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Apr 29, 2011
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About eight years ago I stayed at the Portofino once but not the Hard Rock. I liked it though it was a bit pricey.
 
Jul 22, 2010
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Portofino is VERY pricey but also worth every penny. It is the definition of being pampered.
 
Aug 27, 2010
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Portofino all the way!


Book that one as far out as you can though, and depending on how long you plan on staying you might as well buy an AP to get the discount...
 
Oct 18, 2012
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We've stayed there twice...the most recent trip being five nights long last July. We love it.

General:
This hotel is the closest to Universal--only about a five minute walk through a beautifully landscaped trail. Like RPR and PB it offers unlimited express entrance to all rides (where provided) both day of check-in and check-out; and one hour early-entry to on-site guests which covers the non-express rides and perhaps, a few others. When we were there the early entry was for the Harry Potter attractions in IOA and Rip Ride Rockit, Shrek and Despicable Me at US. The music soundtrack of current hits mixed with golden oldies that plays in all the public areas was especially of interest to my three teenage children. The hotel is full of rock and roll memorabilia, both in the lobby and in display cases on the various floors--ask at the front or concierge desk for a brochure that details all the items and their locations.

Rooms:
The beds are very comfortable and Universal allows five to a room which is helpful to my family. The Keurig coffee machines are nice and star service will bring you as many of whatever kind of pods you want at no charge.

Pool:
The pool area is amazing--volleyball court, ping pong, slide, sand, zero-entry, underwater music, and in just a lovely palm-tree laden sand-strewn area. The drinks and food are pricey as you might expect and an 18% tip is included if you use the waiters. The attendants provide towels and there are large containers of water with lemon and orange slices and free paper cups as well. There is often a dj and games for children and adults...check out their facebook page under the calendar tab near the top for the latest activities and nightly movie schedule.

Service and Cleanliness:
We had no adverse issues.

Other:
This hotel appears to be modeled on the one on the cover of Hotel California. It's just beautiful. We felt lucky to be able to stay there for a fraction of the cost that it would be to stay at a WDW deluxe hotel.

You have to pay a one night deposit when you reserve but can rebook for no additional cost if rates drop. Call the hotel directly for a AAA rate but others you can check on the website. To see if an annual pass rate is available (this is true for any of the US hotels) choose 'Promotion' under the 'Promotion/Group Code' box and then enter APH under the 'Code' box. If one is available it will show up in the rates to the right. Then you can decide if it is worth it for one member of your party to buy an annual pass.

We went over fourth of July week--a very crowded time and with judicious use of early entry and unlimited express pass had no issues with wait times. I don't believe we ever waited longer than 15 minutes for anything.
 
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