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When to Hop on Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass

by Leap on October 31, 2023 795 Los Angeles

Universal Express Hollywood - PinterestWhat could be better than a day of punching boxes in Super Nintendo World and experiencing behind-the-scenes movie magic in the afternoon, followed by the wonders of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the evening? The only thing we can think of would be to do all of that without waiting! With the Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass (formerly known as the Universal Studios Hollywood Front of Line Pass), you can breeze through all of your favorites with one-time priority access to most attractions. Having this gem is just one part of a fun day here!

The Frog Family recently jumped at the opportunity to use the Universal Express Pass during a school break, and it toadally made our day. Even though these tickets cost more than regular admission, the benefits are well worth it, especially if you are taking that once-in-a-lifetime trip. The park limits the number of Universal Studios Hollywood Express Passes sold each day, so the awesome perks are always maintained. This post explains all of the Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass benefits! We'll also discuss other ways to save time (and money) as well as the details of the Unlimited Express Pass and the VIP Experience. Both services offer Unlimited Express access (if riding once is not enough), plus additional benefits.

When to Hop on Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass - Express Pass and sign

It's important to note that a Universal Express Pass purchased in advance is a full ticket that includes admission to Universal Studios Hollywood, plus one-time access to most rides and the WaterWorld show, which is different than the add-on passes sold in the Orlando parks.

When you enter the park, you present your park ticket from Undercover Tourist (printed out or from your device). The turnstile attendant will issue you a paper Express ticket (about the size of a credit card). You will present this small ticket to be scanned at each ride.

You may purchase a regular ticket and upgrade to Universal Express Universal Studios Hollywood — more on that further below. You can also upgrade to an annual pass. In those cases, that Express ticket will not include your park admission (as shown in the photo), since you already have park admission.

Universal Express is a perk of having a Platinum annual pass. Those guests can only get Express access starting at 3 p.m. each day. Other passholders can upgrade at the Box Office or ticket booths.

Do You Need Universal Studios Hollywood Express Passes?

When to Hop on Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass - Wait time for Jurassic World

We get lots of people asking if they really need Universal Studios Hollywood Express Passes to enjoy their day at the park. And the answer really depends on when you are going. You don't usually need Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass on weekdays and even some weekends in the off-season. You'll want Universal Express in March and April, during holiday weekends, summer vacation and winter break. Even traditionally slower lines are a lot busier than normal this year as Super Mario fans come to visit Super Nintendo World. You will be glad to have the ability to bypass the line with Universal Express, especially around school breaks and holidays.

You can check wait times in the Universal Studios Hollywood app from home throughout the day on days leading up to your trip to get a sense of wait times. (Check it in the late morning or early afternoon to get the best sense of peak wait times.) That being said, we have never regretted having Universal Express, even on a non-busy day, because shaving even 30 minutes off the wait here and there quickly adds up to hours, allowing us to do everything we want to do in the park.

Some weeks of spring break can be busy. On other weeks, not so much. It varies based on the local spring breaks for large school districts. Spring Break is going to be a lot busier in 2024.

Even though the lines are shorter in the off-season, the park hours are shorter too, so shaving off wait times with Universal Express can still come in handy if you want to squeeze it all in during less crowded times. (Need help deciding when to visit? Check out this post on the best and worst times to go to Universal Studios Hollywood.) We sell the Universal Express Pass for 1-Day tickets (save up to $111). If you purchase the regular ticket without Express and change your mind, you can upgrade your ticket in the park when you arrive, as long as there's availability (it can sell out).

We upgraded at the ticket booth during spring break 2023 and paid an additional $145 per person for Universal Express. That price can be higher in summer.

We also sell the VIP Experience (save up to $161)! That ticket comes with Unlimited Express access to rides and participating shows. The VIP Experience is the only way to skip the line for Mario Kart at this time.

When to Hop on Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass - Hogsmeade Entrance

Even though Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass costs more than a normal ticket, the benefits can toadally make the expense well worth it. Using the Universal Express Pass is just one of the ways to maximize your time at Universal Studios Hollywood. On peak days in the afternoon, the lines can reach up to two or three hours long for big draws such as Jurassic World — The Ride. But if you have a Universal Express Pass, you walk — or, in our case, hop — right onto rides with a much shorter wait, sometimes no wait at all. That is what sets Universal Express Passes apart from other parks that have plans to reduce your wait times but do not send you straight to the front of the line. Secret Life of Pets can sometimes have a 20-minute wait even for Express.

What's Not Included With Express?

When to Hop on Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass - Entrance to Mario Kart 240 minute wait

Most rides and one seated show (Waterworld) are included. Wand Pairing at Ollivanders is not. The newest ride, Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge, is excluded from Universal Express for now. The new land sometimes uses a virtual line reservation system. The good news is that Universal Express ticket holders get one-time (per day) reservation-free access to Super Nintendo World whenever reservations are required to access the land. If you hoppen to get a same-day reservation for Toadstool Café, you can use that to re-enter Super Nintendo World if you exit the land before your dining time.

Unlimited Express

If you upgrade to Unlimited Express, you have unlimited access to Super Nintendo World but still not Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge. Platinum passholders can use Express for reservation-free access to Super Nintendo World after 3 p.m.

Tips for Using the Express Pass at Universal Studios Hollywood

Enhance Your Show Experience

When to Hop on Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass - WaterWorld Stunt Show

The Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass gets you one-time priority access to WaterWorld. It also gets you priority seating. You should still arrive early to access this seating before other guests enter the stadium.

As of Jan. 9, 2023, Animal Actors and the Special Effects Show are permanently closed to make way for a new attraction. That means WaterWorld is the only show on the Express Pass.

Consider Buying Universal Express Pass Strategically

While it's always great to spend time together as a family, your whole family might not need to purchase Universal Studios Hollywood Express tickets. If your family is only interested in rides, but you have some younger children who won't meet the height requirements (or might be too frightened for the big rides), you probably don't need to purchase Express for them. Or, if you are prone to motion sickness like Flora, you might buy just your older kids an Express Pass and opt out of the pass and thrill rides for yourself. With the much shorter waits (thanks to the Universal Studios Hollywood Express Passes), the family will be reunited in no time!

One of the season pass options includes Express access. The Platinum Season Pass comes with one-time per day Express access to each ride, attraction and seated show after 3 p.m. People with other passes may choose to upgrade to a Universal Express ticket for the day (subject to availability) at the Box Office.

When to Hop on Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass - Entrance to Super Nintendo World

If you want to purchase Express mainly for Super Nintendo World, you might wait to see if the land is walk-in or using a virtual line. You can save money by walking in for free. Collect a reservation to Toadstool Café early in the day to get in the land for free as well. A cheaper alternative is to purchase Early Access, which gets you into Super Nintendo World one hour before park opening. (We think it's toadally worth it!)

Use Universal Studios Hollywood Universal Express Only When There Are Long Wait Times

When to Hop on Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass - Secret Life of Pets

The Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass can only be used one time per ride. If you know your froglets want to ride a ride such as Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem twice, choose your ticket wisely. We rode Minion Mayhem early in the day when the wait was under 15 minutes without scanning our Express tickets. Then, Mommy Frog and Lily rode again later by utilizing Universal Express when the wait was over an hour.

Plan Ahead

When to Hop on Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass - Flight of the Hippogriff

Universal Studios Hollywood limits the amount of Express Passes sold each day, so if you are concerned about crowds, buy in advance. You can also wait until you are in the park to decide the lines are not for you, but we highly recommend purchasing in the morning as they may sell out. The good part of limiting pass sales is that it means you truly go to the front of the line. Plus, you'll get a better value experience when you use the pass.

Save money by visiting at "off-peak" times or less expensive days. The pass can help make your day much more enjoyable if you are visiting during a peak time. But if you purchase the Universal Studios Hollywood Express on a less busy day, you can save money.

Use Other Tools to Skip the Lines

Even if you have Universal Express, you can still maximize time in the park. Arrive before park opening (you might get in 30 minutes early) and follow a park plan. We knock out the Lower Lot rides first with short wait times and then hit the Studio Tour and Upper Lot. You can purchase Early Access to have the shortest wait times for the ride and challenges in Super Nintendo World before the park opens, especially since they are not included with Universal Express. The taller, older frogs in the family can hop in the Single Riders line for Mario Kart, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Lower Lot attractions when available. These tools help you maximize time whether you use the Universal Express Pass or not.

When to Hop on Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass - Virtual Line for Secret Life of PetsSome affordable time-saving tips include the following:

  • Arriving at park gates at least 30 minutes before park opening (you may get in early).
  • Staying until park closing.
  • Utilizing Child Switch (where available).
  • Using the Single Rider line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and all Lower Lot attractions. Mario Kart does not have Express, but it does have a Single Rider line.
  • Use the Wait Time Alert feature in the app. You tap on a ride with a long wait, then "Wait Time Alert." Set what you feel is a reasonable wait time for the ride and tap "Set." The app will notify you when the wait time drops. You can hop in line!
  • Set reminders for show times.
  • Using the Virtual Line (available at certain times via the free Universal Studios Hollywood app or distribution machines) for Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash! But you'll still have a long wait. (You can skip the exterior line for this ride with Universal Express, and also skip some of the indoor queue.)

When to Hop on Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass - Express Entrance Secret Life of Pets

Upgrade in the Park

If you are really not sure if a Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass is for you, or you already have your ticket or an annual pass without Express access, you can take a chance and upgrade in the park. Express tickets can sell out on crowded days. On a spring break day, we noticed that it was up to $145 to upgrade to a Universal Express ticket for one-time use for each ride. On other days, it is about can be more or less. No matter how you bought your park ticket, you can purchase an upgrade in the park. The cost to upgrade is the same for everyone.

The price may vary — even throughout the day! If you are finding higher waits in the afternoon, on some days Universal may drop the price after 3:30 p.m. So definitely check back if you want to upgrade in the afternoon. You can't count on it being available, but it's worth looking into. You can purchase and upgrade in the Upper Lot at the Box Office or at a kiosk at the bottom of the escalator in the Lower Lot.

The Lower Lot kiosk may have a much shorter line. But it may not be open, which would mean a trip back up the escalators to purchase.

Upgrade to Unlimited Universal Express

If one-time access is simply not enough, there is an Unlimited Universal Express option. Unlimited Universal Express is available in the park. You can upgrade to a Universal Express ticket, a regular park ticket or a season pass (subject to availability). If you already have a Universal Express ticket, the cost to upgrade to Unlimited Universal Express is $35-$45. Peak days will be pricier than non-peak days, and they will sell out much faster on peak days.

If you have a regular park ticket, it can cost about $110 to $180 to upgrade to Unlimited Universal Express. Prices can vary, depending on the day. Weekends are generally more expensive than midweek days. We recommend purchasing discount Universal Express tickets in advance (through Undercover Tourist, when available, of course!) to lock in Express access, and then if you decide you want even more access, you can inquire about Unlimited Universal Express early in the day inside the park.

Get the VIP Experience

When to Hop on Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass - VIP trolley in sets

Unlimited Universal Express is included with the VIP Experience, along with park admission, meals, valet parking and a behind-the-scenes tour. Unlimited access to Mario Kart is included with the VIP Experience. So if you are planning to upgrade to Unlimited Express, you might get the VIP Experience instead. This is especially hopful if you want to skip the long line for Mario Kart or ride it multiple times. (You do. There's a learning curve.) Unlimited access to Super Nintendo World and Mario Kart is included with the VIP Experience.

Consider Bringing a Lanyard

The old Front of Line tickets were given to guests as a lanyard worn around the neck. The current Universal Express Pass tickets are paper tickets about the dimensions of a credit card. You have to pull the pass out each time you need to have it scanned for rides or shows. It can be cumbersome to always pull it out of pockets and backpacks. If you have a lanyard with a clear pocket, bring it along for quick, almost hands-free scanning. You can put two passes back to back in a lanyard for easy scanning if you like. Universal Studios sells souvenir lanyards in the park if you don’t have one.

Buy Universal Express for Horror Nights or Special Events

When to Hop on Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass - Lanyard at HHN

Buy Universal Express for special events such as Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. We cannot stress this enough. Halloween Horror Nights draws scary huge crowds. 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 were able to hop through every house and ride. The pass was well worth it! It's really the only way to do Halloween Horror Nights.

These Universal Express Passes are limited, and they will sell out early. If you plan to attend Horror Nights, make sure to buy early and be sure to get a Universal Express Pass for each member in your party. And remember to bring a lanyard to simplify your night. Otherwise, you need to pull the Universal Express ticket out in the dark for scanning at each maze and risk dropping it in the dark. A lanyard makes your night so much easier! The only way to get Unlimited Universal Express at Halloween Horror Nights is to purchase the R.I.P. Tour.

When to Hop on Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass - After 11 p.m. Express

In 2023, we saw an after-11 p.m. Universal Express pass become available. So keep an eye out for that if you are looking to skip some lines at the end of the night.

Should You Get Universal Express?

The Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass is a great way to help you manage your day. The Express Pass will allow you to experience everything in the park at least once. With the time savings that come with the pass, you can hit your favorite attractions a second time. It also allows you to relax and enjoy more of the sights, take photos, see shows, meet characters, enjoy your meals, calmly sip Butterbeer, shop for treats and explore Universal CityWalk. Buying the Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass buys peace of mind. That way, you know you can get it all in, and that equals a good family value.

We have already mentioned that if Super Nintendo World is your priority, you can skip the line for Mario Kart with the VIP Experience. If that is out of your budget, you might consider purchasing the Super Nintendo World Early Access ticket. You can add that on to your Universal Express ticket (or general admission ticket). You can purchase your discount tickets through Undercover Tourist. Then add on Early Access through Universal Studios for $20 to $30. But purchase early as it sells out weeks in advance.

As Early Access gives you access to Super Nintendo World an hour before the park opens, with low capacity you can ride Mario Kart, access Toadstool Café and play the games before the crowds arrive. Then, if you have Express, you can maximize your time the rest of the day by skipping the lines and even going back into Super Nintendo Land later without a reservation.

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.

Related: The Best Times to Visit Universal Studios Hollywood

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
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1–50 of 377 comments
Apr 14, 2024 at 9:08 a.m. Peter Says...

Hello. Please help me. If I already have a ticket, how can I buy an express ticket?

Reply
Apr 15, 2024 at 9:15 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Peter!

If you purchased your ticket through Undercover Tourist, please call our Customer Service team at 1 (800) 846-1302, and we'd be hoppy to help. It is also possible to upgrade the ticket to Express once you're in the park, as long as there's availability.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 8, 2024 at 11:30 p.m. Amanda Says...

Hi! We are planning on visiting for Universal two days, but we're only interested in Express Passes for the first of those days (our ride heavy day). Is it possible to buy the Express Pass in the park for just the first of our two day tickets or would we have to pay to upgrade the whole ticket/both days? In which case two separate tickets seem to be the cheaper option (one admission + express pass day and one admission only day)? Any advice? Thanks!

Reply
Apr 18, 2024 at 4:17 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amanda!

Yes, you can upgrade to Express for just one day in the park (though it's subject to availability and may sell out on busy dates). The price varies per day (today's cost to upgrade was $135, for example). If you know the dates you'll be visiting, we'd recommend hopping here to input your dates and compare pricing to see which option may work best for you.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Apr 5, 2024 at 7:38 a.m. Sumukh Says...

Hi, we are planning to visit Universal Hollywood on 22nd or 23rd of June. Would you recommend an express pass for us? Family of 4 (kids 5 and 10).

Also, mixed reviews for 5 year olds (mine is 101 cms). Are there enough rides for kids this age?

Thanks loads.

Reply
Apr 8, 2024 at 12:10 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sumukh!

We'd recommend hopping over to our Height Requirements post for Universal Studios Hollywood so you can get a good idea of what would be available for your 5-year-old, which will help determine if Express is right for your family. If your tadpole can ride enough attractions to make Express worth it to you, we would recommend it since June typically sees higher summer crowds.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Mar 14, 2024 at 2:11 a.m. Danielle Says...

Hi, I am coming with my teenage daughter Aug 22nd of this year. We dont mind 30-45 min lines or so. Do we need express or should lines be average at that time? Thanks!

Reply
Mar 15, 2024 at 10:40 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Danielle!

By then, the back-to-school season is starting, so crowd levels tend to go back to average around mid-August.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 12, 2024 at 11:05 p.m. Kristy Says...

I’m not sure if I should buy express pass for upcoming visit on March 18th or 19th will be in town both days haven’t decided which day is best to visit. I believe we will be coming the week before spring break?

Reply
Mar 14, 2024 at 3:27 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kristy!

Local schools (within the Los Angeles Unified School District) are out on spring break from March 25-29, so you will be visiting just before then. However, since spring breaks can vary nationwide, schools in other areas across the country may already be on spring break. We consider it a season with some weeks perhaps being busier than others due to local school patterns. But nonetheless, we still expect crowds next week due to the varying breaks. If you don't opt for Express, you could upgrade once you're in the park as long as there's availability.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 18, 2024 at 7:32 p.m. karly Says...

would you reccomend express pass in advance for april 1, 2024 !

Reply
Feb 20, 2024 at 7:15 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Karly!

We would recommend Express Pass as it falls right after Easter weekend/during the spring break season, so we do expect higher crowd levels.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 24, 2024 at 7:08 p.m. Richard Says...

Just bought Express tickets for March 21 (Spring Break). I can't really figure out if Early Access is necessary for Mario. Any idea how much time we'll likely be saving by purchasing Early Access? I figure with early access, we'll be able to ride everything else with very limited wait. So I don't mind waiting an hour or so for Mario Kart. But if it's going to be a 3+ hour wait, that would be a huge disappointment. Any guess on how long Mario Kart lines are (for both Early Access and Non-Early Access)?

Reply
Feb 1, 2024 at 10:09 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Richard!

With it being in the middle of Spring Break season, we would expect higher crowds. It's hard to predict based off last year's spring break crowds because it had just opened, so lines were extra long. Over the year, we've seen it fluctuate greatly for a peak day vs. a non-peak day (for instance, we've seen 240 minutes one week and 30 minutes the next). You can also access each challenge, which can form long lines, and Mario Kart during that Early Access hour. Even if each of the five challenge line is 20 minutes during the day, you'd potentially save at least an hour right there. With Early Access, you could then hit the rest of the Lower Lot lines with no waits and use Express to ride again later in the day once lines get longer. We've personally been happy with the Early Access hour for both busy and not as busy days.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 9, 2024 at 9:14 a.m. Shayla Says...

Hello I am planning to come July 6th or 7th 2024. If I buy one express is it possible for double seat rides that the other sibling can ride with just one express pass instead of purchasing two passes?

Reply
Jan 9, 2024 at 9:36 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shayla!

Each rider needs their own Express ticket (unless the sibling is 2 or under, as they do not need an admission ticket in general).

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Jan 4, 2024 at 11:14 p.m. Julia Says...

Hi - is it worth getting Express passes and/or early Nintendo entrance on Thurs 2/15? I know it's midweek but it's also very close to a three-day holiday weekend. Obviously don't want to overpay but really want to maximize our time at the park. Thanks!

Reply
Jan 5, 2024 at 3:57 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Julia!

If you want to maximize time in Super Nintendo World, then the Early Access ticket is always worth it to us. Generally, the crowds come right after the 15th for the holiday weekend, so you could hold off to decide if you need Express and upgrade in the park if you change your mind.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 4, 2024 at 2:05 a.m. Jacquie Says...

We are planning a trip to Universal in May. Probably the 9th or 10th. Is this a busy time? Would you recommend we buy the universal express tickets?

Reply
Jan 5, 2024 at 9:45 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jacquie!

Generally, weekdays in May are a good time to go, and is our recommended time to visit during the month. Universal Express likely wouldn't be as necessary with average crowd levels on the 9th, though if you change your mind, you could always upgrade at the park.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Dec 8, 2023 at 5:26 p.m. Denise Says...

Great information!

Reply
Aug 30, 2023 at 8:14 a.m. Julianna Says...

Aloha. I am visiting with family of 5 in October 14th. Would you stay Universal Hollywood can be done all in one day.

Mahalo

Reply
Sep 1, 2023 at 10:59 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Julianna!

Yes, it's still possible to do Universal in one day. With the addition of the popular Super Nintendo World, we would highly recommend the Early Access ticket, which would significantly help with reducing wait times in the land. Express would be another great tool to ensure you get everything done, but if it's not in the budget, you can still use these tips to maximize your time in the park.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 29, 2023 at 5:57 p.m. Kelly Says...

Hi! Looking to go to Universal Orlando March 24-28 with 2 kids (mainly for Harry Potter). Was looking into the premier hotels to get unlimited express but the price for that time is $$$$. Do you think we'd need the express tickets for that time? Do you have a recommendation for the closest hotel to the park entrance (walking distance)? Thank you!!

Reply
Aug 29, 2023 at 1:44 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kelly!

We would recommend Express because it falls during the spring break season. The closest Universal premier hotel within walking distance would be the Hard Rock Hotel.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Aug 8, 2023 at 11:50 p.m. Mandy Says...

Hi, looking to go on tuesday aug 22. Never been before (coming from Canada). Wondering if I should pre purchase tickets or express) online before I go? Thank you

Reply
Aug 9, 2023 at 1:45 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mandy!

Schools are starting to go back in session, so weekdays may see lower crowds now that summer vacation is dwindling down for most families, though Super Nintendo World may continue to be busy. If Super Nintendo World is a top priority, we'd recommend that you consider an Early Access ticket instead (available through Universal directly) and skip Express since you'll be there early. And if you get there and change your mind, you can purchase Express in the park (subject to availability).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 2, 2023 at 4:39 p.m. Damaris Says...

Hello would you recommend I get the express ticket if I were to go on 8/14th (Lands on a Monday) and will the experience be any different just because we are visiting on a weekday instead of the weekend? Thank you in advance ????????

Reply
Aug 7, 2023 at 4:14 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Damaris!

We think it probably won't be too much different. Local schools are kicking off the new school year around the 15th and 16th, so things may start slowing down next week, but Universal may remain popular due to Super Nintendo World. We'd say that if you get there early and hit many rides when the park opens or use Single Rider lines, you can get by without Express. But if you aren't sure, you can buy a regular ticket and upgrade in the park.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 15, 2023 at 6:29 a.m. Natalie Says...

We are visiting Universal on Friday 29 September during the day (not at night with Halloween as kids are 10 and 12). Do you think we should buy the express pass? Kids love their rides and have no fear!

Thank you!

Reply
Jul 17, 2023 at 9:04 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Natalie!

We don't think it's an absolute necessity, but we would definitely recommend arriving early and consider opting for Early Access tickets to explore Super Nintendo World with low crowds. The park shouldn't be busy until later in the afternoon when more people start to arrive for HHN.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 4, 2023 at 6:29 p.m. melissa Says...

if i buy the express pass after 2pm at universal hollywood for HHN, i can ride studio tour and in the night the the terror tram, with the same express pass?

Reply
Jul 5, 2023 at 3:58 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Melissa!

Correct! You can use the After 2 p.m. Express pass for the Studio Tour during the day and HHN. Take note of the last tram ride of the day, as it will likely close well before park close.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 25, 2023 at 7:36 a.m. Nadia Says...

Can you buy a 2 or 3 day Universal fast pass?

why am i not able to buy a fast pass on the 21 July and then buy a fast pass on the 22nd July . the checkout only allows me to buy for one day- not both

Reply
Jun 28, 2023 at 10:23 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nadia!

There is only a 1-Day Universal Express option, and you would have to make two transactions since the ticket is date-based (and thus you have to pick a date for each ticket).

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Jun 24, 2023 at 5:58 a.m. Roxanne Says...

There's no matter-of-fact answer anywhere, so I hope you guys might know. I bought the neighbor pass for universal hollywood, but I'm curious; Do I have to pay the full price of an express pass... even though it includes a single day entrance? (Which is unnecessary for me since I have the annual advantage). Hopefully it just needs to charge me the difference, if not I would rather skip the express purchase. P.s. this is a first visit for me.

Reply
Jun 28, 2023 at 10:25 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Roxanne!

You would pay an upgrade fee at Guest Services. It wouldn't be the same as buying a 1-Day Express ticket (since that includes admission), but it's the fee to upgrade in the park. This fee also varies by day and is subject to availability.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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May 23, 2023 at 8:57 p.m. Carolina Says...

Hi! What about Columbus Day in California? Do you think I should worry about this holliday? I'm thinking on buying express pass only for this day, I'll be going twice in the park with my son. And maybe to the Halloween Horror Night on sunday before Columbus Day, but I'll not buy express for this day because my son is not old enough for the houses.

Reply
May 24, 2023 at 3:20 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Carolina!

In general, all holidays tend to be busier than normal days. Columbus Day may also fall during some school breaks (specifically fall breaks for schools in nearby states such as Utah and Arizona).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 24, 2023 at 10:46 p.m. Carolina Says...

Ok, thanks for your answer.

Reply
May 23, 2023 at 4:53 p.m. Rebecca Says...

What happenes if u go early and want to come early with fast pass we have you would have to purchase another pass to do your rides early doesn’t make sense I’m glad we stopped going we used to buy the passes every year for the whole family

Reply
May 23, 2023 at 3:42 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Rebecca!

I'm sorry if I've misunderstood your question, but at Universal Studios Hollywood, when you purchase a Universal Express ticket, it includes general admission, so you would only need to purchase one ticket! If you have an annual pass, you would need to upgrade to Universal Express at the park.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 20, 2023 at 6:35 p.m. Debby Says...

Hi! Thanks for all the informatie. It is really helpull. We are from Holland and we coming to Universal with our family of 9 in september. We want to go on 14th of september. Do you reckon we should buy the unlimited express pass? Or would I be spending money for something that is not worth it at that time?

Thank you so much for helping us find out what is best to do :-)

Reply
Apr 24, 2023 at 10:15 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Debby!

You likely won't need Express then. But we would suggest arriving before park opening to maximize your time in the park. The parks can close early (6 p.m.) at that time of year. We don't yet know when Halloween Horror Nights starts, but some years it starts that night after the park closes. Hope this helps - enjoy your trip!

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Mar 7, 2023 at 1:45 a.m. Susan Avallon Says...

You probably should have mentioned right at the top that you can only use this pass once per ride. We were surprised after paying so much to find we could not repeat rides and still cut the line.

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Mar 3, 2023 at 11:43 p.m. Luiza Says...

Hello! On the day that I’m going, the ticket costs $139 and the express pass $299. I understand that when I buy the express, the admission is already included, right? I don’t need to buy 299 PLUS 139?

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Mar 6, 2023 at 10:23 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Luiza!

For Universal Studios Hollywood, the Universal Express ticket does include park admission. (Over at Universal Orlando Resort, theme park tickets and Express Passes are separate.)

Keep hopping!

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Feb 28, 2023 at 3:01 a.m. Victor Says...

I have a season pass, how much is for upgrade to express pass

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Feb 28, 2023 at 2 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Victor!

Prices depend on the day of your visit and time of year.

Keep hopping!

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Feb 1, 2023 at 4:52 p.m. Julia Says...

Can you buy a two day ticket and only express pass for one of the days? We will likely want two days, but I'm not sure we need an express pass for both of the days. Thanks!

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Feb 1, 2023 at 3 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Julia!

You have the option to purchase a regular 2-Day ticket and add Express to one of your days, but you would need to upgrade in the park (depending on availability).

Keep hopping!

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Apr 4, 2023 at 3:59 p.m. Linda Says...

Hi FrogBlog, we would like to go for 2 days and express pass one of those days too. Is it more economical to buy a 2-day pass then add on express at the gate or to buy 1 day express pass with the included 1 day admission and 1-day general admission? Thanks so much!

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Apr 17, 2023 at 1:33 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Linda!

It's tough to calculate exact numbers to compare — mainly because the cost to upgrade to Express in the park can vary and you can't easily find that number online. Though we recently went using our annual passes and upgraded to Express for $145 per person, which costs the same for everyone whether you have a ticket or an annual pass (and this was on a busier day during spring break season — though this price can vary as well). So if you use that number as a rough estimate and do some quick math by using the ticket prices for the days that you plan to go, you'll be able to have a rough idea of what you may spend by doing each option. (We picked random dates and calculated that the 2-Day ticket and upgrading one day may be less - but it could depend on your dates).

Keep hopping!

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Jan 16, 2023 at 4:24 p.m. Sean Says...

I plan to use a Gocity pass to visit Universal Studios Hollywood. Am I able to upgrade to an Express ticket in advance or at the gate? Thanks.

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Jan 17, 2023 at 1:32 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sean!

You would be able to upgrade to Express at the park depending on availability.

Keep hopping!

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Dec 26, 2022 at 5:22 a.m. April Says...

I’ve confirmed when buying passes that the Mario kart ride IS included in the express pass.

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Dec 27, 2022 at 8:30 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi April!

To our knowledge, the Express Pass grants you one-time entrance to Super Nintendo Land, but does not currently include Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge. We'll be sure to update this post if that changes!

Keep hopping!

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Dec 10, 2022 at 5:54 p.m. Madalyn Says...

The express pass sounds like a great option!

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Nov 29, 2022 at 2:43 p.m. Cherise Says...

Hello, if we have Express Pass, how early would you say we need to get in line for the shows?

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Nov 30, 2022 at 3:27 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cherise!

We'd still suggest arriving fairly early - about 30 minutes or so for the best selection of seats. The Animal Actors and Special Effects shows are set to close Jan. 8, so there will only be one remaining show left (WaterWorld) and it's still quite a popular show.

Keep hopping!

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Oct 9, 2022 at 6:10 p.m. Tiana Says...

Thank you so much for all the great info! We've already purchased our Express passes through your site, but I'm a little unclear on the logistics of what happens when we get to the park. Do we need to exchange our printed e-ticket for a physical Express Pass Card? Where would we do that?

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Oct 12, 2022 at 9:12 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tiana!

They will print you a small paper version when you enter the park. Usually, we would then put them in a lanyard for easy access. Alternatively, you can also link your tickets in the official Universal Studios Hollywood app and access them from there.

Keep hopping!

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Oct 2, 2022 at 4:13 a.m. Brian Says...

Hi, I bought two regular day combo passes for that allow for entry at 2pm and able to stay through HH night…if we get there at 1pm, will there be universal passes still available for upgrade? It’s a Saturday.

If not, is there a way I can upgrade that morning at the box office, even if my ticket doesn’t allow entry until 2pm?

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Oct 3, 2022 at 4:04 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Brian!

There are no guarantees, but if there are still last-minute Express Passes available, you may upgrade at the park.

Keep hopping!

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Aug 31, 2022 at 7:14 p.m. Andrea Ochoa Says...

If I buy a regular horror night ticket but all my party has express. Can I upgrade the same day of the even?

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Aug 31, 2022 at 3:57 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Andrea!

If you have already purchased a regular ticket, then yes, you can upgrade at the park. However, it's subject to availability and most nights do sell out. We'd suggest arriving as early as you can for the best chance of upgrading before it sells out (though availability is not guaranteed).

Keep hopping!

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Aug 23, 2022 at 1:40 p.m. Aubrey Says...

Do you know of the buy a day, get a day free tickets are upgradable to the Express pass for one of the days? We are not local and would love to get an express pass for one day without waiting at the box office if possible. Thanks!

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Aug 23, 2022 at 1:56 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Aubrey!

You would have to upgrade that specific day at the Box Office. Usually, the line is fairly short - though still keep in mind it's subject to availability.

Keep hopping!

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Aug 11, 2022 at 6:18 p.m. Karla O Says...

Hi, I purchased a 1 park-1 day ticket for universal studios and was wondering how much it would be to upgrade to a 2 day- 1 park ticket. Don't need an express pass just want to be able to go to 2 different parks. Thank you!

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Aug 15, 2022 at 12:24 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Karla!

It would depend on the date that you're trying to add since prices vary by day and season.

Keep hopping!

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Jul 14, 2022 at 7 a.m. Martha Erives Says...

i have purchased 3 regular one day tickets I will like to upgrade to express how can I do this before Friday??

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Jul 14, 2022 at 2:56 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Martha!

At this time, you would have to upgrade inside the park, which you can do near the wheelchair rentals or the Box Office once you arrive.

Keep hopping!

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Jul 14, 2022 at 1:16 a.m. Brooke Blackwell Says...

Really helpful post! Thank you for the info. I am wondering if the express pass is like the Genie pass at Disney; do you have to book a time to use the express pass in a certain window of time or can you simply choose a ride and walk up whenever? Thanks again!

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Jul 14, 2022 at 8:36 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Brooke!

Universal Express does not have a ride booking system, so you just walk up whenever you want to ride!

Keep hopping!

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Jun 21, 2022 at 11:22 a.m. Yuri Says...

Hi, we are planning to visit USH on July 6, all the way from Hawaii. I was just wondering how the crowd will be like? When we bought our tickets from the group rates person, she told me that I wouldn’t need to purchase the express ticket. I’m beginning to regret it after reading all your comments. What can I do to make my trip less stressful because I know the lines will be crazy? Can I cancel my tickets and get the express tickets? I would really appreciate your help. Thank you!

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Jun 24, 2022 at 10:33 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Yuri!

We have some posts about managing summer crowds at Universal Studios Hollywood and maximizing your time at the park that you may find to be helpful! While yes, we usually recommend Express during busy periods, there are other ways to save time in lines, such as using Single Rider lines and following a park plan. Since you did get your ticket at a group rate, we're not sure about the exact ticket conditions (i.e. may not be refundable - you'll have to check your ticket details). And similarly, we're not sure if it's a ticket that can be upgraded to Express, but you could stop by once you're in the park and see if you'd be able to (subject to availability).

Keep hopping!

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Jun 16, 2022 at 8:38 p.m. Camille Says...

Hi we’re travelling from NZ in May 2023, we will have myself, my husband, my son (9) and daughter (2). I’m wondering since either my husband or I will be with our toddler while the other takes turns doing rides with our son. Is it possible to. Get two express passes and one general admission, one under 3 pass. (one express pass for our son) and the other we swap between my husband and myself so we each get a turn with our son since he can only do each ride express once? Or are the express tickets assigned to a solo person even though it’s only being used express once per ride? Also my son is a HUGE Harry Potter fan how long are the regular lines (on a regular day) if he’s wanting to do the Harry Potter ones twice? Will we fit it all into one day? Is there much for our toddler to experience if we were to do two day’s?

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Jun 21, 2022 at 8:58 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Camille!

You have a couple of options. Many rides have Child Switch where you go wait in a Child Switch room with your tadpole and when your husband returns to watch the baby, you and your son can go on the ride without having to wait in line (your son can go again because they'll let him ride with each parent). But they may require all three of you to have Express to enter the queue together initially. Another option is getting yourself and your husband each a regular Express ticket and upgrade your son's ticket to Unlimited Express, and then he could easily ride with both of you. We would just suggest testing out the Child Switch method before upgrading because he might not need Unlimited if he can just join each of you during Child Switch.

You won't have to worry about lines if you have Express and use Child Switch because your wait times will be short and everything can easily be done in one day. For more tips on taking toddlers to Universal Studios Hollywood, visit our separate blog post about the best rides and experiences for toddlers at Universal!

Keep hopping!

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May 16, 2022 at 9:16 p.m. Jeremy Hampson Says...

Hi! I will be visiting Universal with my family on July 19th for one day- Seems pretty clear that an express pass will make sense (two kids aged 7 &9). How far in advance do i need to purchase the express pass?

Thank you :-)

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May 17, 2022 at 8:20 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jeremy!

Have you already gotten your admission tickets for Universal Studios Hollywood? If not, you can go ahead and purchase your tickets with the Express option included. If you bought your tickets already, then you would need to upgrade at the park once you arrive.

Keep hopping!

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May 18, 2022 at 6:06 p.m. Jeremy Hampson Says...

Thanks for the info... I haven't actually purchased any tickets yet! Just wondering if I should do it now which is about 8 weeks ahead of time or can i wait until a little closer to my trip date?

Thanks :-)

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May 19, 2022 at 9:52 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jeremy!

Once the date you want to visit is nailed down, we'd suggest purchasing! The availability of our discounted tickets varies on busy days and certain dates could become unavailable. But since they are dated tickets, you would be tied to the date you choose so we'd only book once your date is confirmed. Also, if prices go up, you will have locked in the lowest rate.

Keep hopping!

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Jun 14, 2022 at 12:20 a.m. Michelle Says...

Sorry, not to bust into Jeremy's question/convo but we are also going in July. Pretty sure we'll buy the express tix just because we don't want our ONE day in the park to be spent in lines. However, I'm nervous about the no refund/cancellation policy. If plans change do you get to use at a different date? If not, in your experience, what would be considered "waiting too long" to buy the express? TIA!

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Jun 23, 2022 at 9:12 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Michelle!

If you want to change the date, it would depend on availability (if it is sold out or not for that day). And since tickets are date-based (so the value varies by day), you may also need to pay the difference in price to the full ticket price. Summer can sell out often and at anytime, so we recommend buying early as it's the best way to avoid that chance. We do offer Express tickets at a discount!

Keep hopping!

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Apr 25, 2022 at 8:51 p.m. karen Says...

i have a gold pass for Universal studios hollywood how much would it be to get a unlimited express pass?

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Apr 26, 2022 at 11:05 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Karen!

The price to upgrade to Express will vary by date and demand, but it would be the same amount for any guest, regardless of ticket or pass level.

Keep hopping!

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Jan 28, 2023 at 12:28 a.m. Jamie Says...

Can someone buy unlimited express pass to Universal Hollywood from undercovertourist.com?

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Jan 30, 2023 at 3:12 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jamie!

The only Universal Express ticket we currently offer is the Universal Express 1-Day ticket, which includes one-time access. You could upgrade to the unlimited option inside the park, as long as there's availability!

Keep hopping!

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Apr 14, 2022 at 1:57 p.m. Jennifer Says...

Bought my tickets online with Express Pass with option to print tickets at home. When we arrive at parks will they exchange or printed full size express pass for the smaller paper version? Can we also use our phones w/express pass? Thanks

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Apr 18, 2022 at 4:22 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jennifer!

They can print out a small paper version for you when you enter the park. You can also now link and access your tickets in the app, and they would be able to scan them from there. Usually, we personally put the paper version in a lanyard and use our Express passes that way.

Keep hopping!

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Apr 14, 2022 at 9:36 a.m. Dana Says...

Hi,

Is there an express pass available for the Halloween Horror Night Events?

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Apr 14, 2022 at 8:49 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dana!

Yes, there is an Express option for HHN at Universal Studios Hollywood (as well as Universal Orlando).

Keep hopping!

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Jun 29, 2022 at 2:32 p.m. Andrew Says...

Is there an add-on option if you use a free HHN ticket as a platinum pass member to get a HHN Express pass or do you have to buy it at full price with HHN admission?

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Jun 29, 2022 at 9:22 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Andrew!

You'd be able to upgrade at the park, if there's availability (most nights do sell out early).

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Mar 31, 2022 at 1:22 a.m. Andrea Says...

If I get the express pass, do I still have to try and get in the virtual line for the Life of Pets ride? Or is there an express pass line that we go into? I have never been to Universal Studios and will be there in August 2022 for a day.

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Mar 31, 2022 at 11:38 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Andrea!

There is a separate queue for Express, though the Secret Life of Pets only uses the Virtual Queue as needed on the busiest of days, so you may find that it's not even in use when you go.

Keep hopping!

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Feb 10, 2022 at 12:15 a.m. Laura Says...

Hi! I already bought two 1-Day General Admission for visiting Universal Studios Hollywood with my husband in Feb 19th. We want to purchase an upgrade to the Universal Express Pass, is it possible to do this in advanced from the website? We want to have everything ready before our trip! Thanks!

Reply
Feb 11, 2022 at 9:20 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Laura!

At this time, you would have to upgrade inside the park, which you can do near the wheelchair rentals or the Box Office once you arrive.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Jan 17, 2022 at 7:12 p.m. JAY F. Says...

I am thinking about taking my wife and child who is 8 in February. Do you think February is a good time to go without express passes? We are from the east coast. Are they allowing nonresidents in? Thank you for your help. You have an excellent post!

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Jan 18, 2022 at 11:45 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jay!

February is generally a good time to go! (Just expect higher crowds around Presidents Day weekend, if you're going then.) Nonresidents are welcome, but you do need to bring proof of being fully vaccinated for all family members ages 5 and up or a negative COVID test. Thanks for hopping by!

Keep hopping!

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Nov 23, 2021 at 7:20 p.m. Paula Says...

I'm going to Universal Hollywood in March 2022 and prices look pretty good, despite it being spring break! Surprising! Anyway, we'd like to go for 2 days and they used to have a discount for the second day. I noticed they don't have multi-day passes on their website - you have to book each day separately, which is way more expensive. Have those been phased out, or just not posted yet? What's the best way to save money if you want to visit for 2-3 consecutive days?

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Nov 24, 2021 at 3:58 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Paula!

At times, there may be a promotion for a second day or a resident pass that allows you to come back a second day, but unfortunately, the only current option is the California Neighbor Pass, which does have blackout dates. We have discounted 1-day tickets available, so you can still save some green off the gate prices!

Keep hopping!

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Nov 13, 2021 at 9:31 p.m. Jean Says...

Hi, I am planning to visit in March 2022. I would like to purchase Disneyland tickets + Universal tickets. Unfortunately, Universal doesn't give me the option to book that far out. Any suggestions on how to go about it? Thanks!

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Nov 17, 2021 at 2:56 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jean!

Our best suggestion is to wait and check back in a few weeks, as tickets for dates past January 2022 are not available yet. We'll update you once we know more!

Keep hopping!

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Sep 16, 2021 at 1:56 p.m. Natalie Wilkins Says...

Can I buy an express pass for 5 people for 2 weeks?? Or is it better to just book for the days attending?

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Sep 17, 2021 at 11:22 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Natalie!

Just book for the days that you'll be attending!

Keep hopping!

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Sep 16, 2021 at 1:52 p.m. Natalie Wilkins Says...

Will Express passes be back to buy for March 2022

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Sep 17, 2021 at 11:21 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Natalie!

Universal only releases tickets a few months at a time (right now, it's only available up until the end of Jan. 2022), so we'd keep checking back!

Keep hopping!

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