Express Pass and Touring Plans

abonomo

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jun 8, 2021
Hello! We will be heading to Universal next week! We have visited Universal a handful of times before and have always stayed at the Hard Rock and utilized the Express Pass. However, this will be our first summer trip. We have only ever visited in early November or December when the crowd size is much lower. My question is this - I have signed up for Touring Plans and know I can make a personalized plan. (We are using this for Disney which we are going to after Universal.). How does having Express Passes work with Touring Plans? Is it even worth it to try to use Touring Plans with Express Passes. I have heard horror stories of long lines even with Express Passes during the summer, which is why I thought utilizing Touring Plans personalized plans may be a good idea. What are your thoughts?
 

jolene63

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 24, 2015
We just got back a few days ago. The parks were packed and lines were long. However, with our express passes we did not have to wait long at all. A few times we had to wait close to 30 minutes, but usually it was closer to 10 minutes. It just depends on the ride. You really don't need a plan at Universal when you have express pass. That is one thing I love about Universal. We could sleep in and just head to the parks when we felt like it. You do need to make reservations for sit down restaurants ahead of time. Thank goodness I heard about this before we left so we didn't have a problem eating at where we wanted to. Hope you have a great trip!
 

bchbetha

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 27, 2016
Touring Plans gives really crazy advice for Universal. I wouldn’t follow them. You can always change your mind if the lines are too long but I’d try to just make a logical list of things you want to do in roughly the order you’d encounter them. TP sends people zigzagging all over the place and it seems crazy inefficient to run across the park for a shorter line. If you’d just stayed put, that 10+ minutes of walking would have just folded into the wait time for the ride right there.
Meal reservations are far more valuable though.
 

Southernmiss

I am hazed everyday
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Hello! We will be heading to Universal next week! We have visited Universal a handful of times before and have always stayed at the Hard Rock and utilized the Express Pass. However, this will be our first summer trip. We have only ever visited in early November or December when the crowd size is much lower. My question is this - I have signed up for Touring Plans and know I can make a personalized plan. (We are using this for Disney which we are going to after Universal.). How does having Express Passes work with Touring Plans? Is it even worth it to try to use Touring Plans with Express Passes. I have heard horror stories of long lines even with Express Passes during the summer, which is why I thought utilizing Touring Plans personalized plans may be a good idea. What are your thoughts?
I am in a park now. We have Express Pass for today only. We accomplished all we wanted to do at Islands this morning by noon. Had lunch and moved to Studios this afternoon. Park is prepandemic like in crowds and experience, but we are having a great time without a real plan. Able to get on everything with reasonable waits with the Express pass

Our group rode all major attractions at Islands this morning and we are steadily checking off all rides at the studios without issues.

I second everything the above 2 posters said. Thanks to a tip yesterday we ate lunch at Margaritaville while the daily thunderstorms rolled through. We finished and clouds were moving out.
 

yesman70

Mouseketeer
Joined
May 11, 2011
I am in a park now. We have Express Pass for today only. We accomplished all we wanted to do at Islands this morning by noon. Had lunch and moved to Studios this afternoon. Park is prepandemic like in crowds and experience, but we are having a great time without a real plan. Able to get on everything with reasonable waits with the Express pass

Our group rode all major attractions at Islands this morning and we are steadily checking off all rides at the studios without issues.

I second everything the above 2 posters said. Thanks to a tip yesterday we ate lunch at Margaritaville while the daily thunderstorms rolled through. We finished and clouds were moving out.
did you buy the express passes the day of? Or early? Do they run out?
 

abonomo

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jun 8, 2021
Thank you everyone! This is super helpful! I'm glad the Express Passes are still working like I remember!
 
  • Eeyore's Gloomy Place

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 13, 2021
    I am in a park now. We have Express Pass for today only. We accomplished all we wanted to do at Islands this morning by noon. Had lunch and moved to Studios this afternoon. Park is prepandemic like in crowds and experience, but we are having a great time without a real plan. Able to get on everything with reasonable waits with the Express pass

    Our group rode all major attractions at Islands this morning and we are steadily checking off all rides at the studios without issues.

    I second everything the above 2 posters said. Thanks to a tip yesterday we ate lunch at Margaritaville while the daily thunderstorms rolled through. We finished and clouds were moving out.
    Is it possible to hit all major rides at both parks in a day with Express Pass (daughters are 18 and 20, so no need to ride kiddie rides). We are heading to Disney and they want to visit Universal but at most I want to sacrifice two Disney days for Universal, preferably one.
     

    macraven

    Proud Redhead
    Moderator
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2003
    Hopefully it’s not a Saturday you plan for UO
    That day usually does have long waits for some rides

    What date are your plans for your day visit ?
     

    Southernmiss

    I am hazed everyday
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2011
    Is it possible to hit all major rides at both parks in a day with Express Pass (daughters are 18 and 20, so no need to ride kiddie rides). We are heading to Disney and they want to visit Universal but at most I want to sacrifice two Disney days for Universal, preferably one.
    For our group yes, we did all the major things yesterday and are heading back now to do our favorites and a couple low wait attractions we did not do yesterday. We picked up our passes at the kiosk at the gate and we're in the park at 8am yesterday.

    We were in the parks from 8 am until 6:15 pm as we had an event at 8 pm to attend. We had a reservation for a sit down lunch for an hour and a half midday break.

    We had last been in the parks 5 years ago, so we did know the basic layout and just had to learn where added attractions are.

    We will leave the parks by 2 pm today, as we don't have reservations and do have an early dinner event tonight.

    Our group does walk fast and doesn't stop for shopping or a lot of snacks/breaks.

    We are doing Disney Wednesday for 4 days.

    We are staying offsite and driving in.
    Today, Monday, we have a late start and traffic getting in is much heavier than it was on Sunday before park opened.
     

    Lisse24

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Nov 17, 2020
    We've had really good experiences with Touring Plans. Yes, it's advice can often seem out there, but that's because it has you zig, when everyone else is zagging. Our best day at the parks in the pandemic was a day when the crowd was 9/10, without early entry, but we trusted Touring Plans explicitly. We managed to hit everything in IoA by knocking off the small rides as soon as we entered the gates, snagging a virtual line for Hagrids at lunch time (TPs recommended spot), and just putting up with the waits for everything else. We honestly felt expresses passes would have been a waste of money that day all told.

    There've been a few times when we've looked at the plan, thought, that makes no sense and deviated - it's never worked out as well as we thought.

    Conversely, we found that Touring Plans broke down completely the week of Christmas. They just couldn't adjust to the massive crowds plus weird social distancing measures that affected the wait times. We'd been on other 10/10 days and been fine, but that week was something else and we decided we wouldn't return during such crowds unless we had Express Passes.
     
  • KatieCharlotte

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 3, 2010
    I haven't been back yet (going next month), but assuming it's like past summers, you still don't need a touring plan with express pass. It's a good idea to know what you want to do and the general layout, and plan for long lines at lunch. I do think it can help to have a plan just for Diagon Alley, because it's more enjoyable when it's less crowded. And the express line for Gringotts can be pretty long. That is the one express line that we don't just get in on a whim.
     

    Southernmiss

    I am hazed everyday
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2011
    I haven't been back yet (going next month), but assuming it's like past summers, you still don't need a touring plan with express pass. It's a good idea to know what you want to do and the general layout, and plan for long lines at lunch. I do think it can help to have a plan just for Diagon Alley, because it's more enjoyable when it's less crowded. And the express line for Gringotts can be pretty long. That is the one express line that we don't just get in on a whim.
    The cast member suggested we do single rider, instead of express pass yesterday. So we did. Took about 40 minutes
     


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