Universal and Disney roll out deep Florida Resident ticket discounts that leave Annual Passholders in the dust

click to enlarge Universal and Disney roll out deep Florida Resident ticket discounts that leave Annual Passholders in the dust
Photo via Universal Orlando Resort/Facebook
In the latest sign that theme parks are taking unprecedented steps to lure guests back inside their recently reopened gates, Universal Orlando has joined Walt Disney World in offering deeply discounted tickets to Florida residents.

At the beginning of this month, Universal introduced a new "Buy a Day, Visit Every Day Thru Dec. 24 for Free" pass exclusively for Florida residents, which provides nearly five months of admission (with no blackout dates) to Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure for $164 plus tax, the regular price of a one-day/two-park ticket. The only catch is that this new pass offers no discounts on parking, which costs $26 per day; that can quickly add up, unless you carpool with a Preferred or Premier Passholder.

Speaking of Premier Passholders, those with the most expensive passes have lost their valet parking privileges and Halloween Horror Nights passes to the pandemic. As partial compensation, Universal is now offering them Express Pass access to participating rides after 2 p.m., instead of the standard 4 p.m.; the perk was previously pretty useless, since the parks now close at 5 or 6 p.m.

Meanwhile, Walt Disney World recently rolled out new Disney Magic Flex Tickets for Florida Residents, including a two-day pass for $130 where it previously had only offered discounted three- or four-day passes. Those longer-length passes are also on sale, with the per-day cost dropping below $50 plus tax on the four-day ticket.

Best of all, these new Florida resident tickets, which are valid for use on non-consecutive days through December, draw their required Disney Park Pass reservations from the plentiful pool for regular park guests, as opposed to the nearly fully-booked batch shared by annual passholders.

Disney Passholders who are fed up with the restrictive reservation system and the loss of park-hopping privileges had until the end of today, Aug. 11, to request a partial refund for their pass. A word of warning: Social media has seen reports of multi-hour waits to talk to Passholder services at 407-939-7277; even if you do get through, your refund won't arrive until sometime in the second half of September.

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