Last week was a huge Universal Orlando week for us! It’s unanimous: my family loved everything about the resort, including the hotels we stayed at. This is one that I haven’t had the pleasure to stay in just yet: the Hard Rock Hotel Orlando. But my friend, Suzanne, is a regular there. Here are 5 things she loves about the Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando.
5 Things We Love About the Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando
By Suzanne Prevost, My Nerdy Little Family
Location, Location, Location of the Hard Rock Hotel Orlando
Hard Rock Hotel Orlando is the closest property to the action.
It is within walking distance to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Citywalk.
While they do have the water taxi, and you can often find the bike trolley’s, it’s just as easy to walk. As someone who hates to be dependent on transportation schedules, I want to get to the parks when I want to get to the parks. This one is a no-brainer for us.
We can leave straight from our room and be inside Universal Studios within minutes.
There is also a security check line right before you get to the park from the walkway between Hard Rock Hotel Orlando and Universal Studios. It’s just so easy.
The walkway is well maintained and so pretty. The path is also very well-lit for night time visits to City Walk.
Our last trip this summer, we were informed about the shortcut from the hotel to the walkway, which makes it even shorter of a distance. It’s an exit on the ground floor that drops you off right by the entrance to the pool.
Universal Express Unlimited Passes Included with Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando
We are Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members, but we will only stay on Universal Orlando property when we go to Universal. Why? Because of the Universal Express Unlimited Pass.
When you stay at either the Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando, Portofino Bay, or Royal Pacific, you also get the Universal Express Unlimited pass as part of your stay.
While many argue that you don’t need them, I would disagree.
Not familiar with Express passes? They are like Fast Passes but in some ways so much better. Universal Express Unlimited pass gets you front of the line access at any time, however many times you want. You can do a constant loop if you want.
The ease of having the unlimited Express pass means no planning and less waiting. It’s perfect.
Now granted you can buy both Universal Express Unlimited Pass and Universal Express Pass (which gives you ONE TIME express pass entry per ride) and add them to your ticket, but it actually ends up less to just stay on property for one night to get the Universal Express Unlimited Pass.
With the recent addition of both Escape from Gringotts and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey to be Express eligible, this is even more of a no-brainer.
We added an extra night at the end of our trip this summer because it saved us $50.00 per person to stay on -site as opposed to extending our DVC stay and paying to add on the Express pass.
Universal Math, it’s a thing.
The Staff at Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando
Oh my goodness, let me talk to you about the staff. They have been nothing short of amazing every time we have stayed there.
From our honeymoon in 2004 up until our most recent Thanksgiving trip, we have yet to have had a bad experience. Everyone from
Everyone from valet to bell, to the front desk! They treat you like family, not just a guest.
They have always met us with a smile, and we every time we think we have everything figured out, someone shares some new tidbit of information with us to make our stay even more amazing.
When we stayed twice this past summer, two weeks apart, we had the same front desk person check us in both times, and she remembered us from our first stay.
That stood out to me when you see as many visitors as they see daily, let alone weekly and they can recognize a past guest. That one event sealed in our head that when we stay at Universal Orlando Resorts this hotel is the one for us.
The Vibe at the Hard Rock Hotel Orlando
For me this hotel is nirvana.
Music has always had a very important place in my life, so it’s only natural that I would gravitate to the Hard Rock Hotel Orlando.
From the music to the memorabilia, the rare collector’s pieces, I could geek out there all day. But it’s so much more than that.
Our favorite spot has become the pool.
It’s a place that the kiddos can play and unwind, and it’s a chance for the adults to sit back and relax and maybe have a beverage or two. The pool also has underwater speakers that enable you to hear the water while swimming.
While you would think that the Hard Rock Hotel is not conducive to families, I beg to differ. It was just as great as a honeymoon hotel as it has been for us bringing our children. This resort is truly what you make of it.
While the lobby and the pool do play music, it cannot be heard in the room sections.
Speaking of rooms, they are spacious and roomy for a family of four with plenty of plug-ins and chargers. A refrigerator and of course the great musical touches that you would expect from the Hard Rock.
Want to know where your height compares to some of the world’s top musicians? There is a mirror in the rooms that can help you out with that.
The Love All, Serve All motto translates even to the pillows in the room.
The Food at the Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando
So many options to choose from here.
For quick snacks and some of the best ice cream, there is Emack & Bolios. My husband and daughter have a standing ice cream date there the first night we arrive.
Then, there is my personal favorite The Kitchen. So many options even for the super pickiest of eaters. The children’s menu is an oven mitt. So awesome.
My little people rave about the double-decker pb & j.
On Saturday nights they have a character dinner, and that is so much fun. Where else can you dine with the Minions, share snacks with Scooby, or get a wet-willy from non-other than Bart Simpson?
The wait staff has always been amazing and the food is perfection.
Hanging out at the pool? They have you covered too.
The Beach Club has an amazing menu as well. As a matter of fact, I’m currently wishing I had some of their loaded nachos in front of me right now. (check out all the awesome appetizers you can find at Universal Orlando!)
Want something fancier?
The Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando has you covered as well with the Palm Restaurant, modeled after a New York Steak House.
I love having so many different options available right there at the resort, based on what we are wanting.
Trust me when I tell you that I could go on for days about this resort. This hotel has it all.
From the location to the vibe and staff. It also includes the Unlimited Universal Express Passes and will get you early admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attractions also. If you are a foodie, there is plenty of options at the Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando that will make you happy. It’s definitely worth a stay!
Thanks, Suzanne! I’m sold- it’s on my next Universal Orlando vacation list. If it’s on yours, shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and I can help with planning. I’m a travel agent (as well as a Universal fan!) and would love to make your Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando trip happen!
Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)