Would an annual pass help save you money on hotel prices?

captaindavidhook

<font color=green>Stay away from there<br><font co
Joined
Mar 11, 2008
I have been thinking about making a trip to stay at universal studios for the longest time period I see they offer better prices and packages that are much cheaper than Disney world. I've never even thought about getting an annual pass at universal but was wondering is it worth it and would it help me save in a trip consisted of a package or just for hotel rates? Thank you in advance.
 

DisneyLifePapioNe

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 9, 2017
I have been thinking about making a trip to stay at universal studios for the longest time period I see they offer better prices and packages that are much cheaper than Disney world. I've never even thought about getting an annual pass at universal but was wondering is it worth it and would it help me save in a trip consisted of a package or just for hotel rates? Thank you in advance.
Absolutely save on hotels, restaurants and many stores for merchandise, pays for itself if you go more than once a year.

Some events have discounted rates also.
 


  • tony67

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 22, 2003
    AP will typically same you money on a room.

    That being said there are sometimes deals that are better than the AP.
    It depends on how long your going for and the time of year.
    The difference in price between a multi day ticket and the cheapest AP can be very close - especially with multi park.
    Just make sure you are fully aware of any blackout dates for the cheaper APs

    Of course this year who knows. They may offer deals that are better than the AP rate (I already got a better rate in September than the AP rate)
    You can always book rooms with an AP rate and then buy the AP when you get there, or a week or two before hand if you want to use flex.
     

    greg9x

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2002
    The AP rate is not always available and is limited number of rooms...you may not be able to get it for your dates. Our trip last year the Stay More Save More rate was much better than any AP rate that was available...but it is for longer trips, a one or two night stay AP may be only option. 3rd party booking sites may also be cheaper than AP rate.
     
  • macraven

    Proud Redhead
    Moderator
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2003
    Savvy Traveler is what has replaced the stay more save more this year

    It’s not great for my dates but better than nothing

    If ap discounts appear for my dates, I’d rebook with that code iff the price was better.
     

    wagman67

    Just winging it...
    Joined
    Jan 13, 2017
    I think the general consensus is YMMV. I find the best thing to do is plan early. The earlier you plan, the more options you have available. Also, if you can be flexible with dates, that is huge in finding the best rates. I also think most will advise you not to book packages (unless you find that super magical deal...which is like finding a live unicorn). When you decide to start planning find the best deal you can, for the dates you want...and book a room. Do not wait to book. Why? Because you can always re-book, if/when you find a better rate. You can cancel your reservations 5 days, in advance of your stay, and get a full refund...not so with a package (unless you buy additional, costly, travel insurance). Also, while you are doing your daily check for deals, play with the dates (if you can)...you may find cheaper dates just before or just after your original dates...I once found it about $7 cheaper to stay an extra day, by shifting my arrival 2 days earlier. It can actually become a fun little sport to hunt down good deals. And, as mentioned, you can book an AP rate without having an AP, yet...and, you may find a better deal and not need to purchase one...now there's a magic number...not everyone in your group needs an AP to get the rate...only one. But, if you plan to be in the parks 4 or more days...and you think there is a chance you might be back within the year, you might want to go ahead and get APs, because the 4+ days tickets are going to be close on price to the lowest APs. If you do go with APs, please read about each level, their restrictions and blockout dates, before you decide which to purchase.
     

    captaindavidhook

    <font color=green>Stay away from there<br><font co
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2008
    I think the general consensus is YMMV. I find the best thing to do is plan early. The earlier you plan, the more options you have available. Also, if you can be flexible with dates, that is huge in finding the best rates. I also think most will advise you not to book packages (unless you find that super magical deal...which is like finding a live unicorn). When you decide to start planning find the best deal you can, for the dates you want...and book a room. Do not wait to book. Why? Because you can always re-book, if/when you find a better rate. You can cancel your reservations 5 days, in advance of your stay, and get a full refund...not so with a package (unless you buy additional, costly, travel insurance). Also, while you are doing your daily check for deals, play with the dates (if you can)...you may find cheaper dates just before or just after your original dates...I once found it about $7 cheaper to stay an extra day, by shifting my arrival 2 days earlier. It can actually become a fun little sport to hunt down good deals. And, as mentioned, you can book an AP rate without having an AP, yet...and, you may find a better deal and not need to purchase one...now there's a magic number...not everyone in your group needs an AP to get the rate...only one. But, if you plan to be in the parks 4 or more days...and you think there is a chance you might be back within the year, you might want to go ahead and get APs, because the 4+ days tickets are going to be close on price to the lowest APs. If you do go with APs, please read about each level, their restrictions and blockout dates, before you decide which to purchase.
    Thanks for all the great information. Much appreciated. I think I'll definitely not do a ap pass for now. I'm also a solo usually. Wondering how many nights would be worth going if I plan to go.
     

    cfoxga

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 14, 2009
    Thanks for all the great information. Much appreciated. I think I'll definitely not do a ap pass for now. I'm also a solo usually. Wondering how many nights would be worth going if I plan to go.
    The number of nights needed really depends on the time of year you go, whether or not you have EP, and what you want out of the trip.

    Some people could rush through the rides in a day with EP (or VIP) and consider it a successful trip. Big Harry Potter fans could spend two days in just the HP sections and be happy. Others want to have a relaxing trip and enjoy the hotel pools or bars/restaurants. They can spend multiple weeks at Universal.

    In general, I would says 3 nights is a good minimum stay (but 4 would be better). That gives you 2 full days and 2 partial days to look around the park, City Walk, and the hotels.
     
  • captaindavidhook

    <font color=green>Stay away from there<br><font co
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2008
    The number of nights needed really depends on the time of year you go, whether or not you have EP, and what you want out of the trip.

    Some people could rush through the rides in a day with EP (or VIP) and consider it a successful trip. Big Harry Potter fans could spend two days in just the HP sections and be happy. Others want to have a relaxing trip and enjoy the hotel pools or bars/restaurants. They can spend multiple weeks at Universal.

    In general, I would says 3 nights is a good minimum stay (but 4 would be better). That gives you 2 full days and 2 partial days to look around the park, City Walk, and the hotels.
    I was thinking maybe 6 nights. No express pass either. Would love to do a day at volcano bay. I also would like to come there in October. Maybe two nights of hhn. This is why I am saying 6 nights. I like to spread things out and not rush at all. Maybe 3 days at the park, 1 day at VB, 1 day to chill out at the resort and maybe a day to head to wdw or busch gardens or if it is worth it gator world. I like spreading out my trip being that I am solo.

    Also I do like taking my time in parks. I love looking at the layout and any shows I can check out. On top of that It seems like the more longer you stay you can get a great price. Just a thought. I doubt I would travel this sure with everything going but defintely want to come next year. The deals they have for hhn, buy one get one other night free and the prices are much cheaper then wdw. Staying at Endless Summer would save me Money. Any advice of course is welcomed.
     

    fireflymedic

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 13, 2008
    I've never been able to get a cheaper hotel room using ap service. Don't like that it doesn't give you free parking at hotel either. Should mention I'm eligible for the Florida rates so your situation may be different.
     
    Last edited:

    Erica Ladd

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2018
    When do AP rates typically come out for December?? Can you apply them to an existing reservation??
     

    macraven

    Proud Redhead
    Moderator
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2003
    You can book with the the AP but can’t apply it later

    When ap rates are released, only a specific number of rooms will allow that offer
     

    cfoxga

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 14, 2009

    macraven

    Proud Redhead
    Moderator
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2003
    cfoxga has a very detailed informational post that will help all newbies

    read the link she provided as it is very helpful!
     

    chmurf

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 30, 2011
    Getting an AP probably won't save you as much money as you may expect, if you're planning to stay onsite for more than 5 or 6 days at a time, and/or if you're only planning one visit. It will save you money though

    it can make ridiculous savings on parking alone if you're staying offsite and visit for a couple of week, and get a preferred or premier pass.
    but if you stay onsite, you'll pay for parking no matter what

    as far as hotel discounts go, as I mentionned above, it will depend on length of stay
    I had (*sigh*) a trip booked for august (no way we EU people are allowed into the US by then) and, I've changed bookings quite a few times.
    As Macraven also noted, the Savvy traveler rate beat the AP rate

    we had 3 weeks booked at Cabana Bay for august.
    initial booking with SMSM in november '19 was $3644 (all prices excluding taxes)
    then SMSM price dropped in january to $3566
    then AP rate was avalaible in february at $3119
    then a couple of weeks later, a Savvy Traveller offer at $3045

    The only real way an AP can save you money over the special offers or savvy traveler rate, is when your stay is between 1 and 3 nights long. Anything longer and you'll probably find a deal that beats the APH rate

    BUT ... this is not set in stone, and it's not science. Checking prices is the key
    and, since you don't have to have an AP to book the APH rate (you'll need to have one during your stay though), and since there is no cancellation fee for booking direct with universal (up to a week, unless they extend the 1 day cancellation notice) there is no need to decide just yet

    Last, the AP rates on hotels may not always save you money, quite often you'll be able to bag a room with a view for the price of the standard view.
     

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