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Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass – cost, discount, how to use

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Edited by: Rekha Rajan
Fact checked by: Jamshed V Rajan


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 Hollywood’s rides can quickly go up to an hour and beyond during weekends, public holidays, and school breaks. 

There are only two ways to avoid these lines – buy a VIP Ticket which costs $349 per person or opt for the much cheaper Express Pass.

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.

How Express Pass works at the rides

Universal Hollywood Express Entrance

The Express Pass is also known as the Universal Express Pass or Universal Express Ticket.

It is an upgrade on the General Admission Ticket, the cheapest and most popular way to enter Universal Studios.

The Express Pass also includes access to the Universal Studios Hollywood Studio Tour, the 60-minute tram tour around the backlots.

When you purchase an Express Ticket, it gets emailed to you. 

On the day of your visit, you can show it on your smartphone and walk into the theme park.

Every time you go on a ride, you can skip the long ride queue and instead walk in through the entrance for Express Pass holders.

You will then scan your Express Pass and get on the ride without waiting.

Universal Studios’ Express Pass completely eliminates your waiting time, making it a great way to save time and see more of the Park.

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How to use Express Pass at the shows

The Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass gets you one-time priority access to WaterWorld and Universal’s Animal Actors show.

The Pass also gets you priority seating, but you must arrive at the location before the other guests so that the staff can show you the premium seats.

It also includes exclusive meet-and-greets with the animals and staff after the rest of the audience has left. 

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Cost of Universal Express Pass

On non-peak days Universal Hollywood Express Pass costs $189 per person, and on peak days, it is priced at $259.

When you purchase the Express Pass at the gate, you pay $10 extra per person.

Since this is an exclusive pass and only a limited number are sold daily, all visitors three years and above are classified as one and pay the same price for their ticket.

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Is the Express Pass worth it?

Even though these tickets cost more than regular admission, the benefits are well worth it. 

Only limited quantities of Universal Studios Hollywood Express Passes are available each day, so we recommend buying yours online in advance.

This limit also ensures that the benefits of buying the Express Ticket are maintained. 

With the Pass that lets you avoid the queue, even on a non-busy day, you can save 60 to 90 minutes. 

If you are not on a budget holiday, your time is worth it, so go for it. 

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When do you need Express Pass

Many locals and tourists wonder if they need to buy Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass to enjoy their day at the park. 

The answer to that question depends on when you are visiting.

Universal Studios gets really crowded during peak summer months, weekends, and school breaks, and on these days, the Express Pass can help you skip lines and have more fun at the theme park.

The Los Angles attraction is most crowded from May to mid-August, Thanksgiving week, Christmas week to the second week of New Year, and the Spring break and Easter season. 

You don’t need the Express Pass if you visit on a weekday during the off-season months. 

Don’t leave it for the last

Some tourists want to visit the attraction, check out the crowd, and then decide if they’re going to purchase the Express Pass. 

This approach is not recommended because only a limited number of Express Passes are sold per day, and they get over soon during peak times.

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How many Universal Express Passes to buy?

You may not need to buy Express Pass for everyone in your group. 

If you have a family member who doesn’t meet the minimum height requirements for the rides or is scared, the Express Ticket will be useless for them. 

You can buy the General Admission Ticket for them, instead. 

Since your Express Pass will get you on the ride without any waiting time, you will quickly re-unite with the family members who decided to stay back in the Child Switch Room.

Want to save money? Read up everything about Universal Studios Hollywood discount tickets

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FAQS on Express Pass

Universal Studios Hollywood’s Express Pass, which helps skip all the lines, is a massive help to those who can afford it. Buy it Now!

Besides helping you experience everything in the park at least once, you can do a lot more with the time you save. 

This section lists out some of the most common questions tourists have about this skip-the-line pass.

  1. Does Universal Express pass include admission?

    When you buy the Universal Express Ticket online, you get both the admission ticket and the Express Pass to skip the queues at the rides and shows. 

  2. Can I buy Universal Express Pass at the Park?

    Visitors can purchase Universal Express passes at the counters at the front gates or inside the theme park. However, it is not a good idea to leave them for the last minute because they have a limited inventory and on crowded days sell out.

  3. Why is Universal Express Pass so expensive?

    Universal Express passes are costly because they help you skip the lines and save a lot of time. If they were cheaper, many visitors would buy them, and the queues for the Express Pass holders will also become longer.

  4. How long are the lines with Universal Express Pass?

    With an Express Pass, more often than not, you will skip the ride's queue and be the next person to board the ride. For popular attractions with more elaborate and long queues, after scanning the Express Pass, you will join the Express queue, which will be much shorter than the General Admission queue.

  5. Does Universal Express Pass sell out?

    During the peak summer months, school vacations on long weekends, etc., the Universal Studio Hollywood's Express Passes are in high demand and sell out early in the day. That's why, if you are visiting during a busy season, you should buy your Express Passes in advance. 

  6. What is the difference between Universal Express Pass and Unlimited Pass?

    You can apply the Universal Studios Hollywood Express pass to a ride or a show only once. In contrast, a Universal Express Unlimited pass gets you unlimited access to all the rides and shows.

  7. Does Universal Studios Hollywood have a Fast Pass?

    Universal Express Pass and the Universal Express Unlimited Pass are Universal Studio Hollywood's equivalent of Fast Pass. They help you skip the long lines at the rides and attractions and save time.

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Unlimited Universal Express

If you plan to visit with children who may want to go up on the rides many times, buying the Unlimited Universal Express upgrade is a good idea.

Unlimited Universal Express is available for purchase at the theme park, and it works as an upgrade with all kinds of tickets – the General Admission Ticket, the Express Ticket, and the Season Pass.

It will cost you $100-$170 to upgrade your General Admission Ticket to Unlimited Universal Express. 

If you already have a Universal Express ticket, it costs only $30-$40 per person to upgrade to Unlimited Universal Express.

Depending on the day and the crowd, the Universal Hollywood ticket prices can vary.

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Universal Studios Hollywood VIP ticket

Opt for the Universal Studios Hollywood VIP tour if cost is not an issue and you want something even better than the Express Pass.

On a VIP Tour, you get unlimited priority access to all rides, attractions, shows, a continental breakfast, a gourmet lunch in the VIP dining room, and valet parking. 

The VIP tour tickets also get you a closer look behind the scenes and exclusive access to the Universal Studios Backlot. 

These tickets cost $429 for all visitors aged five years and above at the gates.

When you buy them online, in advance, these tickets are available at a much-lowered price of $349, helping you save $80 per person. 

When you buy a VIP Ticket, a guide is with you throughout the day, facilitating your experience at the park.

Hardcore theme-park fans visit both Universal and Disneyland. Find out how to go from Universal Hollywood to Disneyland Park and vice versa.


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