Orlando doesn’t just have one “family vacation destination.” Don’t get me wrong, we all know what Orlando, Florida, is known for. If you don’t, you might need to fill up on some of my family travel articles. Right now, though, I’m going to share about another family destination in Orlando. I’m sure everyone out there is familiar with Universal Studios Resort! Mama Sunflower and her myriad of sunflowers had the chance to enjoy all that Universal Studios has to offer while we stayed at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Studios. It was all a part of attending Family Forward 2015.
Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Studios
Walking into Loews Royal Pacific Resort is like walking into a jungle. Trees, and huge plants, are everywhere. The walkway you take to get into the resort looks like a really cool hut, made out of nature. People have flowered shirts on as they greet you. It’s right out of a movie. No joke. Then, you get to the front desk.
Here’s where my New York might start to show. As much as I love getting to a resort to check into my room, I equally despise being ignored by the front desk staff. Five people were all there, looking down at their computers, and not one of them looked up to make eye contact with me. Or the person in front of me. Perhaps it’s me, but when I check in at any hotel, the lines usually move quickly. Especially if only TWO PEOPLE are standing on the line at the front desk.
I asked the woman in front of me “how long have you been waiting here?” She sighed and answered “fifteen minutes, and not one of them has looked up to acknowledge me.” Well, that’s not how I roll. I called out “hey there, do you guys do the check-ins here, or is that another area?” All five looked up, finally acknowledged the TWO of us on the line, and one of them asked to assist the next person.
My family had just flown in from New York, spent about a half an hour in a shuttle to get to the resort, and were met with a lovely hotel entrance, but not a great welcome at the front desk. I was going to brush it off, but every time I went to the front desk, it was either empty, or it had a couple of people chatting together, while they ignored people at the desk. If it wasn’t for Stephanie at the Concierge desk, and the amazing staff at the luggage area, I’d be very disappointed with the resort. I just tried not to interact with the front desk staff, if at all possible.
Checking out was a bit of a task, too. I never received the emailed bill, so I couldn’t check it over before checking out. Of course, that meant asking the front desk to print it out so I could see it, before I handed over my payment method. Of course, there was a charge to my room that wasn’t ours. Nope, sorry, we didn’t eat breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant. We were at CityWalk enjoying some Cinnabons that morning. The girl disappeared for at least 15 minutes, so I had to flag down another girl to track my girl down, because now she was making me late for my car service to get me to the airport. Another 10 minutes later, and she finally came back out, and let me know she couldn’t even find the receipt for this, and of course, they’d take the charge off of my bill.
Really? Wow. If you had found a receipt it would have been a different story? I didn’t have time to ask what would have happened, since I had to get to the car. She adjusted the bill, and I handed over my card to be charged with the corrected amount. No more dealing with the front desk!
The Loews Royal Pacific Resort room
Once we were checked in, we headed up to our room. It was newly renovated, and was clean, gorgeous and had the most beautiful view out the front of the resort. We could see the rides from our room! Well, the ones that rose above the tree tops, of course!
Perks of staying at Loews Royal Pacific Resort
First, the awesome service you get if you’re not dealing with the front desk all that often. Basically, every other area of the hotel is top notch. Luggage room staff, concierge, the guys that answer questions about the parks, or renting a car, and of course, the staff in general. Servers around the pool area, and even the lifeguards, were all great and so helpful.
Second, easy access to all things Universal. Loews Royal Pacific is close enough to both parks, and CityWalk, so you can walk to all of them. If you don’t want to walk, not a problem, just pick up the little water taxis. They run consistently, and get you to a central location at CityWalk, so you can easily walk to whatever you want to see. A shuttle service is also available to get you to the parks, and CityWalk.
If you need to get to another hotel, you can take the water taxi from Loews Royal Pacific to CityWalk, then pick up the boat heading to one of the other hotels. There’s also cars right outside the entrance of the hotel that can take you to the other hotels, you just have to tip those guys for the service.
Third, Universal Express Unlimited ride access passes. You can the passes for no extra charge if you stay at one of the three luxury hotels: Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, or of course, Loews Royal Pacific. If you stay anywhere else, even Loews Cabana Bay Beach Resort, the Universal Express Unlimited passes will cost $89 on top of the ticket price to get into the parks.
Fourth, early admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Honestly, we aren’t Harry Potter fans. The kids aren’t into it, nor are me and Mr. Sunflower. However, this is a HUGE benefit for those who love Harry Potter. Definitely a fantastic benefit, when you realize just how long the lines get, and how crowded the Harry Potter areas get! PS-The Express access doesn’t work on the most popular Harry Potter rides, so getting to the park early makes sense!
Finally, the pool. It’s beautiful, and there’s a little spray area the kids loved. Other pools may have slides, a lazy river, and chilled towels you can use by the pool. However, the quiet setting of the Royal Pacific Resort worked well for our family, and so did the little spray area. I loved the poolside service the grill offered up – food, drinks, and I never had to leave my chair!
We’ll definitely be going back! Just have to make my millions, first!
Where do you stay when visiting the Orlando area? What’s your favorite Universal Studios Resort? Let me know below! But before you go, check out these KILLER VIEWS!