This article is going to tell you all you need to know if you’re wondering if the Universal Express pass is worth it in 2023! There are so many expenses when it comes to planning the perfect theme park vacation. When budgeting for Universal Orlando Resort, it is probably very common for people to wonder are Universal Express passes are worth it?
This article is going to break down all of the reasons why spending money on a Universal Express pass may be worth it or not. Plus a few of the most common options to take advantage of discounted Universal express passes to really see if the Universal express pass is the right fit for you and your family.
We hope you find this post helpful! Our goal at The Park Prodigy has always been to help you save time and money on your next Universal Orlando vacation! If you are planning a trip to Universal Orlando be sure to check out the latest deals on Universal Orlando vacation packages and our discounted Universal Orlando tickets which include EARLY PARK ADMISSION to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
SPECIAL NOTE: If you’re looking for a Universal Early Park Admission calendar be sure to check out our Orlando crowd calendar which we include all of this information!
Before we get into, is the Universal Studios Express Pass worth it or not, we would like to briefly go over what the Express Pass is. We do have a complete guide to the Express Pass, where you can learn all there is to know about it. For now, we are just going to go over the basics of the Universal Express Pass.
So, what does the Express pass do at Universal? The Universal Express Pass is a ticket you can purchase which allows you to skip the regular lines one time per ride or unlimited times at participating attractions. The Universal Express Pass can be purchased for Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure or for Volcano Bay, each with different tiers and prices. The Express Pass is very similar to the Genie+ Lightning Lane where guests enter a separate queue line and skip the regular stand-by line. Bottom line, for a fee, you can skip all the long waits and get on more rides throughout your trip into the theme parks.
We also find it important to cover one of the most common questions we receive on this topic early which is, what is not included with the Universal Express Pass? And at this time the Universal Express pass does not include access to Fievel’s Playland, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, Jurassic World VelociCoaster, or Pteranodon Flyers.
Related Page: Discount Universal Express Passes
So, another important factor which will help decide if it is worth it or not is how much is the Universal Express Pass? What a lot of Universal Orlando Resort guests don’t know is that there are different tiers when it comes to the Express Pass. This is very important to know when trying to figure out are Express passes at Universal Studios worth it.
For this article we are going to compare the starting prices for the Universal express pass, but if you’d like to see a more in-depth layout of all Express Pass prices, you can see them here! This is important to look over when researching is an Express Pass Worth it at Universal Orlando, because there may be an Express Pass that is in your budget!
Especially because Universal Express Pass Unlimited tickets are included if you book a stay with a Universal Premier Hotel.
One of the reasons why so many people debate over if the an express pass is worth it at Universal Orlando is because the prices do fluctuate based on the time of year your visit. That means that if you are deciding to visit during one of those peak seasons the Universal express pass prices will be significantly more than the starting prices shown above.
Another common question when trying to decide if the Universal express pass is worth it is, do Universal Express Passes sell out? And, yes only a limited number of express passes are sold each day and they can sell out. So it’s important to understand that buying in advance might be the only option you have, especially when visiting during peak seasons. However on the flip side, the fact that the Universal Express Passes are only sold in a limited fashion is one of the main reasons why they really can help you avoid long lines which we will cover next!
Related Page: Complete Guide to the Best Harry Potter Rides
Below we are going to break down the Universal Express pass ROI based on the numbers and using a ticket we suggest the express pass could be the right fit for which is a single day ticket. The Average Universal Orlando one day – two park ticket costs $200.
When you look at a 12 hour day in the park you are paying $16 per hour to enjoy Universal Orlando. So now the first question we must ask is based on these numbers how many rides can you get on if you wait in the regular stand by lines. For this test we are going to say on average each wait time is forty-five minutes long. Now on the flip side we are also going to compare that to the estimated 15 minute avg wait time with the Universal Express Pass.
It’s important to note that Universal does not even have 48 rides in the main two theme parks and these average wait times would be during the busy season but you get the point! The Universal express pass can be worth it if used the correct way and if you get a good deal. We always suggest to check out our discounted Universal Orlando combo tickets which include the Universal Express unlimited!
Every family is different when it comes to visiting Universal Orlando and that’s why the Universal Express pass is worth it to some families and might not be to others. But how do you figure that out for your family? We always recommend using The Park Prodigy Universal Orlando park plan tool. Here guests can simply let the tool know exactly which day they will be visiting and which rides everyone in their group is most excited about going on. From there the tool will create a park plan with estimated wait times based on historical data. The tool will also tell you if you have enough time to go on all of your rides or not. So very simply if you see that there is not enough time within a specific day to go on all of your must-do attractions it might be beneficial to upgrade to the Universal Orlando Express Pass.
Related Page: Guide to all Universal Orlando Roller Coasters
Before we dive into the prices and rides included to help you answer the question, is the Universal Orlando express pass worth it, let’s look at some of the most common reasons we find guests upgrading to the express pass ticket.
As we mentioned above, to have the most epic Universal Orlando vacation, we suggest that you preplan ahead of time. That includes using The Park Prodigy Crowd Calendar to help try and predict what crowds are going to be like during your visit. If you want to/can only visit during peak times we can definitely say that the Universal Express Pass is worth it. These peak times will include school breaks, holidays, and spring break weeks.
Another reason the Universal express pass might be worth it for your group is if you’re trying to get a lot done in a short amount of time. We do find the Universal express pass to be worth it if you’re visiting Universal Orlando in one day.
If you’re already planning on booking a Universal Orlando hotel, booking a Premier resort will come with FREE Express Unlimited passes which can make your whole stay worth it! Universal Orlando Resort has so many different rides and attractions, and if you are a ride lover, it may be in your best interest to look in to purchasing an Express Pass.
Guests not looking to stay at a Universal Orlando premier resort can also save on discount Universal Orlando express pass combo tickets. You can think of these tickets as a bundle and save deal and are a great option when trying to decide if the multi-day express pass ticket is worth it or not.
Related Page: Discount Universal Express Passes
Another one of the most popular questions we receive is, can you use the Universal Express Pass on Harry Potter rides? Guests will be happy to know that 4 out of the 5 Harry Potter rides at Universal Orlando do accept the Universal express pass. These rides include some of the most popular rides in the park including Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, the Hogwarts Express, and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. However, it’s important to note that the most important ride to consider which is Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is not included with the Universal Express Pass.
As a general rule of thumb, we do not believe that you need the Universal Express Pass if your only goal is to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. In fact, we believe the most important thing to consider is making sure that you are taking advantage of early park admission. Specifically, try to visit Universal during a time when they do have early admission at the Islands of Adventure theme park in which you can use your time to go on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and then Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey right after. The main reason is that most guests who take advantage of early park admission can get onto these two rides within the first hour and a half. This will allow for plenty of time to explore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and get on the remaining 4 Harry Potter rides. and even grab a Harry Potter Butterbeer. So if visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is your only objective we would say that the Universal Express Pass is not worth it.
Related Page: Complete Guide to Early Park Admission
While there are so many different factors as to what makes Universal Express Passes worth it, we are going to pick a few categories to go through to help you make that decision. As a general tip, if this is your first time visiting Universal Orlando and you don’t plan on coming back for a long time, you will want to highly consider the Express Pass.
First off, are Express Passes at Universal worth it for wait times? You have to take into consideration the time of year that you are visiting. During non-peak times, which you can find on our Universal Crowd Calendar, wait times are not going to be long and the Express Pass line could be just as long as the stand-by. But, for peak times like Spring Break, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Summer vacation, the wait times can average at least an hour for most popular rides.
With the Express Pass, you typically will not be waiting more than 10 – 12 minutes per ride, but can fluctuate depending on how busy the parks are.
There are a couple different reasons why you should take line queues into consideration when determining if Universal Fast Passes are worth it. First off, the Express Pass queue is a completely separate queue than stand-by. Most ride attractions are engineered for stand-by lines to experience intricately designed storytelling experiences in the line queues. The Express Pass line tends to bypass all of the immersive theming and lead straight to the attraction.
If experiencing the entire storyline of a ride is important to you, or you want to see how beautiful some of the details of stand-by lines are, the Universal Express Pass might not be worth it.
Lastly, is the Universal Studios fast pass worth it due to the pricing. Universal Orlando parks are usually open between 8-12 hours a day, with a lot of fun to pack in. You have to decide if it is worth it to risk waiting in stand-by lines and only being able to ride a handful of rides or if you want to purchase an Express Pass and ride them all!
There are 14 Express Pass attractions in Universal Studios Florida and 13 in Islands of Adventure, meaning, you will have to ride more than one ride an hour to do them all! That can be very possible if you visit during a slow season, but impossible if you visit during a moderate-peak time of year. With the basic Express Pass, you are guaranteeing you can ride the majority of all attractions in either theme park, and with Express Unlimited, you can ride them as many times as you want.
Related post: How Does The Express Pass Work at Universal?
The biggest and most obvious perk of the Universal Express Pass is the ability to skip the lines and get on more rides and wait less! If you’re wondering is it worth it to get Universal Express Pass and you’re a ride enthusiast, this section is for you. First, it is important to note that not all rides are included in the Universal Express Pass. Two of Universal Orlando’s most popular rides are actually not included in either of the Express Passes: Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and VelociCoaster.
So, is Universal Fast Pass worth it with the following rides included?
Related post: Complete Guide to all Universal Orlando New Rides!
The Universal Express Unlimited is the most expensive tier of Express Passes, so it is totally fair to wonder is Universal Unlimited Express worth it? Our favorite part of the Universal Express Unlimited is that if you book a Universal Premier Hotel vacation, each member in you party receives a Universal Unlimited Express Pass. We also love that you can ride participating attractions as many times as you want, since the Universal Express Pass does not have return times. If you’re wondering about the two, we think for unlimited rides, it is definitely worth it to spend the extra $30 for the Express Unlimited.
As a general rule of thumb, if you are only want to do the main rides and attractions at Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure the express pass will help you in one day. It becomes tougher when you add all of the shows and character meet and greets that both Universal Orlando parks have.
While all of the reasons above are great for wondering is the Universal Express Pass worth it, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time without it. All Universal tickets and ticket packages come with Early Park Admission, which allows guests into the parks one hour prior to park open. While there are only a few attractions open during this time, you can actually get a lot done in the time you’re in the parks with Early Park Admission.
If you’re diligent about planning, you can easily schedule a vacation during a slower time of year and have very short wait-times for most rides. It is also important to remember that two of the most popular rides are not included in Universal Express pass, which may not make it worth it to you!
Beat the crowds with our discount Universal Orlando tickets! All guests who purchase their tickets from The Park Prodigy will get EARLY PARK ADMISSION to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter absolutely FREE! This could save you a ton of time in the parks and avoid buying express passes!
Make sure to check out our friends at Theme Park Today for great tips on how to have the best Universal vacation!