Express Pass Needed Right Now?

So, I’m looking at going to UO at the end of July and I’m wondering about the need for the Express Pass. It doesn’t look like right now the parks are very busy but I’m not sure if that’ll change once Disney reopens and possibly more people visit Orlando? I’m trying to decide between Loews Saffire Falls and RPR. RPR is about $700 more but that obviously includes Express Pass. Do you think I’ll need that or should I just save the money and stay at a less expensive resort? Thanks for the replies – I’m a UO newbie!

We’re going next week and staying at Hard Rock (with EP) for 2 reasons.

EP drastically reduces the number of VLPs you need to get (only Hagrid’s, I think). Even with the low crowds that are being reported, it’s still less time in standby lines, at least for rides that offer a standby line that you don’t need a VLP for. Obviously, time savings may not be as drastic as pre-COVID, but still a time savings.

Plus, the EP hotels are closest/most walkable to the parks, so you don’t have to deal with buses or boats if you don’t want to. One less queue to have to wait in and try to socially distance in! Some of the cheaper hotels look like they’ve had quite long lines/waits for buses to the parks.

RPR is the longest walk of the 3 EP hotels, and Sapphire Falls is also walkable…so for those particular hotels, less of a difference, it looks like.


IMHO - It’s a really personal decision. It may come down to if you are a “resort / pool” person.

I went on the USF trip site and the difference in price for a family of 4, to stay at RPR vs. the Endless resorts was $925. The difference for RPR vs. LSF was $440

For me that $440 might not be too much more to “upgrade”, if I like lounging by the pool. However, I’m not a resort / pool person. I’m going to be in the parks & CityWalk all day / night! So, I’m a “value” guest. I’m not going to spend the extra $925 in advance.

This is because if I get there and the CLs are low then I “wasted” $925. (Sure, you’ll still get on faster - but you could’ve used that money for souvenors / CityWalk dining or even bills at home)

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We always stay at an express pass giving hotel at UOR. I wouldn’t really consider not staying at one. It makes for such a wonderful vacation, you just show up and ride whatever, whenever. We always go during busier times though, so they are always needed. Once you have them once, you will always want it despite crowds. Plus the hotels are lovely. We have a stay booked 7/27-30 at Portofino, still not sure if we are going to FL, but we definitely want express if we do go. I think crowds will start to increase with WDW opening.


I thought Royal Pacific was the shortest walk?

Hard Rock is the shortest walk, then Royal Pacific, and finally Portofino.


I always get Royal Pacific and Portofino mixed up!


Can you walk from Cabana Bay? That looks like an awesome hotel.

You can. It’s about 20 minutes long.

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