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Theme parks are a great vacation spot especially for families. If you’re thinking of visiting Universal Studios Hollywood in California and wondering about staying on site, there are two hotels within walking distance of the theme park. The Sheraton and Hilton. Staying on site of a theme park always has it’s pros and cons. And you always have to outweigh all the possibilities for you and your family.

My family decided to visit Universal Studios Hollywood for a few days this past November. We needed a reset and since it would be the first time flying with the baby and vacationing outside of Washington, we wanted a short flight and an easy kid friendly location. We also wanted to save money by not renting a vehicle or have the extra baggage like the car seat.

We all enjoyed staying on site of the theme park but did have some things we disliked.

The PROS for us:

Easy access to the theme park and city walk without spending money
Either we could do the easy short 10 minute walk, it may take a little longer if you have tired little ones but I felt like the walk wasn’t too dangerous with their paths they have and the only traffic is going to the park and city walk. Or if you didn’t feel like walking the complimentary shuttle is an option, it runs from just before the park opens and runs until late in the evening. It picks up and drops off at the Hilton but the Sheraton is a short elevator up.

Conveniently located for a “break”
This is always an important one for us, having a close enough hotel so we can go back to the room to take a breather. It was close enough for the baby to come back to nap if needed, have a quiet snack or meal, and a huge one for us is if my son needs a mental break from all the stimulation.

Pool
The pools are very nice, with a pool bar, lawn chairs and towels, a chair lift and hot tub. The temperature at the Hilton pool was still warm in November.

Refillable Water
This was one of our favorite additions we found in the lobby right before you head up towards the rooms. They have a water filter you can fill up water bottles, so we did this on our way up the room and on our way out of the hotel.

Rooms
The rooms were fairly nice, comfortable beds, plenty of room to walk around even with a crib and stroller set up.

Walking distance to City Walk
This was a huge plus for us as we had no car, only brought snacks and didn’t want the expensive hotel food the whole time. City Walk had all sorts of foods, including fast foods with a few places open for breakfast and closes late in the evening. You do not need to pay to go into City Walk and they have different hours then the theme park.

The CONS for us:

Expensive
The hotels on site are a little more expensive, so you need to outweigh everything. There’s a couple restaurants located within the hotels but expect to spend some money, a kids peanut butter sandwich meal cost $10 and my chicken salad was $20. It cost us $40 extra to check into the hotel 30 minutes early even though the room was done, honestly we should of just hung out in the lobby with a cranky baby.

No convenient store or grocery store near
In the hotel they do have a little souvenir store with a few drinks and snacks. But a normal size candy bar cost $3, so try to bring all your snacks to save money. No other stores near by to purchase foods/snacks/drinks.

Nothing near by
Literally the only thing near by within walking distance is Universal Studios and CityWalk. So either bring your own stuff, be prepared to pay the hotels food prices or walk/take shuttle up to CityWalk.

Family Friendly to a point
Keep in mind while we were there it was the off season so we probably got a little different experience. We found that neither one of the Hilton or Sheraton felt too family friendly, almost like they allow children but prefer not to. That just didn’t make sense considering it’s connected to a theme park! It was beautiful and clean, and that’s what I look for in a hotel but I almost felt out of place staying there with children.

My conclusion would be if you were saving money on a car rental and only doing Universal Studios/CityWalk then these two hotels are a good location but if you had more on your itinerary and have a car, then I’d personally stay somewhere else nearby and just pay for the parking lot at the theme park.

Have you visited Universal Studios Hollywood, where did you stay?

Pros and Cons of Staying at an Universal City Hotel

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