Universal’s Hard Rock Hotel Orlando is a great place to stay during your Universal Orlando vacation. Today we are sharing 4 benefits to staying at Hard Rock Hotel Orlando with kids.
Hard Rock Hotel is one of the premier resorts at the Universal Orlando Resort. It features many exclusive theme park benefits to hotel guests and is a great option for families.
If you are planning a Universal Orlando vacation you need to know there are two main theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. (A 3rd gate, Epic Universe, will open in summer 2025.)
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 and Endless Summer: Dockside Resort, both are budget friendly and spacious for families.
Hard Rock Hotel Orlando Overview
Hard Rock Hotel will help guests bring out their inner rock star! It is themed to classic rock music and the rock star lifestyle.
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.
Guests have access to a game room and fitness center as well as gift shop and on-site music memorabilia.
It is walking distance to the Universal Orlando theme parks and includes unlimited Universal 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.
Hard Rock Hotel Pool
Hard Rock Hotel features an underwater sound system in the main pool area. There are hot tubs, a 260-foot long water slide, and live music. Guests can also play poolside games, arts and crafts, and volleyball during their stay.
Hard Rock Hotel Dining
Hard Rock Hotel has two on-site sit down dining options: The Kitchen and The Palm restaurant. 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.
If you are looking for cocktails and appetizers guests can visit the Velvet Bar.
Hard Rock does not have a traditional quick service option like the value or preferred resorts. 24-Hour room service is available.
Guests should also note there is not a Hard Rock Café on property. Hard Rock Café is a short walk from the resort at Universal’s CityWalk.
Hard Rock Hotel Standard Room with Rollaway Bed
We stayed in a standard room at the Hard Rock Hotel. As a family of five we had to request a rollaway bed at check-in to have enough sleeping space for all of us.
The rollaway bed was an added charge of $25.00 a night.
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.
The guests rooms are 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.
There are also deluxe rooms that offer more space as well as Pool view rooms available.
Benefits to Staying at Hard Rock Hotel Orlando
Hard Rock is a Universal Hotel Within Walking Distance of the Theme Parks
There is also complimentary water taxis 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.
Unlimited Express Pass is Included with Your Stay
Unlimited Express Pass allows guests to skip the regular lines and have unlimited ride access to most attractions. Guests must have a valid theme park admission ticket.
Unlimited Express Pass can cost $150.00+ a person in addition to your ticket. This can easily add up as an extra cost and may off-set the more expensive room at the Hard Rock Hotel.
Your express pass is good for the day you check-in and the day you check-out. During our visit we stayed at Hard Rock Hotel for 2 nights and took advantage of 3 days of express pass.
Early Theme Park Admission
Resort guests will have be able to enter the park and ride certain attractions before the park opens to the general public. This can save a lot of time during your morning at the park.
Complimentary Transportation to Parks
If you are staying at Hard Rock Hotel Orlando you do not need a car to get around the resort. You will need to find your own transportation to/from Orlando International Airport but once you arrive at the resort on-site transportation can get you anywhere.
There is free shuttle service to Volcano Bay, guests can walk to the theme parks and CityWalk or take the water taxi.
FAQ’s About Staying at Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort
How much does it cost to stay at Hard Rock Hotel Orlando?
For a standard room at the Hard Rock Hotel prices start at $400.00/night and go up to $1000.00+ 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.
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.
Prices vary depending on season, if you are a Florida resident, or if you are a Universal Annual Pass holder. It is always worth comparing prices when planning yoru trip.
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. For the price, 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.
Staying on-site at Universal Orlando is a great way to upgrade your Universal Orlando vacation experience.
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Leah has been traveling with her family of 5 since 2012 and sharing her expertise on planning family vacations and visiting theme parks since 2016. Leah has been featured in Visit Rochester, Undercover Tourist, and Home Publications. She has worked with brands like Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Hersheypark, Toyota, and various Tourism boards and destinations. Leah creates family travel itineraries based on real trip experiences with her family. Her guides and tips help others plan great family vacations. Learn more about Leah and Five for the Road.