Universal like many theme parks has a system for priority boarding of attractions. At Universal the system is called Express Pass and unlike Fastpass+ at Walt Disney World is not free.
What is Express Pass?
Present your pass at participating attractions at Universal Studios Florida or Universal’s Islands of Adventure to bypass the regular lines. You will join a shorter Express pass line and have reduced wait.
How long will I wait?
This varies by attraction and will be less than the regular line but it is not front of line.
Is it valid for all attractions?
Express pass is not valid for Fievel’s Playland or Pteranodon Flyers.
What type of tickets are there?
You can either get a pass for each park or a joint pass to cover both parks. In addition you have choice between unlimited rides or 1 admission only at each attraction.
How much does it cost?
Express Pass is not cheap. Passes are more expensive during peak periods and can cost as much as $170 a person. In addition park admission tickets are still required.
How can I book?
The number of passes are limited. However the actual number available is not advertised. It is best to book in advance if your itinerary is set.
How else can I get an Express Pass?
Guests at select Universal Resorts get Complimentary Express Pass Unlimited included as part of their package. Currently this is only a benefit for guest staying at Portofino Bay, Hard Rock & Royal Pacific Resorts.
Do your maths before purchasing an express pass as staying in one of these resorts can often work out cheaper. Your Express pass will be valid on both arrival & departure dates.
In addition guests who buy one of Universal’s very expensive VIP Tours receive a pass.
Is Express Pass worth buying?
This is a difficult question to answer and depends on your itinerary & your budget.
If you are only visiting Universal for 1 or 2 days then purchasing Express Pass should be considered. It would be difficult to complete both parks without Express Pass if your time is limited.
During peak periods having a pass is essential for many guests. However; for a family of 4 this can add $700 a day to the cost of your vacation. Not purchasing will mean longer waits and fewer attractions.
It is certainly worth considering staying in a Universal Resort and making use of the complimentary pass.
In our opinion Express Pass does give a premium park experience but it is not cheap. I prefer the Disney system which allows equal access to all guests.
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