Vacationing Thrifty at Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando was pretty crowded this summer — skirting the edge of record attendance. Between the massive Harry Potter attractions in Diagon Alley, the Minion Madness that never ends, and all the other attractions, it’s no surprise — it’s irresistible! But Universal is also, sadly, expensive, especially if you don’t know how to save as you’re planning. Let us help with a few money-saving tips.

Understand Your Ticket Prices
Universal Orlando’s summer rate this year was over a hundred dollars for a single day — an extra $50 if you want to ride the Hogwarts Express between the two parks. And recently, the aggressive discounts that Orlando offered to compensate for the poor economy have backed off. Today, you have to have a military discount, or be a Florida resident, or be a AAA member to get a regular discount — and just to complicate things, many services that offer tickets also tack a number of hidden fees onto the process, looking to make an extra buck. Be sure you get tickets that don’t cost you anything other than what they have to in order to get you through the gate.

Stay Off-Site Unless You Get a Deal
It is, under certain circumstances, possible to get a deal on an in-park hotel that makes it good thrift to stay in Universal Orlando — but only under certain circumstances. Most of the time, it’s wiser to save some money and stay off-site…especially if you can get a hotel that offers free transport to the park.

Bring a Backpack or Rent a Locker — and Supply Yourself
If there’s any chance the weather will change — like, it gets dark for example — or that you’ll go on one of the many rides that will end up with you getting damp or splashed at some point, you’re going to want some spare clothes. If you know you’re going to be in the park all day, bring some bottled water. Sunscreen, Band-Aids, whatever you might need at an unexpected moment, it pays to have either with you in a backpack or nearby in a locker. The other option is to buy what you need — a Universal Studios sweatshirt for $35, bottles of water for $4, sunscreen for $10, and so on. Bad idea! If you’re truly thrifty, you can pack snacks, too — Universal only bans food that must be refrigerated or heated.

Vacationing at Universal Orlando is always an awesome experience — but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Be clever, and maybe you’ll be able to come back that much sooner!

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