Guides and Tips

Guide to a Friends’ Weekend Getaway at Universal Orlando Resort

July 22, 2020

This article was originally published in July of 2020 and then underwent extensive updates and editing in September of 2023 to remain current and relevant.

Weekend getaways to Universal Orlando Resort with your pals can be very different than the family trips you might be used to… and they absolutely should be. From experiencing virtual reality from the comfort of your hotel to plunging down the inside of a volcano, it’s time to party it up — Universal Style. 

Where to Stay on Your Friends’ Getaway


First of all, let’s figure out which hotel would be best for your friends weekend getaway.  While all of the Universal Orlando Resort hotels are perfect for a friend-cation, we’ve narrowed down the options for you! From tropical paradises to rock ‘n’ roll glamour, there are plenty of options to choose from. 

Hard Rock Hotel Orlando

Premier Hotel – $$$$


Ever dreamed of being rock ‘n’ roll royalty? Good news: at the Hard Rock Hotel, you can live like the rockstar you are! From a palm-lined swimming pool to all the live music, this is our kind of party.

Must-Do Experiences:

  • Enjoy the live band keeping the party going all day long poolside.
  • Take advantage of your special access to Universal Express Unlimited
  • Stop by The Kitchen and dig into their famous mac and cheese. But don’t forget the encore — they’ve got some of the most jaw-dropping desserts you’ve ever seen. You’ll be glad you’ve got your whole crew with you because these desserts are HUGE and you’ll each need a fork.

Still not convinced? Check out 5 Hidden Gems at Hard Rock Hotel Orlando

Universal’s Aventura Hotel

Prime Value Hotel – $$

Photo Credit | L: IG: @lexsantamaria_ | R: IG: @nikk_ruiz

Universal’s Aventura Hotel is where modern vibes meet relaxation central. Want to relax steps away from a volcano-front beach? Aventura’s got one right next door. To put it simply, it’s just plain cool.

Must-Do Experiences

  • Soak up the stellar views and try unique dishes and custom-crafted cocktails at Bar 17 Bistro. Plus, roof-top views of Volcano Bay, Universal Studios Florida, and Islands of Adventure make for the perfect group photo backdrop.
  • Taste a wide variety of high-quality dining options at the Urban Pantry including custom wok, sushi, pizza, burgers, and more.
  • Aventura has a dedicated walking path straight to the tropical paradise that is Volcano bay.

Still not convinced? Check out 5 Hidden Gems at Aventura Hotel.

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort


Preferred Hotel – $$$
Looking for a more serene destination to chill with your friends? Escape to Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, where cascading blue waterfalls and swaying palm trees will help you unwind from the thrills of our theme parks. Don’t be fooled, though — if you’re craving party vibes, the rum bar inside is the place to be.

Must-Do Experiences

  • Spend the entire day lounging at the 16,000-square-foot pool with sand beaches, a hot tub, a water slide and more.
  • Experience Strong Water Tavern, boasting an assortment of crafted rums from Mount Gay Rum, distilled on the Caribbean island of Barbados. You can even do a rum tasting so that your whole group will be rum connoisseurs when you return home.

Still not convinced? Check out 5 Hidden Gems at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort.

What to Do During Your Weekend Getaway With Friends

You’ve found a place to crash, now it’s time to keep the fun going. We’ve got something for every type of friend. 

  • Experience Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.
  • Find all the Instagram-Worthy walls in the parks. Trust us, there are plenty!
  • Make some magical memories with your friends as you cast spells around The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Picture Credit | IG: @themeparkslover
  • Get your adrenaline pumping on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
    • Challenge: choose the same song as a friend and have a sing-off!
  • Visit Blue at the Raptor Encounter. If you’re brave enough, you may even get away with snapping a quick photo.
  • See who has what it takes to be a MIB Agent on MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack.
    • Make it a competition: the person with the lowest score buys a round of churros!
Picture Credit | IG: @jensenavenger

Live the Carefree Island Lifestyle at Universal Volcano Bay

Picture Credit | IG: @vanessaboy |

Live It Up at Universal’s CityWalk


Check out a few more great Universal Orlando Resort weekend getaway experiences here.

Where to Eat on Your Weekend Getaway with Friends

There’s something for everyone — including the friend who only eats chicken nuggets. 


  • Hotel – Kick off the day with the breakfast buffet at Amatista Cookhouse at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort.
    • We LOVE the Buttermilk Pancakes! Have a gluten-free friend? No problem! Gluten-free pancakes are also available.
  • In-Park – Stop by TODAY Cafe for breakfast sandwiches and other fun-day fuel!
    • OR Grab a quick croissant and coffee from Croissant Moon Bakery in Islands of Adventure or San Francisco Pastry Company in Universal Studios Florida.


  • As two friends who love Universal Orlando, our favorite place to eat together is Bumblebee Man’s Taco Truck.
    • Pro Tip: Order ALL of the options (chicken, carne asada, and Korean beef) and split them for the ultimate taco experience!
  • Split some tots at Green Eggs & Ham Cafe. From pizza tots to Green Eggs & Ham tots, there’s a tot for everyone!
    • And don’t forget S’mores Nutella for dessert!
  • Have an Extra Cheesy Wisconsin Burger from NBC Sports Grill & Brew at Universal’s CityWalk — we recommend pairing it with some yummy tater tots or parmesan fries!
    • Sports fans? Catch you and your friends’ favorite teams on nearly 100 high-definition screens.


Picture Credit | IG: @louiserosa
  • Enjoy a break with Chief Wiggum in Springfrield, U.S.A. and indulge in a delicious Lard Lad Donut.
  • Friends share popcorn, but best friends share a turkey leg.



  • Get your campfire stories ready and enjoy some Tableside S’mores at Bigfire.
  • Got a group with a sweet tooth? We’ve got you covered. Try a specialty milkshake at The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen.
    • Whoever thought of putting a cupcake on top of a milkshake can be our best friend any day.


  • Try an amazing cocktail with a view at Bar 17 Bistro located on the rooftop of Aventura Hotel. Seriously, look at this view!
  • You can’t go wrong with a famous Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane. Trust us. And nothing says friendship like a good old fashioned duel. Piano duel that is.

Browse more great food and drink options available here.

We know your gang’s getaway is going to have some stories, so share them with us! Oh, and all of those pics that you’ve been snapping? We want to see those too so tag us on Twitter @UniversalORL and Instagram @UniversalOrlando in all your weekend getaway photos for a chance to be featured on our social channels.

We’ll see you soon!

Must be 21 years and older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages.

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  • Reply Andrea July 29, 2020 at 10:28 am

    I always recommend a stay at Loews Royal Pacific Resort. Rent a cabana for the day at the pool and relax with a short walk (or boat ride) to City Walk in the evening for dinner and evening out. Headed there in October for just that type of weekend.

  • Avatar photo
    Reply Social Media Team July 29, 2020 at 11:25 am

    Hi Andrea, thank you for your recommendation. We look forward to your next visit!

  • Reply James August 22, 2020 at 6:58 am

    My fav spot is the Chief Wiggum in Springfrield, U.S.A. and I love the Donuts. Looking forward for another trip soon.

    • Avatar photo
      Reply Social Media Team August 22, 2020 at 7:59 am

      We love the food there as well! Hope you can come enjoy it soon!

  • Reply Myra J Strauss December 31, 2022 at 7:15 pm

    I’m interested in group accommodation for April or May.

    • Reply Digital Guest Communications January 3, 2023 at 11:34 am

      Hi Myra! Details for group vacations can be found on our website here:

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