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Universal Orlando Resort - Loews Portofino Bay and CityWalk

For our recent visit to Universal Orlando Resort, we stayed at Loews Portofino - one of three premier resorts on property. It was already dark when we arrived, so this was our very first impression - a moonlit bay nestled on the Riviera. Breathtaking!

Loews Portofino was inspired by the quaint Ligurian fishing village in Portofino, Italy. It is complete with cobblestone streets, sidewalk cafes, and grapevine-lined roads. The famous trompe l'oeil technique is used on the exterior buildings just as they would have been hundreds of years ago.

The interiors boast an elaborate dome, marble floors, and elegant furnishings. There is definitely an ambiance of being in the Mediterranean. That it was dressed for Christmas was the icing on the cake!

We stayed in a Standard, Garden-View Room. It was as spacious as it was lovely. I especially enjoyed having a Keurig in the room. Although we did visit Starbucks at the resort a few times.

The mornings were dreary, but that did not deter from th…
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Universal Orlando Resort - Volcano Bay

If anyone advises you to steer clear of water parks in December, don't listen. Even after we arrived in Orlando, we still weren't sure we'd make it to Volcano Bay. There was lots of rain in the forecast and the temps for our days there were highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s. Not exactly water park weather. But once we decided to make a go of it, there was no turning back!
Universal Orlando Resort proudly describes Volcano Bay as a water theme park. This is the first clue that this is no run-of-the-mill water park. The second is its Creation Myth:
It all began with the fiery god, Krakatau (kra-kuh-TAU). Though his wrath and fury dominated the land, he couldn’t contain the adventurous spirit of his daughter, Tai Nui (tie-NOO-ee). She fell in love with a native youth named Kala (KAH-lah). And when her fiercely protective father learned of the romance, he flew into a rage. He banished Kala forever to the sky, where he became the Moon. Overcome with grief, Tai Nui’s tears bec…