I'm back from 10 nights at the Portofino...


Earning My Ears
Jan 7, 2000
My kids were actually sobbing last night because they didn't want to come home. We had great and I mean great weather all to come home to snow in NJ. 60 degree temp difference YUCK!!! Anyway I am tired but wanted to let you know that I am back and will be happy to answer any questions. We stayed at the Portofino all 10 nights in a kids suite. We are annual pass holders so we went to the parks every day. We did just about every ride (although I didn't do any coasters unless you count the unicorn). My kids are probably Men in Black experts. Sorry Barry that we won't be at the MIB shoot out. My kids started to get to know some people using Front of the line and learned a lot of pointers. We rode the float in Mardi Gras twice (Purple people eater the first time and Black and White the second.) We ate at a lot of restaurants. We did not eat at Hard Rock. Palm to pricey for kids and Sunset Grill got mixed reviews from people. Menu too exotic. The hotel looks beautiful though. so ask away. I am tired and depressed. I want to start planning next year. Feb was a great time to go. Not many lines last week but getting more crowded this week. John Walsh from Americas most wanted was at Portofino. They were taping a show somewhere. Okay I could ramble all night. but I'll take questions tomorrow. Bye for now.
Patti, Bob, Bobby (9) and all time MIB high scorer, Steven (8) and Katherine (5) Woody Woodpecker enthusiast who rode the coaster a minimum of 50 times and I kid you not.
Wow, great mini-trip report!

Can't wait for the rest!


Mother of Michael
Proverbs 3:5-6


<font color=purple>Co-Moderator of the Community and Universal/IOA Boards</font color=purple>

I have a little bit of time so I thought I would share some of the changes I noticed about the Portofino since we were there last (1 year ago). They now have life guards at the beach pool. Ususally they had 3 at a time. This is a big improvement. Last year they had none. Staff was much more informed and helpful. They were able to direct me to a doctor on Sat. when my daughter had a fever and overall seemed to know their jobs much better. I am a loews first member and I don't know how they did this. But when I checked in they asked me what i wanted. I said fruit bowl. The bell boy took our luggage to our room and the fruit was already there. Surprised me. they also had a refrigerator waiting in our room that I had requested. Also a box that I had sent down earlier in the week was waiting in our room. That was great service. We were in room 1344 by the way. It is in the East wing. We have stayed in the East wing both years. I hear talk that the west wing is the way to go but I honestly have had no problems with the East wing. Housekeeping would set up all the stuffed animals etc. Would restock towels at turn down service. One more note. Wildfires are happening in Florida. I -4 is closed in parts. Some nights you could smell the smoke in the room. It actually woke me up one night. Now that I am gone I hope they get some rain. Not during the day just at night for all of you travelling soon. Well bye for now.
Glad you had such a wonderful trip. We're going to Portofino for the first time in the beginning of September. We're staying at WL first for 7 nights and then moving to Portofino for 3 nights.

I'm mainly curious about the restaurants in and around Portofino. We like late-night eating...are there 24-hour restaurants? I assume there is room service, probably a bit pricey. Any information you can offer would be helpful. Thanks!
Hi! We have stayed at the Wilderness Lodge too. It has a beautiful check in area. But I think you will like the rooms at the Portofino better. WL's pool is very nice though. Anyway the 3 main restaurants at the Portofino: Delfino Rivera(sp?)is a formal restaraunt. I have never eaten there because I am with kids. I have heard good things about it. I would assume that like the other restaraunts that they have normal rest. hours not 24 hr. Trattoria del Porta is a moderately priced rest. that has a breakfast buffet and dinner buffet or you can order off the menu. They have a character dinner Mon. and Fri. evening. They also have seating outside. We have eaten there quite frequently and find it just fine. Mama Dellas is a more traditional Italian rest. A little more upscale than Trattoria. Mama visits your table to see how things are. They also have roaming singers. Food is a little more pricey and more authentic. In fact my kids did not like the mac and cheese because it wasn't what they were used too. I thought it was excellent. They have family style ordering if you like. My husband and I split a dish. They had about $10.00 for each additional person eating. Other than those 3 restaraunts they have Sals pizza and market. It makes great wood burning oven pizzas with thin crust. It also has sandwiches and cold salads. Not sure how late it is open. Used that frequently for a quick dinner. Splendido pizza is at the pool. Offers kids meals for $3.50 which I did not see on the menu. They have chicken fingers, hot dog, grilled cheese. They also have pizza, salad etc. Closes at 5 pm which I think is way to early. Then there is Gellateria (sp?) which offers coffee and ice cream and other small items (cookies at night) bagels, cereal fruit in the morning. Opens early then closes in the afternoon, reopens at 4 pm and stays open till 11:00 pm I think. The Thirsty Fish is a bar and I am not sure if it has food at all. I am sure that is open a little later. Let me just add that you can take the boat to City Walk which stays open late and has a variety of restaraunts. The boats are running much quicker now (about every 15 mins.) and it only takes about 5 mins. to get there. I hear they hope to have a fleet of 10 boats once the 3rd hotel opens. So eating very late your option would probably be City Walk. Hoe this helps.
PS Are you traveling with kids? A tip for the Wilderness Lodge. Ask to be a flag family when you check in. I think they still do it. You have to get up early ( 7 am)but you get to raise all the flags on the roof of WL. My kids loved it. You get a certificate and a free breakfast. Stan the guide knows a lot about the history of the hotel and takes his job very seriously. He is a really nice guy. I don't think you can ask to be a flag family in advance but you might want to check with them in advance if you are interested. This is not an advertised thing and it is really cool.
Well all for now.
Patti: Thanks for taking the time to post such a great response! I appreciate the suggestions. No, we're not travelling with kids. We're a couple in our early 30's and married for only 2 years. But I'll keep the WL advice in mind for future trips!
How did you get to ride a float? Did they let onsite guests ride? If so, whoo-hoo! We are riding! :)


Barry Hom
The moderator formerly known as Barry aka usagi
Moderator, Universal and Sea World Boards

"If you were me, you'd be good looking."
I wish I could tell you that on site guests automatically rode but no such luck. I called Portofino concierge 3 times and all 3 times they told me I had to get a standby voucher just like everyone else. But if you are willing to invest the time you CAN get on a float. The first thing I would do is to go to or call Universal the morning that you want to ride. Find out what their procedure is for getting on the float. I am 99% sure it will be the same way it was for us but I would check. This is what we had to do. There is a lost and found window by guest relations. It is to the right as you walk through the gates. Julia (who runs the whole ticket and parade thing and is very nice) hands out tickets at 4:00. They tell you that you will be getting standby numbers. But if you are early in the line she will have purple tickets that will automatically put you on the float. It probably depends on the night as to how many extra purple tickets she has and how many cancellations. We got purple tickets both times so we didn't have the anxiety of waiting at standby to maybe getting on the float. Now it was important for me and the kids to ride the float so I did not mind waiting. We got to the window at 3:00 pm. We were the 3rd person in line. The other 2 people said they got there around 2:50. No one else came till about 3:15. By 3:30 the line was getting quite long. A lot of annual pass holders do this every night and ride just about every night. Everyone who wants to ride the float must be in line. You can't have a representative say I want 5 tickets etc. A couple of notes. You must be 48" tall to ride the float. If you are under 18 you must be accompanied by and adult. If you get a purple ticket you then have to be between Wild Wild West by 7:20 pm or you forfeit your space. If you get a standby number you must also be at Wild Wild West (the right of it) by 7:20. If it is important to you to ride. I would invest the time to wait and get their early. It was the highlight of our trip last year so we made sure to do it again this year. I only tried to get tickets those two nights and I was successful. Somebody mentioned that Tues. nights were hard to get on the floats because it was annual pass holders nights, but somebody else said that the floats were empty. I think weekends are harder than weekdays. We rode the first night Fri and Wed the night before we left (the 21st.). It is awesome and my kids loved it. My daughter is to short but she didn't mind because I radio'ed my husband and he waited on the side we were on and we all threw her lots of beads. If I am not clear on this or you have other questions just ask.
PS make sure you bring a camera on board and take lots of pics. You dress up. You get to keep your hat or tiara and 10 strings of beads and some coins. Have fun.
What a wonderful trip!
Thank you for sharing! Gonna use your tips for the parade this week-end.
Would you kindly adopt me on your next USO trip?
And thanks for the great write-up! I'm especially grateful for the Mardi Gras float tips, since we hope to be able ride one during our visit in March!

Wow - 10 days at the Portofino. Sounds like heaven to me!
could you share some FOTL tips...also, getting from Portofino to the parks. THANKS
FOTL was easy. Just show your room key to the attendant outside of the ride. He or she will show you where to go. You may have to show your room key once again when you are ready to board. I guess they double check because they have so many peoople coming from different ways. But we never had a problem. And we rode rides back to back (we would exit the ride and go back in). Going to the parks from the Portofino is also easy. You just get on one of their boats at the dock and it takes you right over. The boats were running about every 15 mins. And it takes about 5 mins to get there. We could see the boat dock from our room so we would always be dashing out of the room to catch the boat. It is also not a horrible walk to the parks. We would do it on occasion. It is about 20 mins. But it is very scenic. We wanted to walk by HRH and look in. The boats do not stop at HRH from the Portofino they go straight to City Walk.
Actually, one boat goes to Hard Rock Hotel and one to the Portifino. The walk from Portifino to the theme parks is kind of long, but it is a nice walk by the river and through a garden path.


Barry Hom
The moderator formerly known as Barry aka usagi
Moderator, Universal and Sea World Boards

"If you were me, you'd be good looking."
Wow! Thank you for taking the time to answer everyone's question in such detail. I'm so jealous you were there for 10 days! Glad your trip was wonderful (we were FREEZING us here!).
I guess I should have been more clear. You cannot ride a boat to HRH from Portofino. You would have to take a boat from Portofino to the City Walk docks then get on the HRH boat and go back. They have two docks at city walk. One for Portofino and one for Hard Rock. They are not marked so you kind of have to ask which is which.
You can't take a boat directly from the Hard rock to the Portofino? When I looked at maps it doesn't seem like there is an easy way to walk from one hotel to the other. Is there a bridge that isn't shown on maps? I had planned on going from one hotel to the other frequently. Also, does anyone know if Splendido Pizzeria serves things other than pizza? Thanks for the info! ;)
Yes, you can walk between hotels, approx ten minutes along a very pretty pathway. Splendido Pizzeria also has sandwiches, salads and appetizers.
Just had a great time at Universal Escape. Those parks are wonderful. The no line/no wait policy is incredible. Covered alot in the first two hours. Found a great deal on tickets too which made the experience that much greater.


Our Dreams Unlimited Travel Agents will assist you in booking the perfect Disney getaway, all at no extra cost to you. Get the most out of your vacation by letting us assist you with dining and park reservations, provide expert advice, answer any questions, and continuously search for discounts to ensure you get the best deal possible.


facebook twitter