Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando Review – 5 Reasons to stay on property #UniversalOrlando

We absolutely LOVED the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando. Read on for Photos and Video of our Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando Review.

I’ve also included a list of our top reasons to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel. Having stayed at a Universal Orlando property resort, I’d NEVER visit any other way again. The convenience and FREE express pass ticket upgrade for the entire family that come with your room offer a priceless value!


Upon our arrival, we were all impressed with the cool rock and roll theme throughout the hotel. The kids were even given fun inflatable guitars at check in! Throughout the lobby and even on our floor there are tons of official “rock and roll” goodies in the Hard Rock collection – Elton John’s Boots and so much more in the way of outfits, instruments and so on. Very cool!

Video Tour of our Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando Room

Here’s a video of our room. As you can see it was beautiful and everything was very spacious and comfortable. Exactly what you expect from a deluxe hotel like the Hard Rock hotel. And the kids loved the little free surprises before bedtime like Hard Rock keychains and Hard Rock rubber bracelets.

5 Reasons to Stay at the Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando

Here’s 5 reasons we absolutely LOVED the Hard Rock Hotel and why we’d go back again and stay here on future visits.

1. Convenience of close location to Universal Theme Parks

The Hard Rock is an “on property”  Universal resort and is beyond conveniently located to both Universal theme parks – Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure (Home of Wizarding World of Harry Potter) and the City Walk area that is full of energy, restaurants and activities for the family.

Literally we could walk to the park gates in about 5-6 minutes! Or you could take a water taxi as well, but truly that would have been an ever longer walk than just leaving the hotel by the pool and walking directly to Universal.

2. FREE Express Pass park ticket upgrades for your entire family 

This has an enormous value as Express Pass tickets at Universal give you the privilege of waiting in a shorter line to go on attractions. Our lines using Express Pass were virtual non-existent even on popular rides like Flight of the Hippogriff in Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Plus, normally this upgrade can cost anywhere from $29.95 to far more. The day we were visiting – they would have been $60 per person!

3. $5 Kids Breakfast Buffet – plus they BAKE gluten free items by request!

Breakfast is our favorite meal. My kids need it to start their days so we love a great buffet. But I hate paying a fortune for breakfast. If you eat before 9 AM at the Hard Rock Hotel, kids eat the buffet for only $5. What a deal.

Given Kyle’s celiac disease we always need to find him gluten free options, and this can be challenging when traveling. Often he eats less than desirable items for a kid because of his restrictions if we are at restaurants.  The chef at the Hard Rock was willing to bake him gluten free pancakes or waffles each morning! All for his $5 fee. My little guy was eating like King with freshly baked gluten free blueberry pancakes!


4. Fantastic Resort style pool with Waterslide 

We loved the gorgeous pool area. The waterslide was tons of fun – I even went down it a handful of times. Also, the pool is tricked out to “Hard Rock” in that if you swim underwater, in certain sections of the pool you’ll hear music as they have underwater speakers. Cool!



5. Tricked out Room Keys 

Sometimes it’s the little things that make you happy! My kids obsessed over these room keys that came complete with their own name and character on them. Each of us got our very own room key – which we then used to make our FREE Express Pass tickets. The kids were able to select the characters they’d like on their keys – and when at first they didn’t have their favorite characters, staff immediately swapped them out their faves the next day.

Kyle picked Transformers and Kenzie picked Harry Potter characters. Fun! Other options were Spiderman, Despicable Me, ET, Betty Boop and more.


Upon our arrival, we were all impressed with the cool rock and roll theme throughout the hotel. The kids were even given fun inflatable guitars at check in! Throughout the lobby and even on our floor there are tons of official “rock and roll” goodies in the Hard Rock collection – Elton John’s Boots and so much more in the way of outfits, instruments and so on. Very cool!

Here’s what the hotel looks like as you arrive up to the entrance. Beautiful!


Staff left us this “rockin” welcome in our room. My kids were wild about the Chocolate Guitar!


Note: Thanks to Universal Orlando for providing our family with a tour and park tickets for our visit to facilitate our coverage. We paid for our food and stay at the Hard Rock Hotel.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own. 

About Colleen Padilla

Colleen Padilla, the founder and editor of ClassyMommy.com lives in the Philly suburbs and is a full time mom for her 2 children, Mackenzie (7) and Kyle (5). Colleen and the Classy Mommy website have been featured on Fox News, Good Morning America, The New York Times, Parenting Magazine, The New York Post, local Philadelphia ABC, CBS, and NBC programs. Colleen has appeared in a TV special about Alpha Moms on South Korea’s NBC affiliate SBS. She also co-authored The Digital Mom Handbook (HarperCollins).


  1. Vera Sweeney says:

    WHAT a GREAT hotel!!!! I hadn’t thought about staying there before — thanks for the review!

  2. Jessica @EatSleepBe says:

    I seriously never would have known these things about staying at the Hard Rock Hotel, especially the gluten-free part and the free upgrades! That is terrific!

  3. WOW! What a fun hotel. I am so glad the kids had a great time. I love that they had personalized room keys. I love places that make children feel special. AWESOME! : )

  4. OMG, Henry was watching the video with me and LOVES the blow up guitar! The photos are amazing! What an insane hotel – so cool!!! The pool looks awesome, too!!! Loved your posts of the trip, the boys are dying to go to Harry Potter!!!!

  5. I completely agree staying on the property is the best way to experience this Hotel- I love all the amenities and details that the hotel offer guests- everything just looks spectacular!

  6. Kristin says:

    Will remember this! Being from Tampa, we’re over there all the time!

  7. Wow – Looks like a fabulous place to stay and looks like you and your family had an incredible time. The resort is gorgeous – I actually am dying to visit the Hard Rock in Mexico…hopefully within the year!

  8. What a fun trip! I think the express pass upgrade makes it all worth it!

  9. The rock & roll desserts are the best. Looks like a great family spot.

  10. Looks amazing! I love that they cater to those who are gluten-free.

  11. I loved the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego. Such a cool vibe. This looks like a fantastic vacation.

  12. Stephanie says:

    What an amazing hotel and fabulous room! Love all the perks that are included with your stay too – that express pass upgrade makes it well worth it!

  13. Caitlin says:

    looks so cool! I’m loving that view of the pool right now!

  14. Piera says:

    We have been dying to visit Universal for a while now! I followed along on your trip through social media and loved seeing all of your pictures. The Hard Rock Hotel looks wonderful! I love that they give you the free Express Pass park ticket upgrades – that is very cool!

  15. Brandi says:

    I can’t WAIT to take the kids to Universal and the Hard Rock sounds like the perfect place to stay! Thanks for the great heads-up!

  16. Carrie says:

    I’m a super-duper hotel snob and I have to say I’d TOTALLY stay there! Love the pool area, room keys, and that they bake gluten free… SUCH a bonus. Thanks for sharing, we hope to head down there this fall!

  17. Great review Colleen! Plus when you stay onsite, you can use the pools and amenities at the other 2 onsite resorts as well. It’s the “AAA 12-Diamond” experience!

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  19. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the link. I think this is the winner! This is Brad’s first solo kid trip, so he wants everything to be as easy as possible. Walkable is certainly easy! They are soaking up as much HP as they can to prep for the trip. I am excited for them. -SBF


  1. […] the pool look so inviting??? We’ve stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando and loved it, but now I’m excited to explore this new “retro” option as the photos […]

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