When you think about iconic theme parks, the city of Orlando is likely the first place on the tip of your tongue. Universal Orlando Resort may not have the same number of visitors as it’s more infamous counterpart down the road but following our recent visit to Orlando where we stayed at the “ultra-modern” property in the portfolio of on-site hotels, we can 100% attest that this “resort” is one that needs to be on your radar. Universal’s Aventura Hotel epitomizes everything there is to love about 21st century hotel experiences, with a high focus on modern technology and a plethora of amenities that fit this intended approach.
Whether you are a millennial that loves high-tech products or perhaps an earlier generation that simply wants to enjoy a relaxing getaway, this gorgeous hotel is the perfect place to enjoy the very best of Universal Orlando Resort.
Universal Orlando Resort
A trip to Universal Orlando Resort is more than just about the hotel experience and so we want to share just a few reasons why this location should be on your radar if you are considering a long weekend Orlando getaway. The beauty of this resort is that once you are here, there is no reason to leave because everything you need can be found within this space that covers over 540 acres of land.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with the Universal Orlando Resort setup, here is a brief overview of what you can experience…I should add, all of which are easily accessible via the Universal’s awesome shuttle bus service.
- Universal Studios Florida – Opened in 1990
- Universal’s Islands of Adventure – Opened in 1999
- Universal’s Volcano Bay – Opened in 2017
- Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando – Opened in 1999
- Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando – Opened in 2002
- Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando – Opened in 2016
- Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando – Opened in 2001
- Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort – Opened in 2014
- Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Opened in 2019
- Universal’s Aventura Hotel – Opened in 2018
In addition to the above theme parks and hotels, the hub of entertainment can be found at Universal CityWalk – offering a wide range of restaurants, bars and fun-filled amenities for all the family to enjoy long into the night. We will share more details on this later but you will find that this is a great place to visit to just hang out and relax with your favorite beverage after a long day at the parks.
Universal’s Aventura Hotel
Having previously stayed at the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando, we were very familiar with the convenient benefits of staying at an on-site hotel while visiting Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. But there was something that really intrigued us about the opportunity of staying the Universal’s Aventura Hotel, the newest in the line of premier and prime value properties in Universal’s portfolio of accommodation options (the budget traveler may see benefits in staying at the two newest properties – Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn & Suites and Dockside Inn & Suites).
Let’s start with the hotel and why this is such an attractive place to stay, particularly for the tech folks out there that love “smart” technologies. Before we delve into the specifics of the interior of the hotel, let’s find out why we think Universal’s Aventura Hotel is in such a good location for visitors to Universal Orlando Resort.
In terms of location, Universal’s Aventura Hotel is perhaps the best of all on-site hotels given that it is located directly off the I-4 Highway in Orlando and just a short drive to a myriad of other attractions across the city. However, the real benefit of Universal’s Aventura Hotel is that we don’t see any reason why you would need to leave either the property of Universal Orlando Resort in general because there is everything you would need on-site to enjoy a long weekend getaway.
If you head outside of the Universal’s Aventura Hotel around the back behind the outdoor pool, you are just a short walk from Universal’s Volcano Bay waterpark. This is the most conveniently located hotel for walking access to this park, so if heading to a waterpark on a searing hot Orlando summer day is your idea of fun, this is one reason immediately that Universal’s Aventura Hotel should be at the top of your wishlist.
For those of you looking to visit Universal Studios or Universal’s Islands of Adventure, there are a couple of options:
- Shuttle Bus = Convenience – Hop on the Universal Shuttle Bus that will take you to Universal CityWalk and you are just a short walk to either park entrance. These shuttle buses depart from directly outside the lobby of the hotel every 10 minutes and the ride is short, comfortable and ideal for those looking to quickly reach the two theme parks.
- Water Taxi = Scenery – Head across to the nearby Loews Sapphire Falls Resort and walk through the lobby before heading downstairs to board the complimentary Universal Studios water taxi. This docks at Universal CityWalk and offers a scenic journey along the waterway.
- Walking = Active – If walking around the two theme parks and Universal CityWalk isn’t enough for you, visitors can enjoy the walk from Universal’s Aventura Hotel to the two parks along the banks of the waterway among a myriad of lush landscaping.
From the standard room to the Skyline View Kids Suites, Universal’s Aventura Hotel has a variety of options to satisfy every traveler. Whether you are looking to enjoy a romantic getaway or perhaps a fun-filled family weekend vacation, the collection of room choices available at Universal’s Aventura Hotel will ensure all your needs are satisfied. We stayed in a Skyline View room that offered spectacular panoramic views across the Universal Orlando Resort and the city of Orlando. The large glass windows make this the perfect space to enjoy the evening firework display at Universal Studios.
These epic views make this room choice one you should consider but it’s when you start looking at the in-room amenities that you quickly realize that Universal’s Aventura Hotel is the best hotel choice in the area, especially if you love your technology. An iPad is located on the bedside table and will control everything you need to enjoy your stay at Aventura.
From controlling the myriad of channels on the TV to ensuring you have the perfect in-room temperature and light settings, this epitomizes everything there is to love about a “smart” room. For those of that are like us and have ideas of converting your home into a “smart house”, this room gives you a brief insight into just how cool it can be.
Grab the iPad to order from the “in-room” dining service menu, while you can also research a myriad of resources to give you full, in-depth details of everything you need to know about Universal Orlando Resort. You may be forgiven for being so indulged in advanced technology but you will have no problem falling asleep on the incredibly comfortable beds to ensure your stay is the epitome of ultimate relaxation. The bathroom is inviting with a walk-in shower offering a spacious area to relax after a long day at the park, while those opting for a suite will enjoy a separate living area, ideal to wind down while the kids catch some sleep.
Everything about the room and design reflects the overall modern feel of the hotel. The lamps, vanity and desk are all “ultra modern” yet at the same time are functional and allow all the family to enjoy the benefits of the in-room experience.
Guests at Universal’s Aventura Hotel can enjoy a variety of outdoor, on-site amenities. A relatively large outdoor pool area is undoubtedly a popular spot all year round but it’s the convenience of having an outdoor pool bar with Bar Sol just a short walk from your chosen lounger.
In the evenings, you can enjoy your favorite aperitif from Bar Sol while relaxing by the fire pit. For those of you looking to enjoy a little outdoor fun and games, head over to the outdoor game area to experience a pool table, table-tennis table, corn hole game and even an ice-hockey equivalent to Foosball!
As you walk around the outdoor area, you cannot help but notice the gorgeous Orlando foliage that is intertwined with the modern architectural design of the pool area and hotel. Just to reiterate, in terms of outdoor pools typically associated with resorts, this isn’t the largest and if you are wanting the ultimate pool experience, the nearby Loews Sapphire Falls Resort may be a better option given that the pool there is much larger with a waterslide and other features.
With plenty of seating around the perimeter and inside the pool area, this is the perfect spot to grab your morning Starbucks and head outside to enjoy the morning sun while planning your day experiencing the very best of Universal Orlando Resort.
The outdoor space by the pool may be a great spot for all the family but if you are ready to relax with your favorite beverage with a little solitude and breathtaking panoramic views of the city, head to the 17th floor and visit Bar 17 Bistro. With a plethora of outdoor seating available and a wide bar menu to choose from, this is undoubtedly the best place to enjoy a sunset accompanying a delicious cocktail (or two).
Universal’s Aventura Hotel offers a collection of indoor amenities including a gym on the second floor full of every piece of equipment you would need to get extra exercise before or after a long day at the theme parks. One of the more unique on-site amenities that can also be found on the second floor is a state of the art virtual reality theater which includes “pay to play” games with the included VR headsets. This certainly continues the theme of the Aventura Hotel being an “ultra modern” accommodation option and will likely be a firm favorite among youngsters in your party.
On the ground level, you can head inside the Universal Orlando Resort souvenir shop to pick up any last minute items that you may have forgotten inside the park. The prices are the same so don’t worry that you may be paying a premium for items purchased here. In addition, guests staying at this property can head to the Universal desk close to the check-in counter to pick up any pre-ordered passes to facilitate ease of access to the parks.
On-Site Dining Options
Whether you are contemplating room service or simply want to enjoy the atmosphere inside Aventura’s on-site restaurants, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to cuisine options offered inside the hotel. As you pass through the lobby area, you are greeted by a full-size Starbucks where you can indulge in your favorite espresso beverage along with your chosen breakfast item.
For those looking for something with a little more substance, keep walking past Starbucks and you will enter what appears to be a “food court” within the hotel. This is one of the unique characteristics of the hotel as the Urban Pantry offers a collection of counters offering a myriad of cuisine options from across the globe.
A burger station is available with “grab and go” options like burgers, fries and other typical fast food items. If you have a little more time to enjoy the creative menu options available, consider the area for sushi, poke and noodles, a real oriental collection that has something for everyone that loves Asian cuisine. The noodle bar is another unique aspect as you can enjoy your selection of noodles, vegetables and protein for only $15.
In the morning, the sushi bar is converted into a breakfast parfait bar where you can enjoy a parfait bowl with your choice of yogurt, fruit and granola – a great option if you are looking for the healthier menu choices at Universal’s Aventura Hotel. Don’t worry, if you are looking for the typical breakfast items, you can head to the next area to indulge in waffles, eggs, bacon, sausage, ham and biscuits. Sweet treats are available at the gelato station while more savory options can be purchased from the area offering pizza, macaroni and cheese and many other menu items.
The beauty of the Urban Pantry is that there is something for everyone, ranging from the quick and easy options to the fine dining options where you can enjoy a delicious meal while overlooking the pool area which illuminates with the ambient lighting throughout the evening.
24 Hours at Universal Studios Florida
24 hours at any theme park around the world is a challenging experience if you want to enjoy the best attractions around the park and Universal Studios Florida is certainly no different. However, with careful planning and a willingness to explore, visitors to this park can enjoy a myriad of amazing experiences inside this infamous theme park. While The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is one of the iconic attractions in both this park and nearby Universal’s Islands of Adventure, there are plenty of other aspects of this park that will likely spark memories of both your childhood and present day favorite movie encounters.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Before indulging in the various areas that you can experience around Universal Studios Florida, let’s start at the heart of the park where many visitors flock every day – Diagon Alley! That’s right, the infamous alley alongside King’s Cross Station can be found in this area of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Visitors can enjoy everything from Gringotts Money Exchange to unique merchandise stores where you can find your favorite Wizarding wand and Potter attire. If you are ready to sample stereotypical British (or Harry Potter dependent on how you associate this food) cuisine, head inside the wonderful Leaky Cauldron to enjoy Shepherd’s Pie, Fish & Chips or perhaps Scotch Eggs.
As you walk around the hidden alleys around Diagon Alley, don’t forget to visit Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor to indulge in a sweet treat or the pièce de résistance in both parks…a frozen Butterbeer! You could easily spend several hours inside this part of Universal Studios Florida but there are plenty of other attractions worth visiting before you head back to this location to visit platform 9 3/4 to head across to Hogsmeade from King’s Cross Station.
Explore Themed Sections
Universal Studios Florida is divided into sections representing geographical movie/TV themed locations – for example, New York is home to the Racing Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon while San Francisco is where the Fast & Furious ride and Chez Alcatraz restaurant can be found. One of the most spectacular areas in terms of design is Springfield, home of Bart and Homer Simpson. This area has everything from Duff Brewery to Moe’s Tavern and a collection of other Simpson’s inspired architecture.
If you are looking for a little thrill-seeking adventure, some of the best rides at Universal Studios Florida include Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, located inside Production Central, Fear Factor Live in World Expo and of course, Fast & Furious – Supercharged in the San Francisco area. Whether you are an avid theme park visitor that loves to sample the best rides or simply want to enjoy the food and atmosphere throughout this park, you cannot help but fall in love with everything at Universal Studios Florida.
King’s Cross Station
Once you are satisfied that you have explored and experienced everything there is to do here, head back to King’s Cross Station and make your way to Platform 9 3/4. Don’t forget to get a picture (or video) passing through the “wall” before boarding the Hogwart’s Express that will lead you with fellow Potterheads to Hogsmeade Station.
Dependent on your schedule, you may want to save exploring Universal’s Islands of Adventure for another day, so feel free to take the next train back to King’s Cross Station, so you can experience the journey in both directions.
Universal Music Plaza Stage
If you visit Universal Studios Florida during Mardi Gras season, you may be fortunate to utilize your ticket later in the evening to return to the park and watch a FREE concert. We thoroughly enjoyed watching TLC perform some of their iconic hits on the Universal Music Plaza Stage.
24 Hours at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
If you thought your first day at Universal Orlando Resort was packed full of adventure, you are in for a real treat when you head over to Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Ultimately it’s going to be dependent on what movies and themes you are more interested in that will determine which park you prefer but in our opinion, Universal have done an amazing job at creating something for everyone in both parks.
Exploring Hogsmeade Village
Obviously The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is another focal point with the village of Hogsmeade playing a pivotal role in attracting visitors from all corners of the globe. The towering Hogwarts Castle is an impressive sight but it’s the experiences in the village that will likely make you want to spend several hours enjoying everything a typical Potterhead would want to sample.
Head over to the Three Broomsticks for another iconic dining experience while you will likely want to purchase a Chocolate Frog or other souvenir before heading on to explore other parts of this park. For those of you that simply cannot get enough of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, finish your adventure here by riding either Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure or Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Castle that will lead you through Hogwarts Castle.
Jurassic Park, Toon Lagoon and More
After passing through Hogsmeade, enter the world of dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. If you have seen any of the Jurassic Park movies, you will immediately recognize many of the locations here but always be aware of your surroundings as you never know when a Raptor or T-Rex may hop out and surprise you! Jurassic Park River Adventure is perhaps the iconic ride in this location as one minute you are floating along admiring the landscape and then suddenly a T-Rex appears and you only have one choice…to take the 85-foot plunge down the slide. Be prepared to get a real soaking but it’s all part of the fun!
Universal’s Islands of Adventure is separated into a variety of areas focused on providing entertainment for all ages. From Seuss Landing which will amuse the youngsters to the super heroes in Marvel Super Hero Islands, there is something for everyone.
A weekend getaway at Universal Orlando Resort is the perfect way to relax and bring back a myriad of childhood memories as you experience a collection of awesome rides and encounters. Staying at Universal’s Aventura Hotel is perhaps the ideal spot to embrace the “future” of travel as more hotels will likely start adopting the high-tech luxury amenities that can be found throughout the resort. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and cannot wait to return in the near future.
Visitors to Universal Orlando Resort can not only enjoy an amazing hotel experience, two awesome theme parks and Volcano Bay water park, they can also enjoy the amazing downtown Universal environment – CityWalk, renowned as the “Epicenter of Awesome”. Enjoy a donut from Voodoo Donuts while walking around and checking out the plethora of restaurants, a movie theater and a promenade that lines the waterway that takes you back to several of the on-site hotels.
If you have yet to visit Universal Orlando Resort, what are you waiting for? Excitement awaits and you will be spoiled for choice with things to keep you occupied throughout the duration of your stay!