Universal wants to limit the number of Express Pass purchases so those who do purchase Express (and those who stay at their deluxe resorts) will have short express lines.
Genie+ is much cheaper, but (a) more limited (in practice) in terms of how many rides you can use it for in a day, and (b) comes with more inconveniences and uncertainty like (1) waking up at 7:00 am to book, (2) continued distraction of using your phone to search and book LLs during the day, (3) decisions and trade offs as to which rides to book LLs for and at which time, and (4) a bunch of rules to learn (like the 2 hour rule).
G+ is a headache to use and deal with. While we are all pros at using the App, it’s a nuisance and takes me out of my trip. Also, G+ is so cheap that everybody buys it. Thus, making it not so “express” because those queues get filled
UXP - I give them a lot of money, or get it free with a premier hotel stay, then I can walk into any ride or show and know I’m only going to wait about 1/3 of the posted standby wait or less. No bothering with my phone, waking up super early or trying to get a G+ for “anything” on the side of the park I’m located in and having to refresh and pray.
I get that it costs a lot, but that actually limits how many people buy it. Thereby making those queues truly “express”
Yep! The “break even” point for the UXP on a premier hotel is four people. If you have at least that many people I always recommend staying at one of those hotels. Plus, they are all beautiful and have the best dinning over anywhere at UOR.
I never had to get on my phone at Universal, all day long. I went to what I wanted when it was nearby and convenient and it’s a perk of staying in the premier hotel. When you realize Disney is even charging the same/more for their deluxe hotels without that perk, it becomes a no brainer. You can sleep in and not worry. You don’t have to rush to things to make certain cutoffs. Literally every attraction/show is covered except one, Hagrids.
Compared to at Genie, I was on my phone all day long, draining the battery, unable to spend as much time gabbing it up with my mom (we had way deeper conversations in Universal) and you have to feel pressured and rushed to get to things within a certain time frame. You have to be up at 12am to buy it and 7am to book your first experience taking away from getting your full 8 hours of sleep. You have to walk more bouncing around the park. You have to constantly be on your phone waiting for some rides to get late enough for you to book them. It’s a time suck, it’s not relaxing. You pay more to work harder. You have to research and learn how to use it and ideally other tools that help you get drops, etc. You may only get to ride one or two rides with it. Even if you got to do everything with it that is included it’s still not all the attractions/experiences in the park that are covered.
*And another, you can reride things with it at Universal if you get the Unlimited (or stay in the hotel) and not at Disney.
**One really frustrating thing with me with ILL was I wanted to rebook a ride so I wasn’t so time pressed and I couldn’t. Not an issue at Universal. I’ll go when it’s convenient.
It’s a bit of an academic question, bc UXP isn’t offered at WDW, and I prefer G+ to nothing, especially with Liner wisdom
While it’s true that the last minute retail price of UXP can be $300+, no Liner should be paying that. In March ‘22, we effectively paid $75/pp via a dummy room at HRH for 5, for 2 days’ use. It’s a better deal now bc Velocicoaster’s included.
I actually enjoy the logistical challenges of G+. It’s a never ending data analysis and operational optimization exercise. But I get that most people don’t, and UXP is a lot simpler to use.
Worth noting is that LL waits tend to be a bit shorter than UXP (10-15 mins vs 20-30 mins).
I would counter that this is at peak times during peak hours. Like after 11am for example. But yes, that can be true. The only one that’s ever really gotten me was Dudley Do Right. We wait about 30 minutes every time for that ride with EP for some reason. Most of the other rides I haven’t ever waited 20-30 minutes for regularly on any of my trips with Express except when I went on a 10 during covid when they were understaffed.
Granted there is some variability (and little readily available data).
According to TP’s analysis, LL is shorter than UXP but they don’t quantify it much beyond saying UXP is usually <20 mins but can reach 45+ mins on some attractions during peak hours. Concur that Ripsaw was longish, ~30 mins with UXP in the afternoon in early March last year. But we got lucky the next day - it shut down late afternoon due to lightning, and came back up half an hour before closing - we rode it 3x walk-on! One of our favorite rides.
For my family, we much prefer Express. We only will use it if we are at a premier hotel, though. Luckily we’ve gotten very good prices for the premier bc we can get a military discount, and don’t need a weekend stay. It has been about a $300 upcharge vs Cabana Bay or something like that, so for 2 days Express (check in and check out) for 4-5 people, very much worth it.
G+ is a LOT of micromanaging on the phone. It’s OK for me, but I think it raises the frustration level so much at the parks and stresses out typical guests and CMs having to explain the system.
I agree with most of the comments - I always stay at the deluxe hotels at Universal to get express pass included and have found really good deals with my AP discount or through MVT (even during the ever popular President’s Week which is our school vacation week here). I don’t need to get up early, I don’t need to keep staring at my phone and praying for something to pop up, I don’t need to plan out my entire day down to the last minute. After doing Disney for so many years, I thought there was no way Universal was as easy as people say it is…but it was 100% true. I’ve been going back to Disney finally because my niece is now working there and I’ve been able to save a few bucks that way but I 100% prefer express pass.
In addition to what others have said, there are some behind-the-scenes aspects as well.
One of the reasons Universal limits EXP is because the more people who use EXP, the longer the standby lines would become. Keeping the numbers down on EXP means the standby lines continue to move as well, leading to overall better guest experience for even those who don’t pay for EXP. But because they want to limit numbers, it means the price-point is significant…even if you are getting it “free” by staying at one of their deluxe resorts…those resorts are SIGNIFICANTLY more expense, so you are still ultimately paying quite a lot.
G+, on the other hand, Disney actually has incentive for their standby lines to become longer. The longer the standby lines, the more likely people will want to fork over money for G+. So, effectively, Disney is actually creating the problem they are supposedly trying to solve…that is, they are causing longer standby lines by offering G+, which then creates a feedback loop into people paying for G+. They sell it cheaper in hopes of selling it MORE, and when they sell it more, standby lines grow, thereby causing more people to want to pay for G+.
The trickiness of G+, however, is that they still limit how useful it is due to all the return time snafus (as others have mentioned).