Universal Orlando water taxis: This complimentary transportation is one of Universal’s best kept secrets


Universal Orlando offers water taxi service that brings guests from a central loading dock at CityWalk to the on-site hotels (Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel, and Portofino Bay Hotel).  The water taxis start 30 minutes before Early Park Admission and continue to run every 15 minutes until 2:30am in the morning, 365 days a year.  Each of the three on-site resorts has a dedicated taxi that goes right from the hotel to CityWalk and back.

Universal Orlando water taxis are free for everyone
Universal Orlando water taxis are free for everyone.

Perhaps the best part is that the water taxis are free and open to everyone who comes to Universal (best kept secret, I know).  Therefore, even if you are just a day guest, you are more than welcomed to jump on and take a ride over to one of the hotels.  This is encouraged by Universal, as they want you to experience their on-site hotels with the hope that you’ll book your next stay on-site.

It is only in the very late evening that the 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.

Need a reason to go to one of the on-site hotels?  How about Orchid Court Lounge and Sushi Bar at Royal Pacific, The Palm at Hard Rock, or Thirsty Fish at Portofino Bay.

OI tip 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 hotels?  If you have never done this before, I strongly recommend it.  The path runs adjacent to the waterway, is filled with lush landscaping, and is really quite lovely.

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 Portofino Bay to the gates at Universal Studios Florida.

Surprisingly, it actually takes longer to wait for, board, and ride the water taxis from CityWalk to Royal Pacific or Hard Rock than it does just to walk from either hotel to CityWalk.


Complete video of the water taxi ride from Universal Orlando’s Portofino Bay Hotel to the drop-off at CityWalk


Taylor Strickland

Taylor Strickland is the Owner & Editor at Orlando Informer, the internationally awarded independent resource for guests visiting Orlando. In this position, he leads the website’s overall direction and day-to-day operations, working with a team of writers, editors, developers, and producers.

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 How long does it take to walk from the Hard Rock to IOA?  How about Royal Pacific to IOA?  Can you tell I'm trying to choose a hotel…

Walking from the on-site hotels over to CityWalk and the theme parks is one of the best reasons to stay on-site at Universal Orlando. It is about a five minute walk from the pool gate at Hard Rock to Universal Studios Florida, and then another five minutes over to Islands of Adventure. From Royal Pacific it is about a seven minute walk from the pool gate to the CityWalk entrance next to Margaritaville, and then another three minutes or so across the bridge to Islands of Adventure. If you guys are coming to see Harry, you may want to choose… Read more »