No one enjoys waiting in lines at theme parks. Fortunately, Universal Orlando offers a solution – Express Pass. Express Pass allows park-goers to bypass traditional lines and reduce wait times during their visit to Universal Orlando. In this blog post, we’ll cover all you need to know about Express Pass and help you decide if this is a purchase that makes sense on your next visit to Universal Orlando.
Types of Express Passes
There are four types of Universal Express Passes available:
- Universal Express Pass: This pass allows visitors to skip the regular lines one time per participating attraction at both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
- Universal Express Pass Unlimited: This pass allows visitors to skip the regular lines an unlimited number of times at participating attractions at both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
- Volcano Bay Express Pass: This pass allows visitors to skip the regular lines one time at select participating attraction at Volcano Bay water park.
- Volcano Bay Express Pass Plus: This pass allows visitors to skip the regular lines one time at all participating attractions at Volcano Bay water park.
How Does Express Pass Work?
Using Universal Express Pass is pretty straight-forward – you simply purchase the Express Pass type you want, get in the Express Pass line at the available attractions, and present your pass to the team member prior to boarding. Universal Express Pass doesn’t require guests to reserve ride times or pay extra for more popular attractions.
Express Pass is valid for one day only and can be purchased online, at the park entrance, or at a participating hotel. When you purchase an Express Pass, you will receive a physical ticket or a QR code that you can scan with your smartphone.
It’s important to note that the Express Pass users can still experience waits. However, the Express line is always faster than stand-by and it can save you a significant amount of time waiting in line.
How Much Does Express Pass Cost?
The cost of the Universal Orlando Express Pass depends on the type of pass you purchase and the date of your visit. Prices for the Express Pass can fluctuate throughout the year, with higher prices during peak season and holidays.
As of the current date, prices for the Universal Express Pass start at $79.99 per person for a one-park, one-day pass, while prices for the Universal Express Unlimited Pass start at $89.99 per person for a one-park, one-day pass. Pricing for Volcano Bay Express Pass starts at $19.99 while the Volcano Bay Express Pass Plus starts at $39.99.
One major note – if you stay at one of Universal Orlando\’s on-site hotels, such as the Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel, or Portofino Bay Hotel, you can receive complimentary Universal Express access for the duration of your stay.
Which Attractions Offer Express Pass?
Not all rides and attractions at Universal Orlando offer Express Pass access. The current list is as follows:
Islands of Adventure
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- Hogwarts Express
- Flight of the Hippogriff
- The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
- The Incredible Hulk Coaster
- Storm Force Accelatron
- Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
- Jurassic Park River Adventure
- Skull Island: Reign of Kong
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
- The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!
- Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
- Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges
- The Cat in the Hat
- Poseidon’s Fury
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringott
- Hogwart Express
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
- TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D
- Fast & Furious – Supercharged
- MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
- Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
- The Simpsons Ride
- Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
- Revenge of the Mummy
- E.T. Adventure
- Krakatau Aqua Coaster
- Punga Racers
- Maku of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides
- Puihi of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides
- Honu of Honu ika Moana
- ika Moana of Honu ika Moana
- Raki of Taniwha Tubes
- Tonga of Taniwha Tubes
- Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides
- Ko’okiri Body Plunge
- Ohyah of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides
- Ohno of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides
Express Pass Alternatives
While there are no alternatives to Express Pass per se, there are strategies that can lessen your time spent waiting in line at Universal Orlando.
One strategy is to take advantage of the single rider lines available at some attractions. These lines are designed for guests who do not mind being split up from their group to fill empty seats on the ride. Single rider lines can significantly reduce wait times, especially for more popular attractions.
Also, if you stay at other select Universal Orlando resorts (Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, Universal’s Aventura Resort and Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites & Dockside Inn and Suites ), Express Pass isn’t included, but Early Park Admission is for select attractions. You can always use this time (up to one hour before official park opening) to your advantage.
Should I Purchase Express Pass?
Whether or not to purchase Express Pass depends on several factors, including the length of your stay, the time of year you’re visiting, and the number of people in your group.
If you’re planning to visit during peak season or on a holiday, when wait times for popular rides can be long, Express Pass can be a valuable investment to reduce wait times and maximize your experience in the parks. On the other hand, if you’re visiting during off-peak times and are willing to ride less popular attractions or wait in line for popular attractions, you may not need Express Pass.
Also, it’s important to remember you don’t have to purchase Express Pass for every day of your trip or even for every person.
Finally, when the park is open late, Universal sometimes sells an unadvertised Express Pass valid after 4 p.m. only for about $35; ask at any Express sales location for details.
The Easiest Way to Decide
If you’re looking for the easiest way to decide if you need Express Pass, might I suggest a theme park travel planner. I’ve spent years learning the ins and outs of theme park vacation planning and would love to help you plan your next visit to destinations like Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Universal Orlando. I can also help with non-theme park vacations like Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, and Aulani Resort.
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