Universal Studios Hotels
Mouse ears may be the first thing on your Florida theme park radar, but Universal Studios is a fierce competitor for that spot. Many theme park aficionados consider Universal’s Islands of Adventure the best amusement park in the world. The rides are edgier and push your adrenalin limits farther than Disney’s parks and almost all the rides are outside – unlike Disney. Line ups tend to be shorter and misting stations throughout the park cool you down so you last longer – which is what everyone wants. And whether you want to kick back in paradise, vacation like a rock star or experience Dolce Vita, Universal Resorts are ready to steal you away from Disney.
Like Disney, Universal hotels snuggle up next to all the fun, and they offer free shuttles to their parks. But Universal leaves the polyester perfection behind and excels at combining affordable room rates, refined elegance and kid-friendly policies. There’s a wider variety of room and menu choices, so everyone in the family feels catered to.
Universal resort guests enjoy an express ride system (identical to the fast pass system at Disney) as well as package deals for meals, accommodations and park passes. The resorts all offer fine dining as well as kid-approved fare. And if Mom & Dad are dining gourmet, they can sidestep table tantrums with menus made especially for fussy eaters.
Royal Pacific – Universal bills this 4-diamond resort as a tropical paradise. It’s within walking distance of Universal and you can find everything from a seafood buffet to kid-favorites (think chicken nuggets and macaroni & cheese) to Emeril’s Tchoup Chop – a gastronomical adventure.
Hard Rock Hotel – Sweeping California mission-style facades frame this resort that’s devoted to making you feel like a rock star. Whether you want fabulous poolside fun or a romantic, quiet afternoon of sunbathing, it’s all about you.