In a sign of optimism about Florida tourism, Universal Orlando on Monday matched Walt Disney World by raising its daily admission 3.7 percent to $85 and escalating multiday pass prices by bigger margins.
Universal held firm on its one-day $73.99 price (excluding taxes and fees) for Florida residents, and $66.99 for their kids ages 3 through 9. But those discount prices are only sold online. Multiday pass prices rose 8.8 to 11.4 percent, while annual pass prices were left unchanged.
It's all more evidence that Florida's big theme parks are weaning themselves off some of the deep discounts that helped get them through the recession.
On June 1, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay upped single day admission $2 to $79.99. Along with its sister park SeaWorld Orlando, Busch stopped selling its Florida Fun Card that had been good for a year of return visits for the price of a single day.
Officials at Busch, Disney and Universal, which reported solid attendance gains this winter and spring, said research found their customers regard their park experience as a good value. Universal also is riding the wave of a Harry Potter attraction that celebrated its first anniversary over the weekend and helped propel attendance at Islands of Adventure by 30 percent in 2010.
Disney last week raised its single-day ticket 3.7 percent to $85 plus tax. And after six years of offering deeper and deeper discounts on multiday passes to people willing to buy more days, Disney started to whittle at the savings. The price of a four-day pass rose 4.7 percent to $243, a seven-day pass by 8.1 percent to $267 and a 10-day pass by 11.1 percent to $291. Annual pass prices were raised 2 to 4 percent.
Mark Albright can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8252.