Universal Studios Orlando Just Pulled a Fast One, and No One Was the Wiser, Until Now

cabana bay universal studios globe and attractions at orlando resort
Credit: Discover Universal

Universal Studios Orlando Resort just pulled a fast one on its guests, and no one really knew about it until now.

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cabana bay universal studios globe and attractions at orlando resort

Credit: Universal

The Age-Old Disney Vs. Universal Debate

Gone are the days when Disney fans were strictly Disney fans, and Universal Studios fans only visited Universal Orlando Resort (if those days ever really existed in the first place). The truth is that despite the decades-long rivalry between Disney World and Universal Studios Florida, as well as the occasional throwing of shade between the two theme park giants on social media over the years, theme park-going Floridian visitors who choose the Sunshine State as their favorite vacation destination often have a split loyalty.

They love Mickey, but they also love the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. They enjoy the thrill rides at Disney’s Hollywood Studios as much as the thrilling attraction they never miss at Universal Studios. At Disney World, they love Port Orleans Riverside Resort, but they also have a favorite Universal Orlando hotel.

olivanders shop at universal studios

Credit: Universal Studios

The same guests who love Disney Springs also find their favorite spot at Universal Citywalk. Though the two theme park resorts are very different, there are some similarities in their offerings, which means the decision about which resort to visit often comes down to park admission for some–and one simple question: what’s the ticket price for admission at a Universal Studios theme park, and what’s the ticket price for admission at a Disney World theme park?

There are some visitors who simply stick to SeaWorld Orlando–but no judgment here.

And while a small percentage of diehard Disney fans see such a “split loyalty” as completely blasphemous in nature, the majority of guests of the Walt Disney World Resort also enjoy visiting Universal Studios Orlando Resort as well. And the opposite is true too.

universal studios orlando and cinderella castle disney world

Credit: Universal/Disney

Perhaps the most striking difference between the two theme park resort locations in Central Florida–aside from their offerings and the look of their parks–has to do with the amount of time their parent companies spend in the headlines. The Walt Disney Company seems to garner a bit more of the news media attention, especially in recent months, as change headlines the to-do lists of execs from the top down.

Universal Studios Gets Sneaky

And while everyone was watching Disney in the headlines–and making time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the company in mid-October, it looks like Universal Studios Orlando was up to something as well–and we’re just now realizing it. You see, while we were singing along to Disney tunes on the 100th anniversary episode of Dancing With the Stars, Universal was making changes on its side, too–changes that are just now affecting visitors’ pocketbooks.

Disney logo graphic design celebrates 100 years with new details

Credit: Disney

Yes, Universal recently increased its ticket prices, and even Scott Gustin at Nexstar Media, who follows theme park news, trends, and the like, didn’t realize the change until Wednesday afternoon. In his post on X, formerly Twitter, Gustin says the changes happened “sometime in the past few weeks.” Well played, Universal. Well played.

“Universal Orlando increased the price of standard tickets sometime in the past few weeks,” he explains in his post. “The starting price on a 1 Day 1 Park ticket increased from $109 to $119 – and the most expensive (holidays) jumped from $159 to $179 – an increase of 12.5%.”

Some options increased by $10 per ticket, while some increased by $20, and Gustin notes that the cost of at least one ticket option at Universal Studios increased by approximately 12.5%, which might not sound terrible–if you travel solo or have a small family (i.e., no children). But such an increase is huge for larger families. Such increases can eventually “price out” guests, rendering it difficult or impossible for guests who used to visit frequently to visit at all–something Disney has long been accused of doing.

Will the increases keep you from visiting in the coming months–especially during the holidays? Did you notice the increase in ticket prices before reading this post? We’d like to hear your thoughts about the increase in ticket prices–especially in light of how sneaky Universal was in pulling the switcheroo.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!