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Old 09-23-2020, 09:49 PM   #21
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Thereís a new Drury Inn going up near Disney or there was. This will be a nice option if itís still built. Nice breakfast and nice dinner spread at Drury Inns. I canít remember now where it was being built, but close to Disney.

Weíve stayed at Hard Rock and Royal Pacific. Front of the line access is an amazing benefit. Not a lot of early breakfast options available when we were there for early park entrance.
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Old 09-23-2020, 11:32 PM   #22
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A new restaurant opened as you enter Universal . The Grand Open was covered on Today Show and it is called Today and serves the best breakfast & lunch sandwiches with side serving of fresh fruit that really is fresh . And of course screens that replay the Today Show stars recreating cooking shows.
The new Bourne Show is next door .
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Old 09-24-2020, 09:36 AM   #23
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Ooooh I needed this list a few weeks back....

I don't know if I am going to dread this upcoming trip or not.....this will be our trip outside of Disney (aside from Universal's Portofino 2 yrs ago) and im sooo lost lol

I'm at the Marriott Harbour Lake, is that located in Marriott world? (First time renting a car because we're still not sure about doing Disney full-time. Im not sure what else we'll do)

What's a good property with a cool waterslide in that area? I'm a II member, anything good there? I've never really looked since we've always stayed at Disney.

BTW, I can also vouch for the Universal's Portofino.....it was amazing, and felt just like Disney, if not better.....that express pass at xmas time worked soooo good and well worth the difference to upgrade my hotel.
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Old 09-24-2020, 02:57 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by CarolA View Post
Looks like we have a new forum and since a lot of people on here apparently haven't ventured outside the bubble in a while I thought I would post a couple of options

1. Luxury JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes. Very nice hotels, with a lazy river. Food prices are high as you might expect but comparable to Disney. Food was excellent. THey have a bus to Disney but I found it an easy drive. At one point they had a deal where you could reserve a room at the Ritz that came with use of a Mercedes while you were there (not sure that's still an option). Pricing generally less than Disney unless there's a convention.

2. Gaylord hotel Great theme, but HUGE place. Rooms are nice but not outstanding. EASY commute to Disney but honestly I would only stay there if I was in the area for a meeting taking place there.

3. Waldorf Bonnet Creek. Another lazy river hotel. Great service, great food. If you go for one of the RunDIsney events they run great service to and from the race. Basically on Disney

4. Marriott Village. I like these hotels, but the fact that they now charge for parking has made me move on. I understand it's the norm at 'deluxe' hotels but Courtyard, Fairfield and SpringHill suites while nice are hardly 'deluxe" Great location for outlet mall, but a little longer commute to Disney.

5. Sheraton Lake Buena Vista - Give this a pass. Nice pool, but it used to be a Days Inn and the upgrade wasn't impressive. Subpar rooms and service. Decent location however.

5. Portofino at Universal. Very nice resort. Service was better than Disney Deluxe, pricing slightly lower and you can't beat the Express Pass perk for staying onsite. Boat or walk to parks.

6. Orlando World Center Marriott - This one is on my "never again" list. Bad service, paying to park so far away you have to take a shuttle and so so rooms.

7. Town Place Suites Flamingo Crossing. Good location for park access, kitchenette, can have two bedrooms. It's been a few years, but there were limited food options close by.

8. Boheminan Hotel Celebration Great location in Celebration. LOUSY service. Good rooms. Probably won't stay there again, but it's a great location to explore Celebration and there are lots of good food options.

You can tell we have a lot of Marriott options, I collect their points for European vacations
Very informative thank you!
I will also add Polynesian Isle resort- we stayed there a few years ago. Clean and not too far from the parks. All rooms were condo style 1 or 2 bedrooms
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Old 09-28-2020, 07:21 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by frank808 View Post
When we go to Universal we stay at one of the deluxe hotels Royal Pacific, Hard Rock and Portofino Bay. These are the only 3 on site hotels that get you unlimited express passes. For one night stay, you get express passes day of check in and day of check out. Have booked one night just to get the express passes for both days while saying at our DVC room.

Our preferred hotel is Portofino Bay since we started staying at Universal about 20 years ago. Portofino was closed when we went in June so got moved to Hard Rock. Over the years, we have stayed at all 3 deluxe hotels and walked to the parks from all 3. The closest walk is Hard Rock, the walk to Universal is closer than BLT to MK. I think even the walk from Portofino to Universal studios is shorter than BLT to MK.

Usually the cheapest hotel is Royal Pacific and most expensive is Portofino Bay. The price follows the size of the rooms meaning the smallest std rooms are at Royal(335 square feet) and largest is at Portofino(450 ft) with Hard Rock in between(375 ft).
Great information! I'll add a stay at one of those hotels next time we go to Universal.
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Old 09-28-2020, 07:36 PM   #26
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We'll be trying one of these in November. Southwest changed our flights by too much so we are going a day early now.
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Old 10-21-2020, 05:57 PM   #27
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We have stayed offsite for just a few nights at a time at a Homewood Suites on International Drive and really enjoyed the Embassy Suites South.

Club level at Royal Pacific was great for a Universal trip a few years ago.

Now that we are retired we have used our points to snowbird at OKW, Vero and HHI. Along with those we have stayed at Marriott Cypress Harbor (very, very nice), Wyndham Bonnet Creek (would stay again) and Hilton Vacation Club at Tuscany - not again.
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