The Express Pass ticket can be printed out and includes details of the attractions included, timed entry ride details, conditions associated with the pass, and QR codes. Not all rides on the express pass have a timed entry window. The time windows for timed window rides are automatically generated. Following are the details for the Express 4 pass used by my wife and younger son from the day we visited:
You have to visit timed-entry rides within the time windows printed on your Express Pass and each person in your group must be carrying their own Express Pass. Express Passes are also non-transferable so you can’t share them with others in your group. When you arrive at the Express Pass entrance for your chosen ride, you then simply present your pass to the ride attendant who will scan the QR code and you can join the express pass queue which takes a much shorter route to the ride entrance. Close to the ride queuing area the express pass queue will merge with the regular line. As a rough guide, by taking the Express Pass line you can expect at least half the wait time or better compared to the normal line so you will save a heap of time queuing unless you are at the park on a very quiet day.
The pricing of express passes can be quite confusing. Firstly, there is a wide range of different Express Passes depending on which rides they can be used on and they cover anything from 3 to 7 attractions. The price can vary significantly depending on which pass you wish to buy. Secondly, just like the Studio Pass, the price of a Universal Express Pass fluctuates depending on how busy USJ will be the day you are planning to visit. During peak periods you will pay more for an Express Pass compared to off-peak periods.
If you buy a 2-day Studio Pass as well as an Express Pass, the Express Pass is only valid for the day printed on the Express Pass ticket, not both days of the Studio Pass.
There are three main classes of Universal Studio Japan Express Pass: Universal Express Pass 3, Universal Express 4 and Universal Express Pass 7. Most of the express passes include timed entry to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
TOP TIP: If you buy an express pass, it’s possible to get two timed entries to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter so you could visit both in the morning and then at dusk/night. You get one timed entry with most Express Passes. Then, you can also get an additional timed-entry pass when at Universal Studios Japan by showing your Studio Pass at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Numbered Ticket Booth in the San Francisco section of the park.
Don’t leave buying an Express Pass to the last minute as they can sell out particularly during peak periods. They normally become available two or three months ahead of the day you want to attend. Voyagin has a fantastic Express Demand Calendar which includes pricing information for each of the Express Pass types as well as advising whether certain passes are sold out.
NOTE: The included attractions in each Express Pass can change over time for different reasons. Check the Express Pass you are interested in closely before purchasing to make sure it includes the rides you want. Also, check out the USJ attractions page to find out if certain attractions you are wanting to try out are temporarily closed.
Universal Express Pass 3 shortens your waiting time for three attractions:
It doesn’t include Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. It also doesn’t include timed entry to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
There are four different Universal Express Pass 4 options. Three of these express passes (Express Pass 4 Space Fantasy, Express Pass 4 Minion Ride and Express Pass 4 The Flying Dinosaur) share three common rides:
The only ride that varies for these three Express passes are:
The final Express Pass 4 option (Express Pass 4 Sing on Tour) differs quite a bit from the three other Express Pass 4 options. Firstly, it doesn’t include Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Secondly, it doesn’t include timed entry to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Express Pass 4 Sing on Tour includes: (1) Sing on Tour + (2) Despicable Me – Minion Mayhem + (3) The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman OR Jurassic Park – The Ride + (4) Backdraft OR Terminator 2
There are four different Universal Express Pass 7 options. Six out of the seven rides are the same for every Universal Express Pass 7. The common rides are:
The only ride that varies for the four Express Pass 7 options are detailed below:
If cost is no issue but you are time-poor, another Express Pass type is the Royal Studio Pass. Unlike the other Express Passes, it includes a Studio Pass. In addition, it includes one-time timed entry to the following rides:
You can also enjoy unlimited priority access to the following rides:
The Royal Studio Pass also provides VIP entry to the WaterWorld show and Universal Monsters Live Rock and Roll Show.
The Royal Pass uses a different way to access Express Pass queues compared to Express Pass 3, 4 and 7. You are given individual tickets for the timed entry rides which must be removed by ride attendants before joining an Express Pass queue.
For the rides with unlimited priority access, you simply show a Royal Studio Pass wristband to the ride attendants.
Click here to check out and purchase your Universal Studios Japan Royal Pass through Voyagin