Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Islands of Expenditure

Yesterday, Hotrod and I took his college-age visiting cousins to Universal and Islands of Adventure. It had been a while since he and I had gone, something we used to do quite frequently being as we live under an hour away. We decided to buy annual passes, thinking it would motivate us to go more - plus they give us discounts on stuff within the Universal realm and concert tickets. (We saved $16 on parking almost immediately.)

That things had changed became obvious right away. The Express pass system we'd used before (kind of like making a reservation to ride an attraction at a certain time - gets you through the line in usually less than half the time) was no longer free. To have that option available for both parks was an additional $35. Keep in mind a two park, one day ticket is already costing you $77 (I believe that's right, we already had tickets for the cousin purchased on the military base with Hotrod's ID). So that's $112 for ONE person for ONE day. Add 1/4 share of parking ($11 for standard, $16 for preferred), food (two meals, minimum $9 each just for junk off a cart - hotdog, chips, drink, $20 if you're eating anything nicer), a slushie ($3.49 for the SMALL), and one random souvenier (Spiderman coffee mug - $10 - probably the bargain of the day) and you're in for another $35 bucks.

Holy crap! When did fun get to be so expensive?

Now, after that diatribe let me just state that we did manage to ride everything they wanted to ride and had a nice sit down meal at Fisherman's Wharf (my favorite Universal restaurant, Mythos is my favorite Islands of Adventure restaurant), got some photos with Spiderman, Captain America and so on, then finished the day with dinner at Margaritaville in Universal Citiwalk - all in all a great day. I'm just shocked at what a vacation must cost a family of four.


  1. Anonymous7:44 AM

    Wow {:0 That does add up.

  2. Which is why my family of four has never been. Sheese!

  3. Gee, I had planned to pack up my family of five and come visit you, but now I'm having second thoughts. :D

  4. No wonder you were tired. Yikes.

  5. Jeez that's crazy! That's why my family vacation will be putting on a Disney movie, a CD with sounds of the ocean, and maybe use one of those sun lamps. :) Or something.

    That's just nuts.

  6. I can't believe they started charging for the express pass! That stinks.

    Sounds fun, though. I love Universal Studios, and my DH and I have been thinking about annual passes this year.

  7. We go to Disney almost every year. We own a timeshare so we never have hotel expenses and then we buy the 10 day pass with no expiration. It cuts the daily cost down to about $40 per person instead of $110. We also don't go to the parks every day so our 10 day pass with no expiration will last about three or four years. I'd heard that Universal started charging for their express pass but that's how they get the cost per one day park ticket to be less than Disney. You don't have to buy the express pass, but you'd be crazy not to. It's all an illusion. Smoke and mirrors.