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View Full Version : So confused! Need Front-of-the line passes - what's the best way?


HugsForEeyore
12-07-2008, 11:38 PM
HELP!! I am very confused! :faint:

My family and I are thinking of going to Florida in early February, and we want to do 2 days at Universal (one at Islands of Adventure, one at Universal Studios). My brother and his wife insist on having front-of-the-line passes (Express pass?). They absolutely won't go without that perk, since they live to avoid crowds and standing in line.

We can get 2-day admission tickets ahead of time through his work. Is the Express pass somehow put onto your tickets? Or is it physically a seperate ticket? Can you buy it at the gate? We want it for both of the two days. The website is so confusing - I see some days are $20 some are up to $45. Our dates are listed as being the cheapest color, fortunately!

Another idea I am kicking around is getting a room at Universal for one night. Cheapest I seen is about $220 a night. This will give you front of the line access for the day you check-in, and check-out, I hope? We have 3 adults and one kid in our group, and I am having a hard time figuring this all out!!

We could get a great deal staying at Disney with the 7 days for the price of 4 discount, so we weren't sure if we wanted to stay at Universal or just do day visits.

I did a search but I am still not sure I understand all the responses - I tried! Really!

Anyone understand this Express pass thing? Ok, if I confused everyone, sorry! I am so confused myself! Well, either way, looks like we are going to Universal! :teeth:

Metro West
12-08-2008, 03:56 AM
The Express Passes are separate tickets that can be purchased at either park. February isn't usually a busy time so you probably won't need them. If you've checked the prices on the website and know it's the cheapest on your days, don't expect much of a crowd. I certainly wouldn't purchase them ahead of time. Get there early and buy them if the lines start getting out of hand.

macraven
12-08-2008, 08:45 AM
HELP!! I am very confused! :faint:

My family and I are thinking of going to Florida in early February, and we want to do 2 days at Universal (one at Islands of Adventure, one at Universal Studios). My brother and his wife insist on having front-of-the-line passes (Express pass?). They absolutely won't go without that perk, since they live to avoid crowds and standing in line.

We can get 2-day admission tickets ahead of time through his work. Is the Express pass somehow put onto your tickets? Or is it physically a seperate ticket? Can you buy it at the gate? We want it for both of the two days. The website is so confusing - I see some days are $20 some are up to $45. Our dates are listed as being the cheapest color, fortunately!

an indicator many of us go by are the price of the ep tickets.
$20 for fotl for one park is the cheapest the ep will be.
don't buy in advance for that day.
it is an indicator of low crowds.

[COLOR="Blue"][FONT="Comic Sans MS"]when you see the ep for $45, it's a day with high crowds.

metro west gave you excellent advice on that.

Another idea I am kicking around is getting a room at Universal for one night. Cheapest I seen is about $220 a night. This will give you front of the line access for the day you check-in, and check-out, I hope? We have 3 adults and one kid in our group, and I am having a hard time figuring this all out!!


each hotel allows 5 in a room.
you can have 2 adults and 3 people 17 and under and not have extra [COLOR="Blue"][FONT="Comic Sans MS"]charges.
since you have 3 adults, you will be paying an extra $25 per night for the third adult. anyone 18 and over is considered an adult.

i have seen rates for $140 for the hotel when using a discount card.
ap, aaa, military, etc.

consider what the cost will be for express passes for 4 people for 2 days.
if it is $20 a person then you are adding $160 + tax to your budget.

if you stayed on site for only one night, your entire group would have the fotl perk for 2 days.
you get that fotl perk for the day you check in and the day you check out of the hotel. you save your hotel key and use it as fotl.

if you stayed on site one night and paid under $180 for the room, consider it a deal. the $80 + for ep for the group would not be necessary.
your room cost could be considered $100 for the night.

check out and stay at a cheaper place the second night but still to to the park and use the fotl perk.
We could get a great deal staying at Disney with the 7 days for the price of 4 discount, so we weren't sure if we wanted to stay at Universal or just do day visits.

you could do it either way. stay at disney and drive to universal or stay at universal for one night during your disney trip.

disney will charge the extra fee also for having 3 adults in the room.
depending on if you are in the value, moderate, or deluxe will determine the amount you pay extra each night for the 3rd adult.
I did a search but I am still not sure I understand all the responses - I tried! Really!

Anyone understand this Express pass thing? Ok, if I confused everyone, sorry! I am so confused myself! Well, either way, looks like we are going to Universal! :teeth:

we all have started somewhere when we first made a visit to universal.
i'm sure i had similar questions also when i ventured from the motherland.

i hope i have not added to your confusion.

HugsForEeyore
12-09-2008, 11:07 PM
Thanks!! This is exactly what I needed to know. I wasn't sure if the "Expess Pass" thing was incorporated into your ticket (like a park-hopping option at Disney) or if it physically was a seperate pass. So if for 2 days of visits, it would cost us $160 for the 4 of us (a better deal), as opposed to getting 2 hotel rooms. And even better that we could decide when we get to Universal whether we feel we need the Express Pass or not (though knowing my family, they want front of the line even if there are only 2 other people in the park :blush: ). They really hate getting stuck in lines and crowds.

Thanks for the replies! I haven't been to Islands of Adventure in 7 years, and Studios in 11! So it will be fun to finally return! :)

macraven
12-10-2008, 05:58 AM
glad we could help.:goodvibes

i see your trip will be either feb, may or october.

pull up the hotel on the universal website and play around with the figures.

some people have posted of getting rooms in feb or may for less than $165 on some nights.

if the four of you would share a room for one night, you would get 2 days of fotl for the day you check in and the day you check out.

you could spend one night at rph and then just drive back to disney at the end of the second day to your hotel there.

there would be a $25 charge per adult over 17 for that night as an add on.
if you can play with the numbers and get a discounted rate, that might be a possibility for you all. i know its not what you are counting on but thought i would throw that out as an option. if your budget can't do that, i totally understand. there have been times many years ago that i drove from disney as the budget wouldn't budge for us.

check the ep rate first.
low cost equals low crowds.
in that case, scratch the room and don't buy the epp.

if the other couple still insists, have them stay on site on night and meet them at the parks.

patster734
12-10-2008, 08:23 AM
One thing that I haven't seen posted in this thread concerning Express Passes is that the purchased express pass is limited to one express line access per ride, while the hotel's Express perk allows unlimited access to the rides. That's where the hotel's version is much better than the purchased express ticket!

vcasey
12-10-2008, 09:27 AM
I just to re-iterate something mentioned by a previous poster. If it a slow time (which based on the website it seems it will be) you may not need the express pass at all. We just came back from a trip and we did not wait on ANYTHING (even things that said 15 minutes were NO wait) I'm not exagerrating, we were able to walk right through child swap and re-ride without issue so much we forgot we had stuff in the locker and wound up having to pay for that. Just to give perspective, we've been down this time of year before and usually both Universal and Disney were slow, this time Disney was MUCH more crowded then usual but Universal's parks were still empty.

If you decide to go with hotel option I think you'll enjoy it, they are beautiful hotels but if you don't I really suggest waiting until you are in the park and seeing how things truly are before shelling out the money. You can alway go back to guest services and buy it if there are lines.

bubba's mom
12-10-2008, 11:17 AM
When we went Feb 1 and Feb 2, 2007, we stayed onsite (as always) and didn't need EP. Heck, during the week, the EP lines weren't even open. They were on the weekends tho...but, probably didn't need to be.

Notatourist
12-10-2008, 11:37 AM
If you want to get really spoiled, have you thought about the VIP tour? In five hours you can see one park and have your badge act as express...

Just a thought...

macraven
12-10-2008, 02:06 PM
If you want to get really spoiled, have you thought about the VIP tour? In five hours you can see one park and have your badge act as express...

Just a thought...

thank you for bringing that point up!!

i have used the VIP tour before and thought it was fantastic.


especially since the group of 4 are only doing day trips, they would see everything and also have the advice of a professional tour guide.

you CAN do everything in the park on the VIP tour.

those private tours go ahead of the express lines.
when the tour guide takes your group to a ride, the TM's there let that group go ahead of waiting express line guests.

the info for booking a VIP tour is on universal's website.
if you have trouble finding your way around on that website, post here.
i know i can pull up that number for them to give you.

macraven
12-10-2008, 02:13 PM
I just to re-iterate something mentioned by a previous poster. If it a slow time (which based on the website it seems it will be) you may not need the express pass at all. We just came back from a trip and we did not wait on ANYTHING (even things that said 15 minutes were NO wait) I'm not exagerrating, we were able to walk right through child swap and re-ride without issue so much we forgot we had stuff in the locker and wound up having to pay for that. Just to give perspective, we've been down this time of year before and usually both Universal and Disney were slow, this time Disney was MUCH more crowded then usual but Universal's parks were still empty.

If you decide to go with hotel option I think you'll enjoy it, they are beautiful hotels but if you don't I really suggest waiting until you are in the park and seeing how things truly are before shelling out the money. You can alway go back to guest services and buy it if there are lines.


let me piggyback on some things you said. you made excellent points.

the child swap....

it is a really good thing. when one person goes and the others wait with the little, then the rest of the group takes their turn when first group returns.
you can have so many people do the ride the first time and when you swap the kid again for the next group, they all can ride again also!!

just think, you get to ride twice with no prolong waits.


also, about paying for the locker.....

2 years ago i had stuff in the locker by the mummy.
i saw some friends and went off with them to do more rides.

we went to finnegans later to eat.
then i remembered my stuff and money were in the locker for the last 4 hours.....

i went up to the TM at the locker area and told them i did something really stupid.
i forgot to get my stuff out of the locker as i got side tracked and did more rides in other parts of the park.

the TM said no problem, happens a lot.
she opened the locker for me and i got money out to pay for the locker.
the TM said, nope......no charge

i heard when the TM opens the locker for people, they usually are not concerned on payment for locker time.

HugsForEeyore
12-10-2008, 06:08 PM
One thing that I haven't seen posted in this thread concerning Express Passes is that the purchased express pass is limited to one express line access per ride, while the hotel's Express perk allows unlimited access to the rides. That's where the hotel's version is much better than the purchased express ticket!

OH MY - I totally missed this in my research!! The buy-at-the-park Express Pass only gets you on each ride once? Not multiple times over and over? This could absolutely be a deal-breaker to my family. My brother and his wife want to run on rides over and over repeatedly, enjoying the fact that they aren't standing in line with all the non-express-pass folks. I don't think lines would be bad on a weekday in early February, but you can't convince them of that! They hate lines and crowds, and really enjoy finding ways around them and feeling proud of themselves. :rolleyes: I tease them about it.

Wonder if the entrance to each attraction's Express Pass have some sort of scanning device to see how many times you entered a ride?

The best hotel rates I am seeing are $220 a night, since I doubt we qualify for any discounts.

Ok - now I got to recrunch the numbers and consult with the family! :surfweb:

Thanks to all who replied!!

bubba's mom
12-10-2008, 06:14 PM
The buy-at-the-park Express Pass only gets you on each ride once?

::yes::


Not multiple times over and over?

:sad2:

Wonder if the entrance to each attraction's Express Pass have some sort of scanning device to see how many times you entered a ride?



::yes::

inkkognito
12-11-2008, 10:43 AM
If you want to get really spoiled, have you thought about the VIP tour? In five hours you can see one park and have your badge act as express...

:thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

Now that we live in Orlando, we have Premier Passes so we can do FOTL any evening. But before, when we used to visit as tourists, we did the VIP tours many times and LOVED 'em. Sometimes we still do RIP at Halloween Horror Nights too.