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Hard Rock Hotel Orlando: Distance from the parks

Skip to: Transportation to CityWalk, Universal Studios Florida, and Islands of Adventure | Transportation to Volcano Bay | Transportation to SeaWorld and Aquatica | Garden walkway photo gallery

Sign on the garden walkway directs guests to the Hard Rock and Portofino Bay hotels
Sign on the garden walkway directs guests to the Hard Rock and Portofino Bay hotels

If you’ve booked your stay at Hard Rock Hotel, then you’re all ready to jam – but first you’ll want to know how to navigate around Universal Orlando Resort. This page includes information and photo tours on the transportation to and from Universal CityWalk and the Universal Orlando theme parks (Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure). This page also includes information about the shuttle service from Hard Rock to SeaWorld, Aquatica (SeaWorld’s water park), and Volcano Bay, Universal’s water theme park.

How do I get from Hard Rock Hotel to CityWalk, Universal Studios Florida, and Islands of Adventure?

Universal Orlando water taxi
Universal Orlando water taxi

Hard Rock Hotel sits right next to Universal CityWalk Orlando and Universal Studios Florida. This makes it extremely convenient to move back and forth between the hotel, the restaurants and shops at CityWalk, and the two theme parks. Here are your options:

Water taxi

Universal’s complimentary water taxis begin operating 30 minutes before Early Park Admission and run continuously until 2:00 am every single day of the year. Most of the resort hotels have their own dedicated water taxi, so you will be picked up from the hotel and brought directly to the CityWalk dock every time, and vice versa. However, there is just one dock at CityWalk where all boats arrive and depart.

Garden walkway

The water taxis are fun, but because Hard Rock is so close to the theme parks and to CityWalk, it’s only about a five-minute walk to the entrance of Universal Studios Florida. This purpose-built walkway is roughly one-fifth-of-a-mile and brings you from the pool gate at Hard Rock Hotel to the CityWalk entrance next to Universal Studios Florida and back. The path is extremely easy to follow, beautifully landscaped, and safe because it never crosses any public roads. View the photo tours at the bottom of the post to see for yourself.

Theme park shuttle buses

Universal operates a bus service that runs continuously between the resort hotels and the general guest drop-off area near the Universal parking garages. Because the bus drop-off location puts hotel guests at basically the same distance from the parks as day guests parking at Universal, it serves no function as a time-saver. The only advantage may be for guests with disabilities who need to rent a wheelchair for the day, since wheelchair rental is available on the second floor of the transportation hub, where the bus drops you off (an elevator is available here). Note that ECV rentals are still only available inside the parks. We recommend you check with your hotel’s front desk to confirm bus services and pickup times.

How do I get to Volcano Bay?

The Reef at Universal's Volcano Bay
The Reef at Universal’s Volcano Bay

A designated shuttle bus will carry guests from Hard Rock Hotel directly to the Volcano Bay water theme park, located all the way on the other side of Universal Orlando property (right next-door to Cabana Bay Beach Resort). The bus leaves approximately every fifteen minutes.

How can I get to SeaWorld and Aquatica?

SeaWorld Orlando's entrance
SeaWorld Orlando’s entrance

Universal’s hotels provide complimentary scheduled transportation, called the Connector Shuttle, to SeaWorld and Aquatica (SeaWorld’s water park). We emphasize scheduled because it is very important to understand that the bus does not run continuously; rather, in general, it picks up and drops off once in the morning and once in the evening – check with any Vacation Planning Center desk to reserve pick-up and drop-off times for your visit.

Hard Rock Hotel to Universal Studios Florida garden walkway – photo gallery

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