Express pass or not

December 12th-15th, 2 full and 1 partial day in parks. Express pass for the whole trip, just 1 day or not really needed? Want to do as much as we can especially Hagrid, Velocicoaster and all of HP. What would you do?

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Wait until you get closer as we don’t know crowd patterns this far out. BUT historically that is among the slowest times of year.

Where are you staying?


The only problem with this advice is that if you choose to buy it, it will be more expensive the closer you get to the actual date. Sometimes 2 to 3 times as much!

On the other hand, if you buy it early, you might find it really wasn’t necessary and ends up being a waste of money!

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You’re just missing the Orlando Informer private party too. Any chance your dates are flexible?

Thanks all. Weighing if a stay at deluxe(or whatever they call it) hotel to get express included or not. We are actually local but this will be a trip for our daughter that is coming to get married in Sarasota. Not sure if we will even get a hotel room for us but will gift them a couple nights. We live about an hour away.

How many people in your party? How many over 18s? Are you planning your full park days to be consecutive?
Depending on how things work out, you may want to consider buying a seasonal pass and booking a throwaway room at a deluxe hotel. That works pretty well if your party is 5 people or less.
While APH rates are not out yet, if discount patterns from precovid years hold true, a two queen standard room at RPR would cost about 199 for one of your nights for two adults or less in a room. If you have more than 2 adults in a room, Loews charges an extra 40 dollars a night per adult. Taxes are 12.5 percent per room per night.
Then you would have express passes for the day you check in and the day you check out. If you think you won’t need the express passes, you can cancel the room 5 days in a advance. I like to think of deluxe rooms as refundable express passes.
If you do buy a seasonal pass, keep an eye on the Mannheim Steamroller concert dates, because you are blocked out of US on that day. IOA is open to you.

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Price out the hotel and then the express separate. Could save you a lot.

All adults and we would be paying for 6 of them, all days consecutive. We plan on getting AP’s for the 3 of us that live here. I’m making spreadsheets of costs but there are so many variables! Also another wrench in plans is the newlyweds are from AZ and are night owls so no way we are getting them in the parks early!

Do AP discounts on hotels usually happen in December? (I know this year is no a normal year :wink:

Yes, there are normally AP discounts for December & they’re significant ( e.g., HRH standard room rack rate close to $500/night but got it for just over $200/night.)

Expecting demand will be huge this year at that time so I’m already stalking AP rates for our Xmas trip, LOL. Looking back, I see Ibooked last year’s in August.

Thanks that’s a great discount! Will AP be activated when purchased or on first use? So should I buy them sooner to start watching hotel discounts if we most likely won’t be using them until December?

Really? That’s alarming. I want to buy EP’s for my August trip, but only when I feel confident the trip is actually happening. Right now the price for the dates I’m going to be there is not too bad. But if they jack it up the closer it gets . . . that’s a bad situation.

APs activate on first day of use. You don’t need the AP to book the AP rate - just at some point during your stay - but you DO need to book the AP rate when you initially reserve the room. They sell out rooms allocated to AP & it’s not something you can do at check in.

Is it like WDW where I book a room before discounts are released I can add the discount later?

You can do that but will have to call to get the discount applied. I despise talking on the phone - although UO guest services has been fantastic the few times I’ve done so - so I just book a room with the discount, give it a few days to appear on my credit card, then go in & cancel the original non- discounted booking.

They definitely do. They can go up to $300 per day or more.

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We really loved having express pass, but we were there Thanksgiving week and only had 1.5 park days. The price did basically double our price, but it was worth it. Sometimes we wanted to go through a queue to see the stuff there, such as in Forbidden Journey.

you can rebook, you can cancel with no penalty up to a week before your trip

With six people, you will need two rooms at a deluxe hotel. With three adults per room, the APH rate for a standard 2 queen room would be about 275 per room per night with taxes.
If you only do one night, you can get express passes for the day you check in and the day you check out. That works about to about 46 dollars per person per day for express passes.
If you were on the fence about getting express passes, you could book the rooms and cancel a week out. If you wanted to get the express passes anyway, this would be a way to get them much cheaper than paying for them straight.
If you buy the express passes now, per person, the EP cost is about 120 dollars per person, per day.

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So I’ve never used a TA before but decided to get a quote. Do any of you know if I book with them now for December then a better AP rate comes out between now and then will they have an easier time switching to that rate?

My TA was easily able to switch out my reservation for an AP rate in April. She was keeping an eye out for them and she booked as soon as they dropped.