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The Ultimate Guide on When to Use Universal Express

by Leap on September 23, 2021 1823 Orlando

Universal Express Pass - PinterestThrills! Action! Transformers! Butterbeer! We always look forward to hopping down to Universal Orlando Resort. Between Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal's Volcano Bay, we have plenty of places to play. One of the ways we experience more and wait in line less is with the Universal Express pass. Universal's skip-the-line access is a big help in the parks, especially on crowded days. But it isn't free — unless you stay on-site at select Universal hotels. Understanding how and when to use the 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 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 Express Pass - Front of the Pass

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

When Universal reopened in June 2020 after its temporary closure due to COVID-19, some rides used a Virtual Line and may continue to do so during busy periods (the Virtual Line is used on an as-needed basis). If you have a Universal Express Pass, you generally do not have to get a Virtual Line pass for any ride but Hagrid's. However, during the busiest of times, an Express queue may reach capacity and a Virtual Line pass would be the only way to access a ride.

How 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 Flight of the Hippogriff, will scan the pass right then and there as you arrive at the ride entrance.

For popular rides with more elaborate and longer queues, a team member will check the pass and let you enter the Express queue. Then, closer to the ride loading area (this distance varies by ride), a second team member will scan your pass, so hold on to your pass and keep it ready. Some Universal Express queues will eventually merge with a ride's standby queue, such as Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. On the flip side, other Express 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 the Universal Express pass is not a group pass. Everyone in your party will need their own Universal Express pass. Also, the passes are non-transferrable. If you're staying at a Universal hotel that offers the free Express pass benefit, your hotel room key will act as the pass. Each person will have a personalized hotel key.

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

Universal Orlando Single Rider Lines

Universal Express Pass - VelociCoaster

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 more quickly. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey's Single Rider line, in particular, is the best for saving time and is often faster than the Express queue. (It's also easy to miss. Keep your eyes up as soon as you enter the castle to spot the Single Rider sign. It's going to direct you to a staircase on your left.) The Single Rider lines go straight to the loading area, though the exact speed can depend on the flow of odd-numbered groups. You and your party will be together in the queue, but you will split up on the ride as you fill an empty seat.

Single Rider Lines at Universal Studios Florida:

Single Rider Lines at Universal's Islands of Adventure:

Keep in mind that some Universal Express and most Single Rider lines skip major portions of the queue. We get that the point of this whole thing is to spend less time waiting. However, some of the queues are spectacular and help set up the ride's storyline. For example, if it's your first time on Skull Island: Reign of Kong or Revenge of the Mummy, we recommend experiencing the regular queue (the Express lines skip major parts). If you've been there, done that, take the route that's best for you.

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

Universal Express Pass Options

Universal Express Pass - Back of the Pass

There are two types of Universal Express passes:

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

Both types of Universal Express passes are available for one park per day or both parks per day. It can be purchased online ahead of time through us or Universal directly, or while you're at the parks. We like this flexibility. Sometimes you don't know you want an Express pass until you're already in the parks!

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

How Much Is Universal Express?

Universal Express Pass - In-Park Kiosk

Ultimately, it depends. If you are staying on-site at one of Universal's premier resort hotels, Universal Express Unlimited is included with your stay for every day of your visit. That includes your date of check-in and departure. The value of this cannot be underestimated, especially during busier times. Yes, hotels are priced based on expected crowds, but if you are already considering purchasing Express Pass, you should do the math and see if it makes sense to stay on-site. For larger groups of three or more, it is often still cheaper to stay on-site with Unlimited Express versus staying off-site and purchasing Unlimited Express separately. You get the added benefit of being so close to the parks when you stay on-site, plus access to all of the fabulous pools, plush rooms and other on-site amenities. If you are staying at a premier resort hotel and are planning on hitting the parks on your arrival day, no worries! The front desk can help you get your Express pass so you're ready to roll, while the Bell Desk safely stores your luggage.

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 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. Note that Universal Express is date-specific, so you will need to know what days you plan to be in the parks if you plan to buy the passes ahead of your visit.

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

Is the Universal Express Pass Worth It?

Universal Express Pass - Hulk

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 the official opening time.

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

Follow a park plan.

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

Use the Single Rider lines. 

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

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

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

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
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1001–1050 of 1272 comments
Mar 3, 2018 at 2:35 a.m. Matt Says...

My family of 6 (kids age 6 to 13) are going to universal first time on mar 5-6. One park each day. If getting express only one of 2 days. Which would you recommend, main park or islands?

Reply
Mar 5, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Matt!

It truly just depends which park has rides better suited for your kids. Take a peek at the website and see which characters and experiences best appeal to them. Islands of Adventure is our favorite!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 2, 2018 at 9:55 p.m. Jennifer Gray Says...

My family and I are planning a trip in August. We're visiting Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure on 2 separate days. We're not staying on site. We're not planning on doing a park hopper but we are planning on express passes. Does the express pass cover BOTH days or do we have to buy an express pass each day?

Reply
Mar 5, 2018 at 9:39 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jennifer!

Express passes cover one day.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 2, 2018 at 1:10 a.m. Chris Paulson Says...

You recommend experiencing the regular riding que for the Harry Potter Escape from Gringotts, and Forbidden Journey rides. What are the other rides you recommend where the waiting que might enhance the ride experience? We are staying onsite so I am thinking we would target those rides specifically during the early admission hours.

Reply
Mar 6, 2018 at 11:41 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Chris,

Most of the attractions at Universal Orlando have pretty awesome queues! More of our favorites include: Transformers, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, ET and Revenge of the Mummy. These aren't quite as elaborate as the Harry Potter rides, but they're still fun to experience if you can.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 1, 2018 at 8:32 p.m. silvia acosta Says...

Hi I have a 9 year old son I am taking to universal for in march for holy week i guess the crowds will be crazy, I will go to days one universal studios the other island of adventure and can only purchase the express pass for one of those days. Where do you recommend I use the express pass on universal studios or island of adventure ?

Reply
Mar 5, 2018 at 1:32 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Silvia!

We recommend checking out the rides and attractions at each park and using the express pass at whichever one appeals more to your son. Islands of Adventure is our personal favorite!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 1, 2018 at 2:48 a.m. Gabriela Cordoba Says...

Hola cuál es el costo adicional para el pase express de 2 días en Universal y la isla de la aventura para diciembre 2018

Reply
Mar 6, 2018 at 1:05 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hola,

Depende de las fechas que vayas. Puede consultar los precios en el sitio web oficial de Universal: https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/tickets-packages/express-passes/index.html

Sigue saltando,

Leap

Reply
Feb 27, 2018 at 12:07 a.m. Janna Says...

I don’t plan on going to universal until October but I plan to have one full day in the Park and I want an express pass. I don’t plan on staying on site and I’m booking my hotel and buying tickets as I get the money. Anyway question is if I buy the express buy up pass online how will I receive the pass? Is it mailed or do you get it at the park they say you have to visit?

Reply
Feb 27, 2018 at 4:13 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Janna,

You'll receive a confirmation email after you purchase it online and then you'll pick up the pass at the park's ticket booth/will call kiosk.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 26, 2018 at 8:39 a.m. Jen Says...

We are staying off sight. My daughter and husband are going mainly for her 13th birthday. She is a huge Harry Potter fan. Do they need a fast pass they plan on going on March 13th which is a Tuesday?

Reply
Feb 27, 2018 at 4:02 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jen,

Since that is spring break season, it might be wise to grab a Universal Express Pass. It would certainly cut down your wait time!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 23, 2018 at 5:26 p.m. Natalie B. Says...

Does your site offer Universal Express Passes at this time? I've read the description of them, but have not seen anything to purchase.

Reply
Feb 27, 2018 at 11:26 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Natalie,

We do not offer Universal Express Passes at this time! You can hop over to Universal's official site to purchase them.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 23, 2018 at 4:27 p.m. Lory Says...

how early can you order your express passes from your date of going to the parks?

Reply
Mar 5, 2018 at 1:44 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lory!

You can purchase express passes when you purchase your tickets.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 22, 2018 at 12:33 p.m. Stacey Says...

We are staying one night at the hard rock hotel. Can I get in the park early on the day of check in (say like check in 7am and get to park by 8am)? Do I check in at the hotel and then go to the kiosk for express passes on the first day even though my room may not be ready until after 4 PM ? Will the hotel hold my luggage until we get back from the park?

Reply
Feb 24, 2018 at 10:18 a.m. Elaine Says...

Premier annual passes

Hi we are thinking about buying these as we are staying in Orlando for 3 weeks from Uk in July/August

My question is:

Does anyone know the free express pass from 4pm - how does this work? Do you have to go and queue to get a paper fast pass from somewhere or do you simply show the premier annual pass?

We are thinking it would be good for us but it is expensive so want to check this as it would be the main reason we were buying it.

I know it's good for 1 ride on each attraction so I'm thinking you may have to go and ask for it on the day?

Reply
Feb 24, 2018 at 10:13 a.m. Elaine Says...

Yes!

We did exactly that...

We checked in at 7 a.m. Got our fast passes from a machine in reception and were in the queue for the park before 8 and went straight to HP attractions.

Getting there early is def the way to go!

We also used valet parking. Yku pay 1 parking charge for your 11 night stay even though it is 2 days and valet was in,y a few dollars more but at 7am seemed a good idea as we just wanted to get checked in.

We left our bags with bell service and returned mid-afternoon for a dip and went up to our room then.

Reply
Feb 18, 2018 at 11:53 p.m. Cali Says...

My fiancee and I are going for two days on Mar 5/6. We have park to park passes. The crowd calendar says 5/10. Is this still applicable with how late Presidents day is this year. I was told the later President's Day the better for the first week of March. We are trying to decided if the express pass is needed.

Reply
Feb 22, 2018 at 10:59 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cali,

We do our best to make our Crowd Calendar as accurate as possible. However, the parks have been surprising us lately with how busy they've been! As far as we know now, your dates should be fine. It's right before spring break season begins so you'll be missing most of the spring breakers! Universal's Express Pass always helps, but you could probably get by without it if you want to save the extra cash.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 14, 2018 at 10:11 p.m. Shon Says...

I have a large family..total of 7.. and was curious if the VIP experience is worth it vs. just getting the express for two days. We will be at universal for 4 Days total.

Thank you so much!

Reply
Feb 15, 2018 at 4:20 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shon,

It all depends on what you want to experience! If getting the VIP experiences (behind-the-scene tours, reserved seating at shows, etc.) is something that you'll find exciting and beneficial, then go for it. However, if you're just wanting to skip the lines, then the Express Pass might be more for you. Hope you have a great time!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 11, 2018 at 7:31 a.m. Roseanne Says...

Hi,

Can I buy Universal tickets from your site, but Express tickets separately from the Universal official site? I can't see Express tickets on here?

Thanks

Reply
Feb 13, 2018 at 10:23 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Roseanne,

Yes, you can most certainly do that!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 9, 2018 at 3:55 p.m. Jada Says...

Hi, we plan to come Aug 29th-31st. Your calendar says 3/10- do you think we may need the express pass?

Reply
Feb 9, 2018 at 2:45 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jada!

We always recommend getting the Universal Express pass if you have the means to do so. It helps you have a more leisurely day instead of rushing around to wait in lines! However, it isn't a necessity on a day with such low crowds, especially if you have three days to experience the parks. (We normally encourage those trying to experience two parks in one day to definitely get it.)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 4, 2018 at 2:48 p.m. Ashley Says...

Hi going may 15. Doing two parks in one day. Is express pass recommended on this date?

Reply
Feb 6, 2018 at 9:40 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ashley!

Our Crowd Calendar predicts moderate crowds and great weather on May 15, so it will be a great time to visit! If you are trying to tackle both parks in one day, we toad-ally recommend snagging an Express Pass so you can experience all of the fun.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 3, 2018 at 8:10 a.m. Nick Says...

Hey, if we purchase the Universal Hotel and park tickets from you, will we get the early entry and Express pass? You have a great savings over the direct booking from Universal!

Reply
Feb 5, 2018 at 4:53 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nick!

Yes, sir! Early entry and Express pass is included if you purchase a Universal hotel and park tickets through us.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jan 29, 2018 at 7:41 p.m. Carbonara Says...

Hi! We're staying off site, but purchasing unlimited express. Do we have to visit a kiosk to setup a time to ride the participating rides or can we literally just get in the queue for any ride that participates whenever we want?? Thanks!

Reply
Jan 30, 2018 at 1:52 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Carbonara,

You'll just walk up to the participating rides, enter the Express queue and the attendant will scan your pass! Then you'll proceed to the ride.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 27, 2018 at 6:04 p.m. Erin Says...

Hi.. i am just trying to plan our trip nov 4-11th and i am wondering if we need to get express passes during that time?

Thanks

Reply
Jan 29, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Erin!

Our Crowd Calendar predicts moderate crowds during this time. If you are able, we always suggest the express pass to save time! If not, it won't be crazy busy, so you'll have a great time regardless.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 13, 2018 at 10:05 p.m. Neil Says...

Hi. We are looking at staying at Hard Rock on the 18th Oct and utilise the unlimited express pass as part of the stay. We plan to do one park on the 18th and the other on 19th. Will we be able to get the express pass before the check in time of 4pm and if so where do we get it. Also can we use the express pass until closing on the 19th even though we will have checked out at 11am. Thanks

Reply
Jan 2, 2018 at 9:53 p.m. Rachel Says...

Hi :)

We are going to both universal parks on the 20th March 2018. There is two of us and we are thinking of getting the 2 parks in one day express pass. Do you think it would be beneficial if we stayed on site to get the extra hour or would it be safe to do both parks in one day with express pass?

Thank you :)

Reply
Feb 2, 2018 at 10:30 p.m. Maria Says...

The only thing opens during that extra hour is Harry Potter escape from gringotts . I am not sure if they have added quick que though ...

Reply
Jan 3, 2018 at 10:34 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Rachel,

How exciting! An extra hour is always helpful, and we love staying on-site at Universal. If this is an option for you, we highly recommend it! You will be able to accomplish a TON with the one-day express pass, but likely won't have time to tackle both parks entirely.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 30, 2017 at 1:36 a.m. Kat Says...

Hi,

We are going tomorrow morning and we bought universal express passes online. Do you know if it is possible to upgrade our tickets from express to express unlimited once we get there? Tickets were mailed to us and we have them already. Thank you!

Reply
Jan 2, 2018 at 10:53 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kat,

Sorry for the late response! Hopefully, you were able to upgrade to the Express Pass Unlimited!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 29, 2017 at 3:28 p.m. Mike Says...

Do I need to purchase tickets separately from express passes? Or do the express passes work as tickets to enter the park as well?

Reply
Dec 29, 2017 at 9:31 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mike,

You need to purchase these separately. They are not the same. You can even add them while you're in the parks if you wish.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 25, 2017 at 4:20 p.m. Marv Says...

Hi. I read in your blog that if my family of 4 stayed in one of the select Universal Studios resorts/hotels, we would be able to take advantage of the unlimited express pass benefit, to include the day of check-out. And can you tell us if we can use this benefit on the day of check-in? In other words, if check-in isn't till the middle of the afternoon but we arrive around 9:00 am that day, is it still possible to get the express pass that long before check-in? Thanks!

Reply
Dec 28, 2017 at 9:23 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Marv,

Yes, it is!

Enjoy and keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 21, 2017 at 1:05 a.m. Sean Says...

Hi Flogblog

So sorry, I have addressed to the wrong person earlier.

My friend and I (2 of us) are planning a trip to Universals Studios Florida & Island of Adventure on 25th & 26th Feb (2 days, non Park to Park, so each park in a day). We are staying in a partner hotel that grant us early admission. Since it is our first time there and we like to try every attraction there, do you recommend we still need an express pass? We are intending to go in with our early hour admission and leave when the park closes.

Reply
Dec 28, 2017 at 9:01 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sean,

No, you should not need them on these dates. You could also add them in the parks if you decided you did need them!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 18, 2017 at 4:32 a.m. Sean Says...

Hi Sara

My friend and I (2 of us) are planning a trip to Universals Studios Florida & Island of Adventure on 25th & 26th Feb (2 days, non Park to Park, so each park in a day). We are staying in a partner hotel that grant us early admission. Since it is our first time there and we like to try every attraction there, do you recommend we still need an express pass? We are intending to go in with our early hour admission and leave when the park closes.

Reply
Dec 15, 2017 at 1:20 p.m. Lesley Says...

Is it better to pick up your universal express tickets at the will cal window or the ticket window. They give you the option when purchasing online.

Reply
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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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

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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?

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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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

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