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The Ultimate Guide on When to Use Universal Express

by Leap on May 25, 2021 1810 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-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 Jurassic World VelociCoasterHagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and Pteranodon Flyers at Universal's Islands of Adventure.

Currently, in Universal's initial reopening phases after its temporary closure due to COVID-19, some rides have been using a Virtual Line. 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 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 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 like 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 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. (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 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 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, they are 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 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 like the brand 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 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 1266 comments
Sep 22, 2016 at 7:14 p.m. Pete Says...

Hi

We will be going to Universal Studio Orlando on Jan 1. Will there be less crowd since most people will be too tired from New Year's Eve?

We will also go to Universal between Jan 4 to Jan 6. Do you expect high level of crowd since kids are already back to school?

Thank you.

Reply
Oct 3, 2016 at 12:54 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Pete,

The parks will be very crowded at this time. You can see them on our Crowd Calendar:

https://www.undercovertourist.com/orlando/crowd-calendar/

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 20, 2016 at 8 a.m. Sarah young Says...

Hi there! My friend and I just purchased a 3 day park hopper pass for Disney world from you and we are both very excited!! We are also doing the 1 day park-to-park universal Orlando. We are going on Tuesday October 11. Do you recommend the universal express pass?? We can't decide if its worth it and are having the hardest time deciding. Or do you think we should do the mickeys not so scary Halloween party? There are both about $100 and can't decide which one to choose!! I

Reply
Sep 22, 2016 at 8:20 p.m. Avinash Says...

Visiting in December for Christmas. Do I need separate tickets for both parks and if you have any packages

Reply
Sep 21, 2016 at 10:58 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sarah,

Medium crowds are expected that day, so you don't absolutely need Express Passes.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 2, 2016 at 9:07 p.m. Dawn Says...

Once you have purchased Universal Express tickets - - do you have to carry around the actual PAPER ticket and present at EVERY RiDE you want to use it at - our will you get some sort of credit card/lanyard?

Reply
Oct 3, 2016 at 10:32 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dawn,

You get a physical ticket that will need be carried around, but you could purchase or bring your own lanyard (many people do).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 19, 2016 at 3:23 p.m. Sarah Says...

I am purchasing a 3-day park hopper for Disneyworld and a 1-day universal park-to-park hopper In Orlando it's Oct 10-Oct 13. Would it be better to have the tickets mailed to me or do the e-tickets? Also my friend and I want to do one extra thing. Do you recommend going to mickeys not so scary Halloween party at Disney world? Or buying the express pass at universal Orlando so you get on the rides with like no wait time? They are both about $100 more. Have you done either of these? Which would you recommend? Thanks!

Reply
Sep 21, 2016 at 11:02 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sarah,

You don't really need Express Passes at this time. As far as the E-Tickets decision, it is really up to you. You are already within your 30-day window for making FastPass+ reservations at Disney World, so the E-Tickets would be faster delivery. If you are not staying at Disney World (and therefore getting free MagicBands) or purchasing MagicBands in advance, you would need to exchange the E-Tickets outside the gate for physical tickets.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 19, 2016 at 12:40 a.m. Leah Says...

I'm being told that if I only pay admission to Universal Studios and do not purchase admission for Universal Island of Adventures, the Universal "Unlimited" Express pass will only act as a regular Express Pass (One time) use per ride. Is this correct?

Reply
Oct 11, 2016 at 12:21 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Leah,

This is not correct. You have the option of purchasing unlimited for one park.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 11, 2016 at 12:38 p.m. Adam Says...

We are driving from Miami to Orlando on 7 April 2017 and go straight to Universal. We are not fans of HP but wish to visit US and IOA in 2 days, which includes the day we arrive. Does on-site make sense and which tickets should we get?

Reply
Sep 14, 2016 at 3:57 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Adam,

We recommend staying on-site if you can afford it. Since you don't care that much about Harry Potter, I would go for the hotels that offer the Unlimited Express. The 2-Day Park-to-Park tickets will offer you the most flexibility, but if you don't care about riding the Hogwarts Express, you could also opt for the 2-Day Base Tickets.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 6, 2016 at 11:48 p.m. David Says...

On the unlimited express passes, since you can use them multiple times on the same ride, are you able to share the pass with your entire party or does each person have to have their own pass?

Reply
Sep 14, 2016 at 3:10 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi David,

Each person needs his or her own pass.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 5, 2016 at 11:17 p.m. Dawn Says...

Hi, I want to see if you sell Universal park-park express pass, I can't seem to find it on your website. :( My daughter and I will be visiting both parks on Sept. 26 and curious if we should get it or not. We have ONE day only to see both parks. We have been before but just want to see if we should go ahead and buy?

Reply
Sep 14, 2016 at 3:10 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dawn,

We do not currently offer Express Pass, but you can purchase discount tickets through us and add them when you get there.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 28, 2016 at 5:59 p.m. Dror Says...

Hi thanks for such a great site!

We are 2 adults and 3 children (9 - 13) have bought 2 day passes to universal (14th of October) and IOA (17th of October) but not sure how to go about buying express passes or even if we need to?

Reply
Sep 14, 2016 at 3:34 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there,

Thank you for the compliment! You likely don't need the passes for your dates, but you could always add them in the park if you wanted to.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 26, 2016 at 9:34 p.m. Shailendra Mishra Says...

Hi there, I am planning to visit Universal Orlando on 17th September for a day which is yellow crowd and also having a kid of less than 3 year. Do you think we should buy fast pass or baby swap will be suffice for us?

Reply
Sep 14, 2016 at 2:42 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shailendra,

It's always nice if you have the Express Passes, but with your little one, you will be OK with using baby swap and single rider line, especially since that day is expected to see medium crowds.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 14, 2016 at 2:42 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shailendra,

It's always nice if you have the Express Passes, but with your little one, you will be OK with using baby swap and single rider line, especially since that day is expected to see medium crowds.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 25, 2016 at 2:40 a.m. Kevin Says...

Hi!!! Thanks for the article. Was a great read.

Me and my gf will be at US for one day. Sept 4th. We are mainly going for the HP attractions. But we will have tickets to both parks. I got us a room at the Avanti and it included access to the park 1 hour before opening. Were thinking of waiting till we get to the park to decide on the Express passes. According to your calendar Sept 4th is usually a 6/10 as far as the crowd. What is your suggestion on the express passes?

Reply
Aug 25, 2016 at 11:26 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kevin,

I don't think you absolutely need them, but you can add them while you are there.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 22, 2016 at 3 a.m. V Says...

Can I buy a discount park ticket from a trusted vendor and then an express pass later on directly?

Reply
Aug 22, 2016 at 8:29 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi V,

Yes! We hope you will purchase from us. We offer discount tickets for Universal all the time, but we currently have a couple of promotional tickets that offer even greater savings: https://www.undercovertourist.com/orlando/universal-orlando-resort/

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 19, 2016 at 1:36 a.m. scott Says...

I will be going to Island of adventures with my family (5 people), do you think we will need express passes?

Reply
Aug 22, 2016 at 9:02 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Scott,

It depends on when you are going, for how long etc. Check out our crowd calendar:

https://www.undercovertourist.com/orlando/crowd-calendar/

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 17, 2016 at 5:19 p.m. Peter Says...

Hello I will be using my 1-day park-to-park admission for this Friday, August 19th. Do you recommend getting express passes? First time going and probably only time for a while.

Reply
Aug 17, 2016 at 12:59 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Peter,

Since you've got one day and two parks, you might consider it, but I would not purchase until you arrive and see that you need it. Crowds shouldn't be too bad.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 10, 2016 at 5:16 p.m. Julie Says...

We are planning a trip to Universal Jan 19-23, 2017... Would you recommend the universal express? Thanks! Love your information and website!

Reply
Aug 16, 2016 at 12:47 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Julie,

Thank you!! You should not need Express Pass for those dates.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 9, 2016 at 6:38 p.m. Karin from New York Says...

I plan to visit Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure for 2 days with my Son (26yrs) and his GF(24yr). Our dates 9/12-13,2016. What Universal hotel would you recommend we stay at and would your recommend a two park pass and also the Express Unlimited pass for the two day park visit? Would the hotel permit us to leave our car parked at their hotel on the check out day so we can still visit the parks on 2nd day? Appreciate your advice! :)

Reply
Aug 16, 2016 at 12:44 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Karin,

You do not need Express Passes for these dates, but they are always nice to have. I would check out the prices of Cabana Bay or Sapphire Falls vs. the other Universal hotels that offer the Unlimited Express benefit. Hard Rock is one of our favorites and likely would be popular with your son and his girlfriend, but all of the hotels are terrific. Yes, you could leave your car parked on the day of checkout.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 9, 2016 at 5:14 p.m. Jay Says...

I have a family of 5 and we are looking into doing a Universal vacation at the end of June 2017. We are debating whether to stay at the Cabana Bay or Loews Royal Pacific. We would do a 3 day park to park ticket. Do you recommend the unlimited express pass during this time frame? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Reply
Aug 9, 2016 at 12:43 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jay,

I would stay at Royal Pacific, so you can get the Universal Express benefit during that very busy time of year. You can also do the math and compare against purchasing Express Passes out of pocked using today's prices so you feel good about it—it's a big savings vs. individually adding on Universal Express Unlimited for three days and three people.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 9, 2016 at 6:08 p.m. Jay Says...

What are your thoughts on any of the dining plans and if it would be worth it for me?

Reply
Aug 16, 2016 at 12:40 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jay,

The dining plans generally are good for people who want to budget in advance for meals and don't mind staying within the parameters of a plan. We generally like more flexibility in the parks, but we understand that it isn't a priority for everyone.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 8, 2016 at 4:54 a.m. Tracy Says...

Great website...thank you for all of the info! We are planning a combined Universal and WDW trip in November and could use some advice. Tentative travel dates are 11/11-11/19. I am wiling to change hotels once and spend 2-3 at Universal and the rest at WDW. If we start or end our trip at Universal, we are there over weekend days with higher crowds (5-7), but we get the express pass and early admission. If we stay at WDW the whole time, we can uber over to Universal on lower crowd (3-4) days mid-week, but give up the extra hour and express passes. Overall, it's not a crazy busy time of year, but I'm wondering what the best strategy is for maximizing HP time and minimizing waits. Any help is appreciated! Thanks!

Reply
Aug 8, 2016 at 1:17 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tracy,

It's great that you have this flexibility! If you don't mind it, I highly recommend the split stay. What you gain at Universal (especially if you stay at a hotel offering Unlimited Express) will be worth it, and the hotels and proximity to the parks are terrific. If you take advantage of Early Park Admission, you will see lower waits at the Wizarding World. You may want to start at Disney, since the Epcot Food & Wine Festival will be wrapping up after those first few days. Here are some things to consider if you end up splitting your days: https://www.undercovertourist.com/blog/split-stay-orlando/

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 2, 2016 at 11:26 a.m. Carla Says...

oops, I mean check in on 29th of Sept and out on the 30th - one-night accommodation.

Reply
Aug 2, 2016 at 11:25 a.m. Carla Says...

Hi, thank you for your amazing advice...

Is it possible to have a 2 day park to park ticket and book into Royal Pacific for one night (in on 28th of Sept '16 and out on 30th of Sept) but still get to use the advantage of early park entry and express passes for both days? Seeing as though check in isn't until later in the day on the 28/9 I am wondering if I could leave bags with the hotel and still get early entry that day. With thanks

Reply
Aug 8, 2016 at 1:36 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Carla,

Yes, you can do this, and it's a great benefit!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 1, 2016 at 2:41 p.m. Jenn Says...

We are visiting from 8/26 to 8/30 staying at Cabana Bay with a 4 day Park to Park pass. Should we wait to see if we fit everything in before getting an express pass or purchase one ahead of time? I noticed the Hard Rock is sold out and worried the crowds will be heavier than expected. Any advise?

Reply
Aug 3, 2016 at 1:56 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jenn,

I would wait it out, especially with a four day ticket! Enjoy Cabana Bay!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
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

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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!

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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!

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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