Disney AP for years...Universal newbie


Aug 15, 2009
So my DD 15 and I have been Disney AP's for years (out of state) and want to try something new for next year. Even tho I'm an avid Star Wars fan, I want to steer clear for a couple of years. We want to try Universal for the thrills and atmosphere we've been hearing about.
Biggest question is what onsite hotel is best for ease of access. We've done all levels of Disney hotels from value to CL.


Proud Redhead
Jan 1, 2001
Easiest access is the Hard Rock Hotel but all of them are quick by shuttle or boat or within walking distance. The top three (Portofino, Hard Rock and Royal Pacific) include unlimited express passes with your nightly fees.


DIS Veteran
Jul 28, 2008
We've stayed at RPR a few times and loved it. Easy access to CityWalk and the parks ( closest to IOA ). IMO, the theme is similar to to Poly but more exclusive. And we loved the pool area.
  • bobbie68

    DIS Veteran
    Aug 14, 2009
    Hi I agree with damo about the easy access to all the deluxe resorts. Portofino is a lovely resort and it is their flagship. We just stayed there last summer and loved it. We did take the water taxi most of the time. You can walk to the parks it is about 10-15 minutes, it is the furthest of the deluxe but I wouldn't let that sway you not to if you like the theme.

    Hard Rock is a fun resort. It is the closest. We stayed there several times and have always had a great time. I think it is much more of a younger crowd there but the pool is cool!

    Wild4Walt gave a great description of Royal Pacific.

    If you want to do club level I can speak for Portofino, it was awesome. The best club level I have stayed at. Royal Pacific gets great reviews on their club as well. I hear the least on Hard Rock club. It still gets good reviews.

    I would look at them and go with what theme you would enjoy!


    Apr 19, 2016
    If you are looking to save a little bit of $$:

    - Sapphire Falls has boat access
    - Cabana Bay and Aventura share a bus OR you can walk over to Sapphire Falls from either hotel and use their boat. BUT the buses at Universal are NOT like Disney. I've stayed at Cabana Bay many, many, many times and no matter the time of day, there is almost always a bus there waiting for you or coming after a very short wait (less than 5 minutes tops). At the end of the evening, they run buses constantly and there is usually one bus loading and one almost immediately behind it. Cabana Bay and Aventura are immediately next to/across from Volcano Bay and are a 5 minute (if that) walk.
    - No one knows what the bus situation will be to the Endless Summer Resort, but I wouldn't imagine much difference between that and CB.

    All of the current hotels are very walkable to and from the parks if necessary.

    Sue M

    DIS Veteran
    May 27, 2009
    I would go with any of the 3 Deluxe. As mentioned Portofino is the furthest, but unless you have mobility problems still walkable. Getting Express Pass is a game changer. It’s like getting an unlimited FP for everything!
    With Universal, unlike WDW resort pricing with remains static, Universal resort rates go up and down and I’ve found the earlier you book, the better. But always keep checking. If your rate goes down you can phone to have it adjusted.
    Booking Stay More Save More rates, the longer you stay the higher the discount. A week gets highest discount.


    Oct 25, 2018
    Hi, if you're planning to do club level, this would be my preference:
    1. Portofino
    2. Royal Pacific
    3. No clubs
    4. Hard Rock
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