WWYD: Express Pass or better hotel (doing only HP) Dec. 21?

My husband and 10yo are planning to do 1 day at UOR (Wizarding World/ HP things only) Dec. 21, which is predicted to be an 8 in crowds (up from a 7 the previous day, so only the start of peak season). My 4yo and I will be staying at the hotel that day to rest up and swim, etc., since we are going to MK the day before and we are trying to save $$.

My preference would be to stay one more night at our hotel near MK so it’s less transition time for the little one…plus I wanted to bump up to a higher floor with views of DW fireworks for that last night at our same hotel. I can do all that for $100 or so less than a night at Universal (Grand Pacific). HOWEVER, that means my husband and daughter won’t have the Universal Express pass or early entry. (Frankly, I’m not sure they’d make the early entry, because they’d have to Uber from our other hotel, check in to the Grand Pacific to get the early passes, and then arrive by 7:30 am…after a full day at MK! I’m not sure they’ll make it.)

In reading about Universal Express, it seems like there is not that much it gets you in the HP worlds. Is it really, truly worth it, or should we just stay one more day in our original hotel? My thought is that there might not be much for me and the 4yo to do besides the lazy river (which our other hotel has too) at the Grand Pacific…whereas we have family that would be able to visit us and hang out at the other hotel near MK.

Your thoughts? Many thanks.

Oops, it’s Royal Pacific, not Grand Pacific. :slight_smile:

I just want to correct a couple things so you have an accurate picture to make your decision. 1. I don’t believe Royal Pacific has a lazy river, but you can pool hop over to Cabana Bay, which does. 2. All of the rides in the Harry Potter areas now accept EP, so the benefit will apply there as well.

That being said, if the husband and 10 year old are only planning on doing Harry Potter stuff, making a TP should enable them to get all that done in one day without EP. If they want to see more than just Harry Potter, I really feel that the EP will be invaluable. The other thing to keep in mind is that they can always buy EP ala carte when they get to the park that day if they determine they need it. That would then enable you to stay at the WDW hotel with family, and everyone would be happy!

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Thanks, @rebeecky, that is really helpful input!

No problem! Good luck in your decision making!

EP is TOTALLY WORTH IT - no question. And I believe that now it is accepted in HP - so double check your sources. I don’t know your situation etc. However if I fully understand the situation MY preference would be:

Check out of Poly
Check into RP the night before they want to go to US that way they can take advantage of early entry and the Express Pass

There are a lot of things to do at US other than the parks. The hotels are fun and you can pool hop. I don’t know of any US hotels that have a lazy river. We have changed hotels with little ones and it is really not a big deal to do.
The other thing you can do is just stay where you are and have your husband / daughter get a night at RP by themselves.

TRUST ME - I am very budget conscious when we travel - however the EP is well worth it IMHO. We were able to see a ton of things without waiting

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Hi Nicola

We did a midnight transition from DW (WL) through to US: Royal Pacific via Uber with a 4 year old after a day of MK touring too.

To be honest, she was passed out by about 2 seconds after we left the park and was dead asleep when we got back to the hotel too. It was fairly easy to grab our gear from guest services and all pile into the Uber for the trek.

Everyone was super helpful at RP and it was honestly a lot less stress with her being passed out in the pram/car than if she was awake and bugging us. Even checking in late at night was super easy and we were in the room within 5-10 minutes, a quick drop off in the bed and we were set. No tears, no stress.

Every kid is different however and that might not really work for you guys. As for the US fastpass, when we went in April we did find that it was relatively useless due to the low crowd numbers as 80% of the rides were really short lines, but having it did facilitate quicker touring and made not having a plan for US really really easy. Not to mention experiencing the Harry Potter stuff with early access without a large crowd hustling and bustling around you was really awesome, especially for photo opportunities

Also the pool area in RP was really cool with the water ship for the kiddos

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FYI your room key is your express pass now. Simply check in and you have your EP. I second value of EP on high crowd day. But perhaps figure out what they want to do/experience and run a touring plan with and without EP to estimate personal value to your family.

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Room key wasn’t the universal fast pass in July at royal pacific

We had to go and register on a machine and have our photos taken by it after we checked into get the universal pass (the machine was next to guest services)

Then we put the cards in lanyards round our necks. With the theme park tickets in with them

It was room keys when we visited previously though

Everyone needs to take both with them to the park as you need to show your room key to gain early park access

I think it just changed for good last month. I know they have tested it in the past.

Changed for good back to room key or the photo pass?

Room key.

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Yay! One less thing to keep track of!

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Yes that’s better

IT was room key last month. So much easier! A nice plastic card vs the the terrible picture on the paper card.