I’ve discussed Express Passes for Halloween Horror Nights and whether you can get by without them in a previous article. Let’s say you do decide to buy them. What can you expect? What does “express” really mean?
Basically, an Express Pass gets you into the haunted houses more quickly than you’d get in if you waited in the standby line. Sometimes that means within just a few minutes. More rarely, it’s half an hour or more.
Most of the time, the Express lines are short, even when the standby lines are very long, so you’ll be in and out quickly. However, the Express line can grow for one of the following reasons:
- The house is near Bill & Ted, which means that both the standby and Express lines swell when the theater lets out
- There’s some sort of problem that temporarily shuts the house down, resulting in a backup of both lines
- It’s just an insanely crowded night
On the flip side, there are times when you shouldn’t use your Express Pass, even if you have one. If you have a pass that’s good for one entry to each house, and the waits aren’t long when you arrive, do as many houses as you can without using Express. Then you can use it later, when the park gets more crowded, to go through again.
I always come to Halloween Horror Nights early to take advantage of the short lines, even though I usually have Express. Several times, I’ve seen people in the Express line wait longer.
What happens is that you wait in a holding area if you’re in Universal Studios Florida when it closes and have tickets for Halloween Horror Nights. When you’re released, one house is usually open already, so everyone heads to the entrance of that house.
If you don’t have Express, you just head right down the queue line and go into the house. More than once, I’ve seen people use Express, who then have to pause at the entrance while their passes are checked. Even if they were in line before me, I usually pass them at the second checkpoint, where their Express Passes have to be scanned. They’ve foolishly wasted their passes on a house with no wait and have actually gotten in more slowly than the non-Express people.
Express is a very handy thing, and I use it frequently myself. Just remember, it’s not a magic front of the line pass. Most of the time it will get you into the haunted houses very quickly, which is what makes it worth its weight in gold on busy days. Sometimes you’ll wait a long time, even though it’s still not as bad as standby. In very rare circumstances, if you don’t know how to use it, it will make you wait longer while the savvy standby people snicker as they pass you by.
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