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Everything You Need to Know about Universal Express Pass

Everything You Need to Know about Universal Express Pass

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Here is everything you need to know about Universal Express Pass including how to get it for FREE. See whether it is worth it for your Universal trip.

Universal Express Pass

Credit: Katie

You would be hard-pressed to find people who actually enjoy waiting in long lines to experience attractions at theme parks. This is why many theme parks, including Universal Orlando, have capitalized on the desire to skip the wait.

In fact, Universal Orlando offers Universal Express Pass Access for its theme parks including Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios, and its water park Volcano Bay. According to Universal, “When you add Universal Express access to your theme park admission, you get to skip the regular lines at most of your favorite rides and attractions. So you can fit way more fun into your day.”

However, there are quite a few ins and outs to understanding Universal Express Pass. This is your guide to all that you need to know!

Skip the Main Line

Credit: Universal

It is true that the Universal Express Pass allows you to SKIP the main line at nearly every attraction in the theme parks. However, this does NOT always mean that you will walk right onto the ride with NO waiting at all. It does, however, mean that you will wait for less time than you would in the regular line. For example, if there is a 2-hour wait for an attraction, you might still wait a half hour or so even with the Express Pass. But, you will not wait the full two hours.

On the other hand, if you are there with relatively light crowds, you may find that many attractions have low posted waits and that the expense is not worth it. However, consider that even if you skip 5, 10, 15, or 20-minute waits, that can add up and give you more time to enjoy the parks, especially if you are not a frequent visitor.

If you have a long trip planned, and you are there during times with minimal crowding, you may not feel it is worth having. However, if you only have a short trip planned, or if your visit coincides with high crowd levels, every little bit helps, and you might prefer to use a Universal Express Pass option.

Using the Pass

Credit: Universal

Once you have purchased or acquired your Express Pass, using it is easy. To use the pass, simply present it at participating attractions at either Universal Studios Florida or Universal’s Islands of Adventure to bypass the regular lines.

Express ride access is a separate line with a shorter wait time at each valid attraction. You will access the attraction using this entrance. This means that you might miss interesting details in ride queues. So, if you want every detail, consider looking into what you will miss before you commit to the shorter lines.

Many people find they prefer to wear a lanyard to hold their Express Pass so that they are not constantly fishing it back out of a wallet, etc. The exception to this is at Volcano Bay. There, your Volcano Bay Express pass will be connected to your TapuTapu wearable, which is a bracelet-style band.

Types of Express Pass

Credit: Universal

Not all Express Passes are created equal. Universal offers a variety of Express Pass options to fit your travel style.

Universal Express allows visitors to enjoy skipping the regular lines ONE TIME per participating ride. Once you have used your pass on a particular attraction, you cannot use it to repeat an attraction. This can work out well for those who are interested in doing the rides one time and moving on.

Universal Express Unlimited allows visitors to skip the regular line for participating attractions as many times as they like. It’s a good option if you are spending a lot of time in the park and will have time to repeat favorites. However, if you will not have a lot of extra time, you may not find this upgrade to be beneficial.

You can purchase either type of Express Pass for 1-Park, OR you can purchase them for 2-Parks. You will need the 2-Park pass if you have Park-to-Park tickets. These allow you to switch back and forth between Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios.

Credit: Universal

Finally, you can purchase Volcano Bay Express Passes These passes are exclusively for the water park.

Universal Express PLUS Pass: Universal’s Volcano Bay allows you to skip the Virtual Lines at ALL participating rides and attractions at Universal’s Volcano Bay one time per ride.

Universal Express Pass: Universal’s Volcano Bay allows you to skip the Virtual Lines at only SELECT participating rides and attractions at Universal’s Volcano Bay one time per ride.

What Attractions Are Included

Credit: Universal Orlando

Almost every attraction is included with Express Pass. The two major exceptions are Pteranodon Flyers and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in Islands of Adventure. As it stands, Express Pass is available for neither. Everyone wishes that would change.

If you would like a comprehensive list, here is everything you CAN use it on:

Universal Studios Florida

Credit: Universal
  • The Bourne Stuntacular
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • E.T. Adventure
  • Fast & Furious – Supercharged
  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
  • Hogwarts™ Express (Park-to-Park admission ticket required)
  • Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast
  • Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
  • MEN IN BLACK™ Alien Attack™
  • Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
  • Revenge of the Mummy
  • The Simpsons Ride™

Islands of Adventure

  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®
  • Caro-Seuss-el™
  • The Cat in the Hat™
  • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall®
  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls®
  • Flight of the Hippogriff™
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™
  • The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!™
  • Hogwarts™ Express (Park-to-Park admission ticket required)
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster®
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure
  • Jurassic World VelociCoaster
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish™
  • Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges®
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • Storm Force Accelatron®

Volcano Bay

Credit: Universal Orlando
  • Honu of Honu ika Moana
  • ika Moana of Honu ika Moana
  • Krakatau Aqua Coaster
  • Maku of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides
  • Puihi of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides
  • Punga Racers
  • Taniwha Tubes
  • Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides (Only with Express Plus)
  • Ko’okiri Body Plunge (Only with Express Plus)
  • Ohno of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides (Only with Express Plus)
  • Ohyah of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides (Only with Express Plus)

How Much Does Express Pass Cost

Credit: Universal

If you know you want to use Express Pass regardless of crowds, and you do not need to wait to see what crowds look like when you arrive, it is best to purchase it in advance. For one thing, you will not need to wait in an additional line to make the purchase, so it will save you some time.

For another thing, the price can and will fluctuate. Also, passes can sell out. Universal Express Pass 1-Park starts at $89.99 for Universal Studios and $119.99 for Islands of Adventure. Universal Express Pass Unlimited starts at $94.99 at Universal Studios and $124.99 at Islands of Adventure.

Credit: Universal

It is much less expensive at the Water Park. Universal Express: Volcano Bay starts at $19.99 for Express Pass and $49.99 for Universal Express Plus: Volcano Bay.

However, ALL of this pricing varies depending on the date of your visit. And, it depends on crowd levels on the day of your visit. It can cost as much as $379.99, which is more than a park ticket in the first place.

How to Get FREE Universal Express Pass

Credit: Universal

If the thought of paying $89.99- $379.99 per person per day makes you cringe, and you really want Express Pass, you might consider booking a room at a Universal Premier category hotel. These hotels come at a higher price per night, but they include FREE Universal Express Pass Unlimited for your party each day of your stay.

However, this could be a big savings. In fact, some people will book a room just for one night and then transfer to a less expensive hotel in order to get the FREE Universal Express Pass Unlimited. Resorts with this benefit include Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel, and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel.

Note that this does NOT include Volcano Bay. That must be booked separately.

Want More Universal Planning Tips?

Credit: Universal

If you want more Universal Orlando Planning tips, you are in luck! Head over HERE to find out the top 10 things to do if you are a Harry Potter Fan. And head HERE if you want to learn about Halloween Horror Nights. And, be sure to avoid this refurbishment if you are thinking of heading down in 2024.

Will you be using Universal Express Pass the next time you visit Universal Orlando? If so, are you purchasing it in advance, waiting to see what the crowds are like, or utilizing the Premier Perk? Let us know in the comments. Also, as always, feel free to pass this article along to those who you know planning a visit so that they have all the information to have the best trip ever.

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