Universal Orlando ups prices of annual passes, adds blackout dates

Posted Tuesday, January 4, 2011 12:01 PM | Contributed by Jeff

According to Universal's website, pricing on both the Power and Premier Passes, the resort's entry-level and top-notch annual pass tiers, has increased. For those with Power Passes in 2011, don't plan on visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for most of the summer. Universal lists more than 60 blockout dates for the Power Pass in 2011, most of which are solely for Islands of Adventure.

Read more from WESH/Orlando.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011 12:14 PM

Hooray for Preferred Passes! ;)

Seriously though, who visits FL parks in the summer - I spend all summer trying to get OUT of Florida... :)

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011 12:54 PM

I'm curious if ANYONE with the Power Pass would be willing to pay gate admission to attend the park during one of the blockout dates. I wouldn't think so. With that in mind, what's the point of the blockout dates? Couldn't Universal take in even more revenue on food/drink/shopping/parking/kennels by allowing the pass holders to visit on those blockout days? Are they trying to control crowd size or is it as simple as enticing people to upgrade to the Premier Pass? Must be that last one. ;)

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011 12:58 PM

Acoustic Viscosity said:
I'm curious if ANYONE with the Power Pass would be willing to pay gate admission to attend the park during one of the blockout dates. I wouldn't think so. With that in mind, what's the point of the blockout dates? Couldn't Universal take in even more revenue on food/drink/shopping/parking/kennels by allowing the pass holders to visit on those blockout days? Are they trying to control crowd size or is it as simple as enticing people to upgrade to the Premier Pass? Must be that last one. ;)

I see it the other way around. (surprise!)

It's a way for people who don't care about going during the most crowded times (something I can relate to) to pay less for access to the park that fits them better.

The Premier Pass isn't an upgraded pass, the Power Pass is a discounted one.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011 1:09 PM

Ok then are the blockout dates typically crazy busy? If so, why would ANY local want to attend, therefore, why should any local upgrade to the Premier Pass (or downgrade per Gonch's idea)? Shouldn't they just offer one pass at a price somewhere in the middle?

I've only been to Florida once during the summer, so I don't have a good feel for how summer crowds compare to the rest of the year. I would think most out-of-towners save Florida for when they can't play outside locally, but I guess school kids having summers off are still the primary driving force in when to take the family to Orlando.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011 1:54 PM

Yes the blackout days are crazy busy.

Since the power pass is only available to florida residents

They are trying to keep locals away when crazy busy(not that most would go when that busy anyway) Out of towners probably spend more on park food and gifts in the park.So they want the highest per cap guests there when busy.

I had thought about the premier pass and passed on it.

If they now extend express to all hours of this pass it maybe worth the increase

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011 1:57 PM

Acoustic Viscosity said:
Shouldn't they just offer one pass at a price somewhere in the middle?

Matt's an engineeer, not an economist. But he is total awesomeness, so I'll let this one slide...LOL! :)

LOL, the "infinite pricing scheme" of someone like Disney not only offers the most CHOICES, it also ends up being the most profitable and keeping guest satisfaction at the highest levels. Oh, and yes, it is CRAZY busy during those blockout dates....note the longer park hours during those days. So offering the tiers actually makes Universal a LOT more money and helps to reduce crowds during the super-profitable times when the park prefers to have "day guests" rather than "cheap passholders).

As an example of how Disney maxes profitability, my Annual (365-day) Disney pass includes parking - but since Jill won't go alone or during busy times, her Disney "seasonal" pass has blockouts and no included parking. At Universal, we both have Preferred passes because the benefits are something she gets use of (like the 2-hour ERT event at WWoHP about a month ago).

If it were my business, you'd need a lawyer to figure out the pricing structure/tiers... ;)

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011 2:38 PM

rollergator said:
If it were my business, you'd need a lawyer to figure out the pricing structure/tiers... ;)

Like.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011 3:11 PM

Acoustic Viscosity said:
Shouldn't they just offer one pass at a price somewhere in the middle?

Except that then you lose money from the people who would pay more for better services AND you lose money for the people who would only pay less for less services.

The only disadvantage to tiering pricing and services is the potential customers who don't care enough to figure out what they want and will just go to the beach instead. Based on the popularity of tiered services, I don't that it's that many.

As an aside, last time I booked a flight with United, they tried to sell me something like 7 or 8 different upgrades, from an exit row to a window seat to an earlier boarding time, to better snacks and food...I was annoyed, but not annoyed enough to go elsewhere.

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