Random Thoughts Regarding Express Pass, the Universal App, and More

Ronald Reagan

Newcomer
Sep 17, 2019
5
Thomasville, GA
Hey there, I recently returned from a couple of trips to Universal Orlando. The first was a trip to Universal and IoA. The next was for HHN. These are just a few observations (irritations) that I think need some refinement.

The App:

On the first trip, I purchased Quick Service dining plans and used them. It’s a small annoyance but those passes still show in my wallet. They’re not dated and there’s no indication they’ve been used. I’m thinking, if I purchase one for a future trip, how will I tell them apart? Why didn’t these disappear or get archived in another section of the app? There’s an option to view used and expired tickets but these didn’t go there. We used all meals and snacks on the plans. Doesn’t make sense.

Annual Passes:

I purchased seasonal passes using the AMEX and got the $150 credit which was great! The full amount of the passes was billed to the card. Yet, the description in the app for each pass includes #ISFLEXPAY#. I didn’t choose Flex Pay when making the purchase so why does it say this? I don’t want to start getting billed monthly when they expire.

HHN Tickets Annual Pass Discount:

I purchased my ticket to HHN using the annual pass page which is supposed to offer a discount. Had to enter my pass number and so forth. I purchased my friend’s ticket on the regular page since they are not a pass holder. Guess what? Same price. All it did was create an inconvenience because her ticket showed up in my wallet on the app, but mine didn’t. Had to retrieve it from my email. I don’t understand why it didn’t register with the app as the other one did.

That leads me to my biggest gripe. I also purchased express passes for HHN. I assumed we would get a little card or ticket...something that would fit in a lanyard, especially since you have to present it for every use. Well, I chose to print tickets at home and I did. Took them and thought they would scan them and replace my paper printouts with something as just described. Nope. We had to fold 8 1/2 x 11 papers up, stick them in our pockets and hope they didn’t get wet or torn before the night was over. It’s 2019. They can do better. I mean, Cabana Bay can give me a plastic room key with my name on it that fits in a lanyard or wallet and I can save it as a souvenir but Universal can’t give you the same for an Express Pass?
 
  • Like
Reactions: therock
Aug 1, 2018
717
Los Angeles
Hey there, I recently returned from a couple of trips to Universal Orlando. The first was a trip to Universal and IoA. The next was for HHN. These are just a few observations (irritations) that I think need some refinement.

The App:

On the first trip, I purchased Quick Service dining plans and used them. It’s a small annoyance but those passes still show in my wallet. They’re not dated and there’s no indication they’ve been used. I’m thinking, if I purchase one for a future trip, how will I tell them apart? Why didn’t these disappear or get archived in another section of the app? There’s an option to view used and expired tickets but these didn’t go there. We used all meals and snacks on the plans. Doesn’t make sense.

Annual Passes:

I purchased seasonal passes using the AMEX and got the $150 credit which was great! The full amount of the passes was billed to the card. Yet, the description in the app for each pass includes #ISFLEXPAY#. I didn’t choose Flex Pay when making the purchase so why does it say this? I don’t want to start getting billed monthly when they expire.

HHN Tickets Annual Pass Discount:

I purchased my ticket to HHN using the annual pass page which is supposed to offer a discount. Had to enter my pass number and so forth. I purchased my friend’s ticket on the regular page since they are not a pass holder. Guess what? Same price. All it did was create an inconvenience because her ticket showed up in my wallet on the app, but mine didn’t. Had to retrieve it from my email. I don’t understand why it didn’t register with the app as the other one did.

That leads me to my biggest gripe. I also purchased express passes for HHN. I assumed we would get a little card or ticket...something that would fit in a lanyard, especially since you have to present it for every use. Well, I chose to print tickets at home and I did. Took them and thought they would scan them and replace my paper printouts with something as just described. Nope. We had to fold 8 1/2 x 11 papers up, stick them in our pockets and hope they didn’t get wet or torn before the night was over. It’s 2019. They can do better. I mean, Cabana Bay can give me a plastic room key with my name on it that fits in a lanyard or wallet and I can save it as a souvenir but Universal can’t give you the same for an Express Pass?
Hollywood is even worse. Can’t add pass to app. They give you a paper pass. Mine is faded 3 months in. Universal needs to up their app and pass game. I’m able to add my pass to the Knott’s Berry farm app and buy fast lane from the app. It’s pretty ridiculous considering every theme park does it better than Universal.
 

Speed

Rookie
Nov 6, 2015
424
I gave up on the wallet section of the app after it randomly stopped showing my APs barcode. If you're still interested you can switch over to a 3rd party app like Pass2U or Stocard which can help you access your passes from the wallet section of the iPhone app (press the home button twice). Works for me at the parks
 

Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
17,029
Pittsburgh area
On the HHN Express passes printed on the internet... It's my guess that they don't provide or require you to get a more durable pass to replace the paper printout since that would just result in one more tremendously long line that you would have to stand in before you could use it. Just like a paper printed ticket used to enter the park , it expedites the process.
 

RevFreako

Premium Member
Mar 30, 2015
2,090
Home laminating kit is less than five dollars. Cut the printout to size, laminate and off you go
 

VolcanoAye

Rookie
Sep 15, 2019
433
Curious:
Do you think it’d be cheaper if I stayed at an on-site that comes with express for my next trip or should I do surf side and purchase express separately?
 

soma27

Newcomer
Aug 24, 2010
47
With 2+ people in a room it is normally cheaper to stay on site and get the Express pass benefit than buying it separately.

you can easily check rates for your stay vs express pass on universals website though, takes the guessing out of it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RevFreako and Joe

Joe

aka TestTrack321
Staff member
Moderator
Feb 15, 2012
11,058
Pittsburgh, PA
Curious:
Do you think it’d be cheaper if I stayed at an on-site that comes with express for my next trip or should I do surf side and purchase express separately?
Make a spreadsheet and figure it out. Price out the ExpressPass you'd use (don't price out an Unlimited Two Park if you'd only use a regular one park) plus the hotel room per person vs the hotel room.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JoeCamel

JoeCamel

Premium Member
May 20, 2015
4,650
Ever Lurking
Make a spreadsheet and figure it out. Price out the ExpressPass you'd use (don't price out an Unlimited Two Park if you'd only use a regular one park) plus the hotel room per person vs the hotel room.
In addition to Joe's excellent reply factor in the travel time using the bus from surf vs the boat from an express hotel. The hassle of getting out to the bus loop vs just boarding in Citywalk has to be considered. On a pure monetary basis only you would know if it is worth the extra for the venue.
Does it matter to you?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Joe

VolcanoAye

Rookie
Sep 15, 2019
433
In addition to Joe's excellent reply factor in the travel time using the bus from surf vs the boat from an express hotel. The hassle of getting out to the bus loop vs just boarding in Citywalk has to be considered. On a pure monetary basis only you would know if it is worth the extra for the venue.
Does it matter to you?
My bus experiences in the past have been great. Don’t mind taking it instead of the water taxi.
 

comrade_bob

Newcomer
Mar 24, 2019
29
Hey there, I recently returned from a couple of trips to Universal Orlando. The first was a trip to Universal and IoA. The next was for HHN. These are just a few observations (irritations) that I think need some refinement.

The App:

On the first trip, I purchased Quick Service dining plans and used them. It’s a small annoyance but those passes still show in my wallet. They’re not dated and there’s no indication they’ve been used. I’m thinking, if I purchase one for a future trip, how will I tell them apart? Why didn’t these disappear or get archived in another section of the app? There’s an option to view used and expired tickets but these didn’t go there. We used all meals and snacks on the plans. Doesn’t make sense.

Annual Passes:

I purchased seasonal passes using the AMEX and got the $150 credit which was great! The full amount of the passes was billed to the card. Yet, the description in the app for each pass includes #ISFLEXPAY#. I didn’t choose Flex Pay when making the purchase so why does it say this? I don’t want to start getting billed monthly when they expire.

HHN Tickets Annual Pass Discount:

I purchased my ticket to HHN using the annual pass page which is supposed to offer a discount. Had to enter my pass number and so forth. I purchased my friend’s ticket on the regular page since they are not a pass holder. Guess what? Same price. All it did was create an inconvenience because her ticket showed up in my wallet on the app, but mine didn’t. Had to retrieve it from my email. I don’t understand why it didn’t register with the app as the other one did.

That leads me to my biggest gripe. I also purchased express passes for HHN. I assumed we would get a little card or ticket...something that would fit in a lanyard, especially since you have to present it for every use. Well, I chose to print tickets at home and I did. Took them and thought they would scan them and replace my paper printouts with something as just described. Nope. We had to fold 8 1/2 x 11 papers up, stick them in our pockets and hope they didn’t get wet or torn before the night was over. It’s 2019. They can do better. I mean, Cabana Bay can give me a plastic room key with my name on it that fits in a lanyard or wallet and I can save it as a souvenir but Universal can’t give you the same for an Express Pass?
Hey there, I recently returned from a couple of trips to Universal Orlando. The first was a trip to Universal and IoA. The next was for HHN. These are just a few observations (irritations) that I think need some refinement.

The App:

On the first trip, I purchased Quick Service dining plans and used them. It’s a small annoyance but those passes still show in my wallet. They’re not dated and there’s no indication they’ve been used. I’m thinking, if I purchase one for a future trip, how will I tell them apart? Why didn’t these disappear or get archived in another section of the app? There’s an option to view used and expired tickets but these didn’t go there. We used all meals and snacks on the plans. Doesn’t make sense.

Annual Passes:

I purchased seasonal passes using the AMEX and got the $150 credit which was great! The full amount of the passes was billed to the card. Yet, the description in the app for each pass includes #ISFLEXPAY#. I didn’t choose Flex Pay when making the purchase so why does it say this? I don’t want to start getting billed monthly when they expire.

HHN Tickets Annual Pass Discount:

I purchased my ticket to HHN using the annual pass page which is supposed to offer a discount. Had to enter my pass number and so forth. I purchased my friend’s ticket on the regular page since they are not a pass holder. Guess what? Same price. All it did was create an inconvenience because her ticket showed up in my wallet on the app, but mine didn’t. Had to retrieve it from my email. I don’t understand why it didn’t register with the app as the other one did.

That leads me to my biggest gripe. I also purchased express passes for HHN. I assumed we would get a little card or ticket...something that would fit in a lanyard, especially since you have to present it for every use. Well, I chose to print tickets at home and I did. Took them and thought they would scan them and replace my paper printouts with something as just described. Nope. We had to fold 8 1/2 x 11 papers up, stick them in our pockets and hope they didn’t get wet or torn before the night was over. It’s 2019. They can do better. I mean, Cabana Bay can give me a plastic room key with my name on it that fits in a lanyard or wallet and I can save it as a souvenir but Universal can’t give you the same for an Express Pass?
you can choose to pickup your tickets at the will call kiosk - there the tickets are printed in a size that fits in a lanyard. Never encountered a line at the will call kiosk as there are a bunch of them and its really quick and easy.
First time I went, I also encountered the home paper printout issue which really kinda sucked. So I asked someone at the park and I have been using the will call kiosk ever since.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ronald Reagan

Ridgepole

Veteran Member
Feb 19, 2018
1,004
Not so random thought....AP hotel discounts continue to be non existent for me. Don't buy an AP if this is your incentive. I should say your main incentive.
 

Skold

Rookie
Feb 17, 2016
468
Not so random thought....AP hotel discounts continue to be non existent for me. Don't buy an AP if this is your incentive. I should say your main incentive.
I've found a couple great deals over the last few years. They're more likely to happen for low-crowd weeks, but I got a great one for Portofino for July 20 - 24 this last year.

Keep checking in with the promo code, and make sure to do so at the Loews site. :toast: