Where to stay and eat at Universal?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Ft. Worth, Texas
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    Where to stay and eat at Universal?

    We've had 3 great trips to WDW and one to DL. We've also spent a day at Universal Hollywood. We'll be going to Universal in Orlando for the first time this July. We'll be there for 4 or 5 days. Being a "Disney Family", we have no idea where to stay for convenience at Universal (I'm afraid we'll definitely be missing the Disney transports). Also, what are the good restaurants. What should we avoid? Any info is appreciated! :-)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Atlanta, Georgia, USA
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    2,937

    Re: Where to stay and eat at Universal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greep View Post
    We've had 3 great trips to WDW and one to DL. We've also spent a day at Universal Hollywood. We'll be going to Universal in Orlando for the first time this July. We'll be there for 4 or 5 days. Being a "Disney Family", we have no idea where to stay for convenience at Universal (I'm afraid we'll definitely be missing the Disney transports). Also, what are the good restaurants. What should we avoid? Any info is appreciated! :-)
    Stay at one of the Universal Resorts. They are within walking distance of the parks and CityWalk, and if you don't want to walk, they also run Water Taxis, Shuttles and Rickshaws (no charge, tip only) to and from the Parks back to the resorts.

    Cabana Bay is brand new and the most affordable...however, I would recommend one of the three "Deluxe" resorts. In order of general price they are Royal Pacific, Portofino Bay and Hard Rock Cafe. You won't miss the transports, and if you are familiar with Disneyland's layout, think of that as something comparable to the Universal Florida Resort complex.

    The reason being is that you'll get an unlimited use Express Pass (think of it like Fastpass on steroids) just by staying at one of the latter three resorts.

    As far as Dining, Disney really has Universal beat here, but Uni is getting better.

    You will notice a difference there, especially with quick service. While none of the quick service is BAD, it's just repetitive and fairly common fare made adequately. Nothing special about it. Better food is available just outside the Park Gates at Citywalk, but if you really want to eat on park (for whatever reason), look into the Harry Potter restaurants (Leaky Cauldron and Three Broomsticks) or the Simpson's Food Court area.

    Also, unlike Disney where you can probably still enjoy the trip quite nicely without Park Hoppers, I'd highly recommend you get them for Universal. First, the parks are smaller, so it's nice to be able to spread out your days between them, rather than be stuck with one venue or the other. Second, there's actually an attraction (the Hogwarts Express) that you can NOT DO unless you have Park Hoppers, because they transport you from one park to the other on the ride.
    B.C. (Before Child) '82, '87 - '95, 2004
    A.D. (After Daughter)
    2010 - 2 weeks @ CBR
    2011 - 3 in DC, 14 @ CBR
    2012 - 3 @ Uni Royal Pacific, 12 @ Pop
    2013 - 3 @ DLR | Contemporary, DCL Fantasy, POFQ
    2015 - 2 in DC, 3 @ Uni Portofino, 3 @ AKL, DCL Fantasy, 4 @ AoA

  3. #3
    We had our vacation just this past May. We went to universal for the first time as well. We didn't stay on site, we had a very tight budget this year. So we booked a vacation through the universal website and chose a partner hotel. We picked the avanti. It's not luxurious by any means. But it. was nice and clean and would stay there again. Since we booked through universal we got 1 hr early entry to the Harry Potter park. Witch was really nice. The waits were super short if at all and was able to see a lot without bumping into people. I def recommend the park to park ticket. We rode the hogwarrs express train a million times lol. As for food our fav place was the quick service in hogsmeade, the three broomsticks. Great price and a lot of good food. Other good food places were the ones in dr. Seuss area and in the Simpsons area.

  4. #4
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    Jul 2013
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    Ft. Worth, Texas
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    This is all great info so far. Thanks!

  5. #5
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    Mar 2012
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    Montreal, CanaDA
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    73

    Re: Where to stay and eat at Universal?

    We stayed at the Royal Pacific. It was great. Through the lobby, to the back and there was the water taxi, as well as the walking path to the parks and City Walk. At the time, you could purchase single days of the Dining plan which, for an additional $5.00 included a meal at one on the CityWalk restaurants. We selected Latin Quarter. It's true that the quick service meals are not bad, although, that's being a little generous. The advantage for us was that staying on site got us front of the line access. This was particularly convenient for the Simpsons attraction. It had recently opened and was quite popular. The average wait time was 120 minutes. We were in within 10 minutes. We literally zipped through every line at every attraction. The accomodations were great. The Royal Pacific was amazing and the luau was excellent. The Cabana Bay looks great. I hope we can visit one day. Then next year, they will open the Sapphire Falls resort. Look for it.

    https://www.universalorlando.com/Hot...ls-Resort.aspx
    I'M NOT CRANKY, I JUST LOOK THAT WAY

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Ft. Worth, Texas
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    53
    We're on day 2 at Universal. Understand that we've been to WDW 3 times and DL once, so I wasn't too excited about coming to Orlando and not going to Disney, but I've got to say that Universal has been great so far. Our kids are now 11 and 14. Although we never really got into the Harry Potter phenomenon, we watched the first 6 movies leading up to the trip. The Harry Potter parts of the parks are every bit as much fun and magical as the Disney parks have been for us. The Royal Pacific has been a great experience (although it's tough to compete with the Disney resorts). The 3 Broomsticks was great, and we'll eat at the Leaky Cauldron today. 3 more days coming up!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Rhode Island
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    608
    I'm glad you are enjoying your time at Universal and Royal Pacific! Even though I'm a huge Disney World fan, I do love Universal almost as much. Enjoy the rest of your trip!
    “No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.”

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Ft. Worth, Texas
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    It was a great trip! I wasn't expecting much, since we weren't going to WDW, but I was wrong! US (especially the 2 Harry Potter Worlds) were amazing. We did get to spend our last day at Downtown Disney and see some of the updates/progress. We'll be going back to WDW Spring Break of 2017, so back to the Triple Digit Club we go! I think I'll have to try to convince the wife to spend one day at Universal on that trip, though! Thanks again to all those that offered advice. It definitely made our trip better!

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