My ‘Secret’ Universal Vacation Plan

You’ve read my story of “How We Started” Orlando Hotel Shuttles with our dad-and-son trip that included Disney’s Pop Century Resort, plus the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom Park, and our favorite, Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Well last year, I planned a Spring Break trip with that son, Jesse, and his older brother, Matthew. This time we headed for Universal Studios Theme Parks. After I shared our vacation plan with a woman on the phone who was planning to come down with her two teenage sons — along with my personal “secret” for making the trip a success (she was very excited to hear it!) — I thought I really ought to share the ideas with more travelers. So here goes.

We started our trip at the Best Western Plus Orlando Gateway. It is a very comfortable hotel and literally across the street from Wet ‘n Wild, and I bought us 3-day Park-to-Park tickets that included this fun and awesome park. We booked a relaxing afternoon flight to arrive at MCO in early evening, then had the evening to hang around the hotel pool or walk either south to International Drive or north to Universal CityWalk for entertainment and dinner. (We chose CityWalk.) Next day, sleep in and hit Wet ‘n Wild all day long. (Water parks always open later in the morning and close early evening, giving you another night to chill.)

The morning of our second full day, we packed our bags and took a taxi from the Best Western to Loews Royal Pacific Resort one mile away. Now the Best Western is comfortable (and the right price!), but the Royal Pacific is très magnifique! (Actually the Portofino Bay Hotel is très magnifique-er, but we were traveling on a budget.)

So why blow the hotel budget on the third night in? Glad you asked! Any of the Loews hotels on-property at Universal Studios will let you check-in at 7 a.m. (you store your luggage with the bellman). Now you have your room key — granting you one hour earlier access to Universal’s Islands of Adventure and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — and you also get unlimited Express ride access, to skip the regular lines in both parks all day. AND the benefits extend through all day tomorrow, after you check out. (This is my “Big Secret” for making the most of your days at both Universal parks.) Be sure you get your tickets to Blue Man Group for tonight or tomorrow — you will love this incredibly unique show!

[Note: As of April 2014, Universal’s new on-site hotel, the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, is now open — and boasts even lower rates than the other hotels on-property. However, the Universal Express Unlimited ride access feature I mention above applies only for guests at “Deluxe On-Site Hotels” according to — guests staying at the Cabana Bay do not receive this bonus.]

Day 3: Check out of the Royal Pacific and leave bags once again with the bellmen. After the parks close, ride the free water taxi back to your hotel, collect your suitcases, and stroll (or taxi) across the street to the Holiday Inn & Suites Maingate to Universal. (There is also the DoubleTree Hotel Universal Orlando and my personal all-around favorite, the Hyatt Place Universal … but they were booked solid on this particular night.)

Next morning, meet your driver just outside the hotel lobby doors, and you’re on the shuttle to Orlando International Airport. (Wow! I’m ready to go again!  : )

Wishing you this much FUN on your trip!
— Rick

A Savings Success Story

Recently a man contacted us to ask about how to create his reservation when he was being dropped off at MCO, instead of flying in on an airline. He had booked round-trip travel on the cruise line bus, which only took him and his family to and from the airport.

This gentleman and his wife were planning a family trip with their kids and grandkids. The cruise line made it ‘easy’ to add on their ground transportation to the port, but since the family wanted to spend a few days at Walt Disney World following the cruise, he wanted to book a separate round trip from MCO to his Disney area resort hotel.

I explained that we could certainly book the transfers he requested, but that with the multi-route discount available, I could probably save him even more money while also providing a private vehicle for his family for the routes to and from the port as well.

After comparing the Cruise’s ground transport price of $70 per person for his group of seven passengers, he was able to not only enjoy having a private driver waiting for him at the airport baggage claim, but they rode in a private car for all three routes AND saved $285. The cruise line gave a full refund of their ground transportation charges in a simple cancellation process.

Helping people have More Fun on their trip – and saving them money – is what we love! Click the link above to get your Free Quote and start our simple (and free) booking process.

Cruise Season is Upon Us

With the advent of Summer comes the season of cruising! And cruise deals are everywhere.

Port Canaveral is located about one hour east of the Orlando International Airport and an hour-and-a-half southeast of Sanford International. Travelers find amazing offers and luxurious service from the top cruise lines sailing from this port: Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Lines, and Carnival Cruises.

Our drivers are on-call to serve you! We can help you find the very best prices for transfers from the airport (or airport hotel) to the cruise port to meet your ship. By comparing prices and service levels, you can find the best in transportation options from Orlando to Port Canaveral terminal.

Many of our clients choose to fly in the day before and stay overnight before heading to the port to board their cruise ship. We offer transport from Orlando airport hotels direct to the port, but we also take travelers to Cocoa Beach hotels from the airport, then pick them up at the ship for their return trip.

And if you want to add a few days at Disney or Universal Studios before or after your cruise – no problem! Just enter your trip details on our quick & easy quote page to get the best pricing on your entire trip. Click the link in the menu above to get your free quote now!

Big Changes .. Better Service

Today we made major changes throughout our site. For the more than two years since Orlando Hotel Shuttles first went online, we have listed all the competitive rates from every transportation company servicing the Orlando area. Some of these rates were “Verified Best Price” rates, which we confirmed with each company to ensure there were “no surprises”; rates that included all fees and surcharges — everything except driver gratuity — so our customers could have a true apples-to-apples comparison when making their decision about which company to choose for transport to their hotel or resort from the Orlando airport.

Some of the companies wouldn’t commit to a definite price, so we listed the rates from their websites, but clearly notated that those rates were unreliable and might change if and when that transportation company accepted the new reservation. In all cases, however, we offered the most convenient and secure online reservations process to simplify the booking process.

Now, as time has gone by and we’ve gotten to know each company better — and the quality of service they provide — we have “settled” on a group of the Top Ten local transportation companies that we know are reliable and provide excellent service.

Our website has now been updated to list just those top vendors — still with the convenience of secure, online reservations and NO FEES added from us at all.

We hope you will find the new site to be just what you need for your Orlando hotel and Port Canaveral cruise transfers. We do the research so you don’t have to!