Travelling to Universal Orlando
Orlando, Florida is known as the theme park capital of the world. The vibrant city attracts more visitors than any other place in the US, and a large part of this is explained by the presence of film parks like Universal Orlando. Universal is a resort based on the magic and adventure of the cinema. It is located just 10 miles from downtown Orlando and 16 miles north of Kissimmee, so you can stay in a Kissimmee hotel or one of the many hotels in Orlando and still enjoy everything which Universal has to offer. To make the most of your trip, however, it’s recommended that you stay in one of several Universal Orlando hotels. You’ll be in the heart of everything which makes Universal Orlando special and, in some hotels, you’ll receive exclusive perks like Unlimited Express Passes, a complimentary shuttle running to and from the Universal theme parks and early access to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Staying in one of the hotels near Universal Studios Orlando will offer instant access to two distinct theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Island of Adventure. Universal Studios has attractions based upon big and small-screen icons such as The Mummy, The Simpsons, Transformers and Harry Potter. The last attraction, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, is the most recent in the resort and one of the most popular.
Universal’s Islands of Adventure comprises seven separate islands, each offering a different source of adventure. These include Jurassic Park and Marvel Super Hero Island, and a further helping of Harry Potter themed attractions.
There is also a newly opened 53-acre water park called Volcano Bay and Universal City Walk, which is an area packed with shopping, entertainment and dining opportunities. The fast food you’d expect to find offered in a theme park is present and correct, but it is bolstered by unique fine-dining outlets such as Vivo Italian Kitchen and The Cowfish.
Where to stay in Universal Orlando
There are five official onsite Universal Orlando hotels, all of which are close to the theme parks and offer free transport to and from the various attractions. Selecting where to stay within Universal Orlando isn’t really about the different parts of the resort in which the hotels are located, but is likely to be dictated by the type and size of party you’re travelling with and the budget which is available. Perhaps the one aspect which would tip you in the direction of one hotel over the others is the fact that only the Universal Orlando hotels classified as premier come with a complimentary Express Pass. This allows you to jump the queues for attractions and cut your waiting time in half at least.
Different types of hotel
The Orlando Universal hotels are classified as being premier hotels, preferred hotels and prime value hotels. The hotels have themes ranging from Italian seaside village to retro Florida beach resort. Universal's Loews Royal Pacific Resort is a 4 star hotel within easy walking distance of all of the theme parks. It boasts its own lagoon and beaches and free Wi-Fi throughout. Universal's Hard Rock Hotel is another 4 star hotel on a rock and roll theme. Attractions include a 261 foot long water slide and a beach pool with an underwater sound system. Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort is a 3 star 50s and 60s themed hotel complete with its own bowling alley and winding river. The rooms with kitchenettes are particularly suitable for families and, as with all the hotels, it offers early entrance to the various theme parks, allowing guests to enjoy the facilities for a full hour before the general public is admitted.
What to do during your stay in Universal Orlando
Staying at Universal Orlando is all about enjoying the facilities and attractions of the theme parks, and to do that you’ll have to buy theme park tickets. The tickets offer admission to all the theme parks and some of the live entertainment venues on Universal City Walk. For an extra fee you can book to see a performance by the legendary Blue Man Group. Featuring songs, hi-tech props and a dazzling multicoloured light and paint display, the show has been acclaimed by critics and will appeal to fans of all ages.
If you want to experience the natural side of life in Florida then take a ride on a Clearwater Beach dolphin exploration. You’ll be collected from your hotel and driven to the shores of Clearwater, where you board a spacious catamaran which heads out to the Gulf of Mexico to the spots where you’re most likely to see bottlenose dolphins. As well as watching these fascinating creatures jump and swim around the boat, you get to enjoy a delicious lunch before being taken back to your hotel.
If you want to save money on your trip to Universal Orlando then book your flight and hotel together on Expedia.