By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.



yourfirstvisit.net—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor







Review: Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando



By Dave Shute

HOTELS FOR THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER

This site’s Instructions for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter suggest that families wishing to visit Harry Potter that can afford it book a room at Loews Royal Pacific Resort.

This is because the Universal resorts (the Royal Pacific, Portofino Bay, and Hard Rock) give terrific perks at Universal Orlando to hotel guests.

Most relevant to Harry Potter is that the Wizarding World opens to guests of these hotels one hour before it opens to the general public. (If you are staying just one night, this is true both your day of check-in and your day of check-out.)

This makes it particularly easy to fit in both Ollivanders and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey without hours of waiting.

Another great perk is that Universal hotel guests can use their room key as the equivalent of a FASTPASS for many rides at any time.  This does not currently apply to the Forbidden Journey or Ollivanders--the only perk that applies to them is the early entry.

All three hotels are nice, convenient to both parks at Universal Orlando, and expensive.

  • Portofino Bay is the most expensive and  gorgeous, but its theme will go over the head of most kids
  • Hard Rock Hotel is the next most expensive, and appealing to older kids who like music
  • The Royal Pacific is the least expensive of the three, and its Indonesian/South Seas theming is the most accessible of the three to younger kids.

For most families, the Royal Pacific will be the best choice.

THE ROYAL PACIFIC AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO

The Royal Pacific opened as part of Universal’s massive expansion more than a decade ago.

This was the same expansion that added Universal’s Islands of Adventure, the theme park to which the Wizarding World was added.

While most guides consider it a deluxe resort, those with deep experience of Walt Disney World resort hotels will find that it shares features of both deluxes and moderates.

If I had to pick just one of these categories, it would be deluxe…but it’s not as clear-cut as some would have it.

On the dates I stayed, the Royal Pacific was priced, at $269 a night, almost exactly between the prices of the Wilderness Lodge  (Disney’s least expensive deluxe resort) and the moderate resorts for that night ($335 and $190–exactly halfway would have been $262.50; all pre-tax.)

WAYS THE ROYAL PACIFIC IS LIKE A DELUXE RESORT

Quality of lobby theming–the central lobby courtyard is particularly lovely.

Range and quality of sit-down restaurants.

Quality of its pool–see higher on this page for an image.

Convenience to the Universal theme parks–you can either walk or take a boat, either in ten minutes or so.

WAYS THE ROYAL PACIFIC IS LIKE A MODERATE (OR VALUE) RESORT

Dull overall exterior architecture–more reminiscent of a Homewood Suite than a Disney World deluxe.

No real hotel theming other than lobby.

No balconies.

Small rooms with capacities of only four.

Mini-fridges not standard, cost extra.

Parking not free ($15/night)

ROOMS AT LOEWS ROYAL PACIFIC RESORT AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO

Rooms at the Royal Pacific are smallish.

Holding 4 people in about 335 square feet, they have the same capacity and about the same size as Disney’s smallest-roomed deluxe resorts, the Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge.

The bedroom area of the Royal Pacific is a tad bigger than these–but still smaller than the bedroom areas at Disney’s moderates–see this.

Compared to the Disney Lodges, the slightly bigger bedroom and layout of the beds (one being closer to the bath wall) allows for a larger table, and the addition of a welcome armchair.

On the other hand, there’s no balcony, and only one–rather than two–sinks in the bath area.

This review continues here.

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6 comments

1 Anonymous { 08.23.11 at 8:41 am }

How easy is it to get to Disney and Sea World and Discovery Cove from Loews pacific?

2 Dave { 08.23.11 at 8:54 am }

If you have a car, it’s easy. If not, you’ll need to take a cab or sign up for the Mears shuttle. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/01/10/getting-to-harry-potter-from-walt-disney-world/

3 Andy { 05.02.13 at 1:57 pm }

Stayed here for HHN last year. Hotel is interesting, but certainly no Disney property. Staff (not at f desk) were unfriendly, hallways looked like they hadn’t been vacuumed in a long time, quite a walk to the parks. The park perks for staying here were worth it though.

4 Dave { 05.03.13 at 7:17 am }

Hey Andy, the perks are unbelievable…

5 jane { 01.08.14 at 3:55 pm }

Hi Dave,
A fab site – been studying it for a few months. This is the first question I’ve needed to ask!
We are travelling from the UK and staying in the Polynesian 15-29th August with 2 boys (10 & 6). I’m assuming in August the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be crazy so thinking of following your advice to book a night in Royal Pacific – looks to be about £200.
Do I then just need the basic Universal 2 park ticket? Or do I need to get a hotel/ticket package? Will our staying at the Royal Pacific give us automatic early entry into the park?

6 Dave { 01.09.14 at 5:15 am }

Hi Jane, and thanks!!

So far as I know, you just need tix. The RP will provide you with additional credentials that, along with your tix, will allow you to do early entry etc…

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