OI Center

Sapphire Falls Resort: Distance from the parks

This page includes information and photo tours of the transportation between Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, 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 Sapphire Falls to SeaWorld, Aquatica (SeaWorld’s water park), and Volcano Bay, Universal’s water theme park.

Transportation options to Universal CityWalk, Universal Studios Florida, and Islands of Adventure

Sapphire Falls Resort offers three methods of getting to CityWalk and Universal’s theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. Each has its positives and negatives, which we’ll explore now.

water taxi dock serving CityWalk, Universal Studios Florida, and Islands of Adventure
The water taxi dock serving CityWalk, Universal Studios Florida, and Islands of Adventure.
Water Taxi at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
Water Taxi at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
  • 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.)
  • 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 off (elevator available). Note that ECV rentals are still only available inside the parks.
  • Garden walkway: this roughly 1/2-mile walkway brings you back to Sapphire Falls.
Theme park walkway at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
Theme park walkway at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

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

 

Do you have a question about staying at Sapphire Falls Resort? Please let us know by posting in our Universal Community Facebook group.