Universal. Most people treat it as a tack onto a Disney Trip or even a cruise. I am here to say you can do a full vacation at Universal! Maybe not 7 days but certainly 4 to 5 depending on how quickly you move! Most people give 3 nights, maybe 4 to visit all three parks. Today I want to give you an overview of their resorts.
Universal does not “own” their resorts. They are owned and operated by Loews and other resort brands. The employees at the resorts are not Universal resorts! This is a huge difference between Disney and Universal and something a die hard Disney fanatic may not like.
There is the value resort level with two resorts in that classification. You have the original value resort at Universal, Cabana Bay. I enjoyed Cabana Bay. I liked the theme and found the mid-century motif quite well done. I did not like that the dining plan is not accepted at the resorts (any of them!) so it makes it quite separated from the parks and a full resort vacation as you find with their neighbors down the street.
At the value resorts you can get bus transportation to the two theme parks, but you can actually walk to Volcano Bay. That feature might be huge for a lot of guests! Especially if you are a larger family staying long enough to enjoy the water park. The accommodations are the same as any Holiday Inn or Hampton Inn. Two queen beds for a standard room. They do offer a family suite that gives you a pull out sofa and a kitchenette.
They have added a second value resort, Endless Summer Resort. This hotel also offers suites giving you more room and more bed space. The price is actually less than at Cabana Bay because it is brand new and a little further than everything.
Aventura could be argued as being a value resort but they are marketing it more as a moderate. It also prices a little more like a moderate. The unique features of this resort are the use of technology in every aspect of your stay. It’s sleek and modern and quite close to Volcano Bay. Buses to City Walk and you are right at the two parks known as Universal Orlando.
Now, let’s talk about the resorts that offer a boat ride to City Walk! One that isn’t quite a deluxe resort so we’ll say it’s a moderate resort. Sapphire Falls is has a very nice pool! If I were going to have a pool day, but not interested in all the perks of a moderate or the price point was out of my budget, I’d definitely pick Sapphire Falls. I really enjoyed it and think it’s a great resort with a gorgeous and relaxing pool with some great amenities the values don’t have!
NOW, let’s talk about the Deluxe resorts!!! Royal Pacific, Hard Rock and Portofino!!!! These resorts are worth their weight! They are on the higher end of your budget but they offer so much more. They are a boat ride to City Walk. They have unbelievable pools and spa areas!! They have club level rooms which give you food and wine/beer throughout the day during your stay. But the best part is the free Unlimited Express Pass!! That’s right, everyone in your room gets Unlimited Express Passes! This is huge! The minimum savings on that feature is $85 per person per day!! Makes these resorts absolutely worth it!
Each of the Deluxe have a specific theme and depending on what you’d like for your resort any would be a winner. Royal Pacific is quite romantic and quiet. I think it’s one of the most zen of the entire deluxe offerings. I would definitely enjoy a stay there.
Hard Rock has a lot of activity. The pool is hopping and you will not get bored. Some of the best restaurants on property are at this resort!!! The bar, is the place to be! Rock Stars would love a stay here!
Probably the grand dame is Portofino! It’s a fantastically romantic resort with so many hidden spots to have a glass of vino. Don’t forget to try the gelato!! It’s quite amazing and authentic. There are multiple pools where you can rest and relax or you can have a lively time with lots of games and activities.
Universal has some great resort options! It’s hard to decide but it would really depend on budget and how long you want to stay. You really can’t beat the benefit of free Unlimited Express Pass, especially during busy times!! That can be a huge bonus and make your stay cheaper than if you stayed off property! MackeyMouse Travel is here to help you plan your Universal vacation. Whether you add a day or two on after or before Disney or you stay for 4 or 5 nights, we are the agency to help make it seamless and fun!