Tag Archives: vacation

Royal Pacific Paradise

Staying onsite at Universal Orlando Resort has many benefits and staying at one of the 3 deluxe resorts  includes the best benefit of all, included Unlimited Express Pass.

HOTEL GUESTS ENJOY EXCLUSIVE THEME PARK BENEFITS
  • SKIP THE REGULAR LINES with Universal Express SM Unlimited ride access* in both theme parks – a FREE benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day^
    (valid theme park admission required)
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, one hour before the theme park opens (valid theme park admission required)

Loews Royal Pacific offers the lowest cost option of the deluxe resorts and is an absolutely gorgeous resort. Easy walking distance to both parks and boat service as well.

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Dine on exceptional cuisine; delight in the impeccable service; and soak in the breathtaking splendor of lush tropical surroundings at a white sandy beach of the lagoon-style swimming pool; all while enjoying the latest in modern conveniences.

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Royal Pacific offers several room categories, from standard, water view, suites and their fun kid’s suites…Jurassic Park themed!

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Guest Room Amenities

  • 1,000 guest rooms including 51 suites; rooms start at 335 sq. ft
  • Flat panel television with HD channels and On Demand® in-room movies (fees apply)
  • iHome clock radio and docking station
  • Keurig coffee maker featuring Emeril’s Gourmet Coffee and assorted teas
  • Refrigerator
  • Cotton signature bathrobes
  • Nightly turndown service (upon request)
  • Iron, ironing board, hairdryer and in-room safe
  • Complimentary* wireless internet access in each guest room and most common areas of the hotel
  • Upgrade to Premium Plus^ wireless internet access for optimal entertainment and business needs
  • 2 telephones (1 cordless) with dual voice lines, data port and voicemail
  • Club Level rooms feature complimentary continental breakfast, access to the fitness center, and more

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Hotel Amenities

Whether it’s relaxing in the serene lagoon-style pool, the sights and sounds of our weekly luau, or a workout in the fitness center, Loews Royal Pacific Resort has something for everyone.

Pools

One of the most impressive features of this resort is the lagoon-style swimming pool and sandy beach. Sink your toes into the sand and ease your body into your lounge chair. Lagoon style swimming pool featuring a white sand beach and the following:

  • Two (2) hot tubs
  • Beach volleyball court
  • Private cabanas for rent

Mandara Spa® & Fitness Center

Visit the full service Mandara Spa® next door at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel. Mandara Spa® offers comprehensive wellness services, a de-stressing zone where you can work out, or tune out with a delicious spa treatment.

Supervised Kids Camp

When Mom and Dad want to enjoy a night on the town, drop the kids off at the supervised children’s activity center.

Kids will enjoy an arts & crafts table, storybook corner, computer desks, a movie room, and more. Counselors are trained to supervise toilet-trained children ages 4-14 only. One counselor for every 8-10 children.

COST: $15 per hour, per child / $15 per meal

HOURS: Open from 5:00 pm to 11:30 pm, Sunday through Thursday and from 5:00 pm to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. * Times are subject to change.

Restaurants

Emeril’s Tchoup Chop

In both atmosphere and menu, Emeril’s Tchoup Chop offers diners a unique and exotic journey through the Pacific Seas, a perfect complement for the Loews Royal Pacific Resort, complete with bamboo, waterfalls, sculpted gardens and giant woks in full view.

Islands Dining Room

Enjoy savory chef-inspired creations featuring noodle bar dishes, rice bowls, wok and hibachi specialties. At breakfast, join us for traditional favorites, along with several Polynesian-influenced morning specialties.

Jake’s American Bar

Jake’s American Bar is the perfect place to meet for drinks and lively conversation after your day’s adventures.

Wantilan Luau

Sit back and experience an evening of authentic Polynesian food and entertainment at the enchanting Wantilan Luau, a weekly Hawaiian dinner show featuring an all-you-can-eat buffet of Polynesian specialties, live Hawaiian music and traditional hula dancing. Hula and fire dancers delight the audience and entice a few to even learn the hula! (Fees apply; reservations required)

Orchid Court Lounge & Sushi Bar

Enjoy a continental breakfast or a tropical cocktail at the Orchid Court Lounge, which overlooks a serene orchid garden. The Orchid Court Sushi Bar features modern, inventive sushi and sashimi presentations along with Asian-inspired desserts and South Seas martinis.

Bula Bar & Grille

Bula means “welcome” in Fijian, and you’ll definitely feel right at home at this poolside eatery serving up food and beverages with a tropical flair.

THE LONGER YOU STAY THE MORE YOU SAVE!

Stay more nights and save up to 35%!

Contact me to get starting planning your EPIC vacation at Universal Orlando!

Epic Savings Event – Vacation Package

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All Vacation Packages Include:(per night rate shown)

  • 4-Night Hotel Accommodations
  • 3-Day Park-to-Park Ticket^
  • Early Park Admission one hour before the theme park opens to one (1) Universal Orlando® theme park as determined by Universal Orlando
  • Access to select live entertainment venues^^ at Universal CityWalk®

Rosen Inn International

Starting from $99* per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • FREE scheduled transportation^^ between hotel and Universal Orlando
  • Discounts~ on merchandise, food & non-alcoholic beverages at select theme park & Universal CityWalk® locations
  • Additional Universal Partner Hotels available

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Starting from $145** per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • Complimentary transportation to both theme parks and Universal CityWalk® make getting around the resort fast and easy so you can make the most of your time
  • Complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to your hotel
  • Resort-wide charging privileges with your room key card 

Loews Royal Pacific Resort

Starting from $219*** per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • FREE Universal Express℠ Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines in both theme parks – a benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day††
  • Complimentary transportation to both theme parks and Universal CityWalk® make getting around the resort fast and easy so you can make the most of your time
  • Complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to your hotel
  • Resort-wide charging privileges with your room key card
  • And more!

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Hard Rock Hotel

Starting from $239**** per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • FREE Universal Express℠ Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines in both theme parks – a benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day††
  • Complimentary transportation to both theme parks and Universal CityWalk® make getting around the resort fast and easy so you can make the most of your time
  • Priority seating at select restaurants throughout both theme parks and Universal CityWalk®
  • And more!

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Starting from $249***** per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • FREE Universal Express℠ Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines in both theme parks – a benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day††
  • Complimentary transportation to both theme parks and Universal CityWalk® make getting around the resort fast and easy so you can make the most of your time
  • Priority seating at select restaurants throughout both theme parks and Universal CityWalk®
  • And more!

Subject to availability, room type, hotel, and travel dates selected. Rate valid for bookings 3/31/16 – 4/4/16 and valid for travel; 4/3/16 – 6/10/16.

 

Top 3 Reasons to be at Rope Drop

Rope Drop is what opening is called at the Disney theme parks. At Magic Kingdom, they have a Welcome Show each morning as a part of their Rope Drop. Occasionally, the other parks have had shows as well, but not regularly.

Why should you plan to be at the Magic Kingdom in time for Rope Drop?

 

3. It’s a fun show! The train pulls into the station with most of the characters on it, there is singing, dancing, waving, confetti and often a Family of the Day picked from the early arrivals to the park. Often there is fun going on just inside the park as well, cast members waving hello, the Dapper Dan’s may be out. It’s exciting!

Rope Drop
Welcome Show at Magic Kingdom
Rope Drop
Where else can you see Drizella and Anastasia getting into trouble with Stitch!

Rope Drop

2. Parks are empty! You are walking into an empty park. A cast member will lead people to the main attractions and there are photo ops with  fewer people than you will see for the rest of the day. You can ride the big ticket rides with little to no wait, more than once if you’d like.

Liberty Square
An empty Liberty Square

Liberty Square

1. The number one reason is to maximize your time in the park! By arriving at opening when crowds are minimal and many are still sleeping in, you’ll have access to many rides with little to no wait for an hour or two. You’ll get much more accomplished in the morning than in the afternoon and it’s not quite as hot either.

Tomorrowland at rope drop
Heading to Space Mountain first thing at Rope Drop, nobody ahead of us!

 

While sleeping in is nice, my number one recommendation on a Disney trip is to be at Rope Drop and make the most of your time. Relax by the pool later in the afternoon when the lines are long and the parks are crowded.

 

Here Come Mickey and Santa

Join Mickey at this festive winter celebration for live entertainment, spectacular fireworks and an oh-so-jolly holiday parade.

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Here Come Mickey and Santa

Start planning for a marvelous gathering with family, friends and some familiar Disney faces!

When Mickey celebrates the season, Magic Kingdom park lights up with excitement for Guests of all ages. Cinderella Castle shimmers. Joyful music fills the air. Disney Characters don their most festive attire. Favorite attractions take on a holiday theme. And enchanting surprises lie around almost every turn!

Mickey dressed in seasonal holiday clothing dancing in formation between two life-size nutcrackers

Held on select evenings, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is currently scheduled to take place on the following dates in 2016:

  • November 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27 and 29
  • December 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18 and 22

Save Up to 25% on Rooms

Save Up to 25% on Rooms at Select Walt Disney World Resort Hotels This Spring!

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Save up to 25%* on rooms at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels for stays most nights April 14-June 11, 2016 when you book by March 31, 2016. Other great rates for stays most nights Feb. 22-April 13, 2016.

Plus,  receive 1 more ticket day FREE when you upgrade to a room and ticket package with a minimum 4-day Magic Your Way® Ticket.

Booking Window: Dec. 28, 2015 – Feb. 28, 2016
Travel Window: Feb. 22 – Jun. 11, 2016

Full list of offer exclusions : campsites, 3-bedroom villas, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms.

Beaches Negril Resort

Next we’re off to nearby Beaches Negril where we are treated to lunch on the beach! Beaches is the family version of Sandals, offering families the same amazing luxury inclusions couples enjoy at Sandals.

Beaches is located on the widest stretch of Negril’s seven mile white sand beach!

It is very much tailored to kids of all ages, in addition to all the usual Sandals inclusions, Beaches offers Kid’s Clubs with all day supervision of children of all ages and lots of activities, including Pirate Island, and water theme park with 8 slides and a lazy river.

Beaches is also in partnership with Sesame Street and Xbox. The Xbox Lounge is appealing to the older kids, as will be the Xbox in each room. You can ask them to remove it before you arrive if you prefer. 😉 Sesame Street characters make appearances at special times for a parade and a few other special things.

A unique extra is having a Sesame Street character of tour choice come and tuck in your child and read them a bedtime story.

Gourmet Discovery Dining

Arizonas (Tex Mex), Bar B Q Park (Jamaican), Cafe de Paris (cafe), Dino’s Pizzeria (pizza), Kimonos (Japanese), The Mill (International), Soy (Sushi), Stewfish (Jamaican Seafood), The Venetian (Italian), Sweeties (ice cream), Doggies (hot dog stand)

Lunch on the beach set up for us.

Accommodations

The architecture blends Caribbean influences with tropical greenery. Beaches Negril offers Concierge and Butler Level rooms.

Beachfront Concierge 2 bedroom Family Suite

Sesame Street Tuck In

Luxury Inclusions

All the usual water and land sports you can imagine! The beach, pools, Teen Center, Kids Camp, Fitness Center, Pirates Island Water park, weekly events..

Teen Club

Kids Camp is open from 9am to 9pm daily offering a wide range of activities supervised by trained Nannies. Xbox Lounge open from 9am to 11pm.

Luxury Extras

Red Lane Spa treatments, beach cabanas, Scuba Certification, Island Routes excursions, laundry/dry cleaning, photo shop, special private dinners and more are available at an extra cost.

As always, there is a “no tipping” policy for all team members except Butlers and Spa Technicians.

Find a full album of photos of Beaches Negril on my Facebook page.

 

Universal Orlando Review

On this year’s family vacation to Disney, we added two nights at Universal since our kids (12 and 9) are now old enough to get the most out of these parks. They  are geared to a slightly older kid crowd.

Magical Travels with Barb
No Sharknado visible at this time.

We stayed at the Portofino Bay Hotel, and you can read the hotel review here.

When you arrive from the hotel via the water taxi, you disembark at CityWalk. CityWalk is an entertainment and dining complex located between the two theme parks. Over the bridge to the right is Universal Studios and over the bridge to the left is Islands of Adventure.

Magical Travels with Barb
Boat docks at CityWalk

The big draw at Universal Orlando Resort is of course, their two Harry Potter themed lands. Walking into Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, takes you right into the movie. Universal nailed it! We are not big Harry Potter fans, kids are reading the books now, and we’ve seen and enjoyed the movies, but even we could appreciate the level of detail. Everything you’d expect is there, Ollivander’s, Butterbeer in several varieties, pumpkin juice, snacks, and merchandise.  Wands for sale at various price points, including interactive wands that will activate window dressing throughout the two lands. The Harry Potter attractions are fantastic and even the queues are entertaining enough to make the waits bearable. Escape from Gringotts was our collective favorite, although my oldest might say Dueling Dragons was his.

Magical Travels with Barb

There are now two Harry Potter themed lands with the opening of Diagon Alley  last summer. Hogmeade is inside Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley is in Universal Studios. There is a train, the Hogwarts Express, that connects the two parks, but a park-to-park ticket is required to ride this attraction. The park to park ticket is akin to Disney’s Park Hopper allowing you to hop between the 2 parks on the same day. This is not just a train connecting the parks though, it’s a ride in itself and different in each direction.

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb
Gringotts inside Diagon Alley at Universal Studios
Magical Travels with Barb
Diagon Alley

This is where staying onsite comes in handy. Onsite guests have early entry to one, sometimes both during busy times, of the Harry Potter sections each morning.  For our trip, in late August, is was  Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure. Entering early meant little to no wait times on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, the ride inside Hogwarts Castle. Also Dragon Challenge and Flight of the Hippogriff.

Beverage Cart in the queue! This is genius!
Magical Travels with Barb
Several of the longer queues at Universal had these carts set up along the way, selling snacks and drinks, including beer. This was at Hogwarts Castle, Despicable Me also had one.

Staying onsite, we also had Unlimited Express Pass included, which allows you do bypass the main queue in almost all the attractions at both parks (Harry Potter rides not included). Now, this didn’t eliminate the waits completely, but it did shorten them significantly. Despicable Me was probably the longest wait even with Express Pass at about 30 minutes, but it was posted at 80 minutes without. Note that you can buy an Express Pass, but it is not Unlimited, you can only ride each ride once with the regular Express Pass.

Magical Travels with Barb
Wait times for this ride was consistently the longest in both parks, 80 to 100 minutes usually. Most others were less than 30 minutes most of the day.

Being that the parks are both movie themed, all the attractions are obviously movie centered. Comic Book heros,  Minions, Shrek, Transformers, Men in Black, Jurassic Park, a favorite of my boys. There are younger kids areas like Seuss Landing. Many of the attractions are simulator type rides, but with a moving ride vehicle.

Magical Travels with Barb
Love this ride, and it’s one of the few I remember from our trip before kids.

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb
Just outside Diagon Alley

As I said, most of the rides are more suited to tweens and teens or slightly older kid. My youngest is 9, almost 10 . Only 2 rides had a height limit of 54 inches. He missed the cutoff by a 1/2 inch on The Hulk and Dueling Dragons, but was able to do everything else. Several are 52 and 48 inches. There are several water rides as well, a log flume similar to Splash Mountain, a raft ride similar to Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom and the Jurassic Park ride. You WILL GET WET on all these rides. Soaked on two of them. I warned you.

Magical Travels with Barb
Waiting while Dad and Big Brother ride the Hulk, twice. This was an excellent picture spot and I managed to get great pictures and video of them on the ride.

When you’re hungry there is food everywhere. Tons of counter service places and most are quite large with lots of seating. We had lunch in Jurassic Park at The Burger Digs one day. Don’t make the mistake of sitting at the tables just outside, stay inside. We had to move when a crazy squirrel  would not leave us alone, he was jumping on the table and coming right to our tray trying to take our food. No fear for him, I  was terrified!

You don’t have to make reservations 180 days in advance!

We did table service for both dinners. There are not many table service restaurants in the parks, but just outside at CityWalk there are plenty.  You can make reservations for the table service restaurants, most are on Open Table, but it’s not always necessary and you can do it a week or two in advance, or even just early in the day for dinner.  We chose Mythos at Islands of Adventure which is consistently ranked one of the top theme park restaurants and it did not disappoint. Food and service both very good.

Magical Travels with Barb
No idea what was in this, but it was very good. One of the signature drinks and keepsake glass. They give you a clean one already boxed up ready for travel. Made it home no problem.
Magical Travels with Barb
Harissa Fried Shrimp crispy shrimp, spicy harissa sauce, mango – cucumber slaw, served with creamy cumin – cilantro dip $8.99
Magical Travels with Barb
Brown Butter Gnocchi sautéed gnocchi, grilled chicken, and roasted sweet potato tossed in a sage and walnut brown butter sauce $14.99
Magical Travels with Barb
The kids grilled cheese, it was quite a good size and yummy according to my 9 year old.

We also ate at Finnegan’s at Universal Studios which was great as well.  Authentic Irish pub food and live entertainment, although at first the songs were decidedly classic rock, but eventually he broke into some classic Irish tunes like Irish Rover.

Magical Travels with Barb
Dingle Seafood Pie Fresh salmon, cod, and shrimp in a light cream sauce crowned with mashed potatoes and baked until golden brown and topped with aged Cheddar cheese. Root cellar vegetables $14.99

Both Universal parks are fairly small in comparison to the Disney parks, think more along the lines of Hollywood Studios size. We had half a day, the day we arrived and then a full day the next and were able to see everything we wanted to. Now, if you are big Harry Potter fans, you’ll need a bit more time as we didn’t spend too much time exploring those areas other than doing the rides and wandering a bit during the early entry hour before it got crowded. We also took afternoon breaks to return to the resort and swim, which was super convenient being just a 15 minute walk or short boat ride away.

Next time we might do 3 nights just to have a little more time to spend more time in certain areas and still have the afternoon swim breaks, maybe explore some of the other resorts as well since pool hopping is permitted at Universal.

Overall it was a very enjoyable add-on and change from our usual and I do believe it will now be a MUST DO for all future trips.

I can help plan your trip to Universal Orlando Resort, just contact me and we’ll get started.  🙂

Wilderness Lodge Villas Review

We recently returned from another fabulous family Disney vacation, this time making our home base a 1 bedroom villa at the Wilderness Lodge.

Magical Travels with Barb
Main lobby at Wilderness Lodge

The villas are housed in a separate building right beside the lodge and accessed by a covered walkway where western music guides you to the villas own majestic, if on a somewhat smaller scale, lobby. Check-in occurs in the main lodge, there is no check-in desk in the villas lobby.

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb
Villas Lobby

Magical Travels with Barb

The villas have  been refurbished since we last stayed in one and are lighter and more airy than before. The dark kitchen cabinets are now white, carpet is now wood flooring and overall the villas are brighter.

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb
Master bedroom with window pocket door into the bathroom

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb

The 1 and 2 bedroom villas offer a full kitchen and stackable washer/dryer making life very convenient indeed for keeping up with laundry and having breakfast and even lunch if you wanted to in your villas.   A pull out queen sofa makes up the main room along with the kitchen and entry way. Then a split bathroom with jetted tub and separate shower and a king size bed in the bedroom make up the rest. The 1 bedroom villa features two balconies. We were on the 5th floor, the top floor so our villas had vaulted ceilings and our balcony had a solid wall.

When booking the resort directly with Disney, just as you would a regular room, mousekeeping is daily. When booking on DVC points, it’s every 4th day. Detergent was provided daily for the dishwasher and laundry.

Magical Travels with Barb
view from our balcony on 5th floor. Facing main lodge and we could see just a hint of the quiet pool through the trees. Straight ahead we could see the very high fireworks from Magic Kingdom’s Wishes.

We took advantage of grocery delivery options to have staples delivered for breakfast and of course, beverages. The Mercantile in the Lodge does have a nice selection of food items and essentials, but you’ll save money by ordering in advance. We use Garden Grocer and have had great success with them.

Magical Travels with Barb
First aid and essentials

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb

Other than the health club, which is located in the Villas lobby, all other resort amenities, restaurants, etc… are located in the Lodge.  Signature restaurant Artist’s Point, the fun and playful Whispering Canyon and the counter service Roaring Forks. The quiet pool is just steps outside and a short walk around to the main pool, pool  bar, beach, marina with boat rentals and the boat dock for the ferry to the Magic Kingdom or Fort Wilderness and the Contemporary. The Wilderness Lodge is a fairly compact resort in comparison to some of the sprawling resorts Disney offers, so nothing is really too far away.

Magical Savings for Fall

Experience what a Walt Disney World® Resort family vacation is all about with this 4-day/4-night room and ticket Magic Together package in a standard room at Disney’s All-Star Resorts for a family of 4 from just $1,701.

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Booking Window: July 20 – Sept. 18, 2015
Travel Window: Most nights 10/4-10/8, 10/12-10/15, 10/18-10/22, 10/25-10/29, 11/1-11/5, 11/9-11/12, 11/15-11/19 and 11/28-12/10/15. Check for other great rates between 10/4-11/24 and 11/28-12/23.

Portofino Bay Hotel Review

My family recently ventured to the “dark side” and added a 2 night stay at Universal Orlando Resort to our traditional Disney vacation.

Perfect add-on for families with older kids, tweens and teens!

Planning a Universal Orlando Resort trip is not quite as overwhelming as a Disney trip can be, but there is still a little planning to be done. I can help you with this too 🙂 This wasn’t my first stay at Universal, but it was our first trip as a family and with the kids . We will be back!

Magical Travel with Barb

We chose the Portofino Bay Hotel as our home  base for our 2 night stay. This hotel is simply stunning. It’s is a replica of the Italian coastal town of Portofino, right down to the little fishing boats in the harbor and vespa’s lining the piazza!

Magical Travels with Barb

The hotel complex is sprawling, made up of 3 main areas. The lobby facing the main harbor piazza and then the East and West Wings. A Villas Wing extends off of the West Wing.

Magical Travels with Barb

The West Wing offers the best proximity to the boat dock and walking path to the theme parks and the feature pool.

Magical Travels with Barb

Rooms at Portofino Bay are spacious and well -appointed, starting at a generous 450 sq feet for a standard room Garden or Bay view. Deluxe rooms, suites and club level services are also available.

Rooms have all the standard amenities and beds are queen sized.

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb

Portofino Bay features  Despicable Me suites in the East Wing. 

There are numerous restaurants, all Italian, including a Gelateria and Starbucks. Splendido Bar & Grill is right by the main pool with lounge chair service. Three pools are scattered throughout, the Beach Pool being the feature pool with the Roman aqueduct themed water slide, zero entry, sandy beach, waterfalls and a small grotto. Even when busy, we were always able to find a few lounge chairs available.

Magical Travels with Barb
Beach Pool
Magical Travels with Barb
View of activity center and Splendido at Beach Pool.

Recreation includes poolside activities, bocce ball, a game room, fitness center, a spa and much more.  Be sure to catch the daily Musica della Notte show in the harbor piazza, and enjoy the sounds Italy.

Magical Travels with Barb
The spotlight on the building is where the opera singer is entertaining.

Transportation to/from the parks is so easy! There are boats running constantly from early morning till the wee hours of the night. Every 20 minutes or so. The ride is less than 10 minutes. The walking path is just past the boat dock and takes about 15 minutes at  a leisurely pace, 10 minutes if you are really trying to make it back before a downpour…we made it. 🙂 The path brings you past the Hard Rock Hotel and right to the Universal Studios entrance. They also have bicycle jitneys going back and forth if you choose.

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb

The major benefit of staying on-site at Universal is this:

  • SKIP THE REGULAR LINES with Universal Express SM Unlimited ride access* in both theme parks – a FREE benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day** (valid theme park admission required)
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, one hour before the theme park opens (valid theme park admission required)

That’s right, staying at one of the 3 deluxe onsite hotels, Portofino Bay, Hard Rock or the Royal Pacific, entitles you to the above benefits. With the popularity of Harry Potter, that extra hour is much needed! And Express Pass really helps with the rest of the parks , the only place it is not accepted is for the Harry Potter rides.

We made the most of both the parks and the resort by splitting up our day with a pool break in the afternoon each day and with Express Pass and having early entry one day, we were able to see and do everything we wanted to in less than 2 full days, but would probably stay longer next time to really make the most of everything offered.

Universal offers some great packages including a Wizarding World of Harry Potter package and Stay More Save More deals. Contact me for a free no obligation quote.