If you have priced an Orlando area theme park vacation, then saving money on this adventure might rise as a priority for you. More people select Universal Orlando now to save money. Though Universal Orlando offers many quality accommodations, many guests select to stay off-site to save more. The largest downside to that choice involves the lack of constant transportation from your hotel to the parks.
Universal Orlando holds a relationship with many partner hotels located nearby Universal Orlando. Many of them are in the Kirkman Road area for example. Personally, I have used these shuttles from several of the partner hotels. The procedures and schedules have changed over the years. For today’s example, I will describe my experience staying at Holiday Inn and Suites Across from Universal Orlando. My experience during that stay matches most of my previous experiences with these shuttles.
If staying at a partner hotel, guests must book reservations in advance. You must book that day 24 hours or less in advance. Spots do fill up. These reservations are required for the morning pickups. During my stay, three different pickup times were offered each morning. Also, there are three evening return times. The evening return times are first come, first serve.
So how does this shuttle system usually work?
In my experience, the shuttle bus shows up a few minutes after scheduled time. However, do not count on that. The pickup system works very well. Depending on the route, you will make additional stops on the way to Universal Orlando. The drop-off area for shuttles is the same place as the drop off area for Endless Summer Resorts currently.
On a good note, these shuttles cost nothing with your hotel stay. Also, the first shuttle of the day will take you to CityWalk area before early park admission starts. In addition, when visiting during a slower or moderate crowd level day, the shuttle will have plenty of space and ease of use.
On a negative note, the shuttles will be packed during the busy season so be prepared. Also, the process during evening times at CityWalk drop-off/pickup area leads to chaos. The loading process in evenings at CityWalk pick-up area happens without staff guidance. In addition, please make sure you are loading the current bus route. For example, Holiday Inn Universal is a part of “Route A” currently. However, route A and B pick up at same location with similar times.
For those of us with early park admission privileges, the shuttle service will not get you to Universal Orlando early enough to truly rope-drop. Still, if you are obsessed with being in the first group of people entering the park, the shuttle service fails in terms of that. However, if staying at Holiday Inn Universal, the 15-minute walk to CityWalk might help you more for rope-drop. At least it did in my experience but will hopefully cover that in another article.
When I stay at Universal Orlando partner hotels, I enjoy knowing the option of using the shuttles exists. However, I tend to do what I did recently, I use them once or twice during my stay. Either way, it is always nice to know they run for your use when staying at a Universal Orlando partner hotel.
Thanks for reading. I hope this helps you in your quest to save money on vacation.
Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.