Is buying the express pass necessary?

01Sweetpea

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 13, 2003
We are a group of 8 (all over the age of 21) that are going to be at Universal on Saturday 12/4 with 2 park 1 day passes. We are staying at Dockside Inn, so we‘ll be able to access the parks at 8am. At $80/person after already buying tickets, the express pass is a hefty sum.

But it is necessary? What are the normal wait time on a Saturday?
 

ClapYourHands

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 2, 2018
It's probably not "necessary," but that will depend on your goals. Weekend wait times are higher than weekdays, but that particular weekend is usually a fairly low crowd time, so wait times shouldn't be terrible. I'm pretty sure that weekend has early closures for the Orlando Informer meet up (private, separately ticketed evening event), so double check park hours.

Hagrid's and Velocicoaster don't have EP anyway, and are arguably the hot ticket rides. Are you focused on hitting the rides hard or are you planning to spend some time meandering and taking in the sights and entertainment? How much time will you take to eat? If you just have a few must-do rides, and want to see the shows and play with the interactive windows, etc., then EP won't help you there. If your focus is rides, EP will obviously get you through them faster, but you can probably get most of them done without EP. If you plan to ride "everything" AND stop to smell the roses and see the shows, you might have a hard time accomplishing that without EP. Actually, you might have a hard time accomplishing that even with EP. You need to be realistic about how much you can get done, and if it will ruin the day if you're rushing from one thing to another to check them off a list.

In my experience, the more people you have, the slower you move. Not because you walk slowly, but because you often have to negotiate the "what do we do next" - and inevitably different people will have different ideas. My advice would be to have a really solid plan, and stick to it. Part of you plan might include splitting up. You need to poll your group, and figure out what are the must-dos, what are the nice-to-dos, and what is skip-able. Where things overlap, do them as a group. Where they diverge, split up.
 
  • 01Sweetpea

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 13, 2003
    It's probably not "necessary," but that will depend on your goals. Weekend wait times are higher than weekdays, but that particular weekend is usually a fairly low crowd time, so wait times shouldn't be terrible. I'm pretty sure that weekend has early closures for the Orlando Informer meet up (private, separately ticketed evening event), so double check park hours.

    Hagrid's and Velocicoaster don't have EP anyway, and are arguably the hot ticket rides. Are you focused on hitting the rides hard or are you planning to spend some time meandering and taking in the sights and entertainment? How much time will you take to eat? If you just have a few must-do rides, and want to see the shows and play with the interactive windows, etc., then EP won't help you there. If your focus is rides, EP will obviously get you through them faster, but you can probably get most of them done without EP. If you plan to ride "everything" AND stop to smell the roses and see the shows, you might have a hard time accomplishing that without EP. Actually, you might have a hard time accomplishing that even with EP. You need to be realistic about how much you can get done, and if it will ruin the day if you're rushing from one thing to another to check them off a list.

    In my experience, the more people you have, the slower you move. Not because you walk slowly, but because you often have to negotiate the "what do we do next" - and inevitably different people will have different ideas. My advice would be to have a really solid plan, and stick to it. Part of you plan might include splitting up. You need to poll your group, and figure out what are the must-dos, what are the nice-to-dos, and what is skip-able. Where things overlap, do them as a group. Where they diverge, split up.
    According to the Universal website, The parks are open until 8pm, which if we are there at 8am, is long enough (for me :-)). We can always head over to City Walk after that if necessary.

    5 of the 8 are in their 20s, and I’m sure riding the big thrill rides is high on their list. The other 3 (the parents) are there to follow along, and watch from the sidelines (preferably with a margarita in hand) as the “kids” do the big rides.

    Thank you for all the information, I appreciate it!
     

    CAPSLOCK

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2017
    You can also do single rider lines on many rides. You are on the ride generally within minutes, just not sitting next to each other.

    Single rider lines are at Spiderman, Transformers, Mummy, Gringotts, MiB, Hulk, Hagrids, and Forbidden Journey.

    There are also single rider lines for Velocicoaster and Rip Ride Rocket. Note that these two single rider lines move the slowest by far & may not save you much time.

    They tend to be walk-on for MiB & FJ especially.
     
  • disneyseniors

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 2, 2014
    We are a group of 8 (all over the age of 21) that are going to be at Universal on Saturday 12/4 with 2 park 1 day passes. We are staying at Dockside Inn, so we‘ll be able to access the parks at 8am. At $80/person after already buying tickets, the express pass is a hefty sum.

    But it is necessary? What are the normal wait time on a Saturday?
    Depends on the crowd levels, IMO> We went for the first time, like you, buying the same tickets, and didn't have EP. It wasn't a crowded time of year, and we were just fine.
    Now we always have them as we stay at RPR, but noticed that the standby lines weren't that long.
    Who knows now with pent up travel, more people leaving disney and going to Universal? I just don't know. You can buy them in the parks if you want them so you don't have to decide before you go. But they don't have unlimited amounts of EP's, so there is a chance they won't have them. I've never heard of that happening, but things have changed lately.
     

    01Sweetpea

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 13, 2003
    Look into what it would cost to stay at Royal Pacific, Hard Rock, or Portofino Bay, where Express Unlimited is included for the length of your stay. You may save money versus buying Express individually.
    We are staying in 2 2bedroom suites at Dockside Inn for 3 nights under a military rate. If we switched to the other resorts, we’d need 4 rooms for 3 nights.

    Paying for 1 day of EPs, would be way cheaper than switching to one of the other resorts. 😁
     
  • bchbetha

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 27, 2016
    It's the Pop Warner cheer, dance and football December 4-11 so expect big, annoying crowds (editing to clarify that the crowds will be annoying large not that the population of the crowd will be annoying). And FYI "Pop Warner teams and their families will stay at the world-class Universal Orlando Resort. Football teams will stay at the Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort and cheer teams will stay at Universal Endless Summer Resort - Dockside Inn and Suites." https://www.popwarner.com/Default.aspx?tabid=2740810
    If you can swing the EPs, it would probably be nice even to simply not have to wait in as many lines with gaggles of very enthusiastic kids. ;)
    With 1 day and trying to do 2 parks, you need EPs.
     
    Last edited:

    01Sweetpea

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 13, 2003
    It's the Pop Warner cheer, dance and football December 4-11 so expect big, annoying crowds. And FYI "Pop Warner teams and their families will stay at the world-class Universal Orlando Resort. Football teams will stay at the Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort and cheer teams will stay at Universal Endless Summer Resort - Dockside Inn and Suites." https://www.popwarner.com/Default.aspx?tabid=2740810
    If you can swing the EPs, it would probably be nice even to simply not have to wait in as many lines with gaggles of very enthusiastic kids. ;)
    With 1 day and trying to do 2 parks, you need EPs.
    UGH…coming from a former cheer mom.
     

    TommyJK

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2015
    As you are only going for one day (and on a weekend no less) to do both parks, having Express pass would definitely be valuable to be able to get on more attractions as you'll be hard pressed to do everything worthwhile in both parks in a single day.

    I mean possibly you could burn through all of the main healiners but it would leave you little time to do anything else (like exploring all of the great stuff in the 2 HP lands as well as all of the other areas at a leisurly pace).

    Edit: But if your main goal is to just get through the majority of headliners, you would likely be ok with taking advantage of Early Entry to rope drop Hagrids if IOA has the early entry and then making full use of the app to see wait times and moving about accordingly.
     

    MrBellatrixLestrange

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 6, 2020
    According to the Universal website, The parks are open until 8pm, which if we are there at 8am, is long enough (for me :-)). We can always head over to City Walk after that if necessary.

    5 of the 8 are in their 20s, and I’m sure riding the big thrill rides is high on their list. The other 3 (the parents) are there to follow along, and watch from the sidelines (preferably with a margarita in hand) as the “kids” do the big rides.

    Thank you for all the information, I appreciate it!
    One thing to be aware of is that while the parks may be open technically until 8PM that night they're having one of the Meetups so there will be an influx of people around 5. The Meetups are events targeted to the most hardened of prison inmates, we're not talking about repentant criminals, no, these are the guys that run the yard in the prisons who celebrate their crimes like badges of pride. Around 4 they pause security checks because in the past too many of the attendees had to be turned away or arrested so they just did away with them. I think your best course of action would be to spread the word to anyone you meet that day and then get everyone you know safely out of the parks around probably 5 when I'll arr...I mean...when the event starts.
     

    01Sweetpea

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 13, 2003
    One thing to be aware of is that while the parks may be open technically until 8PM that night they're having one of the Meetups so there will be an influx of people around 5. The Meetups are events targeted to the most hardened of prison inmates, we're not talking about repentant criminals, no, these are the guys that run the yard in the prisons who celebrate their crimes like badges of pride. Around 4 they pause security checks because in the past too many of the attendees had to be turned away or arrested so they just did away with them. I think your best course of action would be to spread the word to anyone you meet that day and then get everyone you know safely out of the parks around probably 5 when I'll arr...I mean...when the event starts.
    I’ll Make sure to be FAR away before 4pm, giving myself enough time not to run into the “hooligans“ :-)
     

    michellej47

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 7, 2011
    So what about for Spring Break? We are going for Spring Break with dance. We are getting a great room rate, so it's cheaper for me to add express and not stay at one of the premiums. But I'm worried crowds will be crazy that week and we only have 2 days to do everything. Would you all splurge on EP during that time? Or do you think we could get it all done in two days?
     

    bchbetha

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 27, 2016
    So what about for Spring Break? We are going for Spring Break with dance. We are getting a great room rate, so it's cheaper for me to add express and not stay at one of the premiums. But I'm worried crowds will be crazy that week and we only have 2 days to do everything. Would you all splurge on EP during that time? Or do you think we could get it all done in two days?
    I doubt that will be true regarding the Express Pass price unless you buy now. They go up as interest goes up. Last year they EP sold for over $300 per person per day. Unless you were traveling solo, there would be no way in the world that it is cheaper to stay in one of the hotels that doesn't come with EPs. Remember- one night in the deluxe hotels comes with 2 days worth of EPs check in through check out day.
     


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