Universal Hotels with Free Express Pass: Is it Worth the Upgrade?

What are the Universal hotels with free express pass and is it worth the upgrade for your Universal vacation? In this post we are sharing the Premier Universal hotels that include express pass for free with your stay.

Staying at a Premier Universal Hotel to take advantage of the included express pass is a smart move if you want to avoid long wait times and want to save money on the add-on option.

What are the Universal Hotels with Free Express Pass

Read on for more details about the Universal Hotels with free Express Pass and why it might be worth it to stay at one of the Universal Premier Hotels for your Universal trip.

walk way to universal studios from hard rock hotel
The walking path to Universal Studios Florida.

What Does Universal Unlimited Express Pass Do

Universal Unlimited Express pass allows guest to skip the regular line(standby line) on participating attractions as many times as you would like. This is at the Universal Orlando Resort theme parks: Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay.

This unlimited ride access means much shorter wait times and allows guests to visit the parks at their own pace without worrying about lines.

Universal express passes is really helpful on busy days during spring break. Skipping the regular lines during peak times will allow you to enjoy more of the most popular rides and attractions.

No long lines to wait in allows guests more time in the park and less stress of planning your day and avoiding crowds.

Guests do not have to book these in advance either. You will receive a pass at hotel check-in and will scan it at the Express pass entrance when you want to ride. I go into all the details in this post: Is Universal Express Pass Worth It?

How Much Does a Universal Express Pass Cost

If you are not staying at a premier hotel you can purchase Express Pass as an add-on to your Universal tickets. On-site Universal Orlando hotels like the Endless Summer hotels or Cabana Bay can offer great deals for families but they do not include unlimited express passes or regular express access.

Typically adding on express pass to your park tickets will cost more than the upgrade to a premier hotel but this depends on the size of your travel party and the time of year you visit.

All prices are per person in addition to your park ticket.

  • Universal Express: $79.99-$289.99 | This is skip the line for one attraction one time.
  • Universal Unlimited Express Passes: $109.99-$309.99 | This gives guests unlimited access on participating attractions.
  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure does not use Express Pass. It is also one of the most popular attractions at the park. Guests wanting to skip the line should take advantage of the single rider line.
loews royal pacific at universal orlando

Universal Hotels that Include Express Pass

If you decide you want to upgrade to stay at a Premier Hotel you then need to decide which one. All three offer great amenities and accommodations.

Tip: Express pass is included starting on check-in day through check-out day.

This means you can stay 2 nights at a premier hotel and receive 3 full days of express pass. Just check-in early, store your luggage, and head to the parks. On check-out days store your luggage and then enjoy your day at the theme parks.

Hotel guests staying at all of the Universal hotels will be able to take advantage of early admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

*Prices below are starting prices and will depend on travel dates.

Loews Royal Pacific Resort

Loews Royal Pacific Resort is the best value(least expensive) of the three premier resorts but you will still be paying a premium to stay at this resort. It is themed to a South Seas paradise.

Guests staying at Royal Pacific Resort will have early admission into the theme parks, boat transportation to the parks or guests can walk (about 10-15 minutes) to the park.

Royal Pacific Resort prices start around $328.00 a night. Express Pass is included for everyone in the room. Check Royal Pacific Resort prices.

loews royal pacific hotel entrance

Hard Rock Hotel

Hard Rock Hotel is like stepping into a Hard Rock Cafe themed hotel. It has music and rock and roll memorabilia throughout the resort.

Early entry to the theme parks is included with your stay and Hard Rock is a 5 minute walk to the Universal Studios Florida entrance.

Hard Rock Hotel pricing starts at $377.00 a night. Express is included for everyone in the room. Check Hard Rock Hotel prices.

entrance to hard rock hotel at universal fountain

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is inspired by a seaside village of Italy. It is a relaxing spot away from the business of the theme parks.

Guests staying at Portofino Bay can take boat transportation to the parks or walk. Early park admission is also included with your stay.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel pricing starts at $392.00 a night including free unlimited express pass for everyone in the room. Check Portofino Bay prices.

If a Premier resort is in your budget I think it is worth it to upgrade. It will almost always cost less than purchasing express passes as add-ons.

From an “enjoying the parks” perspective, having express pass allows you to explore and enjoy the parks at a much leisurely pace. You don’t have to worry about getting up early to get in lines and can tour the parks at your own speed.

From a cost perspective it is an expensive add-on but I recommend pricing out the premier hotels to see if it is worth the hotel upgrade for your Universal vacation.

Read Next: Best Universal Hotels for Families for 2024

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