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Unread 13 Jan 20, 10:56 PM  
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Jack&LucysMumy
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Question Help with Universal Annual passes

Please can someone please answer my questions about Universal's annual passes?

So after reading a thread on here the other day which I can now not for the life of me find again, I began researching purchasing Universal two park annual passes instead of the 14 day passes that we normally buy. Now I'm not actually sure we will visit again next year so I'm basing these tickets on just one trip.
We will be in Orlando from the 21st August- 4th September so it looks like there are no block out dates but can anyone confirm? So my questions are-:
Do any of you guys buy these passes for just one trip?
Can it work out cheaper then 14 day passes especially with the discounts you can get at vendors and hotels etc?
Does anyone buy one preferred pass for the free parking and normal passes for the rest of the family?
Is there anything else I'm missing with regards to it not being a good idea to buy?

Thanks for all of your help
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Unread 14 Jan 20, 12:04 AM  
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dotb
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We will be buying for just the one trip, one preferred and one seasonal. We do go to Universal quite a few times so from my calculations it is cheaper than the 14 day tickets because of the free parking and discounts.

The blackout dates for each pass are on the Universal website.
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Unread 14 Jan 20, 07:42 AM  
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chmurf
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Originally Posted by Jack&LucysMumy View Post
Can it work out cheaper then 14 day passes especially with the discounts you can get at vendors and hotels etc?
Does anyone buy one preferred pass for the free parking and normal passes for the rest of the family?
Is there anything else I'm missing with regards to it not being a good idea to buy?
a few things to clear up
in your question you ask about hotel discounts and free parking
so let me just remind that parking is not free at hotels, you still pay for parking if you stay at one of the universal onsite hotel
APs only work for parking if you stay offsite and use the parking at citywalk.
for anyone aiming for the hotel discounts, the AP will not save on parking

regarding hotel discounts, they're not automatic.
AP rates are released roughly 3 months out, on a very limited basis, they may not be offered for your date, or only offered on top categories of rooms (suites for example) or views, and may not save money even though they might permit to have a nicer view
they're also first come first serve while "supply" lasts.

also a quick reminder that, for any stay 7 nights or more, the advance purchase rate (SMSM) always gives equal or better discounts compared to the AP discount

buying before you go, is an option, since you lock the price in at time of purchase. If you buy a 14 days then upgrade, the upgrade cost can go up if there is a price increase
but getting a 14 days pass and upgrading also means that you can decide, depending on what you're quoted for upgrade, if it's worth upgrading or not, because the one thing you cannot know in advance is how much the upgrade will cost

if you get a 3 parks 14 days ticket and upgrade, policy is that you need to upgrade to a 3 parks AP

now you need to do the maths, depending is you stay onsite or not

let's say you purchase a 2 parks 14 days : 279 so 558 for 2 (prices might be lower depending on vendors)

2 park seasonnal and 2 park preferred will cost $745.50 incl. taxes
that's 574 current exchange rate

so the upgrade here is a no brainer, as it might cost under 50 for the both of you, and you'll soon break even with merch and dining discounts
and even if you go for APs from the start, it will still be worth it

if you need volcano bay, the 14 days tickets are the same price as the 2 days tickets
but you'll need to upgrade to 3 parks APs
those APs will cost $909 or 700

that's a 126 difference meaning you'll need to spend at least 1260 at universal in merch or dining to break even (price for "upgrade" is potential, you may or may not be given that price when upgrading, but the values here are for comparing the purchase of the tickets, and the purchase of the APs, upgrade prices may vary)

if you stay offsite, you can count the days of parking (excluding the first visit you don't get credit for)

for the rest it's just a matter of doing the maths and decide

Edited at 07:43 AM.
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Unread 14 Jan 20, 12:33 PM  
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Someone else may know the answer to this as far as the Hotel discounts but a word of caution: We bought/still have our AP's but couldn't use them for ticket discounts until they had actually been activated- I wanted to use them for AP discounts on HHN tickets & couldn't.Also some tickets were "at the gate" & advance purchase options were either the same or cheaper (without AP), we did use them for BMG tickets but we would've been cheaper buying them here before going I did look at prices for AP rooms but for our dates it was only higher room categories & we were cheaper booking through BA/Hotels.com etc.
As far as discounts, you would have to go some to get any significant amount back on merch & food- we have a Power & a preferred & discount generally ranges from 10%-15%. The real saving is parking so it's all down to how many visits.
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Unread 14 Jan 20, 12:53 PM  
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chmurf
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Originally Posted by Shooby doo View Post
Someone else may know the answer to this as far as the Hotel discounts
you're right for disccounts, as well as booking special events like the free appreciation night. For those you need an active AP ( = used to enter a park at least once)

as far as hotel discounts, you are not required to have a valid AP to book the AP rates BUT you're supposed to show an active AP at check in
in fact, you can redeem your AP voucher at the attraction desk in the hotel lobby, so that's not an issue, and it's not unheard of to be allowed to show the AP later as long as it's before check out (or the end of the day, as nights will be billed nightly on the hotel folio)

to book APH rates, it might be quite difficult to access, as Loews and Universal often change ... but here's the direct URL
res.windsurfercrs/ibe/de...=&hotels=&ada=

go back to this URL as it includes the &promo=aph argument to trigger aph rates on the reservation site

if you see passholder rate, then it's available
if it only displays SMSM or Seasonnal, then no APH rate are available for the selected hotel/dates combo

here's an example of what you get when APH is available for your date/hotel combo

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Unread 14 Jan 20, 12:54 PM  
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Weve never had them before but its our plan for Aug. Were staying at Cabana Bay (already booked so not using any discount there) for three weeks.

For 2a2c we plan to purchase x3 season passes for Universal and x1 adult Premier Pass. For Disney its x3 21 day park passes and x1 adult annual pass.

Regarding Disney I feel well break even on the pass cost with regards to parking fees and the discounts available but at Universal the cost is only 35 more than we would pay for two weeks tickets so we already have an extra week of park opportunities and having discounts at Cabana Bay food our and CityWalk will soon add up.
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Unread 14 Jan 20, 01:01 PM  
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Originally Posted by ely3857 View Post
Weve never had them before but its our plan for Aug. Were staying at Cabana Bay (already booked so not using any discount there) for three weeks.

just in case, the seasonnal passes will be blocked out of volcano bay until August 16th
there is a fairly high chance that these blockout will be lifted somewhere around july, and you will still be able to enjoy VB if you have a 3 parks AP
but I thought I'd mention
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Unread 14 Jan 20, 07:54 PM  
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I have preferred pass, its great as I save on parking get discount on food and shopping, and have always gotten great discount at the hotel, for my trip at end of April am doing one night at portofino and got the night for 269 with my annual pass discount which am very happy with

Edited at 10:40 AM.
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