free when you look at EP (Express Pass) costs. I have found that if you want EP (and you really do NEED EP if you visit in the summer) you really should just stay onsite. Plus, then you have easy access (boat or walk) to parks and the ability to pool hop. I am also really looking forward to the freedom EP gives - no hours and hours of planning like I must do with WDW. And if one of the kids really likes a ride, guess what?? They can go on again and again and not worry about messing up the TP too much! Sorry I am rambling a bit, but I am just so darn excited about this Uni trip :sunglasses:


#4

Isn’t it amazing how that works out??? I have a family of five and we can all fit in one room and it’s absolutely a no-brainer!


#5

@tprzela, you sound like me! I can go on and on about the fabulousness of EP. Nothing like being able to toss your TP out the window and just tour leisurely!


#6

When we went - it was ~ $350 a night at Portafino - but to buy the express passes for my family was $400 - NO BRAINER. NO you are not missing anything. If nothing else - if you prefer your other accommodations - stay there but buy a “throwaway” room at Universal. They do it for control over the tickets.

Stay on site - you get the benefit. They then extend it out at various pricing so that they don’t loose their value. They make it expensive on busy days so that there is still some actual VALUE to the express pass itself.


#7

Yes it’s it’s brilliant deal

Also when you stay offsite but buy an express pass you don’t get to enter HP world an hour early do you as a Hotel guest?


#8

I’ve no idea if this works with your schedule or not, but the cost of a seasonal pass - block outs apply at Christmas/New Year, spring break, and the month of July - is ten dollars more than a 3 day park-to-park ticket. With that, you can often book on site hotel for a huge discount, especially on weekdays.

This is what I did when I had to add two nights to my trip due to airline schedules.

Bought the seasonal AP for $285 vs $275 for a 3 day PtP ticket. Booked two nights at Royal Pacific for $175 each (regular $299). With that I got the Express Pass free, regular $90 per day, or $270 for three days. Added benefit was going through security at the resort, and taking the boat over to the park gates - instead of the mob scene and stampede at City Walk.

So, for $635 (plus tax) I enjoyed what could have cost $545 for just tickets and EP, plus I got two nights in an awesome hotel on site for that additional $90. Truly a bargain!

I was by myself, but if DH had been along on that trip, the value of the free Express pass would have doubled.


#9

Ps

Even with express pas you can still find touring plans useful to minimise your walking time and distance!!

It’s great when you are down to that as a concern though!!


#10

Thanks for the tip! Seasonal prices would work for us and looking at the prices they would be about the same as we’d pay in the UK for a 14 day pass (as we won’t do Volcano Bay which costs more on the seasonal pass but is no more to add to the UK pass, strangely). I think we can still buy on the universal website from the UK from what I can see? Guess we then get a code to pick up tickets at the gate.

At the moment no hotel deals for August but could happen and either way seems a better deal so think we will go for that…