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The Ultimate Guide on When to Use Express Pass at Universal Orlando

by Leap on June 29, 2022 1865 Orlando

Inside This Post Inside This Post

Summary

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-line 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. Understanding how and when to use the Express pass at Universal Orlando is your key to a great visit. This post explains everything you need to know! And in some hopping good news ... we frogs are selling Universal Express passes at a discount!

Universal Orlando Express - Express Pass

What Is Universal Express Pass?

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

Universal 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 Express access in either park are Jurassic World VelociCoasterHagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and Pteranodon Flyers at Universal's Islands of Adventure.

In the past, some rides have used a Virtual Line, which may open back up during busy periods (the Virtual Line is used on an as-needed basis). If you have a Universal Express Pass, you generally do not have to get a Virtual Line pass for any ride but Hagrid's. However, during the busiest of times, an Express queue may reach capacity and a Virtual Line pass would be the only way to access a ride.

How Express Pass Works at Universal Orlando

Express Pass Universal Orlando - Scanning Express Pass at Ride Entrance

When you approach a ride with Universal Express, show your pass to the attendant. Some rides (mainly those with short, outdoor queues), such as Flight of the Hippogriff, will scan the pass right then and there as you arrive at the ride entrance.

For popular rides with more elaborate and longer queues, a team member will check the pass and let you enter the Express queue. Then, closer to the ride loading area (this distance varies by ride), a second team member will scan your pass, so hold on to your pass and keep it ready. Some Universal Express queues will eventually merge with a ride's standby queue, such as Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. On the flip side, other Express queues are entirely separated from a ride's standby queue, such as Skull Island: Reign of Kong.

One exception is Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon when its virtual queue is being utilized. During those times, you can pick up a return time or use the Express pass to enter the building immediately. The difference between the standby queue is that there is an outdoor portion of the queue before you enter the building. However, unless it's a busy park day, most standby guests will enter the building rather quickly, not giving much of a time-saving advantage.

Know that the Universal Express pass is not a group pass. Everyone in your party will need their own Universal Express pass. Also, the passes are non-transferrable. If you're staying at a Universal hotel that offers the free Express pass benefit, your hotel room key will act as the pass. Each person will have a personalized hotel key.

It's also important to note that for rides with metal detectors such as The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and Jurassic World VelociCoaster, all of your belongings must be stowed away in a locker except for your Express Pass (which you'll need to get into the corresponding line). Make sure at least one frog in your party has pockets or a place on their clothing to store your passes. Lanyards with pouches can go through the metal detectors but must be tucked into your shirt prior to boarding the ride vehicle.

Universal Orlando Single Rider Lines

Express Pass Universal - Hulk

Single Rider lines can sometimes be even faster than Universal Express pass lines. If you don't mind splitting up your party on the ride, you can experience some of the most popular rides much more quickly. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey's Single Rider line, in particular, is the best for saving time and is often faster than the Express queue. (It's also easy to miss. Keep your eyes up as soon as you enter the castle to spot the Single Rider sign. It's going to direct you to a staircase on your left.) The Single Rider lines go straight to the loading area, though the exact speed can depend on the flow of odd-numbered groups. You and your party will be together in the queue, but you will split up on the ride as you fill an empty seat. It is important to note that Single Rider lines may not always be open. They periodically open and close depending on how filled to capacity the queue is.

Single Rider Lines at Universal Studios Florida:

Single Rider Lines at Universal's Islands of Adventure:

Keep in mind that some Universal Express and most 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's storyline. For example, if it's your first time on Skull Island: Reign of Kong or Revenge of the Mummy, we recommend experiencing the regular queue (the Express lines skip major parts). If you've been there, done that, take the route that's best for you.

If you're a Harry Potter fan, good news. The Express queue for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey misses the outdoor greenhouse and smaller details inside. But the major parts of the castle, such as Dumbledore's Office and the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, are not toadally out of view. For Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, the Express queue is essentially the same as the standby line, only moving faster. Both Single Rider lines still don't get the full experience as standby, however.

Universal Express Pass Options

Express Pass Universal - Pass Back

There are two types of Universal Express passes:

You can use the 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 Standard pass one time per ride each day that your pass is valid.

While it is slightly more costly, the Unlimited option can be invaluable depending on your needs and priorities. We highly recommend opting for Unlimited if you:

  • Want to ride the Hogwarts Express both ways more than once instead wasting time and energy walking from park to park
  • Struggle with screen rides and/or have a history of motion sickness so you can get the rides you better tolerate as many times as you want
  • Are not particularly into roller coaster and want to re-ride attractions you love over and over again
  • Have tadpoles attached to specific Express pass accepting rides to avoid potential future meltdowns
  • Have tadpoles at an awkward height so they have the ability to enjoy the rides they can get on more than once
  • Are visiting with a large group since if gives you flexibility to split up and ride more or less of your favorite rides

Additionally, Florida is notorious for its thunderstorms—especially in the summer. Many outdoor Express pass accepting rides will close if there's thunder or lightning in the area. If you went with Standard and didn't hold onto your one-time ride on an indoor attraction, you'll be forced to wait in the inevitably long Standby queue when the rain hits at rides you already utilized Express on. Opting for Unlimited allows you to re-ride to your heart's content!

Both types of Universal Express passes are available for one park per day or both parks per day. It can be purchased online ahead of time through us or Universal directly, or while you're at the parks. We like this flexibility. Sometimes you don't know you want an 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 with an Express Plus pass to skip the virtual lines at all rides and attractions inside the water park.

How Much Is Universal Express Pass?

Universal Express Pass - In-Park Kiosk

Ultimately, it depends.

If you are staying on-site at one of Universal's premier resort hotels, Universal Express Unlimited is included with your stay 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, but if you are already considering purchasing Express Pass, you should do the math and see if it makes sense to stay on-site. For larger groups of three or more, it is often still cheaper to stay on-site with Unlimited Express versus staying off-site and purchasing Unlimited Express separately. You get the added benefit of being so close to the parks when you stay on-site, plus access to all of the fabulous pools, plush rooms and other on-site amenities. If you are staying at a premier resort hotel and are planning on hitting the parks on your arrival day, no worries! The front desk can help you get your Express pass so you're ready to roll, while the Bell Desk safely stores your luggage.

Hotels with 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 & Dockside Inn and Suites do not offer Universal Express Unlimited, but they do offer Early Park Admission to select rides inside Universal's Volcano Bay water park and Universal's Islands of Adventure and/or Universal Studios Florida. Keep in mind that you 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 at a discount from us or Universal directly or while you are in the parks. Keep in mind that Universal Express passes 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. If you aren't sure you will need or want the passes, we recommend you hold off purchasing until you arrive (though it will cost you more, as the price tends to increase as the date gets closer, leading up to the day of). Note that Universal Express is date-specific, so you will need to know what days you plan to be in the parks if you plan to buy the passes ahead of your visit.

When to Use Express Passes at Universal Orlando

Express Pass Universal Orlando - Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Express Queue

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

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! If you're a regular, the Premier Passholder level grants you unlimited Universal Express access after 4 p.m.

When the parks are expected to be super busy.

When our Crowd Calendar predicts crowds of 8, 9 or 10, these are prime times to consider Express passes. You might even consider it on 7 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.

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, the pass is a must to get the most done during your time.

Is the Universal Express Pass Worth It?

Express Pass Universal - Hippogriff

No matter when you visit, having Universal Express will be a time-saver. How much time can depend on the ride and certain situations. If you do purchase an Express pass, avoid using it (especially if you have the standard, one-time-use pass) immediately after a ride reopens if it's been down. Many people will then get in line and inflate the wait time for both standby, Express and even Single Rider queues. Just come back to the ride later in the day.

On a recent visit, Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure was delayed during Early Park Admission, causing the Single Rider line to drastically back up throughout most of the morning. We got in the Single Rider line at 11:45 a.m. and didn't get off the ride until 1 p.m. That being said, the wait was less than the posted standby which read 100 minutes. However, the standby line was significantly shorter later in the day just minutes before park closing as we waited less than an hour. (Don't count on your last ride being at night, though, in case the coaster closes due to weather and doesn't reopen.)

On that same visit, though, we found Express to be incredibly beneficial. We entered the Express line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey when standby said it was a 95-minute wait. We ended up getting on and off in just 10 minutes! The same hoppened at Kang & Kodos' Twirl 'n' Hurl — it was a 45-minute standby wait, and we hopped on and off within 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the Hogwarts Express in Hogsmeade, we waited about 10 minutes in Express, when standby said 15 minutes. Also with Express, we waited 35 minutes for Despicable Me Minion Mayhem when standby said 50 minutes. Even though these ones moved a bit slower, it's still time saved!

The big 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!

Are There Other Ways to Save Time in the Parks?

Universal Express Pass - Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit at Sunset

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.

Buy your tickets in advance.

You do not want to waste any of your precious time standing in line to buy tickets at the gate to start off your day. Plus you will save more money if you buy in advance.

Arrive at the parks ahead of the official opening time.

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 such as Jurassic World VelociCoaster. If you are staying on-site at one of Universal's hotels, take advantage of Early Park Admission to the parks, especially Universal's Volcano Bay. While it may just be an extra hour, we've been able to hop to three different roller coasters before the park officially opens using this epic benefit!

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).

Use the Single Rider lines. 

As mentioned above, the Single Riders line is often even faster than Universal Express. As long as you're fine with splitting up the group, Single Rider lines can be major time-savers.

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

Related: Top 20 Tips to Maximize Your Time at Universal Orlando Resort

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
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1–50 of 1292 comments
Sep 27, 2022 at 2:57 p.m. Michelle Says...

When do express passes usually go on sale for the next year? We have a trip planned in January 2023 and still can't book passes. Thanks!!

Reply
Sep 27, 2022 at 3:43 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Michelle!

At this time, Universal Express passes are only being sold for 2022 dates, but keep checking back with us!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 29, 2022 at 9:25 p.m. Darren Says...

Do you recommend getting the express pass for a 2 day 2 park trip October 12-13th 2022?

Reply
Aug 30, 2022 at 8:38 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Darren!

We expect there'd be Level 5 crowds, so we don't think it'd be absolutely necessary. Usually, weekdays are less crowded than weekends, which helps. And as long as there's availability, you could always get Express if you arrive, see the crowds and change your mind. (Perhaps you could even wait and see how much you get done on the first day, and then evaluate if you'd want it the second day.)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 2, 2022 at 11:04 p.m. Carmen Siegrist Says...

What does it cost to park at Universal and Sea World? Is there any dinning or food plans/savings plans for these parks? Any senior discounts?

Reply
Aug 3, 2022 at 8:33 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Carmen!

Standard parking costs $27 at Universal (free after 6 p.m. with the exception of nights when Halloween Horror Nights is taking place) and $30 at SeaWorld. There is an All-Day Dining plan offered at SeaWorld (which we offer at a discount)! There are no senior discounts that we know of.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 30, 2022 at 7:42 p.m. Aleta Rados Says...

We are scheduled at Universal on Sunday, March 26, 2023, for one adult and one child. Do you think we'll have a need for Universal Express passes? What happens if the weather is very stormy - do we get a rain check?

Reply
Jun 30, 2022 at 3:15 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Aleta!

If you can swing it, we'd suggest getting Express passes since you'll be there over a weekend during the spring break season. But it likely depends on how old your tadpole is! If they don't meet some of the height requirements, then there may be fewer rides to go on (and thus fewer rides you'll want to hit). As for weather, Universal typically does not issue rain checks, except for severe weather (for instance, a tropical storm warning). However, March is great time to go if you wish to avoid rain! Historically, it is a month with low rainfall.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 19, 2022 at 8:45 a.m. Leon Says...

Hi

Travelling from the UK in last two weeks of July 22

1st week is Disney 2nd week is Universal

Trying to decide if we should pay for one day express pass or not as adds $1000+ for our family of 5. We did a two hotel package and have booked cabana for the universal half of our trip as to keep cost down.

We do have the early entry and access to all three parks.

Will it be super busy at this time of year or will 7 days of park hoping be enough time for us to do it all?

And also as the wife and I are ok with queuing would the kids be alright with an express each to run around as a team - they are 12,13&16yrs?

That would save us about $400 and they would maybe get a lot more out of it.

Maybe its best to see when we are there but are worried if we do that the tickets may run out?

Aaaargh lol

Reply
Jun 24, 2022 at 10:26 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Leon!

It is a busy time since it's still summer. But since you'll be there for a full seven days, we think it will give you enough time to do everything! Definitely take advantage of Early Entry for all three parks - that will be when you experience the lowest crowds so you can knock out some of the big rides, such as Hagrid's, VelociCoaster and Escape from Gringotts, early in the day. Like you said, upgrading to Express on the day of is an option if you want to wait and see what the crowds are like, though prices can and do increase as the date gets closer, as well as potentially run out. If you and your wife are fine without, then the kids only having Express is an option too!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 12, 2022 at 3:21 p.m. lisa Says...

Hi - we are booked in to Lowes RP for 4 nights with included unlimited express passes (?) On the back of our tickets it doesnt say this as your above image shows - it just says 3 park 14 day explorer ticket. Will our room keys therefore be the express passes ? Many thanks , Lisa

Reply
Jun 13, 2022 at 9:28 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lisa!

Yes, for hotel guests, your Universal Express pass will be your hotel room key. (Our picture shows an Express pass bought separately at the park.)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 18, 2022 at 12:05 p.m. Kimi Says...

Love your site, we use it for WDW all the time. We are considering trying Universal for the first time Aug 25-29 before our cruise. Trying to figure out if we need the express pass? I was hoping to stay at Cabana Bay, as staying at their premier resort is twice as much and a lot more than staying at Disney even. We only need 2-3 days in the parks. The unknown of Universal is pushing us towards WDW again but maybe by the end of August UO will be slow? ;)

Reply
May 23, 2022 at 11:12 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kimi!

By that time in August, things should start slowing as kids head back to school - we think with early entry and a good plan, especially since you'll be there for a few days, you should be able to get a lot done in the parks without Express.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 10, 2022 at 4:24 p.m. Nona Says...

Do you think express passes are essential at volcano bay? We are going in June 2022 and are not staying on property.

Reply
May 11, 2022 at 3:50 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nona!

We find Universal Express to be more valuable at the theme parks than Volcano Bay. Volcano Bay has its own virtual queue system (Tapu Tapu), and Express just eliminates the need to join the virtual line and having to return at a later time (not skipping the line itself). We've relied on Tapu Tapu and it's worked out well for us — just make sure to tap in for the water coaster as early as possible. If you're going on a weekend and want to ensure that you get everything done, it may be worth considering Express since it will be in the middle of June. But otherwise, arrive early, know how to use the Tapu Tapu system and prioritize high-demand rides first.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 9, 2022 at 6:20 p.m. Carolina Says...

Hi,

If I stay at the Lowes Pacific Hotel, can I use the Express Pass during the entire day including the day I will check out?

Reply
May 9, 2022 at 2:25 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Carolina!

Yes! Since you're staying at Loews Royal Pacific Resort and have the Unlimited Universal Express benefit, you may use on the days of check-in and checkout.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 10, 2022 at 1:28 p.m. Marcos Says...

And is it possible to do the check-in prior to 4pm (lets say early in the morning), leave our luggage and get the room key without getting the actual room as to go to the park two full days wi the express pass?

Reply
Jul 11, 2022 at 8:31 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Yes, Marcos! That is toadally possible.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 13, 2022 at 2:06 p.m. Krista Says...

We are staying onsite July 30-Aug 3 with a family of five. We are only doing Universal (park-to-park) one day. Should we make one of our nights at an express pass hotel or should we be ok without the express pass on a Tuesday the first week in August? Thanks.

Reply
Apr 14, 2022 at 9:01 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Krista!

Our Crowd Calendar shows Level 8 (high crowds) for Aug. 2 — mainly due to the final weeks of the summer break season. If you can swing it (and that's what you're leaning toward), then we'd say go with Express! But if you decide not to, we have a couple of posts about going to Universal during a peak time and tips for spending one day at Universal. While you could definitely wait to assess and purchase Express in the parks if you decide last minute you want them after all, it would be pricier, as the cost of Express increases as the date gets closer or on the day of.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 8, 2022 at 4:45 p.m. JMMatos Says...

What is the best way to pick up express passes? The only available options I see are Kiosk and gift shop pick up locations.

Reply
Apr 8, 2022 at 12:49 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi JMMatos!

Correct! You can either pick them up at the will-call kiosks or merchandise/Guest Service locations. Both are relatively quick options — the will-call kiosks are off to the side at the entrance (you wouldn't get in line for the ticket booths) and the kiosk line can go quickly since it's self-service. But there are also multiple Express kiosks inside each park (you can't miss them!) that usually don't have long lines either. We'd say, check the will-call kiosks as you arrive. If it looks like a long line, then go ahead inside and pick it up at a merchandise location.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 17, 2022 at 1:53 p.m. Diane Says...

Wow, I lucked out! We're visiting for 2 days Easter weekend. I knew it would be busy so I booked our one night at the Hard Rock. Though I was shocked at the $650/nt rate, buying Express Passes separately would have been more than twice as much!

Reply
Mar 17, 2022 at 9:09 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Lucky frogs, indeed! Have a frogtastic time :)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 14, 2022 at 5:34 p.m. Paul Says...

We are going to Universal Studios first week in Jan 2023. When will the fast pass be available to buy for that time? Right now only available for 2022.

Reply
Mar 15, 2022 at 9:19 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Paul!

At this time, Universal Express passes are only being sold for 2022 dates, but keep checking back with us!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 8, 2022 at 10:29 a.m. Sandra Birley Says...

Hello,

We are a group of six coming on a Tuesday in late September, would you recommend purchasing the Express Pass?

Thanks

Reply
Mar 8, 2022 at 4:56 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sandra!

In the past, weekdays in September have generally been quieter, but with more and more demand for travel, crowds have been harder to predict this year and the parks have been busier than usual. We think you could still do without, but it probably wouldn't hurt to have either! If it isn't sold out on the day of, you could upgrade in the park once you're able to assess the crowds too. If you're leaning more toward Express, we'd say go for it and purchase sooner than later (the price goes up as it gets closer). But if you're unsure and leaning more toward no Express, then wait it out (it would be pricier if you change your mind, however). Also a hop tip, you can try to guess how busy Universal expects it to be if you look at the prices (since it varies by day and season).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 5, 2022 at 8:23 p.m. J Yoo Says...

I am just wondering if i get an annual pass (i am a florida resident), and opt for the premier pass for myself, do I have to shell out the premier pass for my whole family for us to get on the express line? How does it work with the express line? do they scan everyones ticket (my kids are 3-5-7), or just the adults? If i can save a little with getting my kids the seasonal pass, then id prefer that. Otherwise Im paying a premium to get parking for the whole family when all we need is one parking (if you can follow my logic lol)

Reply
Mar 7, 2022 at 8:26 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi J Yoo!

Each person would need a Premier pass, as a team member will need to scan each individual pass.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 26, 2022 at 4:22 a.m. Fran Kraus Says...

can handicap people on scooter access the Hogwart express/Can they access most of the park and building/ were not there for rides so is there enough to see. Is Harry Potter a place to sight see or just a ride/.

Reply
Jan 26, 2022 at 12:40 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Fran!

Yes, the Hogwarts Express can accommodate both wheelchairs and ECVs without needing a seat transfer. All shopping and dining locations are accessible, and stage shows and parades have reserved areas for accessible viewing, so there is a lot to do if you don't plan to go on rides (other than the Hogwarts Express). We can toadally spend a couple of hours in the Wizarding World at Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley just exploring, shopping, casting spells, sipping on Butterbeer and watching the shows (Celestina Warbeck, the Frog Choir, etc).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 30, 2021 at 7:59 p.m. Mary Says...

Considering express passes but would love to skip them to make it easier on the budget. My group has 2 days of park 2 park tickets for January 30 & 31 (Sunday and Monday). Thoughts on how busy it will be those days? Thanks!!!

Reply
Jan 3, 2022 at 1:31 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mary!

We wouldn't anticipate those days to be super busy! Our Crowd Calendar estimates that crowds would range from levels 5 to 6 (average crowds), so we think you could get by without them. The only caveat is that the Rock the Universe concert series is taking place Jan. 28 & 29, so some of those guests may stick around for the rest of the weekend. If anything though, you could consider getting Express passes on Sunday, but we don't think Monday would be necessary. Hope this helps!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 6, 2021 at 4:19 a.m. Jess Says...

Hi!

Thank you so much for all of this information. My husband and I are celebrating our 12th year of marriage and I’m surprising him with a weekend get away. We will be there January 21st and 22nd which is a Friday and Saturday. Would you recommend the unlimited express pass? We would like to do both parks within those days and get in as much as we can, for sure everything Harry Potter and Jurassic!

Reply
Dec 6, 2021 at 2:55 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jess!

January is generally a quieter month, so we don't think Universal Express is an absolute necessity for those particular days. The weekends can still get busy with locals, so it might be nice to have on Saturday, if you can and want to swing it for just one day. If not, then we'd definitely recommend to get as much done on Friday which should have lower crowds, and then utilize the Early Park Admission benefit if you're staying on-site, or arriving early so you can enter as soon as the park opens to maximize the most of your time and take advantage of the lowest wait times of the day.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 20, 2021 at 2:31 a.m. Kristi Says...

We are going to Universal the last week of January during the week, but we have a family of 5 and our youngest may not be able to ride some of the rides. Would you recommend getting the Express pass for our trip then?

Reply
Nov 22, 2021 at 12:36 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kristi!

Generally around that time (especially on weekdays), the parks have low crowds so you likely wouldn't need Express passes. We might recommend them if you're trying to fit both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in one day because park hours are shorter and you'll have less time to get everything done. But otherwise, we think it'd also be fine to skip. (You can also wait to purchase at the park if you find that you'd want them.)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 29, 2021 at 11:06 a.m. Emma C Says...

So none of the Marriott properties at Flamingo Crossings qualify?

Reply
Sep 29, 2021 at 10:36 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Emma!

The Universal Express Unlimited benefit is only available for guests staying at the Universal premier hotels (Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel and Royal Pacific Resort) — though you can always purchase separately!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 2, 2021 at 2:22 a.m. Luis Rodriguez Says...

Great article!

Can I use the express passes benefits from a premier hotel both on check-in and check-out dates if I just book 1 night?

Reply
Aug 2, 2021 at 8:35 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Luis!

Thanks for hopping by! Yes, you may use the Express Unlimited benefit on both of the check-in and check-out dates.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 25, 2021 at 8:09 p.m. Jeri Link Says...

HELP! I bought 2 adult tickets for Universal Florida and Islands Florida. I purchased the tickets at Luke AFB, AZ. The Florida tickets have to be mailed to me. I want to buy 2 Express passes on line, but it says make sure it is the same date as on the ticket, I don't know if my ticket will have any date on it., We want to go on Sept 13 & 14 and a calendar shows availability all Sept. I haven't purchase Express Passes yet, what if we can't use them on our dates or if the park is full (i cannot see where we can make reservations for these 2 parks

HELP, Jeri Link

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Jul 26, 2021 at 1:37 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jeri!

Universal Orlando Resort does not require advance reservations for its theme parks, so you would just need your park tickets and Express Passes. They would need to be used on the same day (whenever you're planning to go). Note that you would need to purchase an Express Pass for each day of your trip. You may want to wait until you know for sure that your tickets aren't tied to any specific date - that way, it's guaranteed you'll get Express Passes for the same days. Or you could go ahead and purchase the Express Passes now. If you end up needing to change the date of the Express Passes, the passes are not refundable but you can use their value to purchase Express Passes for the new date. Hope this helps!

Keep hopping!

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Jul 11, 2021 at 7:11 p.m. Cara Says...

I purchased tickets for universal studios it’s a 1 day 2 park pass. How can I add the express pass?

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Jul 12, 2021 at 10:19 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cara!

You can purchase Express Passes separately online in advance (we offer Express Passes!) or you can purchase them inside the parks.

Keep hopping!

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Jul 3, 2021 at 9:34 p.m. Nelson Says...

I will have a 1 year old tadpole in my party so rider swap will be a necessity. Have plans on going the first week in February. What is your opinion on express pass for those dates?

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Jul 6, 2021 at 10:13 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nelson!

The first week of February is generally a quieter time with lower crowds, so we don't think Universal Express is an absolute must. But if you can swing it, it might be nice to have (particularly if your trip overlaps with the weekend — weekends are usually busier than weekdays), so that way it's less time waiting in line with your tadpole. You can also wait to purchase inside the park, though it may be pricier vs. buying in advance.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Jun 28, 2021 at 11:03 a.m. Charles Culver Says...

I purchased a 1 day 2 park ticket and the corresponding express passes, but I only have the "eticket" showing universal admission which doesn't mention express anywhere. Is it all on the same ticket and how do I get the express pass card?

Reply
Jun 29, 2021 at 8:10 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Charles!

Universal Orlando Express passes are separate from the regular admission tickets, so if you've purchased them directly from Universal, you can call (407) 224-4233 — or the toll-free number: (877) 589-4783. If you've purchased from us, give us a call at 1 (800) 846-1302 to help you sort it out.

Keep hopping!

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Jun 28, 2021 at 5:22 a.m. chad Says...

I bought the express pass online ahead of my trip. Can I change the date I initially booked the express pass for?

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Jun 29, 2021 at 8:05 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Chad!

Yes, you can call Universal if you know the new date or visit the ticketing window once you arrive at the park (subject to availability). Since it is a dated-ticket and prices fluctuate, there would likely be a difference to pay.

Keep hopping!

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Jun 16, 2021 at 6:34 p.m. Chad Says...

To get the Express Pass Unlimited benefit by staying at Royal Pacific, do I have to buy my tickets as a package through Universal, or can I buy the tickets from Undercover Tourist and still be eligible with my hotel stay?

Reply
Jun 16, 2021 at 3:29 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Chad,

The benefit is tied to your hotel stay, so you can purchase tickets through us!

Keep hopping!

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Jun 15, 2021 at 9:16 p.m. Jemiah Says...

Hey if I already have a ticket can buy an express pass once I get there

Reply
Jun 15, 2021 at 4:20 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jemiah,

Yes, you can purchase Universal Express tickets inside the Universal Orlando parks, though it's subject to availability. So, if it's expected to be a busy day, we'd suggest arriving as early as possible.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Jun 10, 2021 at 10:59 p.m. Dee Says...

If I buy a express ticket do I still have to buy the regular ticket to get in?

Reply
Jun 11, 2021 at 10:59 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dee!

Yes, you will need valid admission in addition to your Express Pass. Hope this helps!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 7, 2021 at 10:42 p.m. andreana Says...

Hi, We are going to universal in 3 weeks. I'm booked at a top hotel to get the express unlimited passes for my family. I have two questions.

1- Will the express passes work if I go ahead and get us all annual tickets instead of 4 days? the price isn't much different and i read you get discounts... I'll have to figure out if i can apply that toward my booking.

2, If i check out of the high end hotel and check into a lower value for 2 of our 5 days will it deactivate our "check out" day for express pass from the high end place?

needless to say to save some money i'm thinking 3 days one place and 2 the other place so we can get a bigger room.

Reply
Jun 7, 2021 at 6:05 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Andreana!

Good questions! Yes, the Universal Express Unlimited benefit applies to anyone staying at a Universal hotel, regardless of admission type (ticket or annual pass). And you're also correct about your second question — if you split your stay between hotels, only the time spent at the premier hotel would count toward the Universal Express Unlimited benefit. (You would receive different personalized hotel keys, which is what the team members would scan at the Express lines.) However, the Express benefit is valid on both the day of check-in (you'd need to stop by the hotel first) and check-out, so you should be able to use it for the day that you switch hotels.

Keep hopping!

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Jun 7, 2021 at 6:42 p.m. Claudia Says...

We bought the 2 park 2 days tickets for 4 for July 4!!!! Since is a holiday we imagine is going to be super crowded, of course we wanna buy the unlimited express pass , my question is why when I m about to check out the express tickets shown just un day which is July 4 !? Is it not supposed to be valid for 2 days??? Since we are buying the 2 days park??? Please someone help ,how long is valid my express tickets 1 or 2??

Reply
Jun 7, 2021 at 2:34 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Claudia,

The Universal Express passes are also dated tickets, so you would need to purchase a pass for each day of your visit.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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May 30, 2021 at 4:54 a.m. Ab Says...

I already purchased our park tickets. How do I purchase just the express passes? It keeps adding park tickets to my order. Thx

Reply
Jun 1, 2021 at 5:37 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ab!

We recommend giving it another try - we aren't running into any issues from Undercover Tourist or Universal :) Let us know if it continues to give you any trouble!

Keep hopping!

Leap

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May 21, 2021 at 8:24 p.m. Anthony DeRose Says...

Very helpful article.

My wife and I are planning a trip at the Hard Rock second to last weekend in July. Are we crazy? Do you think it will be unbearable waits even with the express pass?

Also crowd calendar is great and noticed on some of the days of our stay IOA or regular Universal are listed as recommended park of the day. Is that in regards to most manageable attendance?

Thanks

Reply
May 24, 2021 at 1:16 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Anthony,

Thanks for hopping by! The Universal Express Unlimited benefit will definitely help you, but since summer is one of the busiest times of the year, you may still experience some long waits, particularly with popular rides that don't offer Express just yet. We've gathered some tips about visiting Universal during a busy time that you may find hopful.

To answer your question about our Crowd Calendar, yes! It's based off where the lowest crowds would be expected. But during busy times, there may not be a super noticeable difference between the two.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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May 20, 2021 at 3:39 p.m. Sandy Says...

I’m going with the grands in June and on the express passes it only has my name since they are underage, is that correct? Their actual park passes have each girls name on it so I am confused

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May 21, 2021 at 12:30 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sandy,

If you're the credit card holder and you'll be with the girls, that's toadally fine.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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May 16, 2021 at 2:58 p.m. Giovanna Says...

Hi, I am going at the end of June. With the single rider line being closed, I am debating if I should splurge on getting the unlimited express pass....should I? Is it worth it? I was planning to purchase them online....Thank You in advance planning to use your park planners = )

Reply
May 18, 2021 at 6:27 p.m. Debbie Says...

We went over Spring Break and felt like the unlimited pass was a necessity. But I do think single rider lines have reopened on some of the rides?

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May 18, 2021 at 8:02 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Giovanna!

We definitely think Express is worth it, especially during busier times such as summer. Be sure to purchase online in advance for the best price! Have fun!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 7, 2021 at 7:54 p.m. Elmer R Hemingway Says...

Hi..Im planning to visit mid to late Sept 2021.. whats your opinion on this time of year and the Express Passes? Necessary or not?

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May 7, 2021 at 5:49 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Elmer!

In September, things start to slow a little as kiddos head back to school. We'd spring for Express on the weekend, if possible, but weekdays should be manageable :)

Keep hopping!

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Apr 7, 2021 at 12:20 p.m. Nina Says...

Hello,

We're going at the end of April. Are single rider lines available now or suspended during COVID?

Reply
Apr 7, 2021 at 7:53 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nina,

The Single Rider Lines are still unavailable.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 7, 2021 at 1:37 a.m. Jay Says...

Is it possible/realistic to get through all rides (3D/4D, thrill, and water - no kid rides) at either park in a day without the express pass, especially if I plan on taking advantage of early entry.

I plan on going during the weekday in the beginning of May.

Reply
Apr 7, 2021 at 8:26 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jay,

Historically, weekdays in the first half of May are considered as one of the best times to go to Universal Orlando since it's after the spring break season and before summer vacations start. Especially since you'll be taking advantage of Early Park Admission, you should be fine without an Express pass. As for hitting every ride, it's more realistic for hitting all of them in one park, but it could be more of a stretch if you're wanting to hit every ride in both parks during a single day (as there are about 20 rides — not including the rides for tadpoles — total between the two, so each one would need to average about a 30-minute wait time or less).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 1, 2021 at 3:37 a.m. Jack Says...

Haven't been to Universal Studios before, so trying to figure this out before making arrangements. Wondering if you could answer a question re: the Unlimited Express perk offered by the 3 hotels on-site:

If the hotel key/card serves as the Unlimited Express pass, how do the hotels offer you that perk on your CHECK OUT date (ie when you turn in your hotel key/card)? Is there a separate card/ticket that is given that doubles as a Unlimited Express pass?

Reply
Apr 1, 2021 at 9:46 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jack,

The hotel key is personalized with your name & the dates of your stay, so you can keep them as a keepsake after you check out. Hope this helps!

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Mar 29, 2021 at 5:58 p.m. Paula Says...

We are going to Universal next week and was waiting to buy express passes close to time going. I just checks and now it say they are unavailable next week. Did they sell OUT? Can you still buy at the park?

Reply
Mar 30, 2021 at 4:59 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Paula!

Yes, at busy times, the Express Passes can, unfortunately, sell out in advance.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Mar 20, 2021 at 8:50 p.m. Kevin Says...

For the express pass ticket can I just use my phone or do I need a paper copy

Reply
Mar 23, 2021 at 8:14 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kevin!

You can use your phone :) The only exceptions are Incredible Hulk or Rip Ride Rockit, where you'd need the paper copy since you can't bring your phone along with you.

Keep hopping!

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Mar 17, 2021 at 6:43 a.m. Paddy's Mum Says...

Hi , we're staying at the Hard Rock Hotel for a night and was wondering if there's a limit to how many times you can use your ticket . I'm led to believe that my room key is my express pass?

Reply
Mar 17, 2021 at 3:09 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Paddy's Mum!

That's correct - your room key serves as your Express Pass, and it's unlimited for the participating rides :) have a great time!

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Mar 11, 2021 at 6:06 p.m. Amber Says...

Hello, If I’m staying at a universal resort that offers the express pass and I have tickets to do 2 parks in one day. Will that express pass work for BOTH parks on that ONE day

Reply
Mar 11, 2021 at 3:11 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amber!

If your hotel offers the Express Unlimited perk, it's valid with your ticket type - so if you have park-to-park tickets, it's good at both parks! :)

Keep hopping!

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Mar 4, 2021 at 5:32 p.m. Desiree' R Says...

Hello! I am planning to stay off-site but still want to purchase the express pass unlimited for my brother and I, will I need to purchase it for each day we plan to be at the park?

Reply
Mar 4, 2021 at 4:04 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Desiree!

That's correct - you'd need to purchase Express for each day.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Mar 2, 2021 at 1:20 p.m. Gaston Bagnati Says...

Question.

We are 4 adults and 1 six year old. If I get only the night of April 24th in a premier hotel. Can we go to both (buying park to park) universal parks on the 25th with unlimited express passes for all?

Thank you!

Reply
Mar 2, 2021 at 9:35 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Gaston!

The Unlimited Express perk at premier hotels are good both the day of check-in and checkout — so if you stayed the 24th and checked out on the 25th, it'd be valid the 25th as well :)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 2, 2021 at 7:23 p.m. Gaston Bagnati Says...

Thank you for your answer but I still have doubts.

I want to visit the 2 universal parks on Abril 25th, do you think the room key is activate with express passes for both parks on the same day?

Reply
Mar 2, 2021 at 1:39 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Gaston!

That's correct — as long as you have Park-to-Park access and are staying at a premier hotel, your Unlimited Express Pass is valid for the length of your stay, which includes the day of checkout :)

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Mar 28, 2021 at 6:48 a.m. Liesa Says...

If we are staying just one night but can't check-in to our premier hotel until 4:00 pm, does that mean our express passes aren't available until after 4:00 on our check-in day, then all day on check-out day?

Is it possible to get the express passes any earlier than 4:00 pm. Even as early as the opening time that same morning?

Reply
Mar 29, 2021 at 3:12 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Liesa!

You can toadally get the Express Pass earlier! It's valid on both check-in and checkout, as you noted, for the entirety of the day - just head to the front desk when you arrive and they'll get you set up! If your room isn't ready, they'll hold your luggage for you while you head to the park. Have fun!

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Feb 19, 2021 at 4:38 a.m. M Hardee Says...

Express Pass questions:

We are traveling as family of 4 (kids age 13 & petite 7) and plan to stay at off-site timeshare lodging.

1) Is it possible to purchase 1-2 unlimited Express Passes and take turns with multiple people sharing the pass? (I assume that your description of “non-transferable” means we cannot, but worth the ask!)

2) Could we purchase the Unlimited Express for my husband and tween son but just the Basic Express for myself and our little one? She and I probably won’t be repeat riders and it seems like it could save us $30/person.

Thanks!

Reply
Jul 6, 2021 at 8:06 p.m. Kay Says...

Is it worth getting the pass for a 3 year old?

Reply
Feb 19, 2021 at 9:13 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

1. You're exactly right - since these are non-transferable, guests aren't able to take turns with the Express Pass. However!

2. You can add on Express (either Unlimited or basic) to any ticket - it doesn't need to be for every member of your party, so if you think that your husband and son will get the most use of it, we say go for it! Feel free to give us a call if you run into any questions at 1 (800) 846-1302

Hope this helps - have fun!

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Sep 13, 2020 at 4:46 a.m. Skylar Walker Says...

Hopefully my family win the sweepstakes and I can discover more about the Express passes.

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Sep 13, 2020 at 4:02 a.m. Cassandra D Says...

Definitely interesting information.

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Dec 9, 2020 at 7:57 p.m. mom joy rose Says...

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Sep 13, 2020 at 3:17 a.m. Julieann Caballero Says...

Visited Disney World bought tickets from undercover tourist saved a lot .. Now bought Disneyland tickets plan to visit as soon as they open again O recommend this website is trustworthy and cheap

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Sep 13, 2020 at 3:14 a.m. KC Says...

I never knew about these. Will look into getting for next visit.

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