This article is your ultimate comparison guide to determine what is the best Universal Studios hotel for families 2023. Whether you are looking for hotels with family suite or just a family friendly Universal hotel, we will break down the best options for families to stay right in the heart of all the action at Universal. From the Universal Orlando Minion Suite to the Jurassic Park Suite, and just family friendly fun at Cabana Bay, Universal has options that will be just right for your family.
Universal Orlando has 8 on-site hotels that are all suitable options for families. However, we will highlight the family suites and family friendly amenities at the hotels we believe are the best Universal Studios hotel for families.
SPECIAL NOTE: If you’re looking for the best time to visit Universal Orlando check out our Universal Crowd calendar!
This article will be your complete guide to family suites at Universal Orlando, specifically if you have a family of 5 or more! The Universal hotels are owned by Loews and offer the “Loews Loves Families” that is designed so that your stay feels fun and easy for the whole family. From lending libraries of games to childproofing kits, they will have the amenities you may need on-call. We’re not being biased when we say that you really cannot go wrong no matter where you stay on Universal property. Across our team, we have stayed at every Universal Orlando resort and there are amazing features at each that make them unique. For each resort, we will break down the amenities, dining options and room types to help determine which is best Universal resort for families. But first, let’s start out by highlighting the benefits of staying at any of the Universal Orlando hotels.
If you and your family are early risers, you will enjoy the Early Park Admission perk of staying at one of the Universal hotels. If you stay on property, your room key acts as an early entry to Universal ticket that allows you into either Islands of Adventure or Universal Studios Florida (depending on the day you visit) 1 hour before the park opens and 30 minutes early to Volcano Bay. Other resort benefits include free merchandise delivery to your hotel which means if you buy something in the parks, you do not have to carry it around all day.
If you choose to stay at a premier resort – Loews Royal Pacific, Loews Portofino Bay or the Hard Rock Hotel, Universal Express Unlimited is included in your stay. You will be spending more money on your hotel stay but it may work out if you are thinking of purchasing the express pass separately. Each member of your family will receive the express pass with their room key starting the day you check in through the date of your checkout. Premier resort guests also get preferred seating at select Universal CityWalk restaurants just be sure to mention it to your hostess.
Universal hotels provide free transportation for your family to easily get to and from the parks so you do not have to worry about renting a car or purchasing ride-share service daily.
Prime Value Resorts
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Below is our rankings and explanations for the best hotels for your next Universal Studios family vacation
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Cabana Bay Beach Resort is a hip and retro themed resort that will transport your family back to the 1950’s and 60’s. This resort was created with family fun in mind, with two relaxing pools, a 10-lane bowling alley and even a lazy river for those with total relaxation in mind. While staying at the Universal Orlando Cabana Beach Hotel, you’ll feel like you’re taking a road trip through the past, stopping at all of Florida’s iconic beaches all in one place.
Cabana Bay is the best resort for families to stay at Universal Orlando. It is affordable with great value and has amazing amenities for the whole family to enjoy. At the Cabana Courtyard, there is not only a sprawling pool, but also a dive tower-themed water slide, the Atomic Tonic bar, fire pits and cabanas for rent. But it doesn’t stop there, Cabana Bay has its very own lazy river! That’s right a lazy river right at the hotel that guests can enjoy and we highly recommend making some time in your vacation to enjoy the pool. Okay, it actually keeps getting better. Not only does Cabana Bay have an amazing pool and lazy river but it has a bowling alley inside the hotel. Guests can enjoy Galaxy Bowl, the full-sized bowling alley with ten lanes and a full service restaurant. And of course Cabana Bay does have an arcade for the video game lovers.
Cabana Bay Beach Resort prices can’t be beat for what you get during your stay. This could be the Universal Orlando best hotel for family of 5 because of the great value. With so many options for your family needs, Cabana Bay Resort always comes as a first choice when booking your family vacation. This hotel makes it difficult to actually leave with the amazing amenities and dining options it offers making it one of the best Universal Orlando hotel for families.
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Royal Pacific Resort a Polynesian paradise. Resort rooms typically start at $312 per night and all have views of the beautiful tropical landscaping and South Sea decor. Guests truly can feel their troubles melt away at the lagoon-style pool that is lined with lush palm tree vegetation, that is great for kids or adults.
The highlight of the Royal Pacific amenities for families is the lagoon style pool. This gradual swimming pool features a Royal Bali Sea interactive water play area for children. Families can play at the pool all day long with ping pong tournaments, water balloon tosses, pool basketball, hula hoop contests, and arts and crafts. Located next to the pool, Royal Pacific has their own arcade filled with the latest and greatest games.
You will love the dining at this family friendly hotel especially with special ticketed dinner events like the Wantilan Luau. Guests can book an experience to see a weekly Hawaiian dinner show with an all you can eat buffet with Polynesian food. Hula and fire dancers? Sign us up!
One of the most popular Universal themed rooms is the Jurassic World Kids Suite. The door to the kids’ room is modeled after the dinosaur enclosure. The fun doesn’t stop at just the door. When your kids lay down in bed, they’ll feel as if they’ve stepped right into their very own gyrosphere ride, maneuvering through the jungle terrain. These raptor inspired rooms brings the fun of Jurassic Park back to the hotel making it the best hotel for kids Orlando!
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Home of the infamous Universal minion suite, Loews Portofino Bay is all about luxury with this Universal premier hotel, which is inspired by the beauty of the seaside village of Portofino, Italy. This Premier hotel at Universal immerses you fully with cobblestone streets, a sparkling bay filled with colorful canoes and romantic Italian architecture. At Portofino Bay, you will also find charming live music playing among the streets lined with lush cypress trees and vegetation. Rooms at Portofino Bay start at $372 a night, which seems worth it to be transported across the world to a small village in the Italian Riviera. One of the main draws of this resort for families is the minion themed room at Universal which we will discuss down below.
The Minion Suite Portofino Bay is a draw for families because who doesn’t love the minions? The Minion themed room at universal replicates the excitement and playfulness of Gru’s Laboratory, including Minion bedding and custom-designed missile beds. Not only can your family enjoy Despicable Me Minion Mayhem in the park but then come back to rest like a minion. Plus – that on-site Gelateria hits the spot after a long day in the parks!
Portofino Bay may seem like more of an “adult” hotel but in reality there are many amenities for the whole family to enjoy. Portofino Bay has 3 pools. the “beach pool” is a kid friendly pool with a Roman Aqueduct-themed water slide and a sandy beach. From ping pong tournaments to pool basketball to hula hoop contests and arts & crafts, you’ll find something fun to do poolside for the whole family. Portofino Bay also has an arcade that is great for the whole family to enjoy located right next to the pool!
Taste the flavors of this charming Italian inspired resort through the various dining options. Maybe you want to have a sit down dining experience at Bice Ristorante or pizza at Sal’s Market Deli, Portofino Bay has options for the whole family to enjoy.
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Loews Sapphire Falls Resort is one of the most loved resorts by Universal Orlando fans however, is it the best family friendly Universal hotel? Sapphire Falls transports guests to a paradise in the heart of the tropics and the heart of Universal Orlando as well! It is located right in the middle of CityWalk and Volcano Bay so guests can walk to both if they choose to do so.
Sapphire Falls is home to the largest pool of any of the Universal resorts. The main pool is 16,000 square feet, has two sand beaches and cascading waterfalls. A great thing to note is that the middle of the pool is zero entry which is great for families with little ones! We can’t forget to mention the water slide since kids (and adults) just love a good hotel pool water slide. You can play all day at the pool area with ping pong tournaments, water balloon tosses, hula hoop contests, an outdoor pool table, fire pit and a children’s play area.
Families can enjoy a variety of room options at Sapphire Falls. This hotel has the most Universal Studios Suites options out of the rest making it easy for larger families. Each room and suite has a beautiful tropical oasis theme that makes you feel like you are on island time. We think Sapphire Falls is a great option for families to stay at Universal. There are many amenities that families can enjoy and room options that can fit larger families for not so high of a price tag.
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Endless Summer Surfside and Dockside are Universal’s value hotels that start at $99 per night. Budget conscious families will love this resort because of its price tag but just because the price is low doesn’t mean that it comes with less amenities and perks like the other hotels. This is also one of the best Universal Orlando Hotels for large families. The only difference with these two resorts is that they are located a bus ride away from the parks, there is no walking path. Although these hotels are essentially the same, we believe there are some differences that are worth noting for families.
Endless Summer Dockside has 2 Basic Swimming pools with their own poolside bars. The pools are almost identical and each pool is located on both sides of the resort corresponding to tower 1 and tower 2. The good thing is that it spreads out the crowd so there isn’t just 1 pool for all resort guests. Both pools have a children’s area with splash pad as well. Located near the pool is that trusty game room where families can play the latest games.
As you can see, there are no fancy minion theme rooms here however Dockside does offer a nice 2 bedroom suite for a great price. It has hardwood floors, is modern and the rooms feel very spacious. The best part about it is that the 2 bedroom suites start at $136 per night which is an extremely good deal for a 2 bedroom hotel room in Orlando. If you are looking for a clean, modern hotel with great value then Dockside might just be one of the best family hotels near Universal Studios Orlando.
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The Hard Rock Hotel is always a classic when it comes to Universal Studios Hotels because who doesn’t want to stay like a rockstar? The Hard Rock Hotel is perfect for the pop culture fan or even music lover as the entire hotel is covered with authentic rock n’ roll memorabilia. Rooms start at just around $359 per night, which are totally worth it if you want to see the booth where Elvis recorded his first song!
The highlight of the Hard Rock Hotel for families is their amazing pool. the 12,000 sq, foot pool Splash around with this zero entry, white sand beach pool with a 260 foot water slide. The pool has an underwater sound system that kids will just get a kick out of hearing music underwater! Need a break from the action in the parks? Families can have some fun at the pool with ping-pong tournaments, water balloon tosses, pool basketball, hula hoop contests, and arts and crafts. Guests can continue to rock out to the latest arcade games in the Hard Rock game room open from 8am to midnight.
Now as you can see the Hard Rock Hotel is home to many suites at Universal Orlando. The Future Rock Star Suite is great for families. It is not the Minions Suite like over at Portofino Bay however it is a great option for family suites Universal Orlando since the kids will love feeling like a rock star!
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Endless Summer Surfside is extremely similar to staying at Endless Summer Dockside however we felt it was necessary to split them into separate categories because we do think Dockside is more of a family friendly resort. Guests find Surfside to be more convenient to get around due to the hotel being smaller in size. However Dockside does have two pools compared to the one pool at Surfside, and also has a larger lobby and also a larger food court with more dining options.
Endless Summer Surfside as mentioned above does only have 1 pool. It is a surfboard shaped pool with lounge chairs and a poolside bar. There is no children’s splash area at this resort near the pool. It is important to keep in mind that Surfside is a smaller hotel than Dockside so they really only need that 1 pool for the amount of guests. Surfside also has a game room for families to enjoy during their stay.
If you’re comparing Universal Surfside or Dockside and are looking to really get down to the fine details, the color scheme and decor is the main difference. The layout, size and amenities of the rooms are exactly the exact same, therefore, no real differences between the two. If you’re looking for a more bright, breezy and beach-y vibe with the colors of the ocean in your room, then Surfside Inn & Suites will be your favorite. If you’re looking for a more calming and serene feel with sunset vibes and natural wood decor, then Dockside Inn and Suites is for you!
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A “prime value” hotel, Universal’s Aventura Hotel is a the modern and stylish place to stay for families who the prefer minimalist lifestyle. Aventura is sleek and high-tech with iPads as a control for room lighting and temperature, order room service, request items from the front desk, watch streaming services and more. Oh yeah and we should mention there are robots, yes, 2023 robots are here! Aventura Hotel uses robots to deliver small items from the front desk to guest rooms so maybe it would be okay to forget a toothbrush, just to say hi to the robot! Standard rooms at Aventura start at $140 per night.
The sleek and modern design of Aventura carries over to the pool as well. It does have a splash zone for kids as well as a firepit for nighttime bonfires. However, the pool is more geared towards adults. It is important to point out that Aventura is a short walk away from Universal’s Volcano Bay water park so if you are interested in visiting the water park, this is a great place to stay!
As you can see, there don’t seem to be too many food options at this resort but we much mention two things. Urban Pantry has a wide variety of options that the whole family can enjoy. From custom wok bowls for the adventurous eaters to a pizza station. Also, Aventura is very close to Cabana Bay and Sapphire Falls which you can always visit their food options as well.
Universal’s Aventura Hotel has various room options that can certainly fit a family of 5. However, Aventura is at the bottom of our family friendly Universal hotel list because the Aventura kids suites do not have a theme compared to the elaborate and exciting themes that the resorts above offer. Also, we believe the other resorts offer better amenities for families.
Both prime value resorts offer amazing amenities with a convenient location for all Universal Orlando guests. Cabana Bay is a wonderful option for large families or parties that plan on maximizing plenty of time at the pool and enjoying unique recreational activities like the Galaxy Bowling Lanes. Aventura Hotel is for those looking for upscale, high tech resort life in mind. With everything done conveniently from your tablet, and a calming design in mind, Aventura offers relaxation at its finest. With the Aventura family suites, you can fit the whole family with ease. No matter which resort you choose, both have plenty of perks, that neither Aventura Hotel vs Cabana Bay Beach Resort will be a bummer!
There is no Minion Hotel in Orlando…yet! For now, families can enjoy the minion suite Universal Orlando at Loews Portofino Bay hotel. Families can experience the playfulness of Gru’s Laboratory alongside the charm of traditional Italian accommodations in 650 square feet of space at Portofino Bay. You can expect to pay around $870 per night for the minion suite Universal Orlando.
Universal Orlando has 8 on-site hotels that the whole family can enjoy. Each hotel has various amenities, dining option and perks that makes it worth it for families to stay at a hotel in Universal Studios. All Universal hotels offer free transportation to the parks, early park admission, free merchandise delivery, and resort-wide charging privileges.
The average cost of a Universal vacation for a family of 4 will cost around $1200 for two days, two parks and a 3-night stay at a Universal value hotel. Universal often runs promotions such as buy 2 days, get 2 days free tickets that can help you save money.
Our Universal Orlando Crowd Calendar is the best tool to help you get the most out of your time in the parks. We breakdown the park crowds, park hours of operation, ticket prices by day, and average temperature.
If you’re ready to plan your trip to Universal Studios, be sure to check out our Universal Orlando Tickets! Not only will you save money vs buying direct, but all of our Universal Orlando tickets come with some amazing benefits which can help save you up to three hours in the parks!
And to stay up to date on everything going on inside the theme parks be sure to check out our partners at Themeparktoday.com!