Hard Rock Hotel and Express Pass

Hi All! We have been to Disney many times but never to Universal! We are staying at the Hard Rock Hotel for the early admission and express pass. I’m trying to read everything I can here about Universal! I did not book a “package” so I need to purchase my tickets separately. How does it work to get the express pass and early admission? Do they give that to you upon check-in? Sorry if this has been asked and answered before.

Thanks :slight_smile:

Yes when you check in you get your room key (even if it’s 6am and your room isn’t ready). That is what you use for both early entry and express pass.

Thank you! So excited!!! We’re heading over after a day at Disney but I have a feeling my kids are going to be so excited and want to check out the parks that night…especially since they are open until 10pm!

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I hope you all have an amazing time, we love it!

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You will have an amazing time! Just a heads up. The Express Passes do not work during early entry. They kick in at regular park opening time. People who don’t know this beforehand are often annoyed.

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Adding another question. We’re staying at HRH and I read somewhere that they need to take your picture or check your EP picture every time you use the EP (or something like that, I can’t find the post again). How does the EP work when you use it at rides? What is the process like?

In the line where Disney would have a second tap point, you stand in front of a camera and it takes your pic/compares it to the ones you’ve had taken earlier in the day to make sure you haven’t given your room key to someone else. Takes about 20 seconds.

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Thanks!

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When we went last week, they scanned each person’s room key before allowing us close to the ride. On rides that had the facial recognition, we had to look at the camera and wait (usually around 5 seconds) before it pinged green.

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Thank you @missoverexcited and @rebeecky! I have another question. They just announced the early opening for Universal for my dates 4/14-4/17. Do you think IOA will open early too? I was kind of counting on it to enjoy some of the park before the RD crowds.

Also, how important do you think Ollivander’s is? I’m the biggest Harry Potter fan. DS11 will be into it as well but nowhere near as much as me :smile: I was thinking about getting the wands before we go so we can do the spells.

it’s a pretty good guess that only USF will be open for early entry, but if that’s a heavy spring break time, they may add IOA. As far as Ollivander’s, I think it is a neat show to see once, but I don’t feel it’s imperative if you want to spend your time elsewhere. If you have the wands beforehand, I think it’s much more useful to do spells during early entry.

First trip, and for the annual pass hotel savings (pays for itself), bought an annual pass through Universal and three 2 day park-to-park passes from Undercover Tourist. So do I print these things out at home, or do I go to a ticket window the first day or what? I’ve heard that there MAY be a kiosk at the Hard Rock Hotel where we are staying.

There is a kiosk at Hard Rock, we get ours there.

I will be there for 2 days in April. The first day is a crowd level 10 and USF has EE at 8:00 AM. I am driving 2 hours to get there that day and I will have to check in first so I can get the room key for EP. I doubt I will get there in time for EE. It is our first time so I really want to have the whole Ollivander’s experience and both of my children want wands to do spells. Since we will be there 2 days, do you think I should go to Ollivander’s the first day in order to maximize use of the wands or do you think it would be better to wake up early the 2nd day and get the wands during EE and do spells then? I am not sure if I am making sense :smiley:

If you are there for two full days, my suggestion would be to actually do the wand show late in the day on your first day. That way, you can focus on rides earlier in the first day, go to the wand show later in the day, when it won’t be as crowded as midday, and then have the wands ready to go for spells during early entry the next day. I think that maybe your best use of time.

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Thank you! That makes a lot of sense.

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Also the wand boxes don’t fit easily into the free lockers. The box for the Elder Wand would only fit at an angle making it difficult to store anything else in the locker.

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That is true! For anyone reading this who might not already know, the best way around this is to bring only the wand into the park with you, with the tip covered by a small pencil eraser. That is how I carry my wand around all the time and it has fit everywhere and never been damaged.

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My last two trips, I brought cinch bags of lands ends. My wand fit in easily and the bag fit into the free lockers with little trouble. When I want easy access to the wand, I put it in a ponytail holder wrapped several times around my lanyard just above where my tickets were.

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Another great idea!