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The Ins and Outs of Traveling with Your Pets at Universal Orlando

Pets at Universal Orlando - PinterestUniversal Orlando Resort vacations are frogtastic — from the magical delights of the Wizarding World to the hilarity of Minion Mayhem — you don’t have to tell us twice! Hanging with the family, hopping through Hogsmeade and getting a thrill (or two) from the many amazing attractions the park offers are just some of our favorite things. But sometimes it seems something is missing when you arrive back at your hotel room ... could it be your furry friend?

If you worry about your pet when you leave home, feel like you can’t find a pet facility or sitter you can rely on or even depend on your pet for emotional support, you’ll love Universal Orlando’s pet-friendly policies.

We know the feeling of missing a pet while on vacation. Don’t fret, though! If you’re planning a trip to Universal Orlando and staying at one of its fabulous on-site Loews hotels, your furry friends are welcome, too. Here, we’ve laid out some of the groundwork and tips for traveling with your pets at Universal Orlando.

Bringing Your Pets to Universal Orlando? Here’s What You Need to Know Before You Go!

Pets at Universal Orlando - Service Dog

Universal Orlando is made of several toadally amazing theme parks and on-site hotels; each location has different rules regarding pets and companion animals. Service dogs that help someone with a disability navigate the parks safely or that assist in another official capacity are welcome almost anywhere on Universal Orlando Resort property (the sole exceptions are rides that don’t offer pet-safe experiences and harnesses). The entire resort, from theme parks to hotels and shopping districts, complies with the ADA and ensures that service dogs are not only allowed, but welcomed.

Therapy animals, emotional support animals and companion pets are not included in the resort’s service dog policies, but they are welcome in many areas on the property. Learning where you can and can’t take your pet — and discovering what they can do while you enjoy the rides at the park — will help you both have an outstanding experience.

Pets and Universal Orlando’s Theme Parks

Pets at Universal Orlando - Relief Area

Pets and therapy animals are not permitted inside any of the theme parks at Universal Orlando Resort. This is for safety reasons and for the enjoyment of all guests. Working service dogs are permitted in any location and Universal Orlando recommends your dog be equipped with a vest and identification for safety. City Walk, while not a theme park, also restricts pet access and allows only service animals.

Pets at Universal Orlando Hotels

Pets at Universal Orlando - Pets at the Hard Rock Hotel

Great news for pet owners — your furry family member is welcome at your hotel when you stay at some of Universal Orlando’s resort premier hotels or Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. The hotels charge a one-time pet fee with a maximum of two dogs per room. The one-time pet fee is $100. You will need to bring along an updated shot record for each pet you bring; your veterinarian can provide this for you before you leave home.

If you bring your pet, the Universal Orlando hotels provide you with a placemat, water bowl, collar tag, doggie pick-up bags and more. You should also bring some items from home to ensure your pet's comfort.

Details about each Universal Orlando hotel are listed below; each has a slightly different approach to pets, so review your chosen destination before you leave home.

Tips For Having Pets at Universal Orlando Resort

Pets at Universal Orlando - Dog Toys

Pack Any Favorite Toys, Treats and Food

Just like when packing for the tadpoles, you'll want to pack a favorite toy or item of your pet's to keep them busy and comfortable while you're gone for the day exploring Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. If they sleep on their own specific bed, it would be wise to pack that as well. It's especially important to remember any medications, food or necessary items while you're on vacation. Furry friends have necessities, too!

Make a "Pet List" when you're making your own list for vacation packing. This way, you're able to avoid forgetting any necessities and can check things off as you pack. Of course, you can always pick things up at local stores that you forget, but some things are more difficult (and expensive) to find (such as medications, special food, etc.).

If your pet happens to be a dog, and they have a lot of excess energy, it might be wise to give them a good workout before leaving on the trip! Take them for a nice walk or jog or even play a favorite game (fetch, anyone?). This could help burn off their excess energy so they aren't as panicked or wound up during the traveling portion of your trip. And if you're flying, be sure to check out the airline's policy on pets well beforehand!

Stay with Your Pet at a Universal Hotel

Pets at Universal Orlando - Sapphire Falls

Half of Universal's hotels are pet-friendly. This includes Loews Royal Pacific Hotel, Universal's Hard Rock Hotel, Universal's Loews Sapphire Falls Resort and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando. The hotels offer the Loews Loves Pets program, which provides amenities (for a fee) made especially for our four-legged friends. Some of these amenities include:

  • Specialized bedding, leashes, collars and litter boxes with litter and scoopers
  • Special treats
  • Water bowls, place mats, dog-walking route maps and much more

You can even request a gourmet room service menu for both cats and dogs if you really want to take it to the next level! You should be aware, though, there is a $10 per hour fee if a pet is left unattended and needs to be removed from a guest room (i.e. excessive barking). The hotel will attempt to contact you first, but if they cannot reach you or you do not return in a reasonable amount of time, your dog may be moved from the room and placed under the care of the hotel's pet-sitting services. Ask for a map of the dog-friendly walking trails located on Universal Orlando Resort property so you can enjoy an evening walk with your furry pal.

Check out our tour of Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando!

If you aren't staying on-site, there are other pet-friendly hotels in the Orlando area. You'll just need to verify their pet policies with them. You can check out (and book) more Orlando hotels with us here!

Keep Pets at the On-site Kennel at Universal Orlando Resort While You're at the Parks

Pets at Universal Orlando - Dog At Hard Rock Hotel

There are kennels located on-property for $15 per pet, per day. However, kennel services are not available right now. Once services resume, the kennels operate on a first-come, first-served basis (which means no advance reservations). We previously chatted with the kennel, and they said that they rarely fill up. Still, if you're visiting over a busy weekend or holiday, we suggest getting there right as they open at 8 a.m every day! You must also return once during the day to take your furry friend for a walk; you're welcome to leave blankets, toys or any other comforting objects with your pet to make them feel at home!

Make sure you also bring proof of vaccinations; these are required for your pets to stay at the kennels. Oh, and the kennels are only for dogs and cats. No exotic pets! (Here's looking at you Bearded Dragon Lizard owners!)

Options For Off-Property Guests

If you're not staying on property at Universal Orlando, you may still board your pet at the Universal Orlando Resort. If that doesn't work, then you can try a local pet resort. Also consider a sitter! Through sites such as Rover, you could find a nearby sitter and have your pal stay in a house rather than in a kennel for a few hours.

Do you take your funny friends on your theme park visits? What are your tips for having pets at Universal Orlando Resort? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!

Related: The Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando in 2023 and 2024

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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Sep 9, 2022 at 7:21 p.m. Anne K Says...

Where do we call to find out if the Universal Kennel Services are open? And where is it located? I have scoured the web but having trouble finding it.

Sep 12, 2022 at 1:52 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Anne!

Universal's kennel remains closed, as of Sept. 12, 2022. But if your trip is further out, you can check the latest status by calling Guest Services at 407-224-4233.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jul 12, 2022 at 12:57 a.m. Dana Says...

I have a small ESA Dog and we stayed at Lowes Sapphire Falls. They were amazing! They were so nice and just loved my little girl. We were allowed to leave her in the room with no issues.

Jul 12, 2022 at 8:21 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dana!

We're so hoppy to hear that you and your fur baby had a frogtastic stay! Thanks for hopping by and sharing your experience :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Nov 5, 2021 at 5:06 p.m. Helen Krsek Says...

Have a small service dog that will stay in room and I will check on every few hours. Where can I stay at universal without a problem?

Nov 5, 2021 at 12:26 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Helen!

Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Universal's Hard Rock Hotel, Universal's Loews Sapphire Falls Resort and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel are all pet-friendly!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Aug 24, 2021 at 6:37 p.m. Wanda Says...

My dog is elderly, quiet and quite the gentleman. He rarely barks. Even in a kennel-like atmosphere at Doggywood in Dollywood, he behaved. I cannot see why a $300 per night hotel will not let me leave my dog in the room unattended, with a Do Not Disturb sign on the door like some other hotels. If there is a pet-allocated section, this should be allowed. Even The Guest House at Graceland allowed me to leave my pet in the room. I am glad I saw this blog before I booked. I was literally going to book rooms today. Not anymore.

Jun 25, 2022 at 4:11 p.m. Cheryl Says...

I agree. I almost booked too until I read that you can’t leave in room!!!!

Jun 28, 2022 at 9:27 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cheryl!

If you’re staying at one of the pet-friendly hotels, pets can be left unattended in the room. If there are any issues (i.e. noise complaints for excessive barking), the hotel will try to contact you first so that you can return and sort out the situation within a reasonable amount of time. If they cannot reach you, you would be subject to a $10 per hour pet sitting fee in the event that your pet needs to be removed from the guest room.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Aug 24, 2021 at 2:38 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Wanda!

We just updated the pet policy to make it clearer that pets are allowed in the guest rooms unattended, but are subject to fees if they need to be removed from the room.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jun 28, 2021 at 8:22 p.m. Angela Says...

So, for what it's worth, this is not what the Loews hotel policy document says about pets. It says that pets "should" be supervised at all times, and that the hotel is happy to provide a list of pet sitters. It also says that a $10/hour fee will be assessed if a pet is left unattended AND needs to be removed from a guest room. It seems like this may be a noise issue. I would think that a small pet in a crate or portable/travel version of a crate might be fine alone for some period of time unless it creates a nuisance.

Apr 6, 2021 at 12:53 a.m. Natasha Alvarado Says...

I have been to the parks three times in the past two months and have seen plenty of service dogs. My mother wants to come with us but can not leave her support animal behind and does not want to leave her at a kennel. Will she be able to bring her dog with her into the parks?

Apr 20, 2021 at 8:53 p.m. Summer Says...

No, support animals are not service dogs and cannot go into the parks. Only service dogs that have been trained to perform specific tasks to aid a disabled individual are allowed into City Walk and the parks.

Apr 8, 2021 at 9:19 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Natasha,

Universal's policy welcomes trained service animals, and pets that do not meet the definition of a service animal will not be permitted at the parks. Under the ADA's definition, emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals are not considered service animals and are not allowed. If you have any further questions, you can call Universal's Guest Services at (407) 224-4233 - press 5 and listen for Accessibility and Accommodations Services.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

May 18, 2020 at 3:34 a.m. Caitlyn Valdes Says...

I know for the parks, Disney actually has a crate and staff member watch your service dog if you're going on a ride (or at least that's what I've been told by a fellow handler). Does the same apply to Universal and their parks?

May 20, 2020 at 8:17 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Caitlyn!

Yes, it sure does! Universal Orlando Resort is welcoming to service animals and goes out of their way to accommodate them and their needs. Occasionally, they can't board a ride with a guest for safety reasons. When this happens, the service animal can wait in a special crate or kennel located at or near the ride. Every large attraction that can't safely accommodate service animals can offer a safe place to stay while the human partner rides, but you need to ask for the kennel, they are generally tucked away or in areas that are not in public view. In some cases, your service companion can accompany you right up to the point of boarding, then be crated as you enjoy the ride (that is the set up at the popular Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey - the service dog waiting area here is themed like a Hogwarts classroom).

Rest assured you will have a frogtastic time on any ride you care to enjoy - and that your companion will be secured nearby in a safe, comfortable and private enclosure to await your return.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Mar 6, 2020 at 12:14 a.m. Dylan St. Jean Says...

Disney permits one to leave his/her dog unattended in the room. The fee is also considerbaly less. This is a bad policy.

Mar 23, 2020 at 4:13 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dylan,

While policies may have changed and are subject to change at any time, when Disney began allowing dogs at select hotels, they could be left unattended for no more than 7 hours.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Aug 6, 2021 at 6:39 p.m. Liz Says...

I'm curious since the kennels in Universal Orlando are closed can we leave our pets unattended in our room for a few hours a day?

Aug 6, 2021 at 3:15 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Liz!

Yes, if you're staying at one of the pet-friendly hotels, pets can be left unattended in the room.

If there are any issues (i.e. noise complaints for excessive barking), the hotel will try to contact you first so that you can return and sort out the situation within a reasonable amount of time. If they cannot reach you, you would be subject to a $10 per hour pet sitting fee in the event that your pet needs to be removed from the guest room.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Dec 12, 2019 at 11:28 a.m. Marisa Gassner Says...

Very useful information.

Jul 23, 2019 at 8:20 p.m. Phil Barnhart Says...

There are several great pet resorts that you can board you dog with nearby. This way, you can grab your dog for an afternoon or evening walk, but still have him pampered. Two that I have used in the past is Fur and Feathers in Winter Garden (15 minutes from Univeral) and Bass Pet Resort in Kissimmee (close to Walt Disney World.

Feb 4, 2019 at 12:40 a.m. Bob Frankenberger Says...

The landscaping in the outdoor Dog areas are not thought out at all. Thorns in most of the bushes at Dog eye level. Our Dog scratched his eye badly just taking the morning walk. Contacted Security when we got home. Got a call making sure we weren't going to sue. Asked for a revamp of the runs so others won't be hurt and that's all I ever heard since.

May 6, 2018 at 8:29 p.m. MahaloJax Says...

I am extremely impressed that Loews has such a pet-friendly policy for welcoming furry friends. If pets are accompanying their owners on a vacation they typically are well taken care of and socialized. With regard to the comment above, it is fact that we are all more than likely to get sick from an unsanitary human than a cat or dog.

Jun 16, 2017 at 1:52 a.m. JIm Says...

That's a nice option to have, I may have to bring my furry friend next time. Not sure about the not leaving the pet in the room rule though.

Jun 15, 2017 at 8:07 p.m. Brenda Says...

WHAT!!!! This is not fair to People with allergic reactions to dogs and cats. How rude!! And unsanitary!!

May 14, 2022 at 8:31 p.m. Laurie Says...

Replying to Brenda ..... then do’t stay there. Those of us with service animals deserve to life life like everybody else. I feel “normal” and not disabled because of the assistance of my dog. I’m glad we have options when we vacation.

Aug 11, 2019 at 2:51 p.m. amy Says...

there are certain rooms dogs can stay in, let them know if you have an allergy and you wont stay in one of these...

Aug 13, 2018 at 6:17 p.m. Pattie Says...

If you have bad allergies you need to let them know. There is not a guarantee a service animal for the blind was not in the room or a bed bug sniffing dog, While I feel you pain with allergies it is not realistic. I'm allergic to coffee and trust me try to tell a person to put the cover on their cup in an elevator can cause an argument.

Jun 16, 2017 at 1:12 a.m. Chrissy Says...

Please do not assume it is unfair or unsanitary. It is highly likely that the Resort has certain rooms that are pet friendly. I am terribly allergic to dogs and cats...we have a nonshedding breed, so for me being required to stay in a pet friendly room can be dangerous. I check with the resort to be sure rooms are specially cleaned if it was occupied with a pet. People with pets should be welcome to bring their pets with is hardly unfair to you.

Jun 15, 2017 at 11:38 p.m. Bobbie Says...

There are plenty of places to stay. You don't have to stay at any place that allows pets. I think its very nice for people that want to take their pets.

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