Universal Orlando Resort has announced their 2023 Freedom Pass, a special year-long pass for military families for one low price!
For 2023 Universal Orlando Resort has continued their Special Military Tickets called the Freedom Pass.
Freedom Passes are just like a Universal Annual Pass, but without the other benefits Universal adds to regular annual passes (like parking and discounts).
These Passes Are Simply Amazing!
The Universal Orlando Freedom Pass is valid for use from the day of activation through 24 December 2023. New for 2023’s Freedom Pass are Bolckout Dates (Dates on which you may not use your pass, it’s blocked from use). Passes must be purchased by 20 December 2023. 2023 Freedom Pass Blockout Dates are:
- 26 December 2022 – 1 January 2023
- 3 – 9 April 2023
This Pass is a Park Hopper for either 2 or 3 parks.
2 Park, Park-to-Park Freedom Pass – Both Adult & Child Versions
The 2-Park, Park-to-Park Military Promotional Pass entitles 1 eligible person admission to the following Universal Orlando Resort theme parks each day: Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
3 Park, Park-to-Park Freedom Pass – Both Adult & Child Versions
The 3-Park, Park-to-Park Military Promotional Pass entitles 1 eligible person admission to the following Universal Orlando Resort theme parks each day: Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, AND Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park.
Pass Prices: 2023 prices for these special military passes remain the same as 2021 and 2022, something Disney can’t say!!!
- 2 Park Freedom Pass – $200 Adult/$195 Child – For the whole year!
- 3 Park Freedom Pass – $235 Adult/$230 Child – For the whole year!
These Freedom Pass are only available at your Base Ticket Office or through your Travel Agent as part of a package. They are not available at Universal’s gates!
Note! These are a specially priced offer and are much cheaper per day than the Regular Military Universal Tickets. Compare prices! It might be cheaper to buy these for a shorter stay than the shorter Regular Military Discount Tickets..
Shades of Green Regular Universal Military Prices (Base Ticket Offices prices very similar if not the same) Pass Purchase Limits: Those eligible may purchase and activate up to 6 Freedom Passes duting the offer period. There seems to be a lot of confusion about these passes on Facebook when I’ve shared this info in the past. So in a effort to be absolutely clear:
These Freedom Passes are like an annual pass, without the other benefits that usually go with an AP, like free parking and discounts.
You only pay the price once for the whole year, not on every visit or every so often.
Those Eligible for This Offer Are:
- Active or Retired US Military -Active Duty, National Guard, Reservists, US Coast Guard (with valid military ID!)
- 100% Service Connected Disability (with valid DoD issued Military ID!)
- Spouses of Eligible Service Members
- DOD Civilian Employees
Note: Unlike Disney, both the member and spouse have their own eligibility! SO that’s 12 Freedom Passes between them.
These tickets are priced extremely low, therefore they are a fantastic opportunity for Military personnel to visit both Universal Orlando’s original theme parks (Universal Studios Florida & Universal’s Islands of Adventure) as well as take advantage of experiencing Volcano Bay Water Theme Park!
- Non-Retirees e.g. DD-214 or VA Card
Please Note/Most Important!!! – The Freedom Pass does not include any extras, like parking or discounts on food or merch! Only regular park admission is included. Admission to Halloween Horror Nights IS NOT included. These passes are really not for those who are local or semi-local who buy regular annual passes and drive. So if you will be parking each day in Universal’s garage or use the extra AP the discounts, total up all costs each way before purchasing these passes. These are perfect for those who fly in, use the Superstar Shuttle and stay on property for one long stay or several shorter ones during a year. I did a couple trips this year and it was perfect.
The eligible person must present a valid Military ID at time of voucher purchase and when exchanging the voucher at the Universal sales window.
Universal’s Officially Stated Rules:
- Limit 6 Passes during program period per eligible person.
- Only one single activation is allowed during this offer for the member and also one for the spouse. The member or spouse must be activating their own Freedom Pass when activating for others. Example – If you have friends that will be going with you during a second trip later in the year, you need to get and activate passes for them during your original activation. Neither I or multiple readers have found this to be true but Universal insists I put this rule here! I’ve queried Universal Orlando ticket locations in person regarding this and they have not heard of it! Multiple readers have been able to do second activations!
- You may make multiple purchases up to the limit, but only the single activation. Once you’ve activated the member’s and spouse’s ticket you are done. See Above.
- Passes must be used by the same person on any and all days (Non-Transferable). Universal has procedures to insure this.
- Passes will arrive UNACTIVATED
- Passes will be ACTIVATED at any Universal Pass Sales window (theme park or Universal Hotel) with a valid ID presented by the military member or military spouse; military member or spouse MUST accompany the party to the Pass Sales window for first activation of the Passes, and use one of the tickets; Dependent children CANNOT activate Passes on their own.
- Passes are not valid after 24 December 2023
- This offer is not valid at Universal Studios Hollywood
- The military sponsor, whether member or spouse MUST be with their guests on their first day of use of the 2023 Military Freedom Pass tickets as they will need to walk them through the turnstile with military ID. These tickets are not for gifting. I have never had to show an ID during First Use!
Freedom Pass Second Activation
This topic has been controversial since the start of the Freedom Passes in 2021! As noted above in the Official Rules which can be found online and in Universal Orlando’s press release, you are only allowed one single activation event. This policy makes no sense, as Universal would be turning away additional income not only from the reduced price pass, but also the food and merchandise purchases the additional bodies would make. It would also place a huge burden on the military member, It’s hard enough for the military to plan our own schedules and hope they aren’t changed for us, but then add on top of that hoping those you bought tickets for will still be able to go later in the year is crazy.
Also No One at the Universal Orlando Resort who works in Tickets is aware of this rule. On my Sept 2022 research trip I queried every Ticket sales location if I could activate more Freedom Passes since I already had done an activation this year. In every case I was told yes! I mentioned the official rule and not a single ticket worker had heard of it! Here are some of the comments that ticket workers made to me:
- “If you bought them I’ll activate them.”
- “If they sold them to you I assume they have verified you, and I would activate them.”
- “I’ve never heard of that.” Two different ticket workers about the single activation.
- “Frankly if you bought them I’d activate them because you’ve already paid for them.”
- “It’s not so much that a single activation is allowed as that you can only have six.”
- “We prefer a single activation as it’s easier but you can activate all of the tickets that you are eligible for.”
- “Yes you can activate more as long as you have your ID on you.”
How to Buy Freedom Passes
Freedom Passes can only be purchased at your local Base Ticket Office, a Base Ticket Office that sells long distance and ships, or as part of a Military Discounted Package through your Travel Agent.
When you purchase tickets/passes as part of a package they are protected because if you change or cancel your reservations, the whole package is refunded. If you purchase them on Base all sales are final!
How to Use Freedom Passes
I have a whole post dedicated to this topic, you can check it out here. Also see: Safeguarding your Universal Orlando Freedom Passes See: What’s the Right Military Discounted Universal Orlando Ticket for Me?
Use a Military Expert for your Universal Studios Vacation
As I noted, a package is the way to go!
Jen Novak is Our Recommended Universal Studios Travel Agent! Just click this link to get your Quote
Eligibility and entitlements: Six (6) tickets per eligible valid military ID. Ticket must be purchased by eligible Service Member or spouse and activated at the time the Service Member/spouse is activating their own ticket. Eligible Service Members are: Active or Retired US Military, National Guard, Active Reservists, US Coast Guard, Spouses of Eligible Service Member, Active DOD Civilian Employees. VALID MILITARY IDENTIFICATION IS REQUIRED TO PURCHASE AND ACTIVATE
The 2023 Freedom Pass has unlimited admission days except for the following blocked-out dates; 26 December 2022 through 1 January 2023 and 3 April 2023 through 9 April 2023. The ticket expires in full on 24 December 2023. The Servicemember or current spouse must present a current military ID at the time of ticket purchase and certificate exchange. One of the six tickets must belong to the eligible Servicemember or spouse. Tickets are non-refundable, non-transferable, and must be used by the same person on all days. Separately ticketed events, including the parking fee, are not included with the Freedom Pass. Limit 6 tickets per year per valid military ID. 2-Park Freedom Pass – Universal Studios Orlando and Universal Islands of Adventure. 3-Park Freedom Pass – Universal Studios Orlando, Universal Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay.
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Thank you so much for the update! Great Veterans Day announcement 📣
We are planning on going to Universal from Dec 28th, 2022 – Jan 1, 2023. I see the 2023 freedom pass has those as blackout dates. Any suggestions for what we should do. Thank you!
Your other military discount option would be the regular Universal military tickets. These offer far less savings, but it’s better than nothing.
i called universal to ask about this. they advised me to buy the 2022 freedom pass, as it has no blackout dates. Even though it will only be good for like 5 days while i’m there, its still better than buying other tickets.
Tracie LaRue says
I am working with a local travel agent. In response to my request about the 2023 Freedom Pass pricing, she asked me if my husband is a veteran of 20 plus years and if so, he can use his VA medical card for his ID. Please confirm this is true as we are feverishly working to get our trip planned. Thank you for your time!
Sorry, not true. A military ID is required.
If he is service disabled you can buy the regular discounted Universal tickets from a Base Ticket Office.
And: https://www.militarydisneytips.com/blog/disney-military-discounts/disney-discounts-and-the-john-mccain-defense-authorization-act/ on my other site
The 2022 Freedom passes had no blackout dates through Dec 31st 2022, but you write the 2023 Freedom passes have blackout dates including Dec 26th 2022 through Jan 1 2023. So the 2022 passes will still be valid through the end of December but not the 2023 passes?
Yes, that is correct Rick.
My family and I frequent the other big brand park in Orlando (WDW), but are considering trying out Universal because of this deal. Can you explain how the express pass tickets (skip the lines) would work, both in general (since we don’t ever go to Universal) and in conjunction with these Freedom Pass tickets? I’m assuming the express pass is just an add-on type expense and we would need to purchase them for each park visit even though we would only buy the Freedom Pass tickets once? If so, is it easy to just add-on the express pass if we make a spur of the moment trip to Universal? Can it be done online or does it have to be done in person at a ticket counter? Thanks.
Universal’s express pass is quite different than Disney’s FastPass or Genie+.
There are 2 types, Express Pass and Express Pass Unlimited and there are 2 ways to get the passes.
First, with the standard express pass you can go to any ride that offers express pass and get in the express pass line at any time, there is no scheduling or return times! You can do this once per express pass attraction. For the unlimited, it is just the same except that you can use it an unlimited number of times on all attraction that offer express pass.
Now, how to get it. express pass and express pass unlimited are not ticket dependent, they are a separate product. You can purchase both types online or at kiosks throughout the parks (there is one right after you enter). Prices vary per day based on planned attendance (higher attendance + higher prices) starting at 80 bucks per day.
If you stay at one of Universal’s 3 premier hotels (which are priced closer to WDW’s moderates) you’ll receive free express pass unlimited for your stay! This is what I do.
When you buy express pass in person you’ll be given a plastic card, or you’ll print your pass if you buy online. Premier hotel guests use their room key card.. Whe you arrive at a express pass line they will scan your pass and you are good to go. Some attractions have a second scan like Disney does.
That’s about it, I hope this helps.
Robert Wallace says
Hello Steve. You may publish my comment if you wish.
I am a retired DOD employee (completed 30 and retired). I have purchased the military freedom pass in past years (last time was March 2020). I live in Orlando, and I have an annual pass, so I use the 6 tickets each year for friends and family. I called the Shades of Green this morning to inquire about purchasing these 2023 tickets, but I was told that retired DOD employees are no longer eligible. Is that true? If yes, when did that change take place?
Thanks in advance
Hi there Robert,
I did just over 23 years civil service and bought back over 8 years military time so I got the 30yr unreduced retirement!
Universal’s rules for the Freedom Pass have always said “DoD Civilian Employees”, they do not state current or retired, like they state “Active or Retired” for the mil folks. To me that has meant only current employees are eligible.
1 I’ll reach out to Universal Orlando Military Sales to get their take.
2 If you read the comments that Universal’s ticket workers made to me re the passes, their consensus seems to be, if you bring them they will activate them. You might call the Orlando ITT as well as Patrick.
I just received the answer from Universal and they state:
“DOD Civilian (Ret) are NOT eligible for the 2022 or the 2023 Military Freedom Pass.”
You can buy the regular military discount Universal tickets though, See this post
I apologize if this has already been covered but, are the 2023 freedom passes available for purchase now at participating bases? And can they be used this month, with the exception of the black out dates?
The 2023 Freedom Passes went on sale 10 November 2022. You may use them from that date (or the date of purchase) through the end of the offer.
Kelli Fowler says
Hi! I have found no date as to when the 2023 freedom passes start. I have emailed shades of green, but still awaiting a response. I am trying to decide whether or not purchase a 2023 pass for my son who turned 3 this year and now requires a ticket. My family of 5 all have 2022 Freedom passes, with the exception of the youngest. We have a stay booked from December 18th-24th. any information would be great. Thanks!
The 2023 Freedom Passes went on sale 10 November 2022. You may use them from that date (or the date of purchase) through the end of the offer.
When I get Regular Military Discount Universal Tickets in the mail, can I activate them to reserve a specific date at the park in advance?
If not, what are the chances I can’t get in on a day?
If I arrive when Universal opens, will my family get in?
The regular tickets do not require activation! Also Universal does not do park reservations.
Just present your tickets at the gate and you’ll get in.
Matthew Sullivan says
So if I am a 100% disabled veteran permanently and total, and I do not have a DOD military ID I’m not eligible?
So as far as I know 100% permanent disabled should have a military (retiree) ID. You don’t?