With so many different ticket types available for the Universal Studios Resort in Orlando, it can be overwhelming and confusing as to which ticket type is best for your family.
One of the most important upgrades to your park tickets is going to be the park to park option which allows you to move between parks during the day rather than sticking to one park on one day, and another park on the next.
A Universal Studios Orlando park to park ticket is worth it if you want to ride the Hogwarts Express or do both Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure in one day. However, if you don’t want to ride the Hogwarts Express or have 2+ days to explore the resort a park to park ticket isn’t necessary.
Upgrading to a Universal Studios park to park ticket costs upwards of $40 per ticket (plus tax).
As such it’s really important to understand whether this additional expense is something you’ll get value from or whether that money could be better spent on other items during your trip.
What Is A Park To Park Ticket At Universal Orlando?
While a base ticket to Universal Studios allows you to visit a single park each day, a park to park ticket is a ticket that allows you to travel from one park to the other in one day.
This means that you could spend the morning at Universal Studios before heading over to Universal’s Islands of Adventure in the afternoon.
What’s The Difference Between A Base Ticket & A Park To Park Ticket At Universal?
When you look to purchase your tickets to Universal Studios for the very first time you’ll be presented with a page that looks a little something like this – these are base tickets.
A base ticket is a ticket that provides you with entry into a single park on a single day.
This means that if you select to purchase a base ticket to Universal Studios the only thing you can do on that chosen day is visit Universal Studios.
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You will not be able to enter any of the other parks at Universal Studios Resort (Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay) without purchasing a separate ticket or upgrading to a park to park ticket on the day.
When you select a base ticket you’ll be invited to upgrade your ticket to a different ticket type.
A park to park ticket provides you with the ability to move between the selected parks every day throughout your trip.
Most notably, this includes the ability to ride on the Hogwarts Express from Universal Studios to Islands of Adventure (or vice versa).
Park to park tickets can be applied to any or all of the Universal Studios Resort parks in Orlando, Florida and is applicable for the duration of your ticket.
As such in this case, you can see that I’ve selected to view three day park to park tickets.
From here I’m able to choose whether I just want to visit Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure or Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay.
Whichever option I choose I’ll be able to move between these parks as much as I like all day, every day throughout my three days – park capacity rules still apply.
Can You Ride The Hogwarts Express Without A Park To Park Ticket?
Unfortunately, you cannot ride the Hogwarts Express at Universal Studios without a park to park ticket.
As you arrive at either Kings Cross inside Universal Studios or Hogsmeade Station inside Islands of Adventure your park ticket will be scanned.
If you do not have a park to park ticket then the conductor will turn you around or ask you if you’d like to upgrade to a park to park ticket (availability permitting).
The reason behind this is that the Hogwarts Express links the two parks between the train ride.
When you board the Hogwarts Express at Hogsmeade Station in Universal’s Islands of Adventure the journey will take you across to Kings Cross Station.
This station is just outside of Diagon Alley in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios.
Much like if you board the Hogwarts Express at Kings Cross the journey (ride) will take you over to Hogsmeade Station in Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
How Much Do Universal Studios Park To Park Tickets Cost?
Given that a park-to-park ticket provides you with access to multiple parks in a single day it’s no surprise that they come at an additional cost when compared to a traditional base park ticket.
The exact price you pay for a park-to-park ticket at Universal Studios will vary depending on the following factors;
- Date(s) Of Travel
- Florida Resident
- Volcano Bay Entry
- Number Of Days
As a rough guide, you’ll generally find that upgrading from a base ticket to a park-to-park ticket for Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure only will cost an additional $25 to $45 per day, per ticket.
Florida resident Universal tickets are sold in a variety of formats throughout the year and can save locals hundreds of dollars per visit.
Meanwhile, upgrading from a base ticket to a park-to-park ticket for Universal Studios, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay can only be done on two-day tickets or more and costs an additional $35 to $55 per day, per ticket on average.
Luckily there are a number of ways in which you can save money on your Universal Studios park tickets or even inside the parks during your visit to offset the cost of this upgrade.
Is A Universal Studios Orlando Park To Park Ticket Worth It?
With an understanding as to what a park to park ticket entails and how it differs from a base ticket to Universal Studios, you’ll likely be thinking as to whether or not upgrading your ticket is the right choice.
Having visited Universal Studios Orlando multiple times over the past decade, here are the three key considerations I’d suggest thinking about when making your decision.
Harry Potter Interest
If you or someone you’re travelling to Universal Studios with is a huge fan of Harry Potter, then riding the Hogwarts Express between the two parks is likely going to be a highlight of the trip.
In that case, it may be worthwhile upgrading from a base ticket to a park to park ticket exclusively for that experience.
How Long You’re Visiting For
If you have multiple-day base tickets to Universal Studios then you’ll be able to experience both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure during your trip.
However, you won’t be able to experience them on the same day and you won’t be able to ride the Hogwarts Express.
In that case, the only time I’d suggest upgrading to a park to park ticket goes back to how interested you or a person you’re travelling with is in Harry Potter and riding the Hogwarts Express between the two parks.
Alternatively, if you’re only visiting Universal Studios for one day then you’ll only be able to experience both Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure by upgrading to a park-to-park ticket.
Consider teaming a single day at Universal Studios with a Universal Express Pass to help maximise your time inside the park(s).
Upgrading from a base ticket to a park-to-park ticket isn’t cheap, especially if you’re travelling as a family. As such consider the total cost of the upgrade for your entire party for the duration of your trip and compare that to what else you can spend money on during your Universal Orlando vacation.
It may be that you would rather save that money and instead use it on either food or souvenirs from the trip instead.
How To Upgrade A Universal Studios Ticket To A Park To Park Ticket
If having read this article, you’ve decided that upgrading to a park to park ticket is worth it for your visit to Universal Studios then you have a couple of options depending on where you are in the ticket purchasing process.
If you are yet to purchase tickets to Universal Studios then you can simply opt to purchase park to park tickets when doing so.
If however, you have already purchased your base tickets to Universal Studios then you’ve got a number of options depending on where you purchased the tickets from and how soon you’re going on your Universal Studios vacation.
If you booked your vacation through Universal Studios directly, then you can either call the customer helpline where a service representative will be able to provide you with a quote for a ticket upgrade and issue that with payment over the phone.
Alternatively, if you’re already on-site at Universal Studios or due to leave in the next 48 hours you could choose to wait and simply head to a ticket booth upon your arrival at the resort.
Meanwhile, if you purchased your tickets elsewhere then you could either cancel the tickets (where possible), contact a service representative from where you purchased the tickets, or look to upgrade the ticket to a park to park ticket upon your arrival at the resort.
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🎟️ Where To Buy Tickets for Universal Orlando?
If you’re based in the US or Canada, I recommend Klook for your Universal Orlando tickets. Klook consistently has the most competitive prices. There’s also a range of different ticket options to suit all budgets and requirements.
Meanwhile, if you’re based in the United Kingdom. Then I recommend buying your Universal Orlando theme park tickets from AttractionTix. I personally use AttractionTix when purchasing Orlando theme park tickets. That’s because AttractionTix consistently has the most competitive prices and incredible customer service.
🏥 Should I Buy Travel Insurance for a Visit to Universal Orlando?
If you’re travelling to Universal Orlando for vacation, then travel insurance is recommended. Basic travel insurance coverage with Safety Wing averages between $5 – $10 per day and offers peace of mind.
However, if a trip to Universal Orlando isn’t part of a vacation. For example, you live locally. Then travel insurance isn’t likely to be necessary.
🚘 Do I Need to Rent a Car for a Visit to Universal Orlando?
You don’t need to rent a car to visit Universal Orlando, as the resort has Uber / Lyft pick-up and drop-off points. However, if Universal Orlando makes up the majority of your vacation, then you may want to stay on-site.
Staying onsite at the Universal Orlando Resort comes with several perks. Including complimentary transport from the hotel to the Universal Orlando theme parks. In some cases, you can even walk from your hotel straight to the theme park gates.
However, if a trip to Universal Orlando only makes up a portion of your vacation, then you may want to rent a car. I personally use Discover Cars to find the best car rental for all of my trips to Orlando.
🏨 Where to Stay When Visiting Universal Orlando?
If you’re spending the majority of your vacation at Universal Orlando, it’s a good idea to stay at a Universal Orlando hotel. Staying onsite at Universal Orlando comes with several perks, including;
- Early park admission
- Complimentary transport
- Complimentary Universal Express Passes (selected hotels only)
- Walking distance of the Universal theme parks (selected hotels only)
While staying onsite at Universal Orlando is great value for money, it can still be out of budget for many. Thankfully, there are several budget-friendly hotels close to Universal Orlando to choose from.
Meanwhile, if Universal Orlando only makes up part of your Orlando vacation, then you may want to stay elsewhere. Kissimmee, International Drive and Lake Buena Vista are all within a 40-minute drive of Universal Orlando.