Posts Tagged ‘Loews Royal Pacific Resort’

SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love Universal’s ROYAL PACIFIC RESORT

by on March 26, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love Universal’s Royal Pacific Resort. Currently the Universal Orlando Resort has four on-site hotels, with a fifth (Sapphire Falls) opening later this summer. Disney has three classifications for their resorts: Value (including Pop Century), Moderate (Port Orleans Riverside), and Deluxe (Contemporary). Universal also has three levels: Premier (including Portofino Bay), Prime Value (Cabana Bay Beach Resort), and Preferred, which is where the Royal Pacific Resort resides.

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Loews Royal Pacific Resort. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

While Disney runs its on-site resorts, Universal partners with a luxury hospitality company in Loews Hotels. One of the benefits of being run by a third party, is that Lowes has a loyalty program with YouFirst. Many of us have been on Disney vacations dozens (if not hundreds) of times, and unfortunately it doesn’t matter if it’s your first time at Art of Animation or your 50th, what you get is what you get. At Universal you start accruing benefits upon your 2nd stay and can earn privileges such as free room upgrades, late checkout, and even a $100 credit.

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Royal Pacific’s courtyard. (photo by Brandon Glover)

While I understand the arguments of staying off-site, for my family, staying on-site is one of our favorite parts of a theme park vacation, especially at Universal. Today we’re going to look at what I believe is the best on-site hotel in Orlando. So sit back, grab an ice cold Jake’s Red Lager, and let’s begin counting down the top six reasons we love Universal’s Royal Pacific Resort starting with…

# 6 – Pool and Beach Areas

The pool at the Royal Pacific Resort is massive. While it is the only resort at Universal without a slide, it does feature the gigantic Royal Bali Sea interactive water play area connected to the pool. This play area is themed to a ship, features water cannons, and seemingly dumps about a million gallons of water on the people playing around it. When I was a kid all the pools were the same shape: a rectangle. If pools and play areas existed like this, I’m not even sure my parents would have been able to drag me away to go to the theme parks.

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One of the small islands found inside the Royal Pacific Resort.

For adults, there is plenty of seating, a white sand beach, zero entry, cabanas, two hot tubs, an ice-cream place, and the Bula Bar & Grille. The pool area offers towels, magazines and newspapers to read while laying out in the sun, and games such as ping pong. While there is plenty of covered seating at the Bula Bar, servers will come out to the pool area to deliver drinks and food. Our recommendation: Shipwrecked Loaded Nachos (but you can’t go wrong with the burgers either.)

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Royal Bali Sea water feature.

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Shipwrecked Loaded Nachos, pound for pound the best food offered pool side in Orlando. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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SATURDAY SIX: Yes, Even MORE Extreme Eats at the Universal Orlando Resort

by on November 21, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Even MORE Extreme Eats at the Universal Orlando Resort. We’re fast approaching Thanksgiving, the official holiday of glorious overeating. As most of you know by now, we here at the SATURDAY SIX headquarters are big fans of Extreme Eats at the theme parks. Long ago we passed the line of adventurous foodies and into the realm of  gluttony for the sake of gluttony. And guess what? We’re heading back for more! So sit back, be careful as this article is the literary equivalent of a case of 5 Hour Energy (unfortunately just all of the side effects and none of the benefits), and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

# 6  – Big Pink Donut (Springfield, USA)

Our first stop has to be in Universal’s Springfield USA, home of the Krusty Burger, the Clogger, and Lard Lad Donuts. The giant Lard Lad figure and his gigantic donut (a fun reference to the Big Boy restaurant mascot) stand out even in a land of outrageousness. But what stands out even more is the  Lard Lad Big Pink Donut. The size of a human head, the Big Pink Donut is incredible to see in person, and even better to eat!

As Homer Simpon once said, “Donuts. Is there anything they can’t do?”

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Now THAT’S a donut!

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Encased in glass, like all fine works of art. (photo by @AmusementBuzz)

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Universal Dining: The Wok Experience at Royal Pacific’s Islands Dining Room

by on September 15, 2015

We have covered some of the Royal Pacific Resort (RPR) dining options previously with Jake’s American Bar (along with Jake’s character breakfast) and the absolute must-do, Emeril’s Tchoup Chop (be sure to order Tchoup Chop’s signature Mai Tai). Today we are going to  look at the main dining area of the resort – or at least its largest – Islands Dining Room. While Islands has the best breakfast buffet on Universal property, we ventured into the restaurant for dinner, and not just any dinner: The Wok Experience. We have heard countless rave reviews of this dinner and decided to see if it lived up to the hype…

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Main entrance of Islands Dining Room on the ground floor of the Royal Pacific Resort. (all photos by Brandon Glover)

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Beef wok bowl.

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25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 5: Mai Tai at Emeril’s Tchoup Chop

by on December 5, 2014

The Christmas season, my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave advent calendars in the rear view mirror* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014 we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property. Bonus points award for atmosphere where drink is served. And any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY FIVE: Mai Tai at Emeril’s Tchoup Chop (Royal Pacific Resort)

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Mai Tai at Emeril’s Tchoup Chop (photo by Brandon Glover)

 

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Universal’s Royal Pacific Resort. The hotel also has one of my favorite restaurants on UOR property, Emeril’s Tchoup Chop. The signature drink at Tchoup Chop is their 1944 Mai Tai Roa Ae. Ingredients: 3 Star Barbancourt Rum, Myers Dark Rum, Orgeat Syrup, Orange Curacao & Fresh Lime Juice. Mai Tai Roa Ae translates as “Out of this world, the best.” This authentic Polynesian Mai Tai from Tchoup Chop tastes as good as it sounds, and we recommend getting it served in the high quality tiki mug.

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SATURDAY SIX: The Disney Hipsters Examine Six of Their Assumptions After Visiting the Universal Orlando Resort

by on October 4, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX is a very special one. A little over a year ago I was introduced to the Disney Hipsters podcast via the TouringPlans Podcast Network and I became an immediate fan. They are refreshingly different from the seemingly hundreds of Disney podcasts out there that just recite Disney press releases and while they have a true passion for Walt Disney World they never shy away from pointing out the bad along with the good. When they announced their first ever trip to the Universal Orlando Resort earlier this year, I couldn’t wait to get their unique perspective on the theme parks and staying onsite after years of being “Disney Only” fans. Today Disney Hipster Adam Ferretti is here to examine six of the assumptions they had about Universal before going on the trip and whether or not they held up after the vacation. As always, clicking on any picture will open up its full size version, so with that out of the way I will see you, Dear Reader, at the end of the article and hand the reigns over to Adam…

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The Disney Hipsters, Andrew and Adam, with Krusty the Clown.

As Disney nerds going into Universal, we had tons of preconceived notions on what to expect. We thought we would discuss six of those assumptions.

ASSUMPTION # 6 – Universal Team Members Would be Inferior to Disney Cast Members

This assumption was very wrong. As a rule, the team members were super friendly, helpful and amazing. We expected the customer service aspect and general employee/guest interactions at Universal to be less than great. We ended up being really surprised by the enthusiasm of the team members at both the parks and our resort (Royal Pacific.) This was especially true of performers inside both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida.

Universal pays their team members a bit better (we have heard) and gives them more freedom when doing their jobs. This results in guest interactions that come off as way more genuine along with performances that were truly engaging (check out the hosts of Disaster or the Horror Make Up show for great examples.) Disney is more controlling on Cast Member behavior, including what they can and cannot say. Sometimes this makes Cast Members seem like they’re faking it, resulting in their performances being generally stale and boring (see The Great Movie Ride).

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Universal’s Horror Make-Up Show. (photo by Trygve Nelson)

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SATURDAY SIX: Six “Secrets” of the Universal Orlando Resort (MEN IN BLACK, Doc Brown’s Plans, USF’s 2nd Entrance)

by on September 20, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six “Secrets” of the Universal Orlando Resort. Here at the SATURDAY SIX headquarters we look at the “secrets” of the theme park universe we all love; such as Island of Adventure’s Port of Entry and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade. Today we are going to look at the Universal Orlando Resort itself and examine six things you may not have known you could do there, even if you have gone 100 times. Remember that clicking on any picture will bring up the full size version, and let’s get to counting down the secrets contained within Universal, starting with…

# 6 – Tour the “Immigration Room” of the MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack Queue

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MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack (photo by Brandon Glover)

 

One of the areas at which Universal excels is attraction queues and one of our favorites is at MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack. One of the areas guests walk by overhead is the immigration room, which seems straight off the set of the first MIB film. What you may not know is that you can actually get a tour of this area. Talk to the Team Member outside of the attraction and ask if them if you can get a tour of the immigration room. If it is a slow time and they have someone available, another Team Member will come out and escort you into this incredible room.

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Observations from the Universal Orlando Resort: April 26, 2014 (Margaritaville, New Merchandise, Royal Pacific Resort)

by on April 30, 2014

Last week intrepid Potter reporter Seth Kubersky scoured both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure for the latest updates to his running series of PotterWatch articles. There were several big changes in the WWOHP world, including the arrival of the Knight Bus and the Wiseacre’s Wizarding Supplies storefront in Hogsmeade Village being converted into Madame Puddifoot’s Tea Shop. Crack photographer Brandon Glover and myself hit the parks later in the week to see what else was going on at Universal. Here’s what we found…

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When your walk to the park looks like this, who wants to take a shuttle or boat?

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Universal Dining: Emeril’s Tchoup Chop at the Royal Pacific Resort

by on February 11, 2014

TchoupChop_SignI’m a big fan of all three of Universal’s on-site hotels but the Royal Pacific Resort is definitely my favorite. Even though I have been going to the hotel for years, I have always eaten my meals at the parks or at CityWalk. After having a terrific breakfast buffet experience at the Islands Dining Room earlier last year, I realized I needed to start checking out all the eateries at the Royal Pacific. First I tried lunch and drinks at Jake’s American Bar, followed by the Royal Pacific’s Character Breakfast (also at Jake’s). In January of this year, Emeril’s Tchoup Chop made some major changes by bringing in a new chef de cuisine, Ryan Vargas, and completely updating their lunch and dinner menus. Seth Kubersky wrote an article on the TouringPlans blog recently that explored the new menu, and that sealed the deal for me. I needed to try Tchoup Chop ASAP.

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First Look: New Menu at Emeril’s Tchoup Chop featuring Robata Grill

by on January 23, 2014

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An updated sushi bar is just one of chef Ryan Vargas’ new changes at Emeril’s Tchop Chop

Since it opened with Loews Royal Pacific Resort hotel in 2001, Emeril’s Tchoup Chop has established itself as one of the best upscale eateries at Universal Orlando Resort. To kick off 2014, my favorite happy hour hangout has shaken things up in a serious way, with a new chef, new front-of-house management, new flavors, and a new high-tech tool in the kitchen. We’ll be returning in the future for a fully detailed review of Tchoup Chop’s new menu choices, but for now here’s a small taste to whet your appetite.

New chef de cuisine Ryan Vargas (a veteran of Four Seasons and Ritz Carltons in Hawaii and Palm Beach) came on board in October, but only recently introduced his completely revamped menu. The emphasis is still on “Asian-inspired island cuisine”, but there are a variety of new appetizers and entrees, an expanded sushi selection, and a brand-new specialty cocktail list.

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Observations from the Universal Orlando Resort: November 3, 2013 (Character Breakfast, Red Oven Pizza, Jurassic Park Games, and more)

by on November 5, 2013

This past Sunday I made the trip up to Orlando for a day at the Universal Orlando Resort. The first stop was at Jake’s American Bar at the Royal Pacific Resort for the on-site hotel character breakfast. This would be my first ever character breakfast, and we were drawn to it because of the characters from Despicable Me. It’s safe to say that meeting Gru and a Minion was pretty special to the youngsters in our party. Some bunny characters from the movie Hop made an appearance, as well.

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