Last fall, one of Castle Dreams Travel Planners, Marie, celebrated her daughter’s Sweet 16 Birthday at Universal Orlando Resort. Universal Studios and Islands of Adventures are great theme parks for both older kids and adults who enjoy thrill rides and the Harry Potter stories. Marie’s daughter has been riding roller coasters since she was little, and like most kids loves Harry Potter, so was ready to return for some action and to experience the many new attractions since their last visit. MArie has written a great review we wanted to share on their stay below-
We chose to stay at one of Universal’s onsite hotels to save money on ground transportation (no need to pay for Uber, or a rental car and parking fees); for the convenience of being able to walk to the theme parks and City Walk (guests can also take water taxis); to take advantage of early morning hours; and for priority seating at the restaurant we would dine at that evening. Early morning hours are especially important when visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Universal offers five hotels onsite, with a sixth opening this summer. We chose to stay at Loews Royal Pacific Resort, the least expensive premium hotel offered, in order to take advantage of an outstanding perk – Unlimited Express Passes. These passes allow guests to experience many attractions by waiting in a shorter line. It’s similar to Fast Passes at Disney World; however, the big difference is that there is a hefty fee for them unless you stay at Loews Royal Pacific, Hard Rock Hotel, or Loews Portofino Bay Hotel.
After being dropped off outside the front entrance, guests walk down a long bridge before entering the lobby. Once guests check in, they are given floral leis to get into the South Pacific atmosphere. Just past the check in area of the lobby are Ticket booths where guests who purchased theme park tickets can pick them up, including their Express Passes. If you don’t pre purchase tickets, you can do so there as well.
Our room looked like it had been recently updated and came with a Keurig coffeemaker. This girl needs her coffee in the morning, and we loved saving time and money by drinking our coffee while getting ready for the day. The spacious accommodations also came with 2 queen beds, a desk, 2 chairs, very large HDTV, mini fridge, a bright bathroom, and free wifi.
The staff at the hotel was top notch. Alejandro, a pool attendant, set up our towels and chairs, and even surprised us with a huge platter of fruit with toppings when he learned it was my daughter’s birthday! The restaurants, guest rooms, and common areas all were well maintained.
The pool deck is spacious with plenty of shade and a few floats in the pool. There’s a waterslide and play area geared to younger ages. Two things impressed me about this pool experience. Pool attendants collect bottles of suntan lotion left behind by guests, so if you forget yours in your room, there are plenty to pick from. And there is a big pitcher of cold water with a touch of lemon that guests can help themselves to at the towel station. For large families, staying hydrated can be costly, so this was a wonderful touch!
The drinks and food at the poolside Bula Bar and Grille were fun and oh so tasty! I tried a Coco Loco, one of their signature frozen cocktails that is a like a drunken Pina Colada. The Shipwrecked Loaded Nachos easily fed a family of three, but we didn’t realize how large they were and ordered two other entrees as well. My daughter’s complimentary Tropical Fruits of the Island platter was equally huge, so we were able to get a box to go and keep them in our room’s mini fridge to snack on the next morning.
I recommend staying at Loews Royal Pacific Hotel for your visit to Universal Orlando! Feel free to contact me to plan your trip to Universal Orlando. firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also find Marie on Facebook as well!