Take an extra $5 off select Florida & California theme park tickets.
Go straight to the gate! Offer applied in cart. Ends 6/25.

The Ultimate Guide on When to Use Universal Express

by Leap on June 3, 2019 833 Orlando

If your tadpoles are on summer vacation and you're planning for an upcoming trip to Universal Orlando Resort, you're in the right place! The summer months are especially one of the busiest times of the year in the parks — sometimes even hitting capacity or selling out of Universal Express — and our Crowd Calendar predicts the same for 2019. While Universal Express isn't a required purchase, the Frog Family finds it super helpful this time of year. There's no better time to figure out if Universal Express is worth the splurge for your family!Univesal Express Pass - Pinterest Header

Thrills! Action! Transformers! Butterbeer! We always look forward to hopping down to Universal Orlando Resort. Between Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal's Volcano Bay, we have plenty of places to play. One of the ways we experience more and wait in line less is with the Universal Express Pass. Universal's skip-the-lines access is a big help in the parks, especially on crowded days. But it isn't free — unless you stay on-site at select Universal hotels. (And by the way, we offer discounts on rooms at all Universal hotels.) Understanding how and when to use the Universal Express pass is your key to a great visit. This post explains everything you need to know!

Universal Express Overview | How It Works | Pass Options | Cost | When to Use Express Passes | Other Ways to Save Time

What Is Universal Express Pass?

Universal Express - Hogwarts

Universal Express allows you to skip the lines at most Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure attractions. (It is a separate purchase to include Universal's Volcano Bay.)

In a change from the past, Universal now offers Universal Express passes for most of the popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter rides, including Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. The only rides that do not have it in either park are Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and Pteranodon Flyers at Universal's Islands of Adventure.

You can see the Universal Express rides along with wait times and park plans on our handy dandy FREE Orlando Planning App for iPhone.

How Universal Express Pass Works

Universal Express Pass - Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls

When you approach a ride with Universal Express, show your pass to the attendant, who will scan it and let you enter the Express Pass queue. Closer to the ride loading area (this distance varies by ride), the Universal Express Pass queue will merge with the regular line. At this point, your pass will be scanned again. You will still likely wait at this point, but it is usually five to 10 minutes long.

Know that Universal Express Pass is not a group pass. Everyone in your party will need his or her own Universal Express Pass. Also, the passes are non-transferrable.

Universal Orlando Single Rider Lines

Universal Express - Rip Ride Rockit

Single Rider Lines are often even faster than Universal Express pass lines. If you don't mind splitting up your party on the ride, you can experience the most popular rides much quicker. The Single Rider Lines actually goes straight to the loading area. You and your party will be together in the queue, but you will split up on the ride as you fill an empty seat.

Single Rider Lines at Universal Studios Florida:

Single Rider Lines at Universal's Islands of Adventure:

Keep in mind that both Universal Express and Single Rider Lines skip major portions of the queue. We get that the point of this whole thing is to spend less time waiting. However, some of the queues are spectacular and help set up the ride story line. For example, if it's your first time on any of the Harry Potter rides, we recommend experiencing the regular queue. If you've been there, done that, take the route that's best for you.

Universal Express Pass Options

Universal Express - Hulk

There are two types of Universal Express passes:

  • Universal Express Unlimited
  • Universal Express Pass

You can use Universal Express Unlimited Pass an unlimited number of times at participating rides and attractions each day that your pass is valid. You can use the Universal Express Pass one time per ride each day that your pass is valid.

Universal Express is available for one park per day or both parks per day. It can be purchased online ahead of time through Universal or at the parks themselves. We like this flexibility. Sometimes you don't know you want Express Pass until you're already in the parks!

Universal offers separate passes for Universal's Volcano Bay. These are per day, and you have the option of skipping the virtual lines at select rides and attractions, or you can pay more to skip the virtual lines at all rides and attractions inside the water park.

How Much Is Universal Express?

Universal Express - Cabana Bay

It depends. If you are staying on-site at one of Universal's premier resort hotels, Universal Express Unlimited is free for every day of your visit. That includes your date of check-in and departure. The value of this cannot be underestimated, especially during busier times. Yes, hotels are priced based on expected crowds. If you are considering purchasing Express Pass, you should do the math and see if it makes sense to stay on-site. It is often still cheaper to stay on-site with Unlimited Express versus stay off-site and purchase Unlimited Express separately. You get the added benefit of being so close to the parks when you stay on-site, access to all of the fabulous pools, plush rooms and other on-site amenities.

Universal Orlando Hotels That Offer Universal Express Unlimited:

Universal Premier Hotels

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach ResortLoews Sapphire Falls Resort, Universal's Aventura Resort and Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites (opening June 27, 2019) & Dockside Inn and Suites (opening March 2020) do not offer Universal Express Unlimited, but they do offer Early Park Admission to select rides inside Universal's Islands of Adventure or Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Volcano Bay water theme park along with the other two.

It used to be that you had to visit a kiosk at the hotels to get your Universal Express Unlimited, but now your hotel room key works as your pass. Keep in mind that you do still need regular admission to enter the park.

If you are not staying on-site and wish to purchase Universal Express passes, the cost varies by day and expected crowds. So during peak times, prices will be higher. You can purchase these online in advance or while you are in the parks. Keep in mind that Universal Express could sell out, but this is likely only during the very busiest times. Universal Express is separate from regular admission. It doesn't matter which tickets you have purchased ... you can add on Universal Express as needed. (While we sell authentic, discount Universal tickets, we do not currently offer Universal Express Pass.) If you aren't sure you will need or want the passes, we recommend you hold off purchasing until you arrive.

Unlike most tickets, Universal Express is date specific. So you will need to know what days you plan to be in the parks and book directly with Universal or wait until you are in the parks.

When to Use Universal Express Passes

Finally, we get to the most important part of the post — when to use Universal Express. Our recommendations are fairly simple.

1. Anytime it's free

OK, it's never really FREE, free, but if you are staying on-site, you aren't paying for it directly. Even if the parks aren't super crowded, you will still save time by using Universal Express passes. And there is nothing better than skipping the regular line.

2. When the parks are expected to be super busy 

When our Crowd Calendar predicts crowds of 8, 9 and 10s, these are prime times to consider Express Passes. You might even consider it on 7s if you are particularly crowd averse. If you're visiting during the peak of summer or around the major holidays (especially the week between Christmas and New Year), you should give this serious consideration.

3. If you only have a day and want to see as much as possible

Do you have a short trip (or only a day for Universal) and want to experience one or especially both parks? Then Universal Express passes are a good idea. If you are going during one of those super busy days, they are a must.

Is Universal Express Worth It?

Universal Express - Kong

I can't answer this for you. No matter when you visit, having Universal Express will be a time saver. The question is really how much you value the time you save. During less busy times, we think it's nice to have but not a must-have. You may feel differently. It's all about what you value.

Is There Any Other Way to Save Time in the Parks?

If you don't want to spring for Express Passes or they are just out of the budget, do not fret! There are still great ways to save time in the parks. If you follow us frogs often, you probably know these by heart.

Universal Express Pass - Doctor Doom's Fear Fall

1. Buy your tickets in advance.

You do not want to waste any of your precious touring time standing in line to buy tickets. Plus, you will save more money if you buy in advance.

2. Arrive at the parks ahead of official opening.

The gates often open even before their official opening time, so you can get a hop on your day. This is the least busy the parks will be all day, so it is the best time to visit the most popular rides. If you are staying on-site at one of Universal's hotels, take advantage of Early Park Admission to the parks and especially Volcano Bay.

3. Follow a park plan.

We have several park plans for Universal that were created with families in mind. You can see them here or via our app (you can also tailor one of our preset plans to your own needs using the app).

4. Use the single rider lines. 

As mentioned above, the single rider line is often even faster than Universal Express.

Whew! We've covered a lot of ground here. Have questions about Universal Express pass that we haven't answered? Share them in comments below! 

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
View Comments
<<  Newer Posts | Older Posts  >>
1–50 of 386 comments
Jun 19, 2019 at 1:15 p.m. Trace Nyhagen Says...

More of a question: We are staying at the Royal Pacific for one night. if we arrive at, say, 7am to check in, could we still do the early admission thing that check-in day and not just the day after spending the night?

Reply
Jun 19, 2019 at 1:58 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Trace,

A few things to keep in mind: You would need to check in first because your hotel key serves as proof for Early Park Admission. Your room may not be ready, but you could leave any bags at Luggage Services to hold for you. Give yourself plenty of time to check in and arrive at the parks, but otherwise, we suspect you should be able to enter that morning of!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 17, 2019 at 2:09 a.m. Jonathan Says...

Looking to go on Dec 16th of this year to 1 day - park to park. It is rated 6/10. Am I able to buy both discount tickets and fast passes through undercover tourist?

Reply
Jun 18, 2019 at 1:10 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jonathan,

You can purchase discount tickets from us, but we don't offer Express Pass at this time!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 14, 2019 at 3:11 p.m. Mary Avin Says...

HI,

We are looking to go the week of August 17th for 5 days do we need an express pass. Is the crowd calendar still accurate with the new Harry Potter ride? Will the new ride use express pass?

Thank you

Reply
Jun 18, 2019 at 12:58 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mary,

It won't be absolutely necessary at this time, but they are always great if you do :). The new ride is using a virtual queue system separate from Universal Express (as of now).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 14, 2019 at 4:10 a.m. Amber Says...

My husband and 3 teenage kiddos will be there July 2-4 do you recommend the universal pass?

Reply
Jun 18, 2019 at 12:51 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amber,

Yes, those would be great days to get it!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 13, 2019 at 4:28 p.m. Cosmo Says...

Hello, How busy will it be from july 5-8

Reply
Jun 18, 2019 at 12:50 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cosmo,

It will be busy! Check out our Crowd Calendar.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 9, 2019 at 2:51 p.m. Robin R Stull Says...

I will be there with my two teenage Sons, one day universal, one day Islands of Adventure. We will be at the parks July 16th and 17th. Should we get the express pass?

Reply
Jun 10, 2019 at 8:54 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Robin!

Both of those days look to be an 8/10 in terms of crowds according to the Crowd Calendar, so we'd recommend spraining for the Express Pass if you're able.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 31, 2019 at 5:50 p.m. JENIFER Says...

Hello we are looking at going the last week of Janaury 2020, getting in Monday checking out Saturday. Do you think we would need the express pass, I like the idea of a family suite at the cheaper hotel but if the express pass is a must I could do one of the top tier hotels as the pass cost per day makes up for the cost of the room difference. Thank you

Reply
May 31, 2019 at 2:18 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jennifer!

Those days are only slated to be a 5/10 in terms of crowds, so you shouldn't need an Express Pass :)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 31, 2019 at 3:57 a.m. Dana Bonham Says...

We are planning to go to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure 11/11/19 and 11/12/19 (11/11 being Veterans Day). Do you think we’ll need Express Pass for 11/11? And if so, we are considering staying in one of the premier Universal hotels on 11/11...if we show up, say, around 6 or 7am to check in, can we get the express pass benefit and early morning benefit for 11/11 AND 11/12? There will be two adults and three children.

Reply
May 31, 2019 at 9:57 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dana!

We'd recommend getting Express Pass on 11/11, so staying at a premier hotel would be perfect. You'll have access to Express Pass on both check-in and check out days, and they're ready to get things rolling for you early! Your room may not be ready just yet, but they can hold your bags and get you your Express Passes.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 30, 2019 at 10:09 p.m. Eme Says...

We are going 12/13/14/11 of April . Should we consider a fast pass?

Reply
May 31, 2019 at 9:59 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Eme!

Since it's the week of Easter, crowds may be increased, so we'd recommend springing for Express Pass if you're able. Have a frogtastic trip!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 24, 2019 at 8:32 p.m. doug Says...

We are going to Universal for the first time October 21-25 and staying on property at the Cabana, for that time of year do we need the express pass?

Reply
May 28, 2019 at 1:15 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Doug!

Those dates look to be about 5-6/10, according to our Crowd Calendar, so you shouldn't need it (though it's always a nice perk!)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 20, 2019 at 4:26 p.m. SJ2020Vacation Says...

So what does avg crowd mean? 5/10. How long should we expect the lines to be? Trying to determine if the extra $130 a night for a hotel with the express pass is worth the expense. We are planning a Feb trip.

Thank you!

Reply
May 24, 2019 at 8:51 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

Wait times can vary per ride and park hours can be shorter in February, meaning you may have less time to do it all in. Expect a line for each ride. Even if lines were on average 25 to 45 minutes, an Express Pass makes it easy to do each ride by eliminating the wait time. Keep in mind that some of the ride experiences are quite long (like the 1-hour Studio Tour or the lengthy process of going on The Simpsons) even with the Express Pass, so being able to shave off time where you can will come in handy, especially if you want to see some shows.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 19, 2019 at 3:26 p.m. Bernadette Says...

So we are planning on a 3 day pass, 3 park to park. We want to go one day on a Thursday than explore Florida on Friday and go back to Universal on Saturday and Sunday to complete our 3 day pass. Would that be ok to do? Or do we have to use the 3 days in a row like Friday to Sunday?

Reply
May 20, 2019 at 2:56 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Bernadette!

Generally speaking, the tickets tend to be valid for 3 days within any 7 calendar days, so they do not need to be used consecutively. However, be sure to check out the fine print on your ticket to be certain (you can also find this information on your e-ticket).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 15, 2019 at 12:21 p.m. denise McGinlay Says...

We want to stay on the lowes hotel and benefit from the unlimitted pass. Can they be shared? my husband wont go on any of the rides but we will be meeting up with my son who would do the rides. Does the pass have your picture on it?

Reply
May 15, 2019 at 10:43 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Denise!

If you're staying at a premium Universal hotel (Portofino, Hard Rock or Royal Pacific), each guest in the room is eligible for the Unlimited Express pass, so you'd be all set! If you are not staying at a premium Universal hotel that offers this included benefit, the passes are non-transferrable and do have your photo on them.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 7, 2019 at 4:04 p.m. Sarah Says...

Hi, we are a family of four going to WDW next year on spring break (high crowds). We are going to USF & IOA for one day and would like the Unlimited Express Pass. Would it be cheaper to get a one night hotel reservation (at one of the three participating) than buying four separate passes? We will be staying on property at Disney. Thank you

Reply
Apr 16, 2019 at 8:08 p.m. Wendy Dimelow Says...

Hi,

I am considering booking a night at one of the Universal Hotels that includes universal fast passes. What time, on the first check- in day are the fast passes ready to use? It’s not at late as the 4pm check-in is it? Also how long on the second day/ day of departure do the fast passes last for?

Many thanks

Reply
Apr 8, 2019 at 11:09 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sarah!

That may certainly be worth looking into! The most affordable of the Universal Resorts offering that benefit is Loews Royal Pacific Resort, as low as $359/night through Undercover Tourist. Right now, it looks like Unlimited passes are about $129, making the hotel potentially the cheaper option depending on the rate for the day you're looking to stay.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 7, 2019 at 10:20 a.m. Hans Says...

I don’t fully understand how the Universal Express works. If I buy it for 2 days the price in $149 and it says “One Park per Day” does that mean that it is valid for two days but just one park per day?

Reply
Apr 8, 2019 at 11:04 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Hans,

That's correct! If it says One Park Per Day, that means you're limited to one park each day.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 3, 2019 at 3:27 p.m. Nicole Hallway Says...

I thought there was one hotel that offered fast passes that was not one of the 3 on site hotels. Maybe a Hilton or Embassy Suites??? Anyone know?

Reply
Apr 3, 2019 at 4:16 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nicole!

To our knowledge, it's only select Universal hotels that offer this benefit - but others in the Frog Pond may have some insight!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 31, 2019 at 11:41 p.m. Sam Says...

Hi there, I have a question about the Universal (Cal) express pass purchased through this site.

As you don't specify the exact date for the express pass when you purchse it, is there a chnace that I could turn up on the day and find out the park has run out of express passes for that particular day? Or does purchasing the express pass on this site guarantee you can get expres on any day (within the valid ticket dates ie non-peak during April).

Thanks!

Reply
Apr 9, 2019 at 9:21 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sam,

Purchasing through us guarantees that you will get Express Pass!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 31, 2019 at 11:11 a.m. Steve Says...

Good morning ! I purchased the universal express pass through the universal website but didn’t buy the actual park tickets through them. Would I be able to buy the park tickets through undercover tourist and still work with the express passes?

Reply
Apr 1, 2019 at 9:08 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Steve,

Yes, you can!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 26, 2019 at 8:24 a.m. Sarah Says...

Is there still any strategy with the rides with a universal express pass? Eg which rides should be taken first

Reply
Mar 26, 2019 at 7:52 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sarah!

There sure is! You can find our park planning guides here. Hop back if you have any questions!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 23, 2019 at 4:27 p.m. Says...

Do you know if the "child swap" option can be used in the single riders line?

Reply
Mar 25, 2019 at 12:16 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi,

This is a great question! You could try it, but I think it defeats the "spirit" of how single rider line is supposed to work.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 18, 2019 at 2:53 a.m. Kristy Says...

Hi. We will be at universal first week of June and have already bought general admission tickets. Can I buy just express passes on line. Will it be more buying them separate or is that how it works?

Reply
Mar 18, 2019 at 8:16 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kristi!

For Universal Orlando, you're able to purchase your Express Pass online ahead of time here.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 17, 2019 at 4:25 p.m. Kelly Volpe Says...

Hello, We will be going for one day and doing two parks (Universal Orlando and IOA) the week of March 24. I see that it is a 9/10 for crowds, so normally I'm sure you'd recommend getting the Express Pass. However, our main focus is Harry Potter (both parks/Hogwarts Express), so do you think it's necessary to get the Express Pass if HP is our reason for going? Of course, if there's extra time I'm sure we'd take part in other rides as well.

Reply
Mar 18, 2019 at 4:46 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kelly!

The Wizarding World is a popular area, so it really just depends on your threshold for waiting in line. We love the extra time to relax and drink a butterbeer (AND the ability to ride multiple times if we get Unlimited)! If your party includes tadpoles, we'd definitely spring for the Express Pass.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 13, 2019 at 9:37 p.m. Monica Says...

We will be at universal june 9th and 10th, will we be ok if we dont get express passes or will the lines be crazy?

Reply
Mar 13, 2019 at 5:16 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Monica!

Those days are slated at an 8 and 7 according to the Crowd Calendar, so if you can spring for it, we recommend Express Passes.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 13, 2019 at 7:12 p.m. Gill Says...

Hi there, Ive bought my tickets for universal and trying to figure out the most cost effective way of buying express passes. If I book 1 night at the Hard Rock Hotel, do we get the unlimited express passes for both full days either side of the night we are staying?? ie can we arrive at the hotel at 7am to 'check in' and recieve our express passes? This seems to good to be true!!

Reply
Mar 13, 2019 at 4:03 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Gill!

That's correct - your Express Pass is valid for both check-in and departure days when staying at a Premier hotel such as the Hard Rock. Enjoy!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 12, 2019 at 11:57 p.m. Danielle Says...

Hi. We are going to Universal for Spring Break. I am wondering if you have heard of the VIP and how it works in camparison to the express pass.

Reply
Mar 14, 2019 at 10:01 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Danielle!

The VIP tour in comparison to Express passes includes additional perks like priority front-of-the-line access, behind-the-scenes experiences, complimentary valet parking and meals (the amount depends on private VIP or group VIP), whereas either Express Unlimited or Express only get you to skip the regular line to a certain point.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 7, 2019 at 4:23 p.m. Dave Says...

I am heading to Universal next week. Can you tell me if the Express Passes work for the attractions open during Early Park Admission?

Reply
Mar 7, 2019 at 11:39 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dave!

Express Passes do NOT work during Early Park Admission (though in theory, lines should be short enough that you shouldn't need them at that time and can instead save the passes for a busier time in the day :) )

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 3, 2019 at 8:26 p.m. Bonnie Says...

Hi,

Do you have advice on the best place to p/u express unlimited pass, will call or park pick up? Is there an option to pick up if you stay at an on-property resort?

Reply
Mar 4, 2019 at 1:12 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Bonnie!

If you're staying on-property at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Loews Hard Rock Hotel or Loews Royal Pacific Hotel, the Express Pass is included with your hotel stay and you gain access to it at check-in. Otherwise, you can save time by purchasing the Express Pass ahead of time online to be scanned when you enter the park, or you can purchase these directly from a ticket booth prior to entering the park, or select gift shops and kiosks once you enter the park.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 27, 2019 at 1:30 a.m. AL Says...

Hi, Thank you so much for this awesome guide!

I will go to Universal Studio this year and stay there for the following time section: 4/19: 1 pm to 8 pm; 4/20: 9 am to 10 pm. 4/21: 9 am to 5 pm.

I have purchased 2 parks, park to park 2 days plus 2 days tickets. And would like to buy a express pass on 4/20 only in order to save some money. Does it sounds like a good plan to you? Or will you suggest me to buy express pass on the other day in order to achieve better price-performance ratio?

Our goal is to play as many rides as possible within three days.

Thank you !!

Reply
Feb 28, 2019 at 3:18 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Al,

Hoppy to help! Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

I think that sounds like a great plan - nicely done! Have a great trip!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 20, 2019 at 8 p.m. Nik Says...

Hi

Is a Express Pass personal? Or may it shared between different people?

Thanks,

Niklas

Reply
Feb 21, 2019 at 3:52 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Niklas!

Express Pass utilizes photo recognition for its user, so it cannot be shared.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 11, 2019 at 12:02 a.m. Nicole Says...

Hello! If I stay at one of the Premier Hotels, will the tickets purchased from this website be able to get the included Express pass that comes with staying at the hotel?

Thanks!

Reply
Feb 12, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nicole!

As long as you are staying at one of the premier Universal hotels (Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel or Loews Royal Pacific Resort) you'll have access to Universal Express Unlimited passes for each day of your hotel stay, as well as early entry.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Feb 7, 2019 at 4:19 a.m. Jnvnk Says...

I have a question regarding the hotel express pass, are they personalized to each family member? Will we need to ensure each member has the correct room key card or as long as they have any key card it will be scanned and is fine? Thank you!

Reply
Feb 8, 2019 at 7:50 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there,

Yes! Your room keys serve as your pass.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 1, 2019 at 7:16 p.m. colin Says...

hi me and the wife have the 3 ticket pass.for 7\3\2019 is the express valid for one day only as im not quite understanding thanks.colin

Reply
Feb 4, 2019 at 2:35 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Colin,

Are you staying at one of the hotels offering Unlimited Express? If so, you would be able to use it on your date of check-in through your date of check-out. If you are only planning to visit the parks for one day, you would be able to use Unlimited Express for that day (provided that was during your hotel stay).

If you are not staying at a hotel offering Unlimited Express, you could purchase the Express Pass for the date you plan to visit the park.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 31, 2019 at 3:19 a.m. Jenn T Says...

We are coming for the Canada Spring Break March 23-29 and are staying at Cabana Bay for the time and we are thinking of getting the 3 park pass and I'm wondering if or how they track entrance. We have a friend coming for 2 days and staying with us and I'm wondering if they used one of our passes could they go into the waterpark. They didn't really want to spend a day there but simply check it out so were trying to save the cost of a full day ticket

Reply
Jan 31, 2019 at 9:15 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jenn!

The parks use fingerprint technology to match the ticket to the ticket holder as they enter, so everyone will need their own ticket.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 29, 2019 at 6:25 p.m. oneeyejack Says...

Planning to hit up both Universal's on May 13th. Do you think we need an Unlimited Express pass?

Reply
Jan 29, 2019 at 3:23 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

That day looks pretty low in terms of crowds according to the Crowd Calendar (yay!) If you're looking to tackle a lot in one day, or even get to the parks and find things aren't moving as quickly as you anticipated, you can try to upgrade on-site.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 21, 2019 at 8:59 p.m. Susan Says...

We are coming June 9 - 13, 2019. We are planning on staying off-site and purchasing 2 park 3 day unlimited express pass. Does this mean I can go to botj IOA and US for three days in a row and ride with no wait? And when I pick my dates for some reason June 12 is not available. I am new to Universal Studios. Any help or advice would be appreciated.

Reply
Jan 29, 2019 at 10:04 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Susan,

I am not sure why June 12 is not available, but yes, if you purchase the Unlimited Express for both parks during your entire visit, you would be able to use the Express entrance for every ride. This does not mean you won't have a wait, but it will be a significantly reduced wait as you skip the majority of the regular line.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 18, 2019 at 5:31 p.m. Phil O Says...

Hi, if you take advantage of the hotels for the express pass what time can you collect them on day 1 please? Thank you

Reply
Jan 22, 2019 at 1:32 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Phil,

Great question! While your room may not be ready first thing in the morning, you are able to pre-register for check in and collect your Express Passes as early as you'd like, leave your luggage and head to rope drop at the parks.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 17, 2019 at 5:27 p.m. Pooja Says...

Hi,

We are visiting Mar 23-26 this year. Planning to stay at Hard Rock. Can we check in at 9 in the morning to get fast passes to use at the park? Do you think we need express passes during that time or we can stay at different hotel?

Thanks

Reply
Jan 17, 2019 at 12:37 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Pooja!

March 23-26 does look fairly busy based on our Crowd Calendar, so we think your plan of staying at the Hard Rock and taking advantage of Universal Express is a great one!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 14, 2019 at 7:33 p.m. Chris Sullivan Says...

I am planning on visiting Universal on Feb. 23rd. I have 1 day to visit Universal and the Express passes are too much for me. Do I have any shot at getting on rides at both parks or am I better off focusing on just one.

Reply
Jan 16, 2019 at 6:35 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Chris,

This really depends on a few factors, most importantly, what your must-do rides are. It's pretty easy to hop between parks since they're so close, but you would still cover more ground staying in just one. If it were up to us, we'd hop, but it's up to you!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 4, 2019 at 7:52 p.m. Rosy Says...

I am trying to plan a trip for me and my 6 children but the only month that we can go is in July. Do you know how long the wait time would be for the rides?

Reply
Jan 16, 2019 at 2:33 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Rosy,

Wait times vary, but you can toadally make the most of it even during the busiest times. Here are our best tips for saving time at theme parks.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 3, 2019 at 3:50 p.m. Mommy Shark Says...

We will be visiting Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure for 4 days on 1/27/19 to 1/31/19. The crowd calendar shows low crowds for our entire stay. Never having been before, we have 4 days to roam the parks and I am wondering if we even need the Express Passes. I'd love to save money if I can and stay at a lower cost hotel if you don't think we'll need them.

Reply
Jan 16, 2019 at 12:45 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mommy Shark,

I don't think you will need them during this time, especially given your length of stay. That said, you could always add them on when when you're in the parks if you decide you do!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 2, 2019 at 2:52 p.m. Ashley Says...

Thanks for all the info! Do you think express passes would be needed for Jan 6,2019? Thanks!

Reply
Jan 1, 2019 at 3:54 a.m. Laurie Says...

I’d appreciate your input as I’ve been having a (friendly) debate with my brother in law. We will be visiting the parks January 22-24 and staying at the Hard Rock Hotel so we will have the Unlimited Express Pass. He feels we need to stick to a strict touring plan the first two days and then go back and repeat anything more leisurely the third day so we don’t miss anything. I think given the crowd levels, early park admission, and express passes, we can be more flexible (excepting a few things like Olivander’s, Hogwarts Express, and eating at off-peak times)>. What’s your expert opinion? Thanks!

Reply
Jan 16, 2019 at 11:34 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Laurie,

This is a great question, and we're so hoppy to help! The decision to use a park plan is a personal one and based largely on what I like to think of as "vacation" style. Some people wouldn't dream of following a plan on vacation, even if it was a crazy busy time. Lucky for you both, you're visiting during one of the best times of the year as far as crowds go, you're spending three days in the parks, and you have Universal Express Unlimited.

Based on those reasons, I don't think you need to stick to a strict plan, although you could certainly start with the plan and then see how far you are getting that first day and adjust. Having a general game plan and hitting the most popular rides first is always a good idea (you can use our general park maps to see these), but having Unlimited Express is going to be a massive game changer, especially this time of year.

Keep hopping and have fun!

Leap

Reply
Dec 29, 2018 at 5:59 p.m. Ann L Says...

Hi and Happy New Year! I have been following your posts and did look at the crowd predictor for our time at Universal the last week of July. We have 4 teenagers and are debating staying in Cabana Bay 2 bedroom suite vs staying at the Portofino to have the Express Pass. Can you tell me an average of how much time the Express Pass saves on rides such as Harry Potter? Thanks!

Reply
Dec 31, 2018 at 7:09 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ann and hoppy New Year back to you!

The Unlimited Express, which is what you get staying at select hotels, can be used an unlimited amount of times. While we can't give you an actual number, we'd say you could likely double the number of rides you are able to go on per day with it. And to have it the whole time is a nice perk, especially with teenagrs!

You didn't mention what rooms you are looking at with Portofino, but two standard rooms at Portofino will be larger than the 2-bedroom suites at Cabana. If it were up to us, we'd go with Portofino, but you could also price out Cabana and add on the cost of Express passes and see how it compares to Portofino (with Express included). Keep in mind there are a limited number of two-bedroom suites at Cabana, so if you're going to do this, you need to book ASAP!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 27, 2018 at 2:11 a.m. Rennie Says...

Hello - Since I am from Canada and I am not really familiar with Presidents' Weekend - or perhaps Presidents' Week - What does this mean for us if we are staying at the Royal Pacific Resort, are getting unlimited passes to the two parks, but will be visiting on the Sat and Sun of Presidents' Weekend (Sat Feb. 16 and Sun. Feb. 17, I think)? Will we be able to get in all the rides with an unlimited express pass even though it may be very crowded with Presidents' Week?

Reply
Dec 27, 2018 at 9:08 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Rennie,

Yes, you will have access to Unlimited Universal Express during your visit, and you will be glad to have them during this busy time!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 23, 2018 at 1:36 a.m. Flag Footballer Says...

We only have one free day on a trip to Orlando in January. If we get there at opening, can we do all the major rides at both Universal and Islands of Adventure in one day with Express Pass? I've read that if the line isn't too bad at Kong, it would be better to go in the regular queue because of the queue experience - is that true? Any other rides like that?

Reply
Dec 27, 2018 at 1:26 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Flag Footballer,

It depends on park hours and the day (crowd level), but you should be able to most of the rides in both parks if it's not during the holiday weeks/weekends.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 21, 2018 at 6:03 p.m. AS Says...

I'm looking to book a trip in late Jan/early Feb. 2019. We initially thought we'd just do one day but my daughter is a huge Harry Potter fan so I'm wondering if I should do 2 days to cover all the HP attractions with small children (8yo and 4yo). I understand that if I stay in a Universal premier hotel for one night, I'll get the Express pass for both day of check-in and day of check-out. But do I need to purchase a 2 day park-to-park pass then?

Reply
Dec 27, 2018 at 2:17 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there,

Staying on-site at a hotel that offers Unlimited Express is a great idea! You will still need to purchase park admission for everyone, and a park-to-park ticket is required to ride the Hogwarts Express. You should definitely be able to do it all late Jan./early Feb. in two days, especially if you have Unlimited Express.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 20, 2018 at 7:46 a.m. Hyung Kim Says...

Hi I booked on 12/25 but the check in time is 4pm. How can I get the express pass before 4pm? ans where should I go?

and If I check out on 12/26 next day, can i still use express pass on that day?

Reply
Dec 17, 2018 at 12:08 a.m. Carmen Says...

Hi!!! I want to surprise my 19 yr old daughter before January classes start back. I was thinking Sunday 1/6 and mon 1/7. We can stay on property and want express passes. That’s all I know. She is Harry Potter obsessed so that is the main goal. Seeing all of Harry Potter and doing it all. Everything else would be secondary. Can you tell me the most efficient way to do this? I am not a theme park buff and have no idea to maximize our time. I feel like I would waste our time if I tried to figure it all out. Thank you!!!!!

Reply
Dec 19, 2018 at 12:14 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Carmen!

Don't worry, we got this ;) First of all, we would recommend a 2-day park-to-park ticket so you can experience the magic of the Hogwarts Express and the fun in both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

If you want Express passes, we recommend staying at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Universal's Hard Rock Hotel or Loews Royal Pacific Resort to get Universal Express Unlimited (read all about the perks in our post) INCLUDED! :)

We know there are a lot of links here, but you can find our very own discounts at each one! There is also early admission for on-site resort guests. These will be the top ways to maximize your time, and you'll love every second!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Dec 13, 2018 at 10:45 p.m. Jim G Says...

Thanks for this helpful information. Based on this information and more we purchased express unlimited passes for 12/21-22. We got the tickets in the mail the other day and I was rather surprised that they are old-school paper stock tickets. It seems like a lanyard/card or band would have been a more easy-to-use approach. Carrying the pass around all day seems like a recipe for trouble. Does anyone have a recommendation for a better approach to avoid losing these? thanks!

Reply
Dec 14, 2018 at 9:38 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jim!

Universal does sell some really cool lanyards for these, if that helps! We got an awesome Stranger Things one for our Halloween Horror Nights pass there :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Dec 14, 2018 at 6:01 p.m. JimG Says...

Thank you!

Reply
Dec 12, 2018 at 10:45 p.m. Julie Says...

we are planning to visit Dec 24 and will buy express pass. If we have bought the express pass and decided to go another day, would the pass be exchangeable/refundable?

Reply
Leave a comment
Name is required. Email is required. Please input a comment.
About Us
About Undercover Tourist

Undercover Tourist is the leading supplier of online discount tickets to Orlando, Florida-area attractions, including Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando ResortTM, SeaWorld® Orlando Resort, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort and more.

Sign up for our newsletter!
Please enter your Name
Please enter your Email address
Now Offering
donaldduck

disneyland® resort california

Theme Park Tickets!
footer grass

Contact:  1 (800) 846-1302 (USA)  |  1 (386) 239-8624 (Worldwide)

Sign up for Our Newsletter Let's Plan a Better Family Vacation

monthly news, planning tips and special deals

Please enter your Name
Please enter your Email address

Contact Us

Send Feedback

Or call 1 (800) 846-1302 (USA)

1 (386) 239-8624 (Worldwide)


©2000–2019 Undercover Tourist. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions
As to Disney photos, logos, properties: ©Disney
lilypad
Newsletter logo

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

monthly news, planning tips and special deals from the Frog Family

Please enter your Name Please enter your Email address
×

Thank you for joining our email list!

Joined email list logo

You should be receiving your first email soon!
Thanks for being a part of the family.

×

Create An Account

In order to save your favorite items, you'll need to create an account.
Already have one? Sign in.

An Undercover Tourist account allows you to:

Join The Frog Family
No thanks ×
Planning an upcoming vacation?

Sign up to receive our newsletter with free printable park plans, FastPass+ recommendations and more!

Error. Please try again.


Nope, I'm not going on a trip.