Help! Standard Hard Rock Room or Portofino Club Level??

FinnFogg

Mouseketeer
Joined
May 2, 2014
We are planning our first trip to Universal Aug 31 - Sept 3 (tacking 3 night onto a BWV WDW stay).

We are a family of 5, kids 13, 11 and 9, and I am torn between Hard Rock and Portofino. I think that if I could get a club level room at Hard Rock, that would be my first choice, but unfortunately they have no availability on the club level for those dates. I am, however, able to book a club level room at Portofino.

Hard Rock Pros:
- Closer to parks, and it will be HOT in August
- Fun pool and cool vibe for the kids

Hard Cons:
- No Club level
- just the one pool, which may get crazy busy when it is so HOT.

Portofino Pros:
- club level
- multiple pools so room to spread out

Portofino cons:
- longer walk to the parks, and it is going to be HOT.
- too stuffy for tweens?

The price difference between the standard HR room and Portofino club level for the 3 nights is approx. $500. But with 3 kids who eat us out of house and home, and the fact that DH and I are
going to need a drink or two when we get back from the parks, I’m pretty sure the extra cost is worth it.

But what about the vibe (and the walk to the parks…in AUGUST)?

What would you do???
 

FinnFogg

Mouseketeer
Joined
May 2, 2014
First off, I would take the boat ride to the parks...
Lol - I saw that, but assumed they were similar to the boats in the crescent lake area a WDW (which I can’t stand waiting for). Are they very frequent and is the travel time quick?
 

SkyGuy

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Lol - I saw that, but assumed they were similar to the boats in the crescent lake area a WDW (which I can’t stand waiting for). Are they very frequent and is the travel time quick?
Boats are way more regular than Disney and very frequent in the morning when people are trying to get to the parks. The walk from Portofino to Universal is very pleasant. It’s almost entirely shaded, and I didn’t think it was that much farther than the walk from Hard Rock. It’s the last bit, from the boat dock area, to the main building where the club rooms are, when you have to walk across the unshaded Italian square area in the blazing sun that gets you. We loved the walk and did it several times when we were there a few weeks ago on 97° days, albeit not super-humid like August. The club level offerings were good; the dinner options were way better than Disney’s, imo, with the exception of BWI. They do pull the alcohol pretty early in the evenings, so if you wanted to relax with a drink, you need to be down there during the earlier part of dinner. They didn’t have any out during the dessert hour.
 

ofcabbagesandkings

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 16, 2014
Club level at Portofino, hands down. First off, the Portofino rooms are bigger and there's 5 of you. I didn't stay club level because we were pretty much park commandos for our first trip, but I would consider it in the future. The lounge is spacious and conveniently located, and a short walk to the boat launch. The boats ran frequently, even at night, and the walk is shaded and pleasant, unlike the one from the Contemporary to MK. Also, Portofino has gelato which will be a hit with your kids.
 

djmeredith

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 9, 2005
I also think PFB will best fit your needs. It is definitely not too stuffy. In fact, my teens asked to go back to PFB when we stayed at HRH last fall. And like PP said, the rooms are bigger at PFB.
 

jods

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 26, 2017
We are usually disney people and tacked on PBH CL to our disney stay last summer. My 2 teen/tween boys loved PBH. The lounge was closed for renovations last summer so it was relocated to a ballroom. The food was plentiful and the staff very nice. Breakfast had hot items daily, like potatoes and breakfast wraps. The boats were quite frequent and we never walked to the parks😆 don't think we would have walked to HRH either. You won't be disappointed at PBH.
 

FinnFogg

Mouseketeer
Joined
May 2, 2014
Thank you all for your input! We’ve decided to cancel the August trip (flights kept getting rescheduled to things that just would not work) but instead we have added 5 days to the beginning of our Feb WDW trip and booked club level at Portofino.
 

djmeredith

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 9, 2005
A great thing about the boats is they run between your resort and City Walk with no stops at other resorts.
Sometimes they do share these days. We were there May 30-June 3 staying at PFB, and our boat was shared with HRH. At least the part of the afternoon we took it. It appears they may be experiencing a shortage of boat drivers right now.
 

Sue M

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 27, 2009
Portofino CL! You will get a deluxe room. More space! Beautiful resort. Lots more food options. Love Sals Deli. Pizza is great.
Boat to park. This isn’t WDW lol. They come more frequently and don’t share with other resorts! Much better service.
 

Erica Ladd

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
We have stayed at both but no CL. I think the bigger rooms and club definitely wins. It’s true that walking to HRH from PB adds 5 minutes but it’s hardly noticeable!! Have fun!
 

djmeredith

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 9, 2005
Wow! This is a first! Our last stay was in October and no sharing.
I know, I was shocked as well. We were there last Sept, but we never took the boats because we were at HRH and walked. It is possible that it was just a random one off occurrence. I hope people will report on here about their boat experiences as the summer crowds pick up. We also hit shift change one day while leaving CW and had to wait for the new driver after they loaded us. It was probably 10 mins before the driver showed up.
 

wdwrule

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 12, 2013
I’m a bit biased because our first trip to UO was at club level PBH. So stay club level PBH! :rotfl2: But seriously, we absolutely loved the atmosphere and the club offerings and we could easily make a meal out of the choices. Every morning we had breakfast there at the club lounge which featured hot items such as egg sandwiches. We never used the afternoon snack time, but almost every evening easily made a dinner from their offerings for our family of four. Then of course we indulged with the wine and beer. Later in the evening we often made the dessert time which was lovely. Club staff was very friendly, helpful and sincere. This really made our first UO trip! Our kids (teens) absolutely loved PBH. The deluxe 2 queen room was plenty of room for us. We also loved taking water bottles from the lounge to the parks. We walked almost everytime and loved it. The pathway is so beautiful and serene. We ended up taking the boat once. Our thoughts were, if we could make the next boat, we’d take it. Otherwise we walked.
 

BLTtinkerbell

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 15, 2009
The boats ran frequently, even at night, and the walk is shaded and pleasant, unlike the one from the Contemporary to MK. Also, Portofino has gelato which will be a hit with your kids.
Is the walk from Portofino Bay to Universal parks a similar distance as the walk from Contemporary to MK?
I’m trying to compare for my family.
Thanks for any info.
 

ckelly14

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 23, 2010
Thinking of universal for a quick trip when down with the kids looking at colleges. Trying to save a few bucks. Is the club level available all day on the check in and out days?
 

ofcabbagesandkings

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 16, 2014
Is the walk from Portofino Bay to Universal parks a similar distance as the walk from Contemporary to MK?
I’m trying to compare for my family.
Thanks for any info.
I would say yes, it's about the same length, but much more pleasant, because it's in the shade and the runs adjacent to the water, and there's a lot of nice landscaping. It's entirely possible that mathematically the walk from the Contemporary is shorter but it felt endless because it felt like I was on the surface of the sun even in October.
 









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