The opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood has everyone wondering if they need Front of Line passes to enjoy their day at the park this year. And the answer really depends on when you are going. You really do not need Front of Line passes on weekdays and even some weekends in the off season, but you could be miserable without a pass on other days such as peak summer days (mid-June to mid-August) and school breaks (such as Spring Break or December holiday time).
The Frog Family jumped on the opportunity to buy some Universal Studios Hollywood Front of the Line Passes last summer, and it toadally made our day. Even though the pass costs more than a normal ticket, the benefits are well worth it. Universal Studios Hollywood sells the Front of Line passes to only 10 percent of the guests, so the benefits remain great.
Buying a Front of the Line pass is just one of the ways to manage time at Universal Studios Hollywood. On peak days in the afternoon the lines can reach up to one to two hours—three hours for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. But if you are wearing a Front of the Line pass you literally walk — or in our case hop — right onto rides without even having to wait. That is what sets Front of the Line passes apart from say, Disney’s FastPass, which reduces your wait time but does not send you straight to the front of the line.
Tips for Managing Universal Studios Hollywood Front of the Line Pass
Enhance your show experience.
The Universal Studios Hollywood Front of the Line pass is good for some times of certain shows. It gets you priority seating and includes some special meet-and-greets or up close and personal experiences following shows after the rest of the audience exits. Check the show schedule to find out which shows offer this benefit when you visit. Lily and Tad really enjoyed meeting some of the animals (including a famous owl from Harry Potter movies) after the Animal Actor’s Stage show due to our passes.
Consider sharing passes.
The passes come attached to a lanyard that hangs around your neck, so you can move them from one family member to another. In our family, different family members enjoy different kinds of rides. Recognizing our different interests (and heights) allowed us to save money on the Front of the Line Pass by purchasing just two passes for a family of four. Tad and I are all about thrills and action, opting for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Flight of the Hippogriff, The Simpsons, Jurassic Park, The Mummy and Transformers, while Lily and Mommy Frog are into the Minions, Shrek 4-D, meeting characters and seeing shows. If you get motion sick like Mommy Frog sometimes does, you might buy just your older kids a Front of Line pass and opt out of the pass and thrill rides for yourself.
We found that two family members could use the pass for the action rides, while two different family members could use the passes at other times for the gentler experiences. We took advantage of the Studio Tour first thing in the morning with no wait. When we exited the Studio Tour, we were able to get a jump on some rides as a family before the crowds built up. We all enjoyed the Minions and Simpsons rides together in the morning (not using passes), then saved the Front of Line for those rides again later. Later in the day, while Tad and I got our thrills in the lower lot, Mommy Frog entertained Lily in the Jurassic Park Dinoplay kid area and met a Velociraptor. While Tad and I used the passes to do Harry Potter rides, Mommy Frog and Lily played in Super Silly Fun Land and met minions and then met us for shopping and eating in the Wizarding World. While they used the passes to go on their rides, Tad tested his skills at playing games.
If you have both smaller children and older children with different interests, you might be able to share passes. Plus, with Front of Line, it makes going on a ride a very short experience; so family members or friends who are not going on the ride have a surprisingly short wait for their riders to come back.
Use Front of the Line only during long wait times.
The Universal Studios Hollywood Front of the Line Pass can only be used one time per ride. If you know your froglets want to ride the Minion Mayhem ride twice, choose your pass usage wisely. We rode Minion Mayhem early in the day when the wait was under 15 minutes without scanning our passes. Then Mommy Frog and Lily rode again later by utilizing Front of the Line when the wait was over an hour.
Universal Studios limits the amount of Front of the Line Passes sold each day to 10 percent, so if you are concerned about crowds, buy in advance. It’s a gamble, but if you wait until you are in the park to decide the lines are not for you, it could be too late to buy a pass. The good part of limiting pass sales is that it means you truly go to the front of the line and get a better value experience when you use the pass.
Save money by visiting off peak. The pass can help make your day much more enjoyable if you are visiting during a peak time, but if you purchase a front of the line pass during a nonpeak time, you can save money. Some other affordable time-saving tips include arriving early (certain tickets through Universal allow access to the park one hour before park opening), utilizing child switch, and finding out which lines have a single rider option.
Upgrade in the park.
If you are really not sure if a Front of Line Pass is for you, or you already have your ticket or an annual pass, you can take a chance on upgrading to Front of Line in the Park. They often sell out by noon, and the price can vary (even throughout the day!). For an uncrowded weekday in May, the price to upgrade to Front of Line is about $74, but that price is higher in the summer. And if the park becomes more crowded than expected, they will raise the price AND sell out faster. So the more you need the pass, the harder it is to acquire in the park!
Buy Front of Line for Horror Nights or special events
Buy Front of the Line for special events such as Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. Horror Nights draws scary huge crowds, and some of the most popular attractions can have waits that last two to four hours! We have been there without the pass and it is frustrating. We have also been there with the pass and we were able to hop through every maze, ride and the Terror Tram, so that pass was well worth it. They limit Front of the Line passes, which sell out early, so if you plan to attend Horror Nights make sure to buy early and be sure to get a Front of the Line pass for each member in your party.
The Front of the Line pass at Universal Studios Hollywood is a great way to help you manage your time in the park, and make sure that you have enough time to experience everything in the park at least once. With the time saving that comes with the pass, you can hit your favorite attractions a second time. It also frees up your time so you can relax and enjoy the sights of the parks, take photos, meet characters, enjoy your meals, shop for treats, and explore Universal City Walk. Buying the pass buys peace of mind because you know you can get it all in, and that equals good family value.
Did you know the Frog Family offers discount tickets to Southern California attractions? You'll find discounts on Universal Studios Hollywood tickets as well as more tickets for Universal and other Los Angeles and San Diego attractions.