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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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1001–1050 of 1246 comments
Dec 14, 2017 at 11:41 a.m. Joy Lynnette Hooten Says...

When will Feb, 2018 tickets be for sale!

Thank You Joy

Reply
Dec 6, 2017 at 8:20 p.m. Bailey Says...

If visiting for 1 day with park to park passes with a crowd level of 9/10 and unlimited express pass (Jan 2, 2018), approximately how long will waits be at the more popular rides (HP, Hulk, RRR, etc...) still 10-15min or should we expect longer waits than that? Debating and trying to decide on either unlimited express pass or VIP. Thanks in advance!

Reply
Dec 4, 2017 at 3:09 a.m. Dannan Says...

Hello,

My family will be visiting Universal parks/Disney for the first time during the week of Mardi Gras(Feb 12-16). The crowd calendar shows average to low crowds during that week. What would be the average wait time when a park is listed 3/10 and 5/10? I’m debating on spending the extra money to stay on universal property so we can have express pass or if it will be a waste of money because wait times would be so low. Thanks in advance!

Reply
Dec 22, 2017 at 9:06 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dannan,

There are many reasons to stay on-site, and if you've got the money, you will appreciate it no matter what the crowd levels. That said, it won't be absolutely necessary to have them on a level 3 day.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 3, 2017 at 4:49 p.m. Jennifer Pourciau Says...

When purchasing the quick service meals is it an automatic per days visiting for example or is a per meal purchase? Do you automatically get one meal per day pr do you purchase the number of meals you wish to have ahead of time for example 1 meal a day for 4 people and plan to visit all 3 parks i would have to purchase 12 meals to have 1 per day per person? Or when you purchase the meal plan you automatically get one meal per ticket purchased for park entry?

Reply
Dec 27, 2017 at 12:13 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jennifer,

Sorry for the delay, but your comment ended up in our spam filter. There are two Universal Orlando Dining Plan options – regular and quick service. The regular includes one full-service meal, one quick service meal, one snack and one non-alcoholic beverage. This is only available as part of a vacation package. You must purchase the package for everyone in your party for the entirety of your trip. (So, you can’t just purchase two plans for a party of four and share, or only purchase the plan on select days of your trip.) The quick-service dining plan is available a lá carte and has the same benefits, minus the full-service meal and beverage.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 17, 2017 at 10:28 p.m. Kim Can Says...

Do the Universal Express passes work on every ride? If not, what rides do NOT accept Universal Express at US and IO? Can you use Universal Express passes at Volcano Bay?

Reply
Dec 22, 2017 at 8:33 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kim,

Sorry for the delay. Your comment ended up in our spam filter. We list which rides offer Universal Express on our site:

Universal Studios Florida

Universal's Islands of Adventure

Volcano Bay has a separate Express Pass, and it is not offered as a benefit to its hotel guests.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 13, 2017 at 8:04 p.m. cathy Says...

We are going to universal and have purchased the two day with two days free one park only tickets. We are considering getting Express passes for one of the parks, which one do you suggest,? IOA or US?

Reply
Nov 15, 2017 at 11:13 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cathy,

It depends on your priorities and what you're most looking forward to. If you're more excited for the rides and attractions inside IOA, you might consider purchasing it for that park and vice versa for USF.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 12, 2017 at 3:21 a.m. Joy Says...

I need help! I see your preset plans but where is the 1 day park-to-park with express pass? Where would you start first? IOA of US?

Reply
Dec 22, 2017 at 8:40 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Joy,

If you have Express Pass, you have much more flexibility and can start whichever park you prefer.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 10, 2017 at 12:23 p.m. Michael Says...

Hi. Great work with all your invaluable information. We (2 adults, 2 kids) are having our first, and probably only, visit to Disneyworld where we are staying for 14 days. We would like to do Universal for 2 days - I just want to confirm if we booked one of the hotels you list above (for just 1 night) it includes fast track unlimited for all 4 of us on both check-in and check-out days.

Reply
Nov 14, 2017 at 1:48 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Michael,

Yes, that is correct. If you stay in one of the Universal Orlando Resorts that offer the pass, everyone on your booking will receive the Universal Express Unlimited pass.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 8, 2017 at 2:46 p.m. Jessica Says...

Hi, I am planning a family vacation including a child to Universal the week of January 22. We are planning to visit the park on January 24, 25, and 26. Do you think it is worth getting the express pass? This is my son's first time going and my husband and my self haven't been in 17 years. Thank you

Reply
Nov 14, 2017 at 1:55 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jessica,

According to our crowd calendar, those dates are low crowd days. It's completely up to you. You should be able to experience everything easily without the pass, but of course, the pass does make things easier.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 7, 2017 at 6:51 p.m. Reagan Smith Says...

Purchasing annual passes for Christmas but wanted to stay 12/25 @ Hard Rock to utilized the unlimited express pass for two days. Are we absolutely crazy for attempting the parks Christmas Day?

Reply
Nov 14, 2017 at 1:29 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Reagan,

You're not absolutely crazy! Just be prepared for huge crowds. Prioritize attractions and everything you want to see, have a plan and definitely utilize the Unlimited Express Pass. Most of all, have fun.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 4, 2017 at 7:24 p.m. tbowen Says...

Hi! Thanks for all your great info! I am planning for 2 days in Universal and currently weighing the option of staying at Hard Rock (and getting express for free) or staying off-site and purchasing express unlimited passes separately. The Hard Rock website indicates in the restrictions section that the Express Unlimited access included with the stay does not include Harry Potter Escape from Gringotts; Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, or the Hogwarts Express. Based on your post it seems maybe this was a recent change to the entire Express Unlimited Pass program, so I'm wondering if Hard Rock just hasn't updated their website for this change, or if the pass is truly different for the on-site stay vs the separate purchase. Any insight is appreciated! Thanks!!

Reply
Nov 5, 2017 at 3:09 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi,

Express Pass is now valid for all Harry Potter attractions. We guess the website is dated.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 1, 2017 at 7:16 p.m. Shruti Gupta Says...

We are visiting universal parks Dec 7 and 8 with crowds of 4/10 predicted on the calender. If we choose to not buy express pass in advance can we upgrade in the park and if so what is the procedure for that. We are first timers so want to see the whole attraction but kids are still young so hard to make them stay in the line.

Reply
Nov 1, 2017 at 3:37 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shruti,

Yes, you may upgrade to Universal Express during your visit. See any ticket book or Guest Services to add Universal Express to your tickets.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 2, 2017 at 12:21 p.m. Shruti Gupta Says...

Thank you for your reply. I know the price for express passes keeps changing. Do you know if its lower or higher when you buy right in the park especially if it is not a very busy day. We are going on Dec 7 and 8 which seem like low crowd days.

Reply
Nov 2, 2017 at 8:42 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shruti,

Generally, the Express Pass price is lower on days when the park is not crowded. We don't have insight into when they change the price during the day, as that varies as well. We recommend purchasing in advance to avoid this worry.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 10, 2017 at 2:37 p.m. Laura Says...

Thanks for all the great info! I love your calendar, and on our dates 10/25 and 10/27 it looks like an average crowd. We are only interested in Harry Potter, and have park-park tickets. Is the Express pass worth it? We will want to see some of the cool features in the queues, but I also want to make sure we have time for all the shops/snacks!

Reply
Oct 10, 2017 at 3:33 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Laura,

You should be fine without Express passes. The two big Harry Potter attractions have a Single Rider option, so that can help trim your wait times.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 23, 2017 at 4:02 a.m. Stephanie Says...

Hi there, if the calendar says 6 what does that mean in regards of time. Like 20 min on average or more ?

Reply
Oct 23, 2017 at 11:28 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Stephanie,

There are many factors that go into wait times. Crowds, weather and if certain attractions are temporarily closed will determine wait times. Go in expecting 30 to 45 minutes in the early morning and late in the evening.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 19, 2017 at 2:30 a.m. Sara Says...

Sorry to comment here but I can figure out how to make my own post.

Going to universal orlando EITHER 10/26 or 10/27

Looking at the crowd calendar average crowds are expected 10/26 and 10/27 but there's an ! Next to 10/26 so does this suggest 10/27 is the better day? I also read in your material Fridays with horror nights are busy so I'm confused on which is the more suggested day between the two?

We are also considering either getting a fast pass or skipping the fast pass for horror nights tickets. We are driving up from Tampa on our already short trip to FL and I'm just worried I'll get to tired to stay all day and night. We love halloween, but hate crazy crowds. We're in our 30s and going without kids! Any advice appreciated.

Reply
Oct 19, 2017 at 10:54 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sara,

The "!" means that we're expecting the park will be very busy. While the "!" doesn't apply to HHN crowds, attendance at the event picks up on the days right before Halloween. It's really a wash. Do you want fewer people in the park or during HHN? If you're concerned you'll be tired, skip HHN and use the money for Universal Express. We do have discount Orlando hotel rooms available if you want to make it an overnight :)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 9, 2017 at 4:54 p.m. Dave Says...

Hi,

We will be staying in Disney during the last of June. We would like to visit Universal. We are considering 2 options - 1) 2 days at Universal, 1 day at US and 1 day at IOA both days without express tickets or 2) 1 day to do both parks, but with express tickets. Which option do you think will allow us to do more attractions? Which option do you recommend for a family that is willing to spend the full day, open to close at the parks? Thank you.

Reply
Oct 9, 2017 at 8:46 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dave,

If the majority of people in your group are Harry Potter fans, we recommend 2 Day Park-to-Park tickets so you can experience the Hogwarts Express. If you're there open to close, then you can plan your day and use Single Rider on select attractions.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 9, 2017 at 8:45 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dave,

If the majority of people in your group are Harry Potter fans, we recommend 2 Day Park-to-Park tickets so you can experience the Hogwarts Express. If you're there open to close, then you can plan your day and use Single Rider on select attractions.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 23, 2017 at 6:48 p.m. Swati Says...

Hello!

I'm planning to visit Universal on 19th & 20th November. I'm travelling alone so will be using the single rider lines. Would you still recommend buying an Express Pass?

Thanks!

Reply
Nov 12, 2017 at 3:23 a.m. Joy Says...

Will you share your touring plan for one day park-to/park with express?

Reply
Sep 25, 2017 at 6:53 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Swati,

You should be fine without it, but if you afford that added expense, we toadallyrecommend it.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 19, 2017 at 1:38 a.m. Michelle Says...

Hello! I am planning on going to Universal on Monday, October 23rd. Your crowd calendar says 6/10, do you think I could forego the express pass? Planning on doing both parks in 1 day. Thanks

Reply
Sep 19, 2017 at 8:44 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Michelle,

You should be fine without Express Pass on that day. Be sure to use Single Rider as often as possible!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 18, 2017 at 5:27 p.m. Shanna Says...

Hey! I am trying to plan a weekend at Universal for my husband and I, February 9-11, 2018. We live an hour away, and haven't been to Universal since 2011. Would having an Express Pass be worth getting? We don't have a problem with Single Rider Lines (always have taken advantage of those). I'd only get a 1-Day Park-to-Park tickets to use Saturday, 2/10/2018. Also, what park would you say we start with (we tend to like Universal Studios more than Islands of Adventure...so we'd want to stay most of the day at Universal)?

Reply
Sep 19, 2017 at 1:12 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shanna,

Looking at our Crowd Calendar, we're forecasting average crowds during your visit. You should be fine without FOL. Our one-day park-to-park plan is a great way to see everything.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 14, 2017 at 3:07 a.m. Amie Brauer Says...

My husband and I will be going to Universal Orlando for 3 days in October. We have park to park passes and will have express passes due to staying at an onsite hotel. We were wondering if we should go to the early open hour at Universal Studios (7am!) or will we be able to ride all the great rides anyway due to the express pass (even the Harry Potter rides)?

Reply
Sep 14, 2017 at 8:06 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amie,

You should be fine to skip the early hour and use the Express Pass. Check out your days on our Crowd Calendar.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 7, 2017 at 3:45 p.m. Joris Br Says...

I am visiting both parks on November 1. We only have one day to do the parks and have never been there. Do you think we should add the Express Pass or not to see and experience it all ?

Reply
Sep 7, 2017 at 3 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Joris,

Looking at our Crowd Calendar, we're forecasting average crowds on November 1. You should be fine without Express Pass, however, if you can afford the added expense then it can help you go through the lines quicker!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 6, 2017 at 6:08 p.m. Sara Says...

My family, including 2 kids ages 4 and 8 will be spending one day (Oct 13, 2017) at Universal. We will be going to both parks. Would you recommend getting the express passes? My husband and I will be able to do the single rider lines for the rides my kids won't be big enough to ride. Thanks!

Reply
Sep 6, 2017 at 5:08 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sara,

Peeking at our Crowd Calendar, we're forecasting average crowds that day. While should be fine just using single rider, note that this is a Halloween Horror Night at Universal Studios. The park will close at 5 p.m. with IOA closing at 8 p.m. Keep that in mind as you plan.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 18, 2017 at 7:58 p.m. Anne Says...

Visiting in January. Two adults. If we have both the express pass and take advantage of single rider lines can we get through both parks in one day? We've been to both parks before. We are mostly interested in our favorites.

Reply
Aug 20, 2017 at 3:20 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Anne,

Looking at our Crowd Calendar, there are many days in January where we're forecasting low crowds. You may be able to see everything just with Single Rider, depending on the day and how much you want to see. Note that the parks are not open as long as they are during busy times, so you may have less time to do more. If it's an average day, then Universal Express will definitely help.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 17, 2017 at 3:45 p.m. Devin Says...

Hi there! My fiance and I will be visiting Universal on October 16 & 17 (Monday/Tuesday) of this year. Would it seem okay to forgo the Express Pass at that time?

Reply
Aug 17, 2017 at 3:01 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Devin,

Looking at our Crowd Calendar, we're forecasting average crowds on both those days. You should be fine without Express Pass.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 10, 2017 at 5:18 a.m. KJ Says...

Thank you for all the great info. I'm in the process of panning a one day trip to Islands of Adventures for the upcoming Labor Day Weekend, 9/1-9/4. I'm on the fence about getting the express pass. How about Labor Day weekend, will the parks be extremely packed?

Reply
Aug 10, 2017 at 7:28 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi KJ,

Looking at our Crowd Calendar, we're forecasting average to heavy crowds Labor Day weekend. Your best day without an Express Pass would be Friday the 1st.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 9, 2017 at 6:24 p.m. Stacia Says...

We were thinking about taking our 3 kids Nov. 22-26 over thanksgiving. We are doing 1 park 1 day & probably staying offsite. We have never been before. Do you think we need the express unlimited, regular express, or can we get to every attraction at least once at only 1 park per day? We will probably hit Disney 1-2 days so trying to be cost conscious. Thanks in advance

Reply
Aug 9, 2017 at 2:21 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Stacia,

Thanksgiving week is VERY busy. During that week last year, we visited Universal Orlando with 3-Day Park-To-Park passes and no Express passes. We were able to experience our favorites but didn't get to do some things more than once. If you arrive before the gates open, stay through closing, use Single Rider and follow one of our Park Plan, it *should* make things less hectic. If you can afford it, Universal Express will help.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 31, 2017 at 1:03 a.m. Shannon Says...

Hi,

We are planning to visit Jan. 20-24th. I'm debating if we should get fast passes or not. I've read that it isn't that busy, so save the money, but I'm still a little skeptical. What do you think?

Reply
Aug 1, 2017 at 3:51 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shannon,

That typically is a light week at the parks. You can check out our Orlando Crowd Calendar to see our predictions. An Express Pass probably isn't necessary, but you could always scope it out the first day, and then purchase an Express Pass if you feel necessary.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 23, 2017 at 2:30 p.m. Karen Says...

I'm visiting in September and it'll be my first time visiting Florida's Universal Studios Park. As a huge Harry Potter fan I am, of course, most excited about the Forbidden Journey and Gringotts Rides. That said, if I do purchase and utilize the Unlimited Express Pass, will I miss the entire queue that walks me through the castle, etc? Or will I still get to see it, just being rushed through it because of a shorter line?

Reply
Jul 25, 2017 at 11:55 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Karen,

We definitely recommend waiting in the regular queue at least once to get the full effect of the castle! You will miss some pretty spectacular parts when using the Express Pass, especially if you're a huge Harry Potter fan.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 27, 2017 at 5:51 a.m. Karen Says...

What about Gringotts? Lots to see there too in the queue or just Forbidden Journey?

Reply
Jul 27, 2017 at 4:17 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Karen,

Yes, you'll walk through the elaborate Gringotts Bank, see goblins and more. You won't want to miss it, at least for the first time.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 22, 2017 at 1:46 p.m. Tiffany Says...

Now that Harry Potter rides are included in Express Pass is it necessary to go for Early Admission. Staying at Hard Rock last week of August. TIA

Reply
Jul 25, 2017 at 11:06 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tiffany,

If you're wanting to relax and arrive at the park at your leisure, it's probably not so much of a priority, especially since you'll have the Express Pass. The parks start to unwind during the end of August, so crowds usually start to lessen since kids are going back to school and summer vacation is ending.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 19, 2017 at 11:44 p.m. mike Says...

we bought our tickets online. We choose the unlimited express for both parks and the One day park to park. My question is can we go to the ticket window the night before to get our tickets for the following day to save time in the morning when we arrive

Reply
Jul 17, 2017 at 3:26 a.m. Brent Says...

I'm visiting from August 8 to 10. I am wondering if I should buy the combo offered from the official website including the tickets and express unlimited. The concern that I have is I don't know if the express unlimited would cover the whole three days or just one day in the park?

Reply
Jul 12, 2017 at 9:41 p.m. Tom Says...

The Universal Orlando resort website does not state that the Harry Potter rides you mention are included in the Express Pass. Is there any way of confirming this is correct please?

Reply
Jul 13, 2017 at 2:58 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tom,

We have confirmed with Universal Orlando that the Harry Potter rides are now included in the Express Pass.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 1, 2017 at 4:08 p.m. Leah Says...

Hi there! We already purchased Universal Express Passes for a trip in October. It says right on the Express Passes that the Harry Potter rides are excluded. Do you think that will be a problem since we bought the tickets before they were included, or will we still be able to use the Express Pass line? Thanks!

Reply
Aug 4, 2017 at 5:15 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Leah,

You should be fine to use them. Check with Guest Services before you head in to make sure.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 25, 2017 at 3:27 p.m. Brittany Says...

I am doing research on this as well, but the Universal websites notes HP rides as included in the Express Pass

https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/tickets-packages/express-passes/index.html?__source=ps.google.FLpremiumproductsbrand&s_kwcid=AL!4228!3!189679940359!e!!g!!universal%20studio%20orlando%20express%20pass&ef_id=WEcu4QAAO0G0twI0:20170825152544:s#participating-rides-attractions

Reply
Aug 25, 2017 at 10:46 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Brittany,

Yes! The post includes this recent change.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 11, 2017 at 8:57 p.m. Lynn Says...

I purchased the express passes and selected will call kiosk for pick up. Are they paper tickets? Can they be converted to something durable?

Reply
Jul 9, 2017 at 2:58 p.m. Jennifer Says...

We already have our park to park tickets for Universal. Is it possible to decide after we are at the park for awhile (and see how busy it is) whether we want to purchase an Express pass for that day or must we purchase it right when we enter the park?

Reply
Jul 9, 2017 at 7:37 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jennifer,

Yes, you can choose to upgrade to the Express Pass during your visit. Know that they can sell out, so if you wait a while they may be gone.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 23, 2017 at 3:37 a.m. AZ Says...

Hi, we plan on spending 2 days at Universal but doing one park a day. we plan on getting unlimited express passes. What is the best package/option we should get?

Reply
Jun 23, 2017 at 6:49 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi AZ,

While we do not sell Express Passes, you can save on admission with our Universal Orlando 2-Park 2-Day Base Ticket.

Keep hopping,

Leap

Reply
Jun 19, 2017 at 7:52 p.m. jaroell Says...

Would the Universal Unlimited Express Pass be worth the money on Sunday, July 2nd if we are planning to visit both parks that day?

Reply
Jun 20, 2017 at 8:06 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jaroell,

Looking at our Crowd Calendar, we're forecasting Heavy Crowds that day. If you can afford the added expense, we recommend Univeral Express that day.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 19, 2017 at 1:36 p.m. Dave Says...

Anyone know how much the express passes are In November time? Thinking of staying at one of the hotels that includes the passes but it's an extra £500 so wondering if the passes are cheaper as it should be quieter in November

Reply
Jun 19, 2017 at 8:53 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dave,

Universal Express pass prices are based on date. Prices for Universal Express during Thanksgiving Week Break Nov 19-25 will generally be more expensive than other days in November.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 25, 2017 at 9:22 p.m. Dave Says...

Thanks

Ended up booking the Royal so it comes with the passes.

Looking forward to going back!!

Reply
Jun 26, 2017 at 7:26 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dave,

Have a great time!

Keep Hopping,

Leap

Reply
Jun 17, 2017 at 7:48 a.m. tony Says...

Having twins would be a nice way to purchase just one express pass.. :)

Reply
May 22, 2017 at 6:51 p.m. Beth Says...

Can the express passes be shared? We have a 12 year old and 1 year old so obviously, all of us riding together isn't going to happen much. Could I swap with my husband so we can both ride with the older child?

Reply
May 22, 2017 at 2 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Beth,

Express Passes are non-transferrable. Everyone receives a pass with their photo attached to it.

Keep hopping,

Leap

Reply
May 17, 2017 at 6:53 p.m. Kevin Payne Says...

What is the best way to fit the Hogwarts Express into our trip? We have 2 park tickets for 2 days with Express Unlimited passes added.

Reply
May 17, 2017 at 6:45 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kevin,

Follow our Universal 2-Day Park to Park Plan and take Hogwarts Express after experiencing Diagon Alley.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 17, 2017 at 6:04 p.m. Karen H Says...

Thanks for your site and your blog! I am learning so much and will buy our tickets from you as soon as we decide how many days etc. We have flights and hotel all arranged for a trip to Orlando in October.

We are only at Universal one day and are considering Universal Express. In looking at your crowd calendar you show Sunday 10/8 as 'avoid' (it is a 6 day overall). When I go on Universal's site they show cheaper Universal Express tickets on Sunday than the rest of the week ($64.99 each vs $84.99 the other days of the week). Does the cheaper add on amount indicate anything about their expected attendance or the number of Express tickets that might make going Sunday better than MO where you indicate it is a great/choice day? Thanks!

Reply
May 17, 2017 at 1:19 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Karen,

The Express Pass price fluctuates due to expected demand. Lower price - lower crowds. Higher price - higher crowds. With Halloween Horror Nights that night happening, you have less regular park hours to experience Universal Studios before it closes. Monday would be better since the park is open later.

Hoppy Planning!

Leap

Reply
May 18, 2017 at 5:51 a.m. Karen H Says...

That makes so much sense, I hadn't thought of the hours- thank you!

Reply
May 13, 2017 at 1:30 a.m. Kim Says...

On a busy summer day, if you know you want to ride almost everything, will you have time to ride some things twice to justify the price of the unlimited express? Or would it be wiser to just get the one time express pass?

Reply
May 13, 2017 at 7:10 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kim,

It's possible you could purchase the one-time express pass, ride your favorites, then pick 2-3 want to do again. Use the savings for dinner or souvenirs.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 11, 2017 at 9:41 p.m. Bill Says...

Hi, We're going to be staying at the Royal Pacific in late June. Are the express Passes good at the new Volcano Bay water-park too?

Reply
May 11, 2017 at 5 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Bill,

As of now, the Express Passes are only valid at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. You will receive one-hour early admission, which should help with the big slides.

Keep Hopping,

Leap

Reply
May 14, 2017 at 8:25 a.m. Gavin Says...

I have booked Hard Rock for the 28th June, what time can we start to use the express pass on the day we check in? Do we have to wait till 4pm check in time?

Reply
May 14, 2017 at 5:31 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Gavin,

You may pick up your Universal Express Pass on your check-in day... before you check in!

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 20, 2017 at 10:09 p.m. Debbie Says...

Hi, we are travelling to Orlando in August staying on I Drive. We are planning on staying one night at Universal's Royal Pacific hotel for a night to take advantage of the express passes and early park entry. As check in is not until 4.00pm could we arrive super early i.e. 7.00 am to get our passes to head over for early entry then come back later when our room would be ready?

Thanks

Reply
Jun 21, 2017 at 7:58 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Debbie,

Yes. You may pick up your Express Passes on the day of check in. Have fun.

Keep hopping,

Leap

Reply
May 11, 2017 at 3:03 p.m. Ruth Says...

I am going to Universal Oct 5-9. Do you think I will need the express passes. Those dates are Horror night dates and universal studios closes early because of that. It is cheaper to bundle the express passes and the park tickets, so I am wondering if I should buy the bundle before I go or risk having to pa more for express every day?

Reply
May 11, 2017 at 10:08 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ruth,

We are forecasting average crowds during your visit, with a few busy days at each Universal Park. If you're visiting both parks with limited time due to Horror Nights, we recommend Univeral Express.

Keep Hopping,

Leap

Reply
May 9, 2017 at 4:17 p.m. Sharon Says...

Hi there,

My daughter and her friends are going to Universal / Islands of Adventure for 1 day. Can I buy discounted tickets on your site, then buy the Express Pass from the official website since it's not an option on here?

Reply
May 9, 2017 at 2:44 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sharon,

Yes, you would be able to purchase the ticket through us, and then purchase the Universal Express pass from the Universal Orlando web site.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 10, 2017 at 12:55 a.m. Jay Says...

I am going this weekend (May 13- 14) to Universal and I am planning on buying a fast pass. Will the pass work for both days I am going, or will I have to repurchase it again the second day?

Reply
May 9, 2017 at 8:02 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jay,

Will you need to purchase Universal Express separately for each day.

Keep Hopping,

Leap

Reply
May 7, 2017 at 10:14 p.m. Nick Andrew Says...

Hi. My family and I are heading to Orlando from UK in early July. Do you recommend express passes for that time of year?

Reply
May 8, 2017 at 7:44 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nick,

July is very busy at Universal Orlando. We definitely recommend Univeral Express during the busy summer months.

Keep Hopping,

Leap

Reply
May 3, 2017 at 5:24 p.m. Jen Says...

Do we grab a pass for each person in the party or would one be enough for all of us? Party of 4 parents and two kiddos.

Reply
May 3, 2017 at 12:27 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jen,

Everyone in your party that purchases admission needs their own Universal Express pass.

Hoppy Planning!

Leap

Reply
Apr 27, 2017 at 5:59 p.m. Don Says...

What information shows up when the express pass I get from the kiosk at Loews Royal Pacific Resort is swiped at a park ride? I was thinking about letting on one of the kids on our trip (not staying at Loews) use my express pass. If I have them there for the picture at the kiosk, will that work?

Reply
Apr 27, 2017 at 1:17 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Don,

Universal Express Passes are not transferable between individuals.

Hoppy Planning!

Leap

Reply
May 22, 2017 at 12:31 p.m. Paul Says...

Hey guys

Thanks for the advice

Just wondering if it matters how the accomodation is booked?

If I book the hard rock hotel through hotels.com etc do I still get the free express pass or do I have to book through the universal site to et the free pass?

Reply
May 22, 2017 at 8:23 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Paul,

You do not need to book directly with Universal to get the Express Passes. We hope you'll consider booking the Hard Rock Hotel through us!

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 27, 2017 at 3:34 p.m. Lauren Says...

Hello, we are staying at universal Orlando May22-30th. Right now we have Cabana Bay reserved with park to park no express passes. Was wondering if its a good Idea to book one of the hotels that offer the express pass for free? They are more expensive per night, but wondering since its Memorial Day weekend what we should do? Thanks any input helps..

Reply
Apr 27, 2017 at 10:56 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lauren,

We are forecasting high crowds at all Orlando parks from May 25-30th. We recommend Universal Express during high crowd days. Look at the cost difference between adding on Universal Express while staying at Cabana Bay vs. a stay at another Universal hotel. See which option works for your budget and family plans.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 28, 2017 at 12:24 a.m. Lauren King Says...

Thank you! We decided on staying at the Hard Rock where the express passes are included. We are so excited!!!:)

Reply
Apr 28, 2017 at 7:52 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Lauren,

Great choice! Have fun.

Hoppy Planning!

Leap

Reply
Apr 20, 2017 at 3:16 a.m. Reza Zandi Says...

Hmmm, I'm going with my gf for her b-day on June 11th, a sunday. We are staying around orlando for a number of nights. Is a express pass really needed? I'm worried about that sunday in particular. We do have the option go to animal kingdom that day, as we are planning to do that. I know they have 'fast passes' over there included with the ticket. Also, I'm pretty sure we are both getting season passes, so at the very least, we should both get in early to harry potter world. Do you think we will be fine without an express pass?

Reply
Apr 20, 2017 at 8:03 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Reza,

If you plan your day, prioritize what you want to see and get there as early as possible, you should be fine without Express Passes.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 23, 2017 at 3:49 p.m. Reza Zandi Says...

Also, I am thinking given the new opening of volcano bay, perhaps people will be spread out better causing less lines at IOA and US

Reply
Apr 23, 2017 at 3:47 p.m. Reza Zandi Says...

What will the average waits be with smart planning?

Reply
Apr 25, 2017 at 9:18 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Reza,

That's hard to say, as there are many factors that determine wait times. Time of year, crowd level, closed or broken attractions will affect wait time for everyone. Know that you'll be waiting less with the Universal Express pass!

Reply
Apr 19, 2017 at 4:18 p.m. Kristi Says...

Hi. This is some great information! Thank You. We are planning to stay at the Loews Royal Pacific so we can make use of the express pass benefit. Do you know what time the express passes are ready? We arrive early in the morning. I'm sure our room won't be ready if we check in, but do know if we would be able to get our express passes?

Reply
Apr 20, 2017 at 8:06 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kristi,

You will receive your Express Passes when you arrive, even if your room isn't ready!

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 13, 2017 at 5:30 a.m. Rick Says...

We will be going to Universal , before we head to Disney on July 17th. We would get to Universal on the 16th sometime and are debating what we should do.

Option one is Cabana Bay and get a 2 day 2Park to Park.

Option two is a 1 Day 2Park to Park and staying at Royal Pacific and using the Express Unlimited we would get staying there.

I'm not real sure when we would get there on the 16th and not sure when we "should" leave on the 17th to check into our Disney Hotel (not planning on using THOSE tickets til the 18th).

Any help/suggestions would be great-if I haven't confused you that is :-)

ps...by the way it would be 2 adults and 3 kids (10,13,17)

Reply
Apr 13, 2017 at 8:23 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Rick,

The best advice is to examine everything at Universal Orlando Resort with your family and see if you need one or two days. You may find that you can't fit everything you want to see in one day... and you may want to experience things like Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts more than once. You may find that some of the things you want to ride do not accept Universal Express... so is that really worth it? Seeing your family's priorities will make things clearer.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 13, 2017 at 11:07 p.m. Rick Says...

Thanks for the suggestions????

We went to Universal in 2011 so sort of thought we would see Diagon Alley, Skull Island, etc ("new" stuff-to us) and then just walk around and maybe hit stuff we liked from before and that kind of thing.

I guess I'm wondering now if most of a day WITH Express roughly equals most of a day plus another half to a third of a dat WITHOUT Express? Like does the Express pass save that much time that we could get just as much in? I know we would have to use standard line for Harry Potter attractions and I would probably want to see the queue for the other "new" stuff.

My family would fit better in the cabana bay room but the royal pacific with the Express would be nice too. They wind up being only like $10 different so that is why it is coming down to Express v NO Express.

Wish I remembered more about how much we got done, per day, the couple (?) days we were there in '11.

Thanks again for you help with this,

Rick

Reply
Apr 13, 2017 at 6:23 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Rick,

Express Pass will save you time over waiting in the regular line for rides. Non-Express lines depend on crowds. If you're cool with the budget difference, then hop over to Royal Pacific and enjoy those Express passes!

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 14, 2017 at 1:48 a.m. Rick Says...

Thanks so much for the quick replies and the helpful suggestions.

ps Those question marks on the last post weren't there when I typed it :-( it was a smiley face.

Hope that didn't come across a "bad" as it looks :-(

Rick

Reply
Apr 13, 2017 at 9:21 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

It's all good Rick!

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
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