Do we need a plan with Express Pass?

For our Universal trip we are staying at Hard Rock one night to get Express Pass Unlimited for our family of 5. Since their system works so much differently than Genie Plus, can we actually not make a touring plan? Are the waits in Express Pass lives something I need to plan around or do you generally just wait 10-15 and get on every ride? (I know some rides are excluded). We’ll be there two days but not full days and my kids mostly want to see Harry Potter.

We’ll be at Disney in the days before and I’m really hoping I can give my brain and phone a break while at Universal!


I know what park I will go to, what attractions I want to go on, and I have a plan for Hagrid’s. Others might also create touring plans, I do not.


Even without Express Pass, we have never found a touring plan necessary (or really even terribly useful) at UOR. You can play around with a plan ahead of time to get some sense of wait times…but once in the parks, pick your starting point and go! :slightly_smiling_face:


You don’t need a detailed plan. But if your trip is during a high crowd time, it’s still good to know when to avoid certain high demand attractions because the waits will increase. You can get a nice visual by looking at recent charts:

Also, plan on the Express lane waits on average as being a little longer than WDW’s Lightning Lane. And if you do a high demand ride at a peak time, you could wait 30+ minutes.

As far as Hagrid’s. Ride very early, between 11am-1pm, or late.


Create and take a plan with you. You won’t regret that.

Folks told me to take the posted wait and cut it in half for an estimation of express pass wait time. And that was probably pretty close.

But it is not g+ 10 minute wins all over the place.

I got very frustrated and disappointed when the group would pick a second or third attraction with 60 minute waits, even being another 30 for us, felt plebian, not liner like. Where if I’d planned better, it could have been 25 minute waits then cut in half.

Set your expectations low, and then you’ll feel the wins :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


It’s a good guide to avoid crowds in other ways too, not just queue lines.


Thanks all, super helpful as always!

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Thanks for this question!

Do Kings Cross wait times really get as high as 80 mins?!

Are there attractions other than Hagtid’s that don’t have express pass? What about shows?

Sorry, this thread got my brain thinking!

Yeah after 2pm in the busy seasons, everyone wants to switch parks and finish at Islands/Hagrids. If you see waits at King’s Cross 60+, you’re better off walking entrance to entrance. Even if you have Express.

Just Pteranodon Flyers, but you can only ride this if you have a younger child.

Bourne has Express. Horror Makeup and Animal Actors do not.


Thanks!!! Very helpful!

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Don’t I remember they used to have EP?


Good catch. On the website it is not on the EP list, but it is on the app. So I’m guessing it’s still available.


I haven’t tried it but as a Comcast subscriber there is preferred seating for Animal Actors available in the Comcast reward portal.


When I had EP for the Horror Make Up show, I was let in to the theater first. However, it probably only makes a difference during the busy season. I went when it was quiet, and there wasn’t a line outside, just TMs clicking people into the building. Similar for the Animal Actors show.

I think that if going during busy times, and the queue is nearly full when try to enter, someone with EP will probably be allowed to enter the building/theater first and may take the spot of someone who didn’t have EP but otherwise would have been allowed it.


Oh yes you can! This is the best thing about Universal! Enjoy and just do what you want when you want except Hagrids. That’s the only one you need to have a rope drop plan, or I think they said during the lunchtime hour, and I like hopping in with a few minutes left of park hours.

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I used EP for Horror Makeup Show during Spring Break and it came in handy. Got dead center 1st row :slight_smile:


Thanks all! Just made up a touring plan and waits were ridiculously low without the Express Pass added in so I’m hoping we’re good as long as we know where we’re going / what we want to do. Crowd levels are only predicted at 2/3ish.

Do you think kids would like/appreciate the Horror Makeup Show? I can’t remember much about it from last time I went years ago! Kids are 11, 9 and 6) We definitely want to catch Bourne.


11 and 9 probably OK if not squeamish. 6 is a bit young.

It’s as much a comedy / variety show as it is a “horror” show. They will do fake blood effects and a bit of “adult” humor. IMHO - Your six year old will either be bored or fascinated.

Bourne is a “must-do”. There are explosions & gunfire. If your kids have any issue with those you may need to prepare them!

I’m a bit late to the conversation. I go to UOR frequently because of how easy it is to navigate and enjoy the parks. With Express Pass (UXP) you do not “need” to make a plan. I still make one for all my trips. I use it as a checklist to see if I can accomplish everything I want - especially if I want to see a lot of shows.

I’d suggest making a TP without the UXP just to see what you can get done… Plus, it will help you familiarize yourself with the park layout & attractions!

I would say you’ll only wait 33% - 50% of the posted wait time when using UXP at most - often less.

Please ask anything & as often as needed. There’s a core group of UOR Liners here, myself included, that LOVE talking UOR!!

EDIT - I would STRONGLY advise you “play” with the UOR App. It has a lot of great features, but sometimes it’s not intuitive if you need more than the very basic information.

I think the UOR App does a great job - once you know how to use it. There’s far less to learn than MDE and IMHO it is easy to use after a bit of practice!!

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Kids probably would enjoy Horror Makeup. Probably the “scariest” part for those ages is a video montage of old horror effects for which I still encourage my 11 and 9 to avert their eyes (I think they do) and there are some fake knives and blood effects, plus a jump scare—all done in humorous way, but can be upsetting for the squeamish or jumpy.

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