First time to Universal

Need some help from my fellow liners…we are planning a trip to Disney/Universal in late August. This will be our first time to Universal. We are all thrill ride lovers and 2 of us can handle the 3D/4D rides pretty good. First question, is the Express pass worth it with the Velocicoaster and Hagrids Bikes not included in the express pass? Any help you can lend will be greatly appreciated. We’ll only have 1 day to split between the 2 parks. Thanks!

Have you looked to see if you can book one night at a deluxe resort? The two days of express pass value would definitely be less than the room.

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I love Universal, and, to me, the Express Pass is worth every penny. I won’t go without one.

Personal preference–many people don’t mind the lines. A good TP would help if you just don’t want to buy the pass.

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Yes! If you can fit it in your budget. If you only have 1 day at Universal then this is a “must-have”!

It’ll be worth every penny!

As mentioned, a single room at a Universal Deluxe Resort “pays for itself” w/ four ppl in they room getting the Express Pass. You get the pass on your check-in day (as early as 6am) and can use it all day on your check-out day.

It’ll be worth every penny!

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For most people that can’t have it all on vacations (budget-wise), it comes down to where you want to pay for more. We had one day at both parks 04/2021 and loved the express pass. Let us ride everything we wanted in one day.
You can be strategic to get to IOA as early as possible to potentially knock out VC and Hagrid’s.
Also, the one-use only/attraction EP was cheaper than unlimited use EP. Also consider purchasing thru a site like Undercover Tourist!

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Forgot to add, we ate dinner cheap afterward (Panda Express/BK in City Walk) and we’re happy to save money on that and spend money on EP. What gets your family the bang for your buck? Short lines/more rides? Better meal experiences? Nice resort? Etc.

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Thanks for the replies…we’re a split DVC stay for the week (Riviera and Poly) so I’m not sure about booking a room at the Universal resort but will take it under consideration for sure. As it stands right now we only have room in our plans for 1 day at Universal this go round. It’ll kinda be a “test run” for us there to see if we may prefer to spend more time there than in the other parks on future trips. Thanks for all your suggestions! Greatly appreciated!

You do not need to stay in the room- you just go and check in


I wouldn’t attempt a single day visit without it.


1 day at Universal, frankly, isn’t enough. Having Express Pass will help, but thing is, there is a lot to appreciate that you’ll miss out on other than rides.

Having said that, we’ve never gotten Express Pass for our UOR trips…but we also typically go 3-4 days. (In May 2023, we are doing 7 days.)

You should probably make a “highlights” game plan, instead…which, frankly, might make getting an Express Pass not worth it.

What are your must-dos? There are a lot of skippable rides at UOR, for sure, if you have limited time. Are you HP fans? If so, you have to plan time to “take it in”. If not so much, you can just hop in for the key rides, for example.

There are also some great rides/experiences that you might just plan to skip this go around. As much fun we think Bilge-Rat Barges are, you’ll probably do well to skip the water rides, for example.

Other rides to potentially skip for a single day:

  • Storm Force Accelletron
  • Dr. Doom Fearfall
  • Transformers (Spider-man is better, and basically the same ride)
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure (relaxing, mildly fun, but totally skippable)
  • Flight of the Hippogriff
  • Kong? (Perhaps…it is worth doing, but not a top tier ride.)
  • Everything in Seuss Landing unless you have young kids
  • The Simpson’s Ride. (Again…worth doing, but if not enough time, skip)
  • E.T. (Basically, the same as Peter Pan’s flight.)
  • Fast and Furious. (Same ride experience as Kong, but Kong is way better.)
  • Men In Black (Better than Buzz Lightyear, but if the wait is long, skippable)

Jurassic Park River Adventure is totally skippable??!!??

It’s so much fun! Robot dinosaurs, theming and thrills!!! Plus, you don’t get too wet

People complain about Universal using too many screens and this is an awesome practical ride!


I enjoy it, but when having to decide what to do or skip, this is one I would skip. If there is time, sure…do it!

You’ll leave Race thru NY w/ Jimmy Fallon off the “skip” list, but JPRA goes on it? :rofl: :upside_down_face: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

(I’m just teasing… I know it’s an incomplete list of “potential” rides)


Oh…right. That one is one I would skip. (Just skipped it when walking through the park in my mind!)


1 day is definitely not enough but it’s what we’ve got this trip. Not big Harry Potter fans so the Harry Potter theming won’t make much difference to us. We’ll try to hit as many of the big headliners as we can. Water rides are always welcome for us, especially in August :wink:

Thanks again for all the replies!

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Once you walk inside Diagon Alley you’ll change your mind! It’s stunning!!


Just remember, you will get COMPLETELY soaked on the water rides - they are no joke at UOR. I literally bought a separate set of padding for my leg braces just for the UOR water rides - something I have never considered necessary at WDW.


What is the date of your visit to UOR in late August? (Approx is fine, weekend or week day)

Are you guys able to go a whole day without taking a long break? I’m guessing you just want to hit the thrill rides and not waste much time? Quick service restaurants only?


Having just returned from a week-long trip to UOR with 5-day passes I concur while heartily with @ryan1

And unless you simply adore getting soaked, I would go so far as to add Bilge Rats and Dudley Do Right to the skip list. The rides were fun, but the soaking was no joke.

We had a long trip, so no express passes. We also were off property, so no early entry.

Our park days were mostly 6 and 7 and TP were mostly very accurate. There you can’t do one TP for both parks, however.


We don’t care a hoot about Potter and the theming and stores were lost in us. We were in and out of WWOHP except for rides and one yummy lunch.

Hagrids was worth two 80+ minute waits and I loved Gringott’s.
Butterbeer was fun to try.

IMO IOA is way cooler ride wise.
USF has a fun vibe, but a one day trip isn’t the time to soak that in.

I bet a one day visit this time would invite a longer visit in the future.