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 Cabana Bay Beach Resort. We loved the resort, each of us Frog Family members, and for different reasons.
This prime value-category, '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!
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.
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.
First of all, the decor is all bright mod and beachy in oranges and blues.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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 :)
Guests can also grab burgers and other bites inside the onsite bowling alley, Galaxy Bowl, and at the Hideaway Bay & Grill.
And don't even worry about getting thirsty, because tasty libations await at Swizzle Lounge in the lobby or the poolside bars.
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
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!
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.
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.
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!
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 Cabana Bay? Leave them in comments below. For more tips, hop over to our Where to Stay in Orlando page inside the Orlando Planning Timeline!