Tag Archives: Loew’s Royal Pacific

The Benefits of an On-Site Hotel at Universal

Good morning everyone!

Some of this is going to sound like a commercial; I apologize in advance, but when something is enjoyable, it doesn’t make any sense to try to find something negative to say!

As you know, Mark and I took a trip to Orlando last weekend. Mark and I hadn’t been to a theme park in a lot of years (since Kayla was 4) and we were a little unsure how he would do with the walking and the standing in line given his rheumatoid arthritis, which is one reason we wanted to take this trip with just the two of us – if we ended up only being able to stay in a park for one or two hours, we wouldn’t have to worry about disappointing our daughter.  There were about 500 other reasons to have some time for just the two of us, so that wasn’t the only reason, but it was one.

Picture from our Porch the Other Day;It has nothing to do with anything I am writing about but it is pretty!

Then, as I was going through our options for a hotel room, I started looking at the three Loew’s  hotels that are “on-site” Universal Studio hotels – the Portofino, the Royal Pacific and the Hard Rock.  They are not cheap, but by staying at the Royal Pacific, we picked up a lot of extras that were worth their “wait”  in gold.  (You’ll understand and be able to groan at the pun later.)

The most important of those benefits was the fact that every guest at one of those three hotels has automatic “Fast Pass” entry to every ride that has one, which basically is every ride except for Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey.  Granted it was January, with Fast Pass, we hardly had to wait in line at all (okay, go ahead and groan now); often we were able to walk right onto the ride as soon as we got up to it.  (The lines at Universal are astounding labyrinths; as we walked through them we tried to imagine what it would be like to have to wait if all of the labyrinth was full and came to the conclusion that it would not be fun.)  For those of you who, like me, have stood in line somewhere like Disneyworld or Universal for over 45 minutes to an hour for a ride, you can just imagine the feeling of soaring into the ride immediately!  I would have felt a little bad about it if the Fast Pass option wasn’t available to everyone if they choose, but if you are not staying at the hotels, you can buy Fast Pass privileges.  It costs $87 per person per day on top of the entrance fee, which is already over $80 for a single park, single day admission.  (In other words, it ain’t cheap.)

Hogwarts at Universal

Even though the Harry Potter ride does not have a Fast Pass entrance (yet, anyhow), staying at one of the three Universal Hotels also allows you to enter Islands of Adventure one hour early to go down to Harry Potter’s Wizarding World, so instead of waiting over 60 minutes to ride the Forbidden Journey, we had a wait time of about 10 minutes.  The second day, Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey was one of the only two rides we decided to ride twice.  We waited 60 minutes in line for the ride that day, and easily came to the conclusion that the Fast Pass and early entry was what had made the trip possible.  The other ride we rode twice was the Spiderman ride.  It is one of the best rides in both parks!  Since Spiderman has a Fast Pass entry, it only took about five minutes each time to go through.

Hogsmeade at Universal

Another benefit of staying at an on-site hotel at Universal is proximity and transportation.  We were only a ten minute walk away from CityWalk and the entrance to both parks, and if we didn’t feel like walking, there was a water taxi that would carry us to and from the hotel along a canal Universal has constructed.  The hotel or the parks, I’m not sure which, also provide shuttle buses if you prefer.

We walked along the hotel path several times; it is a well-designed route, with landscaping that has a pan-Asian flair, including stands of bamboo and small stone statues hidden around, and lots of flowering plants, some of which were still flowering even in mid-January.  We tried the water taxi too; it was basically just a ride in a boat but the drivers were very friendly and after all of the hours we had spent walking, being able to sit down was fantastic!

The Water Taxi Pulling Up At CityWalk

Another benefit was the ease with which we picked up our tickets.  There is an automated “Will Call” Kiosk that you go to in the lobby, swipe the credit card/debit card you used to make your payments originally with, and out pop your tickets for your entire stay.

Staying “on the park” really made a difference in how much we enjoyed our short stay.  Hopefully, you will get the chance to do so soon!

Have a great weekend everyone!


Smart Marketing

Good morning Everyone!

What a week!  I’ve been trying to write this post since Tuesday, which was the day we got back from a mini-vacation to Orlando.  Tuesday for whatever reason my internet didn’t want to load pictures (and how can you talk about a trip to Orlando without pictures?) and then I ended up working until extraordinarily late to get a brief filed.  (By extraordinarily late, I’m talking about times I haven’t seen since I was in college!)  Then yesterday I had an 8 a.m. check-up which involved fasting beforehand (nothing to eat from 12 until 8 – I am not exactly Miss Merry Sunshine in the morning anyhow, but me without food in the morning is an unhappy combination!)  Then, the check-up over and breakfast procured,  I went to work to recover from my late night session Tuesday, which translates to trying to get enough papers moved to see the wood of my desk top and pushing forward with other projects.  It felt good last night just to come home and collapse – I was in bed by 8:30 and asleep by 9:20, which was great!

A visual depiction of my week so far!

But now we have reached Thursday and I have yet to post for this week, so I better get started.

As I’ve already mentioned, we spent this weekend traveling – Kayla went to visit my Mom, who had bought the two of them tickets to see the Broadway musical “Wicked” this past weekend, and Mark and I decided to take advantage of the weekend to go to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.

Mark and I did have a good time, but I want to talk today about our first evening there, where sunny Florida was not sunny (but only because it was night) and COLD! The night-time temperatures when we were out and about walking were down in the high 30’s. (For those of you from colder climes who think the high 30’s is downright balmy, I suggest you try coming down here to Alabama or Florida in July when our temperatures are in the mid-90’s or higher with 200% humidity, and you will understand.)

All right, I admit it wasn't as cold as this!

It was so cold, in fact, that I had to pull out The Squash to wear. The Squash is a bright yellow fleece that I have had for ages; I used to wear it often with green gym pants which made me sort of resemble a summer squash, which is how it got its name. The Squash is one of my favorite fleeces – brightly colored and extraordinarily warm, with sleeves that are too long – just too long enough so that I can pull my hands into them and let the sleeves double as gloves when I need them too. Long live the Squash!

Me in The Squash at Islands of Adventure

But I digress (I can hear the shocked gasps!) We didn’t want to go to either of the parks in the evening, because they weren’t going to be open that late, so we decided to go to City Walk, an entertainment area Universal has constructed in an area between Islands of Adventure (their second theme park) and Universal Studios (their first theme park.) After we got lost trying to find the walking path from our hotel, the Loew’s Royal Pacific, to City Walk, then finally retreating to the lobby where, starting from the point of origin we finally found the path, we had been out walking in the cold for about 25 minutes and were glad for a chance to sit down in the warmth at the restaurant we had chosen for dinner, called Pastamore.  At least, it started out warm, but once someone decided to open some large panels in the front, the temperature quickly plummeted.

The Beginning of the Islands of Adventure Theme Park

When we finished eating, we decided to walk around CityWalk and look at some of the shops. There are a lot of nightclubs there, too, but we were planning on an early day at the theme parks and didn’t want to stay up that late. The shops were interesting, but they were all cold. I think they had heat, but the fact that they left two doors open at all time caused most of the heat to float away in the night sky. Because they were cold, we didn’t really want to linger.

Until we came to the Fossil Store. For those who don’t know, Fossil is a company that makes watches, wallets, purses, some jewelry, belts, and some briefcases/satchels. Mark and I like what they sell, but at first we just intended to make a brief sweep of the store and go on. That is, until we entered the store and found that someone had the good sense to close one of the two doors to the shop and keep the heat in. It was blissfully warm in there! Nor were we the only tourists who had a sudden penchant to linger around the store that evening; I counted about 15 or 18 tourists sharing the shop with us while we were in there, and the store is not that big.

Mark ended up buying a watch for me; it is a nice, somewhat dressy watch for work. It is made out of my favorite precious metal, rose gold, and has Swarovski crystals embedded around the rim of the front.

Had the store not been warm, we never would have stayed in it long enough to find the watch, so kudos to the manager at the Fossil Store at City Walk at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida for extraordinarily smart marketing – with heat!

Have a great day!