What Jay Goodrow, our East Coast Operations Manager, doesn’t know about getting the most from a Universal Orlando Resort™ holiday isn’t worth knowing.
Hi Jay! Let’s get straight to it: what are the advantages to staying at a Universal Orlando Resort (UOR) onsite hotel over, say, somewhere on I-Drive?
Universal offers an amazing collection of hotels, which come with exclusive onsite benefits, such as complimentary transportation to Universal’s theme parks and Universal CityWalk™, plus Early Park Admission. Some of these hotels also include Universal Express Unlimited™ (your ticket to skipping queues on some of the most popular attractions) and Priority Seating at a bunch of popular restaurants. And, with all of this just a stones throw away from Universal CityWalk™, there’s never a dull moment.
How easy is it to get from the airport to UOR hotels?
Very. If you are driving or using a shuttle or private transportation, Universal Orlando Resort™ is only located 25 minutes from Orlando International Airport. Directions are straightforward, using only main interstate roads. It’s so easy you could get there blindfolded — obviously, do not attempt this!
Would you tell us about the different UOR hotels and how they speak to visitors’ different budgets and vibes?
Universal Orlando Resort™ hotels are designed to meet the taste and needs of any guest. Each one caters to the needs of families and couples alike, offering amazing dining, unique accommodation, recreation and activities. Even the great-value hotels designed for fun and affordability include indulgent features like lazy rivers, fitness centres and bowling alleys. It can be hard to find these types of amenities even in premium hotels elsewhere in the Orlando Area.
Would you tell us all about the 3 Park Explorer Ticket and why it’s a great way to do UOR?
Well, you’re getting three Universal parks for the price of two (including Volcano Bay™ water theme park), plus complete flexibility to enjoy all the excitement they have to offer. This ticket was created with UK guests in mind. Brilliantly, it frees you to re-visit your favourite attractions — as it’s hard to catch all the thrills and excitement on your first go!
How easy is it to get around the UOR between parks and hotels?
Universal Orlando has a fantastic shuttle bus and water taxi transportation system in place to ensure seamless movement between parks, resorts and its popular Universal CityWalk™. Or, if you enjoy a leisurely stroll, there are plenty of lush tropical paths that connect select resorts to the parks too.
What time do the shuttle buses and water taxis run until?
Right up until 2:00am, allowing party animals to enjoy the clubs and venues at Universal CityWalk™ until final call.
Say you’re staying at an UOR hotel — can you use the facilities at different hotels?
Absolutely! By selecting Universal Orlando Resort™ you have access to all of the fantastic swimming pools, gyms and dining venues at each of the hotels. In fact, some of the best restaurants in Orlando are located in Universal Orlando Resort™.
Where are your favourite places to eat around Universal CityWalk™, and why?
It really depends on what day of the week it is. To watch the hottest sports events, it’s the amazing NBC Sports Grill & Brew™, featuring unique twists on American classics. Tuesday is definitely a Vivo Italian Kitchen™ kind of night. Save the weekends for some reggae fun at Bob Marley — A Tribute to FreedomSM. Looking for the best margarita in town? Try both Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food™ and Jimmy Buffett’s® Margaritaville®, then decide.
Can you tell us about some of the special seasonal events Universal Orlando Resort puts on for visitors throughout the year?
I’ve lived in Orlando for 20 years now and, as local, I’ve never missed out on these two popular events:
On select dates from February to April you can experience the authentic New Orleans Celebration known as Mardi Gras, featuring outrageous performers, colourful costumes and mouthwatering Cajun cuisine. All the festivities are included with admission, right down to performances from some of the biggest names in pop, rock, country and R&B.
With Halloween Horror Nights, Universal has turned being terrified into a night of fun and laughter! You’d think having been there and done that, nothing would scare me anymore, but they manage to catch me off guard every year, usually while I’m laughing at someone else for being spooked. You’ll definitely want to consider a Frequent Fear Pass or a multi-day Explorer ticket including Halloween Horror Nights, as one night of is simply not enough — you’ll be dying to go back!
In your opinion, why should you book your Universal Orlando Resort holiday with Virgin Holidays?
Well, your Virgin Holidays adventure begins in our v-room lounge at the airport, with eats, drinks and a play area. Touch down in Orlando and our dedicated staff will help you get to your hotel. Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is featured as one of our favourites, with exclusive benefits for our guests, like complimentary self-parking and guaranteed late checkout. Universal’s Aventura Hotel will feature an exclusive lounge reserved solely for Virgin Holidays guests staying at any Universal Orlando Resort hotel. Light refreshments and free WiFi will be available throughout the day there.