First timer trying to maximize time and minimize $ in December

Excited that I finally got my husband to agree to a Universal Orlando trip, but it’s a quick one at peak time. We (me and DH 50+ and DD18) plan to arrive on December 26 and stay for 3 nights, though we will only hit the parks on 2 days (not Volcano Bay). Because we only have two park days and I know the crowds will be huge, I think it’s important to get the express pass so I booked a room at HRH and will add park tickets later once I’m 100% certain that we will go. The cost is a bit alarming so to keep my husband on board I’m considering a lesser expensive hotel, but by the time I add in the express pass it seems like I might as well spring for the Hard Rock. What do you recommend?

I will, of course, use a touring plan, but if anyone has any other tips on how to make the most of our days (and budget) I welcome the advice.


Yes, staying at one of the three hotels that offers express pass will increase your hotel cost, but save you money overall if you were planning on purchasing express pass.

I think that is a great plan.


We’re spending one night at Hard Rock (Dec 28) and hitting the park the next day. With a group of four, the room basically pays for the express pass even at the insane price over the holidays!


Yes. Even though you will have UXP, with a high CL day, a plan helps to avoid some longer waits on certain attractions.

I recommend Orlando Informer to save a couple bucks on the park tickets.


Arrive early, take use of EPA, follow a plan.


Since this is your first visit and it’s during the busiest time of the year, I’m going to highly recommend using UXP.

Currently, the Express Pass (UXP) is $329 per day / person for the dates you are at UOR. (This does NOT include park tickets!)

That’s $987 for three people just for the Express Pass ONLY!

The rates I’m finding at all the Premier Hotels are $700 - $753…

If you are staying at HRH the rate is currently $752 per night. If you take into account the value of the UXP, it’s like you are “saving” $235 / night for the room.

I, typically, do not endorse getting UXP as it is so expensive. However, it WORKS! You will rarely wait more than 33% of the posted wait - never more than 50%…

I get so disappointed when someone goes when it’s too busy and doesn’t have a good time. UXP will mitigate this…


I think you could save $235 plus $987 (two days UXP for one night deluxe stay)?


Great point…you get two days of express pass for one night at the hotel!!


Express passes? Check.
Using a touring plan? Check.
Rope dropping? Check.

You’re good to go.


A way to save money for only two park days is a split stay. Do the night at HRH between your two park days as long as they are back to back days and you get XP both days around that night. Then any other nights you can stay somewhere cheaper. It’s a pain but if money saving is important it’s an option

Also I believe RPR is cheaper than Hard Rock as well but still has express

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