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Universal VIP or Express Tickets spring break

patti9600

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Hi. We will be in Orlando for Spring Break and have never been to Universal. Since its a busy week we were thinking of either the Express Tickets or VIP. Just a few questions:
1. Are these tickets ever discounted through timeshares ticket offices?
2. We are going for two days to see each of the Universal Parks. Is it worth it to get VIP or should we just get express since we may not have time to go on each ride more than once.
3. Someone mentioned getting a room at one of the universal resorts to get a discount and longer park hours. We don't need the room but wondering if it works out to be a better deal.
4. It looks like there is a limited quantity. Would you recommend purchasing before the trip so they don't sell out?

Thanks so much for your help!
Patti
 

rickandcindy23

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We would never stay at the hotels. It's way too expensive. No way would it pay to do that. I have tried so many times to get cheap hotel rooms at Universal and haven't found a thing for us. We wouldn't mind staying there sometimes. Pretty soon, Universal will do timeshare, too, I would imagine. Then we can exchange in.

Express Yourself can be added to any ticket for extra cash. Costco has a great price on 3-day tickets at most of their stores, but not the ones near Disney. It's $144 and no sales tax to buy a 3 day ticket to use any days singly, as long as you use them by the end of 2014. We bought one for my stepdad. So much cheaper!

There are premium annual passes, too, which may have a benefit like Express Yourself. Not sure.
 

spencersmama

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Hi Patti,

I don't know when your spring break is, but ours is the first week in April. I checked the prices online to add the Express Plus pass for that week and it was between $40 - 70 per person per day. That is an additional price on top of your ticket price. The VIP ticket is basically a park to park ticket plus an Express Pass, plus admission into the night clubs at City Walk.

1. I have never seen the Express Option offered as a time share incentive, although I hate sitting through timeshare presentations in Orlando. They seem to be the most aggressive, IMO.

2. The express pass does not limit your number of times on a particular ride.

3. You can run the numbers to see. I did this over labor day weekend. My sister came down to visit and she, her boyfriend and my kids wanted to do all the big rides in universal. They only had a day and half in the park. Because we wanted 4 express passes for 2 days, it was cheaper to rent the cheapest room for one night, even though we had a time share. They give you 4 express passes for the day of check in and the day of check out. You can add additional passes for others in the party for a fee, although I don't remember the quoted price. My mother ended up staying by the pool those two days while the 5 of us went to the park. (I didn't get the express pass for me. We had year passes last year and I had been on everything I wanted to try.)

4. I found it cheaper and faster to buy the tickets online and print them out before you come. The line at the ticket booths and will call get long. I don't have a Costco, so can't comment on that. The prices to pre-purchase online are cheaper than the ticket booth, though. A two day one park is $115.99 and a three day one park per day is $135.99. If you do the express pass for 2 days (one for each park) for the popular rides, you could always go back on the third day to see shows and do the rides that don't have an express line. (Like the Harry Potter ride and shop area. You can't use the express pass at any of those. I think you can use it on the Dueling Dragons coaster, but the line is never very long for those two coasters.) I guess it depends on how much you like parks and how much time and money you want to spend.

You can definitely see each park in one day and do everything when you have an express pass/VIP tickets. It can literally cut your wait time from an hour or more to 15 minutes or less.
 

spencersmama

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BTW, you don;t have to wait until check-in time to pick up the express passes. We went first thing in the morning. We parked at the hotel and took the boat over for the early entry hours.

How many people are in your party? Does everyone like the big rides?
 

momeason

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Hi Patti,

I don't know when your spring break is, but ours is the first week in April. I checked the prices online to add the Express Plus pass for that week and it was between $40 - 70 per person per day. That is an additional price on top of your ticket price. The VIP ticket is basically a park to park ticket plus an Express Pass, plus admission into the night clubs at City Walk.

1. I have never seen the Express Option offered as a time share incentive, although I hate sitting through timeshare presentations in Orlando. They seem to be the most aggressive, IMO.

2. The express pass does not limit your number of times on a particular ride.

3. You can run the numbers to see. I did this over labor day weekend. My sister came down to visit and she, her boyfriend and my kids wanted to do all the big rides in universal. They only had a day and half in the park. Because we wanted 4 express passes for 2 days, it was cheaper to rent the cheapest room for one night, even though we had a time share. They give you 4 express passes for the day of check in and the day of check out. You can add additional passes for others in the party for a fee, although I don't remember the quoted price. My mother ended up staying by the pool those two days while the 5 of us went to the park. (I didn't get the express pass for me. We had year passes last year and I had been on everything I wanted to try.)

4. I found it cheaper and faster to buy the tickets online and print them out before you come. The line at the ticket booths and will call get long. I don't have a Costco, so can't comment on that. The prices to pre-purchase online are cheaper than the ticket booth, though. A two day one park is $115.99 and a three day one park per day is $135.99. If you do the express pass for 2 days (one for each park) for the popular rides, you could always go back on the third day to see shows and do the rides that don't have an express line. (Like the Harry Potter ride and shop area. You can't use the express pass at any of those. I think you can use it on the Dueling Dragons coaster, but the line is never very long for those two coasters.) I guess it depends on how much you like parks and how much time and money you want to spend.

You can definitely see each park in one day and do everything when you have an express pass/VIP tickets. It can literally cut your wait time from an hour or more to 15 minutes or less.

Which is the cheapest hotel? Do all parties have to show up to get the express passes or can one of us pick up 4 passes? The express passes are to be used with tickets you purchase separately, correct? We have 2 tickets from 1999 that are still good..no expiration then. We need to buy an Islands of Adventure ticket. We will be there May 31-June 3.
Thanks for all the info!
 

SOS8260456

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I did some preliminary research for a Universal visit last year. We were staying elsewhere, but I booked one night onsite Universal. The original rate was something like 329 and then we started talking about possibly getting annual passes. So I inquired about the annual pass room rate and the room price dropped to 169. This was for early August. It might be worth it for one member to grap an annual pass. Also, I didn't know until later that the one bedroom sleeps 5. We would barely be in the room, but we talked about my husband's niece joining us and I thought it would be a problem because I'd hate for her not to have the access.

It all turned out to be moot for us, because we just stayed at Disney.

Just some thoughts.
 

spencersmama

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Hi Patti,

2. The express pass does not limit your number of times on a particular ride.

OK - I just saw on the Universal website that it says one time per ride per day per pass. They didn't check or punch anything when we went in the fall. I don't know if they have changed since then. You just showed the pass as you were getting in line. They did check everyone's pass, but if you wanted to do the same ride later, it wasn't an issue.
 

spencersmama

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Which is the cheapest hotel? Do all parties have to show up to get the express passes or can one of us pick up 4 passes? The express passes are to be used with tickets you purchase separately, correct? We have 2 tickets from 1999 that are still good..no expiration then. We need to buy an Islands of Adventure ticket. We will be there May 31-June 3.
Thanks for all the info!

The cheapest hotel changes based on availibility. Check on the Universal website.

I don't think everyone has to show up, but they do ask for names when you make the reservations. Call and talk to a rep on the phone. they are generally pretty good about trying to find the best deal for people and they can answer your questions.

Yes, tickets and express passes are separate.

May 31 - June 3rd may not be that busy! Florida schools aren't out until then or the next week. You may not need the express passes. When my kids and I went, the only time we got the express passes were labor day weekend. If it isn't that busy, you can do the whole park in a day, even without the express pass.

BTW, IMO the Three Broomsticks has the best food in the park. Delicious roasted chicken, roasted potatoes and real, fresh corn on the cob. They also have good fish and chips, I'm told. (I can't eat fish.)

They have refillable popcorn and soda containers. You pay $6 or $7, then get refills for 89 cents, I think. The workers told me you can bring them back on other days even though some signs say day of purchase refills.

Also, if you have a AAA card, always ask if you get a discount. They give bigger discounts on food using a AAA card then if you have an annual pass!
 

akp

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Costco passes

Where are the Costco passes available now? I looked for a trip a few weeks ago and could not find them in Kansas.

Anita
 

patti9600

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THanks

Thanks so much for all of your feedback. Our spring break is around Easter. We never went during a busy week that's why we figured we would upgrade the Universal passes. So many options! I did see the Costco tickets for Universal in NY. :)
 

JPD

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Check the Universal studios fl website. Under tickets I saw a 4 day 2 park (hopper) for $155. plus tax, They also list the fast pass and meal deal. We take the grandkids and get our money's worth with the meal deal. Have fun and be prepaired for hot/cool weather. The last time we went on spring break it rained, the temps dropped real quick. Lucky went stashed our jackets in the lockers.
 

bnoble

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2. The express pass does not limit your number of times on a particular ride.
There are two different products. The one you purchase as a ticket add-on (Universal Express Plus) does limit you to one use per attraction. The highest tier of annual pass holders also gets Universal Express Plus but only after 4PM. However, they sometimes don't bother to scan it (so you *might* be able to re-use it).

The second product is the one you get by purchasing VIP tickets or staying in one of Universal's three hotels: this is unlimited trips per attraction.
 

SunSand

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Get to Universal or IOA early (when it opens), go to the hottest rides/attractions first. You'll get right on the ride immediately, or wait a short time. Spend the rest of the day going to rides that you would "like" to see. Save your money, think twice about buying the high end tickets. Splurge on having fun after the park closes.
 

2Blessed

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OK - I just saw on the Universal website that it says one time per ride per day per pass. They didn't check or punch anything when we went in the fall. I don't know if they have changed since then. You just showed the pass as you were getting in line. They did check everyone's pass, but if you wanted to do the same ride later, it wasn't an issue.

We were just at Universal 2 weeks ago, and it is def. 1 ride per day per pass. There is a barcode on the express pass that they scan before you get on the ride. We have stayed onsite in the past, and with this pass I believe it is unlimited, because they did not scan anything. It was cheaper for us to stay onsite than to purchase 4 express passess.
 

spencersmama

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I didn't realize before that there were 2 different distinctions between the Express Passes. It makes staying on site a better deal, IMO, at least if you are a big ride lover.
 

bnoble

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In some situations, booking a throwaway resort room is even less expensive than buying express plus passes. Depends on the time of year and the size of your party.
 

patti9600

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Hi. Friends and I did research with all of your feedback and after pricing it all out we decided to book a room at Universal because it was cheaper with the better express passes and you also get transportation and get in to the park an hour early. We are all big ride lovers so we wan't to make the most of the park since we probably won't be back for a while.

Thanks again for all of the feedback.
 

shoney

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https://secure.universalstudios.com...ryGroupExternalID=UO&CategoryExternalID=UOVIP

these are the current prices for the VIP passes. We bought them a couple of years ago and the express passes are unlimited. My kids went on the mummy about 10 times in a row! It is similar to staying onsite, but no early hours. It was well worth it for us.

the express pass plus is the add-on where you just get 1 front of the line per attraction.
 
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