Which Park Is Better: Diagon Alley Or Hogsmeade
If youre looking for Harry Potter rides, the Hogsmeade area in Islands of Adventure has three of them compared to just one ride at the Diagon Alley area in Universal Studios Florida . On the other hand, Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida has more shops and restaurants.
In the end, though, theyre both great and it probably comes down to personal preference. Do you have a favorite scene or location from the Harry Potter books? If so, you may find yourself drawn to one area more than another, but you should absolutely experience both parts of the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando.
Details Matter At The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter
The attention to detail is what I found fascinating about the entire Harry Potter experience. The details are everywhere in the paint, walls, lights, doorknobs. It all looks so realistic, and its an entirely immersive attraction if it werent for all the Muggles wandering around, you would honestly think that you are in the movies.
Any fans of the series will surely be delighted at all the little details and places you can visit the candy at Honeydukes is just as sweet as you imagined, Weasleys Wizard Wheezes is as chaotic and fun, and Flourish and Blotts even has a Monster Book of Monsters .
Vip Tour Experience Vs Universal Orlando Express Pass
At $189 per person, the VIP Tour Experience at Universal Orlando is A WHOLE LOT MORE than just an Unlimited Express Pass.
In addition to complimentary breakfast, lunch, and valet parking, guests who choose the VIP Tour Experience at Universal Orlandoare personally guided to the front of 8+ ride lines and receive backstage tours of the Universal Orlando rides and parks.
The VIP experience itself lasts 7 hours, and for the rest of the day, VIP guests can enjoy their Unlimited Express Pass and discounts at select merchandise locations.
Basically, the VIP Experience is the GO-TO choice for any ThemeParkHipster who wants the royal treatment. But, if your goal is just to get on as many rides as possible, then Universal Orlando Express Pass is all you need!
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When Parks Are Expected To Be Overcrowded
When our Crowd Calendar predicts high crowds, these are the best times to consider the Universal Express Pass.
You might even consider it on mid-range days if you’re particularly averse to queues, or if money isn’t an issue for you.
If you are visiting during peak summer or close to important holidays , you should take this into account as they are extremely busy times.
Where To Buy The Express Pass
Well, of course you can buy the Express Pass inside the theme parks.
They are sold in several places in the park, practically all stores in the park allow this purchase.
If you prefer, you can also buy the Universal Express Pass before your trip to the park.
There are several places that sell, we recommend our agency, you can buy the express pass by clicking here!
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How To Potentially Pay Less For A Universal Express Pass
Assuming your day works out similarly to our test day, if you would rather spend an average of 12 minutes in Express Pass-eligible lines instead of 41 minutes without, you may be ready to learn how to buy the Express Pass for less.
Using the example of a family of four visiting for two days with park-to-park tickets on Aug. 8 and 9, 2022, your ticket cost would be $1,267.99 plus tax.
When you add two days of Universal Express Unlimited passes at $139 each per person, your all-in total comes to $2,543.10.
Lets say you stay at Universals Endless Summer Resort Dockside Inn and Suites, one of Universals Value resorts, for two nights at a rate of $174 per night. That would bring your total including tax to $2,934.60.
But since the Universal Express Unlimited is included when you stay at one of Universals Premier hotels, lets sub in one of those for the lodging and see what happens to the price.
The ticket price of $1,267.99 plus tax stays the same and a two-queen room at Loews Royal Pacific Hotel that includes Universal Express Unlimited will run you $569 plus tax per night for a total of $1,280.25. Thats $2,630.63 total for this example vacation, which is over $300 less than purchasing Universal Express separately and staying at a lower-tier hotel.
And on top of getting the Express Unlimited Passes you also get to enjoy a higher-tier hotel that is closer to the park gates.
Don’t Get In Line For The Flight Of The Hippogriff Until After 9am
There are two rides open in Hogsmeade during early entry: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and The Flight of the Hippogriff. You’ve already got your wand from Ollivanders, stormed Hogwarts castle, and are now enjoying a snack at The Three Broomsticks. Feel free to take your time with your “pick one” discussion because your Universal Express Unlimited pass isn’t valid at The Flight of the Hippogriff until after 9am.
In other words, you can get in the regular line at 8:35am and wait for thirty-minutes, or you pop right to the front of the line at 9am with your Universal Express Unlimited pass. Skip the wait and enjoy that Butterbeer with your family instead.
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Why Is Universal Express Pass So Expensive
Universal Express is too expensive! The cost is on a graduated scale, so on the busier days at the parks, the passes will be more expensive. We did both parks in one day all the Universal Express rides in both Universal Orlando parks in one day.
Is Hogwarts Express free?
While the Hogwarts Express ride is free you need a Universal Studios Resort park to park ticket to go on the ride as it takes you from one park to the other .
How many Hogwarts Express at Universal?
two trainsThe Hogwarts Express uses two trains that can transport 168 passengers each, giving a total of 336 passengers per cycle.
Have Your Wands Ready
Early entry is only available at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, so even though you’re heading to Diagon Alley over in the Universal Studios Florida park, you’ll still kickoff the day with an hour in Hogsmeade.
Come ready to cast spells with your Harry Potter interactive wands. Today is about taking things slow and embracing the magic of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. While other people are waiting in line at Ollivanders or for the rides during early entry, your kids will be reciting spells throughout Hogsmeade.
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Universal Express Pass Types
There are two types of Universal Express passes: Universal Express Unlimited andUniversal Express Standard.
The difference between the 2 is simple and the name says it all.
You can use the Universal Express Unlimited Pass an unlimited number of times at the participating rides, each day your pass is valid.
The Universal Express Standard Pass can only be used once per attraction, each day your pass is valid.
Both types of Universal Express passes are available for one park per day or both parks per day.
It can be purchased online in advance through Universal or at the parks themselves.
There are advantages and disadvantages to purchasing the Express Pass in advance.
First, its price may vary.
So if you buy it before, you will certainly pay a lot less and besides, you won’t waste time in the park making this purchase.
If you would like a free Express Pass quote for your trip, send us a message .
The only disadvantage worth mentioning here is that the Express Pass is not always necessary to do all the attractions at Universal’s parks.
Unlike the Magic Kingdom which is always full, Universal’s parks often have much shorter queues overall , and you may not even need to buy an express pass.
These days have been increasingly rare, but it’s possible that you don’t need one to avoid giant lines.
As stated earlier, Universal offers separate passes for its water park Volcano Bay.
How Express Pass Works At Universal Orlando
When you approach a ride with Universal Express, show your pass to the attendant. Some rides , such as Flight of the Hippogriff, will scan the pass right then and there as you arrive at the ride entrance.
For popular rides with more elaborate and longer queues, a team member will check the pass and let you enter the Express queue. Then, closer to the ride loading area , a second team member will scan your pass, so hold on to your pass and keep it ready. Some Universal Express queues will eventually merge with a ride’s standby queue, such as Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. On the flip side, other Express queues are entirely separated from a ride’s standby queue, such as Skull Island: Reign of Kong.
One exception is Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon when its virtual queue is being utilized. During those times, you can pick up a return time or use the Express pass to enter the building immediately. The difference between the standby queue is that there is an outdoor portion of the queue before you enter the building. However, unless it’s a busy park day, most standby guests will enter the building rather quickly, not giving much of a time-saving advantage.
Universal Orlando Single Rider Lines
Single Rider Lines at Universal Studios Florida:
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What Is The Universal Orlando Express Pass
Ok so first and foremost, what the heck is this pass? Well, similar to Disneys Genie+ system, the Universal Orlando Express Pass is an add-on to your regular Universal Orlando admission ticket that gives you access to a separate, shorter line, on most rides.
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Do I Have To Pay For Express Passes
Universals Express Passes must be purchased in addition to your theme-park admission, with the exception of staying at select Universal Orlando Resort hotels.
Please keep in mind that you will still need to purchase your tickets to Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, or Volcano Bay as Universal Express Passes do not include admission.
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Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass Cost Discount How To Use
Universal Studios Hollywood gets almost 10 million visitors annually, and during peak days, more than 35,000 visitors walk in through its gates.
Because of this crowd, it is common to see long queues at the rides, attractions, and seated shows.
Waiting times at Universal Hollywoods rides can quickly go up to an hour and beyond during weekends, public holidays, and school breaks.
Besides entry into the theme park, Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass gets visitors one-time express access to each ride, attraction, and show.
In this article, we explain everything you must know before buying Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass.
Universal Studios Orlando Hotels With Complimentary Express Pass
Earlier in the post, I mentioned that theres a workaround when it comes to getting the Universal Express Pass at a slight discount or for better value for money.
Well, this is it!
If you stay on-site at a Universal Premier hotel, then everyone in your room gets a complimentary Unlimited Express Pass for the duration of your stay.
This means, that if youre a family of four staying at The Hard Rock Hotel for one night then you would get four Unlimited Express Passes on the day you check in and four Unlimited Express Passes on the day you check out.
The retail cost of eight Unlimited Express Passes covering two parks during my most recent visit was $2,555.92 before tax.
Yet the cost of one night at The Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Studios for a family of four rarely surpasses $800 per night even during the peak season.
In fact, you can often get one of the most basic rooms in this hotel for as little as $600.
This gets you a four-star hotel, footsteps from the entrance to the resort, and all the benefits that come with staying on-site at Universal Studios including early entry on top of those all-important Express Passes.
For this reason, we never recommend purchasing Express Passes outright and instead always recommend booking an eligible premier hotel at Universal Studios for complimentary Unlimited Express Passes instead.
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Guests Of Loews Portofino Bay Hotel Hard Rock Hotel And Loews Royal Pacific Resort Enjoy:
- Forget the regular lines with FREE Universal Express Unlimited ride access at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure including favorites in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Spider-Man, Illuminations Minions and more. Just gotta have valid theme park admission .
- Save time with priority seating at many Universal Orlando restaurants for guests of Premier hotels. All you gotta do is show your valid room key to the hostess.
to learn more about Universals three amazing theme parks and Universal CityWalk.
How Does The Universal Studios Orlando Express Pass Work
The Universal Express Pass is a separate ticket add-on that can be used in addition to your regular theme park admission.
All eligible rides inside the park will then have a separate Express Pass entrance that Express Pass holders are to go to.
Staff members will then request to see both your park admission and Express Pass to confirm that you are the correct, eligible person to join the queue.
The Express Pass line on the vast majority of eligible rides is separate from the standby line and takes you straight to the front of the queue with only other Express Pass holders in line with you.
The ratio of Express Pass holders and standby guests going on each ride will depend on the length of each queue at that time so the exact time you wait is subject to change.
However, in most cases, Ive found I save on average 85% with an Express Pass when compared to queueing in the standby line.
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How Helpful Is Express Pass
Ive only actually tracked Express Pass wait times once, but Im happy to share the results with you. In the past, Ive been largely satisfied with Express Pass, but if youre not paying attention to how long regular wait times are, its easy to be satisfied with your relatively short waits.
The full narration of this day can be found in part four of my summer 2019 Universal Orlando Resort trip report. Here are the wait times from that day:
The Incredible Hulk Coaster 45 Posted, 23 Express
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man 65 Posted, 11 Express
Doctor Dooms Fearfall 25 Posted, 11 Express
Skull Island Reign of Kong 80 Posted, 33 Express
Jurassic Park River Adventure 25 Posted, 9 Express
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey 45 Posted, 10 Express
Hogwarts Express 30 Posted, 3 Express
MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack 45 Posted, 6 Express
The Simpsons Ride 20 Posted, 17 Express
Transformers 30 Posted, 10 Express
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem 40 Posted, 17 Express
Revenge of the Mummy 30 Posted, 10 Express
ET Adventure 35 Posted, 13 Express
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts 45 Posted, 22 Express
Of those fourteen rides, three had waits over 20 minutes, which I would call unacceptable. OneKongwas over 30 minutes, but I also chose to test Express Pass on that one when the standby wait was 80 minutes.
Universal Express Unlimited Vs Universal Express Pass
There are two types of Express Passes at Universal Studios a Universal Express Unlimited Pass and a Universal Express Pass.
A Universal Express Pass allows you to use the pass to skip the standby queue once per ride.
Meanwhile, the Universal Express Unlimited allows you to use the pass to skip the standby queue an unlimited number of times per ride.
As such if you wanted to just ride Hollywoods Rip Ride Rocket, over and over, and over again then you could do just that and enter the Express Pass line each and every time.
While you could do the same with a standard Universal Express Pass youd only be eligible to enter the Express Pass line once.
Every other time you wanted to go on that ride during that day youd have to enter the regular standby wait line.
For most people, the upgrade from a standard Universal Express Pass to a Universal Express Unlimited Pass isnt worthwhile.
However, if you do have a favourite ride inside the parks that you think you might want to go on more than once during your visit then the additional $30 may be worthwhile.
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Universal Express Pass Strategy
Theres not much we have to say here. With Express Pass, you shouldnt need that much strategy because simply going to a random ride and using it should work well enough.
That said, theres no reason not to at least give you a few tips. These should help you get the most out of your Express Pass.
Rope Drop Hagrids. RememberHagrids does not use Express Pass. Since you have Express Pass, you dont need to worry about starting at the Hulk or getting other rides dont quickly. Start your day with Hagrids, the most popular ride at the resort and the only major one without Express Pass!
Hagrids Does Not Use Express Pass! Arrive Early For It!
Prioritize Outdoor Rides. Rides that will shut down during storms , should get priority. Your Express Pass is useless for a ride that isnt operating.
Avoid 60+ Minute Waits. Remember, a longer standby wait usually means a longer Express Pass wait. When Kong had that 80 minute wait, I waited 33 minutes in the Express Pass line.
Chances are youll need to visit one or two rides with 60+ minute waits, but try to avoid them. There are plenty of rides with short waits in the parks. Unless its late in the day and youre worried about missing something, just wait to try and use Express Pass when the regular wait is under 60 minutes.