How Do the Express Passes Work?
The Universal Express Pass is valid per day, per person. In other words, each member of your party must have a Universal Express pass AND a valid park ticket. Once you have the pass, no reservations are required to skip the lines (unlike the Disney Genie+ pass). You just walk through the Express queue and get on the ride.
Disney Genie+ vs. Universal Express Pass
Both the Universal Express Pass and the Disney Genie+ allow you to skip the normal lines at participating rides and attractions. However, there are some major differences between the programs.
Disney Genie+ gives you the ability to book times to use the Lightning Lane entrance at Walt Disney World theme parks. The cost ranges from about $15-$30 per day, per person. Reservations can be made starting at 7 AM on the day of your visit. Guests may only book one ride at a time throughout the day (after your first ride, you can immediately book your next, and so on).
Disney World also offers up to 2 individual Lightning Lane passes per day. These passes allow you to use the Lightning Lane entrance at a few of Disney’s highest-demand attractions. The cost varies based on ride, availability, and time of the year.
Universal Express Pass
As stated before, the Universal Express Pass gives you the ability to skip the standby line at participating rides (one time at each ride), with an additional charge for a 2-park pass.
Universal Express Unlimited
The Universal Express Unlimited gives you the ability to skip the standby line at an unlimited number of rides (not just one time), with an additional charge for a 2-park pass. Once you have the pass, no reservations are required to use it on the rides.
Which is Better – Disney Genie+ or Universal Express Pass?
The Disney Genie+ is much cheaper and, overall, a better value. That said, Universal’s 2 types of passes are still worth it. If you only have one day at Universal — or just hate waiting in lines and want to maximize your limited time at Universal by spending it on the rides instead of in the lines — then these passes can really make the difference. The Universal passes are great because you don’t have to make reservations on an app like the Disney Genie+. It’s so convenient!
Read our next blog post for a valuable Universal vacation hack. In it, we show you how staying at one of Universal’s Premier Hotels can get you FREE Express Unlimited Pass. Wow!
Read: How to Get the Universal Express Pass for Free
Do you really need the Universal Express Pass to have fun?
Absolutely not! The Universal Express Pass and Universal Express Unlimited Pass are nice luxury add-ons — but you can still get on the most popular rides at Islands of Adventure and the best rides at Universal Studios without one. But buying the express passes will probably give you rest and relaxation overall because you won’t be on your feet as long and you’ll be enjoying more time on the rides. If you have good touring plans and a little patience, you’ll have an amazing time at Universal Orlando Resort, no matter what!
Is the Express Pass the Same as the Attraction Access Pass?
No. Universal’s Attraction Access Pass is a free service provided to guests with disabilities or other conditions which make it difficult for them to wait in a traditional standby queue. It generally requires guests to wait the same amount of time as those who are in the standby line, but allows for an alternate waiting experience. The Express Pass, on the other hand, is a service offered to anyone willing to pay for it; it minimizes or eliminates the wait time at attractions. Guests may use both services on the same day if eligible for both.
Ready to Book your Trip to Universal Orlando?
Need some help planning a vacation at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure? Speak with the Universal and Disney travel agents at The Vacationeer! They know Universal like they know Disney so you know you’ll be in good hands.