Stay and Play at Universal: Options Abound, On-Site and Off

With its ever-expanding roster of rides, events, restaurants, resorts and more, it's simply impossible to take in all that Universal Orlando Resort has to offer in a day, which is why so many Orlando visitors can plan an entire vacation around its attractions. If you're considering such a trip, research is key. Guests at Universal's three deluxe, on-site properties – Loews Portofino Bay, the Hard Rock Hotel Orlando and Loews Royal Pacific – will pay a premium, but with the price comes benefits in the form of early-park admission and coveted Universal Express Unlimited ride access. That's a value of up to $89 per person, per day and will ensure you maximize the number of rides you can hit, or the number of times you can hit a given favorite ride. They also enjoy water taxi service to CityWalk and the other deluxe on-sites, a nice feature. Stays at Universal's newest hotel addition, the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, don't come with the unlimited ride pass, but its lower price point (and lovely brand-new pool, lazy river, bowling alley, etc.) make it an alluring choice for visitors looking to pack more value into their visit. Universal also partners with many nearby properties which offer some great benefits, too. Be aware: full benefits – like that all-important early-park admission or and other inclusions which can add up quickly – are generally only available when you book as part of a Universal Orlando vacation. Each of the off-site properties on this list is a Universal partner hotel.



Free is this property's middle name – free hot "Quickstart" breakfast, free "5:30 Kickback" with hot food and cold drinks, free soda and popcorn in the lobby. Sure, Drury offers other freebies, like wireless Internet, but with so many free...  Read More



Wonderfully affordable, the popular Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando is considered a "value" level Universal Partner hotel with easy access to all the theme parks (there's complimentary service to Universal, SeaWorld, Wet N' Wild and the Rosen...  Read More



This all-suite luxury condominium-style property is world's away from the bustle of the busiest tourist corridors and serves up Mediterranean style in the form of two- and three-bedroom suites. Lie by the pool in style and let the kids splash...  Read More



Upscale touches like granite counters, free WiFi, an expansive m and pillow-top mattresses give this casual, well-appointed property extra credit, which is nice – since there's little you could do to make it more convenient to Universal. An...  Read More



With its AAA Four Diamond Designation, the Rosen Shingle Creek is the most upscale of Universal's partner hotels and one of the largest full-service convention hotels in the region. That doesn't mean that couples and families vacationing here...  Read More



Like other Universal Partner Hotels, the Point Orlando Resort offers free scheduled transport to the parks – all of them, not just Universal. If you like, you can even walk there (it's an easy stroll, between 20-30 minutes; depending on the...  Read More



Like all of Universal Orlando Resort's deluxe on-site properties, guests at the Loews Royal Pacific enjoy early park admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter every day – and just about any Universal regular or local will tell you:...  Read More



This gorgeous property – its opulent exterior was inspired by the manse on the cover of the Eagles' "Hotel California" album – has an absolutely phenomenal pool. Its Velvet Bar makes a killer cocktail. It is home to both the Kitchen (imagine...  Read More



Loews Portifino Bay Hotel is the definition of a stay-cation. Pay a fraction of the price for an extravagant European vacation but get an authentic escape to the Italian Riviera with similar cultural accents, picturesque Mediterranean views and...  Read More



Why does Universal's colorful property take home the top honors? While its funky '50s-'60s kitsch is adorable, its expansive pool and fabulous lazy river are alluring – especially for families – and its sleek, mod suites are convenient and...  Read More


Meet A.D. Thompson

Amy Drew has spent nearly three decades as a professional writer and roughly half her life as a Floridian. The words, she has found, come easier with bare feet and rum.

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