TRAVEL DIARIES: Universal Orlando Resort
Travel Diaries: Universal Orlando Resort
My 25th birthday was July 27th. My husband and I packed our car and headed to Orlando, Florida for a fun, weekend getaway at the Universal Orlando Resort. We had a jam-packed weekend filled with theme parks, pool hangs and eating. Our three favorite things to do! If you're planning a trip to Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios, Florida, Universal’s Volcano Bay or Orlando in general, you'll want to read ahead as I will share with you a great place to stay, what not to miss, and where to eat.
Where to stay:
We stayed at Loews Sapphire Fall Resort right on the Universal Orlando, Resort Property. This Caribbean-themed, perfectly located hotel, has everything you need for a weekend away. We didn’t need to drive our car at all while we were there because this resort has free transportation to the theme parks and CityWalk. You do have to choose between the fun water taxi or the shuttle. We took both (at different times, of course)! The water taxi ride was quick and comfortable and there are some fun Universal sights to see on the way to your destination. The water taxi and shuttle both run until 2:00 a.m. so if you’re out late, you can still make it back to your hotel without worry.
After enjoying the parks all day, you'll want to relax. We stayed in a standard, two queen room. It was so spacious and clean. The view was awesome as our room overlooked the beautiful, resort style pool with it's white-sand beach waterslide. We were also surprised with a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries (my favorite) upon arrival. The staff was so nice and efficient. The room included queen beds, a working desk, a TV, mini fridge and also, a really beautiful window chair. The bathroom was very spacious and included a huge walk-in shower with a bench, which was great after a day at the theme parks!
The resort has many restaurants. One of our favorites was New Dutch Trading Co. We ate there every morning! They have the most delicious breakfast sandwiches and coffee. Other restaurant's on the property are Strong Water Tavern, Amatista Cookhouse, and Drhum Club Kantine. As well as, in room dining, which we took full advantage of the first night!
The highlight of the hotel is the resort style pool with its white-sand waterslide. Loews Sapphire Falls Resort has the biggest pool of all the Universal Orlando Resorts. It is the perfect oasis to hang with your family, relax, eat and even play games with the kids. There are also private cabanas available for a nominal fee and a gym so you don't have to miss your workout!
There are so many advantages to staying at a Universal Orlando Resort because it is a one-stop-shop to everything you need on vacation. PLUS, if you stay at any Universal Orlando Resort you can get into any of the theme parks one hour early!
What to Do and Where to Eat:
There are so many things to do when visiting a Universal Orlando Resort. Of course at the top of the list are the theme parks! You can choose from Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Florida, or Universal's Volcano Bay. Better yet visit all three! There are a variety of Park ticket options. If you live in Florida, make sure and ask for the Florida resident discount.
Both Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios, Florida are home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. As huge Harry Potter fans, we went straight to those parks first. Don’t’ forget to stop for Butterbeer in either sides of the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If you are in Seuss's Landing located in Universal's Island of Adventure and have a sweet tooth, head over Honk Honkers. You can eat the biggest cotton candy you’ve ever seen! If that's not sweet enough, they have yummy, sweets you can add to your cotton candy making your own cotton candy creation. I got birthday cake with sprinkles. It was yummy!
The last park we visited was Universal's Volcano Bay. Which in the HOT Florida months, would be my favorite. This new water park is filled with amazing water slides, two rivers (one lazy and one fast), and lots of places to eat. The center of the park is home to a huge volcano that erupts water! Another really cool feature of the park is the TapuTapu water-proof, wearable bracelet that lets you "tap" into rides. The bracelet displays your ride wait time. This allows you to say goodbye to waiting in long theme park lines and better plan your day. There are many "ride now" rides and rivers to float in while waiting or better, yet, relax with a cocktail on the white sands!
One last, must do in the Universal Orlando Resort area is CityWalk. CityWalk is home to amazing restaurants, night clubs, bars, and even an improve comedy club! This fun scape will have you occupied for hours. My family and I sometimes drive from Tampa just to eat at the restaurants. My two restaurant favorites are Vivo Italian Kitchen and Cowfish, which is a sushi burger restaurant. New to CityWalk is none other than…Voodoo Donut. You can choose from fifty different and unique donuts. This was the last stop on our trip and it did not disappoint.
If you are planning a trip to the Universal Orlando area allow plenty of time to enjoy these must-do and see’s. My husband and I had the best time and can’t wait to come back. Oh, and there's a new hotel opening on August 16th called Universal's Aventura Hotel. One of the amenities will be a rooftop bar, I'm already planning my visit!
Watch my Instagram Story of the whole trip here!
Thank you to Universal Orlando Resort for sponsoring this post.