Posts Tagged ‘Hard Rock Hotel’

One Night at Hard Rock Hotel for Two Days at Universal Orlando

by on September 5, 2017

I recently traveled with relatives who wanted to visit Universal Orlando for two days. To maximize that time, I decided to book a room for one night at one of Universal’s deluxe hotels in order to enjoy two days of Early Park Admission and Unlimited Universal Express.

The plan was basically this:

  1. Book the cheapest hotel room that will hold 4 adults and 1 kid (those who would use Universal Express).
  2. Arrive before park opening on check-in day to get Universal Express and enjoy Early Park Admission at one park.
  3. Check out early the next day in time to enjoy Early Park Admission at the other park.
  4. Use Universal Express wherever possible in order to breeze through attraction lines.

The plan mostly worked well, but weather and my group’s stamina prevented us from doing everything in the Universal Orlando parks during those two days. This article focuses on Hard Rock Hotel and the stay’s impact on touring the Universal Orlando theme parks.

Deluxe Queen Room

Hard Rock Hotel

There are several Hard Rock Hotel locations in the world. Like the other on-site Universal Orlando hotels, this location is run by Loews. (Hard Rock has its own Rock Royalty loyalty programs, so you cannot utilize the Loews YouFirst program here.) This is a resort-style hotel, with a snazzy pool, organized activities, several restaurants, a fitness center, and more.

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SATURDAY SIX: Movies and TV Shows That Were Filmed at the Universal Orlando Resort

by on June 4, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Movies, Television Shows, and Music Videos shot at the Universal Orlando Resort. Loyal readers have gone with us down the rabbit hole to see all the Walt Disney locations used in the Hulk Hogan TV show Thunder in Paradise. Then we checked out the times our favorite sitcoms like Boy Meets World and Full House that went to Disney World. Today we are taking I4 West across Orlando and checking out which movies, television shows, and music videos were filmed at the Universal Orlando Resort. Now, Universal Studios Florida is still a working production studio with several sound stages, and has been the home to such shows as Family Feud, TNA Impact, and the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. However today we are going to look at productions which  – for the most part – filmed outside of the sound stages, allowing us to see our favorite Universal rides, hotels, and characters. So sit back, follow along with us on your Comcast cable box, and let’s start our countdown with…

# 6 – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt “Kimmy Finds Her Mom!”

Season 2, episode 13

We’re going to start off our list with the newest of the bunch, as this particular episode aired in April of 2016. I have to personally begin with a mea culpa. I have never seen an episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It’s one of those shows (along with Game of Thrones, Orange is the New Black, and Veep) that we’re all supposed to watch. But there is just too much good TV on right now to keep up with everything. I will say this after watching just one episode of Kimmy Schmidt, I’m immediately going back to watch the entire first and second seasons. It reminded me of two of my all time favorite comedies: 30 Rock and Parks and Rec.

While Kimmy Schmidt the show didn’t have as much making fun of the theme park world we know and love (unlike Roseanne, which skewered the parks) it was top to bottom the funniest show I have ever seen involving a theme park (this also includes the more recent episodes of The Middle and Modern Family which went to WDW and Disneyland.) The A-plot of the show involved Kimmy Schimdt finally tracking down her mother, played by the incredible Lisa Kudrow (Friends and the must-see The Comeback.) The B-plots, which involved one character finding herself in the middle of the Washington Redskins owners, and another over at the Kennedy Space Center in Titusville, were just as good as the main storyline.


Kimmy arrives at Universal Studios Florida.


The Minions, Olive Oyl, and stilt walkers from The Mummy in the Hollywood section of USF. This led to a wonderful scene where Kimmy was mistaken for a meet and greet character and families kept lining up to take their picture with her just because others were.


Kimmy and her mom buying Universal Express to ride Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. I just could not believe my eyes at this point. This would be similar to a sitcom at Walt Disney World  having a character make ADRs 180+10 days out.

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Dani’s Best Week Ever February 18, 2016: Universal Mardi Gras

by on February 18, 2016

Ed – You already know Best Week Ever, but we have some new Best Week Ever authors. Why limit who can describe having the best week ever when you have two wonderful ladies who can do it? Welcome, Dani!

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of Best Week Ever. I am excited to share the BWE spotlight and take you along on my adventures through all of Orlando’s theme parks. I’ve spent my entire life in Orlando and have always had a passion for travel and tourism. By day I work in the hotel industry, by nights and weekends I roam throughout Central Florida enjoying all there is to offer.

Enough with the introductions, laissez le bon temps rouler (let the good times roll!) it’s time for my first visit to Universal Mardi Gras for 2016, the first of many I can assure you. I visited on Sunday, Valentine’s Day, ready to meet up with some great folks and check out some Barenaked Ladies (the band of course!) However, the night before Miss Diana Ross graced the Universal Mardi Gras stage and drew quite the crowd. I read horror stories on Twitter about the parking garage during the mass exodus after the concert being backed up and disorganized, leaving guests stuck in traffic for an hour. A game plan was in order.

A taste of things to come, a popular and crowded Universal Mardi Gras

A taste of things to come, a popular and crowded Universal Mardi Gras

I decided I would rather spend a little bit of money to valet park at one of the on-site hotels and enjoy a nice drink and an appetizer at one of the hotel restaurants in order to reduce the cost of valet parking. To be certain of my options I called up the hotel (407-503-2000) and the friendly operator explained that valet parking is validated at The Palm Restaurant, Velvet Lounge, and The Kitchen. Valet parking is not free when you dine here, but reduced from $23 to $5. Since The Palm and Velvet Lounge don’t open until 5pm, I decided upon The Kitchen (open from 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM).

If you are a local or are driving in from an area hotel, prepare for traffic, especially from 2:00 PM onward. Mardi Gras takes places on the weekends, so that in itself makes it busier. Couple that with much of the festivities taking place in the afternoon and evening, plus some decent headlining concerts, and you’ve got a recipe for traffic congestion. That’s exactly what we found on our way, coming from the Northeast side of the Orlando area. We took a back way, Conroy Road to Vineland Road, which leads to Universal Blvd.

Pulling up to the hotel was a breeze. I told the bellman we were coming in for some food and drink at The Kitchen and confirmed that by doing so we could get the valet parking validated. The outside entrance of the Hard Rock Hotel is beautiful, the inside lobby however has never really impressed me. Still the resort has an irresistible energy.



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SATURDAY SIX: Six More Extreme Eats at the Universal Orlando Resort

by on September 14, 2013

The Saturday Six is a weekly look at the most interesting, most fun, and sometimes even the most jaw dropping things within the theme park world that we all love so much. Whether it’s the top six “secrets” of the Marvel Superhero Island, the top six food options at Fast Food Blvd, or even the top six signature drinks inside the Universal parks, the Saturday Six will be your personal guide to experiencing the very best Orlando has to offer.

This week’s Saturday Six looks at six MORE Extreme Eats found at the Universal Orlando Resort. Faithful readers the blog may remember our original look at six Extreme Eats on property and now we’re back with six more! While other theme park companies may be trying to convince guests of the magic of healthy living, Universal is giving guests what they want: incredible food items that may at times be decadent… may occasionally be over the top… and sometimes should probably be sold with a defibrillator or insulin syringe, but they always taste great. You’re on vacation; there will be plenty of time to eat grapes back at home.

# 6– Shipwrecked Loaded Nachos at the Bula Bar and Grille (Royal Pacific Resort)


Shipwrecked loaded nachos from the Royal Pacific’s Bula Bar. (photo by Brandon Glover)

I was very excited to finally try these extreme nachos on my recent trip up to Universal (click here to read my observations of the time spent on property) and they did not disappoint. We took a quick walk over to the Royal Pacific during the middle of the day to get away from the heat and sat down poolside at the Bula Bar & Grille.

A regular order of the Shipwrecked Loaded Nachos contains a gigantic plate of nachos with black beans, cheddar cheese sauce, sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole, jalapeno, and scallions. Considering its size, this is almost a steal at $10. You can also add grilled chicken ($14) or grilled beef ($15) to the toppings. Definitely the best plate of nachos I have ever had, what really takes this experience over the top is half way through eating them, when all the toppings have started to become absorbed into the chips themselves. So good.

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