Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
Whether you live in Miami or Seattle, a trip to Universal Studios can be a great time.
Are you pining for a pint of Butterbeer and an exhilarating ride on the VelociCoaster? We don’t blame you — after all, everyone loves a good theme park experience.
But when you consider pricing — between park tickets, airfare, lodging and parking — such a vacation may feel out of budget.
Let’s take a look at how much a trip to Universal Studios Orlando or Universal Studios Hollywood will cost you and some tips for helping reduce those expenses.
General costs of visiting Universal Studios
When considering a trip to Universal Studios, you’re going to want to consider multiple aspects of the vacation, especially if you live far away.
Say, for example, that you’re heading to Universal Studios Orlando for a week during the summer. Here are some common expenses you’ll encounter during your trip:
Theme park tickets.
Rental car and parking.
Food and drinks.
Obviously, these costs are going to vary based on how many people you’re traveling with.
If you’re a group of four adults, you may want to split two rooms, which could double your accommodation costs. But if you’re a family with two parents and two children, you’re probably all going to want to squeeze into a single room.
» Learn more: Best Universal Orlando hotels
How much is a Universal ticket?
Ticket prices can vary widely based on when you’re visiting, how long you’re staying and where you buy your ticket.
Universal Studios Orlando: At this Universal theme park, located in Florida, tickets start at $116.09 for a single day, single park visit for one adult. One-day tickets that grant you access to both parks, meanwhile, start at $174.66 for the day.
Universal Studios Hollywood: If you’re visiting Universal Studios Hollywood in California, you’ll still be subject to varying costs depending on the date and demand. Single-day tickets start at $109.
Note that all of these prices are after-tax.
The Universal Studios ticket price can have some pretty huge fluctuations, so expect to pay a lot more during peak periods.
For example, a one-day, park-to-park ticket to Universal Studios Orlando during the winter holiday season comes in at $227.91 — over $50 more than the same ticket during the low season.
Multiday visits can drop your per-day price
If you’re visiting for more than one day, prices will adjust. You’ll pay more overall, but the per-day price will be lower.
This is true whether you’re visiting Universal Studios Orlando or Universal Studios Hollywood.
Flight costs for Universal Studios
If you’re flying to Universal Studios Orlando rather than driving, you’ll want to consider your budget carefully.
As an example, we looked at flights from New York-LaGuardia to Orlando in mid-April, a peak season trip to Universal Studios Orlando for spring break.
Although we found flights for less than $100 round-trip, you’ll have a stopover on the way home and will need to pay for add-ons such as seat selection and checked luggage.
You can find similar cheap flights to Universal Studios Hollywood, which is located near a few different airports, including Los Angeles International Airport. This means you’ll have plenty of route options no matter where you originate.
» Learn more: How to travel to Orlando on points and miles
Hotel costs for Universal Studios
Happily, Orlando is rife with lodging options. This includes low-cost stays in hotels — some of which can be had for as little as $30 per night.
Of course, you’ll also find all the usual suspects when it comes to hotels, including options from:
Universal Studios parking costs
If you’ve decided to drive to Universal Studios rather than take a shuttle or rideshare, you’ll want to account for the costs of parking.
At Universal Studios Orlando, you’ll pay $30 per day for general parking, though those with a bus or recreational vehicle will be charged $40.
In California, parking charges will depend on when you arrive. Before 5 p.m., general parking costs $30. However, after 5 p.m., the price drops down to just $10.
Saving money on a trip to Universal Studios
We’ve already talked about how much tickets are to Universal Studios, which can be pretty pricey. However, there are ways to save money on nearly all facets of a theme park vacation, regardless of which coast you head toward.
Universal Studios Orlando will often offer promotions allowing you to save money on multiday tickets. This can include promotions such as getting two days free when purchasing two-day tickets.
Those who hold an eligible Chase card, meanwhile, can redeem their Chase Ultimate Rewards® for theme park tickets. The redemption rate you’ll receive will vary, but it can be as high as 1.5 cents per point for those who hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
Hotels such as the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando include free unlimited Express Pass for guests, which allows you to bypass the regular line.
Finally, you can also save some money on theme park tickets by purchasing through a third party, such as Undercover Tourist. It’s not a huge difference in price, but every little bit helps.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
Flights and hotels
Our next recommendation applies equally to both flights and hotels, which is to redeem points against these purchases.
Flexible points currencies with hotel and airline transfer partners can help you get to Orlando for as little money out of pocket as possible. Partners include:
If you’re paying with cash, you can also stack your savings by making sure you use a shopping portal for your purchases. Websites such as Cashback Monitor will show you the portals with the highest return for your spending.
» Learn more: How to purchase theme park tickets with points
Universal Studios costs, recapped
When trying to plan a trip, you’ll want to consider all the costs involved, including flights, tickets and accommodation.
Just note that if the cost looks to be a little high, consider taking advantage of some of our money-saving tips to help make that Universal Studios vacation happen.
(Top photo courtesy of Universal Parks and Resorts)
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card