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Why Stay At a Universal Orlando Resort Hotel

It's no surprise we love the Universal Orlando Resort hotels. Each of them are absolutely fabulous, with incredible theming, dining, recreation and pools ... you know how we frogs feel about pools. Of course, the Universal hotels also offer terrific park benefits for Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal's Volcano Bay. Even better, we offer room discounts for all of the official Universal Orlando hotels. With that intro as enticement, let's hop into all of the reasons to stay at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel.

Universal Orlando Hotel Benefits

Universal Orlando Hotel Locations:

Universal Orlando Hotel Benefits - Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Universal's Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Loews Sapphire Falls and Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort are all located on Universal Orlando property. They are all within walking distance of each other, all of the Universal Orlando theme parks and Universal Orlando CityWalk. I would know. On my last visit, I jog hopped to each one of them for a bit of exercise. The proximity to other major Orlando attractions and the International Drive area are also a great benefit to staying at one of these hotels.

Hard Rock Hotel is the closest to Universal Studios Florida. Loews Royal Pacific Resort is closest to Universal's Islands of Adventure. Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort is closest to Universal's Volcano Bay, and it has its own separate entrance. All official Universal Orlando hotel guests can use it, but it's easier to access from Cabana Bay.

Universal Orlando Hotel Room Types:

Official Universal Orlando Hotel - Loews Portofino Bay Room

There are a wide range of room types at the official Universal Orlando hotels. The Standard Rooms at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel are at least 450 square feet. Standard Rooms at Loews Royal Pacific Resort are at least 375 square feet. Standard Rooms at Hard Rock Hotel are at least 375 square feet. Standard rooms at Cabana Bay are at least 300 square feet, although it has more family suites at 430 square feet. All of the hotels except Cabana Bay have Deluxe Level Rooms that are larger than Standard Rooms and offer slightly better views. Guests can upgrade to the Club Level and enjoy additional privileges such as access to private lounge access, free access to the fitness centers, continental breakfast and hors d'oeuvres. Each of the hotels except Cabana Bay offers several Luxury Suite options.

Official Universal Orlando Hotel - Cabana Bay Beach Resort 2 Bedroom Suite

Cabana Bay's family suites are at least 430 square feet and offer kitchenettes with microwaves and mini-fridges, as well as two queen beds and a full sofa bed. Additionally, Cabana Bay now has a limited number of 2-bedroom, 2 full bathrooms, 772-square foot suites that sleep up to 8. Many offer views of Universal's Volcano Bay, and they are fabulous!

Universal Orlando Hotel Amenities:

Official Universal Orlando Hotels - Sapphire Falls Resort Pool

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel has three pools, a spa and fitness center, jogging and walking paths, eight dining options, on-site entertainment, a Starbucks, recreation opportunities such as BOCCE BALL COURTS and a game room, and children's activities. Loews Royal Pacific Resort has one lagoon-themed pool, poolside activities, a fitness center, on-site entertainment, six dining options, children's activities and a weekly dining event, WANTILAN LUAU. Hard Rock Hotel has a 12,000-square-foot ROCKIN' POOL (with underwater music and waterslide), a fitness center, jogging and walking paths, six dining options and children's activities. Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort has two massive feature pools, a water slide, a lazy river, a children's water play area, poolside activities, a BOWLING ALLEY, a fitness center, a Starbucks and an array of cuisine at its onsite restaurant. All of the hotels offer valet parking. All rooms are equipped with a refrigerator. Loews Sapphire Falls Resort has a massive, lagoon-style pool, poolside activities, a fitness center, multiple dining options, including a RUM BAR!

Early Park Admission:

All of the official Universal Orlando hotels offer Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (at either Universal Studios Florida or Universal's Islands of Adventure) and Universal's Volcano Bay one hour before opening. (You must have valid Universal Orlando admission.)

Free Universal Express Unlimited:

Official Universal Orlando Hotels - Universal Studios Hotels - Universal Express Kiosk

Select Universal Orlando hotels offer guests Universal Express℠ Unlimited that allows them to bypass the regular lines at the participating rides at Universal Studios and Universal's Islands of Adventure.  Universal Express Unlimited is valid for the entire length of stay, including days of check-in and check-out,  and there is no limit to the number of times you use it. You get your Universal Express℠ Unlimited pass by inserting your hotel room key into one of the hotel kiosks. (You must have valid Universal Orlando admission.)

We cannot understate the value of Universal Express Unlimited. This skip-the-line perk is one of the best ways—if not the best way—to experience the parks. And if you know you will need or want Universal Express passes, it is almost always way more economical to stay on-site than stay off-site and purchase these passes separately. Here are more tips on when to use Universal Express.

Transportation:

Official Universal Orlando Hotels - Universal Studios Hotel - Boat Transportation at Universal CityWalk

Guests of the official Universal Orlando hotels can also take advantage of free transportation to and from Universal Studios,  Universals Islands of Adventure, Universal's Volcano Bay and Universal CityWalk. There are two forms of complimentary transportation: water taxis and shuttle buses. When your frog legs are tired of hopping, free transportation is a life-saver. (Watch a video of the water taxi ride from Loews Portofino Bay Hotel here.)

Additional on-site hotel benefits include resort-wide charging privileges with your room key card and priority seating at select restaurants throughout both Universal Orlando theme parks and Universal CityWalk.

Official Universal Orlando Resort Hotels

Official Universal Orlando Hotel - Universal Studios Hotel - Royal Pacific Resort Lobby

Premier

Preferred

Prime Value

Take a video tour of Universal Orlando's hotels:

Have a question about the Universal Orlando hotel benefits? Want to share your favorite Universal hotel? Drop us a line in comments below! And be sure to check out our Where to Stay in Orlando page inside the Orlando Planning Timeline.

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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Comments
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Kris Jan 12, 2015 at 9:35 a.m.

My sister and I will be in Orlando for 3 whole days and 5 nights. We we're thinking of staying at Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort and purchase a park-to-park ticket with express unlimited. Would it be cheaper to stay at another hotel where guest receive a Universal Express Unlimited?

Reply
FrogBlog Jan 13, 2015 at 6:40 a.m.

Hi Kris,

The big question I would ask is when are you visiting? The crowd levels are the biggest factors in determining whether you should purchase Universal Express Unlimited and honestly the price of the hotels. Personally, I would likely stay at one of Universal's other hotels that offer Universal Express Unlimited if I knew that I would purchase it otherwise, but do the math and decide what is best for you!

Best,

Leap

Reply
katie gick Jan 27, 2016 at 2:04 a.m.

We are planning to vacation around 3-27 thru4-3, we are both 73, husband cannot walk well, and will be staying at the pool reading. the only thing I will want to do this time is see Harry Potters them park. going to watch our grandson play ball at the ESPN Park. otherwise just relaxing by the pool.

Reply
katie G Jan 27, 2016 at 2:06 a.m.

(Sorry), where is a good place to stay.

Reply
Laura Giobbi Jan 27, 2015 at 4:04 p.m.

My husband is 100% disabled veteran. I am trying to find out if Universal has discounted tickets for 100% disabled vets. OR do you know if 100% disabled vets are eligible for the military discounted tickets

Thank you,

Reply
FrogBlog Feb 2, 2015 at 8:02 a.m.

Hi Laura,

We thank him for his service! Universal does offer discounts for active duty and retired military. Here are more details.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jeff Feb 4, 2015 at 1:20 a.m.

If my family stays at a partner hotel of Universal and purchases our tickets from undercover, do we still get to go in 1 hour early for Harry Potter?

Reply
FrogBlog Feb 5, 2015 at 10:38 a.m.

Hi Jeff,

You would need to stay at a Universal hotel to get the 1 hour early access to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Ricky Feb 9, 2015 at 3:02 p.m.

Our budget-conscious family (2 parents & 2 teens) will be in Orlando for 2-3 full days in April. Dates rated "medium" on your crowd calendar. We have never been to Disney or Universal (we usually avoid tourist hubs when we travel, but we're excited to give this a try). We'd like to do at least one day at each, and stay at a single convenient location for the whole trip. Is that even possible? And, if so, what property would you recommend and what ticket? And would it be too much to ask for a property with a kitchenette or mini-fridge so we don't have to eat all meals out? A lot of questions, I know... thanks in advance! Your site is a lifesaver.

Reply
FrogBlog Mar 2, 2015 at 9:09 a.m.

Hi Ricky,

There are plenty of hotels between the two properties, and if you stay at one of the resorts that offer vacation clubs (such as Hilton or Marriott), you will likely find a kitchenette. Some even have full kitchens. If you can afford it, we highly recommend you stay on-site at one or the other. Both Disney and Universal offer terrific on-site benefits.

Best,

Mommy Frog

Reply
Kirstie Aug 1, 2015 at 1:21 p.m.

Hi,

We are visiting next April with our 3 children -3,7 & 9 years - who are not particularly adventurous. We are considering staying at Royal Pacific for one night. If we bought 2 day park to park tickets from your website would we be entitled to early entry and express tickets for both days of our stay? I was thinking of checking in early on the first day (even if the room isn't ready) to enable us both early access and the express tickets. Is that possible? Many thanks in advance.

Kirstie

Reply
FrogBlog Aug 1, 2015 at 8:46 a.m.

Hi Kirstie,

Yes, your plan would work, and it's a great way to make the most of your time in the park!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
JBG Sep 10, 2015 at 4:22 p.m.

Hello, my family of 4 (kids ages 7&10) will be visiting Orlando for 6 days in early Dec. We are trying to figure out where to stay to visit both the Disney and Universal parks, but take advantage of the perks. Would also love a little privacy at night. Suggestions? Thanks!

Reply
FrogBlog Sep 10, 2015 at 11:28 a.m.

Hi JBG,

You might consider a split stay. We've done a post that outlines the pros and cons. That's the best way to take advantage of the perks in both parks.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
matt miller Dec 10, 2015 at 9:24 a.m.

Hi I plan on coming down from Rhode island in February, I'm going to be new to traveling and will be going by myself . When I get to one of the on site hotels and check, can I leave the universal property to see more of Florida? I was assuming all the property was all put together like it's own town-ish.

Thanks, Matt

Reply
FrogBlog Dec 16, 2015 at 7:15 a.m.

Hi Matt,

I am not sure I fully understand your question. You can visit other areas after you are checked in.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
sian Jan 9, 2016 at 3:51 p.m.

Considering staying at either Hark rock, Portofino or Royal Pacific for one night, just for the express passes and early entrance. Which hotel would best suit grown up children (family of four) and how early do you think we could check in on the first day in order to utilise the express passes? Thank you

Reply
FrogBlog Jan 11, 2016 at 8:10 a.m.

Hi Sian,

All of the hotels would suit grown-up children, but Hard Rock and Portofino are my personal favorites. Hard Rock has the full-on rock vibe and is the closest to the parks. Portofino is quite lovely too and feels a world away.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
pat c Jan 18, 2016 at 2:09 a.m.

If we are staying at one of the on site universal hotels, can we use the pools at all the on site hotels?

Reply
FrogBlog Jan 19, 2016 at 11:15 a.m.

Hi Pat,

Yes, you can.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Madrid2K Mar 23, 2016 at 3:40 a.m.

Hello,

Our family of 5 is planning on staying at an onsite hotel in late August.

Is now a good time to book the hotel - or will there be better promotions in spring/early summer? If we wait too long for a deal, do we risk having the hotels getting sold out?

Thank you for any advice.

Reply
FrogBlog Mar 30, 2016 at 4:18 p.m.

Hi there,

Most of the hotel offers include free cancellations by a certain date. I would go ahead and book. If a better rate opens up, you could cancel the first one.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Phyllis Feb 8, 2017 at 3:50 p.m.

Looking to go Mid July to Universal and Sea World with my hubby and two boys 7 and 9. Do they have package deals for the whole thing and how many days would you go?

Reply
FrogBlog Feb 8, 2017 at 10:06 a.m.

Hi Phyllis,

We don't offer ticket packages to Universal and Sea World, only separate ticket options for each park. July will be busy, so consider one day at SeaWorld and two or three days at Universal.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Vikki bradley Mar 23, 2016 at 8:41 a.m.

Hiya, we are arriving from the UK in June and looking at booking 1 night in one of the universal hotels, to receive the benefits, can we arrive early to make use of them, and can we use them also on departure day? Any suggestions for 1 night stay (2adults and 10&6 year old children) thanks Vikki

Reply
FrogBlog Mar 28, 2016 at 9:43 a.m.

Hi Vikki,

This is very smart! Yes, you can get Universal Express for the day you check-in and check-out. You just need to check in first and get your Universal Express passes.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
FrogBlog Mar 28, 2016 at 9:43 a.m.

Hi Vikki,

This is very smart! Yes, you can get Universal Express for the day you check-in and check-out. You just need to check in first and get your Universal Express passes.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jacqueline May 21, 2016 at 4:14 a.m.

If I arrive early to my Universal hotel (before the check in time), am I allowed to leave the package and use the pool and other facilities? Thank you!!

Reply
FrogBlog May 30, 2016 at 9:05 a.m.

Hi Jacqueline,

Yes, you can do that!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
STUART HUTCHESON Jun 20, 2016 at 7:36 p.m.

Hi - If you've booked flights for end April/Beginning May would you say the crowds are light enough to mean that the onsite hotel benefits are outweighed by the higher price paid for the accommodation??

Cheers

Stuart

Reply
FrogBlog Jul 11, 2016 at 8:45 a.m.

Hi Stuart,

We always prefer to stay on site if we can afford it. At Universal, especially, the perks are great year round. That said, they are especially great during the busiest times.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
FrogBlog Jul 11, 2016 at 8:47 a.m.

Hi Stuart,

We always prefer to stay on site if we can afford it. At Universal, especially, the perks are great year round. That said, they are especially great during the busiest times.

https://www.undercovertourist.com/orlando/

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
STUART HUTCHESON Jun 27, 2016 at 9:56 a.m.

Hi, if you were planning onthe last week of April/1st week of May.. are the crowds low enough to not really need the fast pass??

Reply
FrogBlog Jul 11, 2016 at 1:28 p.m.

Hi Stuart,

Do you mean Express Pass? Yes, it should not be an absolute necessity at this time.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Lori Aug 1, 2016 at 1:16 a.m.

We are staying at Sapphire Falls however attending an event at Hard Rock. Do we need to repay to park or can we use our Sapphire Falls room key to park at the Hard Rock?

Reply
FrogBlog Aug 9, 2016 at 1:05 p.m.

Hi Lori,

You would not need to have to pay for parking twice. You would just let security/valet know when you arrive at Hard Rock, and they would validate your parking.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Deena DiGregorio Sep 15, 2016 at 1:13 p.m.

Hi, my youngest son is autistic. I was wondering if Unniversal offered any special passes. Also, if Universal restaurants offer any special diet restriction plans?

Thanks, Deena

Reply
FrogBlog Sep 27, 2016 at 10:48 a.m.

Hi Deena,

Yes, Universal offers the Attraction Assistance Pass. It works similarly to Disney's DAS; you can check out our post on the AAP here!

There are many dining locations at Universal Orlando that accommodate to special diet restrictions. Universal recommends contacting them at least 14 days prior to your trip to make any special accommodations. If you aren't able to do that, you can also ask to speak to a chef or manager at any of the restaurants and inform them of the special diet restrictions. They'll be happy to make accommodations to the best of their ability. This is a helpful article on the matter!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
caroline Dowling-Smith Sep 23, 2016 at 6:53 p.m.

Hi we are totally new to the Orlando experience; we have provisionally booked from 2nd june to 16th. Will it be busy and would love to stay in a disney type hotel but prices all seem out of our reach!

Reply
FrogBlog Oct 7, 2016 at 2:14 p.m.

Hi there,

You can check out expected crowd levels here.

There are many affordable options. If you want to stay on-site, Disney's Value Resorts will be the most affordable. We've put together this handy comparison tool for Disney's hotels.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
MIchelle Sep 26, 2016 at 5:45 p.m.

Hi - we are looking at staying at the Royal Pacific for one night to get the two days' worth of express passes. We are thinking of upgrading to the royal club rooms. We are planning on checking in at 7am on the first day to get the express passes for that day - do we know if we get to start using the royal club straight away, ie. can we go in and get breakfast on both that day and the next morning after spending the night?

Trying to decide if it is worth the extra money to upgrade to the Club rooms!

Reply
FrogBlog Sep 26, 2016 at 4:08 p.m.

Hi Michelle,

You would have access to club level as soon as you checked in, so if you checked in early enough for breakfast, you would have access! Do keep in mind that your room may not be ready, but you would be able to store your bags with the hotel until it was.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Michelle Sep 27, 2016 at 9:34 p.m.

Great thanks. Great website - have got loads of useful ideas for our visit next year.

Reply
Laura Nov 13, 2016 at 2:52 p.m.

Good Morning, traveling 2 parents & 2 teens; do any of the resorts have a kitchenette, that has a small stove and fridge? Id like to cut some cost and also some downtime from the rush, rush, rush.

Reply
FrogBlog Nov 15, 2016 at 3:39 p.m.

Hi Laura,

None has a stove, but Cabana Bay's family suites do have fridges, microwaves and small sinks.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Chrissie Jan 7, 2017 at 2:41 p.m.

I was wondering.... cabana bay family suits... does the mini fridge have a little freezer compartment? Some photos I looked at seemed that the answer was no, but I thought I'd be hopeful and ask someone who has stayed there.

Reply
FrogBlog Jan 13, 2017 at 3:03 p.m.

Hi Chrissie,

After hopping onto the phone with Cabana Bay, I learned that the mini fridge does not have a freezer compartment.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
mdtravel Jan 27, 2017 at 10:30 a.m.

I am looking to go to Universal for two days with my six year old daughter...just me (dad) and her. We're going primarily for Harry Potter related fun. I'm not saying that this is the case, but if budget were not a consideration what hotel would you recommend for us? I think my primary wish would be to be close to the park so we can get there to take advantage of the extra time before opening, and perhaps pop back to the hotel mid-day for a break.

Reply
FrogBlog Jan 27, 2017 at 8:03 a.m.

Hi Mdtravel,

If budget is not a consideration, then stay at Portofino. It's their top hotel, and a Frog Family Favorite.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
mdtravel Jan 29, 2017 at 12:47 a.m.

While the Port sounds wonderful, I think I'm going for the one that is closest the park. It sounds like it is walkable vs. the water taxi. So we can walk right out of the hotel and walk to the park vs. walk out of the hotel, wait in a line, wait for the taxi to get there, get to the park. Thoughts?

Reply
FrogBlog Jan 29, 2017 at 5:32 p.m.

Hi MD,

Yes, you can walk to main gates of both parks or take the water taxi.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Catherine Jun 17, 2017 at 9:57 p.m.

Do they still do the express passes if you stay at the universal hotel because when having a look for a holiday next year and staying the the hard rock there was no mention of the express pass.

Reply
FrogBlog Jun 18, 2017 at 5:58 p.m.

Hi Catherine,

Yes, you will receive Universal Express Unlimited by booking the Hard Rock Hotel.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
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