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Universal Orlando Resort
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Why Stay at a Universal Orlando Resort Hotel

Universal Orlando Hotels - PinterestIt's safe to say we are huge fans of staying on-site at our favorite theme park resorts, and Universal Orlando Resort is certainly no exception. It's actually the PERFECT example of why we love staying on-site so much. All of the Universal Orlando hotels 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. You don't have to stay far from the action, as all of the hotels are in close proximity to the theme parks and Universal CityWalk Orlando. And even better, we can help save you a little green on your vacation with our discounts on theme park tickets and Universal Orlando hotel rooms! Let's leap into the Universal Orlando hotels and their benefits!

Universal Orlando Hotel Categories

Universal Orlando hotels are split into categories by price point. Some tiers offer different benefits and amenities, which we'll dive into below. The Universal Orlando hotel categories are:

Universal's Aventura Hotel Room - Universal Orlando Hotels

Premier

Preferred

Prime Value

Value

Top Benefits of Staying at Universal Orlando Hotels

1. Location, Location, Location! 

Universal Orlando Hotels - Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Universal's Hard Rock HotelLoews Royal Pacific ResortLoews Sapphire FallsUniversal's Aventura Hotel and Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort are all located on Universal Orlando property. Meanwhile, Universal's Endless Summer — Surfside Inn & Suites and Universal's Endless Summer Resort — Dockside Inn and Suites are located just on the opposite side of Interstate 4, only a quick shuttle ride away.

The rest of the Universal Orlando hotels are all within walking distance of each other, the Universal Orlando theme parks and Universal CityWalk. 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 is another Universal Orlando hotel benefit.

In terms of proximity to the theme parks, the 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 and Universal's Aventura Hotel are closest to Universal's Volcano Bay and have their own separate entrance to the water park. All official Universal Orlando hotel guests can use these entrances, but if you're not staying at one of these hotels, it's easier to take the bus.

2. Variety of Universal Orlando Hotel Room Types and Budget Options

Official Universal Orlando Hotel - Loews Portofino Bay Room

There is a wide range of room types at the official Universal Orlando hotels, from budget-friendly options all the way up to luxury suites! The standard rooms at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel (as low as $421 a night) are the largest, at least 450 square feet. Standard rooms at Loews Royal Pacific Resort (as low as $353 a night) and Hard Rock Hotel (as low as $403 a night) are at least 375 square feet. Standard rooms at Loews Sapphire Falls (as low as $254 a night) are 321 square feet. Standard rooms at Cabana Bay (as low as $185 a night) are 300 square feet, although there are also 430-square-foot family suites! Universal's Aventura Hotel (as low as $185 a night) offers 314-square-foot standard rooms and 575-square-foot family suites.

Standard rooms at Universal's Endless Summer (as low as $123 a night) include 313-square-feet standard rooms and 440-square-foot, 2-bedroom family suites. Hard Rock, Portofino Bay and Aventura have deluxe-level rooms that are larger than standard rooms and offer slightly better views. Premier resort guests can upgrade to the Club Level and enjoy additional privileges such as access to the private lounge, continental breakfast and hors d'oeuvres.

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

Cabana Bay's family suites 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 two-bedroom, two-full bathrooms, 772-square-foot suites that sleep up to eight. Many offer views of Universal's Volcano Bay, and they are fabulous! Aventura's kids' suites feature wall-to-ceiling windows, sleep five and have a special interior kids' area.

3. 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 (plus room service), on-site entertainment, a Starbucks, a game room and wonderful waterfront views.

Loews Royal Pacific Resort has one lagoon-themed pool, a complimentary fitness center, five dining options (plus room service), a game room and extensive walking and jogging paths.

Hard Rock Hotel has a 12,000-square-foot rockin' pool (with underwater music and a waterslide), a fitness center, jogging and walking paths, five dining options (plus room service) and The Sound of Your Stay program which allows you to rock out with playlists, guitars and turntables in the privacy of your hotel room.

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 various on-site restaurants.

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort has a massive, lagoon-style pool (with cabanas for rent, a water slide, a children's play area and more), a fitness center and multiple dining options, including a rum bar!

Universal's Aventura Dining - Universal Orlando Hotels

Universal's Aventura Hotel has a HUGE selection of what we like to call "gourmet quick-service" food and a rooftop lounge, as well as a pool and an awesome gift shop. All rooms are equipped with a mini-refrigerator.

Universal's Endless Summer — Surfside Inn and Suites has a surfboard-shaped pool, a pool bar, a cafeteria-style dining area, a fitness center and a game room. Universal's Endless Summer — Dockside Inn and Suites features two large pools with sand beaches, a pool bar, a food court, a fitness center and a game room.

4. 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 up to one hour before opening. (You must have valid Universal Orlando admission.) This perk is so toadally awesome that we've devoted a whole post to how Early Park Admission works!

5. Free Universal Express Unlimited (at Select Universal Orlando Hotels)

This is the best perk of them all! 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. Your hotel keys (each person has a personalized key) double as your Express Passes. (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 to stay off-site and purchase these passes separately. Here are more tips on when to use Universal Express.

6. Hoppin' Easy Transportation to the Parks and Universal CityWalk

Universal Orlando Hotels - Hard Rock Boat Transportation

Guests of the official Universal Orlando hotels can use the free transportation to and from Universal Studios, Universal's Islands of Adventure, Universal's Volcano Bay and Universal CityWalk. There are two forms of free 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, free club-to-club access (aka no cover charges) at select Universal CityWalk venues and complimentary merchandise delivery from Universal stores to your hotel.

7. Priority Seating (at Select Universal Orlando Hotels)

Universal Orlando Hotels - Islands

Guests staying at Lowes Portofino Bay Hotel, Lowes Royal Pacific Hotel and Hard Rock Hotel receive priority seating at select restaurants. Note that this list is subject to change and availability may be limited during peak times or some weekends. Call 407-224-FOOD (3663) for more information.

Universal Studios Florida

  • Finnegan’s Bar and Grill
  • Lombard’s Seafood Grille

Universal's Islands of Adventure

  • Confisco Grille
  • Mythos

Universal CityWalk

  • Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food
  • Bigfire
  • Bob Marley — A Tribute to Freedom
  • The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar
  • Hard Rock Cafe
  • Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville
  • Pat O’ Brien’s
  • VIVO Italian Kitchen

Portofino Bay Hotel

  • Bice Ristorante
  • Mama Della’s Ristorante
  • Trattoria del Porto

Hard Rock Hotel

Universal Orlando Hotels - The Kitchen

  • The Kitchen
  • Palm Restaurant

Lowes Royal Pacific Resort

  • Islands Dining Room
  • Jake's American Bar

Sapphire Falls Resort

  • Amatista Cookhouse

Take a Video Tour of the Universal Orlando Hotels

Want to get a better look at the Universal Orlando hotels? Check out our video tours!

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

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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101–106 of 106 comments
Sep 10, 2015 at 4:22 p.m. JBG Says...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
Jan 12, 2015 at 9:35 a.m. Kris Says...

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

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

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

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

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
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