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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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1151–1200 of 1246 comments
Apr 24, 2016 at 2:41 p.m. Lio Says...

Hi,

Can we buy Express Passes through this site together with park to park tickets?

Reply
Apr 26, 2016 at 2:36 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lio,

We don't currently offer Express Passes, but you can purchase discount Park-to-Park tickets through us and then purchase Express Passes if you decide you want them.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 23, 2016 at 3:10 p.m. Jeremy Says...

We have a family of 4. We will be at Islands of Adventure for one day mid June. Our kids are ages 8 & 5. Is the ultimate express pass a good idea? Compared to Disney's fast passes how long do you typically wait with the ultimate express pass per ride on average?

Reply
Apr 26, 2016 at 2:47 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jeremy,

Your time in line will be significantly less, probably in the 5-15 minute range. Express Passes are terrific if you can afford them. We prefer to stay on-site so that they are included with our visit.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 20, 2016 at 10:56 p.m. michelle Says...

If I purchase 1 day park to park ticket here on your site, can I then add the express pass later, when I get to the park since I cant get it here?

Reply
Apr 25, 2016 at 2:27 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Michelle,

Yes, you can :)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 20, 2016 at 3:53 a.m. Angela Says...

Hello,

My husband and I (with 2 kids) will be visiting Universal next month, the 18th and 19th or 21st and 22nd of May. For this time, would it be recommended to buy fast passes?

Thanks!

Reply
Apr 25, 2016 at 2:24 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Angela,

It shouldn't be absolutely necessary. We'd suggest going and then adding them when you get there if you feel you need them.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 18, 2016 at 9:43 a.m. felix shin Says...

Hi great site and really like the calender me and my gf are visiting on may may 7-8. We are not staying at a hotel that offers earlier admission I notice is mother's day on the 8 would you recommend buying the express pass due to this? Thank you in advance

Reply
Apr 25, 2016 at 1:45 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Felix,

I think this is up to you. Mother's Day in and of itself doesn't bring more crowds to the parks, but the weekends in May tend to be more crowded than weekdays.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 13, 2016 at 10:18 p.m. Gena Says...

I am visiting the park June 10-12th. Should I purchase an Extreme pass? Usually which day is more crowded, Friday or Saturday? Thanks!

Reply
Apr 25, 2016 at 1:12 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Gena,

I would consider it for both of those days:

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

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 11, 2016 at 7:25 p.m. Arlene Says...

Hi, 4 adults are going to Universal IOA October 1st 2016, do we need the Express Pass and or should we wait to get them that day. If we purchase our tickets off line before then, can we still purchase pass that day there at gates if you think we need them? Thanks Arlene

Reply
Apr 25, 2016 at 12:49 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Arlene,

You may not need them. For this date, I would recommend waiting to purchase until you get to the park and see that you want them.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 6, 2016 at 8:31 p.m. Sara Says...

We are flying to Universal on May 22nd for 5 nights, 4 days, because we leave at 6 am on the last day. I originally booked Royal Pacific but just figured out that for about $400 less I could have stayed at Cabanna for 7 nights and 8 days. Is it worth giving up the express passes to save money and spend 3 extra days?

Reply
Apr 7, 2016 at 1:18 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sara,

You shouldn't need, need Express Passes, but you ultimately have to make the decision.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 6, 2016 at 12:50 p.m. Evan Says...

I'll be visiting Universal for 2 or 3 days between April 22-27 (we haven't decided whether we want to do WDW or Universal first). Since I'm not sure of the actual days we're going, can I buy the admission tickets online, then get the Express Pass at the gate?

Reply
Apr 7, 2016 at 1:18 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Evan,

Yes, you can! Have fun!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 4, 2016 at 10 p.m. Shane Says...

Hey, first off I want to say your blog is awesome! It's honestly helped so much with planning.

I have a questions though, do you think it's a good idea to get the express pass / ticket combo for 6/25, 6/28, 7/2, or 7/5?

We definitely want to do AT LEAST two days, but are open for more if we need it.

We'll be staying at Disney, and using Uber to get to Universal.

Thanks :)

Reply
Apr 14, 2016 at 2:52 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shane,

So glad we could help! I would recommend Express Passes if you can afford them during this time.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 30, 2016 at 1:24 a.m. Marcelo Says...

Hi Friends,

I'm planning to stay with my family at the hard rock hotel for 2 or 3 nights and then go to a Disney hotel. How does the free universal express pass work on check in date and on check out day? If I book a 2 night stay can I get the pass for 2 or 3 days? Thank you!!!

Reply
Apr 4, 2016 at 2:37 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Marcelo,

We love the Hard Rock! It's such a fun hotel. You get the Universal Express benefit for the days of your stay, including on check-in and check-out. Once you check in (and you can do this early), you will use the room key at the Universal Express kiosk there in the hotel to print out your pass.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 29, 2016 at 7:57 p.m. Leanne Says...

I have been looking at booking a night at a universal hotel to take advantage of express passes would we need them were are there 3rd to 19th of june ?

And then is 2 days at universal and ioa enough to cover most of the rides there will be 2 adults and 2kids 1 toddler (age 2 6 8) we wont be going on the bigger rides as the kids wont be tall enough ??

Thanks

1st timer any advice is greatly appreciated

Reply
Apr 7, 2016 at 1:37 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Leanne,

I would definitely try to book one of the hotels that offer Universal Express if it's available. With the passes and you not going on all of the rides, two days should be enough (or very close to it).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 27, 2016 at 6:35 p.m. jacqui Says...

Hi We are going June 15-29th would you recommend the fast passes?

Reply
Mar 28, 2016 at 9:24 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jacqui,

Do you mean Express Passes? Depends on how many days you will be at Universal. If it's three days or longer, you might not need them. Just get to the parks early, use our app and follow a touring plan.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 25, 2016 at 12:22 a.m. Ashley Says...

Looking at doing both parks oct 5. Is fast pass express recommended?

Reply
Mar 28, 2016 at 9:39 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ashley,

Nope, you won't need them!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 22, 2016 at 3:24 a.m. Linda Says...

Our family of 4 adults, 1 child are planning to visit both Universal parks on July 3rd. Since we have only the 1 day, we are going to try and fit in as many rides as possible. We plan on being there ahead of opening, and useing the 1 day park touring plan. Do you think the express pass is something we would need that day? We appreciate your help!

Reply
Mar 28, 2016 at 9:54 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Linda,

Yes, I would highly recommend them!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 21, 2016 at 3:11 a.m. Krista Says...

We are visiting May 2nd and want to hit both parks in one day. Not staying on site. Would you recommend unlimited passes? Family of 4, kids ages 7 and 9. Thanks!

Reply
Mar 28, 2016 at 10:25 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Krista,

No, you don't need them at this time.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 20, 2016 at 8:46 p.m. Kristin Says...

Hi! We are staying at the Cabana Bay April 15-20 and plan to visit the parks for three days while we are there. I looked at your crowd calendar and it doesn't look like it is too crowded that week; do you think we will need the Express Passes??

Reply
Mar 28, 2016 at 10:29 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kristin,

No, I don't think you need Express Passes.

Keep hopping!

Lea[

Reply
Mar 20, 2016 at 1:09 a.m. Sarah Says...

Hello,

I am traveling 1st time to Universal with my 15 yr old March 28-31 staying at Hard Rock. We will spend 3 days in the parks 3/29-31 focusing mainly on Harry Potter and taking time in the afternoons at the pool. If I buy a 2 day (plus 1 day free) thru your site, how do I get the early entry and express unlimited from the resort added to those tickets? Thanks for all our great information!

Reply
Mar 28, 2016 at 8:35 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sarah,

When you check in to the hotel, you will use your room key to obtain the Unlimited Express pass. You will use the room key for early entry.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 18, 2016 at 5:28 p.m. Jlynn Says...

Hi, and what a great site. Happy to have found it today! We are hoping for a visit to FL (Universal portion Aug 18 - 21. Family of 4; kids 12 & 9. Would you suggest that the express pass be purchased for all 3 days, or would it be better to get the express pass for only 1 day (maybe day 1) - buzz through all those rides and then spend the other two days enjoying the parks more leisurely? thank you!

Reply
Mar 28, 2016 at 8:24 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jlynn,

I don't think you need, need the Express Passes for these dates, but you could certainly get them as you suggested.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 18, 2016 at 3:32 a.m. Stan Says...

We are going to Universal April 4-8. I noticed that ALL of the onsite hotels have been sold out for a while now. (Luckily we booked early this year and are set to go!) Is this normal? Your crowd calendar has those days as 4 or 5 moderate crowd days. Will the whole resort being sold out affect those numbers at all?

Reply
Mar 22, 2016 at 1:56 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Stan,

With just the four hotels (soon to be five), they do fill up quite quickly.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 17, 2016 at 4:25 a.m. Halee Burg Says...

Hi Leap,

I am heading to Orlando with my adult daughter May 5 - 8, and was hoping to do 3 days at Disney and one at Universal. I was thinking of doing Island of Adventure and Universal on Friday, May 6. Do you think we can do both parks in one day, and do you think we will need the express pass to do so? Thanks so much.

Halee

Reply
Mar 17, 2016 at 8:48 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Halee,

I think you can hit the highlights in one day without the Express Pass. Make sure to arrive ahead of park opening, and download our app for wait times and touring plans.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 15, 2016 at 4:35 p.m. Kathleen Says...

Good afternoon!

We are planning a trip to Universal during the middle of August. We will be going to Islands of Adventure for 2 days and Universal for two days (4 single day tickets). We are booked at Cabana Bay and are very excited about it. Our boys are ages 12, 9 and 6. Do you feel that 2 full days in each park will be sufficient? I want to do the Express pass, but understand it's not available at Cabana Bay. I've priced out the next resort up and it would be worth it, but we really want to stay at Cabana. Our dates show two days of heavy (red) crowds and two days of moderate crowds (all Universal in the yellow or green). Any suggestions for Express pass?

Reply
Mar 16, 2016 at 2:32 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kathleen,

I think four days gives you enough time to experience most everything, especially if you take advantage of your Early Park Admission. Cabana Bay is a terrific resort, and I think you and the boys will enjoy it.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 10, 2016 at 6:47 p.m. Frankie Says...

Hey, I'm going on April 10th to make a park-to-park visit with two friends. I've been to Universal a couple of times, so I know my way around, but my friends will be going for the first time, so I plan to show them as much as possible. Do you think it would be necessary? Considering we aren't likely to use single rider lines?

Reply
Mar 11, 2016 at 9:46 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Frankie,

I think you'll be OK. You could always add them in the park if you want to.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 9, 2016 at 5:38 a.m. Riccardo Says...

Hi! I'm planning on visiting both parks on a single day on Sunday April 10th. I am going by myself so I am wondering whether I should buy express pass or just rely on the single rider lines.

I appreciate any advice! Thanks!

Reply
Mar 9, 2016 at 9:38 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Riccardo,

Check our Crowd Calendar. I think you will be fine.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 9, 2016 at 8:36 p.m. Riccardo Says...

Thanks Leap! So you are saying I shouldn't get the Express pass and just rely on single rider lines? Thanks!

Reply
Mar 10, 2016 at 9:17 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Riccardo,

I don't think you need Express Passes, and using single rider lines is always a good idea.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 9, 2016 at 12:59 a.m. April Says...

First timer here

We have 4 adults going on 5/28/16 & 5/29/16

Holiday weekend

Should we stay onsite and get complementary unlimited express passes? It seems it will be very busy.

Thanks for answering

Reply
Mar 9, 2016 at 10:05 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi April,

If you can, I would definitely consider staying on-site.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 8, 2016 at 10:15 p.m. Shane Brown Says...

A group of 3 will be at universal March 17,18 and 19. Do you think that express passes are needed for us since we will be there for multiple days? It's over $500 just for two days and not the unlimited pass!! Hopefully you can help me before I make that decision and spend that money. Is it possible to get through everything spending a whole day at each park and then a third day between the two without one? Thanks for any help!

Reply
Mar 11, 2016 at 9:31 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shane,

You can do a lot if you arrive ahead of park opening and tour smartly. We offer pre-set plans you can customize and get wait times with our free planning app for iphone.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Mar 2, 2016 at 10:51 a.m. Pierre Says...

We plan to go to both universal parks in one day on May 25th 2016 : do you think it is necessary the express pass ?

We plan to stay onsite the day before to get in the park one hour early.

Reply
Mar 8, 2016 at 2:21 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Pierre,

No, I don't think you'll need them. Enjoy your visit!

Leap

Reply
Mar 1, 2016 at 6:01 a.m. Wendy Says...

Have a 5 and 7 yr old and planning first trip to Orlando. Planning on doing MK, Epcott, and Hollywood Mon, Tues, Wed Aug 1,2,3. Then doing single day at Universal Aug 4 for Harry Potter mainly with 2 park pass. Should we get express passes for Universal?

Reply
Mar 8, 2016 at 2:09 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Wendy,

You may wish to consider it as it will be a busy time. That said, you can do a lot if you arrive at the parks before they open, and make sure to download our app and follow our touring plans.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 29, 2016 at 1:13 p.m. Jasmin Says...

Hi

You responded to someone in an earlier post saying she wouldn't need express passes for 4th and 5th April

I was considering an on-site hotel for the 3rd until 4th April as I thought this would be a really busy time! Is it not likely and why?

Kind regards

Jasmin

Reply
Feb 29, 2016 at 1:45 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jasmin,

That Sunday would be busier than Monday. We are expecting heavy crowds on Sunday (7 out of 10), so if you were considering Express Passes, that would be the day. The week prior to your arrival is expected to be very busy as many schools have the week off for Easter, but many people will have left by Sunday. If you can afford it, we always prefer to stay on site. Even when it's not peak time as far as crowds, it's always nice to have the Universal Express benefit that is included at Universal's deluxe hotels.

Keep hopping!

Reply
Feb 27, 2016 at 1:43 a.m. Jamie Casabona Says...

Hey Guys!

Me and my husband are going to universal and IOA nov.16-18, would the universal express pass be needed? Thanks a bunch!! xoxo

Reply
Mar 4, 2016 at 8:59 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jamie,

Check out the Crowd Calendar: https://www.undercovertourist.com/orlando/crowd-calendar/november-2016/#calendar

I don't think you will need Express Passes at this time.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 4, 2016 at 8:59 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jamie,

Check out the Crowd Calendar: https://www.undercovertourist.com/orlando/crowd-calendar/november-2016/#calendar

I don't think you will need Express Passes at this time.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 25, 2016 at 3:51 a.m. Vanessa Moorman Says...

I have a family of 5 coming to Orlando April 9-16. We are doing 3 days disney and 3 days universa. We have multiple reservations and are weighing options of which to keep. We have a 7 day stay at hard rock which will give us ecpress pass and early entrance. We are debating staying at disney half week April 9-12 and switching over to cabana bay April 12-16. We would not get express pass this way. Should we worry about that at this time?

Reply
Feb 25, 2016 at 1:43 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Vanessa,

I would keep your Hard Rock reservation, or at least part of it. It's an amazing hotel right near the park and will give you the Universal Express benefit, which is not absolutely necessary during this time but still nice to have. If you want to add a Disney hotel for those days you will be in those parks, I think that makes a lot of sense.

We have outlined the pros and cons of the split stay in this post, but it's something we have done multiple times and enjoy (not for everyone, though).

If you do stay at Disney, we hope you'll consider booking through us because we are now offering Disney World hotel rooms.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 24, 2016 at 2:40 p.m. Sam Says...

Hi,

Me and my 15 yr old sister have a 10-ish day trip to Orlando booked for March 27 - April 8th. we haven't been for ~ 13 years so i'm guessing a lot has changed!

We were thinking of visiting universal studios for 2 days, with maybe a third if we want to revisit. Probably going on 4&5th April. Do you recommend getting an express pass? We love big rides so will definitely want to go on all of them. Plus my sister is obsessed with Harry Potter so we will probably spend a lot of time at those areas (i am aware that you can't use express pass much there).

Advice would be much appreciated as it is expensive but i am prepared to pay if it makes the time spent at the parks doing more stuff and less queuing!! Thanks!

Reply
Feb 25, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sam,

No, I don't think you will need them at this time, although it's always nice to have.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 22, 2016 at 4:21 a.m. Barrett Says...

HI,

Would you recommend the Express Pass for Feb 27th?

Thanks!

Reply
Feb 24, 2016 at 6:11 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Barrett,

No, you should not need it.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 22, 2016 at 3:59 a.m. Lee Says...

Hi! We are headed to universal for the first time, with the daughter being super excited about harry potter. We are going march 10-12. We were thinking of the express pass for just saturday, March 12. Should we buy it ahead of time? Does the price go up as it gets closer? At that time, is it worth the eXtra $250 or so? Thank you so much!!

Reply
Feb 24, 2016 at 6:12 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

HI Lee,

It will be busy, but perhaps not as much as you would think. I would definitely recommend getting to the parks at openings, and using our touring plan and mobile app. If you need it, you can add it while you're in the park.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 18, 2016 at 4:34 a.m. Katherine Says...

Hi, love this site! We are a group of 8, 4 adults and 3 kids ages 9, 8 and turning 7 during our stay. First time visiting Universal and were planning on Tues June 14, 15 & 16 2016. We were debating between 2 or 3 days, what do you think? Also, neither are staying at the Universal hotels, do you think it is worth the money to buy Unlimited Express Pass for all 3 days? Also, if we buy our Park to Park passes and later choose to add the Unlimited Express Pass (but also in advance) where do we buy just the Unlimited Express pass? How do we tie those together? Do we each then have 2 passes per day? Thank you & sorry for all the questions. Thanks.

Reply
Mar 4, 2016 at 8:45 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Katharine,

I think you'll be happy with three days and would be able to experience more with this option. You could purchase from us and then add Express Passes in the park for one or more days. You don't need to tie them together. They would simply be an add-on. It will be busy, and it's always nice to have the Express Pass benefit, but it's simply a matter of how much it is worth it vs. how much it will cost. You may find that by arriving at the parks ahead of opening, and using our touring plans and app, you may not need them.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 17, 2016 at 6:04 p.m. Michelle Says...

We are looking to go to Universal for 3 days on March 28th, 2016 We are looking to stay at the Cabana. Should we consider adding the express passes?

Reply
Feb 24, 2016 at 6:32 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Michelle,

Yes, I would definitely consider Express Passes as this is one of the busiest times of the whole year.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 15, 2016 at 8:24 a.m. G.G. Bickers Says...

I am planning a trip to Universal Orlando in June. I switched my time share from vegas to Orlando for a week. I saved a lot of money doing this, but I was wondering if I buy my tickets (buy 2 park to park, get one day free) ahead of time, can I still purchase the unlimited express pass at a later date. I am planning on taking advantage or your website to purchase my tickets at a discounted rate, but I wanted to add the unlimited express pass for two of my 3 days. I figure Jun 6, 7, 8 would be crowded.

Reply
Feb 25, 2016 at 11:17 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi,

Yes! You can add unlimited express passes later.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 25, 2016 at 11:17 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi,

Yes! You can add unlimited express passes later.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 12, 2016 at 4:49 p.m. Shawn Says...

We will be at WDW 11/26-11/29, and are planning on then spending 2 days at Universal 11/30 - 12/1. Originally we had planned on just one day at Universal and figured we'd continue to stay at our WDW resort and just uber to Universal for the day. However, the more I've researched Universal, the more I think we need 2 days! We are debating the logistics of switching from a Disney resort to a Universal resort mid-trip (we had not originally planned on renting a car - something we are now wondering if we need to re-consider) . It doesn't appear that the Universal parks will be crowded those days...would you recommend switching to a Universal hotel to take advantage of the early park admission? Or if that isn't needed, would we need to consider the Fast Passes? Looking for any advice/recommendations on how to best handle the logistics of combining a WDW / Universal vacation. Thanks much!!!

Reply
Feb 25, 2016 at 10:46 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shawn,

If you can make it work, two days at Universal is a solid idea. Sounds like it's going to be a great trip! Crowds are expected to be neutral, so Express Passes aren't absolutely necessary, but it's always nice to have and to stay on site if you can swing it.

We have a post here that outlines the pros and cons of a split stay:

https://www.undercovertourist.com/blog/split-stay-orlando/

Here are some things to consider when deciding whether to rent:

https://www.undercovertourist.com/blog/rent-or-ride-car-rental-considerations-for-your-orlando-vacation/

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 10, 2016 at 8:33 p.m. PAUL R Says...

Hi Amy,

Going to universal March 8 and 9.Me and My wife and 16 yr old daughter. Do we need express passes? Thinking of staying at Cabana Bay with adding express passes, or do we stay at Hard Rock Hotel.

Thanks for your help

Reply
Feb 11, 2016 at 9:39 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Paul,

If you can swing it, we recommend Hard Rock Hotel over Cabana Bay because of the Express Pass benefit. That said, it is not absolutely critical to have Express Passes for these dates.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 8, 2016 at 9:19 p.m. Susan Says...

Thank you for all the great info! We are planning a trip for either the first or second week in June. Do you recommend express passes? Any events going on those times?

Reply
Feb 24, 2016 at 3:34 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Susan,

It would be nice to have, but I don't think you would need them the first week. The second week will likely be busier, but if you get to the parks early, and use our touring plans and mobile app, you'll be surprised at how much you can do!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 3, 2016 at 2:09 p.m. Amy K Says...

Staying onsite at Cabana Bay 2/12-2/16. Looks like Universal Hotels are sold out (we were trying to switch to a Family Suite) so expecting heavy crowds. Should we buy Universal Express for our 3 day passes?

Reply
Feb 10, 2016 at 12:27 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amy,

I don't think you'll need it, but you can always purchase in the parks when you get there. Try to take advantage of the Early Park Admission to the Wizarding World for at least two of your days.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 1, 2016 at 12:12 a.m. Laura Says...

Hi thanks for such a great site! Ok,our first time in Florida. We have bought the 14 day passes to universal and iOa but not sure how to go about buying express passes or even if we need to? We are staying at animal kingdom 15 October for 2 weeks. Can you advise please? Thanks a lot.

Reply
Feb 10, 2016 at 11:41 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Laura,

I don't think you would need Express Passes during this time, but if you decide you do, you can purchase them inside the parks.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 31, 2016 at 10:24 p.m. Amber Says...

Love your site! Very informative! Tried to read through all your comments before asking this question. Purchasing Express tickets does not allow early entrance? Only staying on site at Universal Hotels allows that privilege, correct?

Reply
Feb 2, 2016 at 9:12 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amber,

Yes, this is correct.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 31, 2016 at 2:20 p.m. Kristina Says...

Hi There!

We are camping at Disney's Fort Wilderness from 6/25-7/3/16 in order to enjoy an Universal / Disney vacation. We are planning to spend 2 days at Universal and want express passes as this is peak season. It appears to be far cheaper to book a room at the Royal Pacific Resort in order to secure the passes than to buy them outright; however we are traveling with pets making actually staying at the resort not possible without boarding the dogs while we are at the parks. Is there any reason why we can't book the room and not actually sleep there?

Thanks!

Reply
Feb 2, 2016 at 9:14 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kristina,

You could do that, but you would need to still check-in and visit the hotel to print your Universal Express passes. Royal Pacific is pet-friendly, and you would be able to get a pet sitter/pet walking.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 24, 2016 at 3:35 p.m. Todd Says...

Hi,

I am planning on going to Universal (both parks)for 1 day(either Wednesday Jan 27th or Thursday Jan 28th) The weather is looking a little sketchy both days. I am going solo as my wife is at conference and we left the kids in the northeast.(yeah). I will be high speed, low drag and utilizing single rider lines. We are staying off site. Couple questions ......do they shut down any of the rides due to rain? I looked at your single day touring schedule and plan on using that as a guide. I am thinking of not using the express pass. thoughts? Realistic that I will be able to get to most/all on the list?

Thanks

Todd

Reply
Jan 26, 2016 at 1:45 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Todd,

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you! You can get a lot accomplished without the tadpoles and using single rider lines. I don't think you will need the Express Pass and should be able to get a lot done. If there is lightning or other dangerous weather, the outdoor rides will close, but usually only temporarily.

Please let us know how it goes!

Leap

Reply
Jan 23, 2016 at 3:29 a.m. TC Says...

We will be at Universal the week of Memorial Day. Do you think we will need express passes on the Sunday before Memorial Day, on Memorial Day, or the day after?

Reply
Jan 26, 2016 at 1:56 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi TC,

Yes, I would consider them for these days.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 22, 2016 at 1:38 p.m. Jessica Says...

Hello, my family is going to IOA Feb.14-16 I wanted to stay at Pacific but it was sold other and they only have Cabana available so that's where we are staying. I was wondering should we get the Express passes? Thank you!

Reply
Jan 26, 2016 at 2:03 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jessica,

You might consider it. These will be busier days with the holiday.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 26, 2016 at 2:03 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jessica,

You might consider it. These will be busier days with the holiday.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 21, 2016 at 2:14 p.m. Mimma Says...

Hi, we have a big family (6 of us) looking at spending 1 day in each of the Universal parks. My husband and the two older children are into all the big rides and I could see the benefit of the express passes for them. Myself and the two little ones (2 years, 5 years) would probably not benefit. My question is though are the unlimited express passes transferrable so that when the others are not using them can the little kids and I use them or are they assigned to each individual? Thank you!

Reply
Jan 21, 2016 at 4:40 a.m. Amy Says...

Hi. My husband and I will be visiting universal studios with our 2 children 15 and 10 on January 21st and 22nd of 2017. We are planning on visiting both parks with the 2 day base tickets. Will we need the universal express pass during the two days being on the weekend.

Reply
Jan 26, 2016 at 2:11 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amy,

It's not likely for these dates.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 26, 2016 at 1:14 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amy,

You should not need it for these dates.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 18, 2016 at 12:49 a.m. Julie Says...

Hi! My family and I are only looking to do the 2 Harry Potter worlds. Are there enough attractions to make the express pass worth it? It is going to be on a busy day (8/10) but my understanding is that there aren't a ton of rides for the Harry Potter worlds. Thoughts?

Reply
Jan 19, 2016 at 11:15 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Julie,

Overall, most of the rides include Express Pass. The big exceptions are the two headlining Harry Potter rides.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
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