Universal hotels package vs a la carte

Are there pros/cons to buying hotel and tickets as a package vs a la carte at Universal like there is with Disney (ie cancellation policies, etc)? We would be looking at the hotels that have ExpressPass included–can I still buy tix separately in that case? Thank you!

There isn’t much benefit to purchasing as a package. But you can easily add extras though, like transportation from the airport, a special breakfast, etc with a package. Some like the convenience of having everything together. The downside is that you are locked in on that date and need to pay the balance in full well before your travel date.

Booking a hotel separately allows you to cancel for free just a couple days ahead, so that gives you some flexibility.

Look into the current specials. There can be package deals and ticket sales that may help you make a decision. You can test both scenarios and see if there is a big price difference for your particular date/hotel.

If you’re not quite sure, I would book the room only now (to hold) and then re-evaluate when the time gets closer.


There are deals to be had with getting tickets separately. Right now if you buy 2 days you get 2 days free

FYI - a Seasonal Annual Pass pays for itself on the fourth day of a Universal trip. If you are going for at least that many days you should consider getting an AP…


I don’t think that is true any longer…at least, depending on the dates. A seasonal pass costs $424. (Not sure if that includes tax or not off hand.)

But when I price out a Park-to-park 5-day ticket, including tax through Undercover Tourist, picking a couple different dates, I saw prices from $376 to $412.

If you are going for just 4 days, and get the 2 + 2 promo through UT, the final price is around $300.

Unfortunately, Universal raised Seasonal Pass pricing several months ago to a level that it is less cost effective to buy for a single trip in most (all?) cases if you are going 5 days or fewer.

Having said that, if you are driving, you do have to factor in savings on parking (which, with a seasonal pass, is only 50% off parking after the FIRST visit, which is full price).


All that is true! I was basing everything off main gate pricing. That’s why my first suggestion was a BOGO offer. My AP suggestion is mostly to make someone aware that it can be an option. Too many people just assume an AP’s must cost $1000’s… :money_mouth_face:


Technically, you don’t have to pay full-price for parking on the first visit. You just have to drop off one adult who goes in and gets the physical passes for everyone. The people remaining in the car can kill time at the nearby 7-11.

Universal doesn’t want people to keep an unredeemed paper season pass in their car to get forever free parking.

Also, for those with a car and for a trip long enough to make a pass worthwhile, it is likely worthwhile to upgrade one pass to the free parking level.

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I need to clarify, because I done goofed! The “Seasonal Pass” doesn’t get any parking discount. The next tier up, the Power Pass (for $474) includes the 50% parking. To get full free parking, you have to get at least the 3rd tier pass (Preferred), which is $539.

I’d assumed you were right and they changed something. LOL.
It is still worth looking into. When I bought our passes, to go from the seasonal pass to the free parking pass was an extra $100. Parking was $25/day.

Ooh! Let’s do some math.

Parking is currently $26/day.

So, here is a chart showing when it is cost effective to upgrade to the next level pass based on the parking:


Day 3 of the Seasonal pass, it makes sense to upgrade to the Power.
Day 5 of the Seasonal pass, it makes sense to upgrade to the Preferred.
Day 4 of the Power, it makes sense to upgrade to the Preferred.