I’m going on holiday soon! I’m headed to Florida with my parents and being the cost savvy Brits that we are we’re always on the hunt for a bargain. We wanted to go do some of the Theme Parks (we settled on Disney and/or Universal Studios) and went about finding the cheapest ticket rates we could. During the internet hunt my Mum kept using the Calculator on her PC to do things like exchange rate conversions and to calculate price differences – but, being the Excel monkey that I am I proposed a much better solution: let’s whack it all in Excel and let me make some pretty charts!
We wanted to do around 4 days in total either all in Disney, all in Universal or 2 days in one and 2 in another. If it was far too expensive just 2 days in one of them may have been necessary. For our 2 day and 4 day prices we’ve used the listed price on the American site portal for Universal Studios Orlando and Walt Disney World. We also found that there was pretty good deals for a 14 day ticket for both parks on American Attractions with an extra £8 off by using the code MSE8 in the checkout (found on Money Saving Expert). The 14-day tickets would afford us a touch more flexibility if we really wanted to do more than 4 days. Due to parking prices for both parks, we’ve also looked at how expensive it would be for one person to buy an annual pass (which would be especially useful as my parents go to Florida often) as these annual passes often give free parking as an extra. We also found that the Universal Studios annual pass gives you 15% off on multi-day passes bought at the front gate, so I’ve factored that into our calculations (one issue is that currently Universal Studios are offering up to $20 off for buying online, but I couldn’t find the price before the discount to use as the ‘at-the-gate’ price so this may be a little underestimated).
So, after calculating the prices using an exchange rate of 1.40 USD to 1 GBP and adding sales taxes to the American prices, here are our findings – presented using lovely bullet charts (click here for my first post on bullet charts if you want to find out more):
The cheapest options are to buy a 4-day pass per person for Universal Studios, but the option that provides the most flexibility and I think for us the best value (I just love how vague value is as a concept) is to get the annual pass for one person and 14-day tickets for the other two people. For 4 visits, it’s about £30 more expensive per visit than the 4-day tickets plus annual pass, but as soon as we go a 5th time it becomes better value at £148.63 per visit. So, it saves us from being locked into only going 4 times; offers us discounts in general around the parks; it gives us the option to go the City Walk and restaurants like the Hard Rock Café or go to the cinema (which we would also get discounts at), and if we’d like to go to the parks after going for food for example, we could.
Here’s a link to my spreadsheet. I’ve done the calculations for up to 3 people, but if you wanted to piggyback off my work it wouldn’t be too hard to add in the calculations for more than 3 people provided you’re comfortable using Excel.
If you have any of your own money saving tips or sites please do mention them below, and if you find any better deals definitely comment, we’ve still got a couple weeks until we need to purchase the tickets, so it’ll be really useful for us too!