When you’re ready to invest in an annual pass for Universal Studios to save some money, you may be wondering if you can purchase those at the gate rather than online.
We’ll go over the annual pass tiers offered by Universal Studios, the best ways to buy them and discuss if they’re worth purchasing.
We’ll also point out some things to keep in mind regarding annual passes and answer some common questions related to the parks.
All tickets for Universal Studios, whether it be park entrance, annual passes, or upgrades, can be purchased at the gate and inside the parks.
It’s important to check the blackout dates online for annual passes, even if you plan on buying at the entrance gate.
Where to Buy a Universal Studios Annual Pass
Annual passes, like all other tickets, are available for purchase at the entrance gate and any ticket booth inside the Universal Studios parks.
You can pay in full or set up a payment plan at the entrance and walk away with the annual passes.
Most hotels in the Universal resort also allow guests to purchase tickets or annual passes at the front desk.
The downside to buying annual passes at the gate is that you may visit during a blackout date for the purchased annual pass.
If that happens to be the case, you will need a different ticket to enter the park that day.
Universal Studios offers guests the opportunity to purchase annual passes online directly through their website.
There are many advantages to buying tickets for the parks online, chiefly that it saves you money.
Universal uses special online pricing to encourage guests to buy tickets in advance of their trip.
On normal entrance tickets, this can save guests an average of 5%-20%.
If you purchase an annual pass online, you can have it shipped to you or pick it up at the park.
During operating hours, follow the signs to a ticket booth to pick up your annual pass.
Annual Pass Tiers
Whether you’re looking at Universal Studios in California or Florida, there are four annual pass levels available for purchase.
While pricing and specific park perks do vary, both parks’ annual passes are fairly comparative.
Seasonal/California Neighbor Passes are the lowest tier and give you unlimited entries into the parks for a certain portion of the year.
They include discounts at participating venues inside the parks and CityWalk, discounted tickets for seasonal events, and resort hotels.
Blackout dates do apply.
Power/Silver Annual passes include everything from the previous pass, give 12 months of access, and have fewer blackout dates.
Preferred/Gold annual passes step up the number of weekend visits and have even fewer blackout dates than the lower two passes.
They also include in-park discounts on food and beverages that aren’t included in lower tiers, as well as increasing the number of discounts within the resort.
Premier/Platinum annual passes include all the discounts and rewards of the lower tiers, but these passes have no blackout dates, include express passes, free tickets for Halloween Horror Nights, and free parking.
Is the Annual Pass Worth It?
When it comes to the Seasonal/Neighbor passes, annual passes only cost around $50 more than a single-day entrance ticket.
If you are a resident of the state and want to visit the park multiple times during the year, this can save hundreds of dollars in park entrance fees.
In the highest tiers, Premier/Platinum annual passes cost upwards of $500.
The included discounts on food and beverages, hotels, and included express passes do add up however, a single-day ticket with an Express Pass and a night in a resort hotel easily exceed this amount.
For the most part, an annual pass is worth the price, as multiple visits to the parks will cost much more than the price of an annual pass.
Are tickets cheaper online or in person?
Tickets for Universal Studios are always cheaper online than they are at the gate.
Universal also encourages guests to check their website for tickets before trying to buy tickets at the gate.
Others have blackout dates where they can’t be used.
To save the most money, plan your trip and try to catch an online-only special pricing event.
Can I buy Express Passes separately?
Express passes can be bought separately and added to entrance tickets within the park or purchased online for specific dates.
These passes are an add-on to admission tickets and are sold separately both on the Universal Studios website and at the gate.
For annual pass holders who don’t have Express Passes included in their annual pass, Express Passes can be purchased for the dates they plan on visiting the parks.
Can I use a Universal Hollywood Pass in Orlando?
The Hollywood and Orlando resorts are separate businesses run by Universal Studios and don’t follow the same pricing levels.
Other Things to Keep In Mind
Annual passes and their special pricing discounts are only available for residents who live in the state the resort is located in.
Universal Studios Hollywood only allows California residents to purchase annual passes, while Universal Orlando only allows Florida residents to purchase annual passes.
You will always need a valid I.D. to use your annual pass for entry into the parks.
Annual passes are non-transferable, non-refundable, and must be used by the person whose name is printed on the ticket.
Guests can buy all levels of Universal Studios annual passes at the gate whether they’re at the Orlando or Hollywood resorts.
It’s important to check blackout dates online before purchasing and keep in mind that each resort has a separate pass that can not be used at the other.
While annual passes at higher tiers are a hefty investment, visitors who plan to go to the parks more than once during the year will be able to save a lot of money by purchasing an annual pass.