Kid Friendly Hotel Near Orlando Universal Resort – 15 Mins From the Parks

This post was most recently updated on October 12th, 2019

Looking for a kid friendly hotel near Universal Studios? This hotel has the perks of early park entrance plus kid and pet friendly options. We had a great time staying there and loved the pool especially!! Note: there are affiliate links in this post.

Orlando Universal Hotels

Last weekend our family travelled to gorgeous Orlando Florida for our big summer trip to Universal Orlando Resort (here are some off the beaten path places at Orlando Universal to check out once you’re there. Our teenage son didn’t go so it was just us and our 5 year old daughter Alexis. We stayed at was Loews Sapphire Falls Resort which is about a 15 minute walk or 5 minute boat ride from Universal, making it close and convenient.

This trip was part of Family Forward and attended with a group of bloggers from all over the US. This was our very first time to the hotel and to Universal Studios Orlando. We did pay for our trip but we were sponsored or upgraded to get more services so we could truly talk to the entire experience from many levels. Note: all photos are originals taken by me – please do not use without permission.

We stayed at Loews Shapphire Falls Resort but Loews owns two other properties nearby: Royal Pacific and Portofino Bay. They’re all highly rated but Sapphire Falls has the very best review. Let me take you on a tour…

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

THIS is how we started our vacation – when we got there this is what we saw. Can you believe this entrance!?! I took this picture of the hotel lobby with my camera…the view out that window was incredible. We later learned the details of what makes Loews family friendly. But first, I loved that they have a text messaging service so you don’t even need to call the front desk, you can text them from anywhere and get answers. I vote that all hotels get this service. It was so easy and helpful. The parks are loud and sometimes you don’t want to wake someone up or just want the convenience of texting over calling.
Loews is voted as one of the “Most Excellent” Hotel Brands by TripAdvisor. 
lowes Orlando Sapphire Resort

One of the Best Hotel Swimming Pools

First thing after check in we went swimming. The palm trees and property are so pretty. The pool and water slide was perfect for young kids because it never got too deep. Alexis could touch on most of it. She didn’t love the water slide but she did it twice. They provide life jackets (required for younger kids) which helped a lot. We spent hours there and it was a great way to relax after being on a plane for hours. We ordered nachos poolside and a hot dog and it was so good plus it was delivered with prompt and friendly service.

The very high point for me is the live music! A man performed reggae music with a steel drum. We were in heaven! Alexis and I danced in the pool for probably an hour – my calves were sore the next day. It just brought back memories from high school and was an incredible experience because what says hang loose like Bob Marley music?!!  I wish we could’ve gone back for more but we never had a chance.

See that beach ball a little girl is holding? The hotel provides them free for the kids to play with. Little touches like that were appreciated.

The pool stays open late too – even though we were way too tired to swim after getting back from Universal each night.

Lowes hotel Orlando pool

There are cabanas for rent and would be fun for a large family or during really busy times.

hotel cabana orlando

Lots of Things for the Kids to Do

If you have older kids there is an arcade with air hockey and games, ping pong and a pool table. Want to work out? There’s a huge workout room with windows for you (but why do you want to work out? If you go to Universal Orlando you’ll walk so much you won’t want to work out – ok, maybe weights).

There are complimentary lockers in the bathroom where you can lock your valuables (wish someone had told me – I would’ve brought my phone and got some shots of the performer we loved listening to).

Here’s a list of some of the other things:

  • Towels
  • Arcade
  • Gym
  • Sauna
  • Ping pong tables
  • Pool table

Loews hotel amenities kids

Complimentary Water Shuttle to Universal Orlando

The hotel has a free water taxi (boat) that seats around 45 people that takes you directly to Universal OR you can walk (about 15 minutes) on the path. Most of the time we walked because there was a long wait or just because we loved the walk – it was so green and lush. Note that Florida has frequent rain storms and if there’s any threat of thunder they shut down the water taxi until the threat is gone.

Orlando water taxi

Amazon Prime Now – Hotel Delivery

We needed some inexpensive snacks for our room so we tried Amazon Prime Now service. You must have Amazon Prime to get Prime Now – Amazon’s delivery service. It’s worth getting the Prime free trial just to use this service – it’s not available in all cities but it is in Orlando. Your driver will deliver to the bell desk or you can call and meet them in the lobby. Our order came in an insulated bag with an ice pack to keep things cool. The hotel may charge a fee to take your order on top of the delivery fee from Amazon. So it’s best to call your driver and arrange to meet them. Prime Now gives you a 2 hour window and time slots fill up so order as soon as you know you need an order. This saved us when our daughter got really hungry (like breakfast).

Note: the Amazon Prime links are affiliate links which means I earn a small commission if you become a member of Amazon Prime.

If you order something with 2-day shipping from Amazon Prime regular – there’s a fee to pick it up at the business center. They$4.95  charge for a small package and the fees go up for larger packages. Prime Now is a better option IMO though there’s less selection. Same day or next day trumps 2 day when you’re on vacation and don’t have a car but need something now. There is a $20 minimum which I had no problem reaching with the order of a new charger.

In addition to Prime Now we brought beef jerky, chips and trail mix to eat on the plane. The hotel has a small fridge you can use and microwaves upon request (may be an extra fee) to store leftovers or things like yogurt or string cheese.

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Amazon Prime now hotel delivery
Our Amazon Prime Now order

Tip: have a surprise waiting for your kids when you get to your room.

After we got back from swimming we had a fun surprise in our room (from Family Forward) — a beach bag filled with a Minion towel, Minion plush toy, a Harry Potter wand and some treats. You can buy them at the hotel gift shop or on Amazon (follow my links – again, they are affiliate links). If you decide to buy a wand in advance you can find them cheap on eBay – check the prices here: Harry Potter Wand | eBay. You get the best experience buying a wand at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter but we liked already having a wand in hand.

At the event we got a Tickle Me Elmo and the maids actually made Alexis’ bed with them tucked in – another small detail but one we appreciated and that made us smile every time we came back to the room. These details really make the trip for little ones! Here is Alexis and her minion relaxing on the rollaway bed.

Alexis minion

new tickle me elmo

Food Options/Room Service

We went to one of the resort restaurants – Amatista Cookhouse – and the food was very good but not amazing. What was amazing? The way they treated our daughter. They have a solid kid’s menu and an activity sheet with crayons. Our waitress was so sweet to Alexis and at the end she gave Alexis a surprise (tip went up an automatic $5 because we were we were all delighted!). The real standout was room service. Our family got a big breakfast to share each morning which was cheaper and easier than going anywhere and we could eat in our PJs. The steak and eggs…YUM!!

The pasta was good but the cajun spices weren’t my favorite. The street tacos weren’t what I expected because I’m used to corn tortillas and pico but the flavor was really good – this was the appetizer. I wasn’t super hungry so it was just right. Alexis got mac and cheese. I would go back for the breakfast buffet because it looked AMAZING. The atmosphere was really high end and has an island feel with the added bonus of being so family friendly.

Group food service was excellent and kid friendly too – there was a lower-to-the-ground table with food like chicken strips and fries just for the kids. They loved that!

lowes resort Orlando food

Pet Friendly Hotel

We don’t have a pet but if you want a hotel near Universal that’s pet friendly – Loews can help you out. Loews has room service devoted to pets (cats and dogs). Dishes are developed under the supervision of a vet and specially formulated to fight jet lag. Dogs get jet lag too?? Who knew! The bathroom and hallway are all tile which is a great surface for your pet’s food.

pet friendly hotel near Universal Florida

I also appreciated the free wifi and extra hour early admission. Going to Volcano Bay? Grab the shuttle that leaves frequently. Loews is an official Universal on-site hotel so those perks are nice. It’s ESPECIALLY nice for Volcano Bay since the closer you get to noon the more crowded it gets. That extra hour will buy you a lot of rides and a reserved spot.

Overall, we’re really glad we stayed at Loews Sapphire Resort Orlando and would stay again.

Universal Orlando hotel

Have any questions about Loews resort? Let me know in the comments.

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