Express Pass Days Question

Here are our current plans:
July 3-7 @ Cabana Bay
3 Park, 4 day, park-to-park tickets
Fly into MCO July 3 @ 9:50 am
In parks 3rd-6th
Family of 4, two kids ages 11 & 12 who ride everything

I think we want to book one night at Portofino Bay to get Express passes for two days. I’m torn on which day to book this though. Initially I was planning on going to USF & IoA on the 3rd, 4th, and 6th, and going to VB on the 5th. I thought it would be nice to have a day in the middle of the vacation to go to the water park and a day at the end to go back to ride our favorites. The struggle now though is to decide on what day to book Portofino. We aren’t going to actually stay there because we really want to stay at Cabana Bay. Should we book for the night of the day we arrive so that we have EP on that day and the next, or is that a waste since we won’t get the full day the first day? I’m thinking that may be a good plan though because the 3rd and 4th are a holiday weekend and will be super busy. Any thoughts?

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I agree that the 3rd and 4th would be best to use the EP because of the extra crowds. It seems you would be able to get at least half a day in (6 hours) on the 3rd? You can focus on the thrill rides. I would consider using EP at VB on the 4th. And then you have the 5th and 6th to have a slower pace and explore more.


@bebe80 has the correct answer.
Using EP on those first couple of days is a must. We are doing something similar in May: staying a full 6 nights at CB with the extra RPR night midway through.

Just for context, we had express passes for our 1 day 2 park day on Wednesday. Crowd 8 at USF and crowd 5 at IOA. Express pass made most rides a near walk on. It was awesome.


I might be misunderstanding this, but just in case, you should know that the EP that you get with the room is not good at VB. They have a separate system. Unless something has changed very recently anyway.


Oh that’s a bummer! I have never used before.

This is correct for my stay end of May/June. I had to purchase separate EP for my VB day (do it fast cause prices jump as the date approaches!)


We’ve decide to try to book a premier hotel for our first night and stay at the premier hotel. Then we will transfer to Cabana Bay for the rest of the trip. I think having the Express Passes on the first two days which are a holiday weekend will work out well for us.
The plan is to do the following:
July 3- USF & IoA (Express Pass)
July 4- USF & IoA (Express Pass)
July 5- VB
July 6- USF & IoA

Now to just get this change done. As this is our first trip to Universal, I did not realize the struggle to get through to customer service. I’ve tried calling several times and have been on hold for over an hour each time with no response. I’m trying to see about transferring my reservation to a travel agent now and hoping that will help things to get done easier.

Thanks for your input!