Universal Orlando Resort

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.
(Last updated/republished May 22, 2023)


The Universal Orlando Resort sits on 750 acres of land bifurcated off of Interstate 4, south of Orlando but north of Walt Disney World. Guests park at parking garages or hotels. The resort features several modes of transportation to move guests from these parking garages and hotels to their destinations.


The most common means of transportation at Universal, buses run frequently and are quick trips. We often see a bus pulling up at our hotel as another is pulling away. Mears Transporation operates Universal’s buses, the same company that ran Disney’s Magical Express. The buses are large, modern, ADA-accessible, air-conditioned, and feature onboard audio and video.

Departure Time to CW/USF/IOA Time to Volcano Bay
Parking Garage N/A 5 minutes
Portofino Bay 5 minutes 9 minutes
Hard Rock Hotel 4 minutes 7 minutes
Royal Pacific 5 minutes 5 minutes
Sapphire Falls 5 minutes 4 minutes
Aventura 6 minutes N/A
Cabana Bay 7 minutes N/A
Endless Summer 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 services from select resorts to CityWalk. It is a short walk to Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure from the dock. Despite being a water park, no water taxi service is offered to Volcano Bay.

Boats depart roughly every 5 to 10 minutes.

Departure Time to CW/USF/IOA Time to Volcano Bay
Parking Garage N/A N/A
Portofino Bay 7 minutes N/A
Hard Rock Hotel 3 minutes N/A
Royal Pacific 5 minutes N/A
Sapphire Falls 6 minutes N/A
Aventura N/A* N/A
Cabana Bay N/A* N/A
Endless Summer N/A N/A
*Boat transportation is not available at the resort but is within walking distance of 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, cleaned, patrolled by security, and feature lush foliage. Directional signage along the paths points towards Universal’s attractions and other hotels.

The following walking times are from the hotel lobby to the park.

Departure Time to CW/USF/IOA Time to Volcano Bay
Parking Garage 5 minutes 28 – 35 minutes
Portofino Bay 16 – 18 minutes 39 – 42 minutes
Hard Rock Hotel 4 – 6 minutes 30 – 33 minutes
Royal Pacific 6 – 8 minutes 17 – 20 minutes
Sapphire Falls 12 – 15 minutes 7 – 10 minutes
Aventura 18 minutes 5 minutes
Cabana Bay 18 – 25 minutes 2 – 6 minutes
Endless Summer N/A N/A

While walking to Volcano Bay from the Parking Garage, Portofino Bay, or the Hard Rock is possible, the buses are just way quicker.


Transportation to Walt Disney World is set up through the Vacation and/or Concierge desks for a cost. If you feel comfortable using ride-sharing apps, a one-way Lyft ride from Universal Orlando Resort to the Magic Kindom costs around $30 with fees and tip.

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, the hotel, or booking through a vacation package.

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

(Originally published 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.

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

  • Roiann Smolinskii

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

  • 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?

  • Hi Nelson,

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


  • Janine Brockman

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

    • Joseph Matt

      Busses drop off at the parking garage rotunda.

    • How can I get from one universal hotel to another? Does a bus do that?

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

    • Jay-Jay

      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.

  • Do busses run between resorts?

  • Elizabeth A

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

    • Joseph Matt

      Yup totally free. I did this in September.

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


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