Today we're going to talk about an extremely easy way to avoid the long lines at Universal Studios Orlando Parks attractions, the Universal Express Pass!
Going to Universal Orlando Resort is always a cause for great joy as we are openly fans of its theme parks.
One of the ways to minimize the impact of long lines on your day is by purchasing the pass Universal Express Pass.
Universal skip-the-line access is a big help in parks, especially on busy days.
It works very similarly to the new Lightning Lane from Disney.
I actually believe that Lightning Lane was inspired by the Express Pass.
Understanding how and when to use the Universal Express Pass is the key to an even better visit, especially in high season.
In this post we will explain everything you need to know for this as a good connoisseur of the subject.
After all, in addition to having worked at Universal Studios, the Express Pass was sold at my store.
Also, I've used it a few times on our trips to the park.
So let's do it!
The Universal Express Pass
Universal Express allows you to skip the queue at most Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure attractions at Universal and have priority access to seating at shows.
There is also a separate option from the Universal Express Pass for Volcano Bay called “Volcano Bay Express”.
Universal offers Universal Express passes to most popular attractions in the world. Wizarding world Harry Potter, including Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey and Harry Potter Scape from Gryngotts.
Currently, in the initial phases of Universal's reopening after COVID-19, some attractions are using the Virtual Line.
If you have a Universal Express pass, you don't need to get a virtual line pass. The only exception is Hagrid's roller coaster.
How Universal Express Pass works
When approaching an attraction with the Universal Express Pass, show your pass to the Team Member in line.
Some attractions like Storm Force Acceleration or Flight of the Hippogriff, will validate your pass immediately when you arrive at the entrance to the attraction.
For popular tours with more elaborate and longer queues, a Team Member will check your pass and let you enter the Express queue (usually a separate queue).
Then, closer to the actual entrance area of the tour, a second Team Member will validate your pass.
Therefore, always leave your pass somewhere within easy reach.
We recommend that you buy a Lanyard so you don't lose your pass and make it easier to activate it at attractions.
You can buy it at the park or order on amazon and pay less by clicking here.
We always use it, as you can see in the photo below:
Some Universal Express queues will eventually merge with the queue for a ride, like the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.
On the other hand, other lines of Express passes are totally separate from the queue for a tour, as Skull Island: Reign of Kong.
One exception is Race Through New Yorkstarring Jimmy Fallon, who uses a virtual queue.
You can take the return time or use the express pass to enter the building immediately.
The difference between the queue is that there is an outside of the queue before you enter the building.
However, unless it is a busy day in the park, most waiting guests will enter the building quickly, not offering a big time-saving advantage.
Once inside the building, visitors who have Express and standby will receive a color-coded card on the first floor before going up to another waiting area.
When the lights are the same color as the card, you stand in a small row before entering the simulator.
Important information about the Universal Pass
We received this doubt a lot with our clients. travel consultancy.
Many ask if the Universal Express Pass is valid for the whole group?
The Express Pass is an individual pass, that is, everyone in your group needs one if they want to ride together on attractions through the skip-the-line.
In case you have won the Express Pass for your accommodation, all guests indicated at the hotel will receive your pass!
Single Rider Queues at Universal Orlando
“Single Rider” queues can be even faster than Universal Express Pass queues.
If you don't mind sharing the group during some attractions, try some of the more popular tours much more quickly.
The Harry Potter Single Rider queue and the Forbidden Journey, in particular, is the best time saver and is generally faster than the Express Pass queue.
Single Rider queues go straight to the loading area, although the exact speed may depend on the flow of groups.
You and your group will be in the queue together, but you will split up on the way by filling an empty seat (Sometimes you can get lucky even though you go together).
It is important to note that, as at Disney, not all attractions in the parks have this “Single Rider” line. Below is a list of all available so far:
Single Rider Rides at Universal Studios Florida
Single Rider Rides at Islands of Adventure
– The Amazing Adventure of Spider-Man
– Doctor Doom's Fearfall
– Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
– Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
– Skull Island: Reign of Kong
Incredible Hulk Coaster
We understand that the goal of all this is to spend less time waiting.
However, some of the queues are spectacular and help to define the plot of the attraction.
For example, if it's your first time on Skull Island: Reign of Kong or the Mumia attraction, we recommend trying the regular line.
This is because the Express queues skip the main parts of the regular queue.
If you've been there, do it, choose the best path for you.
If you're a Harry Potter fan, good news.
The Express line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey loses the outside greenhouse and small details inside.
But the main parts of the castle, such as Dumbledore's Office and the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, are not entirely out of sight (although in this case you pass by them very quickly).
For Harry Potter and the escape from Gryngotts, the Express queue is essentially the same as the normal queue, just moving faster.
Universal Express Pass Types
There are two types of Universal Express passes: Universal Express Unlimited and
Universal Express Standard.
The difference between the 2 is simple and the name says it all.
You can use the Universal Express Unlimited Pass an unlimited number of times at participating attractions, each day your pass is valid.
The Universal Express Standard Pass, on the other hand, can only be used once per attraction, each day that your pass is valid.
Both types of Universal Express passes are available for one park per day or both parks per day.
It can be purchased online in advance through Universal or at the parks themselves.
We recommend that you always buy the Express Pass at the park. The reason is simple, it is not always necessary.
Unlike the Magic Kingdom which is always full, Universal's parks often have much shorter queues overall (mostly out of season), and you may not even need to buy an express pass.
As stated earlier, Universal offers separate passes for its water park Volcano Bay.
They are daily, and you have the option to skip the virtual queues at selected attractions and tours or you can pay more with an Express Plus pass to skip the virtual queues on all tours and attractions within the water park.
How Much Does Universal Express Cost?
Not everyone knows, but I've worked at Universal Studios parks. Specifically, I worked at the stores that are right at the entrance and exit of the Islands of Adventure park.
The Christmas candy store, Port Provisions that is glued to the exit and some carts near the entrance to the park as well.
In all of them I sold the Express Pass, and I can say with great authority, it is not worth it every day, so much so that on the empty days, we had promotions for visitors to buy.
I emphasize that the opposite is also true, on days of maximum capacity, expect an increase in the value of the pass, that is, if possible, buy in advance!
But even so, there is a price list for each type of Pass mentioned above.
Express Pass prices are:
– Universal Express Pass: from $79.99 + fees
– Universal Express Unlimited: from $109.99 + fees
– Volcano Bay Express: $19.99 + fees
Where to buy the Express Pass
Well, of course you can buy the Express Pass inside the theme parks.
They are sold in several places in the park, practically all stores in the park allow this purchase.
If you prefer, you can also buy the Universal Express Pass before your trip to the park.
There are several places that sell, we recommend our agency, you can buy the express pass by clicking here!
Get the Universal Express Pass for Free
If you are staying at one of Universal's top resort hotels, Universal Express Unlimited is included free of charge for every day of your visit.
This includes your check-in and departure date.
The value of this cannot be underestimated, especially if it is high season.
Yes, hotel prices are based on the expected crowds, but if you're already thinking about purchasing the Express Pass, do the math and see if it makes sense to stay in place.
For groups larger than three or more, it is often even cheaper to stay on-site with Unlimited Express than to go out and purchase Unlimited Express separately.
You get the added benefit of being so close to the parks when you stay on site, plus access to all the fabulous pools, luxurious rooms and other amenities on site.
We have already stayed in one of the hotels that offers this benefit and our experience was incredible, we showed a little on our youtube channel:
Hotels Offering Free Universal Express Pass:
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando
One of Universal Studios luxury hotels that offers a space as if it were an Italian villa.
It even has 4 different restaurants.
It is a very beautiful and luxurious hotel, accommodation here starts from $ 438 per night.
And you can make your reservations directly on Hotels.com Click Here!
Loews Royal Pacific Resort
A wonderful hotel that we had the opportunity to stay at.
It is also one of Universal's Luxury hotels and by staying in it you can reach Citywalk and Universal Studios parks in 10 minutes walking along a very pleasant path.
It is the cheapest of Universal's luxury hotels that offer the Express Pass. And you can stay there for from $ 370 per night.
And you can make your reservations directly on Hotels.com Clicking here!
Universal's Hard Rock Hotel
A hotel that needs no introduction.
There are several Hard Rock hotels around the world and they are well known.
You can stay at Universal's Hard Rock for from $ 404 per night.
And just like the others, And you can make your reservations directly on Hotels.com by clicking here!
Universal's other hotels, 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 do not offer Universal Express Unlimited, but they do offer early entry to the park (which is well worth it in itself).
Remember that you still need the tickets to enter the park.
If you are not staying at the venue and want to purchase Universal Express passes, the cost varies according to the day and the audience's expectations.
Therefore, during peak hours, prices will be higher.
You can buy these online in advance or from Universal directly or while you are at the parks.
Keep in mind that Universal Express passes may run out, but this will probably only happen on busy days.
Universal Express is separate from the park ticket.
No matter which tickets you've purchased, you can add Universal Express as needed.
If you are not sure whether you need or want the passes, we recommend that you suspend your purchase until you arrive.
Unlike most tickets, Universal Express is specific to dates, so you need to know which days you plan to be at the parks.
You can then book directly with Universal or wait until you are at the parks.
When to Buy the Universal Express Pass
We will list here some of the alternatives that we believe the Express Pass might be worth on your trip.
But as we have implied throughout this post, it is certainly not a pass that is valid for any day or for any group.
When Parks Are Expected to be Overcrowded
When our Crowd Calendar provides for crowds of 8, 9 or 10, these are the best times to consider Universal's Express Pass.
You can even consider it at 7 if you are particularly averse to the crowd, or if money is not an issue for you.
If you are visiting during peak summer or close to important holidays (especially the week between Christmas and New Year), you should take this very seriously.
If you only have one day and want to see as much as possible.
Do you take a short trip (or just a day to Universal) and want to experience one or mainly both parks?
Then Universal Express passes are a good idea. If you're going on one of those super busy days, these are essential to make the most of your time.
Is Universal Express Pass worth it?
No matter when you visit, having Universal Express saves time.
How long it can depend on the tour and certain situations.
If you buy an Express Pass, avoid using it immediately if you have the standard single use pass.
Many people will join the queue and increase the waiting time for the normal and Express queues. With that the Express will be full.
Once, we entered the Express line for The Incredible Hulk when the standby said it was a 60-minute wait.
We waited, rode the roller coaster and were back in our locker in 15 minutes!
Same thing with Flight of the Hippogriff – it was a 45 minute wait, and we were in and out in 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, for Skull Island: Reign of Kong, we waited about 35 minutes on the Express, when the standby mode indicated 55 minutes when we left the tour.
With the Express, we waited 30 minutes for Harry Potter and Escape from Gringotts when the standby said 50 minutes.
Even if these go a little slower, it still saves time, but is it worth the money invested?
The big question is really how much do you value the time you save.
In less busy times, we think it is good to have, but it is not mandatory.
You can feel different. It's all about what you value on your travels!
It is indeed a very personal choice.
Are there other ways to save time at Universal Studios parks?
If you don't want to buy Universal Express Pass, or if they are out of budget, don't worry!
There are still great ways to save time at the parks. The first one is Buy Your Own tickets in advance!
You don't want to waste any of your precious time in lines to buy tickets at the gate to start the day.
In addition, you will save more money if you buy in advance.
Get to the parks before the official opening.
The gates tend to open even before the official opening hours, so you can enjoy your day even more.
This is the least busy time that the parks will have all day, so it is the best time to visit the most popular tours.
If you are staying at one of Universal's hotels, take advantage of Early Park Admission for the parks, especially Universal's Volcano Bay.
Plan your day at the park
We have several guides for Universal parks here on the Blog, be sure to check them out here.
And of course, if you need professional help, contact us to set up your Custom Travel Script!
Use the Single Rider Queues
We talked a little about them in the middle of our post.
And as we mentioned, the Single Riders queues tend to go even faster than Universal Express.
As long as you are fine with the group split, the Single Rider queues can save you a lot of time on your trip
We hope again that this post has helped you in your research for your trip to Disney or Orlando.
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Guarantee the Best Trip to Disney
We know that the amount of information that involves a trip to Disney and Orlando is simply enormous.
This makes planning tiring or sometimes seem impossible!
But what if I told you that you can trust professionals to assemble a script totally EXCLUSIVE and CUSTOMIZED for you and your group?
Unlike the assembled itineraries found out there, this itinerary will take into account all the factors of your group such as ages, tastes and any profile that may change your trip.
That way you won't miss doing absolutely anything that would be amazing for you and ensure that your time is as optimized and your trip as perfect as possible!
Does it look too good? And yes, be sure to contact us and ask for your budget for a Custom Travel Script and make the best trip of your life!
Get your Parks Tickets at a Discount
Many people leave to buy their tickets arriving in Orlando or even on the day of the park.
We do not in any way recommend that you do this for a variety of reasons, such as:
If you buy tickets on the spot, you won't be able to book your park days in advance at the risk of not even being able to enter a park on a given day.
You will lose valuable park minutes in line to buy your tickets.
AND MAINLY, you will pay more because tickets at the box office are more expensive than buying in advance!
Access our sale site to buy your tickets or request a free consultation to find out exactly which tickets are the best to buy.
For free consultation, click here!
More Tips for Your Trip to Orlando
As we've talked about above, be sure to check out our Youtube channel where we give several travel tips for Orlando.
In addition we show you lots of cool things to do there, do you want a better way to plan a trip than already living a little bit of what you will see there?
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