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The Ultimate Guide on When to Use Universal Express

by Leap on August 20, 2020 1764 Orlando

Universal Express Pass - PinterestHoppy day! We frogs are finally selling discount Universal Express Passes along with discount tickets and hotel rooms. So now you can book your entire Universal Orlando vacation with your favorite frogs and save some green. 

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. 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! And in some hopping good news ... we frogs are selling Universal Express passes at a discount!

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 Pass - Front of the 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 Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and Pteranodon Flyers at Universal's Islands of Adventure.

Currently, in Universal's initial reopening phases post COVID-19, some rides have been using a Virtual Line. If you have a Universal Express Pass, you do not have to get a Virtual Line pass (the only exception is Hagrid's).

How Universal Express Pass Works

Universal Express Pass - 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 Storm Force Acceleration or 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 be sure to 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 pass 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, which uses a virtual queue. 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. Once inside the building, both Express and standby guests will receive a color-coded card on the first floor before heading upstairs to another waiting area. Once the lights turn the same color as the card, you get in a short queue before entering the flying theater.

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. 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.

Universal Orlando Single Rider Lines

Universal Express Pass - Men In Black Alien Attack Queues

Note: Currently, Single Rider Lines are closed, as parties are being kept together on rides and remain separated from other parties by empty seats, rows or ride vehicles. 

Single Rider lines can 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 quicker. 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. The Single Rider lines go straight to the loading area, though the exact speediness 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.

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 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 miss out, however.

Universal Express Pass Options

Universal Express Pass - Back of the Pass

There are two types of Universal Express passes:

  • Universal Express Unlimited
  • Universal Express Standard

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.

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 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 with an Express Plus pass to skip the virtual lines at all rides and attractions inside the water park.

How Much Is Universal Express?

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 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, 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.

Universal Express Pass Hotels:

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 Islands of Adventure or Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Volcano Bay water park. 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 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.

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

When to Use Universal Express Passes

Universal Express Pass - 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, they are a must to get the most done during your time.

Is the Universal Express Pass Worth It?

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 and Express queues. Just come back to the ride later in the day.

One time, we entered the Express line for The Incredible Hulk when standby said it was a 60-minute wait. We waited, rode the coaster and were back at our locker within 15 minutes! The same hoppened at Flight of the Hippogriff — it was a 45-minute standby wait, and we hopped on and off within 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, for Skull Island: Reign of Kong, we waited about 35 minutes in Express, when standby said 55 minutes by the time we got off the ride. With Express, we waited 30 minutes for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts 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 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, especially Universal's Volcano Bay.

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. (Currently, Single Rider lines are closed.)

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! 

Related: How to Navigate Single Rider Lines at Universal Orlando to Save Time

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
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901–950 of 1246 comments
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
Dec 11, 2018 at 3:49 a.m. Manuel Joseraj Says...

We are got our ticket to visit universal Dec 27th and 28th. Planning to get express pass in the gate. Is there a possibility of express pass getting sold out.

Thanks

Reply
Dec 11, 2018 at 10:51 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Manuel!

Yes, there is a chance of Express being sold out day of. We recommend either purchasing in advance or bright and early that day!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Dec 4, 2018 at 12:05 a.m. Sheena Says...

I will be coming to the park on 12/30 and 12/31 (yes I know- busy time of year. I’m a teacher and can only travel on the busiest times) I read about your single rider line option. Do you think this will still be a good way to go on these dates? The express pass prices are jacked up very high for the days I’ll be visiting.

Reply
Dec 3, 2018 at 6:16 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sheena!

OMG, absolutely! When traveling alone, being able to use the single rider line is a huge benefit and time saver. We totally recommend!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 25, 2018 at 12:30 a.m. Deb Says...

Can we book our fast pass ahead of time like Disney, if so how?

Reply
Nov 26, 2018 at 2:44 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Deb!

With Universal Express, you do not book times in advance like Disney ... so no worries!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 12, 2018 at 11:17 p.m. Deb Says...

Do we need to buy the swords for harry potter, can we bring our own and price please?

Reply
Nov 13, 2018 at 9:59 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Deb!

If you would like to participate in the interactive wand fun, you will need to purchase at least one wand for your family to share. It must be one of the special, interactive wands designed for the park - so we recommend purchasing there for a super fun experience. They run between $50-$60.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 6, 2018 at 2:42 p.m. Emily Says...

We are in WDW January 6-12. Our oldest LOVESEAT Harry Potter, so I am wanting to surprise him and my husband with tickets to Universal for one day (Jan 9). I know we need the passes for both parks, so they can ride the Hogwarts train, but if the primary focus is just HP stuff, do I need to splurge for the express tickets? Thanks so much! I am a Disney pro, but am totally lost about Universal!!

Reply
Nov 6, 2018 at 9:18 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Emily!

You're in luck! Our Crowd Calendar predicts Jan 9. to be a low-moderate day in terms of crowds. Since you already have to splurge on the park hopper to experience all of the Harry Potter fun, we don't think there's any need to upgrade to Express. You'll easily be able to experience all of the Harry Potter experiences in one day if that's your main focus.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 3, 2018 at 12:50 a.m. Matt Says...

We bought our universal tickets from you already for our visit next April (2 day park hopper with bonus 2 days). Looking at Crowd numbers now it looks like it's going to be busy, so we were interested in Express Passes. How do we buy these in advance? Or do we have to buy at the gate?

Reply
Nov 5, 2018 at 1:15 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Matt!

You can buy them in advance from the Universal site, or you have the option to add them on when you get to the parks.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 23, 2018 at 4:41 p.m. Marcelo Says...

Hi Team!

I'm trying to buy Express Passes for January 2019 but the calendar for choosing this option ends in December 2018. Is there any way to buy it now? Or I have to wait to Universal open the calendar in their website?

Best Regards

Reply
Oct 25, 2018 at 6:36 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Marcelo!

You'll just have to wait a bit for the rest of the calendar to open up :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 21, 2018 at 3:58 p.m. chris Says...

We have the unlimited express pass for a trip next week (10/23-10/25). I was told that if you use the express pass on the Harry Potter rides (escape from gringots and forbidden journey) then we'd miss a lot because the tours are built into the waiting lines. Is this true? Would you advise against using express passes for these rides (or any others)? Thanks!

Reply
Oct 24, 2018 at 9:26 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Chris!

It just depends on your preference. These rides do have beautiful queues, but we'd always rather skip waiting!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 17, 2018 at 1:54 a.m. Diane Says...

We are planning a trip with 17 people for April 2019. We are not staying on property. We are planning on doing the express pass for two days in the park. How early can we purchase our tickets and express passes?

Thanks

Reply
Oct 17, 2018 at 8:54 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Diane!

You can go ahead and hop on our discounted tickets now :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 15, 2018 at 2:35 a.m. Mitchell Says...

Hello!

We are planning to visit for my girlfriend's 30th birthday Jan 14th to the 18th 2019. Do you think we need express passes? I was also wondering if you thought it would be warm enough to the water park/rides?

Reply
Oct 15, 2018 at 2:41 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mitchell!

Our Crowd Calendar says this is a GREAT time to visit. Express passes always help save time, but certainly won't be a necessity this week.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 11, 2018 at 8:46 p.m. Courtney Lee Says...

Thank you for your guidance!

My 4 and 7 year old boys love Marvel, Harry Potter, and Dinosaurs. We have one day (Friday, November 30th, 2018) at IOA. Is it worth it to do park-to-park to be able to ride the Hogwarts Express? Also to be able to do some Universal rides too, or would our day be plentiful with just IOA? I see 5/10 crowd rating that day, so I'm assuming an Express pass is not necessary? Thank you in advance for your time and advice.

Reply
Oct 12, 2018 at 10:29 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Courtney Lee!

Based on the interests of your boys, Islands of Adventure couldn't be a more PERFECT park. They're going to have a blast. Depending on their ages, IOA is likely more than enough to keep you busy for the day - but the Hogwarts Express is amazing, and Universal Studios Florida has some super fun rides too. It truly depends on your budget and how fast-paced of a day you want to have. Express Pass isn't necessary for the 5/10 crowd level, but could be helpful in accomplishing more.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 9, 2018 at 7:19 p.m. Christine Says...

Hi there,

I'm planning a trip for mid September 2019. I am only planning on getting a 1 day park to park pass since we have been to Universal before. Do you think we will have enough time to accomplish all of the rides in one day without express passes?

Thanks! :)

Reply
Oct 9, 2018 at 4:57 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Christine!

Even on the least crowded days, it's near impossible to accomplish EVERY ride in one day at BOTH parks without Express. If you only have one day, we recommend either splurging on Express or prioritizing your "must-do" rides first.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 7, 2018 at 12:16 a.m. Jen Says...

Do u have any suggestions of where to start when u are doing to express unlimited pass hitting up both parks for one day?

Reply
Oct 9, 2018 at 5:21 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jen!

We recommend starting at whatever park opens earlier, and finishing at whatever park is open latest to make the most of your time! Beyond that, make a list of your top priority rides and start there :)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 4, 2018 at 7:58 p.m. Char Says...

Can you get you cover a lot of attractions during a 4 hour private party?

Reply
Oct 4, 2018 at 5:03 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Char!

While we don't know how many people will be at your private party, we imagine you'll be able to accomplish a LOT in the parks! Have fun!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 3, 2018 at 3:26 a.m. YEN T NGO Says...

For the express pass, how many people can use for one pass?

Reply
Oct 4, 2018 at 5:16 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

Each person needs their own Express pass.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 2, 2018 at 7:45 p.m. Anna Says...

I recently got two Premier Annual Passes for my husband and me, we have Universal Express included with it (after 4 pm). My parents are coming to visit in a couple of weeks and I wanted to get multiday tickets for them too. Would my parents be able to use our passes to go through Express Lanes on rides instead of us? If so, do we have to be in the park with them, or will passes not work if not activated by the firngerscan?

Reply
Oct 4, 2018 at 4:57 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Anna!

The Express Pass is a physical paper ticket that technically can be shared between people (although not encouraged.) We have not tried this before, but we imagine you would have to "activate" your Express passes by entering the park.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 1, 2018 at 8:25 p.m. Sondra Says...

Can uber drop off and pick up?

Is valet parking $45 for the day?

How many come into the park early? (10/19)

Reply
Oct 1, 2018 at 9:45 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sondra!

Yes, you can Uber! We aren't sure how many people arrive early, but it always helps to beat the crowds!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 30, 2018 at 9:53 p.m. Tata Says...

Hi! We have tickets for Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights for Sunday, October 14th. Is it worth the money to buy Express Passes for HHN? It would be over $500 for 4 tix so I don’t want to put out that much money if the wait times are just moderate. I’ve seen conflicting crowd calendars.

Thanks!

Reply
Oct 2, 2018 at 12:15 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

Sundays aren't typically too busy, but crowds do pick up closer to Halloween. If you want to accomplish all ten houses that night, we definitely recommend Express. If you're cool with potentially missing a few, then it isn't worth splurging. Hope this helps!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 23, 2018 at 5:04 p.m. Heidi Says...

Hi

We are a family of six and are planning a trip to Universal Island of adventure on 31st of December. Do you recomenned a fast pass for that day and do you recomend to be there that day/night. Regards Heidi

Reply
Sep 25, 2018 at 11:27 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Heidi!

We recommend checking out our Crowd Calendar for our best guess of how busy the parks will be each day!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 19, 2018 at 10:21 p.m. Whitney Says...

Hi!

I am super excited to surprise my daughter for her 12th birthday with a trip to Universal in a couple of weeks (October 1st - 3rd). This is our first family vacation and we will be traveling with 5 (2 adults & 3 children). While doing my research I have discovered the child swap option for rides so we don't have to miss out/split up which I absolutely love! But I cant seem to find out if I will need to purchase express passes so that we get everything in in one day or if I should purchase 2-day passes...we are really trying to experience the Halloween Horror Nights as well... can someone please tell me if we will have to pay separate fees for the general park and HHN??? And could you give me a recommendation on the passes... express vs 2-day...THANX IN ADVANCE!

Reply
Sep 20, 2018 at 3:56 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Whitney!

Sounds like a blast! Our Crowd Calendar predicts mild crowds, so express passes are not a necessity. The choice between Express and two days is up to you! We like having as much park time as possible. Yes, you do need separate tickets for Halloween Horror Nights.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 17, 2018 at 8:10 p.m. Rachel Says...

We are planning to come April 29-May 3rd 2019. Do you think we need the Universal Pass? There are 5 in our family. Trying to decide if we need it- then to stay at a higher price hotel that includes it, or lesser hotel and pay separate. Thank you!

Reply
Sep 17, 2018 at 3:43 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Rachel!

Our Crowd Calendar predicts moderate crowds, so Express is not a necessity. But IF you decide to splurge: Since you have a larger family, we think your best bet would be staying at one of the hotels that includes it for the days you'll be visiting the parks.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 6, 2018 at 7:51 a.m. STEVEN Says...

Hi...how is the week of Feb 12-16 been traditionally and looking for this coming 2019 as far as crowd goes. Thanks and LOVE this site!:)

Reply
Sep 6, 2018 at 3:07 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Steven!

Crowd levels in the park vary a lot this week ... check out our Crowd Calendar for details :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 29, 2018 at 7:12 p.m. Pam Lacko Says...

If we check in the hotel early to get the Express Pass for that day, will we be able to leave our car there even though the room might not be ready until later?

Reply
Aug 31, 2018 at 3:54 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Pam!

Yes! You can leave your car and luggage at the hotel.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 26, 2018 at 7:43 p.m. Steve Says...

Hi,

Hoping for some guidance. We are due to travel to Orlando over easter 2019. Looking at the crowd calendar, it looks like the 2 universal parks do not look busy on 16/17 April, however I am conscious this may be based on last years information when Easter was earlier in the year. Is this thought process correct? If so, does this mean the reality for this date could be significantly different from the Crowd Calendar prediction?

Reason I ask is with 5 travelling express pass for 2 days looks likely to cost around $1,200, which on top of 2 day passes becomes expensive.

We have already booked our accommodation, but the other option is to book into one of the 3 onsite hotels that provide express pass for 1 night and hence have 2 days express pass - in reality does this work (i.e. can we arrive at 7am 16/4 and collect our room key and technically hand it back late in the day 17/4?

Your assistance appreciated Steve.

Reply
Aug 31, 2018 at 3:45 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Steve!

This week should not be too bad as far as crowds go since Easter is the following week. If you book one of the on-site hotels for the Express Pass, keep in mind that you would be paying for the additional hotel accommodation. You wouldn’t need to hand your room keys back in, but you would need to physically go to the hotel and check in to get your room keys, which also serve as your Express Pass. It might be worth it just to rebook at an on-site hotel for your entire stay.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 17, 2018 at 11:26 p.m. Lisa Says...

I am also trying to go to Univeral for a few days AFTER Easter - the 24/25. Easter week at Disney is CRAZY, I'm wondering why this is listed as yellow and not red? Do you think express passes are a necessity that week? Thanks!

Reply
Sep 17, 2018 at 11:55 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lisa!

Our Crowd Calendar is based on a variety of factors such as park events, school breaks, holidays, weather and more. We don't think Express passes are necessary for "yellow" days :) Hope this helps!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 1, 2018 at 11:33 a.m. Steve Says...

How long do US children have off for easter and do you know when they are off?

Reply
Sep 5, 2018 at 8:47 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Steve!

Children in the U.S. are typically off for one week before or after Easter Sunday. We take this into consideration on our Crowd Calendar.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 25, 2018 at 3:30 p.m. Heather Says...

We are thinking of going to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure the week of Thanksgiving (Sun, 11/18-Wed, 11/21). The crowd calendar rangers from 7-9 on those days. If we stay at the Hard Rock and have the Express Unlimited will we still deal with crazy lines or these passes average 10 min wait regardless of crowds? I'm sure the shops, restaurants, etc will be super crowded but I think we can handle that.

Reply
Aug 28, 2018 at 5:11 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Heather!

Holiday weeks are extra crowded, so it will be quite a bit busier than usual. This may lengthen your wait times a bit, but you'll still be savings TONS of time :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 20, 2018 at 8:57 p.m. Lindsay Says...

We are planta vacation Aug 13-20 2019 with five park daya and some days off to visit family in the area. With 5 days of park passes is express pass needed that time of year. Seems like it is the cuas of busy/not as busy times in the parks. We have considered an off site hotel with only a few days of express pass, an on site where we would get them included or some combination of the two. Thoughts?

Reply
Aug 22, 2018 at 11:51 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lindsay!

Our Crowd Calendar for August 2019 will drop in the next couple of weeks ... so keep an eye out! We imagine low-moderate crowds in late August of next year. Express Passes will not be necessary, but are always a plus. :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 17, 2018 at 11:58 p.m. Universal. summer. 2019 Says...

Hi. The site is great. We are planning our first Universal trip for next summer. We are planning to stay in Orlando for 8 to 10 days and hope to go to Busch Gardens and Sea World as well as Universal. To save money we may book off site for most nights with one night at Royal Pacific. Will this plan give us 2 days of Express Pass at Universal? and can the Express Passes be used as early as 6 AM on the first day (check-in states 4 PM) until closing on the second day (even after checking-out at 11 AM)? Thanks.

Reply
Aug 22, 2018 at 12:38 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

You can use Express pass on both check-in and check-out days. You can go to the park as early as you wish on the day of check-in, but may have to leave your luggage at the hotel if your room isn't yet available. We LOVE staying on-site, and totally recommend it. :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 17, 2018 at 8:17 p.m. Tony Says...

Hi, we're going to be there the last week of August. Do you think we would need them during this time?

Reply
Aug 22, 2018 at 12:13 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tony!

Our Crowd Calendar predicts it will be low-moderate for crowds. :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 12, 2018 at 5:25 p.m. Marie Says...

Hi If you go to Universal in the evening only(after 6pm) are you able to buy reduced price express passes for the remaining hours the parks are open or is the price still the same?

Reply
Aug 28, 2018 at 5:06 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Marie!

We haven't heard of any deals like this, but we'll check the next time we visit. In the meantime, we welcome the Frog Pond to chime in :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 12, 2018 at 2:54 a.m. Spinaun Says...

Hi!

We are a Family of four and we will be staying at new Aventura Hotel next February (second week (8 to 15) and we have 4 days P2P tickets... Do we necessarily need Express Passes for that time of the year? Should we buy them or not? because I understand that second week of February usually is not a busy time, and we have 4 days for the parks. Thank you!

Reply
Aug 14, 2018 at 11:23 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

With low-moderate crowds predicted, express passes should not be necessary during this time.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 11, 2018 at 6:12 p.m. Lisa Says...

Hi , I have booked the hard rock for 1 night and would just like to know what time can you arrive to check in to recieve your room card to enable you for the express

Reply
Aug 22, 2018 at 12:22 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lisa!

You can check in as early as you like the day of your stay and get the room keys that will serve as your Universal Express. You would have to store your luggage at the hotel if your room is not yet available.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 8, 2018 at 8:44 p.m. Mary Ward Says...

Do you sell the Universal Express passes? If not can I buy the regular 2 day park to park tickets through Undercover tourist and then buy the express pass at Universal? Will they work together?

Reply
Aug 9, 2018 at 10:56 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mary,

We do not offer Universal Express passes to Universal Orlando, but you can definitely purchase regular admission tickets through us and then purchase a Universal Express Pass at Universal! They will work together.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 7, 2018 at 2:37 a.m. Joshua Davis Says...

Does everyone in your group need to be at check-in to get the express passes at Royal Pacific?

Reply
Aug 7, 2018 at 4:01 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Joshua,

No, they do not. But they must be listed on the reservation!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 24, 2018 at 10:50 p.m. Kristy Says...

If staying at Lowes Royal Pacific where you get the express unlimited is that valid from the open of the park on your check in day or not until check in at 4pm? Just wondering if your room key is your pass then how does it work before 4pm check in to do the park that first day?

Reply
Aug 1, 2018 at 9 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kristy!

It is covered days of check-in and check-out. You would have to check into the hotel first to get the key, but your room likely would not be available until later. The resorts have a place to store your luggage until your room is ready so you can hop into the parks!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 24, 2018 at 6:07 p.m. Eleonora Says...

Hi there,

Thank you for the useful info! I'm writing from Italy and I'd like to know if the same info also apply to Universal Studios Hollywood. I have another question for you: since I don't know which day we'll be able to visit the park, do you think we can buy Universal Express Passes only a couple of days in advance or they might not be available (we are 2 families of 4) toward the end of August?

Many thanks!!

Eleonora

Reply
Jul 24, 2018 at 3:41 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Eleonora,

Hop over to our post on Universal Express at Universal Studios Hollywood for more information! We think you'll be all right to wait to buy them a couple of days before your trip.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 14, 2018 at 11:47 p.m. Cuau Says...

First things first: THANK YOU. This site is amazing.

I am planning a 4 day vacation at Orlando in August 13-17

I bought Express Pass at Universal because I will be there only 1 day and want to visit both Harry Potter parks, but I picked August 16 :(, which is 6, but only USF has red alert for that day, August 15 has "green check" in your crowded calendar for USD and UIA, do you recommend me to change the date? (I don't know if it's possible) or should I wait until the day is close and check again? Does crowd calendar change? I want to avoid lines as much as possible.

Reply
Jul 17, 2018 at 6:26 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cuau!

As long as you have your Express Pass, you should be in the clear! This will minimize wait time in line as much as possible. With a 6/10 Crowd Calendar estimate, the parks shouldn't be too incredibly busy. Don't worry ... you're in for an awesome day!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jul 2, 2018 at 8:49 p.m. Chad Jarvis Says...

Hi there...thank you SO much for this! I know Disney, but am a newbie for all things Universal. So, quick question on the Express Pass provided by staying at Loews Royal Pacific Resort...is it also good at Volcano Bay? Or must that be a separate purchase?

Reply
Jul 3, 2018 at 12:58 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Chad,

The complimentary Universal Express Passes are only good for Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 20, 2018 at 2:17 p.m. John Tithof Says...

Using Loews Ryan pacific at universal during peak times is the best deal, and hotel is nice.

Reply
Jun 20, 2018 at 1:28 a.m. Claudia Says...

Love ❤️

Reply
Jun 20, 2018 at 1:24 a.m. Jerri Says...

can not wait to visit.

Reply
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