Did you know you can stay outside of a Universal Orlando Resort and still get Universal Orlando Early Admission?
Yes! You cannot get this by booking them yourself online! You need to use an authorized Universal Orlando travel agent like us at Fun Park Go!
In 2021, nearly 118 million Americans visited Florida, making it the highest level of domestic visitors in the state’s history. Florida is famous for many things, but one of the most common reasons people visit is to hit up the theme parks in Orlando.
Disney and Universal take the top spots for most visited theme parks, not just in Florida or the U.S., but worldwide!
So when booking your Universal Orlando vacation, you may want to consider getting a package that offers Universal Orlando Early Admission. As a result, you’ll spend more time in the parks with fewer guests.
Keep reading to learn everything there is to know about Early Admission at Universal and get access to some great visiting tips!
Universal’s Early Park Admission (EPA) or Early Entry allows guests to enter the Universal Orlando parks early during extra busy times.
EPA opens Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventures one hour early. In addition, it opens Universal’s Volcano Bay water park thirty minutes to one hour early, depending on the season.
Most of the year, the parks open at 9:00 am, so you can enter at 8:00 am with EPA. But, Universal will open the parks at 8:00 am during the busiest times, meaning you can enter as early as 7:00 am!
Universal reserves the right to change the terms of EPA. Some days, it’s only available for one of the parks. On other days, it’s available at all the parks simultaneously.
Additionally, it’s not always available to every attraction in the selected parks. Sometimes, only specific sections of the park open early.
EPA Dates for July 2022
Thus far, Universal Orlando Resort has announced that all three parks will be open for EPA through July 31, 2022. Each park will open one hour early.
Here is a list of the available attractions for each park during this period. Remember, Universal can change the dates and details at any time.
Universal Studios Florida:
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem™
Universal’s Islands of Adventure:
- Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure™
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™
- Flight of the Hippogriff™
- Jurassic World VelociCoaster
Universal’s Volcano Bay:
- Honu Ika Moana (both slides)
- Krakatau Aqua Coaster
- Ko’okiri Body Plunge
- Ohyah and Ohno Drop Slides
- Waturi Wave Pool
For dates after July, you’ll need to check back on Universal Orlando Resort’s website. They provide updates a month or two in advance.
How to Get EPA
EPA is not a pass you can buy like other Universal perks and benefits. So if you want to enter the parks early, there are three ways you can do so.
Stay at a Universal Orlando Hotel
All Universal Orlando Resort hotel guests receive EPA as a benefit regardless of how they booked their room or the chosen venue. Universal hotels include:
- Aventura Hotel
- Cabana Bay Beach
- Endless Summer Resort
- Hard Rock Hotel
- Portofino Bay Hotel
- Royal Pacific Resort
- Sapphire Falls Resort
These hotel guests can also use EPA on their check-in and check-days. Yet, if you want to use EPA on your check-in day, you will need to arrive at your hotel very early.
Your room key serves as your EPA pass, so if you want to get to the park at 7:00 am, you will need to check in several hours before. Although your room won’t be ready yet, the front desk will issue each party member a room key so you can use your EPA.
Leave your bags with luggage services, and you’ll be on your way to the park!
Purchase a Universal Orlando Vacation Package
Another way to get EPA is to book a vacation package. You can access more than 20 Universal partner hotels when booking a vacation package. These hotels are usually more affordable than Universal hotels.
However, Universal partner hotel guests will only receive EPA if they purchase a vacation package that includes a hotel stay and park admission. Therefore, if you only stay at a partner hotel, you will not have access to EPA.
You don’t need to purchase a vacation package directly through Universal. There are plenty of authorized third-party travel agents who sell these packages. But, if you don’t book through Universal, ensure you get an E-Travel Document that states your EPA eligibility.
The park staff can deny you EPA entry if you don’t have this document.
Additionally, with a travel package at a partner hotel, you won’t need to check in to your hotel before heading to the park on your first day. Instead, you can use your E-Travel Document and go straight there for EPA.
If you check-in before going to the park, consider arranging alternate transport. Most partner hotel shuttles don’t leave early enough to arrive for EPA.
Upgrade to a Premier or Preferred Annual Pass
The last way to get EPA is to get an annual pass. Premier annual passholders receive EPA on all available dates.
Preferred passholders receive EPA on select dates. Always check the blackout dates for Preferred passholders before considering this option. Of course, they can change anytime, but you can get an idea of the available days by looking at Universal Orlando Resort’s website.
As of now, Preferred passholders cannot use EPA on the following dates:
- July 1 to July 31, 2022
- November 25 and 26, 2022
- December 17 to December 31, 2022
If you plan to travel over these days and want to upgrade to an annual pass for EPA, choose Premier.
You can buy your Premier annual Universal Orlando tickets directly from Universal or an authorized third-party agent. Buying your theme park tickets is easy to do online but you will not get the Universal Orlando Early Admission option without using a Fun Park Go agent!
What Time Should You Arrive at the Park With EPA?
Even if you have EPA, you want to arrive at the park early to line up at the turnstiles. Many other people will be there with you preparing to enter the park.
If you are eager to ride one of the most popular rides, arriving at the gate an hour before it opens is best. However, if you don’t mind waiting in line to get into the park once they start letting in patrons, then you can arrive 30-45 minutes early.
The earlier you get there before EPA starts, the sooner you will be in the park. Then, you can ride a few popular rides without any lines as patrons trickle in.
When to Use EPA at Universal
EPA is an excellent choice if you visit Universal during the summer or around a holiday.
As mentioned, EPA is only available at the busiest times of the year. Thus, if EPA is an option when you visit, you already know the parks will have long lines.
The extra hour is worth it to ride some of the most sought-after attractions, such as those in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You may only need to wait 5-15 minutes for these rides instead of an hour (or more).
Another time to consider EPA is if you only plan to spend one day at Universal. EPA will allow you to maximize your time in the park and even allow you to park hop. You will get your money’s worth.
If you aren’t eager to ride the rides, you can also use EPA to get some fantastic photos. There are unique photo opportunities around both parks that usually fill with large crowds.
For example, you can perform the magic wand or stand in front of the Hogwarts Castle without anyone photobombing you.
Those who plan to spend the day at Volcano Bay also benefit from EPA. Not only do you get first access to the rides, but you can get the best seating at the wave pool or other optimal areas. Seating fills up fast at the waterpark!
What If I Don’t Have EPA?
While we think having EPA will enhance your park experience, not having it isn’t the end of the world. There is another way to get a head start.
If you don’t have EPA, you can usually still enter the theme park gates early. Staff often start to process visitors through the turnstiles during the EPA period. Although they won’t allow you to go further into the park or attractions, you can enter some gift shops and food locations.
This way, you are at the front of the park when the official park opening rope drops at the regular opening time. The lines will still be shorter at opening time than later in the day.
Book Your Universal Orlando Vacation
To get the most out of your vacation, make a booking that includes Universal Orlando Early Admission. It will undoubtedly heighten your experience when you don’t have to wait hours for all the best attractions.
If you’re ready to book the ultimate Universal Orlando vacation, contact us at FunParkGo.com. We can guide you on the best places to stay and where to buy discount tickets. You don’t want to miss our theme park deals!