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Total Universal Orlando Trip Costs

August 3rd, 2015 at 12:24 pm

Our trip to Universal Orlando did cost a bit more than I expected, but I have no regrets. We had a very good time with plenty of memories!

Here's the approximate breakdown of costs:
Airline Fees $144
Park Tickets $604
Hotel Cost $695
Hotel Parking $52
Rental Car $191
Food/Gas/Souvenirs $668
Airport Parking $42

Grand Total $2396

We did Early Bird Check in for Southwest on both legs of the trip, which added $100 to our cost. It was worth it leaving, but on the way home our flight probably only had 60 people, so need for it. But you don't know that ahead of time.

Hotel costs could have been much less, however, we did get Express Passes included to cover all three days for four people even though we only stay two nights for that cost. (Third night at different hotel was paid with reward points) If we had purchased Express Passes (Unlimited version) for three days for four people it would have cost us over $1400! That is not a typo. There is no way I would have paid that, which is why staying on site is such a deal even though the cost of the hotel seems pricey it isn't for what you get.

I mentioned the rental car issue in yesterday's post. Originally I though I was getting a rental car 'free' with reward points.

Of course, we could have limited souvenirs, of which there really were only six or seven items. My husband had some pricey beer. We did eat Clif Bars in our hotel room each morning so that saved us a bit, but if we wanted food in the parks we ate it. I tried Earl Grey and Lavender ice cream, which was yummy! With it being so hot, water was probably our biggest expense. I didn't have time to do enough research, but we could have refilled our water bottles with water at the Coke Freestyle machines for FREE! Oops. Lesson learned for next time!

So it's all good. I'm using a little bit of our house proceeds and army reimbursements to pay for the trip. Smile

9 Responses to “Total Universal Orlando Trip Costs”

  1. laura Says:


    We're off to Orlando Universal at the end of Nov/Dec. Any tips to share for saving money? I am tempted to do the meal plan for two days and plan on one dinner out at the Hard Rock. And my son with the August birthday is getting a wand as his gift - so I can start the souvenir/gift category now. Hope you had a wonderful time! Is your daughter ready for college yet? She must be leaving soonish!

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Are you staying on site Laura? It was well worth it to us, but at different times of year it may not be necessary. Orlando Informer website is very helpful. We did notice that Early Admission to Harry Potter makes things very busy for that first hour because that is the only area open! Lots of kids had those wands, so cute to see. Read up on the souvenir cups and dining plans. We didn't do a dining plan...we ate at Hard Rock Cafe our first night(got a 20% discount because our food was slow), left to go to Noodles and Co the second night and ate at Panera Bread by our hotel the third night. So really we just ate lunch and snacks in the parks. There's an Italian restaurant in Universal Studios we all liked. A pizza combo with a two large slices of pizza and a side salad could have easily been shared and cost $12-14 (can't remember exactly). We ate early at 11am to avoid the crowd...of course we had been up since 6am.

    I'll try to think of more tips...Laura. I did it so spur of the moment, I didn't have time to do my normal research.

    We will spend the next 10 days getting ready for college. We will be making a list to buy quite a few things when we arrive, so not a ton to do before hand. Smile

  3. creditcardfree Says:

    Laura, it does seem it wouldn't be too busy after Thanksgiving and before the Christmas rush. Express Passes may not be necessary. I do recommend single rider lines if your family wants to go again on a ride. Much faster! We did that several times and occasionally we still got on together! One example of that was in the afternoon to ride Forbidden Journey. Wait time would have been 60 minutes. Two of us went on single rider line and ended up in the same ride vehicle in FIVE minutes!!

  4. CB in the City Says:

    Good tip about the water refills! I know how parched you get at a theme park!

  5. SecretarySaving Says:

    Barnes and Noble has the Harry Potter wands. Amazon probably too!
    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/harry+potter+wand?fs=0&_requestid=210388

    Coin albums are a good souvenir - There are several machines where you put a penny in and it will spit it out with an imprint reminding you of the place. Kids like to collect these and it's cheap!
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=disney+penny+book

    Disney photo album / autograph books are also a hit. Kids will take pictures with different characters and you can put that picture (when developed) in the picture slot and have the character autograph the page. Have a big sharpie handy! Also, you can get a Disney photo card (free) and they have photographers that will be able to take pictures for you and on the card they provide you with a website and pin where you can go and look to see if you want to purchase those photos. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=disney+photo+albumn+autograph+book&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Adisney+photo+albumn+autograph+book

    Disney landyard with are another things kids want. They can also trade the pins with others at the park! http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=disney+lanyard+and+pins&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Adisney+lanyard+and+pins

    Disney costumes and shirts - buy before you go!
    A lot of families wear these!! Super cute!
    https://www.google.com/search?q=disney+family+matching+shirts&biw=1280&bih=894&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=0CE0QsARqFQoTCLret76ljccCFcwakgod_OkCmA

  6. scottish girl Says:

    Glad you had a great time!

  7. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    For an impromptu trip, it sounds like you did a great job!

  8. My English Castle Says:

    Lots of fun!

  9. Looking Forward Says:

    Family memories are totally worth it. Smile

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