Variable pricing
Universal adjusts prices depending on demand
There has been a lot of talk about it and now Universal Studios 1 has turned talk into action with the new demand pricing it is now using for park admissions.

It's no coincidence that the theme park has a new Harry Potter section opening up in the park on April 7, and the park projects there will be high demand. With demand pricing, Universal hopes to even out the crowds by charging more for peak times and less for weekdays.

It's a lot like airlines and hotels that charge their highest prices at times when they are apt to be most busy. But this is a first for major theme parks in the USA. It probably won't be the last.

With the new policy, you still pay $95 for tickets bought at the gate. But if you buy your park pass online, you can save up to $20 by choosing to go at a low-demand such as a winter weekday. On weekends and peak demand days such as holidays you'll save only $5 when you book online.

When you buy your ticket online, you'll also get to enter the new Harry Potter area an hour before everyone else. The area includes two new rides in addition to a restaurant and specially themed shops.

Demand pricing can be beneficial to other park-goers -- by spreading out the attendance, it lessens the likelihood of overcrowding on peak days. The lines still may be long, but not as long as they otherwise would be.

Visitors to Diseyland may also see demand pricing with the opening of Star Wars land. Construction started this winter on the new 14-acre site and Disney is contemplating demand pricing when it opens. There have been several times that the park had to close its park gates to keep the numbers under the maximum capacity.
PHOTOS: Waterworld show at Universal
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