Universal Annual Pass Question

We’re taking our first trip to Universal soon and staying at Royal Pacific. We already purchased park tickets at Undercover Tourist (2 days + 1 free). I searched recently and was able to get an annual pass member rate on the 2 rooms that we have at Royal Pacific that is $150/room less than what we booked. This seems like a no-brainer as the $300 in savings will more than cover the extra cost of an annual pass.

If I hadn’t already purchased our tickets, I would just purchase an annual pass outright. However, since I bought the tickets already, I’m hoping I can upgrade a ticket when I get there. (The Undercover Tourist site says that the ticket is upgradeable at the park.) Doing this has the added benefit of possibly allowing us to keep the discount we received on the tickets if they bridge the value. I’ve seen folks here have upgraded Undercover Tourist tickets to an annual pass, but has anyone done it in connection with an AP hotel reservation?

If I don’t have the annual pass at check-in, but upgrade our ticket at the park and have it before we check out - will that be sufficient for the AP hotel rate? The hotel reservation says you need to have the annual pass at booking and check-in. I did call Universal and the person I talked to said by check out is fine - but given the contrary language in the booking, I’m not confident.

Has anyone done this?

Since no one responded, I thought it might help others for me to update with our recent experience at Royal Pacific.

  • It was ok for me to book 2 rooms at annual pass rate on one annual pass. I actually shifted the credit card on one room to my non-passholding friend when we checked in. I mentioned that we were using annual pass rate and did not want to shift if it would be problematic - they said it was fine.

  • It was ok for us to check in without the annual pass. I was not planning to upgrade my ticket to an annual pass until the day after we checked in. I called Universal again, and this time they said to check with the hotel as it is up to each hotel. I called Royal Pacific in advance - and they said it would be fine. When we checked in, it was fine. The hotel actually never asked me to prove my annual pass.

  • When I upgraded the multi-day ticket to an annual pass, Universal bridged the value. I purchased the 2+1 ticket at UT for $238.50 (before tax) and Universal applied $275 towards an annual pass. It was an additional $10 (+tax) for a seasonal pass or $110 (+tax) for a preferred pass.

  • I ended up getting a preferred pass. Universal was very liberal with giving us the preferred pass discount. We travelled with another family who did not get an annual pass, but we were able to apply my 10% discount to their purchases too.

  • On last day, I upgraded the rest of my family to seasonal tickets. I waited until the last day because on one of the earlier days we were at the parks, USF had a seasonal blackout day due to a concert. I thought using the multi-day ticket on a seasonal blackout day might prevent us from upgrading to a seasonal pass afterwards - it did not.

  • Annoyingly, I had to pay $20 to upgrade a child ticket even though the price I paid for the child ticket at UT was about the same (maybe $2 less) than the adult ticket.

I can’t promise others will have the same experience or that Universal or the hotels won’t change the way they do things - but thought I’d share our experience as a data point.


Thank you for posting this - I am in the same situation with tickets and was wondering whether this was possible. When and where did you do the upgrade - was it before or after you entered a park on the ticket or do you know if it matters?

I upgraded one ticket to a preferred pass the night before we entered the parks at Citywalk before we used any tickets. There is a guest services kiosk there that is open late after the parks close. We had dinner at Cowfish so we were right there - and I didn’t want to wait a long guest services line the next morning when we arrived at the park.

I upgraded the other tickets to seasonal passes on the last day as we were leaving the parks in the afternoon. We were on the last day of the tickets, but they were still valid.

So I upgraded one before use, and the others after use. The upgrade cost was the same at both times.

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Thank you so much for posting this info! I may do the same thing for our upcoming trip in December if I end up getting a deal on AP room rates. Do you know if the AP rates tend to not be posted until 2 months before travel dates?

AP room rates don’t tend to get posted that far out. For example, right now, they are only showing through early March. I went ahead and booked a room for August, but will keep checking back to see if AP rates become available.

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You can also do the upgrade at the Universal desk at the hotel - my friend just did this evening at CBBR.

Last March, I was told I could NOT do an annual pass upgrade at the hotel (Portofino Bay), only at guest services at the park. We had a room at AP rate, but had bought tickets at the 2days+2 days free special. I did upgrade my one ticket to premier, but I never showed the hotel! On our last day, my husband decided to upgrade the kids and himself to AP also, as we knew we were coming back in The next Feb (in 2 weeks).

I wonder if it was an issue with your ticket type? I could not activate an AP at the hotel since I was doing the flex plan.

When I called Universal ticketing in advance of our trip, they told me that I could not upgrade a third party ticket to an AP at our hotel and that I had to go to guest services at the parks or Citywalk to do that upgrade. The Citywalk guest services is open late after the parks close. Maybe the Universal ticketing rep I talked to was wrong and the hotel could do it - but I didn’t try.

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My friend who upgraded had purchased from universal so it wasn’t a 3rd party. She had no trouble doing it - I walked down with her.

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I am considering getting an annual pass. I was looking for 3 rooms, 1 night in July. It shows that there are not AP deals for that time. Does it mean there never will be any deals, or just that they don’t have them out yet?

They are only out until the end of May right now, excluding the 2 weeks around Easter much to my dismay.

I wanted to do 3 Royal Pacific rooms. Do you know if I can use the discount on all 3 with only 1 AP? Also, I believe the limit per room is 5, would that mean I can get 15 Express Passes for the 3 rooms (we are 16, but 2 aren’t for sure).

You can book the rooms through the passholder section of the website. I am wondering if at times there may not be enough rooms?

I am not sure, as we have only ever had 1 room.

Yes! It is easy to change who is on the rooms once you get there if needed, one trip I added my friend’s 2 kids to our room at check in so they would have the express passes. Easy peasy.

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