Inconvenient Refurbishment for Premier and Preferred Universal Orlando Hotel Guests


Staying at one of the top-tier level hotels at Universal Orlando comes with many valuable perks. Staying at one of the three premier hotels, Hard Rock, Royal Pacific, and Portofino Bay, provides guests with unlimited express passes to the land-based theme parks. Those hotels also offer a reasonable walk to CityWalk and the theme parks. If staying at Sapphire Falls Resort, a preferred-level hotel, you may not receive express passes. However, you may utilize a valuable perk. Sapphire Falls, along with the three Premier level hotels, offers access to water taxis. These water taxis take guests directly from their hotel to the CityWalk dock area. Yet, if you plan to visit in the first few days of December, then that perk will not be available.

Hard Rock Hotel

Now, that may not sound like a big deal. However, this allows hotel guests to utilize a short security line at their hotel’s boat dock and enter directly into CityWalk. This allows those hotel guests to avoid the security hub entrance to CityWalk. The security hub often develops a long queue. The ease of taking the water taxis adds to the more pleasant experience as an on-site hotel guest.

However, Universal Orlando has been telling travel agents and connected media sites that the water taxi boat dock will undergo refurbishment. They stated, “Water taxis will be temporarily unavailable from December 1 through December 7, 2022, due to dock renovation.” Universal Orlando wants to remind guests that they may use complimentary shuttle bus transportation to Universal CityWalk for access to Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Sapphire Falls

If you are visiting Universal Orlando from December 1st through 7th, 2022, you should expect far more buses transporting you from the top-level on-site hotels than the normal schedule. However, you should expect more congestion at the CityWalk security hub though. As someone who will be there during part of that time, I will plan to bring my patience at arrival. If you are staying at one of these hotels during this refurbishment, you should consider walking, if possible, to avoid a potential security hub backup. The bus system works very well at Universal Orlando so this inconvenience should be slight—we hope. If you are visiting during this refurbishment, feel free to leave a comment below.

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.