Universal Orlando raised its ticket prices Friday, matching the new price that cross-town rival Walt Disney World announced a week ago. The cost of a basic single-day, single-park ticket was raised from $67 to $71. Universal, owned by Univeral Studios Inc., also increased prices on a variety of two-park and multi-day packages, and on some tickets available only to Florida residents and only over the Internet, but not as much as the basic ticket.

The result is a stronger pricing push to get Universal visitors to buy package deals, and to buy tickets over the Internet. “We’ve worked very hard to preserve value for Floridians, people who want multiple-day experiences and for those who buy online,” spokesman Tom Schroder said.

Children’s tickets went up from $56 to $60. Schroder noted that the company did not increase the price of its EarlyBird Exclusive deal, which provides a seven-day, two-park pass over the Internet for $85.95.

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On Sunday, Disney World raised its base ticket prices to $71 for adults and $60 for children, citing a need to establish its new price structures in time for the travel industry’s 2008 publications. . . (Full Story)