Planning a trip to Universal Orlando Resort? This family of Florida theme parks offers incredible rides and attractions featuring your favorite characters.
Whether your idea of fun is grabbing a Butterbeer in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, encountering a Velociraptor in Jurassic Park, hurtling through a volcano waterslide or hanging out with adorable Minions, Universal Orlando has something for everyone.
And if you’re bringing the whole family, you’ll want to plan smart to ensure you get the best experience possible with the most bang for your buck.
Lodging is a big line item with a big impact on the quality of your trip, and Universal Orlando offers several on-site hotels that give you access to special perks.
But is it worth it to have an all-Universal Orlando experience? We’re highlighting some of the pros of staying at a Universal Orlando hotel.
Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Want to get in ahead of the crowds? When you stay at any on-site Universal Orlando hotel you’ll get special access to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal’s Volcano Bay a full hour before the parks open to the public. This can be crucial for any young wizard (and wizard’s family) who want to avoid the long line to get into Ollivanders wand shop.
Skip the Lines with Universal Express Unlimited
This perk is a huge savings, both of money and time – especially if you’re visiting during a busy season such as summer, a holiday weekend or literally any time that school’s out.
Three of Universal Orlando’s on-site hotels – Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel, and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, automatically provide Universal Express Unlimited for free, so you can skip the regular lines an unlimited number of times on most of the rides.
To purchase an Express Unlimited pass, price per person (per day) usually ranges from $40 to $150, depending on the season and how many parks you’re visiting.
Free Transportation to the Parks
Go ahead and cross renting a car off your list because that’s one less expense and hassle you have to worry about. All on-site Universal Orlando hotels provide complimentary transportation to the theme parks and to CityWalk. Hop on a free shuttle or water taxi (yes, you can boat in) and let the adventure begin.
Purchases Delivered to Your Room for Free
No one likes schlepping around shopping bags, especially when you’re trying to ride rollercoasters. But go ahead, buy all the chocolate frogs and Jurassic Park T-shirts you want – when you stay at a Universal Orlando hotel your souvenirs are delivered straight to your hotel, free of charge!
Room Key Doubles as a Charge Card
Travel light and stay secure with resort-wide charging privileges that allow you to use your room key to pay for purchases anywhere within the resort.
Free CityWalk Club Access
Want to feel like a VIP? Enjoy the nightlife of the Universal CityWalk clubs and skip the cover charge. Your room key gives you complimentary club-to-club access to many of Universal CityWalk’s hottest venues.
Golf Universal Orlando
Golf lovers rejoice! Check out the beautiful courses at Grand Cyprus Golf Club and Windermere Country Club, and enjoy free transportation (for parties of four), complimentary rental clubs and balls, and preferred tee times.
Find Your Perfect Hotel
Now that you know the pros of staying at a Universal Orlando hotel, you’re probably curious about the hotels themselves. Here’s our rundown of Universal Orlando’s on-site hotels so you can find your perfect fit.
Universal’s Aventura Hotel
The newest in Universal Orlando’s line-up, this hotel is modern and chic with breathtaking views of the parks. Kids suites sleep up to five, with an interior area that has two twin beds, so you can tuck away your littles and have some relaxation time of your own. Enjoy the splash zone with your kiddos, and pick from both kid-friendly and stylish restaurants and bars.
Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
This retro-themed hotel features an arcade and bowling alley, an amazing pool area with tower slide and cabanas and cute retro dining options. Ideal for families, suites sleep up to six. Plus, you never know who will show up, as character appearances are a regular occurrence!
Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
Caribbean-themed Loews Sapphire Falls Resort is a lush island paradise. Enjoy rare vintage rums at Strong Water Tavern, taste authentic foods and experience inspired song and dance from Carribean islands. Relax by the pool or stroll through the tropical landscape on one of their picturesque walking and jogging paths.
Loews Royal Pacific Resort
This laid-back South Seas retreat features elegantly furnished rooms and suites (if your kids are in tow, consider a Jurassic World Kids’ Suite!) Relax at the lagoon style pool, spend your evening at a Hawaiian Luau, grab a martini and sushi at the Orchid Court Lounge & Sushi Bar or enjoy breakfast with adorable Minions from Despicable Me. You can always drop the kids off at the onsite Resort Kids Camp and take some time for yourself.
Hard Rock Hotel
Hard Rock Hotel is rock n’ roll-inspired from head to toe. Enjoy the 12,000-square-foot pool with underwater sound system, listen to iconic records in your room or jam out on an authentic Fender guitar. Sample some great American dining options and get your steak and lobster on at the New York steakhouse, The Palm. Round out the evening with a concert by nationally known performers at the swanky Velvet Sessions.
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
Be transported to a seaside village in Italy. Choose from three fabulous pools where you can splash with the family, lounge in a cabana or relax in peace. Enjoy authentic Italian dishes at Mama Della’s Ristorante, have an elegant meal at Bice Ristorante (est. 1926 in Milan) or cool off with some artisan gelato at Gelateria. Featuring fashionable shopping, spa facilities, Resort Kids Camps and live music every evening in the Harbor Piazza at sunset, Portofino Bay provides a luxurious getaway experience.
Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites
Opening August 2019, Universal Orlando’s newest and most affordable hotel is now available to book. You’ll never have to leave the beach at this resort, where bright, sunny rooms are catered to families – two-bedroom suites can sleep up to six people! When you’re not hanging out in your room, spend some time at the hotel’s food court, pool, game room, fitness center, Universal Studios Store or coffee bar before hitting the parks. Its sister property, Dockside Inn and Suites, will open in 2020.
What are your favorite tips for getting the most out of your Universal Orlando Experience? Let us know in the comments below.