To Express Pass or Not


We will be attending for 4 days in June. We don’t want to spend our entire time waiting in line. We are doing 2 days at Islands of Adventure and two days at Univeral Studios. Paying out of pocket for the express pass does not make sense. It’s $2000 for 5 people for 4 days. Staying at Loews resort vs another resort is a difference if about $1200. What advice do you have?


What are CL like when you are going?

We loved the EP. I could probably never go again without, totally spoiled now.


I would never buy it, we are perfectly happy without it, but you do need to plan. I really wanted to stay at HRH so we did, but the express pass wasn’t really a factor in that. We did one night/two days. But we also did 2 day trips from WDW without express pass and didn’t have long waits. And we’ve been lots of times before with no express pass. We do use single rider lines to do rides multiple times.


CL? We are going June 8-11


CL = crowd level.


Ok I took a look and they are 5-7 for those days. So not crazy and you could go without as long as you have a good plan.


You could stay at an Universal resort for just one night and get two days of EPs. Would that reduce the cost significantly?


We’ve considered this. Or maybe even 3 stays fit for EP’s


I think that if you stayed one night at a Universal hotel and took advantage of the two days of included EPs, you would have plenty of time to relax and enjoy the parks. On your 2 days without EPs you could revisit your favourite rides or explore Diagon Alley etc.


If you can afford it, the Universal Deluxes are great. The EP is the best perk, but the location is great too … short walk or shuttle boat to the parks and CitiWalk. An compared to the WDW deluxes the Universal deluxes are much more reasonably priced for what you get.


Make personalized TPs for each day and Optimize them, specifying that you will not have EP. if you are going to get everything done that you want to without EP and can deal with the waits, then you are all set.


Where do I do this?



I have two thoughts. First, could you do it without EP with four days? Yes, you could. Would you spend a lot of time waiting in lines? I believe you would, but if you are okay with that, given the pricey alternative, go for it. But be sure to work up a touring plan, as @brklinck mentioned. My second thought is that if you want a fairly carefree, go where you want, when you want experience, I would get the EP. @Welsh_Dragon’s suggestion of staying for just one night and getting the two days of EP is a great one because you will have two days to try everything out with shorter lines and then determine what might be worth it to you to wait in line for again on those other days. I have done trips both ways and had fun both ways, but I am totally spoiled by EP and pretty much always think it is worth it.


I have been at the Portofino Wednesday 2/13 thru Saturday 2/16. If you can look at past CLs maybe this will help. On Wednesday I don’t think we needed Express pass but we got into every ride faster than the regular line. Usually less than 5 minutes. It got progressively worse. Friday all the lines were 90 minutes with express pass cutting it down to 30 minutes max.


We ended up getting 2 season passes and 1 preferred pass last June. Stayed on site at Royal Pacific 4 nights. King suite with the Passholder discount they released for same price as rack rate Queen. Even with 3ppl (2 adult, 1 child) the pricing was less vs 5 day 3 park admission, Cabana Bay, and Express pass purchase. The crowds got worse midday so we headed back to the resort and returned at night. We had 15 minute waits with the Express, so it was worth it to avoid a midday crowd and heat.