If you go . . .
What to do
Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida
6000 Universal Blvd.
407-363-8000 (general), 407-224-4233 (guest services) 407-224-7840 (tickets)
Two theme parks. More than 30 rides, including five roller coasters, and state-of-the-art motion-simulators. Live shows. Daily parade. One-park, one-day, $88 adult, $82 child; both parks, one-day, $123/$117. Many discounts available based on length of visit, time of year, and airfare and hotel packages.
Where to stay
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
5601 Universal Blvd.
Romantic four-diamond hotel in Italian theme with 750 rooms, including 45 suites. Features three swimming pools and Mandara Spa. In-season rate $435. (Rates vary with length of stay and time of year.)
Hard Rock Hotel
5800 Universal Blvd.
Live the rock-star life amid $1 million of music memorabilia. Four-diamond hotel has 650 rooms including 29 suites. In-season rate $399. (Rates vary with stay and season.)
Loews Royal Pacific Resort
6300 Hollywood Way
Tropical-island theme in four-diamond hotel, with 1,000 rooms, including 51 suites. All-you-can-eat luau every Saturday night. In-season rate $369. (Rates vary with stay and season.)
Cabana Bay Beach Resort
(Opening early 2014)
888-273-1311 (reservations open March 31, 2013)
Retro beach resort with “Mad Men” design aesthetic to open around the corner from Royal Pacific and Islands of Adventure. It will offer 900 suites at $174 per night — sleeping six and with kitchens — and 900 more guest rooms, starting at $119.
Where to eat
Emeril Lagasse’s Tchoup Chop
Royal Pacific Hotel
6300 Hollywood Way
Open seven days for lunch and dinner. Exquisite restaurant with entrees from $18-$40.
6068 Universal Blvd.
One of more than 30 eating establishments in CityWalk complex between hotels and theme parks. Opens at 11 a.m. every day. Overpriced but in a prime location between theme park entrances. Something for everyone from pizza and burgers ($12) to Crowne Royal Maple Filet ($30). Biggest plus: Line is usually half as long as at the Hard Rock next door.