Universal Orlando significantly raises 2011 annual pass prices, adds Wizarding World of Harry Potter blackout dates

in Theme Parks, Universal Orlando

Regular visitors of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter should be prepared to pay a premium for a chance to hang with the wizards in 2011 as Universal Orlando has significantly raised prices for two of its popular annual pass ticket choices.

Orlando locals and frequent attendees to Universal’s parks can expect to pay $20 – $60 more per annual pass in the new year. The Power Pass, which does not include parking and features blackout dates, was $139.99 for Florida residents in 2010 and has risen by $20 to $159.99 in 2011. Also added are several additional blackout weeks during the busy summer season only at the Islands of Adventure theme park. More specifically, these additional blackout dates, which prevent Power passholders from entering the park, are in place to limit attendance in the exceptionally busy Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which was overwhelmed with crowds in 2010, throughout its first summer of being open.

The price of the Premier pass, which includes parking and features no blackout dates, has risen $60, from $289.99 for Florida residents to $349.99. This drastic price increase is no doubt an attempt for Universal to capitalize on the sudden popularity of its parks now that the Wizarding World has increased attendance around the resort, with Islands of Adventure receiving more visitors in 2010 than it has in many years of recent history.

Universal Orlando’s Preferred pass remains unchanged in price.

As of today, renewal prices for the Premier and Power passes have not changed, remaining at $149.99 and $114.99 respectively. However, they could change at any moment. Passholders may renew up to 30 days prior to their pass expiration dates, so if your pass expires within the next month, it might be a smart move to renew early and beat any potential price increases.

For these price increases, no additional benefits have been added to either pass. In fact, with the Power pass’s increased number of blackout dates, passholders will actually receive less for more money spent.

A similar Walt Disney World Florida resident annual pass good for entrance into all of Disney’s Orlando theme parks with parking included costs $403.64, now just $53.65 more than Universal’s pass. But Disney’s pass includes admission to four theme parks to Universal’s two. A new Florida resident annual pass for Disney’s parks averages to $100.91 per park whereas Universal’s averages to $175 per park.

It’s a bold move for Universal to potentially price out their most loyal fans, but with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter reaching capacity nearly every day during the busiest seasons, it’s not entirely unexpected. Only time will tell if the wizards and witches have the staying power to continue to draw crowds of locals even at these increased prices.

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