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  1. #1
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    Jun 2008
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    Default Which onsite hotel?

    I'm planning 4 nights on site at Universal to take advantage of Express pass and try out a new experience. I just can't decide between the three - Portofino Bay, Hard Rock, and Royal Pacific. Has anyone been? Thoughts on pros and cons?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    Huntington Beach, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by mom2morgan View Post
    I'm planning 4 nights on site at Universal to take advantage of Express pass and try out a new experience. I just can't decide between the three - Portofino Bay, Hard Rock, and Royal Pacific. Has anyone been? Thoughts on pros and cons?
    This was a hard choice for us too. Here is a review I wrote last year after our trip.

    After reading a lot of reviews about Portofino Bay, our expectations were still beat

    We had an amazing time.

    We checked in very early (7am) on Monday and was shocked to find our room was ready for us. We had already decided that we were leaving all of our bags in the car and would come back in the afternoon to move things to the room.

    We did stop in the room really quick to take a quick peek. The room was amazing. Lots of room, even for a family of 5. We had bought a new aerobed mattress and that worked out great. We were a little concerned about how comfortable the cot offered by PB for $25 a night would be for our 6" 14 year old. I did see one during our stay and they actually looked really nice. Not your basic cot.

    We then headed down to the club room for breakfast and to head on to the park.

    We made good use of the club level during our stay. Breakfast was always baked goods, our favorite was the croissant with chocolate drizzled in and on it. Yum! But there are lots of options. There was always lots of fresh fruit, yogurt, cereals and hot oatmeal every morning. Coffee and Juice too.

    A couple of times we made it in for an afternoon stop for a snack and a soda/water. Chips a'hoy, uncrustables, goldfish crackers, vegetable chips, Dorritto's and pretzels were standard fare.

    Where we made the most of the club stay was at 5pm. Every day, we were all ready for a break from the parks. The food offerings every day included different cheeses, a selection of crackers, some strawberries and grapes (they went quick and were replaced occasionally) a decent salad bar and an assortment of vegetables. They also had a 2 hot offerings each night. Most nights there was some seafood (my wife ate elsewhere these nights as she can't eat seafood) The highlight was the chef's choice night where they had red beans and rice and sausage gumbo with seafood. Far and away the best meal of the week!

    They also server beer and wine for free during this time and even will pour one in a plastic glass for you "to go".

    The staff in the club lounge was very attentive without being intruding. Happy to help and offer suggestions for your trip.

    We had such a great time, we ended up adding an extra night to fit in a full "resort" day.

    The beds as described by many others are amazing! It is VERY hard to get up early and crawl out of that bed, its almost too comfy!

    This was an amazing trip and left feeling very pampered!

    Only thing they are missing is free foot massages on the boat ride back from the theme parks! =D

    I would add that we very much enjoyed the main pool and waterslide. The grounds are beautiful. You definitely feel like your in a resort in Italy when you are walking the grounds.

    5 thumbs up from this family.
    Disneyland: many, MANY times!
    WDW:POR POFQ BWV WLV ASMu POLY

    Am I a huge disney fan? YOU BETCHA! I blame it all on my parents! They are the one's that walked around Disneyland all day to induce labor! Yep, I've been going to Disneyland since the day before I was born!

  4. #3
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    Feb 2004
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    Lafayette, Louisiana
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    We have always stayed Hard Rock for the express pass and have been pleased. Last few trips we couldn't pass up Cabana Bay's military rates and stayed there. But of the three with express pass we like Hard Rock, mainly for location. But we have teen sons and the theme there appeals to them most.
    Denise

    Resorts we've stayed at in 20+ trips: ASMo, ASMu, ASSp, PC, CSR, CBR, POR, POFQ, WL, AKL Jambo, AKL Kidani, Poly, Contemporary, BC, YC, BWV, OKW, SSR, Swan, Shades of Green, Vero Beach, Disneyland Resort

    Next Trip: Mardi Gras 2018!!!

  5. #4
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    Jun 2002
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    CANADA, EH
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    We stayed at Royal Pacific in January and loved it. We had checked out of our Disney hotel after breakfast and headed right over and our room was ready when we got there. The hotel was lovely, as was our room. We really enjoyed our stay there. We would take the water taxi to the City Walk boat dock when our feet were tired, and other times we would walk along the pretty path to City Walk. We spent time at the pool at Royal Pacific and it was quite nice as well. We had not been to Universal in YEARS and it was a wonderful surprise how amazing our stay was. I think you'll be happy wherever you choose to stay.
    Bay Lake Tower - ICOT20!!
    *Disneyland Hotel
    *Boardwalk Inn
    *Contemporary Resort *Old Key West
    *Polynesian Resort *Animal Kingdom Lodge
    * Port Orleans French Quarter
    * Fort Wilderness Cabins and Campground
    *Art of Animation * Pop Century
    * All Star Movies * All Star Music * All Star Sports

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzznwoodysmom View Post
    We have always stayed Hard Rock for the express pass and have been pleased. Last few trips we couldn't pass up Cabana Bay's military rates and stayed there. But of the three with express pass we like Hard Rock, mainly for location. But we have teen sons and the theme there appeals to them most.
    Yeah, the 18 year old, who may or may not be going, favours Hard Rock. I'm wondering if it is overwhelming? I heard they play music EVERYWHERE. I'm picturing large, noisy crowds of teens and young adults. The other two seems more my speed, but are my perceptions of Hard Rock unfair?

  7. #6
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    Feb 2004
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    No noisy crowds of teens in our experience. Lol. Just a lot of families like any other resort in the area. They did have music playing in most common areas, but I don't ever recall it being overly loud or overwhelming. My in laws were with us on one of our trips. They are definitely not fans of rock music and they loved the resort.

    I don't think you can go wrong with any of the resorts at universal. They are all wonderful resorts with a lot more to offer, in my opinion, than their disney counterparts.
    Denise

    Resorts we've stayed at in 20+ trips: ASMo, ASMu, ASSp, PC, CSR, CBR, POR, POFQ, WL, AKL Jambo, AKL Kidani, Poly, Contemporary, BC, YC, BWV, OKW, SSR, Swan, Shades of Green, Vero Beach, Disneyland Resort

    Next Trip: Mardi Gras 2018!!!

  8. #7
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    May 2003
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    I've stayed in all 3 and love them all. I would rank them
    1. Portofino
    2. Royal Pacific
    3. Hard Rock
    2001 ASMo, 2003 Royal Pacific and Poly, 2004 Beach Club, 2005 Cabins at FW, 2007 Poly, 2008 Poly and Hard Rock, 2009 Portofino and Poly, 2014 Royal Pacific and Kidani

  9. #8
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    Dec 2002
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    Quote Originally Posted by BelleCiavo View Post
    I've stayed in all 3 and love them all. I would rank them
    1. Portofino
    2. Royal Pacific
    3. Hard Rock
    That is how I would rank as well!

    Nanc
    Nanci Rossetti
    Vacation Specialist
    Magical Journeys
    http://www.yourmagicaljourneys.com
    The Magic begins with YOU!
    The Official Travel Agency of INTERCOT.com

  10. #9
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    Feb 2001
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    PA
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    stayed at Royal Pacific and Hard Rock. HR was closer but didnt like it as well as RP for theming.
    CR 1
    BC 2
    WL CL 1
    AKL 2
    SOG 3
    POFQ 3
    POR 1
    CSR 4
    CBR 2
    As sports 2
    AS music 2
    POP 6
    DD 4 times
    12-13 WL & CSR & ASM
    3-14 POR, AS sports and Dolphin
    6-14 Univ & CSR
    1-14 Unv
    6-15 WL, SSR.
    11- 15. AOA, OKw
    Sept 16..CSR, FW, AKL, POR
    SepOct 2017..ASM, CSR, WL & Universal

  11. #10
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    Jan 2006
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    We'd rank them 1) HR; 2) Portofino; and 3) RP. But the truth is, they are all very nice resorts, all with pros and cons - and you really can't make a wrong decision.

    We've never had issues with noise or rowdiness at the HR. Is there music playing all around the resort? Absolutely. But it's either outside or in the lobby - not a problem.

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