Express Clarification


Nov 12, 1999
I would like to apologize over everyones confusion over the upcoming changes to Front of the Line access and Universal Express. Hopefully the details below will help eliminate the confusion and aid in planning your vacations:

February 1st: Universal Express (as we currently know it) is phased out. In other words, no more Express cards handed out at the turnstiles and no more FOTL for first 2 hours for multi-day pass holders. It is only being phased out. In other words, if you have a multi-day pass and ask the greeter at the attraction (before 11am & before 2/15) you are more than likely going to be directed to the FOTL.

February 15th: Technical Rehearsal begins. Preliminary installation of distribution kiosks is complete and most signage/new queues at the attractions will be visible.

March 1st: Official kick-off date. This is when all the marketing will hit the air waves & billboards.

Note: On February 1st - all Universal Express marketing will be discontinued - and all billboards will not mention anything about multi-day passes or first 2 hours.

Distribution Kiosks:
These are required for all single- and multi-day ticketholders.
- 11 kiosks at Islands of Adventure (I won't list them all here - obviously some rides are combined).
- 9 kiosks at Universal Studios Florida. (Same as IOA - rides are combined)

Express Tickets (yes, similar to Fastpass tickets but a bit larger) are coded to be read by computer readers/card readers at each attractions Express entrance.

The BIG BENEFIT: Single-day and Multi-day ticketholders can CHOOSE THEIR OWN TIME TO RETURN. That's right - it's our way around Disney's patents. Rather than Universal telling the guests when their ride reservation is, the guests can tell Universal when they want to come back to ride !!!!!

Policies to note:
- Single-day ticketholders may only hold ONE express ticket at a time. They may obtain another ticket once their first ticket is used, or 2 hours after they were given their first ticket.

- Multi-day ticketholders may hold up to THREE express tickets at a time. However, they may not obtain another ticket until ALL THREE tickets are used or their reservation times have been reached.

...and the big one:
- Both Portofino and Hard Rock Hotel will begin issuing key cards for EVERY guest in the room - all the way down to the 2 year old!
- On-site hotel guests DO NOT have to use the Express distribution kiosks, they may proceed directly to the Express Entrance at EVERY attraction (Pteranadon Flyers, Woody Coaster, and the slide at Fieval are not including still). On-site hotel guests can go to any ride they want, whenever they want.
- Each On-site hotel guest MUST have a key card - that will be "swiped" into the card reader at the Express Entrance by one of the ride & show employees.
- Once that room card is swiped in that particular rides Express entrance - it may not be used again AT THAT RIDE until the following day. Yes, that's the point that has confused some - you can only use your Portofino or Hard Rock ID once per ride per day. This policy has already started appearing in much of the advertising (check the latest Studio Guide or Adventure Guide).

So, YES, on-site hotel guests get Front of the Line access "all day, every day." The disclaimer is that, starting sometime between February 15th and March 1st (depending on the installation schedule), it is only one time per ride per day.

I hope this information helps clear things up. Not sure how quick rollout will be - there may only be 4 or 5 attractions using the system in each park by the end of February. But expect this to be in full use everywhere at Universal Orlando by the end of Spring Break.

Thanks for reading!
Just a few quick questions..

When you say that the kiosks will be required for non-on-site guests, you just mean to get FOTL, right?

How will holders of hard plastic annual/seasonal passes use the kiosks? Will they need to get a paper pass like Disney's (ick)?

Also, will on-site guests also have the option of using the kiosks? (I'm assuming they will since they will have their tickets as well as their key card)

Thanks for the info!
Thanks for the info. Do you know how large a time window there will be for the express tickets? I
Dear CoasterFEV,

It seems as though you have alot of info regarding changes to FOTL, so please answer this question: once on-site guests, who are also multi-day ticket holders get their (1) FOTL, can the then go the the kiosks to reserve repeat rides?
Thanks, I'd appreciate your clarification.
<IMG SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif" alt="confused">
A kiosk is a big, rectangular box. Think of those wooden things people stand behind when they give speeches.

I thought I would be the first to break the news since I got the info from the Universal video I got today, but you guys beat me to it! The brochures say that multiday ticketholders get to reserve times for "several rides." I had a feeling it would be 3 tickets.

Other interesting information that was included with the video:
* 2 day or 3 day park tickets have a Citywalk party pass for 7 consecutive nights.
* Both Orlando Flextickets have 14 consecutive days of access.


Barry Hom
The moderator formerly
known as Barry aka usagi

Moderator, Universal
and Sea World Boards

"If you were me, you'd
be good looking."
By the way, with all the new FOTL policies, what will happen to the single riders lines? Don't make the one at MiB disappear (pretty please :) ).


Barry Hom
The moderator formerly
known as Barry aka usagi

Moderator, Universal
and Sea World Boards

"If you were me, you'd
be good looking."

What is this video you speak of? I've seen a few references to one lately and I have no clue about it. What's it about and where can I get one? :)
The video is Universal's vacation planning video. I am playing it now as I type! It is version 3, where a VIP tour guide shows you around the park and a few families follow her around. It even mentions Disney World (the first time I remember Universal mentions their existence in a video!), although the mention is brief.

Go to for the video.


Barry Hom
The moderator formerly
known as Barry aka usagi

Moderator, Universal
and Sea World Boards

"If you were me, you'd
be good looking."
To respond to the above questions:

1) Annual/Seasonal ticket holders will use their annual or seasonal passes at the kiosks. These are different and better machines than Disney's (ever wonder where all the money for new rides for 2001 is going?). The kiosk will accept all forms of annual passes - even the employee ids.

Note: The 2-day Star or Adventurer tickets (Timeshare freebies) and that new Florida Resident Super Pass (good for only a few months - kinda like Busch's Funcard), will be treated by the machines as 1-day tickets!

2) Yes, kiosks are used ONLY if a guests wants to reserve a time for FOTL access. All attractions will have standby lines.

And, the good news, is that all the queue construction going on right now is so that all the attractions that have singles lines, can still have singles lines once this program starts! Good news for MIB, Hulk, Doom, JPRA, and Spiderman Fans!

3) Since you can designate your own return time, at this time it looks like the return time "windows" may be 30 minutes.

4) And you folks have already realized how to use your on-site priveleges to their fullest:

- Use your early entry days!
- Remember - your room key and ticket are seperate media. Go ahead and use your multi-day ticket and reserve some times in the kiosks. This way you can get multiple rides in - while still enjoying FOTL access. Just because you've already used your room key to jump to the front of the line, doesn't mean you can't still use the kiosks out front and reserve some times later in the day for the same attraction!

Heck, even when (and it's coming) your room key becomes your theme park admission ticket, you can still use it to reserve FOTL access using the Express kiosks. The only restriction for on-site guests is that, if they just want to walk up to an attraction, with no reservation, and walk to the FOTL, they can only do it once per day per attraction.

Additional hint - if you like a specific ride - use your multi-day ticket to make 3 reservations for later in the day, all different times, all for the same ride! (it will allow it!)
The only drawback I see is that the FOTL access lines will now become quite a bit longer what with single, multi day, and resort guests all using the same line. I'm hoping that the system won't be too widespread when I'm there Feb 26-28
The only real advantage for onsite guests now is avoiding the kiosk one time for each ride.


I'm just a Little Boy trapped in an Old Man's body.

[This message was edited by Dad on 01-30-01 at 03:04 AM.]
Presumably there is still a maximum limit to how long you will have to wait in the express line, so only so many will be able to choose a particular time..
Will they guarantee less than a 15 minute wait??
Will a ride get over-subscribed so that the express line has to close for the day?

(At least it should all be working smoothly by the time we arrive in August!! :D :D )


Actually, I know CoasterFEV works at UE, but first, I do not consider Express to be FOTL as he implied in his message (this is based on my experiences staying onsite twice with FOTL). FOTL is currently only for hotel guests (aka, No Line, No Wait). During the Express period, hotel guests go to the FOTL, even in front of persons using Express. For instance, on Spiderman, FOTL goes in the Express enterance, but where the Express folks turn right half way down the hall, FOTL goes to the end of the hall and through Baby Swap to go right to the FOTL, ahead of even Express users.

So, we have a new Express coming into place, the real question is do hotel guests still get FOTL ("No Line, No Wait"), which to me would mean hotel guests would get to still go ahead of persons using the new Express system, just like they currently do
Beckeles has a very good point. Are on-site guests going to have to wait in the same lines as off site guests who have made "reservations"? If so, it seems like the lines are going to be much longer than "no wait".
Even More Clarification:

- On-site hotel guests WILL use the same queue as day guests with attraction reservations obtained from the kiosks.
- A maximum 15 minute wait is guaranteed.
- Similar to Disney, there will be a point where the kiosks will stop giving Express tickets for an attraction, or for specific times.

We've already programmed in attraction capacities, and the desired "no wait" scenario to keep the Universal Express line at a virtual walk-on. So the kiosks will know what reservation times are no longer available.

Obviously, during the busier times, we are expecting rides such as Spiderman and Men in Black to be "booked up" with reservations by as early as 11am. Of course, on-site hotel guests that haven't visited those attractions yet using their room key may do so at any time of the day - regardless if all Express tickets have been distributed.
Universal is still adverising fotl all day and if what is written here is true their advertising is false and a outright lie! FOTL w/no waiting all day doesnt mean just i ride per day standing in line with other guests. We stayed at the portifino and loved fotl and truely had no waits with mutiple rides on are favorites but if this new policy is the case i would be less likley to stay on site and give them all the money that i did which is alot when you consider their high prices compared too off site.
I have 2 concerns that I am sure that Universal has thought of already. My concerns are

1)With people being allowed to choose return times, how long will the kiosk queues be? It's been a year since I've been to Disney but it seems that their fastpass kiosk lines could get quite long and they require no decision or user input.

2)What happens when the 1st person of a party of 4 gets the last available slot in a given time slot? If I remember correctly, the Disney Fastpass window rolled every so often--- either 5 or 15 minutes I can't remember which----. So if part of the party was split over two time periods, there was still a large window available for the entire party to ride together. It seems to me if the time slots roll every 15 minutes that there wouldn't be enough overlap time at Universal (since there is only a 30 minute window totally). But maybe the time slots roll every 5 minutes, which would give a 25 minute overlap. Does anyone remember how the time slots rolled at Disney? or know how they will roll at Universal?

Oh, By the way, Universal rules!! :D
Please don't flame me if I'm asking something that is a BIG no-no, but I would like to know before we go on Sunday.(2/4)

Say there are 6 people in our party. (5 adults and 1 child. Child and I are scared of everything coaster like) 3 of the people live in Florida and will have their own passes, but we (including the child) are staying at HRH. The child, myself, and DH plan on going to USF for "EE" and then DH is going to meet the rest of our party infront of IOA. Can I give DH my room key so our one specific friend can use it for the coasters,or is that a big no-no? I have no use for the FOTL for the coasters.

DS and I will stay at USF to take advantage of the smaller lines and the kids area until 11am or so and then join the rest of our party.

Like I said, please don't flame me for breaking the rules. I am asking so I know what the rules are and won't break them.
I doubt you'll have a problem, though it is technically against the rules.

A "friend" of mine was staying at the PBH and had his brother and girlfriend go to the park with him, and he gave them one of his keys so they could get in the park early with a one day/one park ticket (which on-site guests can do) and also so they'd have a key for the rides to get FOTL, though they were always with my "friend" when getting on the rides anyway.

Actually, this raises a whole 'nother issue about the new debate on Express and FOTL and hotel guests. Even if hotel guests were to get unlimited FOTL for a single ride, it would probably be a good idea to make them swipe everytime anyway. Why? Because, my "friend" has stayed at both the HRH and PBH in the past year and has a few keys from each still from when he stayed. I don't think I have ever seen a ride attendant look at a key close enough to check the actual stay dates ... Anyway, it won't take long for more and more people to figure that out, so making folks swipe their key is probably better (read: faster) than having to closely inspect each one to check the dates


Dreams Unlimited Travel is committed to providing you with the very best vacation planning experience possible. Our Vacation Planners are experts and will share their honest advice to help you have a magical vacation.

Let us help you with your next Disney Vacation!

facebook twitter