Experiencing Paradise a Few Hours Away: Sapphire Falls Resort + Universal Studios
Well hey there friends! If you remember a couple weeks ago, Justin and I took a quick little trip down to Orlando for a few days to explore the new Loews Sapphire Falls Resort and Volcano Bay! We went to Universal, Islands of Adventure and City Walk… how weird is this, Justin and I had never been to an amusement park together… like what? We’ve been together for 5 years and married for 3..oh and we live in Florida- how the heck have we never gone to Universal or IOA together? Moving on… We had SUCH an amazing experience while there and I can’t wait to share our stay with you!
Day One: Checking In + Caribbean Carnival
The first day we arrived, we checked in and then immediately checked out the whole hotel (anyone else do that? It’s makes me feel like a little kid adventuring again) the hotel was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I’ve stayed in quite a few resorts on Amusement Park grounds, but Sapphire Falls, you would have thought you were in the Caribbean or Hawaii ! The staff was so incredibly kind and helpful and everywhere we went I was like wait, I need a pic. It was gorgeous!
On site bar called Strong Water Tavern- it was right off of the grand lobby, had the prettiest marble countertops and deck seating complete with a fire pit! (it was a little too hot for that though, unfortunately)
That night, the resort held a Caribbean Carnival and it was AMAZING! Live music, a lady on stilts, dancers, authentic Caribbean cuisine, unlimited rum punches and wine and the best dang dessert table I’ve indulged in! The cheerleader in me was all about the acts and entertainment and you know darn well I got up and into that conga line!!
DAY 2: Volcano Bay + The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium
I was so obsessed with the decor of these rooms! They were so light and airy and reminded me of a beach house!
We went to the coffee shop right inside the resort every morning for breakfast! Well, my sweet hubs went down and grabbed us coffee and breakfast each morning while I got ready. They had everything from yogurt and fresh fruit to hot croissant breakfast sandwhiches. I was also all over the black and white industrial look this little shop had. I weirdly liked how the restaurants, bar, and coffee shop within the resort had it’s own “vibe” to it and didn’t necessarily match the super beachy feel of the rooms and lobby- it made you think you ran across the street to a cool coffee shop to get coffee in the morning!
Volcano Bay was so stinking cool. We got to go an hour before the park opened because we were staying at an onsite resort. We were almost kind of iffy on going that early hour because that meant leaving before 8am, BUT I’m honestly so happy we did! There was nooo one there ( I mean there were, but you get my point!) We were able to pretty much walk the whole park to see what it was all about and what rides we wanted to do and then hopped right on any ride because there were no lines! However, the cool thing about Volcano Bay was you never had to physically wait in line! We wore wristbands and would “check in” to each ride. So if a wait was 1-2 hours long, we would scan our wristbands and go hang out in the lazy river or go each lunch while we waited. Our bands would buzz and say “10 min left” or “time to ride” and we would walk right up and go! We did still have roughly a 10 min wait or so on each ride because there were still a few people in front of us if their bands went off at the same time.
Wore the cutest maxi to dinner (full blog post HERE)
This dinner!!! GOOD GOSH! it was delicious, Justin ordered a chicken gnocchi which was so good and I ordered chicken, broccoli and mash potatoes. I kind of second guessed my choice thinking- dang this is what I make at home. UM yeah I’d like to know how to make what I ate at home. I can’t even explain it- mouthwatering good! If you go to the Chocolate Emporium, they’re obviously known for their chocolate and desserts! We saw a “chocolate mule” and chocolate beer on the menu…we refrained from those choices, but yep, we definitely splurged on milkshakes!! Sidenote: you can probably split one milkshake with a family of seven, but we don’t roll that way and couldn’t decide so we got two! Our stomachs hurt after, but #worthit and #doitforthegram amirite?
Day 3: Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure:
Universal and Islands of Adventure were a blast. We had a 2 park pass which I suggest and you can ride the Harry Potter train to each park! Two of our favorite rides were the minions and the Jimmy Fallon ride! I love roller coasters too so any of those were awesome to me! Same thing as Volcano Bay- since we were staying on site, we had access an hour prior to the park opening. We got ourselves up and at em and again SO WORTH IT. I’ve never seen the park empty and I’ve never just walked right onto any ride.
1. Take the ferry into city walk and walk into the parks that way if you’re staying in a Universal Resort- So much easier and super quick.
2. We didn’t realize it, but you can totally bring in sandwhiches, snacks and water bottles into the parks! If we knew that and if we weren’t staying at the resort (no grocery store) we totally would have done that. Definitely keeping that in mind with kids though!
3. Wear tennis shoes. like actual workout/walking shoes. No need to look cute, you’re walking miles and you’re going to want to be comfortable!
4. Take advantage of the early access if staying at a resort. It worth it for rides and fun pictures!
5. Express passes are worth it. I believe they’re $50, but we didn’t stand in a single line, maybe the longest was 5-10 minutes.
6. Pack a poncho and when you see clouds rolling in, keep walking, but look for a restaurant or store you can dodge into.
Day 4: Pool + Brunch
Our last day there, we woke up and it was beautiful, we walked around the property a little and went out by the pool. We had reservations for brunch a little later so we were able to enjoy our time at the resort! We went to brunch at the restaurant in the resort called Amatista- whoever decorated this restaurant can come decorate my house! OMG I wanted everything! Scroll down and look at the chandeliers!
They had a menu and an all you can eat buffet option. I ordered the eggs benedict and fresh fruit, but of course Justin ordered the buffet! The buffet was a little pricier, I think it was around $20, but he ate every bit of that $20. There were so many food and fruit juice options- I think there was guava juice or something! The buffet also included an omelet bar which was cool too.
SEE! Those chandeliers are awesome.
Overall we had an amazing time on this trip and we already have family members asking if they should book. The answer is YES. Volcano Bay would be a blast for the whole family- you can even rent a big cabana for the day (so cool!) I suggest staying on site- it literally makes your trip so much easier and convenient when trying to navigate the parks and City Walk. I’m hoping I didn’t miss anything, but if I did, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer! Can’t wait to go back!
Huge thank you to Loews Hotels and Universal Studios for an incredible stay.