When planning a trip to Universal Orlando, one of the main concerns is, “How do I get around?” Universal actually makes this a breeze by offering quite a few different methods to explore.
One of our favorite ways to head out for the day is the resort’s water-taxi service that brings guests from its on-site hotels (Sapphire Falls Resort, Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel, and Portofino Bay Hotel) to a central loading dock at CityWalk and back again. Each of the venues has a dedicated taxi that floats along on their specific route (so no extra stop for the other hotels!).
What you need to know
Here are some basic facts for you:
- The water taxis start 30 minutes before Early Park Admission
- They run every 15 minutes until 2:30 am, 365 days a year
- Each leg of your expedition takes anywhere from five to 15 minutes
- They are free to every guest who visits Universal Orlando!
Let’s repeat that last one: Universal Orlando’s water taxis are free to every guest who visits. Day guests, that means you, too – so, what are you waiting for? Hop on to one of the water taxis and experience a bit more of the Universe. This is encouraged by Universal, as it wants you to experience its on-site resorts with the hope that you’ll book your next stay right there on property.
Do you need a reason to go to one of the on-site hotels? How about Strong Water Tavern at Sapphire Falls, Orchid Court Lounge and Sushi Bar at Royal Pacific, The Palm at Hard Rock, or Thirsty Fish at Portofino Bay? Don’t forget to check out (though not swim in, since only on-site guests are able to do so) each hotel’s incredible pool – or, in Portofino’s case, pools – and feel out each unique atmosphere before planning your next vacation.
Water taxi tips
During the very late evening hours, the water-taxi captains will begin to ask for room keys, simply to keep off any revelers who may have wandered down to the docks from the CityWalk nightclubs. Additionally, if you are looking to hop between on-site hotels, we recommend using Universal Orlando’s shuttle buses, as it usually is a quicker journey.
And here’s a good one: while the water taxis are a great service, did you know that you can easily walk from the parks and CityWalk over to any one of the on-site properties? If you have never done this before, we strongly recommend it. The path runs adjacent to the waterway, is filled with lush landscaping, and is really an adventure in its own right. If you need a reason to add to your step count for the day, this is the path for you!
In fact – and surprisingly – it can actually take longer to wait for, board, and ride the water taxis from CityWalk to Royal Pacific or Hard Rock than it does just to walk (though if you time it perfectly, the boat is still faster). It’s about a seven-minute walk from Royal Pacific to the CityWalk entrance by Margaritaville; it’s only about a five-minute walk from Hard Rock over to the gates at Universal Studios Florida; and it’s about a 15-minute walk from either Portofino Bay or Sapphire Falls to the front gates.
From the water taxis and walkways to on-site shuttles, there’s no mistaking that Universal makes it easy for its guests to navigate and explore with ultimate convenience.
What’s your favorite way to get around Universal Orlando? Let us know in our Universal Community Facebook group.