I’m staying in a Disney World hotel but planning on Lyfting over to Universal for 2 days. Since the crowd levels are predicted to be 8, I’m planning to buy Express Passes online. However, when I tried to buy them for the day I wanted, there were only Will Call or Pick Up at Merchandise location options. I thought I would be able to print them at home to save time? How long would the lines be to pick up at the Will Call kiosk at the front entrance? Has anyone ever done it?
I haven’t. But an 8 at Universal isn’t equivalent to an 8 at WDW, the park will probably be less crowded than you expect. I’d personally wait until you get there and if you feel you need it on the day, you can buy it there and then. Assuming you haven’t bought them already - it doesn’t sound like you have.
I would wait too if you haven’t bought them yet!
It’s often cheaper to book a hotel that gets the Express Pass included, depending on party size of course. Hard Rock will let you put 5 people in a standard room. One night will get you 2 days of Express Passes for a group of 5. If you buy the Express Pass, you can get it just about anywhere. Just inside the gates the line is typically not long.
I’ve thought hard about switching over to an Universal hotel for the last few days of our trip to get the Express Passes for “free”. However, I would hate to give up Magic Express to the airport, not to mention Disney resort airline check in and baggage drop off. If it was just me and the hubby, I’d switch in a heartbeat. But having the above perks is soooo useful with my kids around.
That’s why I do it in the middle of my trip.
I appreciate the heads up about crowd level 8 being not as bad as at DW. However, I’m super nervous about chancing there being no more Express Passes on the day of since we’re planning to pack in both Universal parks in 1 day. And my kids are spoiled by my nifty FP skills and use of EMH and TPs so they never have really waited more than 15min for any DW attraction. Plus, I’ve heard that many more attraction queues in Universal are outdoors (not ideal in blazing August heat. ) I thought having EPs ahead of time would make for a better experience.
The idea of packing and unpacking my family repeatedly to go back and forth between resorts is giving me nightmares.
I know they say they sell out but it seems that may not be true?
I’ve been loads of times without them (always late July-mid August) and can’t think of any line where we’ve been in the sun. There might be one or two. Also never had long waits. It’s easy enough to pack an overnight bag, we keep our room at Disney so all we need is shorts and T-shirt for the next day, toothbrushes deodorant and sun cream. And I agree with @PrincipalTinker that they don’t sell out. Possibly at Christmas I suppose, but not on a CL8 day.
It’s your trip though, and if you want to do both parks in 1 day (you said you had 2 days in the initial post??) then the hotel wouldn’t work and you’d miss a lot without Express pass.
We’re doing 1 day at both parks with the whole family and then just DD10 and I will go back the second day to concentrate on just Harry Potter stuff. DS6 says he’d rather do Disney stuff while we do HP stuff the second day. However, I’m thinking there’s a 50-50 chance he’ll change his mind after that day at Universal. And then I’ll most likely have to upgrade their 1 day ticket to 2 days.
Planning for Universal is so stressful cuz I don’t know it!! Is this how most people feel when planning Disney??
I am a certifiable Disney freak but Universal can be so much fun!
It’s really not that bad. We go to Orlando for 11 nights at the end of March/beginning of April every year. We always do at least a triple split it seems. Last year we were at AKL 7 nights, 1 night at an inexpensive hotel right by Universal, then 3 nights onsite at Universal at the Hard Rock. In just 2 weeks we will be in 4 places over 11 nights. The first night is at Sapphire Falls (Universal, but no express pass) as I booked it for free with Chase points which saved me about $400 not staying deluxe that night. Then 2 nights at Portofino for the included express pass for our 3 days. Then we rented points at Boardwalk Villas for 5 nights, and last we have 3 nights at Caribbean Beach. I have teenagers which maybe makes it easier. I just pack appropriately for the splits. If you book 1 night at Universal during your WDW time, you can just pack a small bag and leave everything else at WDW. I would not go to Universal without the express passes in crowds of 8 or higher. This will be our 5th trip with similar levels (plus 1 trip with 10’s over Thanksgiving), and the standby waits are ridiculous to me. I am always amazed just how many people are in the standby lines. But we too are spoiled, and won’t wait standby if there is another option (which at WDW is many FPP or paid things like EMM). We also are from the West Coast and like to sleep in, so we don’t go to the early entry at Universal anymore. There is no need with express, it is so much more relaxing than how we have to tour Disney to get it all done. I promise you won’t regret having express!
People always say it’s much less stressful and I agree! It doesn’t take much planning. But anything you don’t know is stressful because you worry you’re doing it wrong or missing something.
Exactly! I’m so used to knowing everything about DW It’s very humbling to be planning for Universal.
I’m now seriously considering booking one night at one of the Universal onsite hotels. You guys are right- I think 1 night will easily be cheaper than paying out of pocket for 5 Express Passes (or 10, if the rest of my family decide they want to stay for the second day).
But say I book for a Tuesday night stay, with the idea of getting Express Passes to use that Tuesday and Wednesday. If I take a Lyft crazy early to the Universal hotel that morning (ie 6am), will I be able to register at the Universal hotel and pick up our Express Passes even if it will most likely be before check-in time?
Btw, I love this forum! People are so helpful!!!
Yes you would be able to check in at that time, get your temporary room key/Express pass and leave your bags with Bell Services.
Done! Just booked one night at the Loews Royal Pacific, which was still way cheaper than buying several Express Passes. I think DD10 and I will stay overnight to get an early start on our HP day the following day using Early Entry. Thanks to everyone for the tips!
Hooray! I think you will be very, very happy you made this choice!