HolidayInn KIRKMAN ROAD/ Universal Entrance (NOT HI Universal, which is a mile down the road) Is a 5 minute walk from the entrance. I walked from HRH to the HI as they have a TGI Fridays there. And walked back. It was easy, and faster than the shuttle.
Re rates: HI is 90 to 110 +/- a few $ depending on how you buy. I say, get the entertainment card, and maybe 80 or so a night. There is some hotel cheapy place about 1 mile down the road for $50 a night. Check for ressies on this site's main page links. Most of these places use the star shuttle (bus) service I guess. They all drop you off at a special shuttle stop at the USF/Citiwalk enterance - part of the parking garage area.
After having stayed at HRH and using Front of the Line, I dont think I will EVER, and I mean EVER want to stay anywhere else. My experience at HRH was aweful, but the grounds looked nice, and the FOTL priviledge was invaluable. I went to USF last year on a day pass, and this year with FOTL. I remember how pissed I was at waiting in long lines, and the typical trash who would come up behind you and 'unawares' happen to crowd past you, and others, pushing to the front. "Oh, i didnt realize you were in line" as if I was standing there to inspect the ropes! Nothing makes me feel better about having dealt with offensive people like that than to pay a little more, be a little smarter, and be directed to the front, so they say "gee, how'd he get up there." I'm not telling them!
So: entertainment card to save, many hrh employees are horrible, grounds are beautiful, and FOTL is worth every penny.