Like many theme parks, Universal Orlando has a system for priority boarding of attractions. At Universal Orlando, the system is called Universal Express Pass. However, it isn’t cheap but provides great benefits. Our guide has information on Express Pass and whether you should consider purchasing.
How does Universal Express Pass work?
Universal Express Pass allows you priority boarding at most attractions at Universal Orlando Resort. 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 compared to the regular line. There is also an option available at Volcano Bay which we will discuss below.
How long will I wait?
This varies by attraction and will be less than the regular line, but it is not front-of-the-line access. Universal aim to ensure your wait is never longer than 15 minutes, but this is not always
What rides are not included in Universal Express Pass?
Express pass is invalid for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and Pteranodon Flyers at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Jurassic World VelociCoaster has recently been added to Express Pass.
What types of Express Pass are there?
There are two types of Express Pass available:
- Universal Express Pass allows one admission to each attraction daily via the Express Pass line.
- Universal Express Unlimited Pass allows unlimited admissions to each attraction via the Express Pass line.
You can also choose whether to book a 1-park-only ticket or a 2-park ticket.
How much is Universal Express Pass?
Express Pass is not cheap. Passes are more expensive during peak periods and can cost almost $300 a person for a 2-park unlimited pass. Also, park admission tickets are still required, and you must have a park-to-park ticket if booking a 2-park pass.
How can I book Express Pass?
The number of passes is limited. However, the actual number available is not advertised. It is best to book in advance as soon as your vacation plan is set.
Can I use my Universal Express Pass any day?
No, your Express Pass is only valid on a specific date. You will lose your money if you do not attend for any reason. It is essential your dates are set before purchasing.
How else can I get an Express Pass?
There are three additional ways guests can receive a Universal Express Pass:
- Guests staying at select Universal Resorts get Complimentary Express Pass Unlimited included as part of their package. This only benefits guests staying at Portofino Bay, Hard Rock & Royal Pacific Resorts. You should budget carefully before purchasing an Express Pass, as staying in one of these resorts can often work out cheaper, especially if there are 4 of you in a room. Your Express Pass will be valid on both arrival & departure dates.
- Guests who purchase one of Universal’s costly VIP Tours receive an Express Pass as part of their package.
- The final way to get an Express Pass is by purchasing the top-priced annual pass called Premiere Pass. Premiere Pass includes a list of benefits, including Universal Express Pass from 4 pm until close.
Is Universal Express Pass worth buying?
This is a difficult question to answer and depends on your itinerary & your budget. If you only visit Universal for 1 or 2 days, then purchasing Express Pass should be considered. Completing both parks without Express Pass would be difficult if your time is limited.
During peak periods having a pass is essential for many guests. For a family of 4, this can add $1000 a day or more to the cost of your vacation. Not purchasing will mean longer waits and fewer attractions.
It is worth considering staying in a Universal Resort and using the complimentary pass.
In our opinion, Express Pass does give a premium park experience, but it is not cheap. I used to prefer the Disney FastPass+ system, but Express Pass is better than Gisney Genie+ but a lot more expensive.
How else can I save time at Universal Orlando?
Express Pass does cost a lot of money, and there are plenty of other ways to save time when visiting Universal Orlando:
- Buy your tickets in advance. Lines at ticket kiosks can be long and often over 1 hour. Make sure when purchasing tickets your agent supplies hard tickets. Vouchers have to be exchanged at the kiosks!
- Arrive early, and don’t head straight to Harry Potter. Other attractions will have much shorter waits in the first few hours. Complete as many rides as possible before heading to Harry Potter.
- Avoid Peak Season if you can.
- Avoid the summer storms; attractions will close during these periods.
- Use the single rider line. Many attractions at Universal Orlando have a single-rider line. The family will ride apart, but waits are often shorter than via the Express Line.
Does Volcano Bay have Express Pass?
Express pass is available at Volcano Bay and allows you to skip the Virtual Lines. Turn up at any time, and you join the line. Resort complimentary Express Pass does not cover Volcano Bay, so hotel guests must make an additional
Our Guide to Universal Orlando is a great starting point to plan any vacation to Universal Orlando.