Genie+ Tickets

Walt Disney World® Theme Park Tickets with Disney Genie+ service now available!

Undercover Tourist offers 365 day refundable mailed Walt Disney World® Resort Theme Park Tickets

Get My Tickets

See ticket details for full refund policy.

Get My Tickets

See ticket details for full refund policy.

Florida

Walt Disney World® Resort
Universal Orlando Resort
SeaWorld® Orlando
LEGOLAND® Florida Resort

California

Disneyland® Resort
Universal Studios Hollywood™
SeaWorld® San Diego
LEGOLAND® California Resort

The Ultimate Guide on When to Use Universal Express

by Leap on September 23, 2021 1825 Orlando

Universal Express Pass - PinterestThrills! Action! Transformers! Butterbeer! We always look forward to hopping down to Universal Orlando Resort. Between Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal's Volcano Bay, we have plenty of places to play. One of the ways we experience more and wait in line less is with the Universal Express pass. Universal's skip-the-line access is a big help in the parks, especially on crowded days. But it isn't free — unless you stay on-site at select Universal hotels. Understanding how and when to use the Universal Express pass is your key to a great visit. This post explains everything you need to know! And in some hopping good news ... we frogs are selling Universal Express passes at a discount!

Universal Express Overview | How It Works | Pass Options | Cost | When to Use Express Passes | Other Ways to Save Time

What Is Universal Express Pass?

Universal Express allows you to skip the lines at most Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure attractions and access priority seating at shows. (It is a separate purchase to include Universal's Volcano Bay.)

Universal Express Pass - Front of the Pass

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

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

How Universal Express Pass Works

Universal Express Pass - Scanning Express Pass at Ride Entrance

When you approach a ride with Universal Express, show your pass to the attendant. Some rides (mainly those with short, outdoor queues), such as Flight of the Hippogriff, will scan the pass right then and there as you arrive at the ride entrance.

For popular rides with more elaborate and longer queues, a team member will check the pass and let you enter the Express queue. Then, closer to the ride loading area (this distance varies by ride), a second team member will scan your pass, so hold on to your pass and keep it ready. Some Universal Express queues will eventually merge with a ride's standby queue, such as Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. On the flip side, other Express pass queues are entirely separated from a ride's standby queue, such as Skull Island: Reign of Kong.

One exception is Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, which uses a virtual queue. You can pick up a return time or use the Express pass to enter the building immediately. The difference between the standby queue is that there is an outdoor portion of the queue before you enter the building. However, unless it's a busy park day, most standby guests will enter the building rather quickly, not giving much of a time-saving advantage. Once inside the building, both Express and standby guests will receive a color-coded card on the first floor before heading upstairs to another waiting area. Once the lights turn the same color as the card, you get in a short queue before entering the flying theater.

Know that the Universal Express pass is not a group pass. Everyone in your party will need their own Universal Express pass. Also, the passes are non-transferrable. If you're staying at a Universal hotel that offers the free Express pass benefit, your hotel room key will act as the pass. Each person will have a personalized hotel key.

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

Universal Orlando Single Rider Lines

Universal Express Pass - VelociCoaster

Single Rider lines can be even faster than Universal Express pass lines. If you don't mind splitting up your party on the ride, you can experience some of the most popular rides much more quickly. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey's Single Rider line, in particular, is the best for saving time and is often faster than the Express queue. (It's also easy to miss. Keep your eyes up as soon as you enter the castle to spot the Single Rider sign. It's going to direct you to a staircase on your left.) The Single Rider lines go straight to the loading area, though the exact speed can depend on the flow of odd-numbered groups. You and your party will be together in the queue, but you will split up on the ride as you fill an empty seat.

Single Rider Lines at Universal Studios Florida:

Single Rider Lines at Universal's Islands of Adventure:

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

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

Universal Express Pass Options

Universal Express Pass - Back of the Pass

There are two types of Universal Express passes:

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

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

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

How Much Is Universal Express?

Universal Express Pass - In-Park Kiosk

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

Universal Express Pass Hotels:

Universal Premier Hotels

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach ResortLoews Sapphire Falls Resort, Universal's Aventura Resort and Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites & Dockside Inn and Suites do not offer Universal Express Unlimited, but they do offer Early Park Admission to select rides inside Universal's Islands of Adventure or Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Volcano Bay water park. Keep in mind that you still need regular admission to enter the park.

If you are not staying on-site and wish to purchase Universal Express passes, the cost varies by day and expected crowds. So during peak times, prices will be higher. You can purchase these online in advance at a discount from us or Universal directly or while you are in the parks. Keep in mind that Universal Express passes could sell out, but this is likely only during the very busiest times. Universal Express is separate from regular admission. It doesn't matter which tickets you have purchased ... you can add on Universal Express as needed. If you aren't sure you will need or want the passes, we recommend you hold off purchasing until you arrive. Note that Universal Express is date-specific, so you will need to know what days you plan to be in the parks if you plan to buy the passes ahead of your visit.

When to Use Universal Express Passes

Universal Express Pass - Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Express Queue

Finally, we get to the most important part of the post — when to use Universal Express. Our recommendations are fairly simple.

Anytime it's free.

OK, it's never really FREE, free, but if you are staying on-site, you aren't paying for it directly. Even if the parks aren't super crowded, you will still save time by using Universal Express passes. And there is nothing better than skipping the regular line! If you're a regular, the Premier Passholder level grants you unlimited Universal Express access after 4 p.m.

When the parks are expected to be super busy.

When our Crowd Calendar predicts crowds of 8, 9 or 10, these are prime times to consider Express passes. You might even consider it on 7 if you are particularly crowd-averse. If you're visiting during the peak of summer or around the major holidays (especially the week between Christmas and New Year), you should give this serious consideration.

If you only have a day and want to see as much as possible.

Do you have a short trip (or only a day for Universal) and want to experience one or especially both parks? Then Universal Express passes are a good idea. If you are going during one of those super busy days, the pass is a must to get the most done during your time.

Is the Universal Express Pass Worth It?

Universal Express Pass - Hulk

No matter when you visit, having Universal Express will be a time-saver. How much time can depend on the ride and certain situations. If you do purchase an Express pass, avoid using it (especially if you have the standard, one-time-use pass) immediately after a ride reopens if it's been down. Many people will then get in line and inflate the wait time for both standby and Express queues. Just come back to the ride later in the day.

One time, we entered the Express line for The Incredible Hulk when standby said it was a 60-minute wait. We waited, rode the coaster and were back at our locker within 15 minutes! The same hoppened at Flight of the Hippogriff — it was a 45-minute standby wait, and we hopped on and off within 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, for Skull Island: Reign of Kong, we waited about 35 minutes in Express, when standby said 55 minutes by the time we got off the ride. With Express, we waited 30 minutes for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts when standby said 50 minutes. Even though these ones moved a bit slower, it's still time saved!

The big question is really how much you value the time you save. During less busy times, we think it's nice to have, but not a must-have. You may feel differently. It's all about what you value!

Are There Other Ways to Save Time in the Parks?

Universal Express Pass - Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit at Sunset

If you don't want to spring for Express passes, or they are just out of the budget, do not fret! There are still great ways to save time in the parks. If you follow us frogs often, you probably know these by heart.

Buy your tickets in advance.

You do not want to waste any of your precious time standing in line to buy tickets at the gate to start off your day. Plus you will save more money if you buy in advance.

Arrive at the parks ahead of the official opening time.

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

Follow a park plan.

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

Use the Single Rider lines. 

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

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

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

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
View Comments
<<  Newer Posts | Older Posts  >>
1201–1250 of 1273 comments
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
Jan 15, 2016 at 7:39 p.m. LaToya Says...

Hi,

I just love your site its very informational! My question is, we are traveling 3/21-3/31 and will have the unlimited passes for US & IOA. Do you think we should include the express passes as we really just plan on going in the evenings?

Thanks for your help

Reply
Jan 19, 2016 at 10:57 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi LaToya,

I would consider Express Passes for some of those days or even look at the cost of staying on site at the deluxes to get the Universal Express benefit. Going in the evenings isn't going to help considerably and you would miss much of your park time.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 12, 2016 at 6:20 p.m. Tom Says...

Dear Leap,

I'd like to visit both parks on the 18th/19th of march, would you recommend to buy a express pass?

I really appreciate that you take your time and answer every comment so patiently :)

Sincerely,

Tom

Reply
Jan 19, 2016 at 10:25 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi tom,

I would consider purchasing Express Passes for these dates or stay on site at one of the deluxes.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 12, 2016 at 3:42 p.m. Jack Says...

Hi, such a great site! Well done. We are travelling to Orlando with our 7 year old Harry Potter fanatic during Easter-Spring break so peak times, and debating between staying Cabana Bay and Portofino hotels. However we are not very adventurous and really will probably just ride the Hogwarts Express and go to shows and some 3D or simulator rides so is an Express pass beneficial for us?

Thanks so much.

Reply
Jan 13, 2016 at 10:07 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jack,

You will still benefit from Express Passes as the shows and simulator rides also accept them. If you have the option, I would stay at Portofino for the extra benefit.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 12, 2016 at 1 a.m. Tom Says...

Dear Leap,

I'd like to visit both parks on the 18th/19th of march, would you recommend to buy a express pass?

I really appreciate that you take your time and answer every comment so patiently :)

Sincerely,

Tom

Reply
Jan 13, 2016 at 10:04 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tom,

Thank you for the praise. I would recommend Express Passes at this time if they are within budget.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 11, 2016 at 5:15 p.m. Bill Says...

Hello! We will be staying in one of the courtyard family suites at Cabana Bay from 1/31 through 2/6 and I was wondering if an express pass would be worth it? Thanks!

Reply
Jan 11, 2016 at 1:23 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Bill,

I don't think you'll need it during these dates.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 11, 2016 at 4:53 p.m. melissa adams Says...

Hi!

We plan on visiting Universal for 3 days in March (20-23). We plan to get the Express Pass for 2 of the days, as your calendar suggests big crowds! Can we purchase the express pass online separate from the tickets?

Do you recommend staying at Cabana Bay or Royal Pacific? We will be staying in a suite (2 adults, 1 child)

Reply
Jan 13, 2016 at 10:03 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Melissa,

Yes, you can purchase your passes separately from the tickets. If you stay at Royal Pacific, though, you won't need to purchase Express Pass. This is often the most economical choice. You will get Early Park Admission to the Wizarding World at both hotels, but Universal Express only at the deluxes.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 11, 2016 at 6:15 a.m. Jenn Says...

We are doing either a two day pass for January 16 and 17, or a three day pass that will include January 22. Would you recommend express passes for any of those days?

Thank you so much!

Jenn

Reply
Jan 11, 2016 at 7:10 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jenn,

You might consider them for the 16th and 17th.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 10, 2016 at 5:12 p.m. Casey Says...

Hello! We are visiting on 1/15/2016 with a group of 8, all riding adult rides only. We are purchasing a one day park to park ticket and our goal is to hit all the big rides. My questions are, would you recommend buying an express unlimited pass and if so should we do so in advance (in case of sell out) or should we be fine just going and deciding as the day progresses and than purchase (we plan on hitting the park before it opens, being there all day and starting at Islands of Adventure and ending the day in Diagon Alley) Thanks for you help on this!

Reply
Jan 11, 2016 at 7:18 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Casey,

For one day, and considering you're heading into a holiday weekend and wanting to ride all the big rides, I would definitely consider Express Passes. We have a 1 Day Park-to-Park touring plan that includes all of the major rides.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 10, 2016 at 1:56 p.m. Veronica Says...

Hi there

Great site! We are going to Universal for the first time during March Break (week of March 14th). Going to Universal for 2 days (our son is a big Harry Potter fan!). Do you suggest getting the express for 1 day or 2?

Thanks!

Reply
Jan 11, 2016 at 7:20 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Veronica,

Yes, I would for at least one day and maybe two. Have you considered staying on-site? You may find that it is more economical than Express Passes for your entire party.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 8, 2016 at 1:58 a.m. Megan Says...

We are staying at Cabana Bay March 5-8. Is it possible to purchase an express pass for just one of those days?

Reply
Jan 8, 2016 at 10:51 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Megan,

Yes, that is possible.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 9, 2016 at 7:54 p.m. Megan Says...

Would you recommend getting express passes for those days? And is it better to buy in advance or wait until we get to the parks?

Reply
Jan 11, 2016 at 7:59 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Megan,

I don't think you have to purchase Express Passes for those dates in advance. Since you would still have one hour early access to the Wizarding World, I would wait to see if you think you need it when you arrive.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 7, 2016 at 10:57 a.m. Michelle Says...

We are visiting Orlando, staying at Hard Rock from 1/28 through 2/6. We will be visiting one day Hollywood studios (Star Wars fans) and spend the rest of the days at Universal (4 days at least and then see).

I am a bit worried about the Harry Potter celebration. Are the crowds at USF and IOA worse on those days or the people going to the celebration are participating at special events so it's basically the same? Thanks !

Reply
Jan 8, 2016 at 10:46 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Michelle,

You will see elevated crowds on these days of the Celebration, but more merriment in the parks too.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 6, 2016 at 2:25 a.m. Jasmine Says...

Hi There,

Love the blog! It helps a lot on first timers like our family. We're going on July 26 & 27 2016. Do we need express passes on this days?

Thanks in advance for your reply.

Reply
Jan 6, 2016 at 9:34 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jasmine,

If you can afford it, yes, we'd recommend them on these dates. Definitely do the math, because staying on site is likely more affordable.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 3, 2016 at 7:31 p.m. Rob Says...

Hi, we are going to Florida on the 29th of August and looking at going to universal in the week commencing the 5th of September, do you think we will need fast passes during this time?

Many thanks

And great site

Reply
Jan 4, 2016 at 8:44 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Rob,

You should be fine without Universal Express at this time.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 3, 2016 at 3:53 p.m. Jennifer Says...

Can the Express Passes for the Universal parks be purchased through undercover tourist? I may have missed it, but I have not seen anything about it in your ticket prices, which are amazing by the way!!

Reply
Jan 4, 2016 at 8:44 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jennifer,

Thank you! We don't currently offer Express Passes, but hope to in the future.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 1, 2016 at 8:25 p.m. Jen Says...

Hey,

Just wondering which would be a better day. Jan 5th or Jan 6th?

Reply
Jan 4, 2016 at 8:53 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jen,

Both days are good. Pick the one that works best for you!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 29, 2015 at 4:27 p.m. Amy Says...

We are planning a trip for April 3-7, staying onsite at Loew's Royal Pacific. I understand that express passes are included with our stay, does this mean that we have to purchase our park tickets from the Universal website or can I purchase them from your website and still be eligible to redeem our express passes? TIA!

Reply
Dec 31, 2015 at 8:43 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amy,

You can still purchase your discount tickets through us and use Universal Express. Here are all of our Universal ticket options:

https://www.undercovertourist.com/orlando/universal-orlando-resort/

Enjoy!

Leap

Reply
Dec 24, 2015 at 11:59 a.m. Marie & Mart Says...

Hi, we will be on our honeymoon & plant to visit both universal parks April 13th & 14th 2016, do you suggest we buy express tickets? I've been before but my other half hasn't so we obviously want to do all the rides.

Thanks M & M

Reply
Dec 28, 2015 at 1:54 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there,

While it's nice to have, I don't think you'll need it.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 24, 2015 at 1:46 a.m. Bernardo Says...

Hi, I'm going on Dec 31st with a party of 5.

I went 3 years ago and Studios was almost empty. No more than 10-20 min wait on busiest attractions.

Do you anticipate this year to be different?

Thanks,

Bernardo

Reply
Dec 25, 2015 at 8:02 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there,

We would expect the parks to be very crowded. Let us know how it goes!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 23, 2015 at 7:19 p.m. Laurel Says...

I am visiting Universal 2/28-3/2. I have a 4 day park to park pass with the dining plan. I am most interested in the Harry Potter attractions. How should I plan my dinner full service meal? Should I spend the morning in one and take Hogwarts express to the other for dinner, or plan dinner in the same place? I will be making reservations which is why I am asking.

Reply
Jan 8, 2016 at 10:43 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Laurel,

With the Park-to-Park ticket you have the option to hop to any restaurant you would like. Most likely with that ticket you would be taking the Hogwarts Express to the other park, so yes, it probably makes sense to book the restaurant in the one you plan to end up in.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 22, 2015 at 4:32 p.m. Steff Says...

Hi!

First of all, this blog is a life saver. THANK YOU for sharing all your knowledge!!

It has been a great source of information ????.

We (my husband, my 8 year old son and myself) are planning our first trip to universal for March 16-17 2016.

We are planning to stay on Royal Pacific just to get accesses to early admission and express passes.

Do you think is worth it for this time of the year? Is it gonna be really crowd? My son gets really impatient in lines hahaha

Also, we want to take the two day park to park tickets so we can get into the Hogwards Express.

My question is, when should we get the Hogwards express ?? I don't know how to do the 2 parks in the same day especially if we have 2 days tickets.

I get really confuse, this trip requires a lot of planning to do.

Thank you so much for your great information.

Reply
Dec 23, 2015 at 7:34 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Steff,

You are making a good decision to stay on-site at this time, because the parks will be very crowded. Definitely experience the Wizarding World during Early Park Admission (either Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley), toward the end of your hour, climb aboard the Hogwarts Express and ride to the other park. Then you can experience the other popular rides in that park using your Universal Express passes. The next day, head to the Wizarding World you did not visit the day before, and repeat the same process, riding the Hogwarts Express the other way (it's a different experience both ways), and then exploring that park's rides.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 17, 2015 at 9:21 p.m. Richard Says...

Hi, im going to both park on saturday 19/dic with my girlfriend, do i need to buy the express ticket for that day?

Reply
Dec 21, 2015 at 7:47 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Richard,

I would consider it, but you can always purchase when you get there.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 16, 2015 at 5:21 a.m. Chris Says...

Hey,

Me and my Girlfriend had won some free park to park passes through a contest and are looking to go sometime between 12/22 and 1/4. The price of the express passes are a little out of our budget for a couple college students. According to the Crowd-Calendar Sunday 12/27 is green for both parks but the overall is 10/10. Is it correct that it is expected that we won't need them this day?

Thanks,

Chris

Reply
Dec 16, 2015 at 7:13 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Chris,

It is a recommended park that day out of all the parks, but with the crowd level a 10, we would still recommend Express Passes.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 15, 2015 at 6:55 p.m. Sarah Says...

Hello,

My husband and I will be in Orlando April 6, 2016- April 12. The first and last days being travel days. We want to go to both Disney World and Universal Studios and go to the beach. We have not selected a specific day for any of those so my question is, is there a better day to go to one than the other? We will have 5 full days. We are planning to do one day at Universal and only do one of the parks. We are mainly going for Harry Potter but want to ride some other rides too. We hope not to have to spend more on Express passes, or at least wait until we get there to decide if we need them.

Thanks!

Reply
Dec 21, 2015 at 12:56 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sarah,

We are predicting the 6th to be the best day as far as crowds go. You shouldn't need Express Pass for any of the days, minus perhaps Saturday.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Leave a comment
Name is required. Email is required. Please input a comment.
About Us
About Undercover Tourist

Undercover Tourist is the leading supplier of online discount tickets to Orlando, Florida-area attractions, including Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando Resort™, SeaWorld® Orlando, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort and more.

Sign up for our newsletter!
Please enter your Name
Please enter your Email address
Walt Disney World Resort 50th Anniversary Celebration

Contact:  1 (800) 846-1302 (USA)  |  
1 (386) 239-8624 (Worldwide)

Let's Plan a Better Family Vacation

Monthly news, planning tips and special deals

Please enter your Name
Please enter your Email address
Destination

Newsletter logo

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

monthly news, planning tips and special deals from the Frog Family

Please enter your Name Please enter your Email address
Destination (optional)

×

Thank you for joining our email list!

Joined email list logo

You should be receiving your first email soon!
Thanks for being a part of the family.

×
Create an account

Create An Account

In order to save your favorite items, you'll need to create an account. Already have one? Sign in.

An Undercover Tourist account allows you to:

Join The Frog Family
No, thanks. ×
Back to top Back to top Back to top