Time to give Universal some dough, Portofino Bay vs Royal Pacific?

We are a Disney family, but given the news flow, we are thinking its time to give Universal a try. I’m wondering if anyone has stayed at the Portofino Bay and/or the Royal Pacific and can offer which one might be better. Our kids are 9 and 12 and don’t have a preference on which park might be better. I think we will do Universal studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay. Might give an edge to the resort that is easier to get the parks, but curious if one resort might be significantly nicer than the other?

with those ages I would suggest Hard Rock Hotel first followed by Portofino followed by Royal Pacific in that order. The reason is that’s the order of best pool (only HRH and Portofino have slides and HRH’s is better). Also HRH will appeal to that age group the best but Portofino is my favorite as an adult. If it’s what’s cheapest, only then do I choose RPR.


Hard Rock!

1 Like

Portofino is my favorite. The rooms are large, the bathrooms are large, and it feels like you are in Italy. It is the furthest from the parks, but the boat is awesome so no need to walk.
HRH is my second favorite. The location is the best of the big 3 for walking. The pool and slide are fun.
RPR is my least favorite, mainly because the rooms are small (in comparison to PBR and HRH), the pool is so shallow it feels like a hot tub instead of a refreshing pool.
That being said, all 3 of them are great and I would stay at any of them again. I think we have stayed at HRH 4-5 times, PBR 4-5 times, and RPR 2-3 times.


All three are great. I think RPR might be a slightly shorter walk to IoA than HardRock but you can walk/boat to either.

I usually don’t promote TA’s though everyone out here knows this one. Magical Vacations Travel has a huge discount going on for certain days in the months Aug. Oct. Nov. and Dec. These specials are 50% off at Hard Rock, Royal Pacific, and Portifino. Resort specials are for these resorts on one or more of these given months. I have used MVT before but for WDW. No specials for WDW at this time but I thought I would mention this special to you as you appear to be planning a Universal Studios FL vacation. I have no connection to this TA other than I have used them before and will be taking them up on The Universal special this coming October at Portifino.

Didn’t even think of hard rock. The pool is a big deal for sure. Thank you!

1 Like

Thank you. Any idea if volcano bay can be walked to from hard rock, portofino, and rpr?

Hard Rock is our favorite. I like the look and feel better for Royal Pacific (plus the shorter walk to the park), but I had a horrible time sleeping there. There was a lot of hallway noise and even with the white noise machine on my phone and Benadryl, I didn’t sleep. So we’re doing Portofino again our next trip. Slept soundly there and the rooms seemed bigger.

You could walk there from RPR, but it would require going quite a bit out of your way. We just take the buses from the resorts, there will be a VB specific one pretty frequently. It will drop you right in front of their entrance. HRH and PBR are not walkable, but the buses are really quick.


I recommend HRH due to proximity to the parks and the pool. I liked the feel of the resort as well, though that is subject to personal preference. With young kids I personally wouldn’t do Portofino due to the long walk and/or reliance on the ferry. But if you’re laid back that would be a good option.

This is so us at UOR. Sleep in, long breaks, rest. Take the boat. Never in a hurry. With express you can ride everything so quickly it seems. UOR is so easy in comparison to WDW, it’s like a true vacation.


Technically you can walk to it from all three but RPR will be your shortest walk BY FAR!!!

OI’s Universal on-site hotel map - Google My Maps

There is a walking path that connects all of the Universal resorts EXCEPT the Endless Summer ones to Citywalk/Parks and VB so you can walk entirely if you should so choose. It’s about a mile from Cabana Bay/Volcano Bay to Citywalk with RPR in between. So if you were to walk to VB from HRH or Portofino you’d have to add up to another mile to your walk.

I could hear every noise outside my door in Portofino. They put us one room over from the elevators and even with that long entry hall, I could literally hear convos so I don’t think soundproofing is better at Portofino. Probably ask for a quiet room is the way to do it at any of the resorts

I really like being in control of my vacations, and I like knowing i can cancel at the last minute, but if I had a travel agent, who was getting a commission, I’d feel guilty about it. How do people handle giving up control for a deal that sounds really good? Due to circumstances, I’ve had to cancel two trips in the last 18 months.


Yes, as an adult portofino is my fave. Lots of quiet places to just hang out with a coffee or a glass of wine. And nightly opera singing. It’s 100% the best themed and the quietest resort which can literally feel empty even though it’s huge.


Yeah, I couldn’t hire a TA. I LOVE doing the planning myself. I like knowing exactly what I’m getting into, enjoy reading tons of books and doing internet research and knowing the why each choice is the best. I live for that part and I make changes as I learn more. This is one area of my life I feel I actually have control LOL


You expressed so well why I feel the same way. It’s the need for control and the ability to actually achieve it in a small corner of your life.


Same! I have used a TA at times, but I am mostly not willing to give up the control.


Yup, I can think of my big China trip as an example. I considered doing an Adventures By Disney but because we didn’t, we got to go up into mountains in Sichuan and see the pandas in a less crowded and more natural environment, for example. I chose which rooms in the hotels even and got to pick out some neat room alternatives at hotels like a two story room in Beijing. When I looked at preplanned trips through travel agencies there were sacrifices you’d make here and there but picking out those details special made our trip extra wonderful and if the thread breaks I’ve done the research so I know what’s a good back up plan.