Complete Universal Express Pass Guide

What is Universal Express Pass?

Universal Express Pass is Universal Orlando’s premium queue option.  You can purchase a pass with your tickets or pick one up on the day subject to availability. Universal Express Pass is quite simple to use. My complete Universal Express Pass guide has everything you need to know about this premium service.

 

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One time or unlimited access to Express Pass queues at select attractions

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Express Pass is park specific

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Walk in, no pre-booking needed

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Date specific

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Complimentary passes if you stay in Universal's premium resorts

Giving you up-to-date information is very important: The content on this page was last updated 5th October 2021

Universal Express Logo

Is Universal Express Pass Worth The Money?

Universal Express Pass isn’t exactly cheap. Whether it is worth the money for your visit depends on the date and what you would like to get done.

At busy times, when Express Pass is also at it’s most expensive, you can save a ton of time compared to standing in normal queues. But can you justify more than doubling the cost of your entry ticket?

Two Types of Express Pass

Express Pass pricing is simple. It comes in 2 forms, standard and unlimited. The pass is valid for the day it is booked only.

01.

Universal Express

From $79.99 per day

One time fee for one park

Valid for the date purchased only

Price dependant on the date of your visit

No need to pre-book attraction entry

Valid for one Express Pass queue entry per participating attraction

02.

Universal Express Unlimited

From $109.99 per day

One time fee for one park

Valid for the date purchased only

Price dependant on the date of your visit

No need to pre-book attraction entry

Valid for unlimited Express Pass queue entries to participating attractions

Volcano Bay Express Pass Options

Volcano Bay, Universal’s water park, has its own Express Pass set of options

01.

Volcano Bay Express

From $19.99

Valid only at Volcano Bay Water Park

Price dependant on the date of your visit

One visit to select family slides, and the water coaster

 

 

02.

Volcano Bay Express PLUS Pass

From $39.99

Valid only at Volcano Bay water park

Price dependant on. thedate of your visit

Valid for one skip the line access to each participating attraction in Volcano Bay

Universal Express Pass Attractions

There is no limitation on attractions you can use the pass in Universal Studios or Islands Of Adventure, just the number of times you can skip the line at each. Volcano Bay attractions are one-time entry. Access to some attractions will depend on the type of pass you purchase.

Most popular Universal Orlando Attractions

Here are the top 3 attractions in each park that an Express Pass can potentially save you the most amount of time in the queue

This is an alphabetical list, not an indication of popularity.  The attractions listed generally have the greatest queue times. Low attraction throughput of Despicable Me Minion Mayhem can sometimes lead to the Express Pass queue being half that of the normal stated queue time.

Don’t forget to check minimum height requirements for attractions before you make your reservation!

Attractions That Do Not Feature Express Pass

Not all attractions feature an Express Pass line. If you want to enjoy these it’s best to get to them as soon as possible after the parks open

Frequently Asked Questions

Universal Express isn’t exactly cheap so you’ll want to make sure you get value for money. Here are some frequently asked questions about the service

Generally speaking, the busier the day the more you will get out of Universal Express Pass. These are also the days when the pass is at it’s most expensive.

US summer holiday from late June through mid-August and weeks prior to Christmas are particularly busy in Universal Orlando. Spring Break holiday around Easter is the next busiest time in the resort.

The resort is also popular with local annual pass holders so weekends are busier than weekdays.

Halloween Horror Nights, which now spread through select nights from mid-September until the end of October, is a separately ticketed event.  Universal Express Pass is not available at these events. You can purchase separate skip the line access pass for the mazes at Halloween Horror Nights on top of your entry fee for the event.

If you purchase an Express Pass ticket for a Halloween Horror Nights event day it will only be valid until the park first closes, usually around 5pm-6pm.  To enter Halloween Horror Nights you need a separate ticket.  Usual day tickets are not valid for this event.

Universal Express Pass is much a much simpler process than Disney Genie+ at Disney World.

Once you have your ticket, standard or unlimited, show it to the ride attendant and you will be allowed to enter the Express Pass queue. There is no pre-booking required.

To get value out of single use passes make sure there is at least a 30-minute queue at your chosen attraction, anything less you may as well wait in the queue and use your pass later in the day when queues are longer.

Yes, you can but this isn’t something I would generally advise, especially if you are travelling out of peak periods.

Busier days around holidays they will sell out. If you are visiting at a particular peak period, pre-booking your pass will save queueing for one on the day.

Other times, as long as you are there early enough you should be able to get one on the day at one of the Express Pass kiosks dotted throughout the parks.

Unfortunately not.  Universal Express Pass tickets are priced depending on the day you would like to use them.  You cannot pick a pass without first specifying the date.

If you have purchased a pass and would like to change the date you may do so before the day of your visit by contacting Universal’s customer service team. You may have to pay for the difference in the pass price depending on your newly chosen date.

Only Universal’s premium hotels offer a complimentary Universal Express Pass. The hotels in this band currently are:

 

  • Royal Pacific Resort
  • Hard Rock Hotel
  • Portofino Bay Hotel

Again, unfortunately not. As there is no reservation system in place there is no way for Universal to control the levels of Express Pass lines at any given time.

Generally speaking, your wait time should be 15 minutes or under but this isn’t always the case, especially in very busy periods.

The ride attendant at the entrance should be able to give you an indication of how long the Express Pass wait time is but, for popular attractions in peak periods, you could still be looking at a wait time of over 30 minutes. This would compare to a standard queue time of between 90 minutes and 2 hours.