Universal Orlando Resort for Newbies – Resort Transportation

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Whether you are a long-time Walt Disney World guest looking to switch your vacation up or you are visiting Orlando for the first time, planning a visit to Universal Orlando Resort poses a lot of questions. Today we will cover Universal Orlando Resort’s resort transportation options.


Universal Orlando Resort sits on roughly 750 acres of land bifurcated by Interstate 4. The resort features several modes of transportation to move guests from parking garages and hotels to their destinations.


The most common means of transportation at Universal are busses. Busses run frequently and quickly – often one is staged prior to another’s departure. Mears operates Universal’s bus line and each bus features a modern design, air-conditioning, ample lighting, ADA compliance, and an in-bus video system.

Buses continuously depart from their destination.

Departure Available Time to CityWalk/USF/IOA Time to Volcano Bay
Parking Garage Yes N/A 5 minutes
Portofino Bay Yes 5 minutes 9 minutes
Hard Rock Hotel Yes 4 minutes 7 minutes
Royal Pacific Yes 5 minutes 5 minutes
Sapphire Falls Yes 5 minutes 4 minutes
Aventura Yes 6 minutes N/A
Cabana Bay Yes 7 minutes N/A
Endless Summer Yes 5 minutes 8 minutes

Walking access to Volcano Bay is offered for Aventura and Cabana Bay, see below for more information.

Water Taxis

Similar to the Friendship launches available around the EPCOT resorts, Universal Orlando offers water taxi service from select resorts to CityWalk. From the CityWalk dock, it is a short walk to Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. Despite being a water park, no water taxi service is offered to Volcano Bay.

Boats depart roughly every 5 to 10 minutes.

Departure Available Time to CityWalk/USF/IOA Time to Volcano Bay
Parking Garage No N/A N/A
Portofino Bay Yes 7 minutes N/A
Hard Rock Hotel Yes 3 minutes N/A
Royal Pacific Yes 5 minutes N/A
Sapphire Falls Yes 6 minutes N/A
Aventura No* N/A N/A
Cabana Bay No* N/A N/A
Endless Summer No N/A N/A
*Boat transportation is not available at the resort but is within walking distance to the Sapphire Falls boat shuttle. The walk from Aventura to Sapphire Falls boat dock is roughly five minutes; from Cabana Bay it is roughly 7 to 15 minutes.


Pump up those kicks, it is time to walk! All the hotels, except Endless Summer, feature walking paths from the hotels to the theme parks. The paths are well lit, patrolled by security, and feature lush foliage. Directional signage along the paths directs you to Universal’s hotels and attractions.

Walking times will depend on your hotel room location. A room at the edge of the property near the walking path will take a shorter amount of time than a room located on the opposite side of the hotel. Google Maps’ walking directions are linked below for reference.

Departure Available Time to CityWalk/USF/IOA Time to Volcano Bay
Parking Garage Yes 2 – 5 minutes 28 – 35 minutes
Portofino Bay Yes 16 – 18 minutes 39 – 42 minutes
Hard Rock Hotel Yes 4 – 6 minutes 30 – 33 minutes
Royal Pacific Yes 6 – 8 minutes 17 – 20 minutes
Sapphire Falls Yes 12 – 15 minutes 7 – 10 minutes
Aventura Yes 18 minutes 5 minutes
Cabana Bay Yes 18 – 25 minutes 2 – 6 minutes
Endless Summer No N/A N/A
Note: Guests returning from USF and IOA to Cabana Bay will need a key card to cross the pedestrian bridge.

While walking to Volcano Bay from the Parking Garage, Portofino Bay, or the Hard Rock is possible we do not recommend it. Busses are a faster option.


Prior to the COVID-19 shutdowns, paid rickshaws were offered on the walking paths. Prices varied based on length of trip and time of day. Tipping is highly encouraged.

Transportation to Walt Disney World can be set up from the Universal Attractions Ticket Center for a fee. Instead, we suggest hailing an Uber/Lyft or calling a cab.

Airport transportation is offered through Universal under the Superstar Shuttle program. Prices start at $39 per adult, round trip. You can book Superstar Shuttles by contacting your travel agent, resort, or booking through a vacation package.

Have any additional questions about getting around Universal Orlando? Let us know in the comments.

First published March 20, 2021. Updated October 31, 2021.

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Joseph Matt

Avid amusement park and video game fan. Enjoys picking up rare beers at breweries, exploring cities, cooking, and sports.

11 thoughts on “Universal Orlando Resort for Newbies – Resort Transportation

  • March 22, 2021 at 1:36 pm

    Is there a good mode of transportation you recommend from Sanford Airport to Universal Studios??

  • June 13, 2021 at 8:36 pm

    Hi, we need to transfer from Endless Summer to Portofino Bay early morning (6.30am to check-in, grab express passes and hit the parks for early entry. What transportation options are available that early?

  • June 14, 2021 at 6:36 am

    Hi Nelson,

    I think buses start running at 7 AM, so your best bet might be a cab or ride-share like Uber.


  • June 25, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    Does the bus from Endless Summer drop off at the parking garages or somewhere else?

    • June 29, 2021 at 11:43 am

      Busses drop off at the parking garage rotunda.

  • July 1, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    Hi! Can you tell if the rickshaws are back? Thank you!

    • October 31, 2021 at 10:36 pm

      Not as of this past week – we walked from Cabana Bay to City Walk on 10/23 and from Portofino Bay to City Walk each day from 10/25-10/30. Security biked by us on occasion, but there was nary a rickshaw in sight.

  • November 1, 2021 at 4:49 pm

    Do busses run between resorts?

  • January 13, 2022 at 12:33 am

    Is the ferry free if you stay at Aventura and walk to take it at Sapphire?

    • January 13, 2022 at 9:04 am

      Yup totally free. I did this in September.

  • March 2, 2022 at 12:38 am

    Can u use the parking garage and take the ferry even if your not staying in the Sapphire hotel?


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