Advice on express pass Universal Hollywood

July 18, 2019, 6:27 AM

We are going to Universal Hollywood on Friday 1st November and just wondered if anyone had any advice whether it's worth getting the express pass.

We have very limited time in the area, so it will be nice to try and see the park in 5 or 6 hours.

Also, my tolerance of queueing is fairly limited - if the lines are up to 15-20 minutes? no problem, but if they are all most likely to be over 30 minutes, then I'd probably opt for the express.

how long are the queues likely to be?


Replies (6)

Edited: July 19, 2019, 8:11 AM

I also despise waiting on line (my son even less so, our intolerance for waits has spoiled him since we schedule trips and visits very aggressively to avoid lines whenever possible), but I think I despise paying for queue avoidance systems even more (unless doing so is included with another perk like on-site hotel or with a season pass).

My approach has always been to evaluate the crowds in the park BEFORE spending money for any upcharge queue avoidance product (as such, I've never actually bought one, though I probably should have one time visiting SFMM when we rode a total of 8 coaster in 8 hours of park time - it wasn't actually crowded but single train operation on every coaster caused ridiculous lines that even Flash Pass might not have avoided). I know some parks will give you a discount if you purchase these ahead of time, but you would feel incredibly foolish to spend $100 or more on Express Pass when it ends up raining all day or crowds are non-existent.

We'll be at USH next Thursday for our first visit to that park since 2013, but having visited Universal Orlando multiple times in the last 2 years, we know that there's no sense in purchasing an Express Pass for the handful of attractions that are unique to the California park (Studio Tram, Jurassic World, Mummy, Walking Dead, and Kung Fu Panda). It's just not worth the extra cost to us, since the biggest lines are for Forbidden Journey, which we've ridden dozens of times in Orlando and we don't mind using the single rider line (many other attractions also have single rider lines like Mummy, JW, Transformers, and Flight of the Hippogriff). Plus the USH Express Pass only gives you one ride on each attraction through the Express entrance (and priority show seating), so that's a lot of money when you're still going to have to wait in the normal line if you want to re-ride.

Based on crowd calendars for November 1, you're looking at a relatively average day, though USH does have HHN scheduled for that evening (as well as Halloween the night before). If you are planning to do just the theme park, and not HHN, and arrive just before the park opens (or purchase a ticket that includes early entry to WWoHP), you should have no problem experiencing all of the attractions in 5-6 hours. Most of the locals will probably be late to arrive because of Halloween the night before (and HHN later that night), and since it's a Friday, you'll probably avoid a lot of the day trippers that visit on weekends. It's unlikely that the park will be completely dead, but I doubt you'll see any lines outside of WWoHP beyond 30 minutes.

July 18, 2019, 9:13 AM

Don't buy it. On a Friday in November you should easily be able to do everything with minimal waits.

July 18, 2019, 4:49 PM

I agree. You should be fine without the Express Pass during that time of year. Just a bit of smart planning (i.e. which attractions to hit first, possibly using single rider lines)

But should be able to do everything relatively easily within 5-6 hours.

(Absolute worst case scenario, you could always upgrade IN the park on the day of your trip should it be unusually packed)

July 19, 2019, 12:05 AM

Unless you've got less than four hours at the park, I would advise against Universal Express at Universal Studios Hollywood on all but the absolute busiest days.The pass will add at least $70 onto an already expensive ticket, and it may only be used one time at each attraction. Even on a busy day, I've never had an issue doing everything at the park in a single day. On the date you're visiting, I'd expect crowds to be moderate, meaning lines shouldn't get above 20-30 minutes. In the event that a line is longer, you can likely get on in 15 minutes or less through Single Rider.

To tackle the park most efficiently, I recommend arriving early and heading to Wizarding World of Harry Potter first thing once the park opens. You should have no problem checking out the area and riding both attractions in about an hour. After that, head to the Lower Lot and do all three rides here, which should take an hour or so (if you want any re-rides, grab then while you're down here). You can then return to the Upper Lot and tour the rest of the park at your leisure. You'll need to budget about 90 minutes for the Studio Tour (50-60 for the ride plus whatever the queue time is), and the remaining attractions can usually be completed in 2-3 hours depending on how convenient the show schedule is. Also note that if you've been to Universal Orlando you can safely skip a majority of the attractions at USH if need be...Jurassic World, the Studio Tour, the Special Effects Stage, and Waterworld are the only must-do attractions for Orlando regulars (if you're not an Orlando regular, add Forbidden Journey, Transformers, and Mummy to the must-do list).

July 19, 2019, 8:20 AM

Thank you all for the advice, it definitely seems like it's not worth getting - or wait and see when there, good idea.

Edited: July 20, 2019, 11:39 PM

We just visited 2 Fridays ago. Everything was 10-30 minutes wait time. Potter was a walk on. Jurassic World was a 20 minute wait. The Mummy coaster topped it out at about 35 minutes.

That was summer, I could only imagine it being less busy nearing late fall. Assuming they have no special event going on etc.

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