Willing to spend extra and not willing to wait in long lines? Want a more expedited or personal experience? Universal has two options for you: the Universal Express pass and the VIP Experience.
Unlike Universal Orlando, Universal Hollywood’s “Universal Express” pass includes park admission.
You do not need to purchase a single-day and a Universal Express pass.
What does it do?
Universal Express passes entitle to you the aforementioned park admission as well as access of the “Universal Express” queue for each attraction.
Here’s how it works: Those who purchase any Universal Express pass online from the official Universal Studios Hollywood website will be printed credentials at the turnstiles, which will become your Express credential and park admission. Lanyards are not provided and the option to purchase a lanyard in the park is available. If purchased elsewhere, they will need to be processed at the Universal Box Office at Universal Plaza inside the theme park.
You get to “skip” the main standby line via the Universal Express queue. Since there are two tiers of the front of the line passes, be aware of which one you have purchased. You can’t swap one ride for another, and keep in mind every person in your party will need a Universal Express pass.
Universal Express also entitles you to reserved seating at the park’s live shows. Look for the Universal Express sign at the entrance to each show; make sure you have your Universal Express credential visible when you enter; you’ll be let in first and shown to the reserved seating spaces. Arrive at least 25 minutes before showtime for priority seating, seating begins 15 minutes before showtime. Once both the Express Pass and standby lines have been let in, your Express benefit is forfeited for that show, granted there are any reserved seating spaces available.
Will Universal Express work at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
Yes! Universal Express passes are honored at both Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff. It is not honored at the Ollivander’s Wand Shop experience or at The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle.
Different Universal Express pass tiers
There are currently two different versions of the Universal Express pass available for purchase. Universal Express Unlimited (unlimited priority access) and Universal Express (one time priority access per attraction).
How much does it cost?
Similar to general admission, Universal Express pass prices fluctuate based on projected attendance. The regular ones start at a minimum of $189 per person on slower days and up to $269 per person on the busiest days. Universal Express Unlimited passes are available for an additional $30, which you can purchase on Universal Studios Hollywood’s main website or do an in-park upgrade at the Universal Box Office, subject to availability. While those bigger numbers may be hard to swallow, keep in mind the higher the cost, the more useful this pass becomes!
You can save $10 on Universal Express passes if you purchase in advance on the official Universal Studios Hollywood ticketing website.
California residents can save an additional $20 off the regular Universal Express prices by purchasing in advance on the official Universal Studios Hollywood ticketing website.
Is the Universal Express pass worth getting?
In our experience, it is possible and practical to complete all of Universal Hollywood’s attractions within a single day, open-to-close, with proper planning and pacing. On the busiest days, however, lines can grow faster than you can manage. If you’re visiting on a major holiday weekend, in the middle of the summer, or just can’t stand lines in general, we recommend investing in the pass.
TIP: On peak days when Universal Studios Hollywood is open until 9PM or 10PM, the After 4PM Universal Express pass is available. It costs significantly cheaper than a full day Express pass, which starts at $50 a person. Keep in mind you can only purchase the pass inside the theme park at Universal Box Office on the Upper Lot or at the Lower Lot next to the lockers by Revenge of the Mummy.
This is Universal’s top offering, a pricey but incredible experience that will truly make you feel like a very-important-person.
What does it include?
The VIP Experience includes the following:
- Admission to the park (don’t buy an additional ticket!)
- Valet Parking
- Continental breakfast
- Unlimited access to Universal Express, front-of-the-line queues
- Intimate guided tour through the park and Universal backlot on an exclusive tram
- Buffet-style lunch in a private dining room
What’s the deal with the exclusive tram?
We’re glad you asked. The majority of guests ride in Universal’s multi-car trams that weave in and out of the backlot and through the various show stops. VIP Experience guests will board an exclusive, one-car trolley that will take them on a personalized trek through the backlot. Each tour holds between 10 and 15 people. Schedule permitting, you’ll actually be permitted to get off your tram and roam areas of the backlot on foot!
Does the VIP Experience include The Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
Yes! Universal Express access is honored at Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff. It is not honored at the Ollivander’s Wand Shop experience or at . The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle. But your VIP guide will provide priority access to Ollivander’s wand experience at some point during the guided portion of the theme park.
How much does it cost?
The cost of the VIP Experience fluctuates based on projected crowd attendance. It costs $359 per person on slower days and up to $419 on the busiest days. Bear in mind that the cost includes park admission, two meals (breakfast and lunch), valet parking, unlimited front of the line access, and the exclusive tour itself.
You can save $10 on the VIP Experience if you purchase in advance on the official Universal Studios Hollywood ticketing website.
Is the VIP Experience Worth It?
If money is no object or you want the absolute most exceptional, special Universal Hollywood experience, then yes, the VIP Experience is worth it. Factoring in the costs of valet parking, unlimited Universal Express access, and two included meals, the Experience is a fairly strong value even at its most expensive price. Furthermore (and unlike the traditional Universal Express pass), the VIP Experience offers you the chance to experience parts of the backlot on foot, something no other ticket option offers. To some movie buffs, this alone will be worth the price.
Private VIP Tours
If you’d prefer to tour with just your party, Universal Hollywood also offers private VIP tours on a case by case basis. To inquire, call Universal at (818) 622-8477.