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Why Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort is for Families

by Mommy Frog on August 21, 2014

With so many trips to Orlando, we've had the chance to stay at some amazing places. This last trip during our preview ofThe Wizarding World of  Harry Potter™ - Diagon Alley™, we stayed at Universal Orlando® Resort's brand-new Cabana Bay Beach Resort. We loved the resort, each of us Frog Family members, and for different reasons.

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

The value-moderate, '50s-era beach resort right there on Universal property has a lot going for it, including the price, which starts at $119 during value season (although we have seen promotions offering rates even lower than this). The '50s beach vibe is spot on, and you'll find the place is mid-century spacious and bright!

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

We should also mention the theme park benefits that come with a stay at Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort: one hour early admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter with regular theme park admission and complimentary shuttle buses to Universal Studios Florida®Universal's Islands of Adventure® and Universal CityWalk®. The one hour early admission is especially welcomed, since it's your very best chance of experiencing Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™ with less than a one-hour wait.

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

All benefits aside, there are still plenty of reasons to love Cabana Bay. Today, we wanted to share a few of those with you!

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort Rooms

Let's start with the rooms themselves, since everyone (but especially moms and dads) are looking for a comfortable place to unwind and catch some ZZZZZs after their day in the parks.

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

First of all, the decor is all bright mod and beachy in oranges and blues.

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

There is a great nod to the past with its vintage-inspired furniture, and retro alarm clock and toiletries. Of course, there are some amenities that the modern family cannot live without, and you'll be happy to know that the TV is a flatscreen.

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Another seemingly small thing that really is a big deal for modern families is the electrical outlet situation. We're an especially wired family with all of our cameras and other gear, but most families these days need multiple outlets for charging phones, cameras, tablets and gaming devices. I can happily report that we had no trouble finding outlets, which made Tad especially happy since he normally has to wait for us to finish charging before its his turn.

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

While there are plenty of standard rooms, larger families or even smaller families staying longer than a few days should consider a family suite, which accommodates up to six guests and includes a kitchenette, two flat screen TVs, a sliding partition to the bedrooms for privacy, and an oversized bathroom area.

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

The extra space in the bathroom is a big deal, as most of you who have traveled as a family know. Universal says there is enough space for three people to prep at once, and that was certainly true for us frogs, but regular-sized folks will find two is probably more comfortable. Bonus: There is a door to the toilet area, and it is separate from the sinks and bathtub.

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort pools

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Beyond the rooms, the next biggest consideration is often the pool area (maybe it's even more important to you than the room itself). The good news is that there are two fabulous choices - the Cabana Courtyard and the Lazy River Courtyard. Both offer sand beaches and hot tubs. The Cabana Courtyard features a zero-entry pool with a fabulous water slide in the guise of a retro dive tower, hot tub, a kids interactive water play area and the Atomic Tonic pool bar. The Cabana Courtyard also offers old-fashioned games like ping pong and bean bag toss.

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

The Lazy River Courtyard features a zero-entry pool, a lazy river, hot tub and The Hideaway Bar & Grill. Do know that you will have to pay for the floats, unless you bring your own.

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort Dining

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Lots of food and drink options make this perfect for families (and picky eaters). There are grab-and-go items at the food court, Bayliner Diner, which also offers made-to-order bugers, pizza, pasta and even some international cuisine.

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

While Tad, Lily and Leap all went for pizza one night, I had the Brazilian Beef Churrasco and it was absolute post-theme park perfection.

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Hot and cold breakfast items are served in the mornings, including made-to-order omelets. For those of you who like to let loose on vacation, there is also the doughnut bar :)

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Guests can also grab burgers and other bites inside the onsite bowling alley, Galaxy Bowl, and at the Hideaway Bay & Grill.

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

And don't even worry about getting thirsty, because tasty libations await at Swizzle Lounge in the lobby or the poolside bars.

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Even better, there is a large Starbucks with ample seating in the lobby. We might as well call it Mommy Frog's theme park lifesaver :) It's perfect for getting the day started or for a pick-me-up in the afternoon.

More ways Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort gets it right

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

At the Cabana Bay Beach Resort gift shop (which is huge!), there is a great selection of theme park merchandise as well as fun Cabana Bay Beach Resort souvenirs, which are perfect for those times when you don't make it out of the theme park with that perfect something for that perfect someone back home. There are also plenty of toiletries and other items you might have forgotten. Even better for shopping fiends like moi, the gift shop stocks some wonderfully fabulous beachy apparel and bathing suits from brands like Splendid and Donna Karan. It took a bit of will power not to buy everything!

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort - Jack LaLanne Fitness Studio

I would be remiss if I didn't also mention the Jack LaLanne Physical Fitness Studios. Now, for me personally, I consider my days at the theme parks workout enough, especially when I'm lugging around the backpack and occasionally Lily. But for those of you who just can't imagine not getting your cardio on or getting in a quick lift, this is an amazing space with ample room to do your workout. For fitness buffs and Jack LaLanne fans, it's worth the trip up to the second floor to view all of the mementos and treasures on display.

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort - Galaxy Bowl

There is also a Galaxy Bowl, a 10-lane bowling alley, which also has a full-service restaurant. It's the perfect activity for vacation arrival day, when you want to kick off the trip with some fun but not waste a full day's admission on only a half day of fun.

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Another great evening option is to lay out the beach towels and watch a movie on the lawn. It's the preferred way to dry off after a few hours in the pool!

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Before you leave, make time to visit the classic cars lined up outside the lobby. They make the perfect backdrop for your beach resort photo ops!

Overall, we loved our stay at Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort and are looking forward to our return!

Have questions about Universal's newest resort? Leave them in comments below. Have you stayed at Cabana Bay? Let us know what you loved about it. 

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Comments
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courtney monastero Aug 26, 2014 at 6:23 p.m.

Ive never been to universal studios..and islands of adventure..my first time at the cabana. Is it better to do 2 parks on seprate days or both on the same. It will be just 2 adults on vacation. Secondly..if i wanted to go to hollwood studios or epcot..taxi is the best way to go? Im not sure if you can answer this..but when we arrive in florida...taxi to cabana?

Reply
FrogBlog Aug 28, 2014 at 7:50 p.m.

Hi Courtney,

You're going to have so much fun at Universal!

With Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios right next door to each other, the park-to-park ticket makes it easy to hop back and forth and is required to ride the Hogwarts Express between the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade over to King's Cross in London.

As far as transportation, shuttles would likely be more economical for your party of two, although it is worth looking at car rental as well. We do offer discounts on Mears for roundtrip service between the airport and the Universal hotels. Mears also has roundtrip service between Universal and Disney.

Let us know what you end up doing!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Karen Nov 6, 2014 at 2:07 a.m.

Do you recommend paying extra for a poolside room -- or does it not matter?

Reply
FrogBlog Nov 6, 2014 at 9:30 a.m.

Hi Karen,

It's always nice to have a poolside room, although I think it is a personal preference on whether it is worth it to upgrade.

Best,

Mommy Frog

Reply
Rich Jan 8, 2015 at 11:55 p.m.

I would not recommend because there are obstructed views . I would go to the higher floors and enjoy the view from up above

Reply
VS Dec 22, 2014 at 5:38 a.m.

Great review! How much would transportation from Cabana to Legoland cost?

Reply
FrogBlog Dec 22, 2014 at 6:49 a.m.

Hi VS,

We are not aware of a direct shuttle service, so you would likely need to hire a car to drive you. Renting a car would likely be more economical, possibly even for your full trip.

Best,

Mommy Frog

Reply
lisa sharaba Jan 20, 2015 at 12:51 p.m.

Is there a shuttle to take you to disney resorts.

Reply
FrogBlog Jan 20, 2015 at 11:30 a.m.

Hi Lisa,

The hotels do not offer shuttle service, but you could use Mears, take a cab or rent a car. We offer terrific deals on car rental when you package with tickets, and depending on what you want to do on your visit, you might find this just as economical as the other two options.

Best,

Mommy Frog

Reply
Andrea Mar 8, 2015 at 3:12 p.m.

Just wondering if there is enough to do at the hotel for a few days without going to the parks?

Thanks!

Reply
FrogBlog Mar 9, 2015 at 2:30 p.m.

Hi Andrea,

With the two main pools, kids' water play area and lazy river, I could barely get Tad and Lily to leave! There is also the bowling alley and arcade, so lot's of fun to be had on-site. You can also hop to any of the other on-site hotels for their pools and events.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jamie Mar 10, 2015 at 6:39 p.m.

Hi I'm planning a 5 day trip for my family and since we will be going to magic kingdom and hollywood studios for two of the days and having a 3 day park-to-park ticket for universal the other days. Is it worth staying at a resort if we may not use a lot of its amenities? Also do they have parking because we will be driving?

Reply
FrogBlog Mar 16, 2015 at 8:27 a.m.

Hi Jamie,

We think it is worth it to stay on-site because of the benefits inside the theme parks. At Cabana Bay, for example, you get one hour early admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (one or both parks). Depending on when you are visiting, this can be a huge benefit. But if you are not going to take advantage of the early admission, then it may not be worth it to you. All of the resort hotels charge for parking, but you would be paying to park in the garage any way.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Hillary Mar 12, 2015 at 1:53 a.m.

I read somewhere that there's a shuttle to Discovery Cove/Sea World. Is there? How would you recommend getting there otherwise? I'd rather not rent a car (under 25 and by myself, just too expensive).

Reply
FrogBlog Mar 14, 2015 at 8:24 a.m.

Hi Hillary,

Yes, shuttle transportation is provided to SeaWorld and Aquatica via Super Star Shuttle. You would need to get a boarding pass from the hotel one day to 30 minutes in advance of leaving. Discovery Cove is very close to SeaWorld, and you could take a SeaWorld bus over to it and back for free.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nancy Mar 15, 2015 at 9:28 p.m.

I am planning a trip for my family in March 2016. I am unable to see any of the prices available for the Orlando Universal resorts in 2016 on their booking sites. Do you know when this information becomes available? The prices are very different depending on when you travel so I would really like to know an exact price so that I can work on my budget.

Reply
FrogBlog Mar 31, 2015 at 8:19 a.m.

Hi Nancy,

Those dates would normally become available in August or September. With Loews Sapphire Falls Resort opening in 2016, we expect booking to become available a little bit earlier this year. I would start checking in June and July.

Mommy Frog

Reply
Bayoucreole Mar 23, 2015 at 2:37 p.m.

This is such a great review. You answered every question I had regarding this hotel. I'm making plans to go to Universal for Christmas 2015.

Thanks so much!

Reply
FrogBlog Mar 23, 2015 at 10:58 a.m.

So glad we can help! It's a great resort. Can't wait to get back there myself!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Roni Apr 1, 2015 at 2:04 a.m.

I understand Cabana dies not offer the express pass like the other on site resorts do (to Universal). Would you recommend buying it separate to move ahead in ride lines?

Reply
FrogBlog Apr 1, 2015 at 10:50 a.m.

Hi Roni,

It's always awesome to skip the lines, but I would consider purchasing it on the busiest days.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dana Apr 9, 2015 at 3:54 a.m.

Is Cabana Bay walking distance to Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure?

Reply
FrogBlog Apr 9, 2015 at 11:07 a.m.

Hi Dana,

Yes, but the bus is more convenient.

Mommy Frog

Reply
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