*Cover photo picture credit: IG @healthiermom
My family’s favorite memories are filled with belly laughs and good times centered around pure fun and entertainment. And, with so many options for every age throughout the entire destination, our family of 6 always comes away with amazing memories after a weekend getaway at Universal Orlando Resort.
Where to Stay on Your Family Getaway
My kids love hotels and their hands-down favorites are those at Universal Orlando Resort. Each hotel has a unique and different personality, along with special amenities for families of all types and sizes. Whether you’re looking to spend the day lounging at the pool, or challenging each other to a round of bowling, there’s something for everyone in the family.
First, when picking your Universal Orlando Hotel, think about your goals for the family vacation , and narrow down to which hotel is right for you…
Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Prime Value Hotel – $$
Cabana Bay is my family’s first choice and has been our destination for several weekends away and special celebrations. We are a group of 6, including 4 water-loving children, which makes this retro modern hotel built around two amazing pool courtyards our favorite. Cabana Bay is super affordable and is the perfect hotel for those with little ones, and larger families. It is also a great option for a multi-day park stay because there are so many different experiences to enjoy throughout your stay.
- Enjoy a relaxing day in the sun with the kiddos at the Cabana Bay Courtyard pool with an amazing slide, splash pad, private cabanas, pool-side food and drinks, and beach games.
- Chill out after a day in the parks by floating down the Cabana Bay lazy river at the second pool.
- Challenge the family to a round of bowling at Galaxy Bowl.
- Take advantage of the easy access to Volcano Bay with the walking paths.
- Roast s’mores with the family after a long day of adventure.
Also, be sure to check out 5 Hidden Gems at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside and Surfside Inn & Suites
Value Hotels – $
With both of the hotels at Endless Summer Resort you never have to sacrifice fun for affordability. My kids love the beachside vibes — and my husband loves the price and privacy of the 2-bedroom suites for larger families. The resort’s surf lifestyle design combined with extra-affordable rates for beach-themed rooms and spacious two-bedroom suites that sleep six all make for a perfect option for families of any size to base their Universal vacation.
- Kick back in the surfboard-shaped pool and soak in the sunshine.
- Had a long day at the parks? Have a fresh cheese pizza pie delivered straight to your door for the kiddos… and make sure to get a separate speciality pizza just for the parents.
Still need help deciding? Check out our guide to picking the best Universal Orlando Resort hotel for your family.
What to Do During Your Weekend Getaway With Your Family
Easy — have fun and let loose with your crew!
So, you’ve picked your hotel, now what to plan for the entire family to do all weekend? Well, this is where the fun comes in.
My kids ages range from 2-11 and what makes Universal Orlando perfect is that there is something for each kiddo (and parent) to enjoy.
So, let go of life’s daily worries, share big laughs and thrills with your family, all while making new memories with a few of these weekend family getaway recommendations…
Live in the moment as you explore two of our theme-parks: Universal Studios Florida and Islands Of Adventure.
- Meet your favorite Super Heroes and take on a few heart-racing missions in Marvel Super Hero Island.
- Child Swap is available at The Incredible Hulk Coaster if the family is split on who will be braving the ride and who would prefer to sit this one out.
- At the recommendation of my 11-year-old, you must include a Harry Potter experience by spending the day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Experience every single magical moment you can by traveling between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade on the Hogwarts Express.
Check out our Ultimate Guide to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter here.
- Take on the 85-foot drop of the Jurassic Park River Adventure with your adventurous crew.
- Race through the mischevious world of the Minions on Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.
- Save the Earth from Megatron and snap pictures afterward with the heroes from TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D.
Indulge in a much-needed dose of sunshine and vitamin D at Universal’s water theme park, Volcano Bay.
- Bring the whole family along for a spin on the Puihi of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides.
- Take on the watery plunge of Ohno of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides.
- Slide down the Ika Moana of the Honu ika Moana with twists, turns, bubbling geysers and more.
- And, my favorite, lounge under an umbrella on Waturi Beach with a sweet or liquid treat while the kids play in the wave pool.
Wrap up your day with food, shows, and more at Universal CityWalk.
- Grab a bucket of popcorn and catch a movie with the family at Universal Cinemark, where all theatres include 4K digital projection AND stadium seating.
- Challenge the family to a round of parents vs. kids mini-golf at Hollywood Drive-In Golf.
Looking to spend more time in CityWalk? I get it. Check here for the ultimate guide.
Where to Eat on Your Weekend Getaway with Family
Whether you’re looking for a meal on a budget or to try something adventurous, there’s something for every member of the family at Universal Orlando Resort. My recommendation? Give everyone a chance to choose a restaurant around their favorite foods.
- Resort – For a quick stop before you head off to the parks, fill up with a the Bacon-Egg-Cheese Croissant from Bayliner Diner at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
- In-Park – Get going early and make time for a sit-down breakfast in Diagon Alley where you can dig into the Pancake Breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron before exploring the rest of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Don’t let the most important meal of the day be an after-thought! Plan ahead with our Ultimate Guide to Breakfast.
- Take a midday break and and eat like Super Heroes at Cafe 4 in Marvel Super Hero Island at Islands of Adventure. Your kids will love the variety of kid-friendly options and you’ll love the wallet-friendly prices.
- Nothing says family like an Irish family pub, and nothing says relaxing vacation like you getting the chance to sit back and be served by the friendly staff at Finnegan’s Bar & Grill in Universal Studios Florida.
- Recharge with an array of speciality and traditional pizzas at Red Oven Pizza Bakery.
- Make it a sweet vacation! Take a moment to indulge in a big pink Lard Lad Donut, you’ll thank yourself!
- For the kids and the kid-in-you, stop by Green Eggs & Ham Cafe in Seuss Landing for an assortment of delicious and creative tater tots. These are a perfect thing to split for a quick snack in between rides, though I can’t promise you’ll be willing to share the Buffalo Chicken Tots.
- Mix sweet with savory for a memorable dining experience at The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen. This sit-down restaurant offers great dinner options along with an amazing sweets menu, plus your kids will love getting to meet Penelope and Jacques!
- Enjoy the relaxed family-friendly atmosphere of NBC Sports Grill & Brew. With game tables and a great menu, everyone in the crew will be able to get exactly what they want. My family loves diving into the Large Warm Pretzel to start.
- Try something delightfully weird at Voodoo Doughnut. View the sinfully delicious doughnut selection here. There are doughnuts ranging from sprinkle cake for the little ones to the Maple Bacon Bar for mom or dad.
My biggest food tip — plan ahead and pick where you want to eat each day in advance by browsing more great food options available here. Also, if like me you have children with food allergies, rest assured that the Universal Orlando culinary team is prepared and ready to help. Simply share those allergies with your server and they will ensure you are guided to safe food choices.
Have any family trip planning questions? Ask them in the comments below.
And don’t forget to take a lot of family weekend getaway photos and send them our way by tagging us on Twitter @UniversalORL and Instagram @UniversalOrlando for a chance to be featured on our social channels.