Published: October 17, 2013 at 7:54 AMSeaworld does have some partner hotels which provide a free Quick Queue. I used this service last year and it was very easy - get a print out from the desk the day before, put it in the self serve ticket machine, get QQ ticket for exchange at your first ride. Mine was unlimited, not sure if that goes for all the partner hotels (stayed at Renaissance Resort). Was a quiet time of year but it still came in useful for a quick jaunt onto Manta while waiting for Blue Horizons.
Agree that I can't advocate enough getting to the parks early - it can be invaluable.
Published: October 17, 2013 at 10:08 AMUniversals on site hotels now have express pass kiosks that take your picture, you can no longer just show your room key. You have to take your room key and swipe it at the kiosk and then it takes your picture and prints out a ticket with your picture and hotel stay dates. They are located at each on site hotel and also a few kiosks are located within each park.
Published: October 17, 2013 at 11:37 AMI have always had one issue with the comparison between Fast Pass and Unlimited Express / QuickQueue that every Disney fanatic seems to bring up when you mention the hassle of Disney's system.
The typical response is: "You had to pay for your Express where Disney's is free." This is only true if you are not staying on-site, it which case, it is free.
The typical counter argument is: "But, Universal's rooms are expensive." Really? Ever stayed at the Grand Floridian or Wilderness Lodge?
Secondly, Fast Pass and Unlimited Express are nothing alike. At Universal / Sea World / Busch Gardens etc..., you have almost instant gratification. If you are walking past Spider-Man (typically 60-75 minutes waits during peak season) and decide at that very second that you want to ride it, you are at the loading platform in 5-10 minutes (sometimes a walk-on).
If I decide I want to ride something (spur of the moment) at a Disney park, I have two choices. Wait in the regular line or wait in another line to get a FP (if the ride has them and they are available), then come back in an hour and a half (or whenever) and wait in the FP line.
There is one downside to Express at Universal, however. If you like to take in the queue as part of the ride experience, is it virtually non-existent. They set up the shortest possible path to the front of the ride / attraction, skipping elements that tell the story. Some rides don't need explaining (Rip Ride Rockit), but others require a back story (Transformers).
Published: October 17, 2013 at 12:07 PMIt should also be mentioned that most of Universal Orlando's rides and attractions have a single rider line, which can just take a few quick minutes.
Published: October 17, 2013 at 12:38 PMWe usually visit Disney during busy times, so we buy 2 tickets for each person. Enter (with first ticket), exit immediately, and enter again (with second ticket). This allows us to obtain double the FP's a normal user could get (at double the price).
Given you pay thousands of dollars to take the vacation, we find an extra thousand to have double fastpasses is well worth the cost. I don't think this is against the rules, and I'm sure Disney is happy to take our money.
I'm hopeful we will still be able to use this strategy with Fastpass+.
Published: October 17, 2013 at 1:22 PMIn response to N B,
Published: October 17, 2013 at 1:36 PMN B said "The typical response is: "You had to pay for your Express where Disney's is free." This is only true if you are not staying on-site, it which case, it is free."
Excuse me? That Universal Express Pass you receive is NOT free, unless the hotel room you paid for was free. The cost of the Universal Express benefit that comes with staying in an on-property hotel at Universal is built into the room rate.
The Disney fanatics are correct- it's not free!
I really enjoy that particular benefit and have become a regular at the Universal Orlando Resort, but it comes at a price. Don't be so ignorant of the details my friend.
Published: October 17, 2013 at 1:41 PMI love that tip. I too have bought and used more than one ticket at Disney for additional access to FastPass. It's not against the rules and is impossible to enforce until the ticketing all goes to RFID. Then it will be problematic.
It's a great trick on busy days, but doesn't work out as well on extremely busy days as FastPass runs out on premium attractions.
Published: October 17, 2013 at 6:12 PMUniversal's VIP Tour bypasses the regular AND Express lines for all attractions giving TRUE front-of-line access. AFTER the tour is over, the VIP credentials give you the same Unlimited Express as hotel guests at both parks for the rest of the day.
Published: October 17, 2013 at 7:24 PMHere are some tips about dining reservations at Universal not mentioned in the article.
Guests can make dining reservations using the following phone numbers (based on the location of the restaurant)
Universal Studios: (407) 224-3613
Islands of Adventure: (407) 224-4012
Guests can also make reservations online using OpenTable.
Published: October 17, 2013 at 10:09 PMI don't think I explained that very well...
Published: October 18, 2013 at 12:05 AMThis is one of the most helpful columns I have ever read anywhere. I almost never print anything out because I like to be green, but I printed this out and put it in my vacation planning binder because I am using every one of these tips in June when we are next in Florida. Thank you Robert!!! :)
Published: October 18, 2013 at 3:44 PMAll the Disney fanatics are about to be gravely disappointed with the advent of FP+. There has already been ugliness regarding FP. This past week FPs for major rides have disappeared almost immediately. A lot of people who are not part of the magicbands testing have reported a complete inability to get any paper FP for the big rides (Toy Story, Soarin, etc).
Supposedly this is being referred to as a "technical glitch". But read the future in this: Disney is going to get rid of the traditional FPs and make them only available - and likely only by reservation - to those staying in a Disney resort. My guess is that, eventually, the number of FPs you can get per day will be dependent on what level resort at which you are staying. They days of free paper FPs to all are numbered.
So you can keep yelling about Disney FPs being free, but I suspect you will not be for long. Disney is now squeezing every last dollar out of people, and this is the next step. Too bad for you if you are a local with an AP, a daytripper, or just uninformed.
Robert, do you know anything about this supposed glitch with the FPs at WDW this past week?