TransportationUniversal Orlando Resort

Getting to Know Universal – 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 March 3, 2024)

How Do I Get Around Universal Orlando Resort?

The Universal Orlando Resort sits on 750 acres of land bifurcated by Interstate 4, south of the city of Orlando but north of the Walt Disney World resort complex. Guests either park at parking garages and enter the parks through CityWalk or park at their hotels. Guests visiting Epic Universe in 2025 park at the new Epic Universe parking lot or buses from the hotels.

The Universal Orlando parking garages are dual North and South structures that house 19,000 cars. They are massive structures, so note your garage section and level.

The North garage spans five levels in three sections:

  • Jaws
  • King Kong
  • Jurassic Park

The South garage has six floors in three sections:

  • Spider-Man
  • Cat in the Hat
  • E.T.

Pick Up and Drop Off for persona rides, taxis, and ride shares is located on the fifth floor of the North garage.

Parking Prices (3/2024):

  • Regular Parking – $30 per day,
  • RV Parking – $40
  • Prime Parking – $50-$60
  • Valet Parking – $65-$75

The Transportation Rotunda is an elevated open air lobby with guest services and security for guests arriving from the parking garages and resort buses. The rotunda houses a merchandise shop, snack booth, restrooms, and the security checkpoint to CityWalk and the parks. Buses to Volcano Bay for guests parking or via ride share are located on the bottom floor of the south parking garage. Guests valet parking skip the rotunda and pass through their own security checkpoint.

From the rotunda it is a quick 5 minute walk on the moving walkways to the theme parks.


The most common means of transportation at Universal, buses run frequently and are quick trips. We have often seen a bus pulling up at our hotel just as another is pulling away. Mears Transportation 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 Minutes to CityWalk Minus to Volcano Bay
Parking Garage N/A 5
Portofino Bay 5 9
Hard Rock Hotel 4 7
Royal Pacific 5 5
Sapphire Falls 5 4
Aventura 6 N/A
Cabana Bay 7 N/A
Endless Summer 5 8

Cabana Bay and Aventura do not have buses to Volcano Bay as they have walking paths to the park.

Buses do not travel between hotels, instead use the bus terminal at CityWalk to transfer between resort bus lines.

Water Taxis

Similar to the Friendship boat launches available around the EPCOT resorts, Universal Orlando offers water taxi services from select resorts to CityWalk. Resort boat docks feature their own security checkpoints before boarding as guests are dropped off in front of NBC Sports Grill & Brew in CityWalk. From the CityWalk docks Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure are a 3 minute and 4 minute walk, respectively.

Boats depart every 10 minutes.

Departure Minutes to CityWalk Dock
Parking Garage N/A
Portofino Bay 7
Hard Rock Hotel 3
Royal Pacific 5
Sapphire Falls 6
Aventura N/A*
Cabana Bay N/A*
Endless Summer N/A

*Boat transportation is not available at the resort but the resort is within walking distance to Sapphire Falls. 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 entrances, these times might be slightly longer or shorter depending on your room location in the resort.

Departure Walking Time to CityWalk Walking Time to Volcano Bay
Parking Garage 5 minutes 32 minutes
Portofino Bay 20 minutes 42 minutes
Hard Rock Hotel 6-9 minutes 33 minutes
Royal Pacific 8-10 minutes 13 minutes
Sapphire Falls 15-17 minutes 7 minutes
Aventura 20-23 minutes 5 minutes
Cabana Bay 25-30 minutes 5 minutes
Endless Summer N/A N/A

While it is possible to walk from CityWalk, the Hard Rock, and Portofino Bay to Volcano Bay, it is much quicker to take the complementary shuttle back to your resort or CityWalk.

Hogwarts Express

Hogwarts Express is an attraction that operates between the two Harry Potter sections of Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. Guests frequently ask us – “is it quicker to take the Hogwarts Express or walk to the other station?” On average it is quicker to walk between the two stations than ride the train. It takes 21 minutes to walk between the stations per Google Maps – factor in 4 minutes for exit and entry into the park for 25 minutes overall. Riding the train, from entering the queue to exiting the attraction, is approximately 15 minutes long. The rule of thumb – if the posted wait is 5 minutes or Ride Now then it will save you time, otherwise walking is likely quicker.

Walt Disney World & Orlando International

Transportation to Walt Disney World from Universal Orlando hotels is purchased through the Vacation and/or Concierge desks of your hotel vis bus or taxi. If you feel comfortable using ride-sharing apps, a one-way Lyft ride from Universal Orlando Resort to the Magic Kingdom averages around $45 with fees and tip.

Airport transportation is offered through Universal under the Superstar Shuttle program. Prices start at $39 per adult, round trip. Book the Superstar Shuttle by contacting your travel agent, your Universal Orlando 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

Joe covers theme parks through the lens of his quality engineering day job. He has over five years of writing experience at Touring Plans and has gone on dozens of trips to Orlando over his life. When not at amusement parks you can find Joe at breweries, enjoying live theater, playing video games, and cooking.

12 thoughts on “Getting to Know Universal – Resort Transportation

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

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

    • Yup totally free. I did this in September.

  • Do busses run between resorts?

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

    • 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.

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

    • Busses drop off at the parking garage rotunda.

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

  • Hi Nelson,

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


  • 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?

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


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