Are Express Passes Worth it at Universal?

Universal Orlando Express Passes

Are Express Passes Worth it at Universal?

This article is going to tell you all you need to know if you’re wondering if the Universal Express pass is worth it. 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 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! 

Universal Orlando Crowd Calendar

Is the Universal Express Pass Worth it?

is Universal Express pass worth it

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.

What does the Express Pass do at Universal?

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.

Basic Universal Express Pass vs Universal Express Pass Unlimited

There are also two different types of Express Passes, the basic Universal Express Pass and Universal Express Pass Unlimited. The basic Universal Express Pass allows for guests to use the Express Lane only once per ride, where the Express Pass Unlimited allows you use the Express Lane as many times as you want on participating rides.

Related Page: Discount Universal Express Passes

How Much is Universal Express Pass at Universal Studios 2022?


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.

  • Basic Express Pass Price – Starting at $79.99 all ages per ticket
  • Unlimited Express Pass Price – Starting at $109.99 all ages per ticket (or included with your stay at a Universal Premier Hotel)
  • Universal Volcano Bay Express PLUS Pass – Starting at $39.99 per ticket, per day
  • Universal Volcano Bay Express Pass – Starting at $19.99 per ticket, per day

Why is the pricing on the Universal website more?

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.

Do Universal Express Passes sell out?

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

Is Express Pass Worth it at Universal By The Numbers

King Kong Ride Universal Studios Orlando

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.

Is the express pass at Universal Orlando Worth it?

  • 12 hour day with 45 minute ride wait times = 16 Rides
  • 12 hour day with the 15 minute ride wait time using the express pass = 48 Rides
  • Results = 32 more rides within the one day

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!

When is Express Pass at Universal Worth it?


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.

Visiting during peak season

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.

You’re only visiting for one or two days

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. 

You get a great deal

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.

Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Lastly, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is one of the main attractions as to why people visit Universal. These participating Express Pass rides, such as Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, can have high wait times. If you’re looking to have the whole Potterhead experience, waiting in lines all day might take away from the magic.

Related Page: Discount Universal Express Passes

Additional Factors to Determine if the Express Pass is Worth it

Toon Lagoon Dudley Do-Right Ride

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.

Express Pass Wait Times

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.

Universal Express Pass Line Queues

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.

Universal Express Pass Pricing

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?

Is Universal Studios Express Pass Worth It? – What Rides are Included?

Is the Universal Express pass worth it

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?

Universal Studios Florida Express Pass Rides

  • MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack
  • Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
  • Revenge of the Mummy
  • The Simpsons Ride
  • Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster
  • The Bourne Stunt-acular
  • 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

Universal Islands of Adventures Express Pass Rides

  • 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
  • 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!

Related post: Complete Guide to all Universal Orlando New Rides in 2022!

Universal Express Pass Additional FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Universal Express Unlimited worth it?

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. 

Related post: The Best Rides at Universal : Our Top 7 Thrilling Rides Ranked

Can you do both Universal parks in one day with Express Pass?

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.

Do you need The Express Pass at Universal Orlando?

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!

Ready to Plan Your Next Universal Orlando Trip?

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!