Eat, Play, Sleep, Love

Universal Orlando Resort Here We Come!

Summer is winding down and it’s almost time for school to start. That means we are cramming in as much fun and vacations as we can before we need to settle into a new routine. Our friend Jyl of Family Forward organizes vacations for bloggers and influencers and we finally get to them at Universal Orlando Resort. This will be my second visit to Florida and first to Universal in Florida. While we paid our own way the trip was also subsidized by sponsors. As part of that we get to be part of VIP experiences and sneak peeks that I can’t wait to experience!

Universal Orlando Resort family trip

Here’s a highlight of what’s in store for our week…along with some logistics if you’re planning your own trip.

Loews Sapphire Falls Hotel – Orlando

The hotel we will stay at is Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. Ours will be a standard room that sleeps 4 in shared beds, and 5 with a rollaway (available upon request). Since we just have 3 of us on this trip, we’re good with one room. Larger families can get rooms next to each other. You can get one king bed or double queen beds which we love because we prefer to get two queens when we travel. You can request a refrigerator and microwave (for an additional fee).

Click to read about our stay at Loews hotel near Universal Studios.

pet friendly

Our pet fish is staying home but if you want to bring your 4 legged pets, Loews loves pets and is very pet friendly. I’m not sure what they mean by pet friendly rooms yet but I’ll be sure to tell you.  There is a cleaning fee of $50 per night (maximum of $150 will be charged for stays of three nights and more) and no more than two pets may occupy any one room. Pets may only stay in the standard room.

best Universal Studios Hotel for couples

Universal’s Lowes Sapphire Falls Resort is really highly rated (9.1 for couples rating on Booking.com). You get a few perks by staying there, like Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal’s Volcano Bay™ water theme park 1 hour before park opening. If you’ve seen the crowds at Volcano Bay you will understand how much value the extra hour gives you! I love that they have free WiFi and on-site restaurants too. I’ll be back with pictures!

complimentary boat transport to the park

You can take boat transport (water taxis) to the park and CityWalk and if you stay out late that’s no problem – it runs until 2AM. You don’t have to mess with the excessive walk to the security gates from park parking, then the walk into CityWalk then into the parks. The boats brings you right into the middle of the park. You go through security at the boat launch rather than inside the park.

Note: Loews Sapphire Falls Resort charges $27 per day valet parking fee and there’s also self parking.

Transportation Options To/From the Orlando Airport

Loews does not have a complimentary shuttle from the Orlando airport. Here are your options for transportation to/from the airport. We like to take the shuttle there, especially if it’s rush hour because it won’t have overage charges. On the way back we plan to take Uber or Lyft.

  • A Mears shuttle that you can book at the airport for $20 per adult and $15 per child each way. Save by booking a roundtrip service for $32 per adult and $24 per child.
  • There are taxies (approximately $55-65 each way for the entire family) and private SUVs ($108 each way).
  • Uber or Lyft. Note that you can sometimes find an “Uber Family” ride on the app. That means the drivers bring a spare car seat or booster. It works from the airport to the parks, and from the parks to the airport.

Need tickets to the parks or Volcano Bay? Check out discount ticket offers for Universal Orlando Resort plus skip the lines. Search for car rentals, Legoland Florida tickets and more.

Other options for hotels close by:

  • Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort $159++

  • Hard Rock Hotel® at Universal Orlando™ $179++

  • Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando™ $179++

  • Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando™ $179+ fees and taxes


Other highlights of our trip include…

Lunch at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
This resort has a tropics theme and is Universal Orlando’s newest resort. There’s a “lusciously landscaped resort-style pool” and island scenes. Food is a Caribbean-inspired.

Ride the new Jimmy Fallon Ride
We’re huge fans of Jimmy Fallon and think it rocks that he has his own ride. Other than that I have no idea what to expect.

Dessert Party in Diagon Alley
This is the day we’re looking forward to the most. It begins with an exclusive and private party at Volcano Bay BEFORE early entrance. That night we get to see The Blue Man Group perform, another first for me (but not for Stephen). If you’re a Harry Potter fan (watch the movies or read the books before you go – link goes to the complete list to stream the Harry Potter movies or read the series!) this would be a highlight of your trip. We can’t wait to share some butter beer!

VIP Tour Groups + CityWalk Dinners

We’re getting the ultimate experience with VIP groups and tours which means getting to the front of the line on the rides! Dinner one night will be at CityWalk in small groups with our new friends.

Along with the hotel giving us a great rate, this year’s sponsors for the event include Blue Man Group, FranklinCovey (Leader in Me), Hasbro (Tickle Me Elmo), Invisalign, and Lolleez.

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