Adding Universal Express Passes to Universal Orlando park tickets is the best way to minimize wait times at the most popular rides in the parks.
However, despite the benefits of Express Passes, they can be cost-prohibitive for some guests, especially during the busy season.
The best way to find cheap Universal Express Passes is to visit the park during the off-season and buy the passes online in advance. Purchasing Express Passes at the parks is always more expensive, and Universal often offers exclusive deals when buying through the website. Another option is to stay at a Universal Premier Hotel, which offers free Express Unlimited Passes to hotel guests.
In this article, we’ll discuss what you get with a Universal Express Pass and how to make the most of it without overspending.
What Is a Universal Express Pass?
Universal Orlando boasts two theme parks and a water park with many amazing rides and attractions.
Thousands of people visit these parks daily, and the lines for everything can be quite long – during the high season, the standard queue can be upwards of an hour for the most popular rides.
Universal Orlando created the Universal Express Pass and the Universal Express Unlimited Pass, an add-on allowing access to the much shorter Express Lanes at participating rides.
The Express Lanes cut wait times to fifteen or twenty minutes, saving parkgoers a lot of time.
Guests must have valid park tickets to purchase Express Passes and should note that only a limited number of passes are available each day.
They’re also only usable during regular park hours on the date of visit.
Parkgoers can buy Universal Express Passes, build itineraries, and view wait times on the Universal Orlando mobile app.
Types of Express Passes
Universal Orlando offers four skip-the-line passes: Universal Express, Universal Express Unlimited, Express Plus (Volcano Bay only), and special event passes.
The standard Universal Express Pass allows guests at Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay to use the Express Lane or skip the Virtual Line once at each participating ride.
An Express Unlimited Pass permits parkgoers at Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure to use the Express Lane as often as they want.
Universal Express and Express Unlimited Passes come as one- or two-park passes.
Two-Park Passes are only valid for one day and can only be used with Park-to-Park Passes to Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.
Volcano Bay’s Universal Express PLUS Pass is the same idea as the Express Unlimited and lets riders skip Virtual Lines at all participating rides and attractions.
Halloween Horror Nights also offer a separate Express Pass for guests during this event.
Universal Express Passes purchased for regular park hours cannot be used during Halloween Horror Nights (and vice versa).
Which Rides Aren’t Covered by a Universal Express Pass?
The following rides aren’t covered by a Universal Express or Express Unlimited Pass.
Universal Studios Florida (Express and Express Unlimited)
- Fievel’s Playland
- Revenge of the Mummy
Universal’s Islands of Adventure (Express and Express Unlimited)
- Pteranodon Flyers
- Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
- Jurassic World VelociCoaster
Volcano Bay (Standard Express Pass)
- Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides
- Ko’okiri Body Plunge
- Ohyah of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides
- Ohno of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides
How Can I Get Free Universal Express Passes?
Universal Orlando offers free Universal Express Unlimited Passes to guests who stay at one of their three Premier Hotels.
These hotels cost more per night, but perks like free Universal Express Unlimited Passes, Early Park Admission, water taxis to the parks, and priority seating at many restaurants can help visitors justify the price.
The three Premier Hotels at Universal Orlando are the Hard Rock Hotel, the Loews Royal Pacific Resort, and the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel.
The Royal Pacific Hotel offers an elegant stay in a tropical setting, complete with a white sandy beach and a classic luau.
The Hard Rock Hotel delivers high-end but easy-going accommodations for guests who want to rock out to underwater music, classic tunes, and the occasional live concert at this California mission-style resort.
The Portofino Bay Hotel looks like it was plucked straight from the Italian coast and wows guests with luxury suites, beautiful pools, and world-class restaurants overlooking the water.
How Do I Spend Less on a Universal Express Pass?
The best way to save money on theme park admission and Universal Express Passes is to buy everything together online in advance.
Universal Orlando also tends to offer deals and specials on their website and has a best-price guarantee, meaning if lower prices are found elsewhere, they’ll match them.
Express Passes can also be purchased at gift shops throughout the parks or at the main ticketing counter at the entrances; however, they sell out quickly and may not be available last minute.
Prices for Express Passes start at $20 and can cost much as $380 (plus tax), depending on the park, the crowds, and the date of visit.
To cut down the cost of a Universal Express Pass, watch the Universal Orlando website for deals and buy your park tickets and Express Passes well in advance.
A Universal Express or Express Unlimited Pass can offer guests the chance to see and do more when visiting Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay.
While waiting in line is standard practice at theme parks, a Universal Express Pass helps parkgoers skip the regular queue and board participating rides much faster.
Everyone staying in a Universal Orlando Premier Hotel receives free Universal Express Unlimited Passes plus other perks.
Potential Universal Orlando guests who want to save some money on their Express Passes should try to visit in the off-season, watch the official website for special deals, and buy their passes as far in advance as possible.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Universal Express Pass?
- How Can I Get Free Universal Express Passes?
- How Do I Spend Less on a Universal Express Pass?