November 16, 2015 – After months of anticipation and questions, the new annual pass system has returned to Universal Studios Hollywood. The initial details reveal a host of changes, including the lower level passes exclusive to California residents and a simplification of black out dates.

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As we crept ever closer to the release of the Wizarding World, people have speculated wide and far about how Universal was going to manage demand and today they revealed it. The timing is curious, but apparent, given how Disney is focused on their Season of the Force promotion for Star Wars today, so this bittersweet pill could possibly be overlooked.

A keen eye will notice even the $299 Gold pass has a bevy of black out dates, pretty much consisting of Christmas-time and virtually every Saturday once the Wizarding World opens. No pass offers parking, either. Parking is currently $18 per visit.

Without a single all-encompassing pass, Universal is sure to raise the ire of many guests. Disney broke many hearts recently when they added a new tier of pass, Signature Plus, that granted access to the parks on the last two weeks of this year. But the silver lining was the addition of free PhotoPass downloads for the top two tiers, which helps soften the blow. Universal’s changes seem to lack any new tangible benefits outside of a simplified black out date system, and that all passes now are valid for a full 365-day year, rather than universally expiring on New Year’s Eve.

Currently, parking is still $5 after rebate if you buy movie tickets at the AMC theater at CityWalk, but it’s unknown if the promotion will last throughout 2016. Additionally, construction is continuing on the Lankershim bridge, which will make taking public transportation to the park a more attractive situation.

Some details are expected to change in the coming days, as the park-purchased pass may have some differences. We’ve included Universal’s official statement below regarding the new changes. Stay tuned to Inside Universal for the latest updates.

Press Release

Universal City, California, November 16, 2015 – In celebration of Universal Studios Hollywood’s five year epic transformation that has substantially altered its familiar footprint to essentially define it as an entirely new destination, The Entertainment Capital of L.A. is rolling out three all-new Annual Pass ticket options, inviting guests to visit the theme park as if for the very first time.

Effective immediately, new Annual Passes will provide guests with an array of privileges reserved for passholder membership, including access to Universal Studios Hollywood over a 12 month period to enjoy the park’s compelling thrill rides and attractions, including “Fast & Furious: Supercharged” as the grand finale to the world famous Studio Tour, “Transformers: The Ride 3D“ and “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem,” as well as the much-anticipated “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™” when it opens in Spring 2016.

Each new Annual Pass member will embark on an exciting journey with Universal Studios Hollywood receiving regular newsletter updates, exclusive preview event invitations, discounts on food and merchandise, eligibility for sweepstakes opportunities that include the chance to win tickets to coveted Hollywood red carpet movie premieres, and more.

The Gold Pass, available for $299, includes 312 select days of fun. The California Resident Plus Pass, available for $199, invites members to enjoy 244 select days of fun, and the California Resident Pass, available for $139, includes 182 select days of fun. To learn more about the Annual Passes options, please visit

Chris Glass

Chris Glass is an editor for Inside Universal.

Chris is a Los Angeles native who grew up around some of the best theme parks in the world. His day job as a game programmer keeps him busy enough, but he still tries to find time on the weekends to get out to Universal Studios.

You may contact Chris at