When we visited Universal Orlando Resort, we opted for the VIP Experience, which might as well have been a VVIP Experience. We literally went from ride to ride and bypassed all lines! But isn’t that what a Universal Orlando Express Pass lets you do? Not exactly. And neither experience includes general admission—that’s extra. Here, we compare the Universal Orlando Express Pass vs. the VIP Experience to help you decide which one (if either) is best for your family.
2-Park Universal Orlando Express Pass vs. 2-Park Universal Orlando Express Unlimited Pass
Universal Express Pass
Cost: From $135 per person
What It Includes: As a 2-Park Universal Express Pass holder, you’ll be able to skip the lines at the parks’ most popular rides and attractions, one time each (aka, you can’t skip the line twice on the same ride). The Universal Express Pass does not include theme park admission.
Universal Express Unlimited
Cost: From $160 per person
What It Includes: With the Universal Express Pass Unlimited, you can skip the rides as many times as you want. Separate theme park admission is required.
Both passes are eligible for Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure or Volcano Bay. 1-Park Express Pass and 1-Park Express Pass Unlimited are also available and listed from $120 and $140, respectively, making the two-park pass the better deal, regardless of whether you choose Express Pass or Express Pass Unlimited.
Universal Orlando VIP Experience vs. Private VIP Experience
Universal Orlando VIP Experience
Cost: From $189 per person
What It Includes: The 1 Day/Two Park Experience entitles you to seven hours with your own tour guide in Universal Studios Orlando and Islands of Adventure. It also guarantees you won’t wait in any lines for rides, and will visit a minimum of 10 attractions (though we can almost guarantee you’ll visit more), chosen by the tour guide. 1 Day/Two Park Experiences are available for a maximum of 12 people, and are offered in a group setting, so if your family of four, for example, has booked this tour, you’ll essentially explore the park with eight other people you don’t know. Similar 1 Day/1 Park Experiences offer a five-hour tour with priority access to at least eight rides at the park of your choice.
All Universal VIP tours allow families to visit behind-the-scenes locations that others can’t access; for example, you’ll have a chance to get up close with “aliens” in the Men in Black Immigration Room, which closely resembles the one featured in the film trilogy. Other perks include continental breakfast, lunch, reserved seating at shows, and complimentary valet parking. Separate theme park admission is required.
Universal Orlando Private VIP Experience
If you’d like a private tour of the parks, you’ll want to opt for the Private VIP Experience, available in the following variations: 1-Day, 1-Park Tour; 1-Day, 2-Park Tour; 2-Day, Two Park Tour. The tour guide won’t choose the rides; those decisions will be entirely up to your group. Of course, for a tour like this, you’ll pay even more.
Private VIP Experience guests receive all the same perks as the standard VIP Experience, but with the addition of a full-service dinner and a My Universal Photos™ 3-Day Photo Package. Separate theme park admission is required.
Universal Orlando Express Pass vs. VIP Experience: Tips for Your Trip
- For a Universal Studios Express Pass discount, stay at one of the resort’s official hotels, where Express Passes are often included in nightly hotel rates! Resort hotels include the following: Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Loews Portofino Bay Resort, Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando, and the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort.
- If you opt for a 1 Day/Two Park Experience, realize that you might be paired with a group of different ages and interests. This could be a problem if you have toddlers who want to spend a majority of time in Seuss Landing, but are touring the parks with a group of college students who’ve set out to ride every roller coaster.
- A notable difference between the 1 Day/Two Park Experience and the 1 Day/Two Park Exclusive Experience is the later provides less of a “tour” feel—you’ll just go from ride to ride, possibly hearing bits and pieces of information in between. In the 1 Day/Two Park Experience, your tour guide will often stop to give you information about each ride and other notable happenings in the park.
- Both Express Pass and VIP Experience prices vary upon dates, with the highest rates listed during the week of Easter, June through August, and the weeks surrounding Christmas and New Year’s Day. Plan your trip—and budget—accordingly.