Universal Orlando - Which Hotel?

We have a trip to Orlando planned for May 2021 and given the possibility of our Disney Cruise being cancelled, we are preparing to book a few nights at UOR (maybe two days at US / IoA / Volcano Bay and one day at Sea World). I’d love some input on which hotel to choose. Here is our fact pattern:

  • We will have 7 people so need either two rooms or a suite
  • Would like a hotel that offers Express Pass
  • We’ll have 4 kids so less walking is preferable
  • Would like best value that meets the above three criteria

Suggestions? Pros and cons of each?

Thanks in advance!

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We’ve only been to Hard Rock, but loved it and I think it had the best location, walking wise!

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cracks knuckles

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I’ve stayed at all three and HRH is my fave. One time we went with 7 of us and we got the King Suite with a connecting garden room. My parents got the king bed in the suite, my kiddos slept on their sleeper sofa (which was in another room but no door) and my mother-in-law slept in one bed in the garden room and hubby and I took the other. It was comfortable for us and we left the door open so we could visit in the living room/table area of the bigger room and have access to two bathrooms. I wouldn’t want to sleep on a couch but if you have kiddos or twenty-somethings maybe their backs can still handle it.
HRH Pros: Walk, rooms are bigger than Royal Pacific, nice pool with slide

RPR was my least favorite. Something about the room layout/size I didn’t like and it felt further to me than HRH

Portofino is actually my favorite hotel if I weren’t going to the parks and the deluxe rooms have a HUGE bathroom and are bigger sized. The resort is beautiful and the pool/slide lovely. There are two quiet pools and one of the two is also really pretty. It has the best restaurants imho. But it’s the furthest walk, so HRH wins.

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I’ll muddy the waters a bit and say consider RPR. Of course it’s the only place we’ve stayed but:

  • it’s the cheapest of the resorts offering the Express Pass (primary reason for us)
  • the walk is lovely (and about HRH) but you can always take the boat. My daughter was quite fond of it- we’d walk there and boat back- not sure in May but when we were there around Halloween we never waited too long for one.

The casual restaurant was “meh” but we liked the breakfast options at the grab-and-go. Probably not a good spot if hotel food is important (we ate in the park or walked to City Walk for most meals) or a fancy pool.

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I am planning on returning, once again, to RPR. I love RPR but it always wins because it is my Universal loving sister’s favorite resort. My teen nieces only want to stay at HRH.

I don’t think there is any wrong answer here.

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We really loved the Portofino. I want to go back and spend more time b/c we didn’t really have time to enjoy the pools.

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Hard Rock is the best as long as cost is not a factor…Hotel/hotel/walk/food is all excellent

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Ok I went the consensus here and booked Hard Rock Hotel! With four kids, the walk was the biggest factor. Also the bigger rooms will be helpful. There is still plenty of time to change my mind if anyone has any late-breaking considerations!

Thanks everyone for your input!

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You won’t regret it! If it’s available I always pick the Hard Rock Hotel.

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I definitely regretted the walk when I walked back to Portofino and passed by the Hard Rock. But, my friend coming with us strongly disliked the theming of the HR so Portofino it was.

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Man I felt the same way when we stayed there. Lol. But it is pretty and fun to explore

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HRH is the best for walking and the theming is really fun.

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I agree and you know there is something to be said about a smaller resort too. And HRH is the smallest so even within it you don’t have to walk long corridors or have as many people coming back and forth to the same hotel on boats and such.

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Yeah, the theming is something that made me meh about booking there. But the walk swayed me. I haven’t stayed yet, so I can’t give a final opinion.

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I also am not a big fan of HRH. The location is great, but that’s pretty much the only thing I would give it. I found it to be very loud and I like the theming of the other hotels better. My kids did not like the pool at all. Portofino is my absolute favorite.

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