While the resort hotels offer excellent value for the money, they are not precisely cheap. But the advantages of staying on site are so attractive that figuring out a way to make a stay at one of these great hotels fit into your budget will be worth the effort. Here, then, are a few suggestions on how to get the best possible deal on your resort hotel room rate.
Book a package. Ask your travel agent about purchasing a package that includes an on-site hotel, theme park tickets, and perhaps airfare and car rental. You will probably wind up paying less than if you had booked all the elements separately.
AAA. Members receive a 20% discount.
Purchase an Annual Pass. Annual passholders to the theme parks receive a discount of about 30% off regular rates and are eligible for periodic special offers on a space available basis.
You First. Membership in Loews You First, the hotel chain’s frequent lodger program, does not get you any discounts, but it qualifies you for some nice perks like a newspaper delivered to your door; free use of the fitness centers; food, spa, and golf credits; and room upgrades at check-in based on availability. YouFirst is only valid at the Portofino and Royal Pacific; stays booked through third-party resellers are not eligible, and you'll need a couple stays under your belt before getting the good stuff. You can enroll online at www.loewshotels.com or call (877) 563-9714 to have an application mailed to you. Hard Rock has its own, separate All Access club with similar perks, for a $25 membership fee. Visit hardrockcafe.com to join..
Go on the Internet. As a supplement to some or all of the above ploys, you should check out a site called The DISboards.com. The "DIS" in the name stands for Disney Information Station but the site has a discussion group devoted just to Universal Orlando. Scroll down on the home page until you see the link to "Universal Resorts & Hotels." Look for permanent threads near the top devoted to each of the hotels. This is where members post information on when they are going to the various resort hotels, the rate they got, and how they got it. Another source of invaluable intelligence for the budget-conscious traveler is MouseSavers, which also covers cost-cutting for non-Disney parks. Visit www.mousesavers.com/universalorlando.html for details.
Go on the Internet, Part II. Once you have done your research on the DISboards, then you might want to try those hotel “discount” sites on the Internet. Among the more prominent are sidestep.com, hotels.com, and hotwire.com.
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