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    Universal Orlando Travel Packages

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Universal frequently offers vacation packages including hotel accommodations and park tickets via its in-house travel company, Universal Orlando Vacations. You can book a package yourself by calling 877-801-9720 or by visiting universalorlandovacations.com, or you can contact your preferred travel agent. Universal Orlando Vacations booked more than 45 days in advance require only a $50-per-person deposit (airfare fully due at time of booking) that is fully refundable until 45 days out; after that, the penalty is $200 per package, though some event tickets may be nonrefundable.

Universal Orlando Vacations also handles group sales; if you want to organize a family reunion at Cabana Bay, call 800-224-4489 and choose option 3, or visit Universal Orlando Vacations Deals page.

Universal advertises its packages with enticing taglines like, “The Wizarding World from only $119 a night!” You have to do the math, though, because it’s difficult for package purchasers to save money over buying à la carte unless they fully exploit every included component.

Here’s an example. A Wizarding World of Harry Potter Vacation Package in late 2020 offered a family of four (two adults and two kids under age 10) these components:

  • Five nights at a Universal on-site hotel (or off-site partner hotel)
  • Four days of park-to-park admission to all three parks, including Volcano Bay
  • Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks (one per person)
  • Breakfast at Leaky Cauldron (one per person)
  • Photography session at Shutterbutton’s in Diagon Alley, including souvenir DVD in a collectible tin and one exclusive designed 8-by-10-inch photo print
  • Souvenir keepsake box delivered to your home, including a welcome letter, three luggage tags featuring Harry Potter characters, and a Hogwarts Express– themed lanyard for each member of your party
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Volcano Bay 1 hour before the general public
  • CityWalk Party Pass

At Endless Summer Resort, the package started at $1,998.73, including tax, during the value season (September–October). There were significant restrictions, including blackout dates, and the stay had to occur on Sunday–Thursday nights to qualify for that low rate; weekend nights were more expensive.

Here’s the first thing to recognize: the last two items—early admission to The Wizarding World and a CityWalk Party Pass—are automatically given to everyone who stays at a Universal resort and purchases a multiday ticket, so they don’t have any value by themselves. Universal values the exclusive keepsakes and photo at $138.45, but similar lanyards can be purchased for $12–$14 apiece, and the remaining souvenirs are of nominal worth.

There are only four remaining components to price: the hotel, tickets, the Shutterbutton’s session, and the breakfasts at the Three Broomsticks and Leaky Cauldron. We checked Universal’s website for the cost of the other components using various dates in late 2020 and ensured those dates would also qualify for the aforementioned package. Here’s a typical cost per component:

  • $438.75 for five nights at Endless Summer Resort during value season
  • $1,337.62 for 4-Day, 3-Park park-to-park tickets from universalorlando.com
  • $131.97 for breakfast for four at the Three Broomsticks and Leaky Cauldron, including tax
  • $85.19 for the Shutterbutton’s DVD, or $53.25 if you purchase a photo package, including tax

Universal Orlando Vacations advertises a “Save & Bundle Discount” that saves $75 off five-night stays (and up to $200 off seven or more nights), but the total cost if you bought each component separately is $1,993.53, which means that shopping à la carte actually saves you about $5. However, if you were to forgo the breakfasts and Shutterbutton’s video, you’d save more than $220 by buying separately. You can still reserve breakfast in The Wizarding World through your hotel’s Ticket Center without a package, or even just walk up to the restaurants on many mornings. Universal’s price for the breakfast is $19.16 per adult and $13.83 per child, including tax, so it’s easy enough to figure out what it costs. Unless you’re certain that you want the breakfasts and DVD, you’re better off having lunch at the Leaky Cauldron with the money you’ll save by buying each item of the package separately.

Even if it won’t save you money, there are a few reasons why you might still want to book a Universal Orlando Vacations package. The first is if you can’t afford to stay on-site but still want Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World and Volcano Bay. Booking a room at a Universal-area partner hotel as part of a package through Universal Orlando Vacations is the only way to get guaranteed early entry to the Harry Potter attractions and the water park, other than staying in an on-site hotel.

Another reason is if you are attending a special event at Universal Orlando that offers exclusive experiences for package buyers. For example, the now-discontinued Celebration of Harry Potter fan convention held an after-hours party in The Wizarding World just for vacation-package purchasers. Occasionally, packages are offered with truly unique perks: before the openings of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, a limited number of package holders were allowed into the new Wizarding Worlds weeks before the general public. These rare opportunities are only for the diehards because uncontrollable technical delays can always preempt previews without refunds.

Finally, if you insist on prepaying for your table-service meals, the Table-Service Universal Dining Plan is available exclusively as an addon to any Universal Orlando Vacations package. The adult plan costs $64.99 plus tax per person, per day, and includes one table-service meal (entrée, nonalcoholic beverage, and select dessert), one quick-service meal (entrée and nonalcoholic beverage), one snack, and a third nonalcoholic beverage. The child plan costs $24.99 plus tax and includes one table-service meal and one quick-service meal from the kids’ menu, plus a regular snack and soft drink. Neither plan’s price includes gratuities, which are expected at table-service restaurants based on the value of your meal. Eligible table-service restaurants are restricted to the two sit-down restaurants at each theme park, plus 10 CityWalk locations, including Bigfire, Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, The Cowfish, Vivo Italian Kitchen, and Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food. Bafflingly, none of the restaurants inside the resort’s hotels accept the dining plan, making it even more pointless for on-site guests. Occasionally, Universal will run booking specials offering free dining credit at your resort hotel’s restaurants, a much better bargain.

day on dining at Universal, and you’ll have to order very carefully to get your money’s worth from every table-service meal. A quick service–only dining plan ($25.99 for adults, $17.99 for kids, plus tax) is also sold to the general public; there’s no real benefit to buying it in advance in a package. For more information on Universal's dining plans, see our Dining Plan page, and visit www.universalorlando.com/Restaurants/Universal-Dining-Plan.aspx.

Last updated by Seth Kubersky on February 3, 2021

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