Over the past several years, the cost of going to an Orlando theme park has increased at a very rapid pace. But even with the price increases, the crowds keep coming and the parks continue to have record attendance. For the most part, it costs more than $100 per person to walk up to a theme park ticket window and purchase an admission ticket for a single day.
Due to increased demand at peak times, some of the Orlando area parks have adopted what is known as “Surge Pricing”. Surge pricing is similar to how hotels and airlines charge, commanding premium prices on the most popular travel days. For example, during the summer months as well as the winter holiday season, you will find some of highest prices for a single day admission ticket.
In this post we take a detailed look at the theme park admission costs based on various pricing options offered at the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld Orlando. In addition, we outline a number of resources where visitors can go to look for promotions, special offers and discounts.
In addition to the prices indicated above, there are a number of upgrade options and discounts on the purchase of multi-day tickets for all three individual theme parks. Each theme park options with the associated costs are shown below.
Walt Disney World Theme Park Ticket Cost
With more than 50 million visitors coming to the the Walt Disney World Resort every year, it is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the entire world. The resort consists of four theme parks, two water parks, over 30,000 hotel rooms, a major sports venue, and one of the largest shopping & entertainment venues in the state of Florida.
Although there so much to do at Walt Disney World, we are going to focus entirely on the ticket cost of the four major theme parks since they are the primary reason vacationers come to the resort. These theme parks are:
According to the Disney World web site, the on-line price for a “Standard Theme Park Ticket” for a single park per day starts at $109 per person for a guest age 10 and up. The same price is offered for both Florida residents and non-Florida residents.
As an incentive to increase the length of its guests stays, Disney offers upgrades known as a “Park Hopper” as well as substantial discounts on multi-day tickets.
Park Hopper and Park Hopper Plus upgrade options allow guests to visit multiple theme parks on the same day of their admission ticket. The Park Hopper Plus option also includes visits to one of the following venues:
- Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park
- Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
- Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course (FootGolf – golf & soccer combo)
- Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course
- Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course (prior to 4:00 PM)
- Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course (prior to 4:00 PM)
For multi-day tickets, Florida residents can purchase a 4-Day Ticket for as low as $63 per day (adult pricing) while non-Florida residents can purchase up to a 10-Day Ticket for as low as $54 per day (adult pricing). While restrictions apply on just about every theme park ticket, there are significant restrictions that could impact ones decision to purchase a multi-day ticket.
On multi-day tickets, Disney requires for the guests to use their visits during a certain period of time. For example, a 3-Day Ticket for a Florida resident will need to be used within a 5 day period. So if your ticket start date is as of June 1st, the guest has until June 5th to use the three visits. Otherwise, any remaining visits after June 5th expire and are no longer valid.
Since Disney uses “surge pricing”, the price of admission goes up on the most popular days including the summer months and the winter holidays. This highest surge price for a standard one-day ticket is $159.00 which occurs between Christmas and New Years Day (during 2021).
Disney Annual Passes
If you think that you will making multiple trips to the Walt Disney World Resort and are looking for additional options, then an annual pass could be the way to go. Disney offers a variety of different passes at various price points so there should be an option that fits both your needs and your budget.
As of September 2021, Disney changed how they offer annual passes. There is only one option for non-Florida residents and the four annual pass options are outlined below:
- Disney Incredi-Pass: $1,299 (No blackout dates, up to 5 park reservations at a time).
- Disney Sorcerer Pass: $899 (Only available to Florida Residents and DVC Members -blackout dates apply, up to 4 park reservations at a time).
- Disney Pirate Pass: $699 (Only available to Florida Residents – blackout dates apply, up to 3 park reservations).
- Disney Pixie Dust Pass: $399 (Only available to Florida Residents – Monday through Friday only, blackout dates apply, up to 3 park reservations).
Currently the Endless Summer Family holds “Theme Park Select” annual passes which are no longer offered at the Walt Disney World Resort. In July 2022 our renewal will come up and we will have to decide which option works best for our family. We are currently leaning toward the Disney Sorcerer Pass or the Disney Pirate Pass.
To learn more about Walt Disney World and the other Orlando area theme park annual passes, please visit our recent article titled: What is the Cost of an Orlando Theme Park Annual Pass? (Disney, Universal and SeaWorld) . This article will outline the benefits for each annual pass and gives our thoughts as to if the cost of annual pass is worth the money.
The Universal Orlando Resort Ticket Costs
Just up Intestate 4 from Walt Disney World is the Universal Orlando Resort which is one of the fastest growing theme parks in the world. As of the beginning of 2022 Universal Orlando includes two major theme parks, a water theme park, a dining / entertainment district and approximately 9,000 hotel rooms.
Like we did for Disney, our to focus will be on the cost of admission to the two major theme parks and the water theme park which is the primary reason vacationers come to visit Universal. These three parks are as follows:
Although a new theme park (EPIC Universe) is currently under construction, it will not be open for several years and admission price changes have not been reflected in Universal’s current ticket offerings.
According to the Universal Orlando web site, the on-line price for a “1-Day One Park Ticket” starts at $119 per person for a guest age 10 and up. The same ticket price is offered for both Florida residents and non-Florida residents.
Universal has park-to-park ticket upgrades so guests can go back and forth from Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. You will also need a park to park ticket to get on the Hogwarts Express ride since it travels between the two parks.
In addition, Universal offers a three-park ticket option at a fairly reasonable price which includes Universal’s Volcano Bay water park (The daily admission to Volcano Bay is $70 per adult). A park-to-park upgrade is also offered so guests can visit Volcano Bay during the heat of the day then make their way to Universal Studios Florida in time for a few rides as well the nighttime showing of Cinematic Celebration.
Universal also uses “surge pricing” so the price of admission goes up on the most popular days of the year. This highest surge price for a single day one park ticket is $159.00 which occurs during the winter holiday season and is only applicable to the 1-Day One Park ticket.
Universal Orlando Annual Passes
If you think that your travel plans will require more than 5-days at Universal Orlando, then an annual pass could be your best option. There are four different levels of annual passes that area offered which have differing benefits and costs.
Following are the individual annual pass options as well as the cost for both Florida residents and non-residents. You will see that Florida residents enjoy a discounted price when selecting their annual pass.
Florida Resident Annual Pass Prices (2-Park and 3-Park)
- UOAP Seasonal Pass: $299.99 / $399.99 (Blackout dates apply)
- UOAP Power Pass: $349.99 / $459.99 (Blackout dates apply)
- UOAP Preferred Pass: $399.99 / $509.99
- UOAP Premier Pass: $599.99 / $789.99
Non-Florida Resident Annual Pass Prices (2-Park and 3-Park)
- UOAP Seasonal Pass: $349.99 / $449.99 (Blackout dates apply)
- UOAP Power Pass: $399.99 / $509.99 (Blackout dates apply)
- UOAP Preferred Pass: $449.99 / $559.99
- UOAP Premier Pass: $664.99 / $854.99
The Endless Summer Family currently holds a 2-Park UOAP Premier Pass. As of our last renewal in September 2021, we downgraded from the 3-Park pass to the 2-Park pass as we only visited Universal’s Volcano Bay a single time during the year and while we enjoy the park, it’s not one we visit frequently (and also have access to Aquatica via our SeaWorld annual pass).
As previously indicated, if would like to learn more about the details, costs and benefits of a Universal Orlando annual pass or some of the other Orlando theme park annual passes, please visit our recent article: What is the Cost of an Orlando Theme Park Annual Pass? (Disney, Universal and SeaWorld) .
This article will outline the benefits for each of the four annual pass options at Universal and gives our thoughts as to if the cost of annual pass is worth the money.
SeaWorld Orlando Ticket Cost
Going little south of Universal down International Drive is where you will find SeaWorld Orlando. SeaWorld consists of a single major theme park, a water theme park and a small animal experience park that offers premium animal interactions like swimming with dolphins.
Of the three major theme park operations in Orlando, SeaWorld is by far the smallest but it does provide a great deal of value to its guests. There are no on-site hotels or entertainment venues at SeaWorld but it has a number of unique offerings as well as special events that are always included with price of admission.
- SeaWorld Orlando
- Aquatica at SeaWorld (water park)
- Discovery Cove (premium marine animal experiences)
SeaWorld’s pricing is much more straight forward as there is just one Orlando area theme park as well as Aquatica, SeaWorld’s local area water park. However, Discovery Cove is a completely separate ticket and not part of SeaWorld’s theme park pricing offer.
According to the SeaWorld web site, a single day ticket if purchased on-line at least one day in advance of your visit costs $89.99 per adult. If you purchase a ticket on the day of your visit the price goes up to $107.99 per adult. If you wish to visit Aquatica or travel to Busch Gardens and Adventure Island in nearby Tampa, SeaWorld also offers multi-park ticket options.
A two-park ticket is currently priced at $119.99, a three park ticket costs $131.99 and a four park ticket is $199.99 (offers unlimited visits in a 14-day period). SeaWorld also offers an all day dining deal which starts as low as $35 per day.
From a pricing prospective, SeaWorld offers the lowest individual theme park price of all three Orlando area theme parks. Do you get as much value for your money at SeaWorld as you would at Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando? That’s something we can talk about in another post.
SeaWorld Orlando Annual Passes
If you would like a few more visits to the parks at SeaWorld Orlando, then an annual pass could be your an option. There are four different levels of annual passes that area offered which have differing benefits and costs.
The outlines the individual pass as well as the cost which is the same for both Florida residents and non-residents. However, Florida residents are offered a monthly payment option (not offered for non-Florida residents).
- Bronze Pass: $153 (blackout dates apply)
- Silver Pass: $198 (no blackout dates)
- Gold Pass: $234 (no blackout dates, additional benefits)
- Platinum Pass: $399 (no blackout dates to 11 parks, additional benefits)
Learn more about the SeaWorld annual passes in our article: What is the Cost of an Orlando Theme Park Annual Pass? (Disney, Universal and SeaWorld) .
Orlando Theme Park Ticket Discounts and Promotions
One of the best places to find the most current offers are on the individual theme park web sites themselves. Typically several times a year the theme parks offer promotions that are well below the normal cost of admission.
A few other resources to check for discounted ticket offers is your authorized retailer, local on-line reseller web sites and Groupon. Following are links to some of the resellers that we are familiar with and have heard good things about.
- AAA (America Automobile Association)
- Costco Travel
At times these resellers have promotions such as buy two days, get two days free so although rare, it is possible that you may get a better deal on admission tickets than that offered by the theme park directly.
You can also purchase tickets to Universal Orlando on Groupon.
If you purchase tickets from an on-line reseller make sure they are reputable since there is always a lot of fraud going on in the marketplace.
Disclaimer: The information provided above is subject to frequent change and was obtained from sources deemed reliable but are not guaranteed or warranted. Please check the web site or contact guest services for the individual theme park to determine specific prices and benefits.