Universal Orlando Resort Hotels
Staying In Universal Hotels
Staying in on-site Universal hotels is a great idea if you are planning to visit Universal Studios and Islands Of Adventure a lot. Some people book a week in a Universal hotel and then a week in a Disney hotel to maximise their experience. We have stayed in the three main hotels at Universal Orlando on multiple occasions. There are some great advantages to staying in a Universal hotel as long as it is the correct hotel.
The benefits you receive depend on the classification of hotel you are staying in. Here are the hotel classifications…
Premier Hotel – The Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Pacific Resort and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
Preferred Hotel – Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
Prime Value Hotel – Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Universal’s Aventura Hotel
Value Hotel – Universal’s Endless Summer Resort, Surfside Inn and Suites and Dockside Inn and Suites
Universal Hotels – The Benefits
FREE Universal Express Unlimited Pass
This is by far the best benefit of staying in Universal hotels. Staying in one of 3 Premier Universal hotels gives you the added benefit of the Express Unlimited Pass for free. Staying in one of their other hotels does not get you this free pass. The Universal Express Unlimited Pass is free for all guests staying in these 3 Premier hotels. It is free to use on the whole of your first day and the whole of your last day in the hotel.
You still need a valid theme park ticket
The Universal Express Unlimited Pass is just a ‘front of the line’ pass. On a recent visit the lady in front of me at the park entrance thought it was an actual theme park ticket. She argued with the staff to let her through the gates because she “got it from the Hard Rock Hotel”. She looked very embarrassed when she realised that her whole family of 7 didn’t have any Universal theme park tickets.
Stay For Just One Day!
The Universal Express Unlimited Pass can cost over $180 per person per day at 2019 prices. By booking just one night in a Universal Premier hotel, a family of 4 could save up to $1440.00. This is well over £1,000 when a one night stay in a Premier hotel could cost you under £300. For this reason, we have at least a one night stay in a Universal Premier hotel during each holiday. We usually book half way through our holiday, leave the villa with a small suitcase and then return back to our villa.
Universal’s theme parks can get really busy and having these great Express passes is a massive advantage. Read more about this great pass in the Universal Orlando Resort section.
Early Park Admission
Guests of all Universal Orlando resort hotels qualify for early park admission one hour before the selected parks open. Early park admission is not available every day in the year and not every park is included. The rides and parks that are included differ throughout the year. Check with the Universal Orland Resort Website for the restrictions during your visit.
Due to the amount of Universal hotels that have or are opening recently, this benefit is not as good as it once was. There are now many thousands of people that qualify for Early Park Admission so don’t expect the queues to be small. By far the best way to avoid the queues is to stay in one of the Premier hotels as described above.
Even if you stayed for just one night in the Universal Premier Hotels, you would get 2 days parking. Parking costs and it isn’t cheap but you would pay for just one day and get the whole of your departure day included.
Leave the car at the hotel and get the Water Taxi. The Water Taxis are long narrow boats that take hotel guests to and from City Walk. Once at City Walk you just have a short walk to the gates of Universal Studios and Islands Of Adventure. This is another great benefit of staying in selected Universal hotels and the service is really quick. It may take just 5 or 10 minutes to get to the parks once onboard.
You have to go through full security before boarding the Water Taxis and you will need to pass through a scanner, just like in the airports. The 3 Premier hotels and the preferred hotel – Loews Sapphire Falls Resort qualify for the Water Taxis. None of the other hotels qualify for this service.
All hotel guests qualify for the free Shuttle Buses. Shuttle buses collect guests from each hotel and drop you at the entrance to Universal Orlando Resort. You would then need to go through airport style security and head off for City Walk. From City Walk it is just a few minutes to the 2 main theme parks. the buses will also take you back to your hotel after a hard day’s enjoying yourself.
Why not take a good old stroll to the parks? All Universal hotels except for the Value hotels offer a walking path that takes from hotel to hotel or from hotel to City Walk. If you are staying in Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Aventura Hotel or Sapphire Falls Resort you can actually walk straight to Volcano Bay as well.
Booking Universal Hotels
We always book our Universal Hotels through companies like Expedia or Booking.com. Run your dates through the website and treat yourself to a stay in one of Universal Hotels, even if it is for just one day.