The Best Splurges at Universal Orlando

Feeling good about the time, money, and effort you put into a family vacation is key to enjoying yourselves! When planning a vacation to Universal Orlando, it’s important to know what is “worth it” and what is not. I have a whole list of the best splurges at Universal Orlando for your next trip!

Universal Orlando has so many amazing opportunities for their guests. While a splurge has a different definition for different people, overall there are some splurges at Universal Orlando that are totally worth it! Whether it is a top notch Premier Onsite Resort, or the 3-Park Unlimited Ticket, there are several splurges at Universal Orlando that are worth it, and I am excited to share those with you!

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Admittedly, I am high maintenance when it comes to travel. I like my deluxe resorts, a good view, the dining options, park hopping, and all the special experiences. If there is a dessert party or a hard ticket event, I go for it. While I know that is not the lifestyle for everyone, I do know that some aspects of traveling to Universal Orlando are worth the upgrade.

Park to Park Tickets

As far as I am concerned, this is a non negotiable and the BEST splurge you can have at Universal Orlando. Every time I quote or book a guest, and visit Universal Orlando myself, a park to park ticket is the option. A park to park ticket allows you the flexibility to visit all three theme parks in one day. Or, if you are not a Volcano Bay fan, then a 2-park, Park to Park ticket gets you into both of the “dry” theme parks.

Why is a park to park ticket a “must”? Yes, you can visit one of the theme parks each day. However, the park to park ticket is SO worth it at Universal Orlando because you are not losing time on transportation. Guests can literally walk out of Islands and into Universal Studios in a matter of minutes. It’s SO easy. Second, you cannot ride the Hogwarts Express without a park to park ticket. And if you are truly there to enjoy the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I am certain the Hogwarts Express is on your “must do” list!

Premier Onsite Hotels that Include Unlimited Express Pass

Three of the onsite Universal Hotels are considered “Premier” hotels. Now before you get nervous that you are spending your entire vacation budget on swanky hotel where you “just sleep”, read on.

Guests of Universal’s Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Portofino Bay, and Loews Royal Pacific have the perk of Universal’s Unlimited Express Pass on their tickets without paying extra. This benefit lets you skip the regular line and go right to the front of the loading area. You show the Team Member your Express Pass, and they show you the front of the line. It’s that simple.

Best Splurges at Universal Orlando

Are there lower nightly rate hotels at Universal? Yes! Even Endless Summer Dockside is a great option for a hotel. However, by the time you add Unlimited Express Pass to your tickets, that low nightly rate isn’t as low as you may think. I see over and over guests who want a “cheap” hotel, but also Unlimited Express Pass. Where do they end up booking? Loews Royal Pacific, or a similar Premier resort.

Why? Because the nightly rate of the value hotels is great, but not enough to offset the cost of adding Unlimited Express Pass. That makes a Premier Onsite Resort a HUGE value. Not to mention the walking distance and water taxis to and from the theme parks!

Premium Seating at Volcano Bay

If a private cabana at Universal’s Volcano Bay is not in the budget, try Premium Seating! My daughter and I enjoyed premium seating at Volcano Bay, and it was 100% a splurge but worth it!

Beach chairs can go fast, and lockers are not inexpensive. When you book Premium Seating at Volcano Bay, you have a designated “home base” already waiting for you when you go through the turnstiles! Guests get a pair of reserved, padded loungers and a sunshade! Plus, you will have access to your very own private lockbox.

The best thing about Volcano Bay Premium Seating? You can order food and drinks to be brought right to you while you chill and enjoy the beautiful sunshine and tropical ambiance of Volcano Bay.

VIP Tour Experience

Universal Orlando offers two VIP Tour options, private and non private. With both experiences, you are escorted around the theme parks by a Universal Orlando expert. Guests enjoy exclusive backstage access, learn amazing facts and information about the parks, and can enjoy the most popular attractions without any wait in line!

Guests who book a private VIP experience have the opportunity to build their own itinerary-so you do not miss ANY of your “must dos”.

Not only do you get an amazing tour guide, but also:

  • Priority access to all rides and attractions including The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D and all of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ attractions
  • Exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences in the parks (subject to availability)
  • Complimentary valet parking (one vehicle, based on availability)
  • Reserved seating at shows (excludes live performances during Mardi Gras and Mannheim Steamroller during the holidays)
  • Complimentary continental breakfast and lunch**. Dinner included in Private VIP Experiences only
  • Universal Express Unlimited ride access at participating rides and attractions throughout the rest of the day (during normal park operating hours)
  • Exclusive VIP Experiences lanyard and credential
  • Discounts at select Universal Orlando owned and operated merchandise locations in the theme parks and CityWalk

When you book a Private VIP Tour, you get all of the above inclusions, PLUS dinner AND a My Universal Photos 3-day Package. For some families, a VIP Tour is a better value than adding Universal’s Unlimited Express Pass!

Which of these upgrades will work best for your family? Unsure as to where to splurge and where to save? Email me at carrie@destinationsinflorida.com to create the perfect Universal Orlando vacation package for your family!

Carrie Hurst

Not only do I love sharing all my vacation tips and ideas here on A Princess and Her Pirates, but I also work alongside families to create magical vacation memories year after year! Email me at carrie@destinationsinflorida.com to begin the planning process, and join hundreds of families on my current guest list.

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