We’re arriving in Orlando the day before we go to Universal. We would like to check into our hotel early to take advantage of the included express passes. We got the hotel on AP discounts and the email says to show the AP at the time of check in, but because this is our first time we do not have our APs. Do we really need to go to guest services at the gate and then all the way back to the hotel to check in, or is there somewhere else we can pick up the APs? Should we maybe pick them up on arrival day, so we don’t have to mess with it in the early morning while trying to get into the park? We’re not planning on doing early entry on that first day, but would like to still get in there around opening-ish.
What resort are you staying at? I know RPR has a “vacation planning” window in the lobby where you can pick up your AP as long as you are not on the payment plan.
This was from December 2019
The five of us are staying at Hard Rock, my mother is staying at Dockside. Good to know about the lobby, hopefully there is one at the Hard Rock. We’ll try checking in there first
There’s one at Dockside.
My suggestion is to have the receipt of purchase available just incase. FWIW I’ve never been asked for my AP when checking in.
Good to know on both counts. Thank you! So maybe we’ll check my mother in at Dockside first and pick up our passes, then go over to Hard Rock and take the boat to the park after checking in there.
There’s one at Hard Rock at well. Just picked ours up
There is a ticket desk at Hard Rock as well - I used it on my recent trip. FWIW, I did NOT have to show my AP at check-in, though I did have the confirmation email handy in case I needed it (I also checked my credit card statement and I was charged the correct AP rate).
Also, you need your room keys in order to use Express Pass, so you will need to stop by the front desk as well to get those If you check in online, you can wait in a shorter line for mobile check-in / rewards program guests.
When you enter the lobby from the port cochere, the check-in desk is immediately on your right and the ticket desk is immediately on your left.
I recommend walking - the boat saves you almost no walk and costs a lot of time (you have to backtrack to Portofino), plus it drops you off in an area (in CityWalk) where you need to go up a bunch of stairs or a huge ramp and there are lots of crowds.
This is what was causing me so much anxiety about needing to pick up the APs in order to check in at the hotel. The thought of going to guest services at the park entrance, then going to both hotels to check in and get our room cards, then going back to the gates just sounded exhausting first thing in the AM! But it’s good to know they have places in the hotels to pick up tickets/APs. So we can just pick them up at different counters but in the same room
My mother has a bad knee but she won’t admit it. She won’t let us get her an ECV, even though I know she needs one. I was hoping the boat would cut out some of the initial walking for her. Plus, I just like boats… we all have our quirks I will keep in mind what you said about crowds, stairs, and timesucking though.
Are you are saying that the same boat went to both HRH and PBR? Or that you walked from HRH to PBR to board the boat? Neither of these have ever been the case when we have stayed at either resort, so trying to see if things have changed (for the worse).
The same boat went from HRH to PBR and then to CityWalk. I think they alter this depending on what time you are traveling - we were there about 10am.
Do you recommend @MagicFinder take the shuttle instead, or does that drop off at the same CityWalk location? The dock for the boat had little or no shade and no seating locations, whereas the bus stop had both shade and benches. For me I’d rather be moving if I’m standing rather than waiting.
Here is a map to give you an idea of the amount of walking: Yellow = walking path (you can cut through the pool during pool hours - 10am I think is the usual open time), Blue = bus (I think the bus goes somewhere in that big drop off area?), Red = Ferry. I also marked an X where the respective stop is at the resort.
hmmm, lots to consider. Thank you for the insights and the map. I didn’t even think about having to stand to wait; that would probably be just as bad as walking
FYI - Here is the view from the dock after you exit the ferry. If you are going to IoA, you either go left and backtrack up this ramp:
Or go right and go up all those stairs. IoA entrance is by the wiggly walled lighthouse:
If you’re going to USF, to the left up the ramp is pretty quick and easy.
Hopefully this doesn’t happen too often, that would be a pain.
Is the shuttle you are referring to the bus? No, I would recommend walking from HRH, the bus would drop you at the main Citywalk area and then would have to walk a mile to the parks (not sure if it is a mile but seems far compared to HRH). We also leave the hotel using the stairs of the closest building to the parks, this saves half of the outside walking time, but requires everyone being able to handle stairs and not having strollers.
Second choice is the boat (or first choice if walking is too difficult for any member of the party). I would never take the bus as it won’t save you any walking. We always take the boat when we stay at Portofino, that walk is too far.
It is quicker to walk to the parks than take the boat or bus. The walk is 4 minutes.
FYI for the online check-in: Definitely check your banks daily limits even if they say there will be no issues… Our bank had a maximum daily limit after I had called to let them know there would be an almost $8k charge come this past Monday. When we go to the front desk the card was declined at online check-in. Had to call bank to find out the limit existed, and had to give more info to have it raised to cover the full amount. Went back the check-in, card approved fine. Grabbed dinner at the Kitchen, charged to room, grabbed Starbucks at Hard Rock in the morning, charged no issues. Went to eat at Mythos and pay with room key: declined. Had to step outside, call front desk to find out what was going on. Turns out since the online checkin card (same one I used once back limit raised) was declined they didn’t bother to activate room charge privileges and didn’t mention it. They allowed the resort charges as a “courtesy”. So had to get that set up again, then retry room charge for Mythos. I’ll say a bumpy start and now I’m carrying my bank card instead because I don’t know if we’ll have more issues.
Does Portofino have a desk that we can pick up our APs?
Yup, all UOR hotels have a Vacation Planning desk to pick up tickets.
Do you need to order tickets in advance, or can I just wait to purchase annual passes at the Hotel Vacation planning Desk?
I called Universal and was told you can purchase passes at Universal travel desks. They made the suggestion that one person in the party check in and another purchase the passes because of the lines.