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

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

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Universal Studios Hollywood gets almost 10 million visitors annually, and during peak days, more than 35,000 visitors walk 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 exceed an hour during weekends, public holidays, and school breaks. 

There are only two ways to avoid these lines – buy a VIP Ticket, which costs upwards of US$400 per person, or opt for the cheaper Express Pass, priced around US$220.

Besides quick entry into the theme park, Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass gives visitors one-time quick access to each ride, attraction, and show. 

If you prefer to skip the queues multiple times for each ride and attraction, you can upgrade any of your tickets for the Unlimited Express Pass at the venue.

This article covers everything you must know before buying Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass.

What is Universal Studios Express Pass

The Universal Express Pass grants you special access, significantly reducing your wait times at various attractions.

This pass entitles you to enter through the Express Pass lines, which are separate and usually much shorter than the standard lines.

You’ll join the line close to the front (or at the front) and can expect a considerable decrease in waiting, with the exact time saved varying throughout the year.

There are two types of passes – the Universal Express Pass, which lets you skip the queue for a ride once, and the Universal Express Unlimited Pass, which helps you skip the line multiple times for each ride.

What is included in the Universal Express Pass

The Express Ticket at Universal Studios Hollywood is a multi-attraction pass that provides visitors with amazing time saving benefits. It gets you –

  • One-time Express access to 10 of the 11 rides at the theme park
  • One-time Express access to the Universal Studio Tour
  • One-time Express access to Water World, a seated show
  • One-time per day access to Super Nintendo World

Rides included in the Express Pass

The rides included in the Universal Express Pass are:

  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Jurassic World
  • Transformers
  • Revenge of the Mummy
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • Flight of the Hippogriff
  • The Secret Life of Pets
  • The Simpsons
  • Silly Swirly
  • DreamWorks Theatre Featuring Kung Fu Panda
  • Fast and Furious

Ride NOT included in the Express Pass

Mario Kart™: Bowser’s Challenge, the only ride at the newly inaugurated Super Nintendo World, is the only ride not covered by the Universal Studios Express Pass.

However, your Express Pass will come in handy while accessing the Super Nintendo World, which uses a virtual reservation system to manage entry during crowded days.

Since it is a new and exciting attraction, there is a lot of demand, and the virtual reservation system gets activated daily.

If you hold the Universal Express Pass, you get Non-reserved access to Super Nintendo World – that is, you don’t need to secure a virtual reservation. The Pass helps you get into the attraction whenever you want.

How Express Pass works at the rides

Universal Hollywood Express Entrance

The Express Pass is also called the Universal Express Pass or Universal Express Ticket.

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

The Express Pass includes 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 the e-pass on your smartphone and walk into the theme park.

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

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

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

Recommended Reading: Universal Studios Hollywood discount tickets

How to use Express Pass at the shows

The Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass gets you one-time priority access to WaterWorld.

Visitors with Express Passes are allowed into the venue before everyone else.

The Pass also gets you priority seating, but you must be in the Express queue at least 10 minutes before the audience enters the theatre.

After ushering you to the premium seats, the Universal Studios staff lets the regular ticket holders inside.

Note: Till early 2023, Express Pass was accepted at the Animal Actors show as well. Besides getting you premium access, the Pass also got you exclusive meet-and-greets with the animals. However, on 8 January 2023, Universal Studios permanently closed the Animal Actors show.


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Cost of Universal Express Pass

If you visit during the peak seasons, the Universal Express Pass prices will be significantly higher than during the lean season.

Universal Hollywood Express Pass costs between US$209 and US$309, based on the day and season.

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

Express Pass for kids

All visitors aged three years and older must have a ticket to enter Universal Studios Hollywood and consequently need a Universal Express Pass to skip the long queues and enter the Express line.

However, younger children may only meet the height requirements for some rides and, therefore, may be unable to take full advantage of the pass.

That’s why we suggest you check out the ride height requirements before buying the Express ticket for your child.

Universal Express Pass

Even though you can buy the Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass at the theme park, it is wiser to get it online. When you get them in advance, you pay less and start reaping the benefits immediately.


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Is the Express Pass worth it?

Although Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass is priced higher than regular admission, the value and time savings it offers are substantial.

Ensure you secure your Express Pass by purchasing online ahead of time, as they are available in limited quantities daily and sell out fast.

The Express Pass is a game-changer, bypassing the queues at all rides, shows, and attractions.

It will help you save 60 to 90 minutes, even during off-peak times. On busier days, this can go up to as much as three hours, making it an invaluable asset for those looking to make the most of their visit.

For those not restricted by a tight budget and who value their time, the Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass is an investment in maximizing your fun and efficiency.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to enhance your park experience – go for the Express Pass and enjoy a day filled with more rides, shows, and attractions.

Visual Story: 13 must-know tips before visiting Universal Studios Hollywood


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When should you buy Express Pass

Many tourists and locals wonder if they should buy the Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass while visiting the iconic Los Angeles theme park.

The answer largely depends on the timing of your visit.

Universal Studios experiences its highest visitor volumes during peak summer months, weekends, school holidays, and special occasions.

The park is especially bustling from May to mid-August, around Thanksgiving, Christmas through to the second week of the New Year, as well as during Spring break and Easter.

On these crowded days, an Express Pass becomes an invaluable asset, allowing you to bypass the long lines and enjoy more of what the park offers in less time.

However, if you plan to visit on a weekday outside of these peak periods, you might find the park less crowded, and won’t need the Express Pass.

It’s important to consider that Express Passes are limited in quantity and often sell out quickly, especially during busy times.

Don’t leave the purchase to the last moment

Waiting until you arrive at the park to gauge the crowd and then deciding to purchase an Express Pass might leave you disappointed, as they may already be sold out.

To avoid this risk, purchasing your Express Pass online before your visit is wiser, ensuring you’re prepared no matter the crowd level.

In essence, the Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass is a valuable time-saver during busy park days, and early purchase is recommended to guarantee your streamlined experience.

Recommended Reading
Popular rides at Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter


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How many Universal Express Passes to buy?

Universal Express Pass line

You may not need to buy an 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 reunite with the family members who decided to stay back in the Child Switch Room.

Want to save money? Read up on 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 much more with the time you save. 

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

Does the Universal Express pass include admission to the theme park?

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.

Is it possible to purchase a Universal Express Pass on-site at the park?

Yes, visitors have the option to purchase Universal Express passes directly at the park, available at the counters located at the front gates or within the theme park itself. However, it’s crucial to consider buying them ahead of time. These passes are in high demand and have a limited supply, especially on busy days when they tend to sell out quickly.

Why is the Universal Express Pass so expensive?

The Universal Express Pass is costly because it allows you to skip the regular lines and save precious time. This exclusivity is maintained through its pricing strategy – if the passes were more affordable, an overwhelming number of visitors might purchase them, leading to longer queues even for Express Pass holders. The high cost ensures a faster, more efficient experience for those willing to invest in this added convenience.

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.

Does Universal Express Pass sell out?

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

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.

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

Universal Studios Hollywood provides an Unlimited Express Pass option, granting unlimited express entry to all included attractions.

With the Unlimited Pass, you can enjoy each ride multiple times, and each time, skip the line and get to the front of the queue.

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

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.

Upgrading your General Admission Ticket to Unlimited Universal Express will cost you US$100 – US$170. 

If you already have a Universal Express ticket, upgrading to Unlimited Universal Express costs only US$ 35 – US$ 45 per person.

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


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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 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 US$379 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, between US$300 and US$500, helping you save a significant amount 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.

Sources

# Undercovertourist.com
# Tripadvisor.com
# Getawaytoday.com

The travel specialists at TheBetterVacation.com use only high-quality sources while researching & writing their articles. We make every attempt to keep our content current, reliable and trustworthy.

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