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Best timeshares close to Universal Orlando

kolive

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Hello all!

I am planning a trip to Universal for the first time and I am trying to find the best properties for families close to the park. We usually rent a timeshare when we go to Disney but not sure what is close to Universal.

Thank you!!
 

nerodog

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Orange Lake was a great stay for us.
 

dioxide45

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If you are going to Universal only, I wouldn't stay at Orange Lake. Not because it may not be nice, but it is a long way away from Universal Studios. One issue with timeshares near Universal is that there aren't a lot of the hotel name brand timeshares real close. Most of those are south of Central Florida Parkway. Need to look for something closer. HGVC at SeaWorld is an option as would be Marriott Cypress Harbour and Harbour Lake. There are a few Westgate properties closer. If you are renting and can avoid attending a presentation, those may be an option also. Westgate Palace being the closest to Universal Studios.
 

kolive

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Thank you! we have stayed at Harbour Lake before and it was a great resort! That may be our best option but I am open to other suggestions as well.
 

elaine

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we also stay in SeaWorld area--it's an easy drive via backroad to Universal and lots of good Marriotts, as well as HGVC-SW and HGVC Parc Soliel nearby. But, HGVC Palmera might be a bit closer? Haven't stayed there yet. HGVC all have $25ish daily fee. I don't think that Marriott timeshares have a fee. IMHO, any of the M near SW are good. Even the older ones, Royal, Sabal Palms have been redone and are up to M standards. Those have smaller pools, but free access to the M World Center pool area.
 

swditz

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We own at the Westgate palace. We really like the resort especially as our kids love universal and it is a mile to the gate. If you are looking for a resort with a lot of kid activities you will probably find it lacking as it is a smaller resort without a lot of space.(the high rise buildings have an awesome view of the park however) The fourth addition to universal is being built on the other side of the palace. It will put the palace center to the total universal studio properties.
 

CPNY

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Hello all!

I am planning a trip to Universal for the first time and I am trying to find the best properties for families close to the park. We usually rent a timeshare when we go to Disney but not sure what is close to Universal.

Thank you!!
Marriott grand vista is around a 15 min drive, Sheraton vistana villages is less than 20. Keep in mind, I was there all year last year and covid led to lighter traffic. I’m sure with all the tourists coming back so is traffic.
 

pacman777

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If you plan on going to Universal during peak season with the crowds and wanting to get express passes then it’s much more cost effective to stay at Royal Pacific or the the other 2 premier on site properties that automatically come with express passes for all guests in the room. I was planning on staying at a timeshare but did the cost analysis and it was a no brained just to stay at the royal pacific for 4 of us with express passes as well as early park entrance.
 

mentalbreak

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If you plan on going to Universal during peak season with the crowds and wanting to get express passes then it’s much more cost effective to stay at Royal Pacific or the the other 2 premier on site properties that automatically come with express passes for all guests in the room. I was planning on staying at a timeshare but did the cost analysis and it was a no brained just to stay at the royal pacific for 4 of us with express passes as well as early park entrance.
Or, depending on how many days you will be at the parks and how you plan your days, a timeshare stay combined with just a ONE night stay at a premier hotel in the middle of the trip has worked very well for us.

You get 2 days of express passes (check in and check out day) for a one night stay at Royal Pacific, Hard Rock or Portofino up to the max room occupancy. Those days can be your “big ride” days. The onsite hotels also come with an early entry an hour before the parks open to offsite guests. So hit the big rides that don’t offer express at the start of the day, and use express passes the rest of the day. It is usually much less $$$ than even just one day of express passes for our party of 5.

On the days you do not have express passes, hit the bigger demand rides earlier in the day before wait times build, and enjoy the other areas of the parks/shows/Harry Potter interactive areas/etc. during the busier times. I recommend you visit at least once before your express pass days to enjoy the park and scope it all out.
 

bnoble

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If you plan on going to Universal during peak season with the crowds and wanting to get express passes then it’s much more cost effective to stay at Royal Pacific or the the other 2 premier on site properties that automatically come with express passes for all guests in the room. I was planning on staying at a timeshare but did the cost analysis and it was a no brained just to stay at the royal pacific for 4 of us with express passes as well as early park entrance.
It might even be worth booking a throw-away room, and use it only for a mid-day pool break and Express but sleep in your much more comfortable timeshare condo. That’s what we did the last time we visited UO.
 

TravelTime

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We just checked out from Marriott Grande Vista. It was fairly convenient to everything and it’s a nice resort. The traffic was not bad. It’s about a 15-20 minute drive. I prefer to stay somewhere nice over somewhere close.
 

TheHolleys87

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It might even be worth booking a throw-away room, and use it only for a mid-day pool break and Express but sleep in your much more comfortable timeshare condo. That’s what we did the last time we visited UO.
We’ve done this twice, once with 5 adults and once with 3. In addition to not paying for EP those two days, we saved 2 days of parking fees each time as well. It was much less expensive to pay for the throw away room than for two days of EPs. We slept elsewhere, a TS we had for a week, and we booked our hotel night to cover the most expensive EP days.
 

jmhpsu93

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If you get there early enough, generally traffic isn't bad at all. If you're a sleep-in and get to the park at 11 AM type, you're going to sit in parking traffic at the very least. I think you'd be happy with any of the locations noted about (Marriott Cypress Harbor, Grande Vista, Harbour Lake...HGVC Sea World...Westgate properties nearby). There's a certain amount of time you need to account for to do ANYTHING in Orlando, so another 5 minutes doesn't mean much to me.

We stayed at Cypress Harbour a couple of weeks ago and have annual passes to Universal (a good deal if you more than 4-5 times, as parking is free). We targeted getting to the park about 10 minutes before early opening and just drove right up and right in the garage - no traffic. The day we tried to pick up our passes at 11:30 AM we couldn't even pull into the line up for the garage.
 

jmhpsu93

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We’ve done this twice, once with 5 adults and once with 3. In addition to not paying for EP those two days, we saved 2 days of parking fees each time as well. It was much less expensive to pay for the throw away room than for two days of EPs. We slept elsewhere, a TS we had for a week, and we booked our hotel night to cover the most expensive EP days.
That's a great idea!
 

Troyrissa

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Does Grande Vista have a shuttle to Universal and/or the Disney parks?
 

kolive

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Thanks guys!! I do have a “throw away” room booked for express passes already! My daughter has special needs and only eats a very limited number of items so a kitchen is a must for us if we are staying a week! Our trip isn’t until the week of September 18-25 so once we get closer I’ll see what from my list I can get on the last minute rental forum!!!
 
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