Is A Universal Studios Hollywood Annual Pass Worth It?

When buying your tickets at Universal Studios Hollywood, you might be asked if you wish to upgrade your ticket to an annual pass. The pass comes with many different benefits, along with the use of being able to go and visit multiple times over the course of the year, but is it worth it?

A Universal Studios Hollywood annual pass is worth buying if you are interested in returning to the park at least one more time within the space of a year. However, if you are only visiting Universal Studios Hollywood for a one time trip, the pass is not worth buying.

While the annual pass is more expensive than general admission, you might find some incentives and perks along the way that make it a worthwhile upgrade. First, we will talk about what is included with an annual pass, how much it is and whether it is worth buying.

How Much Is Universal Studios Hollywood Annual Pass?

The Universal Studios Hollywood Annual Pass costs between $150 and $500 depending on the pass category. Higher categories have more perks attached to them.

Below is a look at the different categories of the annual pass and their costs:

Platinum Annual Pass

The Platinum Annual Pass is the highest annual pass offered at Universal Studios Hollywood. It costs $479 and is only on sale periodically. However, it comes with many benefits. With this pass, you’ll enjoy zero blackout days which means you can visit the park on any day of the year with no limitations.

Paying for the Platinum Annual Pass will also get you the Universal Express Pass on each visit. You’ll get a shorter queue on all the rides at least once per visit with the Express Pass. It also qualifies you for Premium Seating at one of the seated shows in the park.

Guests on the Platinum Annual Pass will also get one ticket to Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights.

Platinum Annual Pass Benefits

  • Save $50 on the front gate price
  • An unlimited number of return visits over 12 months
  • An unlimited number of weekend visits included
  • 15% discount on food, merchandise, and beverage within the park
  • Universal Express Pass included (valid from 3 pm each day)
  • Free Halloween Horror Nights tickets
  • Free general parking until 6 pm
  • Invites to special events
  • Discounts on general admissions tickets for your family
  • Inclusion in sweepstakes
  • Discounts on extra Halloween Horror Nights tickets
  • 10-15% discount on all participating CityWalk locations

Gold Annual Pass

The Universal Hollywood Gold Pass is one of the best value passes you can buy. It costs $259 and gives you access to the park almost all year round. With so few blackout dates, you can have up to 325 days to visit the park per year. In addition, the pass is on sale all year round so that you can get yours at any time.

A big selling point of this pass is that you can put down just $144 to get the pass and then pay the balance monthly at less than $10 per month. The payment structure and the number of perks available to pass holders make the Gold Annual Pass a popular option amongst visitors.

Gold Annual Pass Benefits

  • Save $20 on the front gate price
  • Over 325 days of return visits over 12 months
  • Over 75 weekend visits included
  • 15% discount on food, merchandise, and beverage within the park
  • Free general parking until 6 pm
  • Invites to special events
  • Discounts on general admissions tickets for your family
  • Inclusion in sweepstakes
  • Discounts on Halloween Horror Nights tickets
  • 10-15% discount on all participating CityWalk locations

Silver Annual Pass

The Silver Annual Pass is a good option if you’re on a budget but still want to enjoy a year-round experience at the park. There are tighter limits on the days you can visit with this pass, but you still get a massive 275 days to choose from within a year.

It’ll cost you $184 to get the Silver Annual Pass. However, with the flexible plan, you can pay $119 and spread the balance across monthly payments of $7.

Silver Annual Pass Benefits

  • Save $15 on the front gate price
  • Over 275 days of return visits over 12 months
  • Over 50 weekend visits included
  • Invites to special events
  • Discounts on general admissions tickets for your family
  • Inclusion in sweepstakes
  • Discounts on Halloween Horror Nights tickets
  • 10-15% discount on all participating CityWalk locations

California Neighbor Pass

The California Neighbor Pass is another seasonal Annual Pass at Universal Studios Hollywood. At $149, it’s the cheapest of all the Annual Passes. Unfortunately, this pass has the highest number of blackout dates, as you’d expect.

Most weekends and dates surrounding the holidays are off-limits, but you still have more than 175 days to visit over nine months.

You should keep in mind that the California Neighbor Pass is only on sale to California residents. You’ll need a California address to buy your ticket, and you may be asked to provide proof of residency to complete your purchase.

California Neighbor Pass Benefits

  • Save $10 on the front gate price
  • Over 175 days of return visits over nine months
  • Over 20-weekend visits included
  • Invites to special events
  • Discounts on general admissions tickets for your family
  • Inclusion in sweepstakes
  • Discounts on Halloween Horror Nights tickets
  • 10-15% discount on all participating CityWalk locations

How To Buy an Annual Pass

You can buy your Universal Studios annual pass online by visiting the shop. Once on the page, choose your preferred pass option. You’ll be prompted to select your preferred start date on the next page.

Your start date can be on the day of payment or future dates if you don’t intend to use the pass anytime soon. After choosing the date, the next step is to select the number of guests. A single-pass only admits one guest (aged three and above).

After choosing the number of guests, you can proceed to the payment information page. However, before you get to the payment information page, the platform will try to upsell a higher plan to you. Compare both options to be sure it’s worth the upgrade. If you’re happy with your decision, continue to the payment page.

How To Cancel Universal Studios Hollywood Annual Pass

You can cancel your Universal Hollywood Annual Pass only if you have the Flex Pay option and are about to enter the second year of the contract.

You can do this by logging into the Flex Pay portal with your credentials and cancelling the pass at the end of your contract. You can also contact the customer care team if you need guidance on cancellation.

Unfortunately, you can’t cancel your annual pass within the first year. So even if you paid upfront, you wouldn’t get a refund if you cancel the contract before the one year has elapsed.

Can I Use My Universal Studios Hollywood Annual Pass in Orlando?

You can’t use your Universal Studios Hollywood Annual Pass in Orlando. The Universal Orlando Resort is a different business, and the prices on their Annual Passes are generally pricier.

If you’d like to get Universal Orlando Passes, you can check the options available on their tickets page.

How To Renew Universal Studios Hollywood Annual Pass

You can only renew your Universal Studios Hollywood Pass if you sign up through Flex Pay. 

As the Annual Pass reaches expiry, the company will email you about continued monthly deductions if you wish to retain your pass. The monthly premium will be higher than what you paid in the first year because there’s no down payment. However, you can opt-out of the renewal before the second year kicks in.

If you paid for your passes upfront, there’s no renewal process to go through. However, you’ll have to buy a new Annual Pass again if you want to retain the benefits of the pass for another year.

At this point, you can also choose to upgrade or downgrade on the previous year’s pass or maintain using your experience. You can also decide to go with Flex Payments instead of paying in full like the last time.

Universal Studios Annual Pass Blackout Dates Hollywood

The Annual Pass Blackout Dates in Universal Studios Hollywood are days you’re not allowed to use your pass to get in. So if you’d like to visit the park these days, you have to pay the rates for a day ticket.

You can check the blackout dates for your pass by entering the Calendar ID on this page.

You can find your 4-5 characters Calendar ID under your pass member ID. Remember, the Platinum Annual Pass has no blackout dates, while the Gold Annual Pass has less than 40 blackout days in the year.

The Silver and California Neighbor Pass both have the highest number of blackout dates, so you should pay more attention to the calendar. 

Generally, the cheapest Annual Passes will keep you out of the Universal Studio Hollywood Park on weekends and National or Local Holidays.

Do California Residents Get Discounts at Universal Studios?

California residents get discounts at Universal Studios Hollywood if they buy tickets online. The company occasionally offers discounts on 1-day tickets on the online portal.

Showing proof of residency can get you up to 5% off on the general price of admission on these 1-day tickets.  

If you’re a California resident, the California Neighbor Pass is perhaps the biggest benefit you stand to gain from Universal Studios Hollywood. It’s the cheapest among the multi-entry passes they have on offer.

However, it’s only valid for nine months, but at a price that’s just $30 bucks higher than a one-day ticket, it’s excellent value for residents.

You should take note that you may not get your California resident discounts if you buy tickets at the gate. This is because the members of staff handling the crowds aren’t always able to process the discounts, except on highly low-traffic days. So, it’s best to book online before you head out.

How Much Does It Cost To Upgrade To Universal Season Pass?

It costs $149 to upgrade to the Universal Studios California Neighbor Season Pass. The Season Pass is only available to residents and allows you access to the park for nine months.

The company doesn’t have season passes for non-residents. Instead, anyone interested in multi-entry passes can choose from the Platinum, Gold, or Silver Annual Passes. All three offer a great selection of possible park visit dates, which cuts across the holiday season.

You may not get choice days in the Silver category, but with 275 days to choose from, you can find enough excellent dates to fill out more than 20 trips to the park. If you’d like more spontaneity, you should consider the Gold and Platinum categories.

What To Do If You Lose Your Universal Studios Annual Pass

If you lose your Universal Studio Annual Pass, you can get a new one printed for you. Then, visit the ticket booth the next time you’re at the park and request a replacement. You’ll need to present a valid photo ID and pay a $10 replacement fee.

Unfortunately, you can’t get a replacement for your lost pass online.

Is A Universal Hollywood Annual Pass Good Value For Money?

The Universal Hollywood Annual Pass is good value for money if you visit the park multiple times within the year. One-day general admission tickets cost nearly as much as the two cheapest Annual Passes, so buying one of those instantly saves you money if you don’t visit the park only once a year.

For instance, the California Neighbor Pass costs $149, while a one-day ticket costs between $109 and $144. So if you visit more than once over nine months, you’re already missing out on potential savings.

Even with the costly Platinum Annual Passes, you only need to visit 4-5 times for the pass to offer more value than a one-day ticket.

Away from the raw cost of the tickets, there are other potential savings you should consider, including the following:

  • Parking savings. Do you drive to Universal Studios? You’ll have to pay $25 per day for parking. If you visit the park 10-15 times a year, that’s $250-$500 in extra expenses you could avoid with a Gold or Platinum annual pass.
  • Food costs. If you’re a regular at Universal Studios Hollywood, you know how easy it is to spend hundreds on food and drink per visit. Conservatively, you can spend $100 across the different food stops and on Butterbeer per visit. With 10-15 visits, you’re looking at $1500 spent. The 15% discount on all food and beverages on the Platinum Annual Pass will save you around $225 per year.
  • Merchandise costs. Just as with food, the Gold and Platinum Annual Passes get you 15% discounts on all merchandise in the park. If you spend a lot of money on merchandise, these passes can save you a ton of money.
  • Discounts on tickets. As an Annual Pass holder, you can expect a 5-10% discount on one-day tickets for your family and friends and discounts on special events like the Halloween Horror Nights Special. The costs can add up over the course of a year.

Basically, a Universal Studios Hollywood Annual Pass will always be worth it if you have a family and live close enough to the park to visit multiple times a year. Even if you choose only to buy one annual pass for a family of three, you can save hundreds by taking advantage of discounts on food and merchandise.

If you live far away and plan a visit to the park, like an elaborate getaway, you won’t get total value from an Annual Pass. Instead, you’ll probably visit the park once or twice a year, which isn’t a good use of any Annual Pass, including the cheapest.

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