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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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1101–1150 of 1246 comments
Jul 31, 2016 at 9:38 a.m. Tracey Says...

Hi there, a great site thank you. We are visiting both Universal parks for just one day, either the 4th, 5th or 6th of October. Would you recommend an express pass or we should be ok?

Cheers

Tracey

Reply
Aug 9, 2016 at 11:12 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tracey,

They are nice to have, but you should not need them at this time.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 30, 2016 at 8:06 p.m. Nicole Says...

Hi

My fiancé and I will be staying at Sapphire Falls at Universal August 21-25 and are planning to do a 3 or 4-day park-to-park for Universal and Islands of Adventure. Right now, we're debating whether we should get the express pass for the parks. What is your opinion? Will it be worth it for the time we're going? We've never had many issues with wait times every time we've gone before, but we don't know what it'll be like for this trip. Thanks for the help!

Reply
Aug 3, 2016 at 1:58 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nicole,

I would not purchase them with a 4-day ticket. Wait it out and see how crowds are, but I think you will be fine.

Congrats on your engagement!

Leap

Reply
Jul 30, 2016 at 7:23 p.m. Scott Says...

We are heading to the park in early December 2016 and would like to potentially buy these passes. Is this something I can do through you, or should I purchase the regular tickets from you and get the Express Passes from the Universal website? Thank you!

Reply
Aug 9, 2016 at 11:12 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Scott,

You can purchase discount tickets through us, but we currently do not offer the Express Passes. For those, you can purchase when you arrive or online through Universal.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 29, 2016 at 2:48 p.m. Liana Says...

Hello, We are traveling to Universal Orlando next week. We chose to go Sunday Aug 7th, but could also change it to Friday the 5th. Which day would you recommend? Also, we plan on getting the express pass for our one day park to park adventure. Do you recommend the regular express pass or the unlimited? thank you!

Reply
Aug 9, 2016 at 11:09 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Liana,

So sorry for the delay, but your comment ended up in our spam filter. What day did you end up deciding on and which pass?

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 27, 2016 at 10:12 p.m. Nicole Says...

Hi,

I will be staying at Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal with my fiancé from August 21-25. We're planning on doing either 3 or 4-day park-to-park tickets from the 22nd-24/25th. We've been debating getting express passes because they cost a lot and every time we've gone before we haven't had major issues with wait times. Do you think the express passes would be worth it for the time we're going? Thanks for the help!

Reply
Aug 8, 2016 at 11:16 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nicole,

They are always nice to have, but I don't think they will be necessary at this time. Don't forget you have the Early Park Admission to the Wizarding World!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 26, 2016 at 7:23 p.m. Carl Franklin Says...

Hello

We are going to Orlando as a family on 13th December for 14 days and have already purchased all our park tickets. I have just noticed the "2-Park Universal Express Ulimited Pass" we are planning on going to universal at least 2 times but probably more as the teenage age kids love all the rides there. Will this pass allow this if we were wanting to go on different days during our holiday?

Reply
Aug 8, 2016 at 11:08 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Carl,

You would select the number of days that you want the unlimited benefit. You mentioned being there for 14 days. If you are visiting for multiple days, even with crowds being higher toward the end of your visit, you probably have enough time that you don't need them. That is totally up to you, of course.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 26, 2016 at 5:28 p.m. Ann Says...

If we get the 1-ride-only express passes for our familiy of 5, can they be used by any member of the group. Thinking a kid may want to ride a ride again and a parent may not want to ride it at all.

Reply
Jul 26, 2016 at 3:24 a.m. Sally Says...

Hi! Planning to stay at the Portofino for 3 nights in Sept. Can I buy universal tickets from UT and use them along with the express passes I get from the hotel? Is the 2 day + one day free really what it says it is? As in we really get 3 days in the parks with it?

Reply
Aug 2, 2016 at 2:07 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sally,

Yes, you can use our tickets with Universal Express! And yes, that is the ticket!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 23, 2016 at 7:03 a.m. Kaleigh Says...

Hello!

My sister and I are going to Florida for the first time next month, and I was wondering about the fast passes. If I purchase one, does it work for the both of us? Or do they need to be purchased separately?

Reply
Jul 25, 2016 at 8:35 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kaleigh,

I believe you mean Express Passes not Fastpasses. These would need to be purchased for the two of you if you both want to skip the lines. They can be purchased online or when you get to the parks.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 21, 2016 at 1:48 p.m. Christina Says...

We have a group of 5 adults and 2 children (ages 3 and 5) heading to both Universal parks in a few weeks. We haven't been able to find information on how many Express passes we need to buy for a group that size ... does each person need an Express pass? Or does one pass cover a group?

Reply
Aug 2, 2016 at 1:56 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Christina,

Yes, all of the adults would need the Express Passes. Your 3-year-old would not need the pass since he or she will be too young to ride on many of the rides, but you would want to consider it for your 5-year-old if he or she is going to ride the majority of the rides with you. Depending on when you visit, you may want to wait to purchase when you arrive to see if you really need it.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 17, 2016 at 11:26 p.m. Deanne Chapman Says...

Hi, We will be in Orlando July 21 to July 31. What would be the best days to go to Universal and Islands of Adventure? Do we need Express passes? If so, where is the cheapest place to purchase them?

Thanks!

Reply
Jul 18, 2016 at 12:27 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Deanne,

Check out our Crowd Calendar. All of these dates are expected to be busy. If you can afford the Express Passes, we do recommended them. They can be purchased through Universal directly, but you can wait to decide until you get there.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 17, 2016 at 5:21 p.m. Steve Says...

We are traveling to Universal and IOA on Nov 6th and 7th, will we need the fast pass? The 6th is red on your chart. Any suggestion?

Reply
Jul 18, 2016 at 12:28 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Steve,

There will be more crowds in town because of the Disney Wine & Dine Half-Marathon Weekend, but I don't think you absolutely will need them and could hold off to decide until you arrive.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 15, 2016 at 3:25 p.m. Kristin Says...

Hi! Great site!!! We are planning a visit from 8/2 - 8/6 but torn on staying at Hard Rock for express pass or Sapphire Falls OR splitting the stay between the two (a big hassle) or just buying the express pass for a day or day (4). What do you think?

Reply
Jul 18, 2016 at 12:37 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kristin,

If you can afford it, I would stay at the Hard Rock, but you have to weigh the cost differential. The split stay isn't a bad idea. You could take advantage of the early entry to the Wizarding World on your Days at Sapphire Falls, and focus on the other rides for your days at Hard Rock. You may also want to check out our post on the pros and cons of a split stay: https://www.undercovertourist.com/blog/split-stay-orlando/

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 14, 2016 at 9:51 a.m. Tine Says...

Hello,

We are visiting Orlando and planning to spend 1 or 2 days at Universal.

First option: Tuesday 27th September and Friday 30th September, we would buy tickets to visit just one park a day to cut costs.

Second option: Tuesday 27th September, park to park tickets so we could spend the 30th in Miami (it's the last day before our flight back to Europe).

How would you advise? If we do plan 2 days at Universal, we figure we don't really need the express pass, but we might benefit from it if we only plan 1 day?

We have visited last year and don't travel with kids so we don't necessarily have to see or do everything.

What would you advice?

Reply
Jul 19, 2016 at 11:26 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tine,

This is a great time to visit as far as crowds go. If you want to ride the Hogwarts Express, you'll need a Park-to-Park ticket, so that might be a deciding factor. If you do one day, having Express Passes would ensure you get to do more of the rides, but you can do a lot at this time even without the passes.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 11, 2016 at 9:14 p.m. Elly Says...

Hi

We have a week at Disney 22nd August and want to spend 2 days at Universal... Which days would be best?

Will we need express passes do you think?

Thanks what a FAB site you have!

Reply
Jul 12, 2016 at 1:58 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Elly,

The 24th and 26th are the best days for Universal, and no, you will not need Express Passes.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 6, 2016 at 10:24 p.m. Paola Says...

I would be going to Orlando on July 19th to July 22 2 adults and 2 kids, if I can afford do you recommend buying express passes. Today I just added all the wait times with your plan touring and gives a total of 6.5 hours in lines!!!!! it is crazy, considering that I have two small children.

Reply
Jul 11, 2016 at 2:48 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Paola,

If you can afford it, we do recommend adding Express Passes, but you can always wait and add it in the parks.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 5, 2016 at 7:32 p.m. Casey Portman Says...

Hi there - your site is amazing! Thank you for collecting all of this info and putting it into one place. We live in Va and are considering a 3 day trip next May (2017). Since it's so far away, when would you recommend actually booking the room and tickets? Also, would you recommend the Express Pass for the first week in May? The crowds look "ok" for Tuesday - Thursday, which is when we would go. But we will have a 3 year old with us with a short attention span. We'll be staying at the "value" hotel, so we would need Express passes separately. Worth it??

Reply
Jul 12, 2016 at 2:08 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Casey,

You should not need Express Passes during this time as neutral crowds are expected. The sooner you book your room, generally the better. It's always better to buy your tickets as early as possible once you know what you want, because most of the parks do annual price increases.

Here are all of our discount options:

https://www.undercovertourist.com/orlando/

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 3, 2016 at 1:14 p.m. Yogesh Says...

We are visiting both the universal between 19 to 21 July . Which would be the best days to visit ? Express pass required ?

Reply
Jul 11, 2016 at 1:42 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there,

We are showing July 19 as the best date, and yes, we'd recommend Express Pass.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 11, 2016 at 1:42 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there,

We are showing July 19 as the best date, and yes, we'd recommend Express Pass.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 23, 2016 at 9:40 a.m. Kram Says...

Hi, we are a family of three and plan to visit Universal for 2 days - 6/7 July. We have reservations in a resort that offers the Express passes from 5th to 7th. Will Universal allow checking in early on 5th, leaving our luggage and heading to the park with the express pass?

Or is the pass only given at the time of check-in - and the check-in time stated is 4pm?

Reply
Jul 11, 2016 at 1:16 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there,

So sorry for the delay, but your comment ended up in our spam filter. Hope you had a great trip!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 23, 2016 at 2:29 a.m. Jason Silverman Says...

Hello! I'm planning on visiting both parks for 1 day for my honeymoon on 09/01. On your calendar, one of the parks is red and the other is yellow. Do you think we'll be ok on a Thursday before Labor Day without Express passes?

Reply
Jul 11, 2016 at 1:08 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jason,

The overall crowd level is very low, so no, you don't need Express Pass.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 21, 2016 at 6:22 p.m. TCG Says...

Hi, we will be in Florida June 28-July 4, staying off site. Planning to spend 2 days at the Universal Resorts, 1 park/day. Looking at the express passes on the Universal website, I noticed they are cheaper in the weekends? For example, the Islands of Adventure express pass costs $59.99 on July 2 and 3 (Sat & Sun) and $84.99 weekdays. Initially, we were planning to go to the Universal parks during on weekdays hoping to stay away from the weekend's larger crowd. But with the price difference, is it a better idea to go on that weekend?

Is it highly recommended to get the express passes on these dates? Thanks so much

Reply
Jul 11, 2016 at 8:50 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there,

So sorry for the delay, but your comment ended up in our spam filter. What did you decide and how did it work out?

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 20, 2016 at 3:26 p.m. Carrie Says...

Hi!

We're planning a possible drive down to Universal July 5-9, with the 6-8th being our park days. We're debating staying on or off site. While staying off site would be a lot cheaper, we wouldn't get the Express Unlimited. Is it absolutely necessary for that week with crowds being so heavy, or would we be ok sticking to a touring plan and getting to the parks extra early?

Reply
Jul 11, 2016 at 8:37 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Carrie,

So sorry for the delay, but your comment ended up in our spam filter. What did you decide?

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 20, 2016 at 2:30 a.m. Dawn Says...

We are thinking about staying from Aug 15th to the 19. Would you recommend getting the fast pass?

Reply
Jul 11, 2016 at 7:07 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dawn,

I don't think you will need Express Pass at this time, although it's always nice to have.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 16, 2016 at 6:13 a.m. Trina Says...

Love your blog!

We are traveling June 26-July 3rd staying at a time share.

We will be visiting Disney and Universal/Island of Adventure. We have a group of 7 ranging from 3-87 :) only 2 risers ages 11 & 16

My question is should we consider express passes?

And if so, can one pass be used by different both kids at different times?

Reply
Jul 11, 2016 at 8:33 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Trina,

So sorry for the delay, but your comment ended up in our spam filter. What did you decide?

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 10, 2016 at 4:36 a.m. Telicia Scott Says...

Hi, we will be visiting Universal June 14th and June 15th It's 4 of us. We want to do both parks. Would you recommend 1 or 2 day passes. Also, would you recommend express pass for both days if we do the 2-day, as it can be costly. Thanks

Reply
Jul 11, 2016 at 8:34 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Telicia,

So sorry for the delay, but your comment ended up in our spam filter. What did you decide?

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 9, 2016 at 4:59 p.m. Kat Says...

Hello, we are planning a universal trip August 9-10, 2016. 3 adults and 2 kids. Do you recommend express passes during this time?

Reply
Jul 5, 2016 at 11:14 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kat,

I would wait and see what you think of the crowds when you get there. You may not need them. By the way, have you seen our new Quick Start Guide for Universal Orlando? You will find some additional tips for skipping the lines there.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 9, 2016 at 5:41 a.m. Sherry Says...

Hello,

Do you think I should purchase an express pass for July 23rd and/or July 24th? Planning a trip to Orlando during this time with my son.

Thanks!

Reply
Jul 5, 2016 at 11:10 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sherry,

I would consider it if you can afford it.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 6, 2016 at 2:21 p.m. Rose Says...

We are going around October 22-29. We wanted to do a two day park hopper but are unsure about getting a fast pass. We definitely wanna do the Halloween Horror nights and I am unsure if an express pass that night would be absolutely neccesary. Any thoughts to make this cost effective and if fast passes are neccesary?

Reply
Jul 5, 2016 at 10:45 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Rose,

To clarify, the Express Passes are separate for regular park admission and Halloween Horror Nights. I don't think they are absolutely necessary for the regular day visits, but you might want to consider them for Halloween Horror Nights, especially if you attend on the night of Oct. 22.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 3, 2016 at 11:49 a.m. Jenny Says...

We are considering staying at Royal Pacifica 7/7-7/9. If we arrive the morning of 7/7, will we be able to check in, store our bags, and get our express passes so we can enjoy the parks the day of our arrival? We would still have the 8th and 9th to take advantage of the early entry and continue using our express passes but this allows us to only stay two nights since the hotel is fairly expensive. We also considered staying elsewhere but it looks like the parks will be quite busy those days so I'm assuming you would recommend using the express passes to shorten wait times? Thanks!

Reply
Jun 17, 2016 at 10:08 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jenny,

Yes, we recommend you staying there, and you can store bags that first day and use Unlimited Express. You just need to check in at the hotel first.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 1, 2016 at 1:15 a.m. Sarah Says...

We have been to Disney many times - but never to universal. Have the opportunity to go this August after a cruise. Based on flights and cost we can either stay the 19th to the 22nd or the 19th to the 26th. From what I can figure - we could do three nights at Portofino or Royal Pacific and have the express passes, or seven night at the new Sapphire (grand opening deal) with no express passes for roughly the same price. Is there enough for first timers (parents and 10 year old girl) to do for a week at universal? (Other than side trips with more costs - we would do the 3 park 14 day ticket - basically same price as four day ticket!) How much scarier are the roller coasters? (She can easily ride space mountain, rockin roller coaster, Everest and tower of terror - so she is not a chicken - but not used to real "thrill ride" coasters.) Any advice?

Reply
Jun 2, 2016 at 3:43 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sarah,

It's always nice to stay on site at Portofino or Royal Pacific, so you get the Unlimited Express benefit, even though it won't be completely necessary. If you do decide to stay seven days, you might also consider the FlexTicket, and then you could visit SeaWorld, Aquatica and Wet 'n' Wild. The coasters are a fairly big step up from Disney, so it just depends on how adventurous she is.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 30, 2016 at 10:12 p.m. JAMIE Says...

Hi, we are a family of 4. We are planning on visiting Universal studios and islands of adventure. We are going Oct 8th, 9th and possibly half day or so on the 10th. Do you think we will need express passes? Thank you in advance :-)

Reply
May 31, 2016 at 6:45 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jamie,

We don't think you will need them at this time, but you could always purchase them in the parks.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 26, 2016 at 3:34 p.m. Tram Says...

Hi,

Our family of 5 (kids ages 2, 5, and 9) are visiting universal Orlando for 2 days (7/27-7/28). Do you suggest we get an express pass for these days? I am trying to decide if we should stay at 1 of their premier hotels (which offer free express passes) or a value hotel. Thank you so much for your help!

Reply
Jun 2, 2016 at 1:23 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tram,

If you can, I would stay on-site.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 24, 2016 at 8:27 a.m. Gina Says...

Hi, we've got the 1 day-2park ticket for July, we are assuming this would be busy so we are going to get the express tickets as well, our main reason for going is the Harry Potter World parts, do you think these are doable in the one day? Also is there a list of things the express pass includes? And is early opening only for people who are staying in the resorts linked to the park?

Thanks in advance :)

Reply
May 31, 2016 at 3:40 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Gina,

I think getting the Express Passes makes a lot of sense since you are trying to cover so much ground in one day, but the main Harry Potter headliners will not be included. For those, I recommend single rider line. The only drawback is that you will miss the major queue experience, so it's a tough decision! Early entry is for those staying on-site. You can see the list of Express Pass attractions here and here.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 22, 2016 at 4:03 p.m. Meredith Says...

I will be headed to Universal on June 1st or 2nd or maybe even both days. Plans aren't final yet. I want to spend most of my time exploring the Harry Potter parks, but would like to see some of the rest of the park as well. Would you recommend one day or two to take everything in? And do you think fast passes are a must?

Reply
May 31, 2016 at 2:47 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Meredith,

I don't think Universal Express Passes are absolutely necessary at this time, but they are always nice to have and you can add them if you feel you need them. I would definitely try for two days and suggest checking out our Universal touring plans.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 18, 2016 at 11:40 a.m. Angel King Says...

Good day I am going on a field trip to only Islands of adventure May 24, from 7 a.m to 7.pm and I want to know if a fast pass would be worth it, its a bit expensive that day 50$ basic 70$ unlimited. I feel since I am going to be there the whole day I should get an unlimited but idk please help.

Reply
May 18, 2016 at 9:32 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Angel,

I don't think you will need it for this day. If you did decide to do it, you might not need Unlimited Express.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 14, 2016 at 9:08 a.m. Dan Says...

Hi we are planning on doing both parks in 1 day on the 19th of June, would you recommend express passes? The crowd calendar is green but wonder if we would be able to fit enough into one day without them?

Thanks

Dan

Reply
May 16, 2016 at 11:08 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dan,

The overall crowd level is 8 out of 10, so we would recommend Express Passes. Out of all the parks, Universal's are recommended (green), but that is just in comparison against the other parks for that day—it will still be busy!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 12, 2016 at 1:26 p.m. Sharon Says...

We are traveling 8/4 & 8/5 and with a 14 and 10 year old. We want to get as much done as possible at US and IOA. Should we do the Unlimited express? Also, what is the benefit of the VIP vs. Unlimited express? Is it worth the difference?

Reply
May 17, 2016 at 3:03 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sharon,

If you can afford it and want a more personalized experience, VIP is the way to go. You'll be guaranteed a number of rides for the day, and will just walk up and wait minimally. With Unlimited Express, you'll still have to wait in the Express Pass queue, and on super busy days, you could still see a wait of up to 15 minutes.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 10, 2016 at 6:31 p.m. Rick Says...

Going with a group of 7 friends on the 13th of june. What do you recommend? Buy online the Universal Express or wait till we get there at the park?

Reply
May 17, 2016 at 3:25 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Rick,

It's going to be busy, it's just a question of whether everyone wants to pony up for the extra cost.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 9, 2016 at 3:47 a.m. Tripidee Says...

Thank you! This was really helpful.

Reply
May 5, 2016 at 6:21 p.m. k Says...

we are thinking about going the first week of sept 3 to 6 probably. either staying onsite for the express pass or staying at Disney with a rental car (much cheaper) do you think we need the express pass? kids will be almost 9 and almost 6. can they ride all the rides on the express pass? one is 50 inches and the other is 46 inches.

Reply
May 8, 2016 at 8:40 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi K,

You probably do not need the Express Pass, but we always recommend staying on site if you can afford it.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 4, 2016 at 3:47 p.m. Megan Says...

I am planning to stay at a Universal Resort but I'm debating to stay at the Cabana Bay or one of the resorts with the Express Pass included. If it's worth booking the more expensive resort with the Express pass I will do that.

The days we plan to be in the park are September 11-13. 2016 based on your crowd calendar two of the days one park is red the other is green, and on the other day both parks are yellow!

Thank you!

Reply
May 8, 2016 at 8:45 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Megan,

The overall crowd levels a neutral, so you shouldn't need Express Passes.

https://www.undercovertourist.com/orlando/crowd-calendar/september-2016/#calendar

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 4, 2016 at 1:54 p.m. Sandra Says...

Hi

We are going to universal march 26 to april 1st next year and wondered if u think we would need express passes at this time?

Thanks

Reply
May 12, 2016 at 4:11 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sandra,

Yes. We'd highly recommend it at this time.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 1, 2016 at 3:19 p.m. Shelly Says...

My husband is a Florida resident and I will be soon after a job move. Our children and grandchildren will be coming for a week.. We plan on staying one night a the Portofino and one night at the Royal Pacific in Club rooms, the grandkids are 2, 9 and 15. The 9 year old will turn 10 on our 2nd hotel stay (the day after check in) will a child ticket be ok or will we have to get him an adult ticket? Does the 2 year old need an unlimited express pass and are the child junior and adult passes different even though the same price if purchased? We should receive 4 passes for the 2 nights, What happens if I get a Florida discount ticket but don't get time to have my ID changed will I have to buy a new ticket or just pay the difference between resident and nonresident? Thanks

Reply
May 12, 2016 at 2:31 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shelly,

You child turning 10 should be fine, and the 2-year-old does not need a pass. On the changeover to a Florida resident, do you have any documentation you might be able to provide if asked? It may not be an issue, but think it could help if there is a problem.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 30, 2016 at 11:17 p.m. Herbert Says...

Will be in Orlando with Family in tow during the second week of May. Staying on property at Disney for the duration. Looking to squeeze in Universal and IoA, primarily for the Harry Potter Experience. We're planning on doing both parks in one day on Fri 5/13. Looking at your calendar IoA is green and UO is yellow. Knowing that most of the Express Pass benefits aren't applicable to HP rides, is it even worth it to purchase? And do you have any tips on how we should approach our visit to maximize our HP experience? Thanks!

Reply
May 2, 2016 at 11:52 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Herbert,

The overall crowd level for that day is expected to be a 6, so it's not absolutely necessary to have Express Passes, and since your focus is really the Wizarding Worlds, you are right that you might not need it.

I would suggest you take a look at our touring plans and customize it to fit your needs. You can create your own or modify these using our Orlando planning app for iphone.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 3, 2016 at 3:19 a.m. Herbert Says...

Thanks!

Reply
Apr 30, 2016 at 3:31 p.m. Jo Says...

Hi there

We will be visiting universal studios on Wed 1st June and universal islands of adventure on Friday 10th June. Would you recommend getting the express passes for these 2 days. We are not staying at an on site hotel.

Many thanks

Reply
May 2, 2016 at 11:59 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jo,

It's expected to be crowded but not yet peak summer crowds at this time. While it's ultimately up to you, I might hold off purchasing until you get there and see what you think. If you arrive at the parks early (before they officially open) and tour smartly (use one of our touring plans or customize your own with our app), you will find you can still experience quite a bit without having to purchase ...

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 28, 2016 at 3:09 a.m. Jeff Says...

If I arrive in the morning of a certain day and cannot check in until 3 pm, can I get the express pass that morning to use in the park?

Reply
May 2, 2016 at 12:14 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jeff,

You still get the Universal Express benefit on days you check-in and check-out of Universal's deluxe hotels. Even if you don't go to your room, you would need to check-in at the hotel to get the pass printed (you do it at the hotel).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 26, 2016 at 3:26 a.m. Amit Goswami Says...

i have 7 days - 2 days - universal - 4 days in disney and 1 day in sea world

During 2 days at universal May 11 and May 12 do i need to buy express pass

Reply
Apr 26, 2016 at 1 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amit,

You shouldn't need it at this time, but you can always purchase it in the parks if you decide you do.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 26, 2016 at 1:17 a.m. Kathy Says...

Hi, love your site and all the valuable information you provide!

We are a group of four adults and one 8 year old heading to Orlando May 14-20th. We are considering one day hopper unlimited express pass. Thoughts please? Also planning to visit Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios so thinking the express pass will be a needed relief of lines. But certainly open to suggestions. Much appreciated:-)

Reply
May 3, 2016 at 11:25 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kathy,

Just want to be clear that you are asking about the Express Pass at Universal vs. Disney World. If you are planning to visit both Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida in one day, then I think the Express Passes make sense just so you can experience most everything even if it's not a super busy time (minus that Saturday). For the Disney parks, you have access to FastPass+. It's free, so we think you should definitely use it. You can read more about it here.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 25, 2016 at 1:22 p.m. Deepa Says...

Hi - We are going to be at Universal for 2 days - on Sunday and Monday/Tuesday of Memorial Day weekend. We are not going to be doing any of the big rides, just want to experience the Harry Potter world, and do smaller rides (kids are 5 and 9). Do you think we still need Express passes? The difference in pricing for on-site hotels that include express passes vs. those that don't is pretty significant too. TIA!

Reply
Apr 26, 2016 at 1:43 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Deepa,

Given what you want to see and do, I would not purchase Express Passes. But I would make sure to arrive at the parks ahead of their opening and do any priority rides that are popular such as Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Transformers, etc. first thing. Even the non-thrill rides will be busy.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 25, 2016 at 5:02 a.m. MIT Says...

do i need to buy express pass for universal May 11 -May 12 , i am planning 7 days - 4 disney 2 universal 1 sea world

Reply
Apr 26, 2016 at 1:44 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there,

I don't think you need it for these dates. You can always purchase in the park if you decide you want it.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
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