OI Center

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel: Distance from the parks

This page includes information, photo tours, and an HD video of the transportation between Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, 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 Portofino to SeaWorld, Aquatica (SeaWorld’s water park), and Volcano Bay, Universal’s water theme park.

Distance from Universal CityWalk, Universal Studios Florida, and Islands of Adventure

Portofino Bay Hotel is one of the furthest of the five on-site hotels from the Universal theme parks and CityWalk. While this means it might take a minute or two longer to get to your entertainment destination, it also allows the hotel to feel secluded and immersive; when you are strolling along the cobblestone pathways in the Harbor Piazza, all you can see is the hotel and the bay stretching out in front of you.

Keep in mind that the idea of Portofino being removed from the Universal parks certainly does not mean it is far away. This hotel is still effectively the third-closest to the parks, after Hard Rock Hotel and Royal Pacific Resort.

At this point, we recommend that you open the OI custom-made Google map using this link (it will open in a separate window):

OI map of Universal Orlando’s on-site hotels

It may be helpful to switch it to Satellite View.

As you can see from the map, Portofino Bay sits on the northeast edge of Universal property. You have three options for transportation, which will be explained below.

Water taxi transporting guestsWater taxi transporting guests.

water taxi dockThere is one water taxi dock serving CityWalk, Universal Studios Florida, and Islands of Adventure.

Transportation options to CityWalk and Universal’s theme parks

Here are your options to get from Portofino Bay Hotel to CityWalk and Universal’s theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure:

  • Water taxi: Universal’s complimentary water taxis begin operating 30 minutes before Early Park Admission and run continuously until 2:30 am every single day of the year. Most of the on-site 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. (There is a single water taxi dock for CityWalk and the two Universal theme parks, as seen in the photo above.) You can view an HD video of the water taxi service toward the bottom of this page.
  • Theme park shuttle: Universal also operates a shuttle that runs continuously between the five on-site hotels and the general guest drop-off area near the Universal parking garages, as seen on the OI Google map. (It used to be that on-site hotel guests using the bus were dropped off at Celebrity Circle, just steps away from the Universal Studios Florida turnstiles, but this changed in 2013.)
    • Because the shuttle drop-off location puts on-site 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 shuttle now drops you off (elevator available). Note that ECV rentals are still only available inside the parks.
  • Garden walkway: this roughly 4/5-mile walkway brings you from Portofino Bay Hotel, past Hard Rock Hotel, and on to the CityWalk entrance next to Universal Studios Florida. The path is extremely easy to follow, beautifully landscaped, and safe because it never crosses any public roads. You can view a photo tour of the garden walkway at the bottom of the page.

Transportation to Volcano Bay

A shuttle will carry guests from Portofino Bay 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 15 minutes.

Transportation to the other on-site hotels

Universal offers a special Hotel Dining Shuttle, which allows guests staying at one on-site hotel to visit restaurants at the others for a meal (or drink). Here’s the official explanation direct from the company:

Get a taste of everything our resort hotels have to offer. A free shuttle provides transportation to and from our on-site hotel restaurants with pick-up available in the hotel lobby approximately every 30 minutes from 6-10 pm. Board the shuttle early to allow you to arrive at least 15 minutes before your dinner reservation. Call (407) 503-DINE (3463) or visit the hotel concierge to make your reservation.

Transportation to SeaWorld and Aquatica

Universal’s on-site hotels provide complimentary scheduled shuttle transportation, called the Super Star Shuttle, to SeaWorld and Aquatica (SeaWorld’s water park). I have emphasized 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. Here is an example of the schedule:

Super Star ShuttleSuper Star Shuttle sample schedule from Universal’s on-site hotels.

Water taxi ride from Universal CityWalk to Portofino Bay Hotel – HD video

The following video shows you exactly what it looks like to ride the water taxi from Universal CityWalk to Portofino Bay Hotel, passing Hard Rock Hotel along the way. You can see the garden walkway very well, as it winds along the waterway during the entire route. To see a beautiful view of Portofino Bay, jump ahead to 4:25 in the video.

Garden walkway – photo highlights

Walk from Hard Rock Hotel to Portofino Bay HotelWalk from Hard Rock Hotel to Portofino Bay Hotel.

Walk from Hard Rock Hotel to Portofino Bay HotelWalk from Hard Rock Hotel to Portofino Bay Hotel.

Walk from Hard Rock Hotel to Portofino Bay HotelWalk from Hard Rock Hotel to Portofino Bay Hotel.

Walk from Hard Rock Hotel to Portofino Bay HotelWalk from Hard Rock Hotel to Portofino Bay Hotel.

Walk from USF to Hard Rock Hotel – photo gallery

This gallery is included because the garden walkway connects Universal CityWalk to Hard Rock Hotel and then Portofino Bay Hotel. You will walk this route first, but continue on instead of turning into the Hard Rock pool area.

Walk from Hard Rock Hotel to Portofino Bay Hotel – photo gallery

This gallery picks up from Hard Rock Hotel and takes us all the way to Portofino Bay Hotel.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel: Jet away to the Italian Riviera