Universal Orlando Resort:
Be Prepared To Pay For Parking At Resorts –
Even As A Guest!
As a person who has been a Walt Disney World Annual Passholder for more than 5 years and had never visited the Universal Orlando Resort – the Theme Parks or the actual Resort hotels, I visited for the first time earlier this year. I enjoyed my stay at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, but to say I’m bothered by the parking fees at the other Resorts would be a gross understatement.
The sole purpose of my visit was to visit all of the Universal Orlando Resorts so I could get some ideas on where I’d like to bring my family for their first visit. Some members of our party were staying in each of the four Resorts, so we thought we’d make a visit to each one and see what each location offered, eat at some of the different restaurants and look into family activities at the Universal Orlando Resorts. In fact, take a look at the Universal Land & Sea coverage that was put together by some of my co-workers which includes an article with family activities for each of the Universal Orlando Resorts.
Our first stop was Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and our fees to self-park our car was $22 or we could valet for $32. We figured that price would cover the parking fee for the day since all of the Resorts are on your property. Much to my shock, when we left the Portofino Bay Hotel (after paying the price to park there) and pulled up to the Hard Rock Hotel, we were told that we’d have to pay [full price] again since we were coming to a different Resort. It didn’t matter at all that we were staying at a Universal Resort ourselves, there would be no discount. Furthermore, we were told that even if we’d used valet at one of the Resorts, we couldn’t simply go to another and valet again with no additional fees, we’d have to pay full price again.
So, needless to say, we figured out another way to get to the next Resort we wanted to visit which was rather inconvenient in the hot weather.
Here’s what I have to say about that – c’mon, Universal! If you want people staying at one of your Resorts to come back and maybe try out another Resort on their next vacation, you are going to need to stop nickel and diming us like this – we’re not even talking nickels or dimes either. It’s completely unreasonable for a person who wants to visit Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Hotel on the same day to incur between $66-$96 in parking fees for ONE day – and that doesn’t even include tipping the valet! Family vacations at a Theme Park are expensive enough without having to pay exorbitant fees to basically spend more money in the shops and restaurants within the Resort Hotels. My guess is that the Resorts would probably make more money in the long run if they made the parking fee a daily charge rather than a per Resort charge. I’m sure that people, myself included, would be more inclined to visit the hotel shops and restaurants if we didn’t have to spend so much money in parking fees.
Now, I do understand that the goal here is to prevent Theme Park Guests from taking advantage of parking at the Resorts and filling up their lots. I also realize that because this was my very first visit to the Universal Orlando Resort, there could be more to it than just what I have experienced, however; I was not a happy camper about this parking situation and I thought I’d share it with all of you in case you’re planning a visit in the near future.
Am I missing something here or is there an easier way to tour these Resorts without going broke? Please share your experiences in the comments!