When you walk down the red carpet to the gates of Universal Studios Hollywood with your discount tickets in hand, nothing makes you feel like a big star than knowing you saved possibly hundreds of dollars on your family's experience. From the full VIP Experience to one-day general admission tickets, plus our top tips to save money in the park, here’s how to save money at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Our Top Ways to Save Money at Universal Studios Hollywood
When it comes to saving money in theme parks such as Universal Studios Hollywood, it helps to have a little inside information. With this insider knowledge, you won't get caught in a tourist trap of paying the highest prices possible. Beyond ticket savings, we also have other hopful advice to save money at Universal Studios Hollywood.
1. Purchase Tickets in Advance
Do not show up to Universal Studios Hollywood — or any theme park — and purchase tickets at the ticket booth. That is the highest price you can pay! A 1-Day adult ticket may cost $159. You want to purchase online at least a day in advance. But did you know that you can save even more than Universal’s online price with discount tickets from authorized sellers such as Undercover Tourist? This leads us to our next point ...
2. Purchase Discount Tickets
The very best way to save on a one-day visit to Universal Studios Hollywood is to purchase tickets from your froggy friends at Undercover Tourist. Our price already includes taxes and fees (unlike other sellers that might sneak in fees or taxes after you put the tickets in your cart). You just need to select the date you wish to visit to see the final price for that date. And because you can take our tickets straight to the gate, you’ll also save time! Ribbit, ribbit!
We sell the following discount Universal Studios Hollywood tickets:
- 1-Day General Admission Universal Studios Hollywood Dated Ticket starting at $103.99 (final adult price), depending on the day
- Universal Express 1-Day Dated Ticket starting at $178.30 (final adult price), depending on the day (includes admission and one-time Express Access to most rides and shows)
- VIP Experience 1-Day Ticket starting at $348.11 (final adult price), depending on the day
- Los Angeles Go City Passes starting at $232.77 (final adult price). If you are going to be visiting Universal Studios as well as several other major attractions in Los Angeles, you might want to look into a multi-attraction pass. The passes come in 3-, 5- and 7-Day options, and are not subject to date pricing.
If you plan well enough in advance, you might even be able to catch a hop deal to save even more green. Follow @themeparkfrog on Instagram so you'll be notified of Undercover Tourist sales on theme park tickets. Sales often pop up around various holidays, and you could save an extra $5 per ticket! That's a round of churros right there.
3. Pick the Least Expensive Days to Visit
If you are able to visit during a slow time, you’ll also encounter shorter wait times. That means you can save money by not needing to pay for Universal Express to skip the lines. We actually love using Universal Express when we need it and have a whole post about it. However, we also love keeping our money in the bank. So visiting on a weekday in the off-season is one way to avoid the lines and save money with cheaper tickets and no Express.
Wait times on a Wednesday afternoon in January may be as low as 10 minutes long, but those same lines can each be as high as two hours long during summer. You'll be glad to have Universal Express on busy days. Our post on the best times to visit Universal Studios Hollywood can help you determine the least crowded times to visit.
All Universal Studios Hollywood tickets are dated tickets, and tickets can range in price across different days in a week. So if you can visit during the week (as low as $103.99 per adult with Undercover Tourist), you will save money over visiting during a holiday period or a weekend day (which may be up to $137.99 per adult with Undercover Tourist and significantly more at the gate). If you are purchasing for a big family, the savings really add up. We don't always have control over our vacation time, but when you look at the time you will be in Los Angeles, you may be able to choose the least expensive day of your trip to visit Universal Studios to save some money there.
4. Save on Halloween Horror Nights Tickets
One of the biggest events of the year is Halloween Horror Nights. This separately ticketed event takes place on select nights from mid-September through Halloween. You can get discount tickets through Undercover Tourist, purchase an all-season pass so you can experience the horror over and over like a recurring nightmare, or even get day/night combo tickets. The earlier you purchase — tickets usually go on sale in summer — the better the price. If you don't want to pay the full price for Universal Express, you might see a cheaper Express Pass become available after 11 p.m. Check the Box Office after 11 p.m.
5. Bundle Hotel or Theme Park Tickets with Rental Car to Unlock Deeper Discounts
While Universal Studios Hollywood does not have any on-site hotels like Universal Orlando, there are nearby hotels that you can get a discount with when you book through Undercover Tourist. (We hoppen to love the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City, which is really nice and within walking distance of Universal). Since Los Angeles is very car-based (and nobody walks in LA), you may need a rental car to explore the rest of the city.
Here’s a hop tip to save on a rental car. When you have your theme park tickets (or hotel) in your cart, add a rental car to see the price of the car drop by up to 50 percent. Be sure to purchase at the same time to get the savings. Don’t need a rental car for this particular trip but need one for future travel (even to a different destination)? We have a secret hack. You can still put the car rental in the cart to get the savings and use it for a different trip!
6. Save on Dining
After theme park tickets, food can be a big expense at theme parks. Here are a few tips to save some money, especially if you have hungry tadpoles and teens:
Arrive with a Full Belly
Eat breakfast before you arrive to cut down on snacking and dining in the park. Even better if you can stay at a hotel that offers free breakfast.
Once in the park and hungry, here’s how to save money. If you have a very large family, get the Great Feast at The Three Broomsticks. It says it serves four, but you could feed a family of six with it.
Get a Refillable Soda Cup
If you drink a lot of soda, get a refillable soda cup. The Coca-Cola Freestyle Souvenir Cup is $17 and allows you one pour every 10 minutes for the day of purchase. One large fountain drink is $5, for comparison.
Drink free water all day to save on high beverage costs. You can bring refillable water bottles to the park with you and up to two liters of bottled water. You can ask for free cups of water at restaurants. In contrast, bottled water in the park will cost you $4.50 to $5.50 per bottle.
Bring in some small snacks with you. You are also allowed to bring in any food required for medical purposes, medically-indicated nutritional supplements and special dietary needs. You can bring baby food/baby formula and soft-sided insulated bags no larger than 8.5″ wide x 6″ high x 6″ deep. Leave glass containers, large coolers or hard-sided coolers behind as they are prohibited.
Look at Menus in the Universal Studios Hollywood App
All the menus with prices are in there, so you can look ahead of time to determine a food budget.
7. Purchase Souvenirs in Advance
You can purchase Wizarding World robes or themed attire or shirts in advance. Not only will you save money, but you can wear them to the park to make your photos and experience extra special. Look online or at Etsy shops (or even Amazon) for toadally cool options that will cost you a fraction of what you'd pay in the park. Save your in-park spending for things you cannot get anywhere else, such as an interactive wand to cast spells or a Power-Up Band to interact in Super Nintendo World. If you already have a wand from Universal Orlando, bring it with you as it works in Hollywood too!
8. Save on Games
If you have a gamer like our Tad, who loves to play carnival-type games in the park, or a toddler like Lily, who doesn't like to lose, here's a tip: There are some games that guarantee a winner every time. That way if you play, you'll at least get something for your money!
Hopfully, you'll be entering the theme park with some extra souvenir money after you save at Universal Studios with discount tickets and our hopful tips.
Related: Universal Studios Hollywood Tips to Maximize Your Time
Related: The Frog Family Guide to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood