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  1. #1
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    Default Staying on property - Express Pass

    We are planning a trip to central Florida this summer. My plan is to drive down, get a hotel, spend two days at US/IoA, then move on to St. Augustine for the rest of our trip. There are six of us: 2 adults, 3 kids, and 1 infant. I'm really torn about accommodations, though. If we stay at a Universal resort, do we all get an express pass? Is it worth purchasing for kids' rides? Or since the EP doesn't even work with the main HP rides (where we plan to spend most of our time), should we not bother and stay at an off-site hotel? We aren't a $3-400/night per room kind of family, but I've never done US/IoA in the middle of June, and don't want to spend both days standing in line. Is the EP worth the cost?
    Susan o

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  3. #2
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    We did one day at Universal this past November. We were advised that we may want to skip the express pass because as you say...the Harry Potter rides aren't included and that is where we planned to be most of the time. We were also advised to stay onsite at Universal so we could get into the parks earlier. Unfortunately we couldn't do that because we were staying st Disney at POR. You might consider staying onsite at Universal for that reason.
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  4. #3
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    Not all of the on-site Universal resorts offer Express pass as part of the resort rate. If you stay in one the resorts that offer this service, all members of your party would receive the express pass.
    Linda aka: Faline
    INTERCOT Staff: Vacation Planning,Trip Reports and Disney Camping
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  5. #4
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    Personally, I think you might want to consider staying at one of the UO resorts that offers Express Pass. Although you can't use it at most of the Harry Potter stuff (with the exception of the Dragon Challenge and Flight of the Hippogriff), you might be surprised at how much you enjoy having easy access to all the rest of the attractions. You can utilize early entry to ride on the Harry Potter stuff and then the Express Pass the rest of the day for everything else.

    Another thing to consider is staying one night at the Express Pass resort, that way you can still use the Express Pass for two days (the day of arrival and checking out). St. Augustine is not that far from UO; you could easily spend a full morning and afternoon at the parks and then head over to the coast.
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  7. #5
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    Just my two cents, because I hate paying for things that I'm already paying to see: Paying for Express Pass is a waste of money.

    Although it can possibly be justified on an extremely busy day (I've unfortunately been to a few, where every single standby except Shrek is over an hour, bigger rides three hours or so), but the price is also as much as the park tickets themselves on such days. Also, you'll end up spending time waiting in line anyways because so many people also bought the Express Pass, so you're basically paying an outrageous amount of money to wait 20-30 minutes instead of over an hour on those extremely busy days. To be honest, on those days it's best to just not go at all. Of course you probably won't know it's like that until that day, but I wouldn't do more damage to your wallet by throwing even more money at Universal. If it's like that, I say relax and wait in those extremely long lines. It's not worth throwing $70 plus for each person to have an Express Pass on top of the park ticket (IMO).

    The best way to pay for Universal Express is to stay at their hotels, as others have noted. It's only for a part of the day (after 4pm, I believe), but it's completely worth it if it's busier. You can hit up the parks in the morning (which you'll probably get early access to) with a few standby waits, chill at the hotel until 4pm, then hit up the parks again. If you do this though, avoid Minion Mayhem at 4pm, everyone seems to go there all at once and you'll spend time waiting when you really shouldn't have to.

    On most days though, if you are there for a full day, you should be able to do pretty much every major attraction in a single day without Express Pass. I've done this many times, so I speak from experience and usually go on a few rides twice.
    CJR
    Past Trips: March 1998 - Contemporary Resort : March 1999 - Boardwalk Villas : March 2001 - Wilderness Lodge : March 2002 - Boardwalk Villas : March 2003 - Wilderness Lodge : March 2004 - Boardwalk Villas : March 2005 - Wilderness Lodge : June 2007 - Wilderness Lodge
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  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJR View Post

    The best way to pay for Universal Express is to stay at their hotels, as others have noted. It's only for a part of the day (after 4pm, I believe), but it's completely worth it if it's busier. You can hit up the parks in the morning (which you'll probably get early access to) with a few standby waits, chill at the hotel until 4pm, then hit up the parks again. If you do this though, avoid Minion Mayhem at 4pm, everyone seems to go there all at once and you'll spend time waiting when you really shouldn't have to.

    .
    I don't believe this is correct. If you stay at one of the three on-site hotels that offer express pass, the pass is good for the entire day of your arrival, stay, and date of departure. In the past, we drive to Orlando in one day and sleep off site (cheaper), arrive the morning we are checking in before early park hours for guests begin, and check in to the hotel. Even though you can't check in until afternoon (typically) they allow you to check in for the purpose of receiving your express pass.

    Karen

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  10. #7
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    If you stay at the hotels which give you express pass, they function just as regular express passes and are good the full day.

  11. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNNHFLTX View Post
    Another thing to consider is staying one night at the Express Pass resort, that way you can still use the Express Pass for two days (the day of arrival and checking out). St. Augustine is not that far from UO; you could easily spend a full morning and afternoon at the parks and then head over to the coast.
    I agree with this plan 100% - but keep in mind you'll need a 2-day park pass instead of just one. But a perfect stay for us (especially with kids) would be to stay onsite (let's say Hard Rock, for example). Check in early the first day - if the room's not ready, they'll keep your bags and you can still get your Express Pass tickets. Go to the park. Then take a break in the afternoon and enjoy the pool at the HR. Go back to the park in the evening. Stay overnight, and hit the parks again the next morning with Express Pass. With EP, you'll have no trouble getting through the attractions you want to do in those 2 days. Then it's off to your next destination!

  12. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by John View Post
    If you stay at the hotels which give you express pass, they function just as regular express passes and are good the full day.
    I was going to say I just booked Hard Rock Hotel for the 1st time ever and it said it included unlimited express pass for our stay, including check in & check out day
    ** Last Trip ~ January '15 Birthday Bash! Coronado Springs/Kidani Village

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  13. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MizMissy View Post
    I don't believe this is correct. If you stay at one of the three on-site hotels that offer express pass, the pass is good for the entire day of your arrival, stay, and date of departure. In the past, we drive to Orlando in one day and sleep off site (cheaper), arrive the morning we are checking in before early park hours for guests begin, and check in to the hotel. Even though you can't check in until afternoon (typically) they allow you to check in for the purpose of receiving your express pass.
    Ah, I never realized that, amazing. I know the AP's are after 4pm, I always thought the hotels were the same all this time. Makes me much more interested in them now.

    That makes my point even better then, in that the hotels are the best value for Universal Express. If you get it all day, that's a good deal, especially considering the class and scale of the hotels.
    CJR
    Past Trips: March 1998 - Contemporary Resort : March 1999 - Boardwalk Villas : March 2001 - Wilderness Lodge : March 2002 - Boardwalk Villas : March 2003 - Wilderness Lodge : March 2004 - Boardwalk Villas : March 2005 - Wilderness Lodge : June 2007 - Wilderness Lodge
    Have a Disney Day!

  14. #11
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    We found the express pass to be valuable. Saving as much time is important when you spend so much at the HP areas.
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