- Thursday 05 May 2016
I visited Orlando and stayed in two of Universal Florida's resorts on a recent trip of a lifetime!
First of all, the direct flight from Dublin to Orlando was great. We were through the pre-clearance in less than 10 minutes in Dublin Airport and straight out to the coach once we arrived in Orlando. The food is complimentary on board the flight but, beer, wine and spirits are not....
The first two nights we stayed in the Cabana Bay Resort 3*. This is a great budget hotel for families. On site you have:
- Bowling Alley
- Two Large Pools & Lazy River
- Lobby Bar
- Breakfast is served in the Bayliner Diner with a superb selection
- Starbucks Coffee Shop
- Universal Store
- Free Wi Fi
- Free Shuttle to Universal and Citywalk
- Early Park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the theme park opens
At the moment there are 1800 rooms with another 1000 rooms being built and are due to be ready by July this year. There is a 50's/60's theme to this hotel.
The latter two nights we stayed in the Loews Portofino Bay Resort 5*. This is absolute luxury!!! The resort was themed on Portofino in Italy with its cobbled streets and outdoor cafes and harbour. Facilities include:
- Mandara Spa
- 3 Themed Swimming Pools
- The Thirsty Fish bar in the Piazza
- The American Bar by the hotel Lobby
- Breakfast is served at Trattoria Del Porto (indoor and outdoor seating)(Dinner is also served here)
- Bice Restaurant for fine dining
- Universal Store in the Piazza
- Starbucks in the Piazza
- Water Taxi to Universal & CityWalk (this runs til 2am in the morn!)
- Free Express Pass once you have a valid theme park ticket
- Free Wi Fi
- Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the theme park opens
Hard Rock Hotel and the Loews Royal Pacific Resort.
These two hotels are also 5* so you can avail of the free express passes here as well as the water taxi service.
The theme for the Hard Rock is self explanatory, rooms very spacious, funky lobby area with rock star memorabilia along with a Hard Rock Store. We were advised that this hotel is the one that books out the quickest so if you are thinking of stayin here, make sure to book well in advance. Also, this hotel is more suited to the livelier market (music is played throughout the pool areas and lobby) whereas, the Portofino would be perfect for someone looking for something a bit more laid back or quieter.
The Loews Royal Pacific Resort has an Oriental theme. Rooms again were quite spacious with lagoon style swimming pools, two bars, Asian cuisine restaurant as well as the main Islands Dining Room serving b'fast, lunch and dinner.
City Walk Universal is great, with an abundance of restaurants, bars, shops to choose from. From open air concerts for families, to late night spots for those who want to dance the night away!! We had dining cards included with our park passes so the nights we ate in citywalk we just had to show our cards. This would be great for families to pre book as well...(Dining card option we had included, 1 lunch, 1 snack, 1 soft drink and 1 dinner per day and can be used in the theme parks & citywalk)
Before I arrived at Universal I didn't actually realise the difference that having the express passes would make to our day as it meant that we could avoid the queuing for the rides. This is a must for families, especially with younger children so that they're not queuing for too long....
The Universal Park itself was ''awesome'' ....I was in my element with all the rollercoasters!!!! Something for everyone there, we went to the Horror Show, The Simpsons, Harry Potter, Transformers, Spiderman, Dr Seuss and Jurassic Park to name a few...