Welcome to Theme Park Insider! Join the community or log in
Theme Park Insider
Facebook Twitter YouTube Email Newsletter

Express pass vs. On-site hotel access

Universal Orlando: Is there a difference in attraction access between buying an Express pass versus the access you get by staying at an on-site hotel?

From Shari Lockyer
Posted January 11, 2011 at 2:50 PM
We are planning on visiting USF & IOA in mid to late March. I have been going through past discussions and am wondering if there is a difference between purchasing an Express Pass and having "express" access from staying at a hotel on-site? Does the purchased Express Pass only provide fast access to each attraction once? Is the hotel access option different? Thanks for your help.


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Terri Pierce
Posted January 11, 2011 at 9:29 PM
We bought the express pass last spring when my family and I went. It was roughly 30 dollars a person, and I know several of you say its not worth it unless it reaches about 70... but my father has bad knees and cannot wait in line... and also refuses to use a wheel chair. Anyways, we bought them and it only allows you to do the express pass once per ride. However, sometimes you get lucky and they dont scan it. The hotel express pass, in my experiences, lets you ride all the express rides as many times as you want.

Honestly depends on what kind of crowd you're going with. If you're going with people like my parents who ride it once and are done, purchasing is a great option. If you're more like me and my siblings and want to ride Men in Black and the Mummy 15 times each, stay on site!

From Shari Lockyer
Posted January 12, 2011 at 8:27 AM
Thanks for clearing that up for me Terri. We are definitely the 15x type. Probably have to bite-the-bullet & pay the extra to stay on-site.

From Terri Pierce
Posted January 12, 2011 at 4:18 PM
It's worth it to me esp if you like to get to the parks super early, (like for WWOHP) and stay late. First time I ever went to stayed at Hard Rock. It's great being able to walk back to your hotel room without a second thought, esp after water rides.

It's not always worth it, but its nice to stay on park atleast once.

From Nick Markham
Posted January 13, 2011 at 2:51 PM
There is only one difference: Staying On-Site si so much better! While paying may get you some benefits, simply using your room card gets you more.

Firstly, length. You have to buy a new Express pass every day if you pay. The On-Site access allows for your entire vacation.

Next, number of rides. You generally have to pay even more on express passes if you want to use the pass more than once on one ride. The room key is unlimited.

And of course, by staying onsite you get to enter both parks early, before open to the general public.

The Room Card from On-Site Express Pass blows the one you have to pay for out of the water. It saves you money, gives you more, and you get to stay in arguably some of the nicest hotels around, superbly nicer than any off-site option.

From Tony Duda
Posted January 14, 2011 at 3:46 PM
One other room pass aspect, it is good on your arrival day and your departure day. So for a 3 night stay, you get 4 days of express pass privilege.

From Terri Pierce
Posted January 21, 2011 at 12:02 AM
Also Idk if you are merchandise buyers, but you can have it sent to your room in a matter of hours from purchase, no matter how big or small.

From Shari Lockyer
Posted January 21, 2011 at 2:25 PM
We just booked with the Hard Rock for the week of March 20-27th! I can hardly wait to leave behind the 4ft of snow (yes, it will still be here in March - or higher). Thanks to your advice we went with the on-site & are taking an earlier flight to take advantage of the extra day access. Thank you all for your guidance :- )

This discussion has been archived, and is not accepting additional responses.

What's it like to work at Disney World?

Working at Disney World

Insider's Pick: Ever wondered what it would be like to work at the Walt Disney World Resort? Stories from a Theme Park Insider offers more than 100 pages of fun, insightful, and even sometimes touching stories from people who've worked at Disney World's Magic Kingdom. It's a great way to get in the mood for your next trip to Orlando, or just to keep the memories of a Disney World visit alive.

Get it! In paperback | For Kindle | For iBooks