Loews Royal Pacific Resort

Would you like to feel like you’ve been transported to a tropical paradise? Do you appreciate convenience? Do you hate waiting in long lines? If your answer to one (or ALL) of those questions is yes, then Loews Royal Pacific Resort is the perfect hotel for you!

Convenient Location

Royal Pacific is one of 8 onsite hotels at Universal Orlando Resort. As one of the three premier onsite resorts, Royal Pacific has a fantastic location: just a quick five to seven minute walk from Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure! The walk from Royal Pacific to the theme parks is so beautifully landscaped that it’s an attraction in and of itself. But, if you’d rather not walk to the parks, you can take the complimentary water taxi service! This option will drop you off in Universal’s CityWalk, right between the entrances to Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. If you’ve planned a day at Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park, complimentary bus transportation is also provided. After a fun-filled park day, having the ability to get back to your room quickly and easily is extremely important, particularly if you’re traveling with little ones. The convenient location of Royal Pacific would also make it easy to come back in the afternoon for a quick nap before heading back to the parks for the evening!

A Tropical Paradise

Themed after the Pacific islands, Royal Pacific feels like an island paradise. The exterior is surrounded by lush landscaping and the interior features neutral undertones with tropical highlights. The guest rooms feature an over-sized orchid mural and the lobby area features ornate wood carvings.

The onsite dining options also feed into (pun intended) the island theme. The Islands Dining Room, Bula Bar and Grill, Orchid Court Lounge, and the Wantilan Luau feature South Seas inspired specialties, and Jake’s American Bar offers more traditional American favorites. Tuk Tuk Market is the grab and go and quick service location offering sandwiches, coffees, pastries, and sides along with wok bowls and sushi.

FREE Unlimited Express Pass

Perhaps the best perk of staying at Loews Royal Pacific Resort is the FREE Unlimited Express Passes that come included in the cost of your stay! Unlimited Express Pass allows guests to skip the regular standby line at most rides and attractions at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, allowing you to get more done in less time. Unlimited Express Passes can be pricey when purchased separately, so having them included in your hotel stay can be a fantastic value (particularly for parties of 4 or 5). Plus, like all onsite and partner hotels, Loews Royal Pacific Resort offers all guests complimentary early entry to Volcano Bay and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with valid theme park admission.

Want to learn even more about Loews Royal Pacific Resort? Check out this detailed video resort tour from my YouTube channel!

Would you like a free quote from Ginger? Contact her here.

Seuss Landing

Who among us has ever wanted to be transported into one of Dr. Seuss’ stories? If you enjoy the fun and silly stories, than Seuss Landing is not to be missed! Tucked back in Universal Studios’ Island of Adventure, when you walk into Seuss Landing, you are immediately transported into the storybooks.

Welcome to Seuss Landing!

If you have little ones, Seuss Landing is the perfect area for you to explore. They will love the bright colors, the fun rides, and the character meet and greets.

A Fun Photo Spot!

Seuss Landing has four different rides that you and kids will love!

The Cat in the Hat takes you right through the story as the Cat comes to the house to cause lots of mischief.

The Cat in the Hat

The Caro-Seuss-el is a carousel but with a Dr. Seuss twist! Take a ride on different characters from Dr. Seuss’ books. Your kids will love all the unique characters that they can choose to ride!

Head over to One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish to ride a flying fish! Make sure to listen to the rhymes or you may get a surprise!

Which fish will you choose?

Climb aboard the High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride! This slow train ride takes you around the top of Seuss Landing and tells you the story of the Sneetches. It’s very relaxing and a great way to see around Seuss Landing!

One of the many views from High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride.

Even with the current COVID-19 restrictions in place, there are still fun meet and greets in place! Some of the characters you may see are Thing 1 and 2, The Cat in the Hat, The Lorax, the Grinch, and more! You may not can get close, but make sure to snag a selfie!

The Grinch and his attitude!

You can grab a bite to eat at Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous and dine under the big top! They have a variety of food to choose from that all will enjoy! When you eat inside, you can choose to eat at a table, or in a train car! Be sure to look up…you may see the Trolley Train in the sky!

Some other places to grab a bite to eat are Green Eggs and Ham and Moose Juice, Goose Juice. They have fun treats to choose from that you will enjoy.

Seuss Landing is so much fun and the beautiful colors, characters, and rides really do bring the books to life. Make sure to add some time to your trip to enjoy the land.

Interested in a free quote? Send me a message or email to get started!

Katie.Eadie@MarvelousMouseTravels.com

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Universal’s Aventura Hotel

Welcome to Aventura!

Are modern and sleek hotels your style? Then look no further than Universal’s Aventura Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort. This 17-story hotel has a minimalistic design that is sophisticated for adults while also catering to families. As you enter the lobby, you are welcomed with a bright, airy space with a simplistic look. *Please note that operations at Universal’s Aventura Hotel are temporarily suspended as of this blog posting. However, booking at this hotel is available for stays beginning in January 2021!*

Check out the sleek exterior!

There are a few of different room types at Universal’s Aventura Hotel- standard rooms, deluxe rooms, and kids’ suites. Standard rooms are available with either two queen beds or one king bed. Guests can upgrade to skyline views as well, which offer rooms on the highest floors with beautiful views of Universal Orlando and the surrounding area. Standard view rooms sleep 4 (king bed rooms have a pull out couch) and have bathrooms with separate vanity and bath areas. All of these rooms also have floor to ceiling windows. Deluxe rooms are essentially standard rooms with a bit more square footage for you and your travel party to spread out. The other room type option, kids’ suites, are a great option for families with children. These rooms sleep 5 and feature a separate sleeping area for children which includes two twin beds. There is a king bed in the main sleeping area, as well as a pullout couch. The option to upgrade to a skyline view is also available with this room category. Kids’ suites give mom and dad the ability to have some space to themselves to relax and unwind once the kiddos are in bed! 

Here is the “kids’ area” of the kids’ suites!

Something that sets Aventura apart is their high-tech amenities. Each room comes equipped with a tablet with multiple high-tech features. You can control the lights, temperature, TV and more right from this tablet! Another convenient feature of the tablets is being able to contact the front desk without having to use the phone. In addition, you are able to request blankets, pillows, towels, etc. Yet another feature is the ability to order food and beverages, such as pizza, salads and gelato directly from your tablet. This is the epitome of technology and service merging into one! 

Convenience at your fingertips!

Universal’s Aventura Hotel is categorized as a “prime value” on-site hotel within Universal Orlando. Guests staying here receive several theme park benefits including resort-wide charging privileges with their room key, complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to their hotel, and complimentary club access (for those age 21+) to select Universal CityWalk venues for the length of their stay. Complimentary park transportation is also available for Aventura guests! Shuttle buses run approximately every 15 minutes between the hotel and the parks. Aventura also has a dedicated walking path to Volcano Bay.

This hotel offers several food and beverage options available at Aventura. The first is Urban Pantry, which is a food hall with several unique ordering areas. Some food options include a noodle bar, burger station, pizza station and gelato area. Urban Pantry also offers breakfast selections. Aventura features a full-service Starbucks located near the lobby, which is the perfect place to stop for your morning beverage before heading to the parks! Bar 17 Bistro is a rooftop location that serves cocktails and small plate options. The best part of Bar 17 is the incredible 360-degree view of Orlando!

Drinks, anyone?

The perfect spot to cool off at Universal’s Aventura Hotel is the pool and splash zone area. This area also includes a bar where you can enjoy your favorite cocktail. You can even enjoy sitting by the fire pit at night, which is a wonderful way to unwind after a day in the parks! Guests can also utilize the hotel’s fitness center and virtual-reality game room.

Who’s ready for a swim?!

Staying at Universal’s Aventura Hotel allows you to enjoy a minimalistic and free-flowing design while staying connected with high-tech amenities. Being in Universal’s “prime value” category, families can utilize on-site benefits while not breaking their budget. What are you waiting for? Send us a message today to get started booking your next vacation.

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Lauren.Gigliello@MarvelousMouseTravels.com

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a place like no other. Entering into Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley makes you feel like you’ve stepped right into the books or the movies. Today, we are going to take a journey through Diagon Alley!

Diagon Alley!

Slightly hidden, is the entrance to Diagon Alley. If you aren’t paying attention, you might miss it! It’s safely hidden from the muggles’ eyes.

As you enter into Diagon Alley, the first thing you will notice is the dragon sitting atop Gringotts Bank. Make sure to keep an eye on him…He might greet you with a fiery surprise!

He breathes fire!

Speaking of Gringotts Bank…did you know that you can go UNDER the bank?! Escape from Gringotts is an immersive indoor roller coaster that takes you on a journey under the bank! Be on the lookout for dark forces all throughout the ride, and you might ever run into a dragon! It is my favorite ride at Universal Studios, and one that you do not want to miss!

Escape From Gringotts! My favorite ride!

Have you ever wanted to have your own wand? Head over to Ollivander’s Wand Shop to purchase your very own wand. There are so many unique wands to choose from, or you can choose one of the famous wands used by any of the wizards in the Harry Potter Series. You can also go to Ollivander’s wand shop and watch as a wand chooses the wizard. Who know…the wand might choose you!

Ollivander’s Wand Shop

All throughout the streets of Diagon Alley, you can find unique shops that are full of wizardly merchandise. My favorite shop in Diagon Alley is Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes! This is a shop that is run by the pranksters Fred and Weasley! Here you will find a lot of tricks, potions, practical jokes, and more all for creating mischief.

Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes

There are many other stores in Diagon Alley, but one another that you will find very interesting is Borgin and Burkes. Take a stroll down Knockturn Alley, where you will find this old and dusty store. Here you can find skulls, Death Eater Masks, and more dark magic items. Also located in the shop is the famous Vanishing Cabinet. Listen carefully…you might hear something inside!

Vanishing Cabinet

Looking for somewhere to grab a bite? Head over to the Leaky Cauldron where you can get fish and chips, bangers and mash, Toad in the Hole, and more!

Leaky Cauldron Menu

Looking for a snack or for the famous butterbeer? There’s several places around Diagon Alley to grab a cup or snack including The Hopping Pot, The Fountain of Fair Fortune, Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour, and more.

Butterbeer! YUM!

Diagon Alley is truly a magical place. You really feel like you are right in the movies or the books. If you are a Harry Potter Fan. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is not to be missed!

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Universal’s Volcano Bay

I am so excited to talk all about Universal’s Volcano Bay with you today! I can assure you, this water theme park is nothing like you’ve experienced before. Volcano Bay immerses you into a South Seas oasis centered around (you guessed it) a massive volcano! The park is a balance of excitement and leisure where you can experience a full day of thrills and relaxation. There are over 30 unique experiences and 19 different attractions. I highly recommend taking at least a full day to explore this water paradise.

Volcano Bay is designed with convenience in mind, and the Tapu Tapu that guests receive upon entering the park is the key to a streamlined day. What exactly is a Tapu Tapu you ask? It is a wearable device that will make your day seamless. Many attractions at Volcano Bay require guests to register for a virtual queue prior to riding, and the Tapu Tapu makes the process super easy. Simply tap your device in at each attraction and receive a return time. You can then take the time to play, swim, eat, explore, or relax and return to the attraction at your designated time. The Tapu Tapu can also be used to activate interactive experiences in the park, make cashless purchases, and access lockers to store your belongings.

Have you been to water parks that have you carry your rafts and tubes for rides up a bunch of stairs in order to ride? I know I have, and it can be a pain! At Volcano Bay, most rafts and tubes are lifted to the top of the ride towers for you! This is yet another way that Volcano Bay sets itself apart from other water parks.

Do you have any thrill seekers in your family? If so, they will find plenty of attractions to get their hearts racing! One of those is Ko’okiri Body Plunge. Here, riders experience a 70-degree fall through a drop door making this one wild body slide! Krakatau Aqua Coaster is another must-do for thrill seekers. Riders board a four person canoe where they experience twists and turns through tunnels and mist. The coaster finishes by plunging through a waterfall!

Universal’s Volcano Bay features many different ways to bask in the sun and relax. Waturi Beach is my favorite hangout spot! Here you can admire the stunning waterfalls that pour into the lagoon from the volcano, Krakatau. Waturi Beach is the perfect place to swim, unwind, and play in the gorgeous water. Another favorite of mine is Kopiko Wai Winding River, which is Volcano Bay’s version of a lazy river. Ahh, I can picture myself floating in a tube right now going down the river!

Volcano Bay has many family attractions, as well as areas geared towards kids- Tot Tiki Reef and Runamukka Reef. Tot Tiki Reef is designed specifically for toddlers, with tot sized fountains and splash areas. Runamukka Reef is a water play area for slightly older children and includes water guns, slides, and dumping buckets of water. Another great family area is The Reef, which is leisure pool that’s perfect for the entire family to swim and play together. One feature about this pool that is super cool is that the tube for the Ko’okiri Body Plunge runs right through it! You can see the riders go by as you swim, which is so neat.

Want to enhance your experience at Volcano Bay even more? Cabana rentals are one way to take your day to the next level. Cabanas feature padded lounge chairs, a refrigerator stocked with bottled water, complimentary fruit and snack basket, towel and locker service, and concierge services with food and beverage delivery. Single cabana units hold up to 6 people and family suite cabanas hold up to 16 people. Premium seating is also available for a fee. This will allow you to have the comfort and convenience of reserved seating for the day. You will have a shaded lounge chair and the option of having food delivered right to you.

This is all just a snapshot of what your day at this water theme park can include. With experiences for every member of your travel party, Volcano Bay is the perfect place to enjoy a day of thrills and relaxation during your trip to Universal Orlando Resort. 

Interested in a FREE quote? Contact me today!

Lauren.Gigliello@MarvelousMouseTravels.com

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So…What Should I Pack in my Universal Park Bag?

Universal Studios is such a fun place to vacation! But a day in the parks can turn from amazing to bad if you aren’t prepared for the day ahead. That’s why I always like to pack a bag (whether it’s a backpack or fanny-pack) to make sure that I have everything I need for a great day at the park.

Sunscreen-Sure you applied before you got into the park, but the Florida sun is hot, and you will need to reapply. I like to purchase a travel size sunscreen to keep in my bag for quick reapplication.

Hand Sanitizer-Germs are everywhere! I make sure to keep 1 or 2 travel sized hand sanitizers in my bag.

Band aids-Boo boos still happen in the park. Keep a few band aids in your bag for blisters, or a scraped knee. It’s even better if you can find fun themed ones!

Small Fan-The Florida Heat can sometimes be unbearable! Make sure to grab a small hand fan or neck fan to keep cool. We especially enjoy fans with a mister built in for a cool spray!

Extra Socks or Flip Flops-If you are visiting Universal, chances are you going to get wet. Between the rain and water rides, your feet may get wet. And aren’t wet feet so miserable? I always pack an extra pair of socks to swap out if my socks get wet or a pair of flip flops to air out my feet or shoes. Your feet will thank you!

Small Umbrella or Poncho-Continuing on the topic of rain, scattered showers are very frequent in Florida! Don’t get caught without a poncho or a small umbrella! Chances are, the rain will only last for a few minutes, and then you can get back to your day!

Portable Power Bank and Cord-We all use our phones all the time, and now with the Universal Mobile App, you will be using it even more in the parks! Also, all the pictures you take will run that battery down! Make sure to bring a portable power bank and cord to keep your phone charged throughout your day!

Lightweight Jacket or Sweatshirt-Depending on the time of year you visit the parks, the evenings in the parks can be rather chilly. Make sure you have a light jacket or sweatshirt to pull on when it starts to get a little chilly.

Water Bottle –Definitely bring a water bottle! I like to bring a thermos type bottle that will keep my water cold all day! BONUS! You can request free cups of water in the parks. Get a free cup, and pour it into your water bottle. The ice will make it nice and cool!

Antibacterial Wipes-These wipes come in handy if you want to wipe down your hands, or maybe a place you’ve found to sit. My kids have a tendency to spill something, and these wipes are our saving grace!

*Bonus: Extra Face Covering-the new protocol in the parks call for a face covering. I definitely recommend you bringing an extra if not two extra. Between sweat and water rides, your mask might get wet. Keep an extra handy in your bag to change it out in the middle of the day.

So there’s a list of some essential items for your park bag! What do you pack for your day in the park? Leave a comment!

Interested in a Universal Studios Vacation? Email me for a FREE QUOTE today!

Katie.Eadie@MarvelousMouseTravels.com

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Universal Orlando with Young Children

One question that comes up often with Universal Orlando Resort is whether or not it is suitable for families with young children. The short answer to that is- YES! Universal Orlando is a fantastic choice for a vacation if you have little ones. Not only are there a ton of attractions and entertainment for the entire family, there are also many things geared specifically for kids at all three Universal Orlando theme parks, as well as outside the parks. Here are my favorite things (in no particular order) for little ones at Universal Orlando Resort!

Seuss Landing

Universal’s Islands of Adventure features Seuss Landing, which is my personal favorite area in all of Universal for those young adventurers! Seuss Landing is home to several kid-friendly attractions such as the Caro-Seuss-el (picture a carousel mashed with Dr. Seuss characters) and The Cat in the Hat where you and your family can go through scenes of this classic story. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish is also a favorite ride among littles- they get to sit in their own “fish” and control it with a joystick!

Runamukka and Tot Tiki Reef

Universal’s Volcano Bay features areas designed just for the littlest ones in your group- Runamukka and Tot Tiki Reef.  Runamukka Reef features bubbling geysers, water slides, dump cups and more. Tot Tiki Reef (created specifically for toddlers) includes a tot-sized water volcano, a family of friendly Tikis, slides and water fountains that are perfect for your little ones! There are also several other areas of Volcano Bay that the entire family can enjoy together.

Hollywood Drive-In Golf

Does your family love miniature golf like mine? Hollywood Drive-In Golf at Universal’s CityWalk is such a fun way for families to have some friendly competition while on vacation. Here, there are two 18-hole golf courses themed based off of 50s sci-fi and horror movie fun. You and your family can choose from The Haunting of Ghostly Greens and Invaders from Planet Putt, or try out both courses! A haunted house, flying saucer and robot are just some of the neat effects you will see throughout. This is perfect for the entire family to enjoy.

Hogwart’s Express

This is an absolute must-do for any train-loving kiddos! Even if your children are not huge fans of trains, they will still be amazed by the Hogwart’s Express which is a part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Please keep in mind that you need to purchase a Park-to-Park ticket in order to board and ride this attraction- but trust me, it’s SO worth it! The Hogwart’s Express takes you between Diagon Alley in Universal Studios and Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure. This is not just an ordinary train ride. While on board, make sure to keep an eye on what’s happening outside your window. You never know who or what may fly by!

Kids’ Suites

What better accommodations to stay in with your children than Kid’s Suites?! These room types are located at Loews Royal Pacific, Hard Rock Hotel, and Loews Portofino Bay, Loews Sapphire Falls, and Universal’s Aventura Hotel. Each resort has different themes for their suites. Two of my favorites are the nautical themed suites at Loews Sapphire Falls and the Jurassic World themed suites at Loews Royal Pacific (pictured below). These accommodations all vary slightly in layout, but all feature private sleeping areas for your kiddos that will give mom and dad a chance to relax and unwind after a fun day!

The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen

This Steampunk inspired eatery will satisfy both parents and children! Toothsome’s is a full service restaurant and confectionary. The restaurant features both classic dishes and a full service brunch menu which will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. You MUST save room for dessert! From one-of-a-kind milkshakes to scrumptious sundaes, you can’t make a bad choice. My personal favorite dessert is the Cookie Jar Milkshake which consists of vanilla ice cream, Oreo, oatmeal, and chocolate chip cookies and is topped with fresh whipped cream. It cannot be missed!

A Day in the Park with Barney

Do you have any little ones who love this purple dinosaur? Then you’re in luck! Universal Studios Orlando is the ONLY place where you can see Barney and friends in a daily musical stage show. Families can sing and clap along while favorite songs are performed. After the show, hang out in Barney’s backyard which is transformed into a fun, educational play area. Please keep in mind that as of this blog post being published, the play area is currently closed due to Covid-19. However, it is expected to re-open as soon as conditions allow!

This is just a glimpse into the many exciting things there is to see and do with young children at Universal Orlando Resort. Questions? Feel free to contact us!

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Lauren.Gigliello@MarvelousMouseTravels.com

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Universal’s Top 3 Premier Resorts

With incredible attention to the detail, Universal’s 3 Premier resorts are something not to miss! Loews Portofino Bay, Loews Royal Pacific and the Hard Rock do not miss a lick of detail and provide top notch service to all guests who choose to spend their vacation at this fabulous resorts. Not only do they not lack in detail they also do not lack in the benefits that guests will receive.

A few perks you will receive when you stay at one of these three resorts will be Early Entry into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Park. This allows guests to enter the parks one hour prior to the park opening to the general public. Definitely something to take advantage of while staying on property, especially for those busy days. Probably the most popular perk you receive when you stay at these three resorts is the Free Unlimited Express Pass! Yes, I said FREE! This is a HUGE perk by staying in these resorts. I have had clients purchase a night stay during their week just to get two days of that free unlimited express pass.

These three resorts also offer some easy and very accessible ways to get to the parks. One of the most common forms of transportation are the water taxis that will take you from the resort straight to the entrance of City Walk. Also, the resorts are with in walking distance to City Walk and the Parks.

A few more perks include priority seating at restaurants along with resort wide charging privileges. When you shop in the parks you can have your purchases delivered back to your resort so you don’t have to worry about lugging them around.

Now let’s talk a little about each resort in the Universal’s Premier Category! Starting with Loews Royal Pacific Resort.

Want to feel like you have been swept away to the South Pacific? Well then you will want to stay at Loews Royal Pacific Resort. Royal Pacific is filled with tropical wonders, amazing food and just pure fun! The pool here is a lagoon style wonderland surrounded by white sand and tropical palms to give you that feel of paradise.

Royal Pacific is home to one of the few Character Dining options that Universal offers. This would be one of my favorite Character meals. This is the Despicable Me Breakfast! Yes, that’s right you get to dine with the Minions! HOW FUN is that? Be sure to get your reservations made early to guarantee you a seat.

Each of the top 3 resorts offer a Kids Suite, Royal Pacific is themed from the movie Jurassic Park! You don’t want to miss out on this if you have Jurassic Fans in your family! These suites go fast so contact your agent today! This resort offers standard rooms all the way up to Presidential Suites…WOW! Trust me you will want to check these out!

Vacation Like a Rockstar! Hard Rock Hotel will definitely make you feel that way! If you are looking for a fun and upbeat feeling then Hard Rock is the place for you! You will see this Posh Style resort full of Rock memorabilia and full of great cuisine to fill you up on your vacation. Enjoy the sounds of music as you hang out by the pool and when you are in the pool dive in and listen to the music being piped into the pool!!! I told you party like rockstar!

The Kitchen and The Palm are just a hint of the dining that is offered at the Hard Rock Hotel! Two very delicious places to grab a meal. Each month the hotel offers Concerts and Cocktails where you can experience an up close and personal entertainment called “Velvet Sessions” Be sure to reserve a table before the show!

Do your kids want to feel like rockstars on vacation? Well, Hard Rock Hotel is the place to be! Don’t miss out on these Future Rock Legend kid suites! They even have their own stage and you can rent a guitar to get the full affect! Hard Rock offers standard rooms and rooms fit for a rock legend!

WOW! The last resort I’m going to talk about is one of my FAVES! The Loews Portofino Bay Resort radiates the picturesque seaside village of Portofino, Italy. There is so much beauty and Charm that this is a vacation in itself. You will find charming cafes, little shops on the piazza that line a harbor. Also, at Portofino guests will get to enjoy some authentic Italian cuisine.

At Portofino Bay you will find several selections for a pool day! The Beach Pool is the ideal place for your family to spend your vacation! This is a lively pool that features a Roman Aqua-duct themed water slide, a sandy beach, and a kids pool area! You can also enjoy a few jacuzzis and colorful cabanas. The Villa Pool offers a more serene feel to your vacation that includes cabana rentals and upgraded lounge chairs. Here the cabanas have refrigerators, plasma televisions, a phone, and for those warm days a ceiling fan. The Hillside Pool is on the east side of the resort. This area offers a more quiet place to relax on your vacation.

The Harbor Piazza, surrounding the Portofino Bay boasts beautiful cobblestone paths and outdoor cafes even Italian sports cars and vespas line the way. So much charm at this hotel that you will feel like you were actually in Italy. Lots of shops featured at this hotel that hold that true Italian feel. While you have a relaxing resort day be sure to check out the Mandara Spa. Indulge in to some self care with a massage or pampering yourself from a day at the parks. There are several walking paths that you don’t want to miss! These pathways offer a great photo op for your family or a romantic stroll. Each evening you will hear the Musica della Notte, this is opera inspired music performed at sunset on the piazza.

Portofino Bay also boast home to some incredible rooms-from standard queen rooms all the way to presidential suites fit for a king. Like the other 2 premier hotels Portofino also has a kids suite! This suite is themed as Despicable Me so for the minions in your family you don’t want to miss out on these amazing rooms!

That’s a wrap on the top 3 premier Universal Resorts! Thanks for joining in today and remember when you book your Epic Vacation at one of these resorts you will receive the FREE UNLIMITED EXPRESS PASS—that is a great opportunity to make the most of your vacation!

Want that Caribbean feel on your Universal Adventure?

Well look no further, Universal Orlando has the perfect resort for you! Introducing Loews Sapphire Falls, this resort has just enough detail and charm to make you feel like you are staying at a 5 start Caribbean Resort. You will be greeted by the beautiful stone turret in the lobby to the relaxing feel that each guest room offers. From the moment you enter Sapphire Falls you are surrounded by beauty that is inspired by the islands. You will catch a glimpse of cascading waterfalls in the distance and listen closely and you will hear the beating of steel drums that will immerse you right into that island feeling.

With all the charm, this resort is by far one of my favorites! One of my favorite areas of this resort is their pool! The pool is a 16,000 square foot area with 2 sand beaches and cascading waterfalls will be everything you need for a moment of relaxation while on vacation. The pool also encompasses an adventurous waterslide, a kids play area and cabana rentals!

Hungry?

Do not worry one bit! Sapphire Falls comes with a host of options from restaurants to lounges! Grab breakfast, lunch, or dinner at Amatista Cookhouse this full service dining option offers beautiful waterfront views. Needing something quick or a coffee? Then stop by The New Dutch Trading Co. this quick service offers grab and go meals to a fresh brew of coffee. When you get back from the parks or waiting on family to arrive be sure to check out Strong Water Tavern. This lobby lounge bar and tapas is a great way to unwind from the day or just check out some rum tasting. If you are not up for a park day then grab a bite by the pool at the poolside grill and bar, The Drhum Club Kantine from refreshing drinks to fresh seafood you will not want to miss while having a pool day!

Sapphire Falls is a preferred hotel on Universal property with easy access to the parks. The transportation is super easy to use, they have the water taxis! Which I love! The water taxi takes you right to City Walk and from there you can access both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.

Let’s talk comfort!

The rooms at Sapphire Falls are by far the most comfortable I’ve ever stayed in. The pillows and beds here are AMAZING! The decor in the rooms are stunning with a modern Caribbean feel to each one. The hotel also offers suites! When I was there recently I stayed in a water view Queen room.

If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to myself or the other agents that run this blog! Hope you enjoyed a little over view of Loews Sapphire Falls Resort.

Universal Covid-19 Protocols

After almost 3 months of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Universal Orlando Resort opened its doors to the public on June 5, 2020. I made a trip down with my husband to check out the new health and safety procedures and experience the parks at historically low crowd levels. Although each person has to decide for themselves when they feel safe traveling, I personally felt comfortable being at the parks again because of the rigorous procedures Universal has put in place to promote physical distancing and increased sanitization.

On Site Hotel Procedures

For this trip, we did a split stay between Royal Pacific Resort and Cabana Bay Beach Resort. We started our stay at Royal Pacific and, as soon as we began our approach to the front door, there was an attendant stationed to remind people to put their masks on. Universal requires that masks be worn in all common areas at the on site hotels. The only exceptions to this are the pool areas and when seated at a restaurant eating. Masks are also worn by all hotel employees.

Once we entered the lobby at Royal Pacific, we were greeted by a security officer who took our temperature and gave us a colored wrist band to wear. The color of the wrist band changes daily to ensure that guests get their temperature taken each day of their stay. Temperatures must be 100.4 or lower. If guests cannot pass the temperature check, they and their entire party will not be allowed to check-in at the hotel. Once your temperature is taken in the hotel lobby, you don’t have to have it taken again at the parks. The temperature check was a very quick and easy process.

Once we were in the lobby, we went to the check-in desk and received our room keys which, at Royal Pacific, also serve as our express passes. There were social distancing markings on the ground as well as ample signage reminding guests to stay 6 feet away from each other. The front desk staff were separated from us by clear partitions and hand sanitizer was readily available. We were informed that house-keeping would not be taking place during our stay, but that we could text the front desk if we needed additional linens or shampoo, etc. Our room at Royal Pacific was sparkling clean and we were told that the room is deep cleaned between each guest and kept empty for 24-48 hours between stays.

The check-in process at Cabana Bay Beach Resort was very similar to Royal Pacific. Temperature check stations were set up at each entrance, there were social distancing markings in place, and the front desk staff thoroughly sanitized their stations between guests. House-keeping was also not available at Cabana Bay, but we had the option to contact the front desk for extra supplies if needed. Rooms at Cabana Bay receive the same cleaning process as Royal Pacific.

Like the theme parks, the on site resort hotels are operating at reduced capacity. I felt as though there were less people staying at Royal Pacific than at Cabana Bay, but that is likely because Cabana Bay is at a more attractive price point than Royal Pacific. Even though the crowds were a bit higher at Cabana Bay, I still found it easy to remain physically distanced from others. Due to the reduced capacity and the desire to avoid large gatherings, some of the hotel offerings such as the Wantilan Luau and Despicable Me Character Breakfast at Royal Pacific were not available and the pools at Cabana Bay alternated their operating hours. However, there were still plenty of things to do and plenty of places to eat onsite.

Bus and water taxi transportation to the theme parks is running continuously from the hotels. Park shuttles are operating at reduced capacity to ensure that proper physical distancing measures can be observed. Guests are only placed in close proximity to their own travel party and are seated a safe distance from other travel parties.

Theme Parks

Universal’s theme parks are employing a variety of strategies to promote health. The parks are operating at reduced capacity with admission on a first come first served basis. On site hotel guests are automatically included in the capacity limits for each day of their stay. Temperature checks are also being done at the entrance to each park and guests must have a temperature of 100.4 or lower in order to be admitted. If a guest’s temperature is higher than 100.4, they and their party will not be allowed to enter the parks.

Masks must also be worn at the theme parks and at CityWalk by guests 3 and older unless they are on a water ride or eating at a dining location. Masks must secure around the ears or behind the head, fit snugly under the chin and against the sides of the face, and cover both the mouth and nose. Team members are doing a fantastic job consistently yet kindly reminding guests to wear the appropriate face coverings. For guests who need a break from their masks, Universal has U-Rest areas located inside the theme parks and in CityWalk where guests can social distance and take their masks off for a while.

Social distancing markings and signage are plentiful throughout the parks and team members provide guests with hand sanitizer prior to boarding each ride vehicle. Guests are spaced apart in lines and on ride vehicles and many attractions are also utilizing a virtual queue system through the Universal app. Hand sanitizer stations and signs encouraging guests to wash their hands in nearby restrooms are also found throughout the parks. Team members regularly sanitize ride vehicles as well as high touch surfaces such as rails, benches, etc. Coke Freestyle machines also have self-serve sanitary wipe stations available for guests.

Restaurants are encouraging guests to use mobile ordering to cut down on face to face time with team members. When food is brought to the table, team members bring it on a tray and allow guests to remove their items themselves. Like the parks in general, the restaurants are operating at reduced capacity and spacing guests apart appropriately when dining.

Characters are still very much a part of the action at the Universal theme parks! There are character photo ops throughout the parks allowing guests to pose and take pictures with characters at an appropriate distance. I found that I actually preferred this approach to character interactions to the typical character meet and greet opportunities.

Should I Travel to Universal Right Now?

That’s a question that every person has to answer for themselves, but I have no personal qualms about traveling to Universal right now. The trip that I took with my husband shortly after the parks reopened was one of the best trips we’ve ever taken! We got to enjoy the parks we love with significantly lower crowd levels and we didn’t feel that we missed out on any of the experience. With our express passes we had no wait times at all and we were able to ride our favorite rides (some more than once) and still have plenty of time to take in the sights and stop for a bite to eat or a bit of shopping. The longest line we waited in all day was for Hagrid’s (the newest and most popular ride in the parks) which doesn’t accept express pass. From the time we checked in for our virtual queue for Hagrid’s to the time we were getting our stuff back out of the locker, a total of 50 minutes had elapsed. Compared to the wait times for Hagrid’s at regular park capacity, we hardly waited at all! With historically low crowd levels and rigorous cleaning procedures in place, I think that now is a great time to take a trip to Universal Orlando Resort. I’m already planning my next trip!

Check out the crowds during Early Entry in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley!

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