Two Days of Express Passes or One Day of VIP?

MLB1974

Earning My Ears
Joined
Oct 3, 2017
My daughter and I are hoping to do a do-over trip in January after our July trip got cut short by Covid. Which do you think is better, splurging for a VIP Experience or getting two days of express passes? We will be in the parks for four days.
 

MousetersInc

Mouseketeer
Joined
Dec 29, 2018
Variables:
  • Where are you staying? I assume you're aware you get free express pass with the "premier" hotels. You might find it cheaper to stay at a premier hotel, even for just part of your trip. Note, you get passes on your arrival and departure day from that hotel, so with only one night at the premier you'd get two days of passes.
  • When in January? MLK weekend will be busy, as will the time between Christmas and New Years, but other times will be much less so, maybe to the point that express passes aren't worth their price
  • Have you ridden Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure and Velocicoaster? How do you feel about aggressively rope-dropping, or standing in line more than 90 minutes? Note, VIP is the only way to skip a line for these rides.
  • How do you feel about the other perks offered by the VIP experience—free valet parking, breakfast, and lunch, and having a tour guide?
  • How important is it to you to make your own itinerary and move at your own pace? I presume you're comparing express pass to the "non-private" VIP tour, which adds you to a group of strangers. You can pony up for a private tour in which you determine the itinerary, but that's comparing apples and oranges.
I'll add, without personal experience—I'm planning our first Universal trip right now—my impression is, with four days, even without passes, you have enough time to ride everything. Anything you don't cover in a given day could be made up over the next three. I guess the question is how many total rides you want to get in during the visit, and what your "line threshold" is.

To tip my hand, my personal choices would be:
  • Visiting at a busy time? Book a premier for one or two nights, switch hotels to a cheaper hotel (but still Universal property) for the other nights. Enjoy express pass while I have it and cram in rides; let the other days be more relaxed and focus more on ambience, dining, etc. Try to put the express passes on the weekend and the days without them on weekdays.
  • Visiting at a lower time, and want to save on hotel? Skip passes altogether. Especially if I were staying four days, or if it were not my first trip.
 
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MLB1974

Earning My Ears
Joined
Oct 3, 2017
So premiere is not in our budget this time, and since it is only the two of us, staying at a premiere will not cost less than getting a single park express pass each day for two days of our trip.

Some background:
When we went in June/July, four days was not enough. There were several reasons for that. We "wasted" our first day by going in on our travel day convinced we would have plenty more time. We did Gringotts, the wand ceremony, and walked around some, and that was it. Day two was a full day, and we accomplished a lot. Day three was the waterpark. Day four, we started early, did Hulk and Hagrids, had lunch, did the Mummy and Jurassic Park River Adventure, and then decided to go back and swim. I was already starting to feel off (but thought it was just the heat), and we decided to take advantage of the pool and have a full day the next day. Sadly, the next day, I tested positive, and that ended our trip abruptly. We never got to MIB, Velocicoaster, or any of the Dr. Seuss or Toons stuff.

We are planning to stay at Aventura this trip so we can take advantage of the boats next door. Last trip we split between RPR and SFR. We are looking at 1/18-22.
 
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MousetersInc

Mouseketeer
Joined
Dec 29, 2018
So premiere is not in our budget this time, and since it is only the two of us, staying at a premiere will not cost less than getting a single park express pass each day for two days of our trip.

Some background:
When we went in June/July, four days was not enough. There were several reasons for that. We "wasted" our first day by going in on our travel day convinced we would have plenty more time. We did Gringotts, the wand ceremony, and walked around some, and that was it. Day two was a full day, and we accomplished a lot. Day three was the waterpark. Day four, we started early, did Hulk and Hagrids, had lunch, did the Mummy and Jurassic Park River Adventure, and then decided to go back and swim. I was already starting to feel off (but thought it was just the heat), and we decided to take advantage of the pool and have a full day the next day. Sadly, the next day, I tested positive, and that ended our trip abruptly. We never got to MIB, Velocicoaster, or any of the Dr. Seuss or Toons stuff.

We are planning to stay at Aventura this trip so we can take advantage of the boats next door. Last trip we split between RPR and SFR. We are looking at 1/18-22.
Ha, you'll almost overlap with us; we're doing Universal 15th-17th and Disney on the 18th! The good news for you is, from what I've heard, the MLK surge ought to have died down significantly by that late in the week. Though I'd still expect weekend to be more than weekday, so if I were paying for line-skipping on only part of the trip, I'd make it the weekend days. And truth be told, yes, I'd probably want to spring for it rather than stand even reasonable amounts in line.

Which brings you back to the initial question. Personally, if the most important thing is rides, I'd go for the two days of Express Pass because, well, it's two days! For me, the appeal of having a guide or even of skipping Hagrid and Velocicoaster lines wouldn't outweigh the negative of having to stick with the group, and the parking and food wouldn't change my mind. I'd simply rope drop Hagrid and Velocicoaster, especially on weekdays, or do them at park close.
 

NJlauren

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 6, 2014
Doing the VIP today and will let you know my thoughts after!

I’m leaning towards express day 1 two regular days and express the last day if I were you, but tonight I think I’ll have a more certain answer.
 

NJlauren

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 6, 2014
Ok here to report back!!

I still think 2 days express 1st and last is the way to go. You’ll be able to do everything multiple times with little to no waits. Then on the other two days you can do Velocicoster and Hagrids.

However, all that said I loved the non private VIP. It was really worth the cost on a short trip. They say you ride 10 rides, we did 12 and would have had 13 but MIB went down. Breakfast and lunch is included you skip the lines and it’s not express pass you go through exits and in back ways. We did hagrids and Velocicoster skipping the waits. Then your pass is an express pass the rest of the day. Our guide was amazing, we had a fabulous group of people could not have asked for a better day.
 

MLB1974

Earning My Ears
Joined
Oct 3, 2017
Ok here to report back!!

I still think 2 days express 1st and last is the way to go. You’ll be able to do everything multiple times with little to no waits. Then on the other two days you can do Velocicoster and Hagrids.

However, all that said I loved the non private VIP. It was really worth the cost on a short trip. They say you ride 10 rides, we did 12 and would have had 13 but MIB went down. Breakfast and lunch is included you skip the lines and it’s not express pass you go through exits and in back ways. We did hagrids and Velocicoster skipping the waits. Then your pass is an express pass the rest of the day. Our guide was amazing, we had a fabulous group of people could not have asked for a better day.
Thanks so much for the information!
 

jujubiee4

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 5, 2013
Ok here to report back!!

I still think 2 days express 1st and last is the way to go. You’ll be able to do everything multiple times with little to no waits. Then on the other two days you can do Velocicoster and Hagrids.

However, all that said I loved the non private VIP. It was really worth the cost on a short trip. They say you ride 10 rides, we did 12 and would have had 13 but MIB went down. Breakfast and lunch is included you skip the lines and it’s not express pass you go through exits and in back ways. We did hagrids and Velocicoster skipping the waits. Then your pass is an express pass the rest of the day. Our guide was amazing, we had a fabulous group of people could not have asked for a better day.
How much was this?
 

macraven

Proud Redhead
Moderator
Joined
Apr 21, 2003
Check the UO site for the costs
Prices are different for dates

looking back in this thread, costs did vary and I am not sure of what dates your trip plans will be
 









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