Hard Rock Hotel Orlando is walking distance to the Universal Orlando theme parks and includes unlimited express pass with your stay. We wanted to take advantage of these perks and that is why we decided to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando.
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We have visited Universal Orlando for many vacations and love the perks that staying at a Universal resort gives you. We have stayed at Cabana Bay Beach Resort that offers amazing retro-themed family suites as well as Endless Summer: Surfside Beach Resort that is budget friendly and spacious for families.
On our most recent visit it was a special birthday weekend for 2 out of the 5 of us and we wanted to stay somewhere special.
We are Universal Annual passholders so I started researching the best deals at the premier Universal hotels. There was an annual passholder discount that allowed us to fit a stay at Hard Rock Hotel Orlando into our budget!
Hard Rock Hotel Orlando Overview
Hard Rock Hotel is a premier hotel at the Universal Orlando Resort. This means it is at the top of the price point and it has higher end amenities. The resort is decorated with Rock memorabilia throughout.
Hard Rock Hotel is a 10-15 minute walk to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and CityWalk. There is also boat transportation from CityWalk to the Hard Rock Resort for those with tired feet. The boats run every 20 minutes and we found them to take the same amount of time as walking.
One of the perks of staying at the Hard Rock Hotel is you don’t have to use the main security entrance. Guests can use the Hard Rock entrance typically without a wait. You do need to enter the theme parks through the regular admission gate.
How much does it cost to stay at Hard Rock Hotel Orlando?
For a standard room at the Hard Rock Hotel prices start at $287.00/night and go up to $443.00+ for suites. Prices are also dependent on holidays and the busy season (during school breaks, holidays, summer.)
Can you walk from Hard Rock Hotel to Universal Studios?
You can walk to Universal Studios from Hard Rock Hotel. Guests will walk through the butterfly garden and along the water to the Hard Rock security entrance. From there you can enter Universal Studios.
Guests visiting Islands of Adventure will keep walking past Universal Studios, Hard Rock Café, and Toothsome Chocolate Emporium to the Islands of Adventure gates.
Hard Rock Hotel Orlando Pool
Hard Rock Hotel pool features underwater music, sand bar, small wading pool, and a 260 foot long water slide. There are also a variety of pool activities like volleyball, and arts and crafts. (Pool activities are temporarily suspended.)
Hard Rock Hotel Orlando Dining
Hard Rock Hotel has two on-site sit down dining options: The Kitchen and The Palm. These are on the pricier side for dining but expect a quality meal. We didn’t visit the on-site restaurants because we were at the parks most days but this is a good option for longer visits.
There is also a ice cream, coffee, and smoothie spot called Emack & Bolio’s Marketplace. Here you will also find breakfast and lunch grab and go items.
Hard Rock does not have a traditional quick service option like the value or preferred resorts.
Perks of Staying at Hard Rock Hotel Orlando
Some of the perks of staying at the Hard Rock Hotel Orlando are:
- Unlimited Express Pass included with your hotel stay. This allows you to skip lines at the park and is an add on cost if you don’t stay at a partner hotel.
- Close proximity to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and CityWalk
- Complimentary shuttle service (Volcano Bay) and water taxi to parks.
- Early Entry to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at select park. Park schedule rotates. Check here.
Hard Rock Hotel Standard Room with Rollaway Bed
We stayed in a standard room at the Hard Rock Hotel and requested a rollaway bed. The room had two queen beds, a bathroom space, vanity, coffee maker, mini-fridge, small sitting area with two chairs, and a small closet for storing luggage.
It was not very spacious for a family of five but it is what was expected for a standard room at a theme park. The standard rooms range from 375 to 500 square feet.
Is Hard Rock Hotel Orlando Worth It?
The most asked question I receive is: Is Hard Rock hotel worth the cost? This is always a difficult one to answer because everyone has personal expectation when traveling about money and budget.
My opinion is yes and no!
There were things I really loved about staying at Hard Rock Hotel. The proximity to the parks and the express pass were such a huge perk. The parks were very busy and being able to skip the lines meant we could do more attractions and spend less time waiting.
We also liked the short walk back to the hotel after a busy day at the parks. For the price per night (under $240.00 a nights) and the perks, staying at the Hard Rock was totally worth it for a two night stay.
The kids also liked the pool and the waterslide. Our visit was short and they didn’t get to spend a lot of time at the pool but this would be a great perk for families that love the water.
With that being said, a family of five in a small hotel room for a week is not easy. I was happy when we switched to Dockside for our split stay and had more space for sleeping and relaxing in the room.
There were also a lot of extra fees that I didn’t realize when I booked. They included $35.00 a night for the rollaway bed and $28.00 a night for self parking, plus typical Florida room taxes.
None of these upcharges were out of the ordinary, but they are things to consider when pricing out if the resort is a good fit for your family and budget.
Another thing that we use a lot on vacation is the resort quick service option. We like to pick up dinner or lunch at the resort, and take it back to our room.
At Hard Rock the options were limited for quick service meals. If you prefer table service meals on vacation you will appreciate the options available at Hard Rock.
Overall I am happy we stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal. It was a special birthday weekend and the perks far outweighed any cons of staying. If you are a large family I suggest upgrading to a suite or planning a split stay.
A split stay is when you change hotels during your vacation. Plan your stay at the Hard Rock during the weekend or busy days to take full advantage of the Unlimited Express Pass.
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