In a move that many are criticizing, Universal has restructured their Annual Passholder program by adding a brand new Seasonal Pass to their current lineup. Before, the general public was limited to just the Power Pass, Preferred Pass, and Premiere Pass but our cries have been answered.
All joking aside, this restructuring process is slightly odd. If you look at the benefits, the Seasonal Pass has essentially just replaced the Power Pass with its blockout dates during busier times of the year including Christmas, Spring Break and Summer, no free parking and no discounts on food and merch. The price point for the Seasonal Pass is $284.99 for non-Florida residents and $259.99 for Florida residents.
The “new” Power Pass has jumped substantially in price from $259.99/$234.99 to $344.99/$319.99 (non-FL/FL) , because it now includes 50% discounted self-parking and doesn’t have blockout dates in the summer months. The Preferred Pass also raised in price from $344.99/$309.99 to $384.99/$349.99, but Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is now being offered, but this tier includes blockout dates on Early Park Admission. Finally, the Premiere Pass went from $494.99/$449.99 to $539.99/$489.99 and Early Park Admission is offered on a daily basis as well as all of the old perks of the Premiere Pass including Express after 4:00 pm, a Halloween Horror Nights ticket, and free valet and preferred parking.
These price increases generally cause a stir in the theme park community, but this one is hitting harder considering Universal has already raised Annual Pass prices once this year. Many are saying the benefit of Early Park Admission isn’t worthy of increasing the prices of the Preferred and Premiere Passes over 10% from their previous price. Disney received a lot of flak when they restructured their Annual Passholder program and increased prices dramatically and justified it by adding on free PhotoPass photos from Disney’s photographers. A small group even believes that Disney’s decision to change their Annual Passholder program up is what caused a drop in attendance, but I’m not buying that, and I don’t think Universal’s attendance is going to drop either due to the price increase.