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What Is Early Park Admission at Universal Orlando — And How Does It Work?

by Leap on February 22, 2024 159 Orlando

Inside This Post Inside This Post

As you frog friends know, we're big fans of staying on-site at the theme park resorts. Universal Orlando Resort is one of our very favorite resorts to stay on-site (and you can book directly from us!). There are some terrific benefits, such as proximity to the parks, free transportation, free pool hopping at select hotels, delivery of your in-park souvenir purchases to your room and more. All of the Universal Orlando Resort hotels offer Early Park Admission (EPA). Early Park Admission allows you to enter select parks up to an hour early during your stay. This benefit can be a huge help to get a hop on the crowds, especially during busy peak times! Let's walk through all of the details of when and how to use this perk. That way, you can take advantage of it on your next trip!

Early Park Admission Universal - VelociCoaster

Universal Orlando Hotels Offering Early Park Admission

Here are the hotels on Universal property that offer Early Park Admission:

It's worth noting that select Universal Orlando Resort hotels — Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Universal's Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort — offer free Universal Express Unlimited, another amazing benefit.

Universal Orlando Early Park Admission - Portofino Bay

Understanding Early Park Admission at Universal Orlando

Universal's Early Park Admission allows all Universal Orlando Resort hotel guests (and select annual passholders) one-hour early entry to Universal Studios Florida or Universal Islands of Adventure (during extra busy times, it can be both parks) AND half-hour early entry to Universal Volcano Bay water theme park every day. Preferred annual passholders are granted Early Park Admission to the theme parks on select days and Premier passholders are granted Early Park Admission to the theme parks on all dates. All 3-Park passholders are granted Early Park Admission to Volcano Bay on select days. Valid theme park admission is required. Universal partner hotel guests only receive the benefit if they've purchased a vacation package that includes a hotel stay and park admission (staying at a partner hotel alone is not enough to grant EPA access).

Early Park Admission Universal - Gringotts

Universal Orlando can get pretty busy during peak seasons. During these anticipated busy times, Universal encourages guests to take advantage of Early Park Admission.

During Early Park Admission, select rides, attractions and areas are open up to one hour before the park opens to the general public. To make it easy for you, we note which park is hosting Early Park Admission, general park hours and Early Park Admission hours on our Orlando Crowd Calendar. It used to be that the one-hour Early Park Admission was limited to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter rides, but that is no longer the case. The rides that open early now vary but usually include Jurassic World VelociCoaster at Islands of Adventure and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem at Universal Studios Florida. You can double-check which rides are being offered on Universal Orlando's website.

Early Park Admission Universal - Hagrid's

Universal's Early Park Admission is available every day of your hotel stay, including days of check-in and check-out! Using EPA on your check-in day is a little bit trickier, so we don't recommend it UNLESS you are only spending one night at a Universal Orlando hotel and it's an extremely busy time. If you want to take advantage of EPA on your check-in day, note that you will need to check in to your hotel first — which means very, very early in the morning. EPA begins an hour before the official park opening time which can be as early as 7 a.m., so you would have to check in before that, and then allow time to get from the hotel to the park. Your hotel key is what grants you early admission, so each member of your party will need to be listed under your room and have a key to show. In our family, I am the key holder for the whole squad so that nothing gets dropped or lost in our mad dash to Hagrid's Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure.

How to Use Early Park Admission at Universal Orlando

Early Park Admission Universal - Sign

To make the most of your time inside the park, we recommend you arrive at least 30 minutes ahead of the start of Early Park Admission to allow that extra time needed to pass security, walk through Universal CityWalk and get through the turnstiles. (Our personal preference is to arrive closer to an hour early to be able to be some of the first at the turnstiles. If you are using bus transportation from your resort, that means you'll want to be in line for that first shuttle of the day!). You'll need your park tickets and your hotel room keys when you enter the park that's hosting Early Park Admission! A hotel key is needed for each family member or friend who is staying with you at the resort. The parks typically start allowing all guests in up to a half-hour before the official opening time, so you definitely want to be in the park hosting EPA before then if you want to ride with the lowest waits.

Here's a rundown of our most recent experience with using Early Park Admission to enter Islands of Adventure an hour early: After going through the turnstiles and walking through Port of Entry, we headed left toward Seuss Landing. Seuss Landing is not available during EPA, but there is a pathway around it to get to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Team members block off Seuss Landing to check credentials (i.e. hotel room keys or annual passes), and then let guests through onto the pathway.

Early Park Admission Universal - Forbidden Journey

We successfully went on Hagrid's with only a 20-minute wait (during spring break!), so we think it's toadally worth hopping to Hogsmeade bright and early! Afterward, we made a beeline to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which only had a 10-minute wait.

Even if you aren't a thrill-seeker, Early Park Admission grants you into the Wizarding World with low crowds, which makes for some amazing (and empty!) photo-ops.

When to Use Early Park Admission at Universal Orlando

Early Park Admission Universal - Volcano Bay

As you know, the early frog gets the fly, so you'll likely need to sacrifice a little shut-eye for Early Park Admission. Most vacationers don't want to do this, so use it to your advantage! You definitely should use Early Park Admission in these scenarios:

  • You only have time for one day at Universal. This is especially true if you are park hopping!
  • You are visiting during an extremely busy time — the peak of summer and around any holiday. Use our Crowd Calendar as your guide. If it's a level 8, 9 or 10 day, consider using EPA to jump-start your day in the parks before the crowds reach their highest levels.
  • You're spending the day at Volcano Bay. Early Park Admission gets you first access to the rides, but it also gets you dibs on prime seating at the wave pool and other places around the water park.
  • You want to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter with limited crowds.
  • Any time you visit and want to get a hop on the crowds!

Early Park Admission Universal - Hogsmeade

If you arrive early, you will be able to ride the two or three rides open for EPA and you can move on to the next most popular ride on your list. It may already be in operation in the 15 minutes before the park officially opens. Even if it's not, you can be one of the first in line!

For example, with EPA at Universal Studios Florida for Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, you should be able to ride both before all park guests arrive. If you start with Minion Mayhem and then move onto Gringotts, you will then be in the back of the park and in prime position to ride TRANSFORMERS: The Ride — 3-D or MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack with little to no wait.

For EPA at Islands of Adventure, many frogs hop to Hagrid's first since it is not offered with Universal Express. This is still one of the best times to ride Hagrid's because the line continues to build or stays consistently high throughout the day. But if you don't have Express Passes and VelociCoaster is a higher priority, we'd recommend riding the thrilling coaster first. Either way, you're in the back of the park so you're in prime position to hit these two popular rides in a row with the lowest crowds of the day.

Are you ready to hop on Early Park Admission at Universal Orlando Resort? We toadally recommend it ... and staying on property isn't too bad, either! Book your Universal Orlando Resort hotel today to make the most of your next trip.

Related: The Ultimate Guide on When to Use Universal Express

Related: Why Stay at a Universal Orlando Resort

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
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1–50 of 70 comments
Mar 26, 2024 at 12:12 a.m. Mariela Says...

Hi! from Argentina!!! If i hace 4 days 2 parks, park to park tickets, can i enter Island of adventure in the morning, leave and go to my hotel (Portofino) and when i return enter through Universal Studios?

Thanks!

Reply
Mar 26, 2024 at 8:16 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mariela!

With Park-to-Park tickets, yes! Sounds like a frogtastic plan :)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 24, 2024 at 8:14 p.m. Natalie Says...

We are going in late January 2025. Is EPA worth it during that time of year?

Reply
Mar 25, 2024 at 4:40 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Natalie!

We think it's a worthy perk, no matter the time of year. Specifically in January though, it would be the most helpful if you're visiting around MLK Jr. Day weekend (Jan. 17-20). Also, if riding Hagrid's is a must, we generally recommend to ride it during EPA before the line gets too long.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 9, 2024 at 4:20 p.m. Phil Says...

I'm thinking about booking sapphire falls for 2 nights. It will be a Wed and Thurs night, but we will be going to the park Tues and Wed. Is it possible to get early admission on the Tues or will it only be on the Wed?

Reply
Mar 11, 2024 at 9:01 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Phil!

Sorry, we misread your message and deleted our first response. You would only receive Early Park Admission starting with your check-in day (Wednesday), so you would not receive the benefit on Tuesday.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 29, 2024 at 4:29 a.m. Hank Says...

I’m staying at dockside resort in Orlando Florida Sunday through Tuesday and what time is the early admission for universal studios

Reply
Feb 29, 2024 at 12:09 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Hank!

The Early Park Admission (EPA) schedule can vary, and is usually offered at just one of the two theme parks (during busier times, both parks may offer it). The current schedule has EPA at Islands of Adventure from now until March 31, 2024, and no upcoming dates at Universal Studios Florida. If you're visiting this upcoming Sunday through Tuesday (March 3-5), Islands of Adventure opens at 9 a.m., so EPA would start at 8 a.m. Otherwise, check the park hours for the most up-to-date info, as EPA starts an hour before the park officially opens (or a half hour early for Volcano Bay water park).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 30, 2024 at 3:11 p.m. Frank Says...

We are staying at Dockside Inn this weekend and will do 1 day park-to park. We bought the tickets separately, so can we do EPA?

Also any suggestions on what ride to do first after park opens? My kid is eight years old and he doesn't like rides that invert, so we'll probably skip Jurassic park. Should we do Hogwart express asap?

Reply
Jan 30, 2024 at 10:07 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Frank!

Yes! You would need to check in at the hotel first to receive your hotel room keys, which serve as the EPA credential, but you should be good to go otherwise (does not matter if you purchase separately). Not all attractions are open during EPA, but usually the Wizarding World rides are running (aside from the Hogwarts Express). If he wants to do Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, we'd recommend hitting that one first. If not, we'd go with Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 24, 2024 at 6:50 p.m. Keena Says...

We would like to stay at Universal but only if we could get EPA to Islands of Adventure. I'm seeing that this isn't a guarantee? That they change days for EPA at the different parks?

Reply
Jan 24, 2024 at 4:07 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Keena!

Yes, the EPA schedule can change — it's typically only available at one park (usually it's Islands of Adventure; Universal Studios Florida is more rare), though during busy seasons such as the holidays, both parks tend to have EPA. You can view EPA hours on Universal's website — currently, EPA is only at Islands of Adventure through the end of the month.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 28, 2023 at 8:43 p.m. Cameron Says...

We purchased our tickets through Undercover Tourist and used credit card points to book a Universal hotel (Endless Summer). Will we be able to use early park entry when we don't purchase tickets through the hotel directly?

Reply
Dec 30, 2023 at 4:53 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cameron!

You sure will :) You'll use your hotel key to access Early Park Admission, so be sure to check in before you head to the parks!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 9, 2023 at 4:08 p.m. Jim Says...

Hi! If I bought a Universal Photo package/pass online in advance but choose to rope-drop Hagrid's without redeeming it first at the front gate, will I lose the Hagrid's photo or can it be added later? (In other words - do I have to waste RD time redeeming the photo package and getting my photo pass card if I want the Hagrid's photo?)

Reply
Nov 15, 2023 at 4:14 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jim!

You can grab a Photo Redemption card at Hagrid's photo counter (which you pass when exiting the ride) and then you can present that card upon activating the photo package. The team members can load it on there.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jul 24, 2023 at 4:16 a.m. Hafiz Says...

Hello,

We will be moving from a Disney hotel to a Universal one on Nov 2, will we be able to check-in a day early to take advantage of EPA on 2nd? For example, if we could grab room keys on the eve of Nov 1?

Thanks

Reply
Jul 25, 2023 at 9:04 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Hafiz!

You can only check in on the day of your reservation. However, you can check in as early as 6:30 a.m. The hotel will provide temporary room keys (which serves as your credentials to get into the park during Early Park Admission) and they would also be able to store your luggage, as your room would likely not be ready that early.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 20, 2023 at 2:45 p.m. Jason Says...

Taking my grandson staying on property sun-tue. My question is how do i take advantage of Sun to get in park early when that is my check in day. I thought of just going to volcano bay first day and then doing the other 2 parks mon, tue any suggestions? Thanks

Reply
Jun 21, 2023 at 9:22 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jason!

You can take advantage of Early Park Admission on check-in day, though you'll need to check in at the hotel first. Even if your room is not ready yet, the hotel can store your luggage. Do keep in mind when Early Park Admission starts (which varies depending on park open - could be as early as 7 a.m.).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 21, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. Robert Carvalho Says...

Hi.

Could you tell me how much is parking at Universal Studios,, Hollywood Studios, Islands of Adventure, Sea World and Epcot?

Tanks

Reply
May 22, 2023 at 9:20 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Robert!

The daily standard parking fees are $25 at Disney World (if you hoppen to go to Hollywood Studios and EPCOT on the same day, save your receipt as you won't have to pay for parking at the second park — also, if you are staying on-site at a Disney resort, parking is free), $30 at Universal Orlando Resort and $30 at SeaWorld Orlando.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 20, 2023 at 6:04 p.m. Lacey B. Says...

Thanks for all this helpful information!

Staying at Sapphire Falls Resort in October 2023 -

I see that I can get my park tickets a day early at their "Vacation Planning Desk" once I go to check in to my hotel; however, does the Vacation Planning Desk allow you to also get your Photo Pass and Express Pass at that time too? I bought my photo pass and unlimited express pass when I purchased the park tickets -- so I'm wondering if I can pick them up at the Sapphire Falls Vacation planning desk?

Reply
Mar 21, 2023 at 2:33 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lacey!

You are so welcome! PhotoPass gets picked up at DeFoto’s Expedition Photography in Islands of Adventure, On Location at Universal Studios Florida or Waturi Marketplace at Volcano Bay. Express Passes can be picked up at Will Call, Guest Services or anywhere the pass is sold in the parks. We've also heard that there's a chance that the Destinations Desk can print your Express/PhotoPass depending on its delivery method, if you provide a confirmation number and your photo ID. We'd say it's worth checking the Destinations Desk first but know it's not a guarantee :)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 14, 2023 at 11:22 p.m. Abby Says...

So, if I purchase tickets separately from Universal Studios hotel booking, EPA may not be included? I'm getting confused and honestly their chat help is ZERO help. Considering staying at a premier resort for one night to take advantage of unlimited fast pass, but now I'm worried if that's not going to include EPA. We are just trying to save as much money as possible and get the best deal!

Reply
Mar 15, 2023 at 4:29 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Abby!

Your Universal hotel key serves as your credential to enter the parks during Early Park Admission, so as long as you're presenting a valid hotel room card upon entering, we don't think it should be an issue.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 4, 2022 at 3:13 p.m. Tammy Says...

Ollivanders and EPA? Which park has it? Is it needed? Reservations are no longer needed correct? My son wants a wand for sure, and I don't wanna wait too long if possible. Please share EPA Ollivander tips. Thank you!

Reply
Nov 4, 2022 at 12:27 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tammy!

Both parks can offer Early Park Admission and Ollivanders is usually open during EPA — however, you'll want to keep an eye on the EPA information on Universal's website for the most up-to-date offerings (for instance, EPA is only taking place at Islands of Adventure this month). Typically, Ollivanders isn't too busy during EPA since most people are heading toward Hagrid's or Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringott's, so long lines shouldn't be an issue during EPA. No reservations are needed at this time.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 10, 2022 at 11:56 a.m. Katie Says...

What is the best way to get to Hagrids if the Universal side not Islands of Adventure opens first with early entry?

Reply
Oct 11, 2022 at 1:29 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Katie!

If Hagrid's is a priority, we'd recommend rope dropping Islands of Adventure rather than doing Early Entry at Universal Studios Florida. (Arrive about 45-60 minutes before the park opens so you can be closer to the front of the line at the gates.) Typically, the Hogwarts Express does not start running until the park officially opens, so if you were to take the Hogwarts Express from Universal Studios Florida, the line could already be long by the time you arrive in Hogsmeade.

If you'd rather take advantage of Early Entry at Universal Studios Florida, then hop over later to ride Hagrid's. We'd suggest checking during peak lunchtime hours or at the end of the day (these times are when the line tends to dip). You could also split up the party and get in the Single Riders line to help reduce the wait time.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 18, 2022 at 4:17 p.m. Hem Says...

How would one use the park with EPA and Express pass on day of check-out from a Universal Premier hotel? Will the hotel hold on to the luggage for the whole day?

Reply
Aug 18, 2022 at 12:08 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Hem!

For day of check-in, you would need to stop by the hotel to check in and get your hotel keys (which act as your credentials for EPA and Express Passes) prior to heading over to the parks for EPA. For both days of check-in and check-out, you can drop off your bags at Bell Services! The hotel keys are personalized with your names and dates of stay on them, so no need to return them, unless you want to!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 10, 2022 at 11:28 a.m. Silvia Says...

Hello! I already purchased IOA tickets a couple weeks ago. If I stay at a universal resort would I still have the EPA, although I wouldn’t be purchasing tickets at the time of hotel reservation?

Reply
Aug 11, 2022 at 12:42 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Silvia!

Yes, you'll just need to show your hotel key when you enter for EPA. Have fun!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 4, 2022 at 5:18 p.m. Rebecca Says...

Heads Up!... We are visiting Universal/IOA 9/28. We are staying at the Royal Pacific to get the Unlimited Express tickets & EPA. Well, just found out that there is no EPA that day. Reservations already made. This is not good news!! Didn't know they could do that to guests :/

Reply
Aug 4, 2022 at 3:22 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Rebecca!

Usually, at least one park offers EPA each day! It looks like September dates haven't been announced yet though. Universal typically releases dates on a monthly basis. Try hopping back for details at a later time!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 20, 2022 at 4:22 p.m. Luis Says...

Hi guys my company have 10% off on park access and I want the EPA I need to stay in one of the hotels, I get it, so my question is, at the entry to the park, the staff will ask for my hotel booking to let me in?

Reply
Jul 20, 2022 at 11:51 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Luis!

Each member of your frog squad who's staying at the hotel will need their own hotel room key, which acts as your credentials for Early Park Admission (as well as Express Pass, if you're staying at a Premier hotel). So you'll need to check in at the hotel first to get your hotel keys. If you're trying to use EPA on the day of check-in, you'll still need to pop over to the hotel to grab the keys even if your room is not ready (they can hold luggage for you).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 8, 2022 at 11:18 p.m. Y Says...

If I’m staying at Universal Lowes Sapphire Falls, is there a shuttle to take us back and forth to Disney World?

Reply
May 9, 2022 at 2:34 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Y!

There isn't an official shuttle supported by either Universal or Disney to travel between the two resorts. However, you can book a shuttle via a third-party company, such as Mears Transportation. You could also opt for a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 9, 2022 at 2:30 a.m. Pamela Lee Says...

We are staying at Cabana Bay the first week in May, and IOA is the park open for EPA the 2 days we are visiting. It opens at 8. Will there be a shuttle running early enough to get us there by 7:20-7:30? If so, how early do we need to be in line for the shuttle?

Reply
Apr 11, 2022 at 1:55 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Pamela!

Yes! The shuttles typically start service about an hour before Early Park Admission (EPA). During our last visit, EPA started at 8 a.m. so the first one started running at 7 a.m. The line was already full about 10 minutes before 7 a.m., but the shuttles came quickly, one right after the other, so we did not wait for very long.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 28, 2022 at 9:52 p.m. Natasha Youngblood Says...

We are staying at Universal’s endless summer resort and it says early park admission . Does that mean if we just show our room keys we get into the park no purchase of tickets required ? Or we just have an option to be there first and still need to purchase tickets?

Reply
Mar 28, 2022 at 5:26 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Natasha!

You'll need to purchase tickets for park admission — Early Park Admission is a benefit to help hotel guests beat the crowds in the morning.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 6, 2023 at 10:54 a.m. Jamie Nicholls Says...

Hi we have our park tickets and staying at Universal Cabana resort. Does the hotel give us something to show we are entitled to early park admission? Thanks

Reply
Mar 6, 2023 at 8:11 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jamie!

You use your hotel key cards, which state your name and dates of your stay, for your Early Park Admission credentials.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 23, 2022 at 3:45 a.m. Tammy Says...

VERY USEFUL INFO , Thank you!!

I have a question: Is there also an Express Line for Early Park Admission ?

If I am staying at a Universal Hotel and purchased an Express Pass, will I be able to get in the park faster than the other people during EPA?

I'm referring to the people who are staying at any Universal Hotel WITHOUT including Express Passes.

I've seen how long the lines are in order to get into the park using EPA, and yikes!

Reply
Mar 25, 2022 at 2:35 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tammy!

There is not a designated line for hotel guests with Express. If you want to be near the front of the line to be one of the first inside the park, we suggest arriving about a half-hour before Early Park Admission (EPA) starts. We recently hopped over to Islands of Adventure for EPA and got there around 7:20 a.m. (when EPA started at 8 a.m. that day). The gates opened at 7:45 a.m. and we were able to get inside the park within minutes and hopped right in line for Hagrid's.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 6, 2022 at 8:51 p.m. Raphaël Says...

Hi!

We'll be staying one night at one of the Universal hotel (probably at Universal's Aventura Hotel) on 25th May. We plan to visit Islands of Adventure the next day, on 26th May. With our hotel booking, will we get EPA for Islands of Adventure on 26th May?

Do we have to buy our park tickets through the hotel and can we buy it from elsewhere?

Thanks!

Reply
Mar 7, 2022 at 10:17 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Raphaël!

Yes, you receive Early Park Admission every day of your hotel stay, including check-in and check-out dates. You do not have to purchase park tickets through the hotel, unless you want to. We do offer discounted Universal park tickets if you wish to purchase separately (but we also offer discounts for hotels too!).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 16, 2022 at 3:24 a.m. Miracle Says...

At tickets to the park included when you stay at the resorts?

Reply
Feb 16, 2022 at 8:35 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Miracle!

You can book a vacation package so that tickets and the hotel stay can be bundled together. But if you book a hotel room separately, then you would need to purchase tickets.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 2, 2022 at 2:38 a.m. Rochelle Says...

Thoughts on what time the parks will open in June 2022 with EPA?

Reply
Feb 2, 2022 at 1:35 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Rochelle!

Last year in June, we noticed that on weekdays, Early Park Admission would usually start at 8 a.m. and on weekends, it would start at 7 a.m.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 20, 2022 at 1:31 p.m. Sam Says...

Hi! Love your site. If I'm staying at Cabana Bay and want to take advantage of EPA, can I still use the walking path (Will security be open via that method) and if so - are they there just as early as the main entrance security?

Reply
Jan 20, 2022 at 9:09 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sam!

You can use the walking paths to get to the parks for Early Park Admission!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 16, 2022 at 10:42 a.m. David Dean Says...

Hi

I am lookng to book a universal trip and stay in a universal hotel,

I would like to get the ultimate fast pass for the parks but also have early acces to volcano bay, which hotels offer the fast past and early access to volcano bay?

Thanks

Reply
Jan 18, 2022 at 9:14 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi David!

All Universal hotels offer Early Park Admission to the theme parks and Volcano Bay. As for the free Universal Express Unlimited benefit, the following hotels offer this perk: Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Universal's Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 23, 2021 at 5:57 p.m. Christina Says...

We will be going to Universal in early August and are staying at a Universal hotel so will be taking advantage of EPA. We want to do Hagrid’s and the Velocicoster. What would be our best course of action to minimize wait times? We were thinking of riding the velicicoster and then Hagrid’s. Thoughts?

Reply
Jul 23, 2021 at 2:19 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Christina!

Hagrid's uses the Virtual Line more often than not, so if you get there early enough and there happens to be a standby line before it switches to a Virtual Line, we'd jump right into line and tackle Hagrid's first. If you arrive and Hagrid's is already using a Virtual Line and at capacity, then we encourage you to keep checking as more spots open up throughout the day. VelociCoaster has not been utilizing a Virtual Line and its wait times stay relatively consistent throughout the day. But we've noticed that after the first hour or so, it dips down a little bit. A good target time would be between 10 a.m. and noon, as you don't want to risk not riding it before a typical summer thunderstorm passes through in the afternoon. Hope this helps!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 8, 2021 at 3:33 p.m. Bisma Says...

I’m considering staying at Cabana Bay but have already purchased my universal tickets. Will I still be able to get EPA even though I’m not buying the universal ticket through the resort?

Reply
Jul 8, 2021 at 11:20 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Bisma!

Yes, all guests staying at an official Universal hotel receive the benefit. You'll just need to show your room key (which is personalized with your name and dates of your stay) upon arrival.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 2, 2021 at 5:51 p.m. Michael Says...

Do they scan the room keys at turnstile or do you just have to show your room key to get into the parks early when staying as a guest?

Reply
Jul 6, 2021 at 7:44 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Michael!

You just have to show a team member your room keys for Early Park Access (the keys are personalized with names and the dates of your stay).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 27, 2021 at 3:33 a.m. Rob Polk Says...

I know if you buy a regular season pass you aren't eligible for EPA. What if you are staying onsite at the Adventura and using your season pass for admission? Does hotel customer trump season pass for EPA?

Reply
Jun 27, 2021 at 9:06 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Rob!

Yes, all Universal hotel guests, regardless of their admission status, receive the Early Park Admission benefit. Just show the team members your hotel card, which acts as your EPA credentials.

Keep hopping!

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Jun 20, 2021 at 12:15 p.m. Jason Says...

We will be in Orlando Oct 29-Nov 4

Our hotel and flight were packaged together through Allegiant air, so these have already been purchased. The only thing missing is the tickets to the Universal Studios park, except for the HHN that we already purchased for Oct 31 (not sure what rides/attractions are available during that event..).

We are staying overnight at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort Oct 29th (checking in around mid-day/afternoon upon flight arrivals) and checking out of Loews the next day on the 30th and staying at a condo for the remainder of our visit.

The family wants to go to Universal Studios Theme Park and see Harry Potter Wizarding World amongst other things.

Based on our pieced together itinerary, are we able to take advantage of Universal Studio park tickets, Early Access, etc from our stay with Loews Sapphire, or are we out of luck?

If we are able to, how do we go about doing this?

Our first time going to Universal, so we are not sure how things work..

Thanks

Reply
Jun 21, 2021 at 10:21 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jason!

Hoppy to help! You will need to purchase park admission separately since it wasn't included in your package (you can get discount tickets through us). The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is located in both parks (Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida and Hogsmeade & Hogwarts at Universal's Islands of Adventure), so we'd suggest Park-to-Park tickets to take full advantage of the Wizarding World experiences (in order to ride the Hogwarts Express, you must have a Park-to-Park ticket). You will be able to take advantage of the hotel benefits and amenities during your stay, including Early Park Admission on the 30th. When you check in, each person will receive a hotel key, which grants you Early Admission access — just show it to the team members when they ask for it once you're inside the park. Check out our Halloween Horror Nights guide, which includes which rides and attractions will be open. Let us know if you have any more questions!

Keep hopping!

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Jun 4, 2021 at 11:06 p.m. Allison Says...

Hi, does EPA works the same way with the partner hotels? Do we just need room keys and our Universal tickets?

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Jun 6, 2021 at 10:04 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Allison!

No, unfortunately the benefit is not extended to Universal partner hotels. If staying at a Universal hotel, then yes - you would just need your room keys and park tickets.

Keep hopping!

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Jun 12, 2021 at 3:13 a.m. Tamatha Says...

I just booked a partner hotel plus tickets package through Universal directly. I also included the dining plan. I am getting Early Park Hours.

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Jun 14, 2021 at 8:09 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Thanks, Tamatha! Here to clarify that staying at a Universal partner hotel alone does not grant Early Park Admission access. But yes, if you purchase a vacation package with a hotel stay and park admission, then you will have the Early Park Admission benefit.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Oct 13, 2021 at 11:40 p.m. Ed Says...

If I have just the regular season pass and staying at a universal hotel. Does everyone in my family of 4 get EPA ?

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Oct 14, 2021 at 8:15 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ed!

Yes, if they're staying with you, then everyone registered under your hotel reservation will be able to get the Early Park Admission benefit!

Keep hopping!

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Jun 2, 2021 at 12:28 a.m. Teresa Says...

Hi I was wandering if you need a reservation for a one day pass to universal studios. If so. How do I go about getting one? Thank you.

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Jun 2, 2021 at 7:07 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Teresa,

Universal Orlando Resort does not require reservations for its parks.

Keep hopping!

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May 27, 2021 at 2:31 p.m. Kelly Says...

We are only staying one night at a Universal hotel to utilize the Express pass and early admission for one day at the parks. We were hoping to go to the parks on the day of check-in, but how would that work if we need a room key for the early admission but cannot actually check in until later in the day?

Reply
May 27, 2021 at 10:21 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kelly,

You can take advantage of the Early Park Admission and Universal Express Unlimited benefits on the day of check-in, though you would need to stop by the hotel beforehand (so just to be sure to arrive extra early to allow enough time to enter the park during Early Park Admission). While your room will likely not be ready, you can stop by the front desk to pick up your hotel keys and store your luggage at the hotel.

Keep hopping!

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May 27, 2021 at 11:41 a.m. Marie Says...

I'll be going twice over the next year, one week in September and one week in January.

Both times we'll be staying in one of the official stay hotels.

If I purchase a seasonal pass, do I still gain access to EPA through my hotel keycard?

Reply
May 27, 2021 at 8:30 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Marie,

Yes, you will still have access to Early Park Admission — just show the team members your room key instead of your seasonal pass when they check your credentials.

Keep hopping!

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May 27, 2021 at 2:50 p.m. Marie Says...

Oh, awesome! Thanks for the info!!

Add on question while I'm at it... Preferred Annual Pass has a 10% discount on purchases and (from my understanding) most quick serve and sit down foods within the park/some city walk.

Can I pay for my groups purchase, including food so we all benefit from the discount, or will this not apply to anyone else, regardless of who's paying?

(I love your website by the way, I've been here for a while as I plan ????)

Reply
May 27, 2021 at 10:56 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Marie,

We're so glad you've hopped by! Just wanted to clarify from the last question, there are certain annual passes that also have the Early Park Admission benefit (premier and preferred), though the power annual pass and seasonal pass do not. But it still stands that anyone staying at a Universal hotel would have the Early Park Admission benefit, regardless of any pass they may have!

As for the discount benefit, it does apply to the whole check if you're the one paying!

Keep hopping!

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May 11, 2021 at 1:54 a.m. Ty Says...

I won’t be staying at a Orlando resort hotel but I have tickets and a fast pass. What time should I arrive at the park for entry. I’m going next Friday.

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May 12, 2021 at 2:48 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ty,

In general, we always recommend the earlier, the better so you can maximize your time inside the parks! We'd suggest arriving about a half hour before park opening so it gives you plenty of time to park, get through security and enter around the time that the park opens.

Keep hopping!

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May 6, 2021 at 10:46 p.m. michelle Says...

Are we guaranteed a ticket if we are staying at one of the hotels? We are not sure about our plans just yet so we haven't bought tickets, but last time Volcano Bay was sold out on the day we wanted to go.

Reply
May 6, 2021 at 6:56 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Michelle!

Ticket sales can and do sell out in advance, so we recommend purchasing as soon as you're able - they are not guaranteed for hotel guests.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Apr 29, 2021 at 4:22 a.m. Carlee Says...

Hi! We will be staying at a Universal hotel for part of our trip but not the whole trip. Will we still be able to get early admission with our keys even after we have checked out? Is there a way for them to check that? Thanks!

Reply
Apr 29, 2021 at 7:47 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Carlee,

Your hotel keys have the dates of your stay printed on them, and team members check keys upon entry to Early Park Admission.

Keep hopping!

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Apr 5, 2021 at 1:56 a.m. Lettuce Says...

I have a preferred pass, my friends have freedom passes (military pass until the end of the year) do you know if they're eligible for early entry, or if I can bring them in with mine?

Reply
Apr 5, 2021 at 10:16 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

If you're staying at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel, then everyone would be eligible for the Early Park Admission benefit. But unfrogtunately, the new Military Freedom Passes do not have this benefit otherwise, and you wouldn't be able to get them in with your pass.

Keep hopping!

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Mar 31, 2021 at 7:21 p.m. Holly Says...

So Hagid seems to typically have a virtual queue.

We are staying onsite at Royal Pacific so we get the express pass but that doesn't work for Hagrid.

If we go in at 7am (early access on an 8am day) can we ride Hagrid without a virtual pass and does the virtual pass still open at 8am if that is the normal park opening?

Reply
Apr 1, 2021 at 9:21 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Holly,

Hagrid's opens with a standby line during Early Park Access, so we'd highly suggest taking advantage of this benefit by arriving right at 7 a.m. The virtual queue typically opens once the standby line has reached capacity, so it is possible that the Virtual Line system opens up before or after the park's official opening time, depending on crowds.

Keep hopping!

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Apr 2, 2021 at 12:41 p.m. Holly Says...

Thank you as always you folks are the BEST!!!

Happy I bought our tickets through you!!! I loaded them on the Universal App and we are ready to go!!!

Reply
Apr 2, 2021 at 9:01 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

YAAAAAAY! Thanks so much, Holly - we're so hoppy to hear it! :) Have an amazing time!

Keep hopping!

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Mar 11, 2021 at 6:11 a.m. Leia Says...

I have a preferred annual pass, and I am taking my niece and nephew (both young children). I'll be purchasing single day tickets for them. Will they be able to enter during EPA if they are accompanied by me (a preferred annual pass holder)?

Reply
Mar 11, 2021 at 2:09 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Leia!

Team members will ask to see each guest's pass (to verify the color) or hotel key card to verify EPA eligibility.

Keep hopping!

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Mar 2, 2021 at 8:13 p.m. Mom Says...

Hi, I booked a Costco vacation package and one of the highlights of the package said "Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ or Universal's Volcano Bay (valid theme park admission required, select attractions)♦

But the dates are April 3 - 6, which appear to be black out dates for passholders. Do you know if we'll still get EPA by staying at the Loews Royal Pacific?

Reply
Mar 4, 2021 at 3:54 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mom!

If you are using park tickets purchased through Costco, you shouldn't have to worry about those pass holder blockout dates :) All Universal hotel guests receive the Early Park Admission benefit.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jan 15, 2021 at 5:41 a.m. sebastian andrade Says...

Hi im going in two days i have a preferred pass with Epa that day and the rest of my party has seasonal can we all get in early with my EPA

Reply
Jan 15, 2021 at 4:18 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sebastian!

Each person entering will need to show their pass holder card (or room key) - since the pass holder tier has its own color, only those with EPA benefits will be able to get in.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 26, 2020 at 8:37 a.m. Carisa Says...

I am trying to plan a trip to universal studios Orlando, nothing is set in stone yet. I have never been to a theme park with hotels. Let's say my flight lands @ 5 pm, I check-in at my on-site hotel. Do I have to get my admission tickets that same day or can I get them the next day? And once my admission ticket expires, do I have to check-out or can I stay another night and leave in the morning?

Reply
Aug 26, 2020 at 8:58 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Carisa!

Your ticket and hotel stay will be separate, so you can arrange your visit however you'd like! We recommend purchasing your tickets in advance to save some extra green, but once those expire, you are welcome to stay at the hotel and enjoy its amenities as long as you'd like - no need to check out if you aren't able to head to the parks :) Likewise, you don't have to head to the parks as soon as you arrive. Hope this helps - let us know if we can help with any additional questions!

Keep hopping!

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Jun 9, 2020 at 3:32 a.m. Aimee Burrus Says...

I'm thinking about buying a yearlong Annual Preferred Pass for Universal, but it says there are blackout days for early admission. I'm coming to Orlando in mid-July 2020, and not sure if I should pay the extra for the preferred pass if the early admission isn't included. I'm very confused! Thank you for your help!!

Reply
Jun 9, 2020 at 5:34 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Aimee!

Do you know where you'll be staying for your trip? If you'll be at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel, you'll get Early Park Admission included with your stay! It's nice to get a (frog) leg up on the crowds by entering early, but right now, during the phased reopening, the rides offered for Early Park Admission are fairly limited (two in Universal Studios Florida, to be exact; Volcano Bay is more expansive, and right now, there are no EPA benefits at Islands of Adventure). That in mind, we'd take another look at the additional benefits on the Premier Pass (free valet, a ticket to Halloween Horror Nights, etc.) and see if we felt that was worth the price difference for our fam :) Others in the Frog Pond may have some additional insight for you too! Hope this helps!

Keep hopping!

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Mar 10, 2020 at 5:28 p.m. Lisa G Says...

Do you recommend staying at a hotel that offers express passes for Oct 10-14th 2020?? Ty

Reply
Mar 17, 2020 at 8:15 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lisa,

If you can swing it, we ALWAYS recommend staying at a hotel that offers Express Pass. Your dates are not typically super crowded and if you spend three to four days in the parks, you should be able to experience most everything.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Feb 8, 2020 at 9:31 p.m. Torun Says...

Hi. Myself and 3 friends will finally be coming for my dream trip in April, on April 1st and 2nd (yes, no April fools here). We are staying at a Resort Hotel with all the benefits, but your app calendar shows no early admission in any of the parks at all on these dates. Can this really be the case? Aren't we paying extra in the hotel to get the 1 hour early entry privilige? We were really, really expecting it. Thanks for your kind reply.

Reply
Feb 11, 2020 at 4:41 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Torun!

It sounds like you are in store for a great trip! The Early Park Admission details generally aren't released more than a month or so in advance, but rest assured that they'll be available on your trip! Keep checking back, either on our app (we're so happy to hear that you're using it!) or on Universal's site for details about which park will be hosting during your trip. Have a wonderful time!

Keep hopping!

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Feb 21, 2020 at 3:56 a.m. Torun Says...

Thank you so much for your very nice reply! I am so happy to see that Universal Studios now have posted early admission on both these dates. So here is my very important question then, and I really hope you can help answer this:

When does the first Hogwarts Express train to Islands of Adventure leave? We really want to get in line early for "Hagrids motorbike adventure" since it does not have an express line and is super popular with hour long lines, but if we do go early here, we will miss our early admission on the Universal Studio park. We are nervous that taking the train early will lead to another line both for the train, and then that we would be too late to get early in the long lines for Hagrids motorbike. What would you recommend for us in this situaton? We all really need to do the awesome Hagrids ride :D

Thank you so much for your kind reply!

Reply
Feb 26, 2020 at 10:42 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Torun!

We wouldn't recommend taking the Hogwarts Express over to Islands of Adventure since it doesn't open until the park (Universal Studios Florida) opens. If Hagrid’s the main priority, the best thing to do is to get to Islands of Adventure early :) Hope this helps!

Keep hopping!

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Feb 5, 2020 at 5:07 p.m. Jennifer Says...

We are going this coming June, but we've only booked the hotel for now because our daughters each invited a friend and we are awaiting confirmation of them being able to go. So we will be purchasing tickets later this spring. Will that affect them having keys to the room to show proof for EPA or do they get the keys at check in. I don't recall putting anyone's specific information on the room reservation other than my husbands for booking, so I would assume we will do this at check in?

Reply
Feb 5, 2020 at 4:21 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jennifer!

You will receive your keys (your EPA ticket) at check-in, but you'll only need two add those over 17 to your reservation in advance. Anyone under the age of 17 can just get a card at check-in.

Keep hopping!

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