Like Disney’s Fastpass, Universal Express Pass allows guests to use a separate entrance queue that is dramatically shorter than the “Standby” one, reducing wait times to minutes or even seconds; your ticket is scanned by an employee. Unlike Disney’s democratic Fastpass, Express is for sale. Guests can buy an Express Plus pass at shops. There is one set of prices that allows one-time-per-ride use ($35–$60 for one park, from $40–$70 for both), another price (from $75/$90) for unlimited rides, and all prices are bit higher when it’s busy. The only major rides that are excluded are Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Escape from Gringotts, and the Hogwarts Express. Using this is expensive, but it enables you to see both Universal parks in a single day and consequently spend less in tickets and see more of Orlando. Bundles that include park tickets with Express are sold for $190 to $270 adult, $185 to $265 kids aged 3 to 9 per day, depending on how busy the parks are. There is also a third, simpler way to get an Express Pass: Guests of the Universal hotels (except Cabana Bay) can use their key cards for free Express access.
Universal also has a Ride Reservations program. You’re given a simple pager device that lists the next available entry at each attraction; the appointments reflect each ride’s current wait time, so essentially, the system gives you a virtual place in line. You schedule visits (only one at any moment) by pressing buttons, and it vibrates when it’s time. That’s $30 to make one reservation per ride or $40 for unlimited re-rides.
Universal also has photographers on hand to take your photo at big moments. Its Photo Connect works a lot like Disney's PhotoPass: You’ll get a claim ticket enabling you to purchase an expensive copy or download unlimited images within 3 days (for $60), but you may always use your own camera instead. You can also check your images as you collect them using an app.
Universal has free in-park Wi-Fi, and its free app, the Official Universal Orlando Resort App, provides wait times, showtimes, maps, and walking directions.
WHAT TO WEAR—Dress small children in bathing suits for a day at Universal Studios because its Kidzone, one of its best sections, will get them soaked. At Islands of Adventure, two of the best adult rides are water-based.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.