Attending a theme park like Universal Orlando can be a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experience, but sometimes, even the best-laid plans can go sideways.
Despite their best efforts, occasionally, the rides and attractions at Universal Orlando malfunction, disappointing visitors and complicating vacation plans.
Often, when a ride or attraction goes down for technical or mechanical reasons, Universal Orlando does its best to make it up to its guests.
Universal Orlando gives out complimentary Ruby Passes to park visitors who experience issues while riding an attraction. A Ruby Pass allows guests to skip the lines at participating rides, including Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Ruby Passes are red, business card-sized paper passes with a barcode and expiry date printed on the back.
This article dives into all there is to know about Universal Orlando’s Ruby Pass, including how it works, what makes it unique, and how it compares to a Universal Express Pass.
What Does a Ruby Pass Look Like?
A Ruby Pass is a small, red (or ruby) colored pass about the size of a business card.
This paper pass has the Universal logo printed on it, and the back includes important information, like usage rules, barcodes, and the expiration date.
When Do You Get a Ruby Pass?
While Universal Orlando doesn’t provide much information about what happens when its rides go down, guests often receive Ruby Passes when an attraction malfunctions and they are either on it or waiting in the queue.
The Ruby Pass is compensation for the inconvenience of waiting for an inactive ride while staff work to fix the problem.
When an attraction goes down, riders either must remain on the ride while the problem is resolved or, if possible, they’re escorted off. (Guests in line may have to leave the area until the issues are resolved.)
As visitors exit the ride, staff might hand them Ruby Passes to use when the ride is operating smoothly or for use at another participating ride.
These passes give holders one-time skip-the-line privileges (similar to an Express Pass) and are taken by staff once used.
Sometimes, visitors have to visit Guest Services and advocate for themselves if they’ve experienced an inconvenience at an attraction.
If Guest Services considers the complaint appropriate, they will also hand out Ruby Passes.
It has also been rumored that staff hand out Ruby Passes to parkgoers celebrating a special event, but this is never guaranteed.
How Do Ruby Passes Work?
Once given a Ruby Pass, guests can head to an attraction that accepts them.
From there, the ride attendants will guide them to a special line that lets them get on the ride sooner.
When visitors get to the front of the line, their Ruby Passes will be scanned, and they will be directed to the ride’s loading area.
It’s important to note that while Ruby Passes enable guests to bypass the regular line, they don’t guarantee zero waiting time.
Which Rides at Universal Orlando Accept Ruby Passes?
Ruby Passes have all the information guests need printed on the back, including which rides will accept it.
Typically, the Ruby Pass works for all attractions that accept a Universal Express Pass.
Additionally, the Ruby Pass works on newer rides like Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – which doesn’t currently accept Express Passes.
The Jurassic World VelociCoaster, however, does not accept Ruby Passes.
In fact, some people have claimed that the VelociCoaster has its own version of the Ruby Pass (an “icy blue” pass) if it experiences any major malfunctions causing delays.
How Long do Ruby Passes Last?
Ruby Passes have an expiration date printed on the back, which staff members check before allowing riders to bypass the standard queue.
Some Ruby Passes will only be valid on the day they’re issued, while others may be valid for longer periods of time.
Guests who receive a Ruby Pass should check the expiry date and plan accordingly.
How Common are Ruby Passes?
Ruby Passes are rare and are only given out under certain circumstances.
That means when guests experience a minor inconvenience on a ride, they shouldn’t automatically expect to receive a Ruby Pass.
What if You Don’t Need Your Ruby Pass?
There are a handful of reasons why guests might not need their Ruby Passes, especially if the pass expires that day.
Maybe they received the Ruby Pass as they were planning to leave the park, or perhaps their group received too many passes or an odd number of passes that would leave someone out.
In any case, an expired Ruby Pass isn’t going to help anyone, so guests planning not to use theirs can gift them to another parkgoer and make their day.
It’s also important to note that Ruby Passes aren’t sellable – if visitors are caught trying to sell their passes, they can receive lifetime bans.
What Makes a Ruby Pass Different Than an Express Pass?
A Ruby Pass differs from an Express Pass in a couple of important ways.
First, Ruby Passes are only given out by the staff at Universal Orlando when a ride experiences technical or mechanical issues.
It’s a complimentary gift to ensure guests can enjoy an alternative ride without losing the time spent on the nonfunctioning one – they cannot be purchased like an Express Pass.
Second, Ruby Passes are single-use (i.e., good for only one ride) and are the only skip-the-line pass valid at Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to use the Ruby Pass as an exclusive opportunity to bypass the long queues at Hagrid’s.
Is it Worth it to Buy a Universal Express Pass?
Investing in a Universal Express Pass is a great option for guests who want more than the fleeting perks of a Ruby Pass.
The Express Pass comes in two different options and is a multi-use pass that allows riders to skip the standard line at all participating rides.
The Universal Express Pass allows guests to skip the regular line one time at each participating ride.
The Universal Express Unlimited Pass allows guests to skip the standard queue unlimited times at participating rides.
Both the Universal Express Pass and the Universal Express Unlimited Pass are available at Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.
There are also a couple of Express Passes exclusively for use at Volcano Bay.
Since Express Passes are an add-on to theme park admission, they come at a cost.
That said, Universal Orlando occasionally offers deals on Express Passes, and all guests of a Universal Premier Hotel receive Unlimited Express Passes for free.
For more information, guests can check out Universal Orlando’s official website to browse Express Pass options, view participating rides, and compare prices.
A Ruby Pass is a rare, single-use, skip-the-line pass at Universal Orlando that lets guests bypass the regular queue at participating rides.
Ruby Passes are handed out when certain rides malfunction and are the only passes that allow visitors to avoid the long lines at Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.
For a more reliable and multi-use option to skip the lines, guests can purchase an Express Pass with their park admission.
Table of Contents
- What Does a Ruby Pass Look Like?
- When Do You Get a Ruby Pass?
- How Do Ruby Passes Work?
- Which Rides at Universal Orlando Accept Ruby Passes?
- How Long do Ruby Passes Last?
- How Common are Ruby Passes?
- What if You Don’t Need Your Ruby Pass?
- What Makes a Ruby Pass Different Than an Express Pass?
- Is it Worth it to Buy a Universal Express Pass?