Lines have been the scourge of theme park guests for decades, and given the popularity of attractions like Transformers, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Veloci-coaster, and the Wizarding World rides, they remain a thorn in the side of Universal Orlando guests.
However, there is an option to skip the rides at Universal Orlando. The question is: Is the Universal Express Pass worth it?
As Universal’s website explains,“When you add Universal Express access to your theme park admission, you get to skip the regular lines at most of your favorite rides and attractions. So you can fit way more fun into your day.”
Universal Orlando offers two variants of the Express Pass for their main theme parks, each of which is variably priced based on seasonal crowd levels. The Universal Express pass allows guests to “skip the lines” one time per participating ride and ranges from $89.99 to $349.99 per person. There’s also the Universal Express Unlimited option, which ranges from $99.99 to $379.99 per person and allows unlimited skips of the line at participating rides. Guests of Universal Orlando’s Premier tier resorts (the Hard Rock Hotel, the Royal Pacific Resort, and the Portofino Bay Hotel) are given complimentary use of the Express pass lines as part of their stay.
So, now that we’ve established the prices, is it worth it? Well, that depends. Let’s look at the rides available for Express Pass at Universal Orlando’s two main theme parks:
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
- 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
Islands of Adventure
- The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
- The Cat in the Hat
- 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
- The Incredible Hulk Coaster
- Jurassic Park River Adventure
- Jurassic World VelociCoaster
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
- Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges
- Skull Island: Reign of Kong
- Storm Force Accelatron
First and foremost, you should note that Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure — arguably the most popular overall attraction at the Universal Orlando resort — isn’t available for Express Pass users, so if that was the main draw for you, skip the up-charge.
Beyond that, the value of Express Pass is determined by three massive factors: How much time you have at the resort, how many attractions you wish to experience, and the time of year.
The first two are interconnected. To be blunt, if a guest only has a day or two at Universal Orlando and wants to experience all — or even most — of the attractions listed above, the pass is arguably a necessity to get everything in. Beyond that, at busier times of the year — when the pass is more expensive — the Express Pass is needed to get even the majority of Universal’s major attractions in a while still enjoying a relatively leisurely pace during a guest’s visit.
It’s worth noting there’s also a version of the Express Pass exclusive to the Volcano Bay waterpark, which ranges from $19.99 to $149.99 per person, and allows access to the following attractions:
- Krakatau™ Aqua Coaster
- Punga Racers
- Maku of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides
- Puihi of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides
- Honu of Honu ika Moana
- ika Moana of Honu ika Moana
- Tonga of Taniwha Tubes
- Raki of Taniwha Tubes
- Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides
- Ko’okiri Body Plunge
- Ohyah of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides
- Ohno of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides
Do you feel it was worth it, or did the extra expense not translate to a worthwhile theme park visit?
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Have you ever used Universal’s Express Pass system? Let us know in the comments below.