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Complete Universal Express Pass Guide

Everything you need to know about Universal Orlando’s Premium queueing system

Universal Express Pass

Get To The Fun Faster

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.

Standard Or unlimited

2 Types Of Express Pass

Universal Express Pass comes in 2 options. Standard or unlimited 

Express Pass

A standard Express Pass in the theme parks allows one entry into the express queue of every participating attraction.

Express Pass Unlimited

Unlimited is as it suggests, for the day in which it is valid. When purchasing either express pass you need to specify the day it will be used.

Jump The Queue In Volcano Bay

Volcano Bay Express Pass

Unlike Disney, Universal does offer Express Pass in their water park,Volcano Bay. This also comes in 2 variations depending on the slides you would like to ride.

Express Pass

The sandard Express Pass allows quicker entry to the queues for family-friendly slides throughout the park but no the speed slides in the Volcano

Express Pass PLUS

The Express Pass PLUS includes the slides in the volcano. Both passes allow only 1 ride, there is no unlimited option.

Complete Universal Express Pass Guide

How Express Pass Works

Express Pass is a far simpler, yet more expensive, system than Genie+ and Lightning Lane. A limited number of passes are kept for on the day sales through several stalls inside the parks but they do tend to sell out quickly, especially on busy days.

Getting on the attractions once you have your pass is also far simpler than Disney. There are no time slots to reserve, no app you have to keep checking, you just need to walk up to the Express Pass entrance of your chosen attraction and show your pass to enter the queue. If you have a standard Express Pass that attraction is marked off the list.

Getting Value For Money With Express Pass

Value for money with Express Pass will depend on the date of your visit. Unlike Disney’s Genie+ service, the cost of Express Pass increases exponentially in busier periods but this is when the most value is derived. On quiet days Express Pass wouldn’t be good value. As busy as Universal can be, it’s still nowhere near as busy as Disney so on quiet days the queues don’t warrant the extra cost.

With standard Express Passes it is better to wait until later in the day when queues are longer. Anything really under 30 minutes you would be wasting your money. Ultimately, look at the cost for Express Pass for the date of your visit. Understand what attractions you can use it on (click the button below to jump down to a full list) and decide for yourself if the extra cost will provide value for money for you.

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No time slots

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One ride or unlimited rides for the day

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Shorter queues for attractions than Disney Genie+

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Available for Volcano Bay Attractions

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Only Premiere Hotels guests get passes included. No other discounts for other on-resort hotels

Alphabetical Order By Park

Universal Orlando Express Pass Attractions

Below is a list of every attraction offered with Express Pass listed alphabetically and by park. There is no difference in the attractions offered between standard and unlimited passes, just the amount of times you can access the Express Pass queues.

Universal Studios Florida

  • 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)
  • Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
  • MEN IN BLACK™ Alien Attack™
  • Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
  • Revenge of the Mummy
  • The Simpsons Ride™
  • TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D
  • Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster

Islands Of Adventure

  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®
  • Caro-Seuss-el™
  • 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
  • Poseidon’s Fury
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • Storm Force Accelatron®

Volcano Bay Express Pass

  • 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

Express Pass PLUS

  • Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides
  • Ko’okiri Body Plunge
  • Ohno of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides
  • Ohyah of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides

Alphabetical Order By Park

Most Popular Express Pass Reservations

Below are the top 3 attractions by park that usually attract the longest lines.

Universal Studios Florida

  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Islands Of Adventure

  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls®
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong

Volcano Bay Express Pass

  • Krakatau Aqua Coaster
  • Punga Racers
  • Ohno of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides

Universal Express Pass Tips

Tips And Tricks

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

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Not All Rides

There are 3 notable exceptions that you cannot Express pass. Olivanders Wand shop in both parks and Jurassic World Velocicoaster and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in IOA

Virtual Queues

Universal makes use of virtual queues more than Disney. Check the Universal Orlando app on the day of your visit to see participating attractions but especially for Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure.

Queueing In Volcano Bay

Remember all attractions in Volcano Bay require you to have entered a virtual queue. You need to visit the Totems at each attraction to reserve your spot without an Express Pass.

Universal Express Pass

FAQ

Is There A Best Time To Get Universal Express Pass?

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.

Is It Available At Halloween Horror Nights?

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.  To enter Halloween Horror Nights you need a separate ticket.  Day tickets are not valid for this event.

Once I Have My Pass Is Tere A Process I Have To Follow?

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.

Can I Purchase Express Pass With My UK Tickets?

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. You can do this on the Universal Website or through the app before you arrive but you will have to pay is US dollars.

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.

Can I Purchase Express Pass And Choose My Date Later?

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.

Do Universal Orlando Resort Hotels Offer Free Passes to Guests?

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
Do I Get Immediate Access To The Ride With Express Pass?

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.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is a special case. Rider throughput is low at this incredibly popular attraction meaning that at busy times the Express Pass line can be as high as half that of the standard queue (reaching over an hour at times).

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