In this Orlando CityPASS review, we’ll explore how the pass works, what it costs, and whether it is a good fit for your travel plans. Enjoy!
Orlando isn’t just home to a certain famous mouse; it’s also one of the top vacation destinations in the world.
Whether you’re considering a trip for the first time or returning to experience the magic again, some of the world’s best theme parks and attractions can be found in Orlando.
Unfortunately, if you’re a theme park fan, you already know that a dollar doesn’t go very far here. When you add up the admissions fees plus the money you’ll spend on food, restaurants, and souvenirs, the total may be enough to break your travel budget. So, it’s super important to look for ways to save.
Don’t worry! If you’re looking to save money in Orlando, we’ve got just the trick for you. It’s called the Orlando CityPASS, and here’s how it works!
Orlando CityPASS: How It Works
The Orlando CityPASS is an attractions pass that provides discounted admission to several of the city’s favorite destinations. It’s a great way to save money while visiting places like Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld, and Legoland.
Unlike most sightseeing passes, the Orlando CityPASS does not come in a single card or ticket booklet. In fact, it really isn’t a true “pass” at all.
Through the Orlando CityPASS, you’ll receive individual tickets for each attraction, depending on which attractions you select. These tickets can be printed directly from your email, picked up at will call, or use the QR code on your mobile phone. Most parks require a valid photo ID that matches your ticket to enter, so keep that in mind when you go.
Since the Orlando CityPASS is an authorized ticket seller, your experience at these attractions is the same as if you’d purchased a ticket at the gate. You get all the perks of admission just like everyone else. The only difference is you can save money and still get entry to the parks.
In most cases, CityPASS tickets are good for one year from the date of purchase. However, your purchase instructions will include information about when you can use each ticket and how long you have until it expires.
The Orlando CityPASS is only available for sale online and are delivered to your email inbox. Purchases can be made by credit card, Paypal, or Amazon Payments.
Top Attractions Included on the Orlando CityPASS
The Orlando CityPASS includes admission to the area’s top theme parks, including:
- Walt Disney World Parks – Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Magic Kingdom (from $109)
- Universal Orlando Resort (from $114)
- SeaWorld Orlando (from $99.99)
- Legoland Florida Resort (from $91)
As you can see, it isn’t cheap to visit Florida’s top theme parks, and these ticket prices are for one-day admission only! However, with the Orlando CityPASS, you can build a custom vacation package while saving some serious money.
How Much Does the Orlando CityPASS Cost?
Pricing for the Orlando CityPASS works a bit differently than other CityPASS products that you may have used. Unlike the Seattle CityPASS, for example, the Orlando CityPASS includes a variety of options and add-ons for each attraction.
Instead of paying one rate for access to all the attractions, you can customize your trip with deep discounts on tickets for each theme park. There is not a single flat rate for the pass, and the price you pay ultimately reflects the options you choose. Whether you decide to visit all of the parks or stick with your favorites, the Orlando CityPASS can help you save.
Here’s a quick look at some of the pass options and prices:
Walt Disney World – This is the most popular destination in Orlando, and the Orlando CityPASS provides access to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and the Animal Kingdom. Prices for 3 to 10 day tickets range from $283 to $573, saving you between $44 and $153 per ticket. All tickets come with MyMagic+ and the Fastpass service, and there are Park Hopper and Park Hopper Plus options you can add on, too.
Universal Orlando – Two to four-day tickets range from $166 to $357. There are a few choices to pick from, and some include park-to-park ticket options that include admission to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay. The Orlando CityPASS delivers an average savings of $53 per ticket, cutting over $200 off the standard price for a family of four.
SeaWorld – Your admission to SeaWorld can also include Aquatica, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, or Adventure Island with the Orlando CityPASS. Depending on your ticket package, prices start at $80 and go up to $114, saving $19.99 off a one-day admission to SeaWorld. If you choose a two or three-day ticket to enjoy admission in more than one of the parks, you cut $51.99 to $55.99 off the total.
Legoland – This park is a favorite for all ages. It costs $69 to $98 for a one or two-day ticket with the Orlando CityPASS, which gives you entry to enjoy the rides, shows, and attractions. Buying your ticket with Orlando CityPASS will save you an average of $26 per ticket. If you’re traveling with a family of four, that trims more than $100 off your vacation budget.
Orlando CityPASS Attractions Guide
When planning the perfect vacation, you don’t want to miss out on any of the top attractions. Here’s a run-down of each stop you can access with the Orlando CityPASS.
Most people associate Disney World with the Magic Kingdom. It’s home to Cinderella’s castle and old favorites like Space Mountain and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
There’s plenty of shops to indulge in souvenirs and sweet treats on Main Street, U.S.A., and don’t miss the chance to get in on the fun of pin trading with Disney cast members. Remember, while the Magic Kingdom is the most popular of the Disney destinations, it is just one of Disney World’s four parks.
Epcot is another “must-see” Disney destination, especially if you’re traveling with adults. There are incredible seasonal offerings all year, such as the Food and Wine Festival, Flower & Garden Show, and Candlelight Processional Christmas Show.
Soarin’ Around the World is a top attraction year-round and takes you on a hang glider ride through Niagara Falls, the African Savanna, Antarctica, and more.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Home to Toy Story Land, you can hang out with Andy, Buzz, Woody, and the gang, and ride the Slinky Dog Dash at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Kids will love the Frozen Sing-Along Celebration while Beauty and the Beast Live is a favorite stop, as well.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is a free-fall thrill ride complete with an elaborate lead-in that sets the mood. If you want to go through the story experience but don’t like thrills, there is a “chicken exit” at the end.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
The Kilimanjaro Safari ride is a treat for the whole family. Take a tour through rutted dirt trails and shallow waterways to see zebras, rhinos, lions, and giraffes. And don’t miss the World of Avatar, where you can walk through the vivid beauty and dreamlike landscape of Pandora.
Universal Studios Florida
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, Universal Studios Florida is definitely for you. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter fully immerses you in the scene as you walk the streets of Diagon Alley. Join Harry, Ron, and Hermione on the Escape from Gringotts ride as it takes you deep into the Bank’s vaults.
Even if you’re not big into Harry Potter, Universal has plenty of rides and attractions you’ll love. Teens and adults will appreciate the dark and impressive thrill ride that is Revenge of the Mummy, and kids of all ages will enjoy the humor of Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.
Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Rated the number one amusement park by TripAdvisor four years in a row, the Orlando CityPASS can help you enjoy Universal’s Islands of Adventure for less. Get your thrills as you drop 85-feet on the Jurassic Park River Adventure ride, and join your favorite web-slinging friend Spider-Man through a high-definition 3D virtual reality ride.
If you have a park-to-park ticket, you can take the Hogwarts Express from Universal Studios Florida to Islands of Adventure and see the sights between London and the Scottish town of Hogsmeade.
Universal’s Volcano Bay
This water theme park is full of thrill rides alongside opportunities for serene relaxation. Even during the cooler months, the water is kept at a balmy 85 degrees so you can enjoy the park year-round.
From the Krakatau Aqua Coaster that delivers twists and turns through a volcano to the perfect waves at Waturi Beach, there’s something for everyone at Universal’s Volcano Bay.
Over the past few years, SeaWorld has become home to several new roller coasters in Orlando. One of the best in the area is Manta, where it’ll feel like you’re flying as you zip through the air. Another coaster, the Kraken, was upgraded in 2017 and is now a virtual-reality adventure ride called Kraken Unleashed.
Kids and adults will enjoy SeaWorld’s signature killer-whale show that takes you on a journey into the deep ocean. You’ll also enjoy the close-up underwater viewing area where you can watch whales glide through the water is a treat, too.
With their expertise in all things aquatic, the SeaWorld Aquatica water park brings together fun attractions and animal encounters. Don’t miss the Dolphin Lagoon where you get the unforgettable experience of spending 30 minutes in the water with dolphins.
The raft rides of Walhalla Wave and the free-fall drop on Ihu’s Breakaway Falls will have your heart pumping. And when you’re ready to relax, there are two large wave pools with white sandy beaches to enjoy and a wading pool at Walkabout Waters.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
There are a lot of thrill rides and animal experiences at Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay. The animals tend to be more active in the morning because the temperature is relatively cool, so you’ll want to head there first to see the cheetahs, tigers, elephants, and gorillas. If you’d rather ride than walk, the Serengeti Railway is a relaxing ride through the Serengeti Plain and offers views of the animals, too.
Roller coaster fans won’t be disappointed with options like Falcon’s Fury that drops you face-first into a free-fall and Montu’s perfect combination of loops and high-speed drops. Also, you won’t want to miss the 150-foot skyward surge, looping twists, and breathtaking drops of Tigris, Florida’s tallest launch coaster that opens in the spring of 2019.
If you love water parks, you’ll find plenty to do at Adventure Island. The Calypso Coaster will take you through twists and turns, or you can slow down as you float through the Aruba Tuba. Taking a dip in the Endless Surf wave pool is a great way to cool off, and there’s Mango Joe’s Beach Café if you get hungry.
Designed with kids ages 2 to 12 in mind, Legoland has botanical gardens, rock climbing, and a building zone to engage their creative minds. In Miniland USA, you’ll find more than 32 million Lego bricks that make up the best sights of California, Las Vegas, Washington DC, and New York City all in one place. Plus, there are several options for hands-on play with the Creation Zone and Water Zone.
Other Benefits of the Orlando CityPASS
- Big discounts – With the Orlando CityPASS, you can save hundreds of dollars versus buying tickets from the individual parks. Of course, spending less on admission leaves more money for souvenirs!
- Customized vacation package – Build your perfect trip by combining Park Hopper and park-to-park tickets with multi-day passes for the best overall experience.
- Mobile tickets – Don’t worry about losing your tickets with email delivery. You can use the mobile QR ticket for entry, or you can print your pass if you want a hard copy.
- The best theme parks – Orlando is home to some of the world’s best theme parks. You can access places like the Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and more with the Orlando CityPASS.
Where the Orlando CityPASS Falls Short
Although we think the Orlando CityPASS provides great value, there are a few issues worth pointing out.
In our opinion, the biggest issue with the Orlando CityPASS is that there is no physical card or booklet for the pass. Unlike most sightseeing passes, this isn’t really a “pass” at all. Essentially, you are purchasing tickets to each park through a ticket reseller, albeit at a discount. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the term “pass” can be confusing.
Additionally, you may find yourself overwhelmed with all the options. Since you’re effectively buying tickets to each individual park, there are a ton of add-ons to choose from.
Of course, you’ll have to make the same choices if you buy directly from the theme park, so you might as well use the Orlando CityPASS and save some money. Just make sure you carefully read the fine print, so you know what you’re getting.
Finally, with the Orlando CityPASS, theme park tickets are non-refundable. You can’t transfer them to someone else, either. If you have to cancel your vacation and you aren’t able to reschedule it during the dates your tickets are valid, there’s nothing you can do.
Who Should Consider the Orlando CityPASS?
Families – If you’re traveling to Orlando with your family, you should strongly consider buying the Orlando CityPASS. The savings across the admission prices for the theme parks could be astronomical! Since they’re kid-friendly parks, it makes sense that families would get a lot of benefit from this pass.
First-time visitors – If you’re a first-time visitor to the Orlando parks, this is a great option. When traveling to a new vacation spot, you might not know what to expect, and the Orlando CityPASS does an excellent job of laying out all the options for you.
Theme park junkies – If you plan to spend multiple days visiting one or more parks, the Orlando CityPASS is for you. With this pass, you’ll get admission to several of Orlando’s top spots and save some serious money while doing it!
Who Should Skip the Orlando CityPASS?
One-day visitors – If you only plan to visit Disney World or Universal for one day, skip this pass. Single-day passes are not available to these parks through the Orlando CityPASS program.
Those not visiting the parks – Visitors who have no interest in visiting the major theme parks in the area should skip the Orlando CityPASS. Passes for other cities often include dining discounts or the option to save on souvenirs, but this one only includes theme park admission.
Tips for Using the Orlando CityPASS
- Visit more than one attraction – You can save a little money by using it for just one of the theme parks, but you’ll get the best bang for your buck if you pick at least two attractions to visit.
- Take advantage of the multi-day discounts – It’s tough to get through an entire park in a single day without missing out. The multi-day passes will save you money and give you extra time to slow down and enjoy more of the shows and rides.
- Skip Disney’s Park-Hopper add-on – Having the option to visit more than one Disney park in a day is a nice perk, but it isn’t necessary. Since you’ll have at least three full days to visit Disney’s different parks, spend less on your tickets by cutting this out.
- Don’t miss Universal’s Adventure Island – You’d think the big draw would be Universal Studios, but Adventure Island has been rated the number one amusement park by TripAdvisor for the past four years in a row. You won’t want to miss it.
How to Buy the Orlando CityPASS
Buying the Orlando CityPASS is easy. It’s only available for purchase online, and you can buy it here now.
Your pass is sent to the email address provided, and you can easily access the tickets on your smartphone or another mobile device, like a tablet or iPad.
When you get the pass, pay attention to the purchase instructions. That’s where you’ll get information about when you can use your passes and when they expire. It’s different for each park so read them carefully.
Is the Orlando CityPASS Worth It?
If you’re planning a trip to Central Florida and want to save money at some of the best theme parks in the world, getting the Orlando CityPass is a no-brainer.
Whether you’re traveling solo, as a family, or with your partner, this pass can save you some serious cash over regular theme park admission prices. And, saving money can make the happiest place on earth even better!
Thanks for reading and enjoy Orlando!