You can access any of the restaurants at the Royal Pacific Resort with the walkway from the theme parks and CityWalk

If you click on the links in this post, we may earn money from the companies mentioned in this post, at no extra cost to you. You can read the full disclaimer here.

Sharing is caring!

When you are choosing a hotel for your Universal Orlando vacation, then you have a lot of great choices.  Especially because the official Universal Orlando hotels are so great.  The Universal Orlando Resort has a handful of great hotels with a lot of wonderful perks for guests.

Two of those hotels at the Royal Pacific Resort and Sapphire Falls Resort.  We are going to pit these two great hotels side by side to help you figure out where your family should stay for their next Universal vacation.  And then we will tell you how you can save money on your Universal Orlando vacation!

Proximity to the Theme Parks

You can access any of the restaurants at the Royal Pacific Resort with the walkway from the theme parks and CityWalk

Part of the advantage of staying at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel is how close you are to the theme parks.  A great thing about both Royal Pacific and Sapphire Falls is that you can walk to both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.  You can also walk to Universal CityWalk, which has a lot of great dining options.  You can also take a nice boat ride to the parks.

But the walk to and from Royal Pacific is a significantly shorter walk than the walk to and from Sapphire Falls.  In fact, with both hotels, you walk to Royal Pacific.  But if you are staying at Sapphire Falls, you just keep walking.  And walking.  It is definitely a doable walk.  But Royal Pacific is a more convenient walk.

Advantage: Royal Pacific

Express Pass

Outside the E.T. Adventure Ride at Universal Studios Orlando, with the regular and Universal Express Pass entrances

If you love doing the rides at Universal Orlando, then you’ll love having the Express Pass.  The Express Pass means you don’t have to wait in the regular lines for most of the rides.  The only exceptions are Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, Jurassic World VelociCoaster, and Pteranodon Flyers.

Otherwise, with all of your other favorite rides, you can get in a special line.  This line goes much faster, which means you can visit more rides during your day.  It is a great option if you have a lot of rides you want to do.  Especially if you get the Unlimited Express Option, so you can do get in a shorter line for these rides multiple times a day.  We go over the Express Pass more in-depth here.

What’s great about booking a stay at Royal Pacific, you get a free Express Unlimited Pass for every one of your guests!  Since that normally costs over $100 a day, this is a gigantic saving!  Not only do you get this pass, but you can get it for every day of your vacation.  So even if you stay here just one night, you can get the pass for two days!  This is an incredible deal and an awesome perk of staying at Royal Pacific.

Advantage: Royal Pacific

Overall Affordability

There is no way around this.  Unless you snag an awesome deal, you will pay more when you stay at Royal Pacific than Sapphire Falls.  Royal Pacific is the more expensive of the two hotels.  But by the way, you can save money on both hotels by clicking these links:

But again, Sapphire Falls is the cheaper option of the two.

Advantage: Sapphire Falls

Overall Value

But here’s where it gets interesting.  Sapphire Falls is cheaper overall.  But if you want to get Express Pass?

That’s where Royal Pacific actually becomes the more affordable hotel.  Because if you want to get Express Pass Unlimited, and you have a family of four, then it will cost you $400 a day.  And that is more than the normal difference between a stay at Royal Pacific and Sapphire Falls.  So if you want the Universal Unlimited Express Pass, Royal Pacific is a much better deal.

Advantage: Royal Pacific

Dining Options

Jake's American Bar at Loews Royal Pacific at Universal Orlando offers island-inspired cocktails & Florida craft beer
Jake’s American Bar & Grill at Royal Pacific
Universal's Royal Pacific hotel in Orlando, Florida has great dining options, like Islands Dining Room which serves Asian cuisine
Islands Dining Room at Royal Pacific
Tuk Tuk Market is a quick service restaurant with limited seating at the Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando, Florida at Universal
Tuk Tuk Market at Royal Pacific
You can eat sushi, watch TV and relax at the new Orchid Lounge at Universal's Royal Pacific Resort
Orchid Court Lounge & Sushi Bar at Royal Pacific
Have great drinks and food at Bula Bar & Grille at Universal's Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando, Florida
Bula Bar & Grille at Royal Pacific
A picture of Amatista Cookhouse, A Caribbean-themed hgih quality restaurant at the Universal Resort in Orlando, Florida
Amatista Cookhouse at Sapphire Falls
Universal Orlando's Sapphire Falls has a quick service dining option, New Dutch Trading Co.
New Dutch Trading Co. at Sapphire Falls
Strong Water Tavern is a ceviche bar and a patio overlooking the lagoon at Loews Sapphire Falls at Universal Orlando Resort
Strong Waters Tavern at Sapphire Falls
Drhum Club Kantine is an eastery at Sapphire Falls in Orlando, Florida serving food drinks by the resort's pool
Drhum Club Kantine at Sapphire Falls

Both Royal Pacific and Sapphire Falls have great on-site restaurants.  They both have poolside dining options, too (Drhum Club Kantine at Sapphire Falls and Bula Bar & Grille at Royal Pacific).

My family really liked the on-site restaurant at Sapphire Falls, Amatista Cookhouse.  We reviewed their breakfast buffet here and our dinner there here.  And they have a quick-service option, too, New Dutch Trading Co.

But Royal Pacific has a lot more dining options, like Island Dining Room and the Orchid Court Lounge & Sushi Bar.  We really liked Jake’s American Bar and Grill; we reviewed it here.

Their quick-service restaurant, Tuk Tuk Market, served more food and drinks.  We reviewed Tuk Tuk Market here, by the way.

Tuk Tuk Market also had a lot of seating for guests, whereas the New Dutch Trading Co. had just a few tables outside the restaurant.  Also, when we were there, the New Dutch Trading Co. was closed for a few hours in the afternoon, which was pretty inconvenient.

I will say one advantage Sapphire Falls has was that they had a refillable mug system.  Royal Pacific is supposed to but when we were there, they were out of mugs.  Hopefully, that won’t happen to you if you want a refillable mug.

But even so, I would still say overall, the Royal Pacific Resort has more dining options, which is especially great if you are visiting there for a while.

Theming

I love the South Seas inspired statues in front of the pool at the Royal Pacific at the Universal Orlando Resort
Royal Pacific
The carved statues and elephants help create an Indonesia atmosphere at Universal's Royal Pacific Resort
Royal Pacific
I recommend getting reservations for Universal Orlando's Sapphire Falls onsite restaurant, Amatista Cookhouse
Sapphire Falls
Universal Orlando hotel Sapphire Falls has a Caribbean theming
Sapphire Falls

Both are themed to wonderful travel destinations.  Sapphire Falls is themed to the Caribbean islands.  Royal Pacific gives you the feeling that you are on an island in the South Seas.  On the surface, these themes should be equal because they are both great.

But Royal Pacific overall does a better job getting its theme across.  It feels like more of an escape.  Whereas with Sapphire Falls, you don’t necessarily feel like you are on a Caribbean island.  The theming comes and goes a bit.  It’s very beautiful, but it is not always apparent it is Caribbean-themed.  Sometimes it just seems like an upscale hotel with light theming.  Which is still great!  But Royal Pacific is more of a fully immersive experience.

Other Resort Activities

I love the Lagoon-Style Swimming Pool at Royal Pacific at the Universal Orlando Resort
Royal Pacific
The exercise room at Royal Pacific hotel at Universal Orlando Resort is huge
Royal Pacific
Royal Pacific Resort has a lot of fun activities for guests during their Universal Orlando trip like the game room
Royal Pacific
I love how Universal's Caribbean beach themed hotel, Sapphire Falls, has actual sand at the beach
Sapphire Falls Resort
Universal Orlando's Sapphire Falls has a fitness center for guests to use by the pool
Sapphire Falls
Sapphire Falls at Universal Resort in Orlando, Florida has an arcade with fun games like Jurassic Park Arcade
Sapphire Falls Resort

Both pools are amazing with great features like interactive water play areas for kids, poolside activities, sandy beaches incorporated into the pool area, cabanas for rent, etc.  So I don’t think you have to make a decision based on pools.  You will get a great pool experience no matter which hotel you pick.

Both hotels have comparable services, such as having a fitness center and arcade.  But the fitness center and arcade at Royal Pacific are far larger.  Now, being smaller could be a positive trait for you if you don’t like crowds.  But I personally like bigger areas and more games to choose from.

Advantage: Royal Pacific

Conclusion

Both hotels are great and will give you a great hotel experience.

If you take money as the only option and you want to choose the hotel with the cheaper price, then you should choose Sapphire Falls.

Otherwise, you should choose Royal Pacific.  It has a better value since you get Universal Express Unlimited included in the pricing.  It also has better theming, dining, and recreational activities.  And it is a far shorter walk to Universal CityWalk, Universal Studios, and Islands of Adventure.

Click here to get started booking your next Universal Orlando vacation.