Universal Studios Hollywood introduces $119 pass that covers select days over a rolling nine-month period

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

Universal Studios Hollywood has launched a pass targeting California visitors for $119 and gives access to the park for 219 select days, including 54 weekend days during a rolling nine-month period, depending on the day it is purchased.

Read more from The LA Times.

Jeff's avatar

This sounds complicated, the way it's described. How do you sell something like this?

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

Lord Gonchar's avatar

The website has a list of available passes. Each pass page has a calendar showing availability with blackout dates.

I suppose that makes perfect sense. It takes no more effort than being able to read a calendar.

Jeff's avatar

Yeah, that's complicated. "It's a nine month pass that is good... sometimes!" It's not that people can't read a calendar, it's just a strange value proposition. It's not like an annual pass, which you obviously can predict the end of, or some standard blackout dates like holidays or weekends. Maybe I don't know who would be interested in this just because I wouldn't.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Yeah, maybe. I think if you're going to have all of these crazy passes then it's a decent solution. I was thinking like you at first which is why I went to see how they handled it. It's really no different than looking up general park hours to see when you can visit. And likely, you check out that calendar before you purchase so you have an idea going in.

"This is when YOU can visit!"
If anything, it's a more personalized calendar and experience. ;)

Which is kind of crazy if you force yourself to look at it that way. You're able to buy different levels of park access with - for all intents and purposes - completely different operating schedules. If you have "Pass A", this is when the park is open. If you have "Pass B" this is when the park is open. Kind of like the preferred access programs inside the park, but on a park-wide scale. Pay more and have more access to the park.

It's really crazy how the industry is slicing the customer base to try to appeal more directly to everyone.

Remember when it was argued that dynamic pricing would be too complicated? So innocent in hindsight.

ApolloAndy's avatar

Maybe it's just me, but a large portion of why I buy passes to everything (zoo, museum, botanical gardens) is so I can just up and go whenever I want without thinking. I don't have to make an actual decision about value proposition or check a calendar. (I have occasionally been known to show up to my local park when it's closed, just because I didn't bother to check).

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Yeah, that would be the full price pass. The one you buy for convenience.

This is an incredibly discounted pass with limitations - the one you buy when cost is your foremost concern.

ApolloAndy's avatar

I guess it feels like that Amazon Kindle that was $50 cheaper but had ads. I suppose there's a market for something like that, but for me, when you get to that level, what's the point?

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

Lord Gonchar's avatar

I don't disagree necessarily. I just don't see this as a weird of an option as you guys do.

First off, there's an awful lot of days you can go. From November through April there's only 12 restricted days - and they're the busiest days the park has. (Xmas week accounts for half of them)

So in the 6 month period from November to April you can't visit Christmas week and just six other days.

Secondly, this pass costs $119 online.

A single day ticket for a specific date is $110. A 2-day ticket is $119.

Suddenly, if you plan on visiting Universal in any capacity beyond one day (or even really just think you might), this becomes the preferred choice from purely a cost standpoint. I think it's an incredibly good option for anyone that might visit more than twice in the next six months and doesn't mind avoiding the handful of most crowded days the park has.

Tommytheduck's avatar

It's a perfectly cromulent option.

My wife and I bought one of these to Universal Florida 12 or so years ago. It was the same price as the 2-day pass we were going to get, so why not get something that leaves a door open for a future visit?

The way I see it, it's perfect, especially if you're from far away, as we are. The blackout dates exist for a reason. If we're going to fly in, get a hotel, etc, why would we plan it on those busy days to begin with?

We did end up coming back in the last eligible week under a rationale of use it or lose it. Granted, we didn't save money, because we had to pay for hotel, car, etc, but still considered it a discounted weekend getaway.

Last edited by Tommytheduck,
ApolloAndy's avatar

I guess that does make more sense (I didn't actually check the calendar initially and assumed it had a lot more dates blacked out). Though at what point is there too much granularity in ticket pricing? Do we need another level of ticket that costs $100 and has all Saturdays blocked?

Obviously, Universal doesn't think we've hit that point.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

It's interesting the levels of tickets and season passes parks have developed over the past several years. Hersheypark(our home park,) started selling passes by the season this year. Like the early season pass was $119 which is good from Springtime in the park to Memorial day. Our All Season Pass which is good all year was $140 last week when we bought them, but they were set to go up on October first. Probably to $160 or $180. We always renew in September because of the discount.

I can see where an early season pass would benefit a family. We like to travel in off peak times. The spring and fall are the best times to visit Hersheypark without long waits. It's paid for in 2 visits.

For the last two years we've bought the Busch Gardens fun card in Williamsburg VA, and when you buy that before the start of the season they throw in Water Country for no additional cost. It's good from opening weekend until the first week in September. It's only the cost of a single day admission at around $77.

Last year was the first time we stepped foot in Water Country because we've never gone in the Summer season. Now the last two years we've gone opening weekend and again over July 4th(Great time to visit Williamsburg in general.) Over the 4th we visited Busch Gardens two days Water Country one day. We got four days of admissions for the price of one.

Like Tommy said above it almost makes us plan to travel, so we feel like we're getting our value out of the passes. They make out.

Still have to pay parking. Not expensive for that, but visiting over the 4th of July definitely requires quick queue to enjoy your day midsummer. We did one day unlimited quick queue at both Busch Gardens and Water Country for three of us. It adds up fast. For us it's money well spent.

Depends on the persons perspective buying the passes. If you're a local it looks more like a rip off then us people outside Orlando like Tommy said that may want to plan and extra visit before they expire.

Next year we're planning a Universal, Sea World, Busch Gardens vacation staying at a Universal Resort when the new water park opens. It will be interesting to see what ticket/season pass combo is the best value. It maybe cheaper to get a season pass for Universal and Busch Gardens.

I wonder how many of the general population log on to Universal's site and just book tickets for the length of time there without looking at season pass pricing?

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