Everything You Need to Know About Universal Studios Hollywood Tickets

The best ways to get them, types of tickets and more

Visitors buying tickets at Universal Studios Hollywood

TripSavvy / Betsy Malloy Photography

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Like most theme parks, Universal Studios' tickets are expensive, and their discounts for kids are small.

Ticket prices do not include parking fees, which you should add to the budget for your visit. Unfortunately, there is no free parking anywhere nearby.

Until the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened, most people could see the park in one day. Now it may take a day and a half, or even two days during the busiest times. If you're going to visit, find out how to make the most of it and use these tested and proven tips to avoid making those rookie mistakes that everyone else does.

Types of Universal Studios Tickets

Anyone two years old or younger gets in free. For current ticket prices, check the Universal Studios website. In the past, you could buy a Universal Studios ticket and use it anytime up until its expiration date. You can still do that, but you can also opt for a money-saving ticket that's good only for the date you choose when you buy it. While you can purchase tickets at the park ticket booths, it's generally cheaper to buy them online.

  • 1-Day General Admission: Good for one day of admission (on a specific date), including all rides, shows, and attractions. 
  • California Neighbor Pass: If you don't know exactly when you want to go, you can still buy online, but you may pay the same as you would at the gate. With short lines at the ticket booths these days, this option doesn't have a lot of appeal.
  • 2-Day General Admission: Only slightly more expensive than one day and the best option if you are on vacation and want to experience everything.
  • California Resident: If you are a California resident, you may be able to buy one-time express tickets. They are valid only for the date you purchase them for and are available online only.
  • Universal Express Pass: It's just like the 1-Day Pass, except you lose the wait and go right to the front of every line. This pass is the same price for adults and children over two ears old, with children two years old or younger getting in free. The cost of the pass varies by season and is less expensive January through March.
  • VIP Experience: The VIP treatment lets you go behind the scenes to visit closed sets on the backlot, and you'll also get escorted priority access to all rides, shows, and attractions.
  • Season Passes: You can often get a season pass for the price of a one-day admission if you go late in the year. Year-round, the details vary, with some passes having blockout dates or offering free parking and other benefits.

If you go to the ticket booths at Universal Studios, you'll find a different list of categories for tickets, including Under 48 Inches.


There are several different disability accommodations available at Universal Studios. In general, the queues for rides are not accessible for motorized wheelchairs or other ECV's; however, manual wheelchairs can fit in the lines and are available if you would like to transfer into one for the duration of the wait. Universal believes the queues are part of the storytelling experience, but recognizes restrictions do exist so they also offer an Attraction Assistance Pass for qualifying visitors. This pass allows you to schedule a future ride time based on the current wait. Rather than waiting in line you can explore the park or get a bite to eat until it is time to return to the attraction.

You can find detailed information on safety guidelines for each ride in Universal Studio's Guide for Rider Safety and Accessibility. This guide provides comprehensive details on each ride's safety policies regarding prosthetic limbs, oxygen tanks, mobility aids, and white canes. There is also a section that outlines all attractions your service animal is allowed. Guests who are blind or have vision impairment can pick up a large print or braille copy of this guide at the Guests Services lobby. American Sign Language interpreting is available for designated in-park live action shows. Email signlanguageservices@universalorlando.com at least 14 days prior to your visit to arrange for these services. Universal also has a guide for visitors with cognitive disabilities. These guides provide a fairly comprehensive idea of the what to expect at the park, but Universal does encourage you to stop by Guest Services upon arrival to learn about all available accommodations and services that can improve your experience.

Be Smart: Buy Online

The last thing you want to do when you get to the park is stand in line before you even get inside the gate, which makes buying online a good idea. These are other good reasons to buy online before you go:

  • You'll save money. Online tickets cost less than those purchased at the gate. The discount is higher for less-busy days, but it drops when they expect a big crowd.
  • Avoid sellouts. If you plan to go during busy times (school breaks, three-day weekends, summer, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) and can commit to a specific date, you can be sure you'll get in.

Buying tickets from a mobile device: You can buy your tickets from a mobile device. Universal recommends that you print your tickets, but you can also show them on your mobile device screen at the park entrance. For an easy, no-hassle purchase, try downloading the Universal Studios App.

Be Even Smarter: Pay More for Your Universal Studios Tickets

That sounds weird, we know. If you pay more, are you really being smarter? The answer is yes.

During the busiest times, the wait for the most popular rides at Universal Studios can get quite long, sometimes more than an hour. If you're visiting on vacation and have only a day to enjoy the place, those long waits could make it hard (if not impossible) to fit everything into one day—and who wants to stand in line on vacation?

Instead of being frustrated by it all, you can buy an Express Pass, which will give you access to every ride a lot faster.

As you'd expect, an Express Pass costs more than the basic general admission, and they can sell out. Expect the longest lines during the summer, spring break, three-day weekends, and around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. For those times, you might as well buy an Express Pass in advance.

For the rest of the year, use this strategy to manage your costs: Buy regular admission tickets, get inside, and then assess whether the wait times are intolerable. If they are, you can upgrade your ticket at a booth near the entrance. You can also get a same-day assessment of the crowd level before you go at isitpacked.com.

Discounts to Universal Studios

With planning, there's no need to pay full price, ever. Here are a few options, in order of how much you can save:

  • If you are planning to visit more places than just Universal, look into a three-day or longer Go Los Angeles Card, which can save you money on your total vacation bill.
  • Expedia offers Universal Studios tickets with discounts that look appealing but beware. The savings they show are based on the price of a ticket purchased at the gate and are only a few dollars less than online prices. They are good for your selected date only and also sometimes sell out.
  • During less-busy times of the year, you may get an extra day free with a one-day ticket. In late December and early January, you may also get an annual pass for the price of a one-day ticket.