Most guests' primary reason for staying at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel is to visit their favorite theme parks. At the parks, Universal's Express Pass Unlimited is a popular benefit that lets you skip the regular lines for many rides and attractions all day during your visit. If guests don't purchase passes in advance, many will add it when they arrive at the park since time is money - especially at a theme park where admission alone costs well over $100 per person per day. And after arriving at the park on a hot summer day, park goers are willing to pay the premium price to avoid long lines in the Florida heat. Universal Orlando also sells another version of its Express Pass allowing guests to experience the same attractions once per day for approximately $20 less per person per day than the unlimited version. But once you experience the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride, you will most likely want to ride again!
Pro Tip/Side Bar: If you have a Harry Potter fan in your travel party, plan to spend a full day or more at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There are a lot of magical details that can only be discovered at a slower pace. The Wizarding World is split into two main areas: Diagon Alley in Universal Studios and Hogsmead in Universal's Islands of Adventure. Both areas are connected by the Hogwarts Express. (Muggles should not miss this unique experience!) You must have a park-to-park ticket to experience the Hogwart Express and travel between these two lands in the same day.
Back to the Universal Orlando Resort hotels- there are four resort levels — Value, Prime Value, Preferred, and Premier. The price increases at each level and so do the perks and amenities. The most valuable perk is the Free Universal Express Pass Unlimited mentioned above and it is only included in the price at Premier level properties — Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, or Loews Royal Pacific Resort.
So let’s do a quick comparison between staying at a Premier Resort with the Universal Express Pass Unlimited included vs. staying at a Value resort and purchasing the Express passes separately on-site (based on our travel dates of July 19-21, 2020 and our planned park time of two full days).
Scenario One: Premier Resort stay at Loews Royal Pacific Resort in a standard room for up to 4 guests in the same room and including Universal Express Pass Unlimited: $965.25
Loews Royal Pacific Resort offers extra amenities such as preferred seating at onsite restaurants and a spectacular lagoon-style pool and beach area. Standard guest rooms are 335 square feet and guarantee a view of the pool area, the waterway leading to Islands of Adventure, or the tropical stream surrounding the hotel.
Scenario Two: Value Resort stay at Universal's Endless Summer Resort - Surfside Inn and Suites standard room ($391.50), plus purchasing Universal Express Unlimited Pass for two parks/two days separately ($244.93 per person).
2 hotel guests/passes: $881.36 ($83.89 cheaper than Scenario One)
3 hotel guests/passes: $1,126.29 ($161.04 more than Scenario One)
4 hotel guests/passes: $1,371.22 ($405.97 more than Scenario One)
In the 2-guest example above, it would only cost $83.89 more to stay at Loews Royal Pacific Resort over a Value resort. This minimal extra cost would be well worth the experience of staying at a more luxurious resort. The 3-guest and 4-guest scenarios above at a Value resort are more expensive ($161.04 and $405.97, respectively) than a Premier hotel with the free Universal Express Pass Unlimited included.
Who doesn’t want a more spacious and upscale room with a view, preferred restaurant seating, and more at a lower cost?
As I mentioned, these scenarios are based on our travel dates of July 19-21, 2020. I would be happy to prepare a cost comparison and recommendation for your travel dates and number of guests to help you maximize your savings and stay at the highest property level resort to make your memories even more memorable.
Holly Poast, CTA is an agent/independent contractor with Magical Moments Vacations specializing in Disney Destinations (land and sea), the Caribbean, select European Markets and Alaska. Ready to plan your next adventure? Contact Holly for inspiration and complimentary concierge-style vacation planning services! Ready to get started? Schedule time to chat here: https://calendly.com/hollypoast/30min