Advice Please


Earning My Ears
Feb 9, 2005
We have been DVC members for 20+ years and every other year we take our children and grand kids to Disney for Thanksgiving week. This year there will be 14 of us going. The older grand kids are in college and would prefer to spend at least one day at Universal. Our dilemma, a 1 day 1 park ticket for four people would cost $540 to add the express pass would be another $600, plus tax brings it up to $1215 for four people for 1 day. This is much more than we can afford or want to spend. Would it make any sense to just purchase the regular ticket without the express pass option, or would we be just wasting our money? The date they are thinking of going to Universal is Monday 11/25. I'm concerned that without the express option they might not be able to get on any of the thrill rides. This will probably the last trip that we have everyone going, I want it to be special, but can't justify spending the extra $$ on the express pass. Any advice greatly appreciated. Thanks

J'aime Paris

Living happily ever after
Mar 7, 2008
It's never "cheap" trying to do the Universal parks all in one day. That being said...

You could do this cheaper by booking a one night stay at a deluxe onsite resort. It includes free unlimited express pass for the 4 guests. The 4 college kids could occupy the room, or use it as a throwaway. Either way works.

I priced out Royal Pacific Resort for a 1 night stay beginning 11/25.
It is $308 for 4 adults, including taxes. That's almost a $300 savings from your $600 express pass purchase price mentioned above.

Hope that helps!

Edit to add: Booking the 1 night onsite actually gets you 2 days of free unlimited express pass. Something to consider...

Lynne G

DIS Veteran
Mar 29, 2009
Check the price for 4 adults at either the Portofino, Hard Rock or Royal Pacific. I think they charge 15 or so dollars for each adult over the 2. Day you check in and day you check out giving you 2 days of unlimited express. So I agree with the above. All must be at the check in, as hotel key issued for each is the express pass. Whether you actually use the room or not, does not matter to the hotel.

And for what it is worth, any park, including Disney ones, are expensive to visit only one day. And to get the most of their day, make sure you buy a park to park ticket. That way, they can visit both parks and ride the train.
  • macraven

    Proud Redhead
    Apr 21, 2003
    Any adult (18 and over) has a $35 surcharge for guests 3 and 4 in the room
    Add tax to that surcharge
    This is the extra cost staying in a premier hotel

    A person has to be 21 to book a room


    DIS Veteran
    Sep 16, 2008
    As much as I love Universal (we have traded many Disney trips for the laid back atmosphere of Universal) I don’t think it’s worth it. $1200 for 4 people to visit a theme park for one day is a LOT. Especially for only 1 of the parks. Add in that it’s during one of the most busy/crowded weeks of the year, No I wouldn’t do it.

    I would save the money. Maybe in the future you guys could do a couple of one on one mini trips with the older grandkids.


    "Where's the fun without a bit of risk?"
    Mar 12, 2016
    4 college age = single rider lines... which would help a lot getting onto rides without express.
    Ditto. I know it's Thanksgiving, but if you get there first thing you can at least hit all five (six if you include Minions) of the rides that have SR in the AM at least at Universal, especially if you have EE. However, that is one example. You can easily hit what you want on Universal, then hop over to the other side instead of taking the whole morning for Universal.

    While it might be a best strategy to just do the most popular rides first (which does include some SR rides), SR lines do open and close, or get incredibly long of a wait during the day when those lines fill with people taking advantage of the promise of "low wait" times. While it doesn't always happen, it can happen for certain rides, or all of the rides during peak seasons. So, sometimes, especially such as the holidays, it might be best that any ride that has SR line should get hit first prior to it being closed, or backed up.

    Just general advice if SR is a path the OP might consider instead of EP, or getting a deluxe hotel (including unlimted EP).
  • cfoxga

    Earning My Ears
    Jul 14, 2009
    Single rider lines aren't the solution for everyone. At least for me. riding with your friends and family is part of what makes going on the rides fun.

    As others have mentioned, a single day at Universal (or Disney) will be very expensive. The suggestion of booking a room at a premium resort is a good idea, but I'd take it a step further and do two days in the parks. The hotel gets you two days of express passes, so you are not paying extra for the second day other than tickets. That should get your cost/day down a bit.

    And since these are college aged kids, spending the night in the hotel and hitting CityWalk after the parks close sounds like a great time...


    Disney News and Updates

    Get Daily Email Updates