Wait times with express pass during summer?

maryj11

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 13, 2002
About how long is the wait in summer around the end of June for the popular rides using express pass?
 

MooseBucks

Living the Dream
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
do you mean fast pass?

it really depends, all year really, 5-15 minutes usually.. maybe 20? If the ride was down and they have an influx of FP riders it can take longer or sometimes it just takes 5 minutes to walk the "empty" line. Also depends on the ride itself.
 

maryj11

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 13, 2002
do you mean fast pass?

it really depends, all year really, 5-15 minutes usually.. maybe 20? If the ride was down and they have an influx of FP riders it can take longer or sometimes it just takes 5 minutes to walk the "empty" line. Also depends on the ride itself.
Isn't it called express pass at Universal and IOA or did I post in the wrong forum?
 
  • SA mom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 15, 2012
    Isn't it called express pass at Universal and IOA or did I post in the wrong forum?
    You are right, it's Express Pass at Universal. I would like to know the answer to this, too. We visited during a busy March week and I really don't remember waiting more than 10 minutes for anything except the HP rides, but they did not use EP at the time. Super excited about the next trip.
     

    macraven

    Proud Redhead
    Moderator
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2003
    You are correct

    This is the Universal forums and express pass is correct

    Disney has the fast pass program
     

    bobbie68

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2009
    Hi I have been going to Universal the last week of June or the beginning of August for several years. We stay onsite with the express pass. The wait time we had in the express line was on average 20-25 minutes. This was in the middle of the day. I agree if you have a break down of the ride it could be longer. The one we did see longer express waits like 30-45 was Kong. It is nice that ep is now offered with the HP rides.

    I would be excited too. I hope both of you have a great trip!
     

    maryj11

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 13, 2002
    Hi I have been going to Universal the last week of June or the beginning of August for several years. We stay onsite with the express pass. The wait time we had in the express line was on average 20-25 minutes. This was in the middle of the day. I agree if you have a break down of the ride it could be longer. The one we did see longer express waits like 30-45 was Kong. It is nice that ep is now offered with the HP rides.

    I would be excited too. I hope both of you have a great trip!
    Ok thank you! Do the wait times go down for rides like Kong in the evening or do start building in the afternoon and stay long? I have one more question for you since you have gone in late June. Have you gotten any good resort discounts during that time? We wanted to stay at Royal Pacific but the price right now is pretty high.
     
  • bobbie68

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2009
    Hi honestly I have seen the wait times for Kong start building around late morning. What we will do is go to Hogsmeade for early entry or opening and spend a couple of hours there then we walk towards Kong about noon and the express line is already on the long side. Around 30-45 minutes in length. I have to tell you this is the one queue line if you are claustrophobic like me this queue is anxiety on it. I will not wait in this queue for a long time. I have not done Kong in the evening and it is hard to say now that Hogsmeade is doing the light show at night I think IOA rides especially closer to HP worlds are more crowded. I think early morning is the best time for this one. It might be okay at night but not sure.

    Last year was the first year that we were annual pass holders, so I was able to get AP rates for that time of year. The AP rates are usually out about 3 months out. Remember you can book now at the rate then change it if something better comes up. It would have to be a room only reservation. Packages are different. You can get the (stay more save more rate) for the resorts at that time. Depending on the length of your stay decides the percent off. The minimum is 4 nights. What I did do though two years ago is I spent 6 nights at Cabana bay with the( stay more save more rate) then booked a throw away room at Royal Pacific for one night to have two days of express pass. We were doing VB two days, VIP tour and Discovery Cove one day so, I didn't need more days than that with express pass. We did go one more day to the parks but just went with the flow.

    The express pass is needed at that time of year. I saw many stand-by lines at least 60-90 minutes easy.

    Any other questions please ask! Have fun planning!
     

    Tgrgrl

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 24, 2012
    Ok thank you! Do the wait times go down for rides like Kong in the evening or do start building in the afternoon and stay long? I have one more question for you since you have gone in late June. Have you gotten any good resort discounts during that time? We wanted to stay at Royal Pacific but the price right now is pretty high.
    I think we paid @ $330/night at Portofino for the last week of June using a APH rate.
     
  • maryj11

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 13, 2002
    I think we paid @ $330/night at Portofino for the last week of June using a APH rate.
    Right now RPR is 404.00 which is to high! I will keep checking for some kind of discount. I may buy a AP but not sure yet.
     

    maryj11

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 13, 2002
    Hi honestly I have seen the wait times for Kong start building around late morning. What we will do is go to Hogsmeade for early entry or opening and spend a couple of hours there then we walk towards Kong about noon and the express line is already on the long side. Around 30-45 minutes in length. I have to tell you this is the one queue line if you are claustrophobic like me this queue is anxiety on it. I will not wait in this queue for a long time. I have not done Kong in the evening and it is hard to say now that Hogsmeade is doing the light show at night I think IOA rides especially closer to HP worlds are more crowded. I think early morning is the best time for this one. It might be okay at night but not sure.

    Last year was the first year that we were annual pass holders, so I was able to get AP rates for that time of year. The AP rates are usually out about 3 months out. Remember you can book now at the rate then change it if something better comes up. It would have to be a room only reservation. Packages are different. You can get the (stay more save more rate) for the resorts at that time. Depending on the length of your stay decides the percent off. The minimum is 4 nights. What I did do though two years ago is I spent 6 nights at Cabana bay with the( stay more save more rate) then booked a throw away room at Royal Pacific for one night to have two days of express pass. We were doing VB two days, VIP tour and Discovery Cove one day so, I didn't need more days than that with express pass. We did go one more day to the parks but just went with the flow.

    The express pass is needed at that time of year. I saw many stand-by lines at least 60-90 minutes easy.

    Any other questions please ask! Have fun planning!
    Thank you for all the information! I was going to go ahead and book the room we wanted and then wait for a discount, but I'm having a hard time doing that with the nightly rate at 404.00 a night.
     

    Tgrgrl

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 24, 2012
    Thank you for all the information! I was going to go ahead and book the room we wanted and then wait for a discount, but I'm having a hard time doing that with the nightly rate at 404.00 a night.
    It doesn’t look like the APH rate is available yet for end of June.
     

    mickeyluv'r

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 14, 2005
    We've gone many times in summer with express pass. We tend to go in August, which has slightly lower crowds - perhaps than July.

    1. We tend to go to Universal for several days - I don't know the exact formula- but their is a pattern to crowd flows at Universal. Roughly, I think the pattern trends towards people going to Orlando for about 7-9days. They either go to Universal, then Disney -or- they go to Disney then Universal. Weekends tend to be busier at all theme parks, but I'd say the pattern is less true at WDW. It is more true at Universal. In truth, we just go to US when we are able to go, but even in summer- there's variability in crowd levels. In short, there is a correlation between crowd levels and wait times.

    2. With EP, most days, we RARELY wait more than 10minutes for ANYTHING, except Kong, Minions, "Twirl N' Hurl" (about 15minutes because there is no Express Pass line), Pteranodon Flyers (slow loading ride), and Hogwart's Express. The wait for Mummy and Rip Rocket can be a little variable, but most of the time the wait with EP maxes at about 15minutes. Hogwart's Express didn't used to have an Express Line, but now it does. Still, the trains are a few minutes apart. We rarely wait very long, but it is a little like waiting for a bus. if you just miss the bus, then you wait a little longer. In the afternoon, Minions runs a side line for the stationary seats. It is ALMOST the same as the regular seats, but the wait is under 10mintues.

    3. We re-ride almost every ride if the line is short, and also sometimes use single rider when available. So if we go on say, MiB, and see the SR line queue is empty, then we'll re-ride it right away.

    4. We don't have a strict touring schedule at US, but just like WDW- if a line looks (too) long- we walk away and come back later. Summer gets warm, so arriving very close to park opening is good. If you are onsite, this is easy. Early you can get a number of rides covered- including Kong and Hulk with not much of a wait. If you don't want a long wait, then go on Minions EARLY. There's also not much you can do about Shrek. The Shrek attraction is 16minutes, and you have to see the preshow...so again - you can only see it as fast as it loads each show.

    5. Sure it costs $400 per night, BUT - 1 night (at the top three hotels)= 2 days of Express Pass. If you stay 2 nights, you get 3 days of Express Pass. This is a little like magical Disney math, but if you have 4 people per room, and consider the VALUE of Express Pass then $400 REALLY isn't a bad price to pay for EIGHT Express Passes (4 people x 2 days). Also, we LOVE Sapphire Falls (at about $160/night)! Split stays are super easy between Universal Hotels. The new food court at Aventura is also very good!

    6. Eating at Universal- if you choose well - is also a better deal than WDW, IMO. If you want super inexpensive: try one of the City Walk fast food places. We like Breadbox for sandwiches. If you want reasonably low-price, in the parks, and even some more-or-less healthy options- try one of the HP quick serves. the menus are a little bit limited, but the quality is very good. We like the Bangers N Mash and ice cream in Diagon Alley. In Hogsmeade, we like the rotisserie chicken salad instead of the "Feast." the Pulled chicken salad is ONLY listed on the SECOND menu they have at the register (it isn't on the billboard menu). You can also get fresh fruit at the cart. Did I mention the Aventura food court? We also like some of the more upscale dining. Mythos is very good (and COOL! if you want AC). Oh, if you have a car, there's a Whole Foods nearby that has all kinds of hot bar/salad bar options. Everything from seafood, to pizza, to bakery items, to BBQ....the same plaza has other options too. WF isn't cheap, but you can get some high quality groceries there.

    7. Mostly we go where we want when touring Universal with EP, with a few tiny exceptions: Hit Minions early, hit Hulk/Kong early. We DO go to HP if we have early entry- BUT - we also LEAVE HP as soon as the rest of the park opens! then return later. Early in the AM, MiB is EMPTY. For wands (if you get one) we think after dark is BY FAR the best time to us them. Tip: we don't carry the wands all day- we only bring them to the parks at night - so less lockers. While the wands are a bit $$, if you will return, they are great fun! Even if you don't get one, I suggest taking time to watch some of the spells being done. Also, the details of both HP lands are great!

    8. The only other BIG thing to know, is that you have to arrive EARLY to see the new light show on the castle. They close off the area once it reaches capacity!

    9. Strike that, the other BIG thing to know is that the water rides are REALLY wet! Most days, we skip the water rides. If we do ride them, then we make a special - more or less- visit just for them. We wear bathing suits under our clothes and something like Crocs or water tolerant sandals. Then again- many/most summer days, there is an afternoon storm or rain.
     

    maryj11

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 13, 2002
    We've gone many times in summer with express pass. We tend to go in August, which has slightly lower crowds - perhaps than July.

    1. We tend to go to Universal for several days - I don't know the exact formula- but their is a pattern to crowd flows at Universal. Roughly, I think the pattern trends towards people going to Orlando for about 7-9days. They either go to Universal, then Disney -or- they go to Disney then Universal. Weekends tend to be busier at all theme parks, but I'd say the pattern is less true at WDW. It is more true at Universal. In truth, we just go to US when we are able to go, but even in summer- there's variability in crowd levels. In short, there is a correlation between crowd levels and wait times.

    2. With EP, most days, we RARELY wait more than 10minutes for ANYTHING, except Kong, Minions, "Twirl N' Hurl" (about 15minutes because there is no Express Pass line), Pteranodon Flyers (slow loading ride), and Hogwart's Express. The wait for Mummy and Rip Rocket can be a little variable, but most of the time the wait with EP maxes at about 15minutes. Hogwart's Express didn't used to have an Express Line, but now it does. Still, the trains are a few minutes apart. We rarely wait very long, but it is a little like waiting for a bus. if you just miss the bus, then you wait a little longer. In the afternoon, Minions runs a side line for the stationary seats. It is ALMOST the same as the regular seats, but the wait is under 10mintues.

    3. We re-ride almost every ride if the line is short, and also sometimes use single rider when available. So if we go on say, MiB, and see the SR line queue is empty, then we'll re-ride it right away.

    4. We don't have a strict touring schedule at US, but just like WDW- if a line looks (too) long- we walk away and come back later. Summer gets warm, so arriving very close to park opening is good. If you are onsite, this is easy. Early you can get a number of rides covered- including Kong and Hulk with not much of a wait. If you don't want a long wait, then go on Minions EARLY. There's also not much you can do about Shrek. The Shrek attraction is 16minutes, and you have to see the preshow...so again - you can only see it as fast as it loads each show.

    5. Sure it costs $400 per night, BUT - 1 night (at the top three hotels)= 2 days of Express Pass. If you stay 2 nights, you get 3 days of Express Pass. This is a little like magical Disney math, but if you have 4 people per room, and consider the VALUE of Express Pass then $400 REALLY isn't a bad price to pay for EIGHT Express Passes (4 people x 2 days). Also, we LOVE Sapphire Falls (at about $160/night)! Split stays are super easy between Universal Hotels. The new food court at Aventura is also very good!

    6. Eating at Universal- if you choose well - is also a better deal than WDW, IMO. If you want super inexpensive: try one of the City Walk fast food places. We like Breadbox for sandwiches. If you want reasonably low-price, in the parks, and even some more-or-less healthy options- try one of the HP quick serves. the menus are a little bit limited, but the quality is very good. We like the Bangers N Mash and ice cream in Diagon Alley. In Hogsmeade, we like the rotisserie chicken salad instead of the "Feast." the Pulled chicken salad is ONLY listed on the SECOND menu they have at the register (it isn't on the billboard menu). You can also get fresh fruit at the cart. Did I mention the Aventura food court? We also like some of the more upscale dining. Mythos is very good (and COOL! if you want AC). Oh, if you have a car, there's a Whole Foods nearby that has all kinds of hot bar/salad bar options. Everything from seafood, to pizza, to bakery items, to BBQ....the same plaza has other options too. WF isn't cheap, but you can get some high quality groceries there.

    7. Mostly we go where we want when touring Universal with EP, with a few tiny exceptions: Hit Minions early, hit Hulk/Kong early. We DO go to HP if we have early entry- BUT - we also LEAVE HP as soon as the rest of the park opens! then return later. Early in the AM, MiB is EMPTY. For wands (if you get one) we think after dark is BY FAR the best time to us them. Tip: we don't carry the wands all day- we only bring them to the parks at night - so less lockers. While the wands are a bit $$, if you will return, they are great fun! Even if you don't get one, I suggest taking time to watch some of the spells being done. Also, the details of both HP lands are great!

    8. The only other BIG thing to know, is that you have to arrive EARLY to see the new light show on the castle. They close off the area once it reaches capacity!

    9. Strike that, the other BIG thing to know is that the water rides are REALLY wet! Most days, we skip the water rides. If we do ride them, then we make a special - more or less- visit just for them. We wear bathing suits under our clothes and something like Crocs or water tolerant sandals. Then again- many/most summer days, there is an afternoon storm or rain.
    Wow thanks for all the information! This was a big help. I'm glad you mentioned what rides to ride early. I know my strategy for riding Disney rides since we go there every year, but Universal I'm totally a beginner.
    Now that you mention that the express pass being included with the resort cost it makes 404.00 not quite as bad. There will be only two of us though. I still need to do some figuring.
    I have looked up some of the menus for places to eat, but really haven't decided on anything yet. Do you get the dining plan or what is your opinions on it?
     

    mickeyluv'r

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 14, 2005
    No, we don't use the dining plan at US. We used WDW's a ton back when it was good. We sued WDW's because WDW kinda locks folks into pre-booked ADR's. We dislike that aspect of WDW, but deal with it when at WDW.

    Something we love about Universal: we are free to eat when we get hungry! Much better! NO crazy ADR's half a year out.

    Option1: Quick serves. We like: Breadbox, Menchies, sushi stand. Right at park close, expect crowds.

    Option2: Walk up, but often a wait at popular times. Hotel dining's usually fine.

    Option3: Make a reservation; 24hours out is often enough.

    Option3: I'm not an expert on the table serve places in Citywalk, but I think only some take reservations. As of our visit, the Chocolate Emporium didn't take reservations. If you are staying onsite or have an annual pass- mention those because you get priority at some places. Wait can be an hour+, but you can walk some distance away: front of IoA, Citywalk shops. Option3B: send one person to put in your name, while everyone else rides one more attraction. Option 3C: dine at an off-time, like 2:30-4:30pm.

    Option4: the hotels. IMO, the new Aventura is very millennial. The food court is new, not icky old-school fast food like WDW. Aventura has multiple stations, we loved the custom Asian stir fry/soup area: healthy, tasty, inexpensive! Many others are no wait. Italian at Porto is decent. Orchid Court sushi is good, if slightly $$.

    Option 5: eat offsite. I-Drive is super tourist-trappy, but there's a ton of chain and non-chain options in the area. Many have better food+ lower prices and are just a short drive away. Just beware of the super-touristy spots. If you like almost ANY chain dining, Orlando is the chain-dining capital of the USA! (Seriously, it is a prime concept test area.)
     
    Last edited:

    maryj11

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 13, 2002
    No, we don't use the dining plan at US. We used WDW's a ton back when it was good. WDW kinda locks folks into pre-booked ADR's, which we dislike.
    Universal, we eat when we get hungry. Much better! NO crazy ADR's half a year out.

    Option1: Quick serves. We like: Breadbox, Menchies, sushi stand. Right at park close, expect crowds.

    Otion2: Walk up, but often a wait at popular times.

    Option3: Make a reservation; 24hours out is often fine.

    Option3: I'm not an expert on the table serve places in Citywalk, but I think only some take reservations. As of our visit, the Chocolate Emporium didn't take reservations. If you are staying onsite or have an annual pass- mention those because you get priority at some places. Wait can be an hour+, but you can walk some distance away: front of IoA, Citywalk shops. Option3B: send one person to put in your name, while everyone else rides one more attraction. Option 3C: dine at an off-time, like 2:30-4:30pm.

    Option 4: the hotels. IMO, the new Aventura is very millennial. The food court is new, not icky old-school fast food like WDW. Aventura has multiple stations, we loved the custom Asian stir fry/soup area: healthy, tasty, inexpensive!

    Option 5: eat offsite. I-Drive is super tourist-trappy, but there's a ton of chain and non-chain options in the area. Many have better food+ lower prices and are just a short drive away. Just beware of the super-touristy spots. If you like almost ANY chain dining, Orlando is the chain-dining capital of the USA! (Seriously, it is a prime concept test area.)
    Ok thank you!
     

    mickeyluv'r

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 14, 2005
    The other bonus of onsite is the ease of getting around. This is another area where US is much better than WDW. In general, walking from the hotels to the parks is easy, except maybe Cabana Bay and Aventura is a little further. The buses to Aventura were frequent and easy, but the boats at the 3 deluxe hotels are also pretty great, and drop guests off closer to the parks than the buses.

    It is relatively easy to make rope drop when staying at Universal.

    Sometimes walking to the parks is faster, but we often take the boats. (We're all about quick, not minimizing our walks.) Universal boats are very frequent, so the wait is usually pretty minimal: under 5minutes. Then again, the walk to HR and RP is very short. Porto and Sapphire are a little further, but not bad. Universal walkways also have pedi-cab service; but the cyclists work for $ tips.
     

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