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Thread: Will I need to buy an Express Pass for IOA/US at the end of April 2012?

  1. #1

    Will I need to buy an Express Pass for IOA/US at the end of April 2012?

    Hello! I would love some advise on whether or not an IOA/US Express Pass is needed for the end of April. We are making our first trip there Sunday April 29 and Monday April 30th. My plan is a full day at each park with our 5, 8 and 10 year olds. Is it worth the extra $45 pp (for 2 days) for the Express Passes or will the crowds not be that bad? How much time will the pass save us? We also thought about getting an on site hotel room for one night to get their unlimited express pass plus the additional hour of Harry Potter. We already have a time share for the week so the hotel room would just be for the passes only. Is it worth the added expense of $225 for express passes or $310 for staying onsite? We want to make the experience as pleasurable as possible without wasting money. Advise?


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  3. #2
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    I would think late April would be safe since Easter is in early April. Most schools will have had their spring breaks already. I think your best bet is probably to hold off on buying them until you get there, then seeing if it would be worth it based on crowd levels. The only real advantage might be for Harry Potter, but even then you only have 2 rides with Express Pass access.

    You're better off saving your money up front, then if you don't spend it on the Express Passes, you will have more to spend on other things for your trip.


  4. #3

    I personally don't think that the Express Passes are worth it. From what I recall, you can only skip the line for any given ride once, then you have to wait in line with everyone else if you want to go on a ride a second or subsequent time. And as was mentioned, not every ride has the Express Pass. If you did do the passes, I would probably only do them for one day, not two.

    The hotel keys, on the other hand, give you unlimited ability to use the Express Pass lines. Such a better deal IF you need to spend the night somewhere anyway. You don't, which is a further complication.

    The nice thing about the Express pass is that it has variable pricing with the more crowded days being more expensive. For the time you are looking at, their website shows that the park-hopper option is $32 each day, with the individual parks being more expensive on Sunday than on Monday. In contrast, the park-hopper for Saturday is $56 per person. So I would think that they expect your visit to be during a less crowded time. In briefly playing on their website, it looks like Monday has the minimum pricing for the pass.

    If you do decide to buy something, do make sure to check out AAA rates or any other discounts you may be eligible for when making the price comparison. I looked at Loew's website and they have a room at the Royal Pacific for $254 (about $285 after taxes). If you could get that price down through AAA, then the price between the unlimited pass with hotel room and the passes only may be comparable.

    Overall, I don't think you need it since you are not traveling at a particularly crowded time. It is nice to have, but in my opinion not worth the cost as you do not otherwise need lodging for the night.


  5. #4

    I think you would be OK without them at the end of April. We are going the last week of March, and it actually worked out less expensive for us to stay one night at the Leows Royal Pacific ($290 with taxes, AAA rate), than to get the express passes for a family of 2 adults and 2 teens. The savings was about $100. The bonus is that we can check in REALLY early in the morning and get the early entry into IOA for 2 days, AND the express passes for hotel guests are the unlimited ones.


  6. #5
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    The hotel passes are a dream and completely worth the price of staying.


  7. #6
    Perpetual Mouseketeer mkraemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbarry View Post
    The hotel passes are a dream and completely worth the price of staying.
    I agree with this, and also want to add that the Royal Pacific is a gorgeous hotel, with a terrific pool area. In addition, hotel guests can have any theme park purchases sent to their rooms, have access to all the other Universal property hotel amenities and pools (so if you're staying at the Royal Pacific and want to go on the big water slide at Hard Rock, you can!), use the water taxi service, and have the early entry into Islands of Adventure. If you're staying onsite and purchase the Seaworld add-on tickets, there's free transportation between your hotel and Seaworld. Good stuff!
    MaryK@CruisingCo.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by mkraemer View Post
    I agree with this, and also want to add that the Royal Pacific is a gorgeous hotel, with a terrific pool area. In addition, hotel guests can have any theme park purchases sent to their rooms, have access to all the other Universal property hotel amenities and pools (so if you're staying at the Royal Pacific and want to go on the big water slide at Hard Rock, you can!), use the water taxi service, and have the early entry into Islands of Adventure. If you're staying onsite and purchase the Seaworld add-on tickets, there's free transportation between your hotel and Seaworld. Good stuff!
    I'd like to third what they said. We stayed in the Hard Rock just for the express pass and getting into WWHP an hour earlier. You can check into hard rock early before the park opens. They may not have a room ready, but you can store your luggage and you can go to the parks. Hard Rock is the closest hotel if you wanted to walk. We were able to ride dragon challenge 10 times in a row before we had to wait any and the forbidden journey twice. Could have probably rode it more, but I probably would have puked.
    Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
    -1 Corinthians 9:24

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    Us, too - we transferred early to Royal Pacific and headed into the park while our luggage headed into storage (it made it to our room before we did). We stayed three nights and it was worth every penny; Forbidden Journey and Rip Ride Roller Coaster are the only two rides where express pass doesn't count (of course being HP fans we headed straight there each morning to get a couple of rides in before the masses). In the late afternoon/early evening, we'd head back into the Wizarding World and then did Ollivanders Wand experience and Forbidden Journey a couple more times (three in a row was all we could stand but MAN it is ever an awesome ride, even if you're not a HP fan!!!)

    We park-hopped, and found that we liked IOA much more than Universal (if that helps). Have fun!!!

    I think most of all what I want Disneyland to be is a happy place, where parents and children can have fun, together. - Walt Disney

    And we do!!!

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