So, we will be at Universal for 1/11-1/12. Will be staying at Sapphire Falls so no express pass. Should we need the express pass if we want to do the majority of things, except for the major (Hulk and such) roller coasters?
I don't think any holidays in January conflict with those dates unless there's a holiday I'm missing. That being said, since it's non-peak season and no holidays involved in those dates you should be good, especially if you use EE. It's the weekend, so slight difference in attendance than the usual, but other than that, I believe you should be pretty good if you're going to the park both days, even though you might be spending technically only one night there.
I would look at the cost of adding express pass + your current room cost and see if it's worth moving into one of the 3 Deluxe resorts that come with express. If you stay at a deluxe you get Unlimited Express pass for the day you check in and check out for each person in the room.
I agree with Tweak. Also, I usually wouldn't advocate buying the express pass in advance unless it's a holiday or known high crowd time. Even so, we went to Universal last year during Spring break and it rained early one day in the middle of the week. We arrived at the park around 12-1 after the rain stopped and the crowds were very low. We went the next day when the sun was out and the park was completely packed. We waited in line less than 5 minutes for the Minions in the hot sun and decided to buy express passes. Best money I have ever spent.
That’s one of the slowest times of the year so you shouldn’t need them, especially if you utilize early entry and single rider lines. Tour smartly though. Weekends are busier but usually most wait times don’t start to go up much til close til 11. Hit the headliners early and if you need to, double back to take in the details of the lands early.
However, if ya’ll are huge Potterheads and would like to spend half a day in Diagon and several hours in Hogsmeade, it would not be possible to ride everything. Express probably would let you ride everything in that scenario.
Either way the one problem is Hagrids. The new Hagrid coaster does not have express and routinely has a two hour wait. The best strategy for that is to show up really early, like an hour before park open, to be one of the first people in line so that you don’t spend much park time waiting. But then you’re giving up early entry. The line has been closing before park close. Maybe the newness will wear off before your visit and wait times won’t be as high.
I purchased and printed out the Universal Express Passes for my family. I was surprised that each pass was a full sheet of paper that needs to be carried and shown at each ride. I have taken pictures of the passes with my cell phone. Has anyone ever been able to show the picture on their phone to be scanned? ---instead of showing the full sheet of possibly balled up or wet paper after used several times?
I don’t think you will need express. Two days is plenty of time to do “most” everything you want during a low crowd week. Be open to the single rider lines if some of the more popular rides are crowded.
If you are big Harry Potter fans and want to try most of the interactive wand spell sites, or know you’ll want to spend a day wondering around and exploring those two areas, then express might be needed just to help you cover more ground in less time.
When we looked at the numbers, we saved money by staying at the Royal Pacific that included the Express Pass vs staying at a lower level resort and paying for Express Passes for 4 people.
Absolutely loved the Express Pass. In 2 days we rode every ride as many times as we wanted without ever feeling rushed.