Express pass needed at 'slow times'?

Universal Orlando: First time visitors looking for some tips. Trying to decide where to stay and/or get express passes.

From Christa Stufflebeam
Posted September 17, 2013 at 9:42 AM
Is it worth it to stay on-site or purchase Express Passes? We are first timers to Universal Orlando. We will be there this October 6-7 which is considered a "slow" time and we are a family of 5 with kids ages 6 to 11. We would really appreciate any tips!

From Russell Meyer
Posted September 17, 2013 at 10:33 AM
Well, you're going to be there on a Sunday, so it won't really be "slow" then. Also, HHN is going on at USF, so the park hours are limited (8-5 on Sunday and 9-8 on Monday/no HHN). If you're going to HHN (which probably isn't appropriate for kids 6-11), I would recommend the Stay And Scream Ticket, and spend all day Sunday at USF, through HHN, leaving IOA for Monday. If you're not going to HHN, then you should probably spend Sunday at IOA and Monday at USF because of the increased operating hours on those days.

We typically travel to Orlando in mid-October, and have found that the crowds have been increasing on every successive visit. Many attractions used to be walk-on during weekdays in October, but now you can expect 30+ minute waits for the popular attractions (Harry Potter, Spiderman, Hulk, Transformers, Mummy, Rip/Ride/Rocket, Men In Black, and Despicable Me) during the same time of year.

It might be worthwhile to gauge the crowds and purchase UE when you get there if you feel that the lines are too long. If you don't want to purchase UE, you can always take advantage of the single rider lines, which are particularly helpful for Harry Potter and the Forbdden Journey, Spiderman (when the SR line is open), Men in Black (you can walk through the baby swap to re-ride if you don't want to walk all the way around), Rip Ride Rocket, Mummy, and Transformers. This assumes you don't mind splitting your family up for the vehicle-based attractions (you typically end up going through a similar times, and sometimes even in the same vehicle). It really depends on how you feel about your kids riding alone, but if you are, it can save a lot of time (like being able to ride HPFJ 3 to 4 times in the time it take to ride once through the regular line).

From N B
Posted September 17, 2013 at 5:02 PM
I don't think there will any need to purchase them at that time of the year. You can always see how it is and make your decision after you enter. Those kiosks are everywhere....

If you decide to stay on-site, it's a completely different story because the perk is unlimited.

Based on your length of stay, the cost of purchasing a 2 park Express (for a family of five) and staying off site would end up being close to the same amount if you stayed at the least Expensive hotel, which is the Royal Pacific.

I can tell you from experience. On-site = a lot more time do other things other than waiting in lines. Worth every penny.

From Mike Rhodes
Posted September 21, 2013 at 4:54 AM
Ive been twice late Sept/early October (2010 & 2012) and have rarely had to queue for more than 10mins - in fact last year we even went straight on the harry potter ride (maybe we were just lucky). The only exceptions were a couple of rides - Shrek 4d (20 min wait) and Despicable me (30 min wait) and we have pretty much done everything by mid afternoon. We did go weekdays though. I would not pay for express pass

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