Let’s have a look at what part of oracle upgrade process takes most of the time. This is test environment with very simple database created from the oltp template.
Notice that Oracle server takes 22 minutes to upgrade and APEX part takes 54.59 minutes! We don’t want to waste almost 1h of production downtime window.
It would be nice to switch this part completely off, the most fastest way to do something is to not to do it at all. However I didn’t find a supported way to skip this part yet.
The workaround is to install the newest version of APEX beforehand.
After instaling the APEX from here: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/developer-tools/apex/downloads/index.html, the upgrade time looks much better. The APEX part completely been skipped.