Universal Studios Hollywood is one of the best attractions in Southern California, but like many theme parks, the costs can add up. Thankfully, you can buy discount Universal Studios Hollywood tickets from authorized sellers to take straight to the gate for scanning and quick entry on your mobile device (or you can print them).

Which method of saving money you choose depends on whether you’re only visiting this park, your itinerary includes other Los Angeles attractions, or you belong to a particular group. The below methods for buying discounted tickets for Universal Studios are legitimate active deals that we regularly check for accuracy so that you don’t waste time on coupons, special offers, promo codes, and deals that don’t work.

You can save on tickets, tours, and hotels through my affiliations. If you make purchases through some links in this post, I may be compensated. Our editorial guidelines.

Before You Buy: Universal Studios Hollywood Ticket Tips

If you already know what kind of admission to purchase, jump to the best ticket discounts.

I’ve gone over tips for visiting Universal Studios Hollywood in detail, but here are a few things to know before buying tickets.

This fun theme park is still a working movie and television studio that the public can see via The World-Famous Studio Tour (with King Kong 360 3-D created by Peter Jackson as the Studio Tour’s grand finale). Over the last 50 years, they added rides and shows based on Universal movie properties, including Harry Potter, Transformers, Minions, and Jurassic Park, Super Nintendo, among others.

My daughter holds her Harry Potter wand in Hogsmeade at Universal Studios Hollywood.
My daughter stands with her wand in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Gate Ticket Prices and Availability

The cost of Universal Studios Hollywood tickets rises and falls based on season and demand. If traveling during peak season, it is wise to purchase tickets in advance to avoid surge pricing. Read all terms and conditions before purchasing a Universal Studios Hollywood ticket because they’re usually not refundable.

General gate prices are as follows:

  • 1-Day General Admission ticket, valid for a particular day only, starts at $109/adult and goes up to $154/adult
  • Universal Express ticket, which entitles the holder to one-time (per day) express access to each ride (excluding Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge), attraction, and seated show, and one-time (per day) reservation-free entry into SUPER NINTENDO WORLD when reservations are required to enter the land, starts at $199/adult and goes up to $309/adult.
  • VIP Experience tickets, which include unlimited priority access to all rides, attractions, and shows, as well as an expert-guided tour, a continental breakfast, a gourmet lunch in the VIP dining room, and valet parking, start at $397/adult and go up to $519/adult.
  • Kids under the age of 3 are always free.

Check the online calendar for park hours. The park opens at different times, depending on the time of the year and the day of the week. Date-specific tickets are required unless you have a Go Los Angeles pass (more on this below).

I was an advocate of buying directly through Universal Studios Hollywood. Since they eliminated early entry as a perk for guests who buy direct, it usually makes more sense to purchase general admission Universal Studios Hollywood discounted tickets through an authorized ticket seller to pay less.

Getting Super Nintendo World Access

If you visit Universal Studios Hollywood online, you’ll see an option to buy a date-specific SUPER NINTENDO WORLD™ Early Access Ticket for $20-$30/person, subject to availability. It includes reservation-free early access admission to Super Nintendo World for one hour before the scheduled park opening. You can view Early Access hours online. It does NOT include your date-specific park admission ticket.

Another valuable perk, in my opinion, is one-time express access to the Studio Tour before 11 a.m. because this line can get long. If you buy this early access ticket, plan to use this benefit too!

Universal Studios Hollywood Parking Tips

The general parking fee is $32 per car from when the park opens each day until 5 p.m. and $10 from 5 p.m. to when the park closes (Prices are higher during Halloween Horror Nights).

You also have the option for Preferred Parking before 5 p.m. for $50 and after 5 p.m. for $20. Front Gate parking is $70. Valet parking is also available at $25 for the first 2 hours and $50 after two hours.

Tip: You can use the Universal Studios Hollywood app to set a parking reminder so you don’t forget where your car is.

If staying at the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City or Sheraton Universal Hotel, there is no need to move your car. They offer shuttles to the park but are also within easy walking distance.

1. The Cheapest 1-Day and 2-Day Tickets to Buy

aRes Travel is a San Diego-based, authorized ticket seller to major California attractions I have worked with for years. They offer some of the cheapest ways to buy discount Universal Studios Hollywood tickets for the park only or with other popular Southern California theme parks for deeper savings. They charge a $2 convenience fee per ticket, but you will still likely come out ahead. Together, we have sold tens of thousands of these tickets.

You can go straight to the gate with a printed or mobile ticket. You will select an arrival date at the time of purchase. And you can buy the Super Nintendo World Early Access ticket for the same date through Universal Studios Hollywood.

2. Go City Los Angeles Sightseeing Pass

The Go City Los Angeles pass saves up to 50% off of admission to over 40 top Los Angeles and other Southern California attractions, tours, and theme parks, including Universal Studios Hollywood, in three simple steps:

  1. Choose the pass option that best suits you (you can buy an All-Inclusive pass, which has the theme parks, for a set number of days or an Explorer pass with a certain number of attractions).
  2. Buy your pass in advance.
  3. Get your pass on a mobile device or print it at home.
  4. Show the pass at any eligible attraction, and you’re in.

Make sure the attractions you’d like to visit are listed on the option you buy. Options vary by the pass. The All-Inclusive pass includes the theme parks: Knott’s Berry Farm, Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Universal Studios Hollywood. Be sure to take advantage of my exclusive 10% off discount.

EXCLUSIVE LA JOLLA MOM DISCOUNT

Use promo code GOLA5LJM to apply an extra 5% off ALL Go City Los Angeles sightseeing passes! This discount stacks on top of sale rates!

(Pass has limited value for families in San Diego during Kids Free October — we recommend individual tickets instead during this timeframe. See promotional terms and conditions.)

3. Create Your Own Combo Tickets

Many people search for combo tickets that combine Universal Studios Hollywood with other nearby Southern California theme parks.

The best way to save on multiple parks, if you are not going to choose the Go Los Angeles sightseeing pass, is to build your own combo tickets by adding these tickets one at a time to your cart because they are all discounted!

Note: To include Six Flags Magic Mountain or Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood in a combo pass, you must purchase Go City Los Angeles.

4. Universal Studios Hollywood Vacation Packages

You can also bundle your cheap tickets with 43 different hotels, from budget to luxury, in a vacation package. There are a lot of benefits to choosing nearby hotels, including skipping (hopefully) notorious L.A. traffic.

Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and other famous attractions are also short distances away from Universal City.

My daughter points her Harry Potter want toward a display of chocolate frogs.
Interactive displays are a hit.

5. Discounted California Resident Tickets and Passes

The California Neighbor pass is back for $179 online which includes admission for nine months after the day you activate the pass. A lot of blackout dates apply so be sure to check the calendar to see if the limitations will work for you. If so, it’s a great deal and there are over 150 days of the year that the pass is valid.

You’ll also receive some dining discounts and invitations to special events, but parking isn’t included.

Individual California Resident tickets are currently unavailable, but they typically become available during shoulder seasons. We will look out for these tickets and update them when they are available again!

Universal Studios Hollywood globe at the entrance shines early in the morning.
The globe spins in the early morning California sun.

6. Groupon Deals

Yes, Groupon sells Universal Studios Hollywood tickets. Sometimes, they are cheaper, but they are not usually priced lower than the discounted tickets that I offer through aRes Travel. It depends on the promotion so you can check and crunch the numbers. Browse Groupon deals.

7. Hollywood Plus Pass

So, we haven’t had many people buy the Hollywood Plus Pass, but it is an option. It’s a product by iVenture Card and also available on Groupon, where you can get admission to Universal Studios Hollywood AND two or four of the below attractions for a set price.

  • Warner Bros. Studio Tour* — 1-Hour Guided + 2-Hours Unguided + Shopping and Dining
  • Aquarium of the Pacific* — Aquarium Admission
  • Academy Museum of Motion Pictures* — 1-Day General Admission
  • TCL Chinese Theater — Theater Tour
  • Madame Tussauds Hollywood — Standard Admission
  • Starline Hop-On, Hop-Off Tour — 1-Day Hop-on Hop-off Tour
  • City Sightseeing Evening Tour — 1.5 Hour Night Tour
  • Starline Celebrity Homes Tour — 2-Hour Celebrity Tour
  • Starline Hollywood Walking Tour — 1-Hour Walking Tour
  • LA Zoo — 1-Day General Admission
  • The Grammy Museum — 1-Day General Admission
  • Autry Museum of the American West — 1-Day General Admission
  • Sofi Stadium Tour* — 1 Hour Guided Tour

Attractions marked with (*) require advance reservations, which can be made in the App.

8. Military Discounts

Year-round discount options are available to all active and retired U.S. military personnel. These military tickets for Universal Studios Hollywood must be purchased in advance at participating MWR/ITT offices throughout the United States, as they are unavailable at the gate.

The set of "Jaws" as seen during the World-Famous Studio Tour, included with cheap Universal Studios Hollywood tickets.
The set of “Jaws” as seen from the tram.

See also: How to buy San Diego Zoo Safari Park discount tickets

9. Costco Discount Tickets

Costco has been rumored to sell Universal Studios Hollywood discount tickets. They definitely have in the past, but right now, in their help section, they mention that they are not currently selling tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood and other theme parks. You can also keep checking your local store’s theme park tickets section.

They offer a $179.99 annual pass that looks to be the same blockout dates as the California Neighbor Pass but without having to prove California residency. Restrictions apply.

10. AAA Discount Tickets

AAA members can save on one-day general admission tickets and VIP tickets when purchased in advance online at AAA.com/Universal or at participating AAA offices. The discounts may vary depending on which AAA club you belong to.

Currently, you can purchase passes such as Universal Express Tickets (and save time in the lines) for a discounted rate!

11. Group Discounts

Universal Studios Hollywood discount tickets are available for groups of 10 or more people by calling 1-800-959-9688.

12. College Student Discounts

Universal Studios Hollywood partners with a long list of colleges, mostly ones located in California, to provide cheap tickets for students. Click on the College Discounts page, verify your student status, and see where you can save on 1-Day, California Neighbor, and Universal Express tickets. You can even pre-purchase parking (albeit at retail price).

13. Annual Passes

UniversalStudiosHollywood.com also offers Annual Passes. They are priced as follows.

  • California Neighbor Pass: starting at $179
  • Silver Annual Pass: $224
  • Gold Annual Pass: $309
  • Platinum Annual Pass: $579

Annual passes may be an attractive option for Southern California residents who intend to visit the park multiple times per year.

The main difference between the Silver or Gold annual passes is the number of available days that you can visit the park throughout the year. The Silver Pass allows you to visit on over 275 days, while the Gold Annual Pass allows you to visit on over 325 available days. The Platinum Pass does not have any blockout dates, and if you are a California resident, you can save a little extra money; however, the pass only allows you to visit for over 150 days.

All passes include discounts on friends and family tickets and 10-15% discounts at participating CityWalk locations. Platinum and Gold passes include free General Parking and other in-park food and beverage discounts.

Annual Pass Members also need to make reservations for theme park visits. Check Pass Member Black-Out dates, including holidays and some weekend days.

FAQs About Universal Studios Hollywood Tickets and More

I’ve compiled a list of related questions that I continuously receive after many years of selling these tickets.

My daughter stands in front of the Universal Studios Hollywood entrance during the holiday season.
The holidays are a fun time to visit.

Do I need a reservation for Universal Studios Hollywood?

No. You no longer need to make a reservation for Universal Studios Hollywood. However, new ticket purchases are date-specific, and you must visit on your chosen date.

Where is Universal Studios California located? 

The majority of the theme park is located in Universal City, California, while the rest of the park spreads into the city limits of Los Angeles. 

If you’re looking for hotels near Universal Studios, many of them are also located adjacent to Studio City or Hollywood.

How much are Universal Studios Hollywood tickets?

The cost of park admission depends on various factors, including when and where you purchase your tickets and what kind of pass and benefits you want. However, you can save money when you book discounted tickets in advance instead of purchasing your ticket at the front gate. Gate pricing currently breaks down as follows:

1-Day General Admission: around $159/ticket
Universal Express: around $399/ticket
VIP Experience: around $519/ticket

How much is an annual pass?

The park offers several versions of annual passes, including the California Neighbor Pass, Silver Pass, Gold Pass, and Platinum Pass. Prices start at $179 to $619 if purchased online through Universal. 

What other Universal Studios Hollywood discounts are available?

Bring your Visa card to the park! Visa is an official partner, which means that you can use your card for various dining discounts in the park and at CityWalk. In 2024, Visa will unveil a Universal Rewards Plus Visa Signature Card that will give card members extra perks at Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood.

Note: American Express used to be the credit card partner and there used to be an AMEX Lounge. It’s now closed.

Is there a friends and family discount at Universal Studios Hollywood?

If you are a Platinum, Gold, or Silver Season Pass holder, one of the many perks included is discounts on general admission for friends and family. The discount can be as low as $95 per ticket, while one-day general admission tickets typically range between $99 – $149. If you are a season pass holder, this is an opportunity you won’t want to pass up!

How much do Universal Studios Hollywood fast passes cost? 

A Universal Studios Hollywood fast pass is in the form of a Universal Express ticket upgrade. It gives you one-time express access to each ride, show, and attraction but does not include admission to the park (unless you buy a combo ticket that includes admission).

Or, you can choose a Universal Express Unlimited pass, which allows unlimited express access. This means that you can ride and re-ride eligible attractions as many times as you like.
Unlike a Disneyland FastPass, you do not need to select a time before queuing. Universal Express is added to your ticket once and applies automatically to every eligible attraction, so you can enter the express queue when ready.

The price depends on where you purchase it, the time of year, and what other tickets you are bundling with your purchase. 

How do I get the Universal Studios Hollywood VIP Experience?

The Universal Studios Hollywood VIP Experience is very easy to book. It grants exclusive backstage access to The Lot, where you can enjoy a special trolley tour and even disembark to walk around. You also receive access to VIP lounges and express line privileges to rides and attractions to avoid crowds.

You’ll need to buy a VIP Experience ticket for every person in your group who is ages 5 and above (younger children may not attend). Reservations are required.

Can you experience the whole park in one day? 

It depends. There is a lot to see in the 415-acre park with its Upper Lot and Lower Lot (long escalators access the latter). Your ability to cover all highlights in one day may depend on the kind of pass you purchase, how early you arrive, and how crowded the park is during your visit.

If you purchase Universal Express with your ticket, you will get through the lines quicker. Most people can see the park in one day, but a two-day ticket will allow you to tour more leisurely.

IS THE WORLD-FAMOUS STUDIO TOUR INCLUDED?

Yes. Universal Studios Hollywood tickets include The World-Famous Studio Tour. You should definitely experience it.

The tour takes you around the backlot or, basically, Hollywood’s largest set, where you’ll go behind the scenes of your favorite Hollywood movies and TV shows. You’ll see the sets from classics, such as Jaws and Frankenstein. The tour also brings you through 3-D experiences, where you’ll ride along in the Fast & Furious—Supercharged grand finale and venture through King Kong’s jungle. 

How can you get free parking? 

Platinum and Gold Annual Pass holders receive free parking before 6 p.m. All other guests are usually required to pay for parking. However, right now, self-parking is free, and valet parking is unavailable.

Usually, before 5 p.m., general parking costs $30, preferred parking is $50, front gate parking is $70, and valet parking is $25 for the first two hours and $50 after 2 hours. All parking rates are reduced if you arrive after 5 p.m. 

What is a one-day ticket to Universal Studios Hollywood?

This ticket provides one person with one entry to the park on a specified day.

How do I get tickets to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Hollywood?

Theme park guests do not have to buy additional tickets to enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Your Universal Studios Hollywood ticket will get you into this popular attraction.

How do I get front-of-line tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood?

Purchasing a Universal Express Ticket or VIP Tour will grant you priority line access but not bump you all the way to the front of the line. You may still wait in line, albeit a shorter one.

How can I upgrade my Universal Studios Hollywood pass to a front-of-line ticket?

If you have a Platinum Annual Pass, you don’t have to do anything as you get a one-time per day express access to each attraction. If you have one of the other pass or ticket types, you can upgrade your pass for the day by adding Universal Express at the park at the Universal Box Office, subject to availability.

Is there a Universal Studios Hollywood front-of-the-line pass coupon?

No. There is no front-of-the-line pass to buy. You can buy a Universal Express pass that provides priority, not front-of-the-line, ride access.

You may be tempted to try looking for coupons on various coupon codes websites, but these often don’t work when you do find them.

Is the Universal Studios Hollywood Express pass worth it?

It depends on what you are doing. The Universal Express pass is worthwhile if you have bought a single-day ticket and are visiting in peak season. If you are on a budget and not visiting in peak season, you can consider skipping it.

What are the best things to do at this Universal Studios?

The World-Famous Studio Tour is one of the top attractions in the park. Other popular attractions include The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where you can tour the famous Hogwarts castle and practice casting spells with your favorite Harry Potter characters.

You can also meet and greet favorite characters, play carnival games, watch performances, and enjoy the best Universal Studios rides. These include a ride through Hagrid’s pumpkin patch on the Flight of the Hippogriff™ and coming face to face with dinosaurs on Jurassic World—The Ride. Join your favorite TV family on The Simpson Ride™ or tour ancient Egypt on The Revenge of the Mummy—The Ride which is my favorite thrill ride. And, you can also engage with Optimus Prime during Transformers the Ride-3D and laugh with minions during Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.

Don’t forget about the shows. The WaterWorld stunt and special effects show is the most popular.

Do I need separate Halloween Horror Nights tickets?

Yes. Halloween Horror Nights tickets are sold separately from regular admission. It’s an incredibly popular seasonal event where admission does sell out. You’ll experience monsters, mazes, and scary interactive experiences — at night in the park. Currently, you can purchase tickets for Halloween Horror Nights directly through Universal Studios and through aRes, starting at $67.49 per person.

Is Harry Potter included with Universal Studios Hollywood tickets?

Yes. Tickets include entry to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where you’ll be able to shop plenty of merchandise, ride Flight of the Hippogriff and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, buy a wand at Ollivanders, eat at The Leaky Cauldron, and much more.

Are Universal Studios Hollywood tickets refundable?

No, which is why it’s important to read the terms and conditions before purchasing tickets.

How do you buy Universal Studios Hollywood discount tickets?

Learn also how to find the best prices for:

Reviews of Hotels Near Universal Studios Hollywood:

All Universal Studios Hollywood posts:

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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