The Family Forward conference was held at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort. I have been to Orlando a few times but we have always stayed offsite from all the parks in condos so we could have a little more space and get away from the madness.
This trip I learned why it makes sense to stay on site. Not only are there perks to staying there (awesome, awesome perks), but the Royal Pacific was GORGEOUS!
A tropical paradise right? It felt like something out of an old Humphrey Bogart movie in the pacific. There were lizards and palm trees and elephants whose trunks were fountains into a reflective pool.
It was hard to pull ourselves away from the amusement parks but I am so glad we spent an afternoon enjoying their pool. There are kid’s activities all throughout the day. Hula hoop contests, water balloon tosses, sno cones, crafts and at night, “Dive In Movies”.
My kiddos cuddled up watching E.T. for the first time
There are several restaurants on site, but we ate all our meals at Jake’s. It was perfect for families and the staff there remembered us every time we came back in. I am choosing to believe that is because their staff was awesome and not that we behaved in a memorable way….. Plus one of the nights we were there they had karaoke. I am a sucker for some karaoke.
The perks of being a hotel guest are what truly make the Loews’ resorts something you should check out. When you stay at the hotel, you get complimentary water taxis to the parks. My kids loved this and the “captain” was awesome about letting kids pretend to drive the boat.
So okay, that isn’t a huge wow factor, but these perks are. One hour early admission to Harry Potter Wizarding World (trust me that this is a huge benefit to beat the crowds). Delivery of any merchandise purchased throughout the parks back to your hotel (when you buy all your loot at Wizarding World first thing in the day you don’t want to cart that stuff around). And unlimited Express passes at both Universal Parks.
I knew express passes existed, but had never used them before at a theme park. Now I will never do a theme park without them. We easily made it to all the rides in each park in a day because we spent so little time in lines. Where there were waits for 45 minutes to an hour for the popular rides we got through in 5-10 minutes. Keep in mind our trip was in August during a significantly less crowded season. I can’t imagine what lines are like during peak times. This perk was beyond amazing.
Universal has three separate resorts, each offering something a bit different. They are also opening a fourth, family oriented, mid-priced resort called Cabana Bay in 2014. It won’t offer all the perks I mentioned, but you can see what each park offers on their website.
Tomorrow will be my last post covering Family Forward and I will share what I learned at the awesome conference itself. Hope you will stick around for one more!