Do I really need the express passes for a Tuesday in April?

fredandkell

I'd rather be cruising
Joined
Apr 4, 2013
Looking at going to Universal Tuesday, April 7. Four tickets for two parks are almost $700. Gah!!! Adding the one-time use express pass on top of that makes it almost $1,100 for 4 people to visit for one day!!! The Orlando Crowd Calendar gives that date as a 6/10 for busy-ness.

So that being said, is the express pass (the one time per ride one, not the unlimited one) worth an extra $400?!
 

macraven

Proud Redhead
Moderator
Joined
Apr 21, 2003
Buying the two park, one day tickets are a killer on the budget.
Get the UO app so you can check it for time waits for when you go in April.

If you just want to do highlights of both parks, it's possible to cover it without the ep.
 

3boymthr

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 5, 2008
I was debating the same thing and as someone said to me it depends on your tolerance for waiting in line. I can wait, the child can wait but as was proven to me recently when we went to a Halloween event that involved a lot of waiting in line the hubby HATES waiting. Loses all patience and after half an hour wanted to leave even though we’d only seen half the displays. So for us they became a necessity. One thing though, you don’t mention the ages of your party. Would single rider lines work for you?
 
  • michelb

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 15, 2013
    I'm not sure how the crowds will be but I think 6/10 might be too low as this is Easter week and Easter weekend crowds tend to be quite high (not as busy as XMas or 4th of July but still very busy time of year).
     

    fredandkell

    I'd rather be cruising
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2013
    Buying the two park, one day tickets are a killer on the budget.
    Get the UO app so you can check it for time waits for when you go in April.

    If you just want to do highlights of both parks, it's possible to cover it without the ep.
    What is the UO app? Sorry, I'm a total newbie to Universal!
     

    fredandkell

    I'd rather be cruising
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2013
    I was debating the same thing and as someone said to me it depends on your tolerance for waiting in line. I can wait, the child can wait but as was proven to me recently when we went to a Halloween event that involved a lot of waiting in line the hubby HATES waiting. Loses all patience and after half an hour wanted to leave even though we’d only seen half the displays. So for us they became a necessity. One thing though, you don’t mention the ages of your party. Would single rider lines work for you?
    Ha, this made me laugh so hard! I think our family is in the same boat re: the hubby! :)

    My kids will be 10 and 13 at time of trip, so they can probably do moderate waiting. We haven't done a theme park since they were 7 and 4, so it's been a while! (Been doing Disney Cruises instead, woohoo!)
     

    macraven

    Proud Redhead
    Moderator
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2003
    I pulled up Easter for 2020 and found:

    In 2020 it falls on Sunday, April 12. Good Friday is therefore April 10, and the Easter Monday bank holiday is on April 13.

    With Easter period having crowds, many could make their vacations the week prior to those dates.
    As it is, generally, weekends do have more peeps in the parks.

    Keep checking crowd predictions.
    A lot can change in the coming months as you get closer to it.
    It is about 6 months away and check again each month OI for their predictions of crowd levels.
     
  • fredandkell

    I'd rather be cruising
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2013
    Also, I should mention our main reasons for doing the 2-park option are Harry Potter stuff. Don't really care too much about the rest of the stuff.

    Is it worth it to book a dummy hotel for the one-hour early opening times? (We are planning to stay free on points, and we usually get a 2-room suite b/c husband snores very badly and none of us can sleep with him, so the suite prices at the 3 Universal hotels that include the express passes are crazy expensive, like $700, which is more than the $400 to just pay for the passes, but maybe one of the cheaper rooms that doesn't include express passes, like for $200 - is it worth paying that for the early hour?)
     

    Disxuni

    "Where's the fun without a bit of risk?"
    Joined
    Mar 12, 2016
    Money seems a concern to you, so I am not going to say yay, or nay on whether you should book a throw away room, but I'll give you advice on how to deal with the crowds.
    • Get there a little prior to opening.
    IoA - That way once they open you're ready to go through the gate at IoA when it opens, as HE can sometimes have a delay at opening.
    Universal - You can get through the gate and if you don't have EE you at least wait in the Hollywood area and once the park opens you're already physically in the park.
    • Use single rider lines if you want.
    Not all rides have it, but a decent amount has SR lines. It will save you a lot of time. Even in times I have EP I will sometimes do the SR line since it's the shortest walk. If you're planning on doing RRR, or Gringott's, do SR lines as soon as possible, as sometimes these SR queues can get long, or open and close later in the day. For WWoHP rides, FJ and Gringott's have SR lines (technically Hagrid does too, but the status of the SR line is unknown to predict in April), but you want to do the regular queue at least once to take in the whole experience, especially if you're a massive fan, so if you want to do the whole queue, but not wait that long, wait for lower wait times to do it.
    • If something has an insane wait time wait until near closing hours.
    While I wouldn't recommend this for Hagrid's now (however things might change for Hagrid since you're not going until April). Typically for incredibly popular rides with long wait times that never seem to go down, I like to wait until it's late at night, when a lot of guests have left the park and/or when guests are typically watching the night time shows that the parks are offering. It is around this time that typically it's near closing and prior that officially happens you can hop on the ride.

    That being said you should be able to do everything you want to do if you're doing two days and wanting to focus on HP anyway.
     

    fredandkell

    I'd rather be cruising
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2013
    Money seems a concern to you, so I am not going to say yay, or nay on whether you should book a throw away room, but I'll give you advice on how to deal with the crowds.
    • Get there a little prior to opening.
    IoA - That way once they open you're ready to go through the gate at IoA when it opens, as HE can sometimes have a delay at opening.
    Universal - You can get through the gate and if you don't have EE you at least wait in the Hollywood area and once the park opens you're already physically in the park.
    • Use single rider lines if you want.
    Not all rides have it, but a decent amount has SR lines. It will save you a lot of time. Even in times I have EP I will sometimes do the SR line since it's the shortest walk. If you're planning on doing RRR, or Gringott's, do SR lines as soon as possible, as sometimes these SR queues can get long, or open and close later in the day. For WWoHP rides, FJ and Gringott's have SR lines (technically Hagrid does too, but the status of the SR line is unknown to predict in April), but you want to do the regular queue at least once to take in the whole experience, especially if you're a massive fan, so if you want to do the whole queue, but not wait that long, wait for lower wait times to do it.
    • If something has an insane wait time wait until near closing hours.
    While I wouldn't recommend this for Hagrid's now (however things might change for Hagrid since you're not going until April). Typically for incredibly popular rides with long wait times that never seem to go down, I like to wait until it's late at night, when a lot of guests have left the park and/or when guests are typically watching the night time shows that the parks are offering. It is around this time that typically it's near closing and prior that officially happens you can hop on the ride.

    That being said you should be able to do everything you want to do if you're doing two days and wanting to focus on HP anyway.
    Thank you, this is helpful!
    We will be going just one day, not two (two park ticket, one day).
    We have the money to pay the full $1,100, but I'm more struggling with the concept of "is that a good deal." It just feels super expensive!! But if the $400 makes us have a dramatically better experience, it's worth it?
     

    Chickinvic

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 9, 2019
    Yikes! Just like Disney, it is hard to make a one day trip to Universal economically practical. We've got 3 day park-to-park passes this time around (going next month). Also going against you is that looking at the Universal date calendar, your chosen date falls into a peak pricing time. I'd just make sure to arrive early and try to make the most of it. It does sting to pay that much for a single day.
     
  • Liljo22

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 19, 2012
    Thank you, this is helpful!
    We will be going just one day, not two (two park ticket, one day).
    We have the money to pay the full $1,100, but I'm more struggling with the concept of "is that a good deal." It just feels super expensive!! But if the $400 makes us have a dramatically better experience, it's worth it?
    I would wait until day of then. We went the day before Thanksgiving which was on the crowd calendars as being very crowded. Decided to book a hotel at RP for about $300 for the EP even though my in-laws live 20 minutes away. It ended up raining most of the day and there wasn't a line longer than 20 minutes. Felt like I threw $300 out the window.
     

    Chickinvic

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 9, 2019
    Thank you, this is helpful!
    We will be going just one day, not two (two park ticket, one day).
    We have the money to pay the full $1,100, but I'm more struggling with the concept of "is that a good deal." It just feels super expensive!! But if the $400 makes us have a dramatically better experience, it's worth it?
    You can always decide on the day if the express pass is needed or not.
     

    Disxuni

    "Where's the fun without a bit of risk?"
    Joined
    Mar 12, 2016
    Thank you, this is helpful!
    We will be going just one day, not two (two park ticket, one day).
    We have the money to pay the full $1,100, but I'm more struggling with the concept of "is that a good deal." It just feels super expensive!! But if the $400 makes us have a dramatically better experience, it's worth it?
    If anything, you can book a room for taking advantage of the EE which is less as you pointed out. However, if EE is worth it the room cost? I don't know about that. I still think even if it's just one day you should be able to manage to do all of HP even without EE and without EP. Since it is one day, I would suggest starting out at IoA. As everyone taking advantage of EE would more than likely be at Universal already (EE hasn't been at IoA in ages). That way you can start off at least with a relatively chill crowd. Except all those that are trying to ambush Hagrid's probably. You can focus on at least getting FJ out of the way and Flight of the Hippogriff (I don't know if you plan on doing that).
     
    Last edited:

    3boymthr

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 5, 2008
    What is the UO app? Sorry, I'm a total newbie to Universal!
    Link to the app and descriptions from the Universal Orlando site. There is a section of the app where you can click on the rides and it will show the current wait time for each ride. You can filter the rides by type (water, thrill, kids, etc.).

     

    macraven

    Proud Redhead
    Moderator
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2003
    Also, I should mention our main reasons for doing the 2-park option are Harry Potter stuff. Don't really care too much about the rest of the stuff.

    Is it worth it to book a dummy hotel for the one-hour early opening times? (We are planning to stay free on points, and we usually get a 2-room suite b/c husband snores very badly and none of us can sleep with him, so the suite prices at the 3 Universal hotels that include the express passes are crazy expensive, like $700, which is more than the $400 to just pay for the passes, but maybe one of the cheaper rooms that doesn't include express passes, like for $200 - is it worth paying that for the early hour?)
    The cheapest hotel onsite is Aventura Hotel.
    Early entry is for anyone staying at any of the onsite hotels.

    The Potter sections will be open for early entry.
    Rest of the park will be open an hour later.

    Making a one night throw away room at the cheapest hotel would be worth it.

    Do the Potter section early entry and leave when you are done.
    Use the HE train to go to the other park then.
    Of course that park will have crowds for Potter but you will be able to get both parks done.

    Check the park hours for both parks as one will stay open later than the other usually.
     

    FallsChurchDad

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 13, 2014
    Don't pay for EP or a suite. Get a deluxe room, then make the snorer stay at Cabana Bay or Aventura :) -- still cheaper than a suite at the deluxes or buying EP plus an offsite hotel....

    You are going during the most common spring break week, and if you only have one day, the express passes buy you a lot of 'insurance.' If it's crowded and you make one bad decision when you only have one day, you can get 'behind' the crowds and really regret not having EP.
     

    fredandkell

    I'd rather be cruising
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2013
    Don't pay for EP or a suite. Get a deluxe room, then make the snorer stay at Cabana Bay or Aventura :) -- still cheaper than a suite at the deluxes or buying EP plus an offsite hotel....

    You are going during the most common spring break week, and if you only have one day, the express passes buy you a lot of 'insurance.' If it's crowded and you make one bad decision when you only have one day, you can get 'behind' the crowds and really regret not having EP.
    I’m embarrassed I did not think of buying two regular rooms as opposed to one suite. Thanks for the idea.
     

    Disxuni

    "Where's the fun without a bit of risk?"
    Joined
    Mar 12, 2016
    I’m embarrassed I did not think of buying two regular rooms as opposed to one suite. Thanks for the idea.
    Just an FYI the "deluxe" hotels are only Hard Rock, Portofino, and Royal Pacific. You'd definitely would have to research to see if it's within your budget to do a deluxe and CB, or Aventura, for one night, which is what @FallsChurchDad is suggesting.

    Also, the deluxe hotels have different type of rooms, so you can also dig to see if it's necessary to book separately, as you might get a "suite" type of situation at a deluxe for the price of both. However, I will say going this route will be over the $400 more than likely.
     

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