An Inside Look at Universal Orlando VIP Tours, the Destination and Hotels #HHN25

For many, getting onto a Universal Orlando VIP tour is a dream come true. I mean, it’s no secret, VIP is just better than the rest. You get front of the line access among a myriad of other bennies which make your Universal experience simply amazing. I’ve always wanted to experience the Universal VIP tour and yesterday it finally came to pass. As a Florida resident who holds season passes (and knows the ins and outs of value at Florida theme parks), I found the VIP tour to be a value for the service. I’ve listed everything you need to know about visiting the destination, staying in a hotel and getting the best possible experience for your money VIP tour style.

Universal Orlando Resort is a Destination

I think this is the first important thing to understand when weighing out the value for your trip and considering whether or not to shell out the dough for a VIP tour. With Universal Orlando being like an actual city, there’s no real reason to go anywhere else if you’re looking for convenience. From an international standpoint and even a domestic one, it’s just easier to arrive and be chauffeured everywhere until you leave right? I mean, even if you plan on visiting other Orlando attractions, blocking off 2-3 days just for this destination is ideal. So you’ll want to know the best points about Universal Orlando as a destination:

  • 4 on-site resort-style Loews Hotel properties to choose from which meet every budget and offer park transport.
  • Universal City Walk which includes dining, night life, miniature golf, a movie theater, shopping and goes till 2am. Transport offered by all Universal Orlando Resort hotel properties.
  • Includes both theme parks right next door to each other, Universal Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios.
  • Blue Man Group theatrical performance at City Walk.
  • Concerts at The Hard Rock Cafe.
  • All this action in once place make it easy to spend your entire vacation here and makes your experience very convenient.

Have you seen their sizzle reel?

What Hotel Should You Stay with at Universal?

As of now I’ve seen all the Loews Hotels at UOR and they are all gorgeous. They of course range in price, so I guess your budget would mandate your choice. For my VIP tour yesterday and for the upcoming Halloween Horror Nights 25 which I will be experiencing tonight, I am staying at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel which has recently been renovated and sits on the water. I can personally say the rooms are exquisite and the service impeccable.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel. Photo provided by OUR but we stayed in this suite and it was just as stunning as this photo.

True Story: My first night here I had the worst headache in the history of headaches. I called the front desk, it was late, I just could not take another second of this pain! John was so nice and helpful, he offered my partner a town car and chauffeured him to the nearest pharmacy. I don’t know how I would have made it otherwise. He saved me! That is service!

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Rolling up at night to Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is pretty sweet. We took the water taxi to and from City Walk.

The Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is a great choice and second closest to parks (Hard Rock is the closest). I thoroughly enjoyed taking the water taxi to and from City Walk which takes you right to the parks. I loved the lush landscaped property too. There’s also loads of retail and even three gorgeous pools with hot tubs. A really great choice for families and couples. I’ve also stayed at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort which is right on for young families for both price and entertainment, but it is a budget targeted hotel and I feel like Portofino Bay is a step up.

Universal Orlando VIP Tour

Heading backstage with the VIP tour.

The Universal VIP Tour Deets (and Why I Will Go Again)

After reading the top ranking blog posts on Universal Orlando’s VIP tour experience I found common denominator, money can’t be an object. I couldn’t disagree with this more. I’m not straight ballin’ by any means, but I will, and have in the past, put money aside for something I think will provide me an unforgettable experience for the price. I mean, spending one day VIP style as opposed to 3-4 days wading your way through the parks so you can get into every ride experience for your big family trip just seems logical. And if you compare spending, you may even find yourself saving some money here.

Now before you go flipping your feathers over pricing, let me tell you what an experience at Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure is like without a fast pass or VIP experience. Chances are if you’re visiting during your kid’s school break it’s going to be very crowded. Wait times can exceed 2 hours on popular rides like Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, Transformers, Spider-Man, the Hogwarts Express and more. When you’re thinking of a park which gives you 10-12 hours of face time, you end up having to be choosy with your rides. Of course this keeps you going back and back again for more experiences but in reality, waiting in line sucks. Especially when you just flew your family in from another country or even the other side of our country, and are likely to not be visiting again for a couple years.

My thought, make the experience as memorable as possible and spend the extra dough. It. Is. Completely. Worth. Every. Penny. Here are the comparisons:

Universal Orlando Resort VIP 3

STOKED! We got super exclusive access to the immigrations unit at the MIB headquarters. OMG so cool!!! I had no idea they took their VIP here. You can totally do this too. Geek level achieved for me!

Universal VIP Non-Exclusive 2 Park Tour *Prices Subject to Change by Park

  • Admission $147 / per person (non-peak) 1 day – 2 park pass plus tax ($142 for 3yrs-9yrs)
  • $349 / per person (non-peak) $419 (peak) for 2-parks
  • 11am-6pm
  • Skip ahead to the front of the line at 10 rides of the tour guide’s choosing *does NOT guarantee Wizarding World rides but they do try their best
  • Continental breakfast
  • Discounts on additional meals and merchandise
  • Valet parking
  • 12 people in group (mixed with other families)
  • Backstage experiences (we took the sound stage and beneath the Mummy ride track ***killer)
  • Add 2 nights at a premiere hotel (same price applied to comparison below) = $720 plus tax plus parking.
  • This will average total off-peak $550 / per person plus tax. Adding lunch and dinner into this ($50 bucks) for 5 people on this VIP tour with 2 nights hotel and food cost you’re looking at $750 per person plus tax (PLUS PARKING).

Universal VIP Exclusive 2 Park Tour *Prices Subject to Change by Park

  • Admission $147 / per person (non-peak) 1 day – 2 park pass plus tax ($142 for 3yrs-9yrs)
  • Flat rate of $3,099 (non-peak) $3,499 (peak) for up to 5 people (additional people pay the non-exclusive price per person (see above)
  • 8 full hours of an itinerary of your choosing including Wizarding World of Harry Potter Rides
  • Skip ahead to the front of the line at your choice of rides
  • Backstage experiences
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Valet parking
  • Discounts on additional meals and merchandise
  • A photo package
  • Add 2 nights at a premiere hotel (same price applied to comparison below) = $720 plus tax plus parking.
  • This will average for 5 people off-peak of $767 per person plus tax. Adding 2 nights hotel you’re looking at $908 per person plus tax (PLUS PARKING).

Let’s Compare a Fast-Pass Experience of 5 with Hotel and food *I’ve used Portofino Bay which I mentioned in this article above

  • 2-park admission per person – $147 +tax per person x5 people = $735ish
  • If you want to see all the rides, you’re going to need about 4 days to pull it off, so let’s add that $147 again. Our total is now = $294 +tax per person x5 people = $2,940
  • Now let’s talk hotels. By staying on-site premiere (I don’t know why you wouldn’t, you get early entry and shuttled around and you get express passes which run $90 bucks per person per day), you’re looking at $359 +tax per night, plus parking. For 5 nights that’s over $1,795 (tax parking). So our total is now admissions $2,940 + hotel $1,795 (all plus tax) = $4,735
  • Let’s talk about food! At $75 a day per person x5 people = $375 x4 days= $1,500 MAKING YOUR GRAND TOTAL FOR 5 NIGHTS, 4 days of 2 park admission with fast passes for 5 people and dining= $6,235 plus tax. Approximately $1,247 per person.  

For the most up to date details on pricing visit their webpage here or call: 1-866-346-9350 any day of the week during normal business hours (EST 9am – 7pm, 7 days a week.

For $908 a person (estimated without taxes and off-peak), for all the extras you get, the fact that you get to go on ALL your favorite rides and get 3 meals, all the frills, and the red carpet treatment, to me this is a no brainer. I know that’s a lot, but it’s certainly not impossible and in my opinion, worth saving for. I think, most people don’t even realize this is an option since you don’t see it heavily advertised. I’m no mathematician, but the difference is so worth the jump to a private tour, and even as a Florida resident I think we’ll be doing the private tour probably once every couple years or so. Not to mention, if you roll with express passes, you just have to stay longer to get it all covered and it actually ends up costing more!

Seriously, people, friends, film-loving geeks…. I’m telling you, I love being at Universal Orlando Resort. As a huge movie geek, it’s always an incredible experience staying on property and being in the parks / City Walk. Being able to experience the VIP tour was literally incredible and I hope all of you get to do it at least once. I know I’m hooked!

The Fairytale Traveler at Universal Islands of Adventure VIP

Having some frozen Butter Beer at Universal Islands of Adventure! OMG YUMZ!

Stay tuned for our next post, Halloween Horror Nights 25 Premiere Review! Watch the trailer here:

From the press release – The legendary Jack the Clown makes his triumphant (and twisted) return to present the biggest and scariest Halloween Horror Nights® ever, select nights from September 18th through November 1st. Now in its 25th year at Universal Orlando® Resort, the nation’s premier Halloween event puts you right into some of the most pulse-pounding moments in horror history.

Disclosure: While we have been fully sponsored by UOR on this VIP experience and stay at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, it in no way shapes our opinion of our experience, it just makes bringing you the deets more affordable and I’m okay with that.

Have you been on the Universal Orlando VIP tour or do you have questions? Tell us about it in the comments below!


About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Senior Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. Christa has been traveling the world since 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

8 Comments on this post

  1. Anyone cN get the immigration tour at mib. Just ask any worker after you get off the ride,

    Mattmmmmmmmm / Reply
    • That’s not true, we were told by staff you can only get here if you’re media or if you are on the VIP tour. If someone is doing that they’re probably not supposed to be… Otherwise there would be people doing it left and right.

  2. […] to the media event for a 3 night, 4 day experience with Universal Orlando Resort to include a VIP tour of both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios, a press only Q&A event with special guest and a VIP tour of Halloween Horror Nights 25. You […]

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  4. […] car yet, but I did check the feature and it totally worked. I could have used this that one year at Universal Studios OMG that […]

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  6. Thank you for your informative blog! We are heading to Universal today and I splurged on the VIP experience and am so very excited! With regards to your itemized list, a photo package is included?

    Nancy / Reply
    • That is AWESOME! You will have so much FUN!!!! You know I can’t recall it’s been so long! You would find the most up to date info on their website with the link I have in the post. Things change so that’s best advice.

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