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Old 07-06-2019, 01:32 PM   #1
Grand Villa
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: OH
Posts: 1,121
Default Universal Studios On-Site Qs

We are considering an on-site stay at US next year ahead of our annual Disney trip. We have been before, the last time 5 years ago, but never stayed onsite. I looked back through old threads and also talked to a few friends who have been recently, but I'm always looking for experienced MO advice. Please keep in mind that my DS will be 11 and DD 6 and Harry Potter is a huge priority, but DS will also be into the thrill rides. The on-site stay will give us the unlimited express, which is also a priority since we will only be in the parks for 2 days.

1) A friend booked (what she called) a great deal through Costco for a club-level room at (I think Royal Pacific). She felt it was totally worth it. Anyone have experience with Club Level?

2) Has anyone booked through Costco? How early do they release their vacation packages? We are looking at the last week of July 2020.

3) If you could choose any US resort, which would it be and why?

4) Any other advice you can give?
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Old 07-06-2019, 03:22 PM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 200

Following...wondering the same.

We JUST booked 2 nights at the US Hard Rock before our 6 days at WDW in November. I chose the Hard Rock because it looks to be the closest to the parks. We have one day to get it all in, so if we had to catch a quick nap I wanted to be close. We got our tickets through a reward points program so I am excited that the hotel offers/adds the Unlimited Express option.

I have no idea about dining. I need to do some research on that I suppose.
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Old 07-06-2019, 06:46 PM   #3
Grand Villa
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Tennessee via South Louisiana
Posts: 1,439

LOVE staying at the US resorts. We've stayed at Royal Pacific 3 times, and Hard Rock 3 times, most recently Hard Rock last Thanksgiving. It's definitely the closest to the park/US, but from what I read/other advice, boat rides are easy and quick. We really like Royal Pacific. That's DH's favorite for sure. It usually has the cheapest rates of the 3. Good vibe there. We also walk from it to the parks, and I think it's similar to walking from BWV to either HS or Epcot, so not bad.
Only reason we did HR the last time was due to being a VERY last minute trip, and that's all that was available. I really enjoyed it. DH still like RP better, but both are great. Different vibes. Considered Portofino,comes highly recommended, usually pricier, and a lot farther walk. but it was N/A for our trip
LOVED the HR pool. we stayed out there all night. great pool!!
Have not eaten at any on site restaurants. watched a Tim Tracker vlog of HR Sunday brunch, and it looked good. City Walk has too many good options for restaurants, so we just went there. We enjoyed Toothsome's well enough (good, not great, but a great atmosphere, good desserts) and Cowfish, and honestly it's nice to have something simple like Burger King for the picky kid
Even left the parks to eat at City Walk. Those parks have the absolute WORST quick service restaurants. dreadful , overpriced crap. Did enjoy the Irish restaurant, and it's totally fun to try Three Broomsticks and Leaky Cauldron for the HP fans.
We don't consider a US/IoA trip w/o staying onsite at one of the 3 premium hotels to get express. It's SO worth it for us.
I have heard good things about cabana bay tho, and Sapphire Falls, so maybe in the future we'll do a split stay, but it's hard to give up Express once you get used to it
Happy planning!!!
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Old 07-06-2019, 07:17 PM   #4
carl sweat
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Default hard rock

love universal and always stay at hard rock. have stayed at royal pacific and loved that place too. hard rock is pricey but what is your time on vacation worth? if you walk to the parking lot to the right, facing the building, and back to the end of the lot there is an access road that goes straight to security for universal studios. takes about 5 minutes and your at the entrance. much faster than the boats or the walking path.
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Old 07-06-2019, 09:15 PM   #5
Grand Villa
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Texas
Posts: 2,961

Weíve stayed at all 3. Here are the pros and cons of each:

1) Portofino Bay - nicest hotel/rooms, good dining options, fast and frequent boat service, pretty far walk to parks

2) Royal Pacific - cheapest hotel, nice rooms, far walk that can get congested along the path, has a boat as well

3) Hard Rock - closest to the parks (5 min walk), boat ride is available, we liked the rooms the least here, expensive because of location

All that said, it really depends on what youíre looking for. Youíve got the cheapest (RP), closest (HRH), and nicest (PBH). Also, the Costco deals usually have a minimum night stay, so check that. I believe it is 3 nights most of the time. Also, look into the seasonal annual pass. While there are blackout dates, they arenít terrible. The seasonal pass was only about $100 more for the whole year versus a one day park-to-park ticket. Make sure you know what rides are open for the early hours too. It has been on the HP stuff only at US as recently as March. It isnít worth going early for only that IMO because HP world is so crowded since itís the only thing open. The crowds in HP world were actually lighter after the park officially opened so people could spread out. Good luck with planning!
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Old 07-06-2019, 09:31 PM   #6
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I've been to Royal Pacific and Portofino Bay, and like Portofino better. The walk may be slightly longer but it's not bad, and there is the boat if you prefer that. PFB is just all around nice. They even have a "gelateria" which has many flavors of gelato! The only things I didn't like are
-- parking is ugly (underground garage)
-- getting to and from the lobby is a nuisance, and I had to do that repeatedly.

Charter Member of OOO (Order Of the Oval)
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Old 07-06-2019, 10:45 PM   #7
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Illinois
Posts: 23

Im glad I ran across this thread tonight. We are sailing on our third disney cruise march 21-29 and want to get a few days of Disney in and one day of US. Considering using points to stay.....or doing one night of a US hotel. Do you get in early if you stay or get "fast passes" from the hotels? I haven't been to US for a while.....LONG time ago, the one time I went with DH kids stayed back and we only did HP and left after. Just considering our options. Any suggestions from people who have stayed would be great. Is it worth it to stay or just drive from Disney hotel. Thanks!!!!

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Love seeing the magic through the eyes of my kids....
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