Reader poll: FastPass+ versus Express Pass

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We talked about FastPass+ last week, running the gamut of guest feedback from the good to the bad to plain old meh. Now it’s time to make it official and put it to a vote!

 

FastPass+ is Disney’s free ride reservation system. A guest and her party can select which attractions – rides, character meet-n-greets, parades – they would like to see and then choose from a list of return times, minimizing the amount of time spent in line. When fully implemented, these reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance and can be edited afterwards by using either a smart-phone app or its website equivalent. Although every guest is eligible for utilizing FastPass+, she is limited to three selections at just one park – along with other possible restrictions – and the large lead-in window can mean that all reservations for a particularly popular ride might “sell out” early in the day, or days in advance, during busier times of the year.

Express Passes are Universal’s skip-the-regular-line tickets, which enable a guest to access a shorter “back door” queue that typically has a wait time of less than 15 minutes, regardless of how long the regular standby queue is. Although there are no return times, allowing a guest to make on-the-fly decisions about his touring, only select attractions have Express Pass access (typically rides, and never character meet-n-greets or parades). And in order to control crowd flow, Universal charges money for this privilege – anywhere from $20 to $140 per person, per day – and limits the amount of EPs that are for sale each day, based upon attendance predictions. Finally, it should be noted that there are two different types of Express Passes: “basic” allows one to skip the standby line once per particiapting attraction, while “unlimited” offers an infinite number of rides.

So… which is the better system?

 

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[socialpoll id=”2194546″]
Note: you don’t have to sign into a social network to vote – that is just a feature offered. If you prefer to vote anonymously, click your selection in the poll and, when you see the pop-up, click “Keep vote anonymous.”

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Note: you don’t have to sign into a social network to vote – that is just a feature offered. If you prefer to vote anonymously, click your selection in the poll and, when you see the pop-up, click “Keep vote anonymous.”[/wptouch]

 

You can learn every last little thing about Express Passes in our insider’s guide. We also have a step-by-step walkthrough on how to use FastPass+, as well.

 

Previous poll:

How long will you wait for your first rides at Diagon Alley?

The vast majority of voters – 422 out of 801 (53%) – said they would happily wait one to two hours to ride the Hogwarts Express. Coming in at a distant second was the “waiting under one hour” option, with 268 votes (33%). Interestingly, waiting three to four hours was the least popular choice among participants (46 votes, 6%) – which means more people were willing to wait over four hours for their first trip aboard the train!

The breakdown for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is very much the same: 287 out of 500 voters (57%) said they’d wait one to two hours; 116 (23%) said they’d wait under an hour; and just 40 (8%) said they’d be willing to wait over four hours. It seems like – surprisingly – the Hogwarts Express is more popular among potential riders than Escape from Gringotts.

Thanks for participating in that last poll – we’re sure it’s given Universal’s operations division much to think about.

View all of our reader polls

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Rumor round-up for March 28, 2014: Sharpening our thoughts on Diagon Alley’s opening, first glimpses of King Kong & Jurassic World, Universal’s water park

Orlando Informer Weekly Dispatch: March 24 – 30, 2014

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Charlene Amos
Charlene Amos
March 29, 2014 11:46 am

Disney! Universal isn’t organised!

Jeffrey Watkins
Jeffrey Watkins
March 29, 2014 11:46 am

Fast pass! It’s free!!!!!!!!!!

Dana Trivino
Dana Trivino
March 29, 2014 11:51 am

They both have their pros and cons but one huge advantage with Universal’s Express Pass is the ability to use it for almost every ride…at Disney you can only use it for 3 rides!

Andre Somma
Andre Somma
March 29, 2014 11:52 am

Fastpass+. Universal needs to start developing their next level ticketing/express pass concept. MagicButtons perhaps? The Fastpass plus program is still in development and testing phase. People really need to get over the “only three per day” rule. It’s not set in stone.

Ashley Merrett
Ashley Merrett
March 29, 2014 11:56 am

Nothing and I mean nothing beats Universals approach. Express and single rider lines! Even during peak season I’ve never waited more than 10 min on any ride!!!!

Annette Marie Pilon
Annette Marie Pilon
March 29, 2014 11:57 am

it’s only free if you stay on site at Disney, don’t know haven’t tried it yet.

Amanda Tallaksen
Amanda Tallaksen
March 29, 2014 11:59 am

I like the fast pass because it doesn’t cost anything. Universal needs to change their express.

Dani of thisfloridalife
Dani of thisfloridalife
March 29, 2014 12:02 pm

I am wavering back and forth on this a lot! Like it is driving me a little bonkers.

I am leaning toward Disney FP+ on this one because it can be personalized, every one gets to use it instead of those willing to pay for it at Universal, and because there are so many more options beyond the rides. 

However, Universal Express has the upper hand on spontaneity and overall value.

Lucy8_
Lucy8_
March 29, 2014 12:06 pm

Express Pass as it’s unlimited and you can use as much as you want, no waiting for an specified time or riding your favorite ride only once per day using it.

Joseph Machado
Joseph Machado
March 29, 2014 12:00 pm

Universal is developing there next gen system but they won’t release it half backed like Disney did. They are smart watching Disney fall on there face and learning from it.

Marianna Briley
Marianna Briley
March 29, 2014 12:02 pm

Universal!

Lisandra Gonzalez
Lisandra Gonzalez
March 29, 2014 12:04 pm

Universal express. El fastpass te tiene corriendo todo el parque. Por eso cuesta.

Jon Azevedo
Jon Azevedo
March 29, 2014 12:04 pm

Fast pass if far superior and it’s free!

Feli Vill
Feli Vill
March 29, 2014 12:04 pm

Fast pass it’s free

John Sebastian La Valle
John Sebastian La Valle
March 29, 2014 12:05 pm

I saw a line an hour long for Fast Pass + kiosks – really gonna save you time lol

John Sebastian La Valle
John Sebastian La Valle
March 29, 2014 12:05 pm

Free isn’t always better, if you can’t afford express or don’t want to spend the money go when it’s slow.

Alice' Bourque
Alice' Bourque
March 29, 2014 12:06 pm

Universal express! Every day!!!

Jacqueline Sullivan
Jacqueline Sullivan
March 29, 2014 12:07 pm

Univeral express!!!

Andre Somma
Andre Somma
March 29, 2014 12:08 pm

John, that’s why you use the My Disney Experience App. To avoid this crazy line. Don’t know why anyone would wait in line for Fastpass to avoid waiting in line.

Colleen O'Halloran Sperry
Colleen O'Halloran Sperry
March 29, 2014 12:08 pm

Universal Express…it’s more exclusive, not available for free to just anyone and everyone in the park…it is a HUGE perk to staying onsite.

John Sebastian La Valle
John Sebastian La Valle
March 29, 2014 12:09 pm

Andre, because with the app you get to pick from a few sets of 3 attractions which actually means you get guaranteed 1 you don’t want or need lol

Pam Williams
Pam Williams
March 29, 2014 12:12 pm

Universal has WDW beat by a long shot. I don’t mind paying for the express pass at all. Nothing beats a day at the park and you can just walk on a ride. With the FP plus, you only get 3 choices per day and it sucks.

Andre Somma
Andre Somma
March 29, 2014 12:14 pm

We were able to get pretty much all we wanted for the most part. We ended up using one maybe two of the three. As AP holders Fastpass ends up being a non issue. The good thing about this whole change is that it gives everyone a chance for a fast pass.

John Sebastian La Valle
John Sebastian La Valle
March 29, 2014 12:14 pm

Also with FP+ people can reserve places they don’t use and then you’re screwed – that’s fair? I could be in Alaska and take up Fast Passes for rides lol

Beatriz Santos
Beatriz Santos
March 29, 2014 12:14 pm

Fastpass is the best , and is for free !

Bridget Sullivan
Bridget Sullivan
March 29, 2014 12:21 pm

Fastpass is free at Disney express at universal isn’t

Sherry Tessman
Sherry Tessman
March 29, 2014 12:29 pm

You can’t compare the two. You never wait in line at Universal and it’s good on most rides. It IS free if you stay on property! We won’t be going back to Disney until they get rid of the free Fastpass and develop a paid system.

Amanda Casleton
Amanda Casleton
March 29, 2014 12:37 pm

Express pass all the way! We always stay at Hard Rock so it is technically free although I would definitely pay for it if we ever stayed off site!

Sherry
Sherry
March 29, 2014 12:43 pm

That’s like comparing apples to oranges. Universal Express is an actual front of the line pass and you do not wait in line and you don’t have schedule when you want to ride. We won’t be going back to Disney until they develop a paid service. If you stay on property Express is free (and staying on property is the best way to do any of parks!).

Sherry
Sherry
March 29, 2014 12:47 pm

How are they not organized? You go to the Express line and you get on the ride. Easiest thing ever!

Marita Hatland
Marita Hatland
March 29, 2014 12:42 pm

Universal express is The best.

Todd Losey
Todd Losey
March 29, 2014 1:01 pm

Express cost money disney does not. Can not compare, not equal!!

Todd Losey
Todd Losey
March 29, 2014 1:03 pm

And honestly if I’m paying $50 plus for express it better be a whole lot better then disney! If not there are problems!!

Sherry Tessman
Sherry Tessman
March 29, 2014 1:04 pm

Express is free if you stay on property and that’s the best and only way to do the parks anyway!

Todd Losey
Todd Losey
March 29, 2014 1:05 pm

Yea at the expense hotel, express not free at the universal new hotel !!

Rich DeOnofrio
Rich DeOnofrio
March 29, 2014 1:05 pm

I just got back from 3 days at the park. At 8:00 am the fp time for the Safari was 3:25 pm and we were the first ones through the gate. We did not stay on property nor are we season pass holders.

Beverly Jane Ampy
Beverly Jane Ampy
March 29, 2014 1:06 pm

Universal.

Sherry Tessman
Sherry Tessman
March 29, 2014 1:06 pm

You’re on vacation. “Expensive” is part of that.

Sherry Tessman
Sherry Tessman
March 29, 2014 1:24 pm

We always go during Christmas week (normally the busiest time of year) so Express is always needed. Early park admission perk from staying on property takes care of the line at Harry Potter problem (usually).

Jason Clapp
Jason Clapp
March 29, 2014 1:32 pm

Express pass is the best

Betsy Baez
Betsy Baez
March 29, 2014 1:39 pm

Jk Rowling does not want express lines she wants everyone to experience the walk through the castle

Pedro Davoli Neto
Pedro Davoli Neto
March 29, 2014 1:55 pm

One is for free and does not satisfies the guest, I prefer to pay and have something really valuable as Universal’s Express pass

Jessica Lincicome
Jessica Lincicome
March 29, 2014 2:09 pm

Definitely pros and cons here. We went to Universal on Saturday and they wanted $99 for Each Express pass (INSANE) since this is on top of the normal admission. However you get on any ride you want when you want with the exception of Harry Potter. For Disney I don’t like that you only get to choose 3 rides at one park per day…also I don’t like the time frames. I want to go on the rides that we like and then go home. But their fast pass system is free.

Monica Andacht
Monica Andacht
March 29, 2014 3:22 pm

Universal. Best perk for staying on site. Disney does not give u that perk and now only 3 fast passes a day.

BrianArmstrong
BrianArmstrong
March 29, 2014 4:12 pm

Clearly pros and cons to each. The pros to Disney Fast pass is sit is free however, a huge con is with the new system is you can only use it for three things and the tier system has some flaws. Another con is how it is set currently. If I don’t stay on property then I have to waste time going to a kiosk and booking the things I want to use the fast pass plus on where i will lose valuable ride time. The pro for the express unlimited (unlimited is key here) is there is no limit… Read more »

Rachel Mulieri
Rachel Mulieri
March 29, 2014 6:00 pm

EXPRESS PASS…How is this even a contest?

Debra Lynn
Debra Lynn
March 29, 2014 8:47 pm

The only good thing about FastPass+ is that it’s free. That’s it. That’s a pretty comprehensive list of all the good things about it!

Cassy
Cassy
March 31, 2014 9:36 am

I haven’t used Express Pass, but I have no doubt that it is awesome. I do think that it would be nice if the Harry Potter attractions were included, but you can’t have everything. I look forward to using it for the first time this September. As for FPP, I really enjoyed it. Now I did use it before the tiers (which I think are absolutely ridiculous). I rather liked FPP and thought that it was an improvement to the legacy FP. It allowed us to schedule the FPP for after our midday break versus being stuck with whatever time… Read more »

About Marc N. Kleinhenz

Marc N. Kleinhenz’s first dream in life was to be an astronaut. His second was an Imagineer. While neither completely worked out, he's now the editor of Orlando Informer, along with being its podcast co-host. He’s also written for 33 other sites (including Screen Rant, IGN, The Escapist, and California Informer [OI's sister site]), has had his fiction featured in several publications, and has even taught English in Japan. Imagineering school won’t be too far behind.