How To Use Universal Express Passes

What are Universal Express Passes?

Express Passes allow guests to skip the regular standby line at most of the attractions in Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure and access priority seating at shows.

(It requires a separate purchase to include Universal Volcano Bay.)

Be clear Express Passes are not “front of line” tickets – nor are they free.

When the parks are busy, there will be a wait for the Express Line, however, that wait will be significantly shorter than the standby line.

Do I have to pay for Express Passes?

Universal Express Passes do not include admission to the parks.

Universal’s Express Passes must be purchased in addition, unless you are staying at certain Universal Orlando Resort hotels.

Premier Universal Orlando Hotels Include Unlimited Express access – the others do NOT.

ONLY Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, and Royal Pacific Resort include complimentary unlimited Express access with each day of your visit (including check-in and check-out dates).  Your room keys double as your Express Passes.

The Express Passes offered at these hotels do NOT cover Volcano Bay or separately ticketed events, such as Halloween Horror Nights.

These events have their own dedicated Express Passes, and, even if you are staying on-site, you will need to purchase them separately.

The Basics

When you approach a ride with show your Universal Express pass to the team member on duty who will allow you to  enter the Express queue.

It is normally scanned again before you board.

The Universal Express Pass is not for your group – each individual must possess one – they are not transferable.

(For guests staying at a Universal hotel offering free Express Passes your hotel room key will act as the pass – each person in the room gets one)

Ride or Show?

If the attraction is a ride, the Express Pass line is a separate, shorter queue than standby (with the exception of Virtual Lines explained below).

If the attraction is a show,  Express Passes allow you in before everyone else, which means better seats. However  you MUST be in the Express queue before the audience is admitted. Once the Express Pass and standby lines have been allowed in, your Express priveleges are forfeited for that show.

Universal introduced Virtual Line at some of its attractions in 2017. Here guests will need to virtually wait in line instead of doing so physically by checking in with the Universal Orlando app. On these attractions and experiences, your Express Pass will enable you to walk right onto the ride without having to fuss with the Virtual Line component at all.

Please note that Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and Pteranodon Flyers sometimes use the Virtual Line but do NOT accept Express Passes. When the Virtual Line passes have all been distributed, no additional guests can  enter the queue.

Express Attractions

There are many attractions between the 3 Universal Orlando theme parks that offer guests Express access.

Here is the full list:

Universal Studios Florida

  • Production Central
    • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem *Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
    • Transformers: The Ride – 3D
  • Hollywood
    • The Bourne Stuntacular
  • New York
    • Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
  • San Francisco
    • Fast & Furious – Supercharged
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley
    • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
    • Hogwarts Express (park-to-park admission required)
  • World Expo
    • Men in Black Alien Attack
  • Springfield: Home of the Simpsons
    • The Simpsons Ride
    • Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
  • Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone
    • E.T. Adventure

Islands of Adventure

  • Marvel Super Hero Island
    • The Incredible Hulk Coaster
    • Storm Force Acceleration
    • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
    • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
  • Toon Lagoon
    • Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges
    • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
  • Jurassic Park
    • Jurassic World VelociCoaster
    • Jurassic Park River Adventure
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade
    • Flight of the Hippogriff
    • Hogwarts Express (park-to-park admission required)
    • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Seuss Landing
    • Caro-Seuss-el
    • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
    • The Cat in the Hat
    • The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!
  • Skull Island
    • Skull Island: Reign of Kong

Volcano Bay

Important – Volcano Bay’s Express Passes are on two different levels –  basic, which covers only a few attractions at the water park, and Plus, which includes all of them.

  • Krakatau
    • Krakatau Aqua Coaster (Virtual Line) – basic
    • Ko’okiri Body Plunge (Virtual Line) – Plus only
    • Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides (Virtual Line) – Plus only
    • Punga Racers (Virtual Line) – basic
  • River Village
    • Honu ika Moana (Virtual Line) – basic
  • Rainforest Village
    • Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides (Virtual Line) – Plus only
    • Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides (Virtual Line) – basic
    • Tonga and Raki of Taniwha Tubes (Virtual Line) – basic

If you purchase Express Passes for Volcano Bay will receive a wristband separate from their TapuTapu virtual system.

You can decide which attractions you want to use your Express Pass on and which you want to use in conjunction with your regular TapuTapu.

 Attractions NOT offering Express Access

  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
    • Ollivanders Wand Shop (both parks)
    • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure (Islands of Adventure)
  • Elsewhere
    • Pteranodon Flyers (Islands of Adventure – Jurassic Park)
    • Horror Make-Up Show (Universal Studios Florida – Hollywood)


Types of Express Passes

The Basic Universal Express Pass allows a guest Express access ONCE at each participating ride or attraction.

If you want to go on a ride  again, you will need to use the standby line.

Universal Express Unlimited is a second standalone ticket option that offers UNLIMITED Express access at each participating ride or attraction.

Guests get to enjoy participating attractions and  shows, as many times as they like throughout the day using Express access.

Express Passes sold as a standalone ticket are good for one day only, and each member of your party needs their own ticket, including children 3 or older). If you are going to Universal’s parks for multiple days & you want Express access each day you will need to purchase multiple Express Passes for everyone in your party 3 or older.

Express Passes are sold in both one-park and two-park varieties. The one-park option grants you Express access for either Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure  while the two-park variation enables Express access at both theme parks for the day.

Express Passes are date-specific – when you purchase your pass, you will also need to select a date.

Express Passes are park-specific –  you have to select  which one of the two theme parks you will be entering. If you change your plans after buying your Express Passes, you’ll need to call Universal to update your passes – and you may have to pay more.

Guests can purchase Universal Express Passes online, over the phone, at the theme-park gates, and throughout all three parks.