View Full Version : Disney Deluxe vs. Universal Resorts

08-22-2003, 11:27 AM
I could really use some help. I'm a big Disney fan and have stayed in all the MK resorts. We are planning a September trip to Universal and can't decide which on-site hotel is our best bet. I actually have an Entertainment Rate reservation booked at all three. Based on pictures the Royal Pacific theme appeals to me the most but I'm wondering if we would find the rooms to be too small..or too plain etc. I don't want to check in and kick myself saying I wish I would have gone with the Portofino. I know the Royal is the low-end of the three but I'm thrown off because it's considered a 4-star. Can anyone compare the Universal Resort rooms to Disney Deluxe? Size? I'm wondering if the Royal Pacific is really more like a Disney moderate? I've read quite a few reviews and I've found a mix of good and bad for all three Universal properties..although lately I've read more bad than good on the Portofino Bay..Help!

08-22-2003, 11:57 AM
We stayed at the Portofino last November and had a great time. Our last WDW stay was at the Wilderness Lodge and in comparison, the Portofino seemed more upscale in terms of the room furnishings and size. The pool areas at the Portofino were well done with a separate quiet pool area with hot tubs etc. I think ultimately the Portofino seemed more "adult" oriented than the Wilderness Lodge if that makes sense. I don't know if that helps at all. steve c

08-22-2003, 12:13 PM
I think Royal Pacific feels more like a Disney deluxe. The room did seem small but still very nice. We paid $110 a night(entertainment rate) and it was well worth it. I loved the pool. Here is a picture of it, hope it works...

08-22-2003, 12:34 PM
We stayed at the Portofino Bay for Thanksgiving last year. I had booked the Standard King Room and asked for a roll-away for my then 6 year old son. When we arrived I was so upset! The room was beautiful, but tiny! I called the front desk and told them how unacceptable the room was for a family of three. If we had opened up the roll away there would be no walking space.

Making that call was the best decision I've ever made on a trip. They immediately upgraded us to a deluxe room. It was easily twice the size of the first one. It had two queen beds with duvets, a large chair, a dining area, TV cabinet with a VCR and CD player, and a stocked mini-bar. The bathroom was amazing! It was huge. There was a large soaking tub, another large shower, and a long vanity. (All this for under $200 a night at Thanksgiving).

The hotel was beautiful. It far surpassed anything I have ever seen at Disney in terms of luxury. The staff was wonderful. They even brought a basket of toys for my son when we changed rooms.

I love Disney and we'll continue to go as often as possible, but Universal was a completely different experience. We can't wait to go back.

08-22-2003, 12:48 PM
I have stayed at many of the WDW deluxe resorts and stayed at portofino Bay in May. I would consider it on par with the Disney Deluxe hotels except that there are hardly any balconies at Portofino and non at Royal Pacific. I really liked the Portofino and when i went over to the Royal Pacific I found the grounds and interiors even more to my liking. The actual buildings are a bit bland. I didn't see the room. Teh waterways that the boats take from the hotels are much prettier and well landscaped than at WDW where things are in their more natural state. If you don't mind missing a balcony you will have just as nice a stay as at the Disney resorts.

08-22-2003, 01:00 PM
We stayed at the Hard Rock last October and it was beautiful. We have stayed at WL and the Poly as far as WDW deluxes. It is hard to compare them because HRH isn't as themed as say the WDW resorts but is was beautful and every bit a deluxe. Probably more then the WDW resorts I'ver stayed at. The rooms were very large and decorated very nicely. You get really fancy hand and face soaps. shampoos, conditioners, q-tips, minibar, and the like at the HRH which is a lot more then the WDW resorts. I also loved the pool at HRH. It was zero clearance, large kiddie pool, concerts shown poolside, and room service was great! If you sign up for their hotel card you get freebies upon check in. We got cookies and milk and my mom got a fresh fruit basket. I think the US hotels are much nicer then the WDW ones overall but my favorite is still the Poly because of the theming.

08-22-2003, 02:56 PM
If room size is an issue, remember that all three have "deluxe" rooms that can be had for under $200 with the Entertainment rate. The deluxe rooms seem to run about 475-525 square feet (at least at Hard Rock and Portofino).

I found it interesting that in my 2003 Unofficial Guide, the Hard Rock Hotel was rated higher in room quality than any Disney Deluxe...

That said, I'm splitting my stay between HRH and AKL - but if Disney had not released the Florida Resident rates for September, I would have spent all week at Universal.

08-22-2003, 03:13 PM


08-22-2003, 03:26 PM
You buy a coupon book from entertainment.com, and you get a card that you can use for hotel discounts. They're usually about half off rack rate, from what I understand. You don't have to have the card when you book (just ask Universal's reservation desk for the Entertainment rates, they know exactly what they are), but it sounds like it does get asked for at check-in pretty often, so I wouldn't risk not buying the book.

You can buy the book for Orlando or your hometown, either one will work for Universal resorts.

The book also has tons of other coupons in it (restaurants, fast food/pizza, target, movies, etc).

The Entertainment rate for Hard Rock Hotel ($160 for a Deluxe King room) I got was even better than the Florida Resident rates they had.

There's a lot more info in the Universal Resorts forum here.

08-22-2003, 03:39 PM



08-22-2003, 03:41 PM
You can also get the Entertainment book online. I got mine last September for only $5 because they were getting ready to put the new one out. I bought 2 books because you need a seperate discount card from each book per foom. I saved half off our rooms and only had to put out $10 to do it! The site is entertainment.com.

08-22-2003, 04:07 PM

08-22-2003, 05:53 PM
Originally posted by NTDIANE

I went in October and got half off of $250 a night. I only paid $125 for a deluxe room!

08-22-2003, 06:24 PM
Universals Royal Pacific definately surpasses disneys deluxe resorts, with beauty and room ammenities. Loews hotels are considered botique resorts. Larger resorts with the personal small resort touch.

We have stayed at the Royal Pacific and the Portofino. At the Portofino..yes, it is beautiful..probably nicer than the grand Floridian (we have never stayed there..but been there many times). The rooms are large, the beds are comfy, the bathrooms are huge..but...we like the Royal Pacific better. Yes, the rooms are smaller...I would say about the same size as disney deluxe. But, it seems the managment over at the RPR have it together a little more than that at the Portofino...while we love the Portofino..they just never seem to know what is going on over there...lol..and it has been opened the longest.

Either way...you can't lose...both resorts are wonderful, the restaurants/bars at all are wonderful. You can easily take the boat to check each of the resorts out, or eat at them, and pool hopping is allowed at universal resorts if you are a guest.

08-22-2003, 08:25 PM
We stayed at the Royal Pacific last May and loved it! The pool area was gorgeous as was the grounds. We are now trying Hard Rock in October. if it is half as nice as RP, we'll be thrilled. It was as beautiful as any Disney resort and cheaper. Read the Universal Resort Board for lots of info.

08-22-2003, 08:52 PM
We have stayed at all three resorts at US. I would say all three would be comparable to the disney deluxes. We liked the HRH best because of room decor, pool, and walking distance to US. PBH has a nicer pool, but we found the walking distance a bit of a pain and depending where your room is located you can have quite a hike to the beautiful main pool. We stayed at rph when it first opened, so they were still working some of the "kinks" out of it, be generally the decor is pretty and is convinent walking distance to IOA and citywalk. One note though, it is the ONLY US hotel without a pool slide if that matters to you (we missed it ourselves.. we are all "big" kids!) If you have any questions I can answer feel free to ask! One big diff we did notice from disney at all three was the lack of convinent,affordable, meals. PBH had some pizza place with a limited menu but no food courts (a la wl, gasparilla grill (GF),or maras (AKL).