Universal-Orlando-Hotels

Selecting a Hotel for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Universal Orlando)

Universal Orlando Resort currently boasts four (4) on-site hotels that offer Early Park Admission to the Harry Potter area in one or the other of the parks, which allows hotel guests into the lands 1 hour before everyone else is allowed in.  Additionally, all on-site hotels offer non-stop shuttles to and from the parks for guests that include – depending on the hotel – busses, coaches and water taxis.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
The most luxurious of the three on-site hotels at Universal Orlando Resort, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel recreates the charm and romance of the famed seaside village of Portofino, Italy.

Hard Rock Hotel
Hard Rock Hotel showcases the unique style of a California mission-style mansion, complete with Hard Rock touches that range from classic rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia to rock star celebrity wake-up calls.

Loews Royal Pacific Resort
Loews Royal Pacific Resort captures the beauty of the islands with a South Pacific motif, complete with an open-air orchid garden and hand-carvings straight from Bali.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Take a trip back to the 1950’s and 60’s at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Guests can go for a swim or relax in the lazy river, or take the family for a game or two at the bowling alley.

Scheduled to open Summer 2016:

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort 
This Caribbean-inspired resort will whisk you and your family away to an island state of mind. With picturesque rivers and waterfalls, you’ll feel like you’ve landed on your own tropical oasis in the heart of an unforgettable adventure.

Off-Site Hotels

I have enjoyed multiple stays at the DoubleTree at the Entrance to Universal – which means it’s literally across the street.  Guests do not get the constant shuttle service or Early Park Admission as with the on-site hotels, but the DoubleTree is a “partner” hotel for Universal, so they do have a “scheduled” shuttle (ask the front desk for pickup/drop-off times) and park ticket services in the lobby.

The DoubleTree has two buildings (or towers) which are identified as North and South.  The North Tower has been fully renovated, and the South Tower is in progress, so some of the rooms may be a bit outdated by comparison.  Still, those familiar with DoubleTree’s guest experience will be pleased with any selection, coupled with the proximity to the parks.

Getting to the parks from an off-site hotel:

Most people – including me – just walk from the hotel to the parks.  It’s about a 15 minute walk if you go at a moderate pace and probably 1/4 mile distance along a beautiful fully landscaped and lit (at night) pathway.  Once you cross the 6-lane Universal Blvd. (they have timed pedestrian crosswalks, so it’s not scary) you are essentially “on” the Universal Resort and the pathways are easy to navigate with signs and directional arrows to the parks.

Uber or Taxis are an option, however the journey is so short that many drivers may pass up the offer, so be sure to ask in advance and confirm payment methods accepted for such a short journey.  If they accept your short journey, I would recommend over-tipping them!


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