Recently, we had the opportunity to take advantage of Universal Studio’s Express Pass. We were visiting with a friend who didn’t have his annual pass. We waited in line at guest relations and for whatever reason, our time at the window re-issuing the pass was oddly too long. The employees were courteous and to apologize for our delay and wait time, issued us an express pass to use on that day only. It was August, and hot even for us Floridians, so we were glad to move through the lines quickly. While we didn’t have to pay for the express pass, it did get me thinking. Is an express pass worth the cost at Universal Studios?

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Is an Express Pass worth the cost at Universal Studios
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What is the Universal Express Pass?

Unlike Disney’s Fast Pass, which is free, yet limited to three rides at a time, Universal Studio’s sells a skip-the-line pass. This pass allows you access to a separate line with shorter wait times at most of the attractions. It is an additional cost on top of your entry ticket (which I break down below.) Plus, you can choose to purchase an unlimited pass or go for a slightly cheaper option and skip the regular line one time per ride. On top of that, costs vary depending on if you purchase a one park or two parks Express Pass.

Here’s the breakdown:

Universal Express Pass – 2 Parks

  • Unlimited Pass – skip the regular lines an unlimited number of times – $84.99 per person per day
  • Single Use – Skip the line one time per ride. – $64.99 per person per day

Universal Express Pass – Universal Studios

  • Unlimited Pass – skip the regular lines an unlimited number of times – $74.99 per person per day
  • Single Use – Skip the line one time per ride. – $59.99 per person per day

 

Express Pass Rides

  • Terminator 2: 3-D
  • Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon
  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
  • Hogwarts Express
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • Transformers: The Ride – 3D
  • Revenge of the Mummy
  • The Simpsons Ride
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
  • Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster
  • Shrek 4-D
  • Men in Black
  • ET Adventure
  • Kang & Kodo’s Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
  • A Day in the Park with Barney
  • Universal Orlando’s Horror Mak up Sho
  • Fear Factor Live
  • Animal Actors on Location

Single Rider Lines

  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
  • Men in Black
  • Revenge of the Mummy
  • Transformers: The Ride 3-D

Universal Express Pass – Islands of Adventure

  • Unlimited Pass – skip the regular lines an unlimited number of times – $54.99 per person per day
  • Single Use – Skip the line one time per ride. – $49.99 per person per day

Express Pass Rides

  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster
  • Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges
  • Jurassic Park river Adventure
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Hogwarts Express
  • The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • The Cat in the Hat
  • Caro-Seuss-el
  • Flight of the Hippogriff
  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
  • Storm Force Accelatron
  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
  • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
  • The Eight Voyage of Sindbad
  • Poseidon’s Fury

Single Rider Lines

  • The Amazing Adventure of Spider-Man
  • Dr. Doom’s Fearfall
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong

Note that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attractions are included. At one time they were not, but we did use our Express Pass on Escape from Gringotts and the Forbidden Journey.

Express Passes are good for specific dates only. When you purchase, plan for which date you need.

Is an Express Pass worth the cost at Universal Studios
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Stay at a Universal Hotel

If you’re staying at one of the following Universal Studios on-site Hotel’s however, the unlimited pass is free.

Cabana Bay and Sapphire Falls do not offer the Express Pass. However, if you’re staying there, you can use early park admission. Plus, you can purchase the Express Pass in the lobby for added convenience.

Is an Express Pass worth the cost at Universal Studios
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Is the Express Pass worth the cost?

In my opinion, yes. most of the time.

If you are visiting Universal Studios for the first time, spring for the pass. You’ll get the most out of your vacation. However, I wouldn’t buy the unlimited pass. Skip the line one time. Often, if you’re trying to see and do everything, you won’t return to an attraction a second time. Although, if you choose to return to an attraction, opt for the single rider line, which is often shorter. Single rider lines do split your family up, so this may not be an option if you have younger children.

If you are visiting during a busy season, lines will creep into the 60 minute or higher mark. This includes summer, holidays and spring breaks. Undercover Tourist offers a free crowd calendar to give you an idea of expected wait times.

Also, download the Universal App. You can connect your tickets, check wait times, and even buy your express pass.

Is an Express Pass worth the cost at Universal Studios
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What do you think? Is the Express Pass worth the cost at Universal Studios? Have you used it before? I’d love to hear your comments.

Be sure to check out Everything You Need to Know about Wands at Universal Studios as well.

 

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