Stay at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Combined together, Universal Studios and Cabana Bay Beach Resort create an unforgettable experience for you and your family. With a fun and lively theme, it’s perfect for friends and family. With funky 50-60s retro style décor that is done in bright, beach blues and oranges.
My family and I recently enjoyed a trip to Orlando and one of the highlights of our trip was spending the day at Universal Studios. We wanted a little RnR and we had researched that staying on property has its perks and benefits. We had the chance to be hosted at Cabana Bay Beach Resort and we absolutely loved it.
A Retro Yet Modern Touch
As soon as you step into the lobby, you are greeted by gorgeous colours and a retro theme that takes you back to the era of Mad Men. A resort that is reminiscent of days’ past but, has all the modern amenities that you’d expect.
The lobby was bustling with people coming and going and we were excited to check-in and start our Universal Studios adventure.
While there are many reasons to stay on site, here’s our top 7 reasons that you need to stay at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort!
1. Plenty of Space
The rooms are spacious with plenty of space for everyone in your party. We had a party of 5 and having a family suite was perfect. There are two Queen beds and a pullout couch. The girls claimed the living room/pull out couch area and had plenty of room to spread out, watch TV and enjoy downtime.
Convenience is Key
Universal Studios and Cabana Bay Beach Resort provides the best lodging for families. As aforementioned, choosing a Family Suite gets you two-queen size beds that give you lots of room. This space could easily accommodate 4 people and the sofa in the living room also pulls out to a comfy full-size bed.
This extra space comes great for big families or groups. You could fit 6 people in the suite and still have space! What is nice too is that the resort is accessible and has features for the hearing and sight-impaired.
There is an abundance of outlets for charging phones, gaming devices, cameras, and tablets. Check out this retro clock, I remember having something similar. Just the small details like this and even the vintage V05 toiletries in the bathroom are what make the stay extra special.
The bathrooms are quite wide and spacious too. There is a sink area and large mirror open to the two beds and there is a toilet on one side and another sink with a tub/shower on the other. With big families it sure comes as a plus as one could use the restroom, other uses the shower and one applies makeup.
Needless to say, there is plenty of space and comfort in the family suites. Which leads to restful sleep to regain energy that you are going to need to enjoy the parks the next day. The girls slept comfortably and were re-energized in the morning.
One of the biggest perks is that there is a sliding divider between the living room and the main bedroom. That way you can have privacy and not be in each other’s hair when you are looking to unwind. The funny part? The girls enjoyed the divider more than we did, now that’s telling me something!
Family suites come with a small kitchenette that is complete with a mini-fridge, microwave, and a sink. It is stocked with plastic plates, bowls, forks, and other utensils so that you could grab a quick bite to eat in form of cereal or microwave popcorn as snacks.
TIP: You can get resort-wide charging privileges using your room key card. You can also use your key card for complimentary access to select live entertainment venues at Universal CityWalk for the length of your stay.
We stocked up on beverages and snacks during our stay and it was nice to grab a cold pop or refreshing water throughout the day. It was awesome to have coffee available right in the room since we all know that it is much-needed.
2. Early Park Admission
When you stay on-site and have a valid theme park admission, you are able to enjoy early park admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter an hour before it opens to the public. This is an awesome way to enjoy the park before the crowds. This will also apply to Universal’s Volcano Bay when it opens.
When you check-in, the attendant will tell you which park has early park admission the next morning. You can always call down to them if you are unsure. They are incredibly helpful and will let you know right away.
3. Complimentary Shuttles
Among the numerous perks that come with staying, the Universal Studios and Cabana Bay Beach Resort provide benefits like:
- Shuttles to SeaWorld, Aquatica and Wet ‘n Wild water park
- Free shuttle bus ride to the Universal’s City Walk and both theme parks.
- Hotel Dining Shuttle: Transportation to and from their on-site hotel restaurants.
- Complimentary delivery of merchandise that is bought throughout the resort to the hotel lobby.
- Transportation to Walt Disney World® can also be arranged through the Ticket Center (fees apply).
If you’ve driven in and are an overnight guest, you can park your car for $12/day or if you are not staying overnight and just coming up for the day, it’s $20/day.
4. Pools and Entertainment Galore
The next biggest advantage is the pool area. At Universal Studios and Cabana Bay Beach Resort, you have two choices. The Lazy River Courtyard and Cabana Courtyard both of them offer hot tubs and sand beaches.
TIP: On Friday nights, keep an eye out for character appearances. You just may catch Homer or a Minion or two in the hotel lobby.
We spent a lot of time in the Cabana Courtyard pool and it was great for adults and kids. The depth is perfect for all to enjoy and the splash pad and water slide are so much fun. Once we had our swimming limit, we would head to the hot tub to warm up and relax.
The Lazy River is a bit smaller than expected but a cool feature to have for the younger kids. They will absolutely love it! You can rent an inflatable tube and float all day!
The Cabana Courtyard offers families with a zero-entry pool with fabulous water slide in shape of a retro dive tower, hot tub, Atomic Tonic pool bar, and a kid interactive water play area. It also features old-fashioned games like bean bag toss and ping-pong for quality family time.
The retro theme is experienced all throughout the resort and I’m not mad at that. It’s actually pretty darn awesome. It kind of gives you a feel for what it may have been “back in the day” but, you don’t give up your modern amenities.
Get Your Game On!
If you have kids who absolutely cannot live without gaming, well, they are going to love this. They can take advantage of timeless arcade favorites before whirling their way into the world of modern video games at Game-O-Rama, located on the second floor of the hotel lobby building. Hours: 11 am–11 pm, daily.
Good Old-Fashioned Fun!
There is also bowling at the Galaxy Bowl where for a fee you can play on one of their ten lanes and 10 pins action! Plus, they have a full table service restaurant and a full bar so you don’t even have to stop to eat.
Another fun thing to do is to buy s’mores kits and spend some time around the fire pits. They range from $9 – $12 and you get the sticks and everything you will need to enjoy this tasty treat. I loved that there are so many lounging areas where you can stop and straight up chill wherever you happen to wander.
5. Delicious Food Options
There are numerous eating and drinking options for families and picky eaters as well. There is Bayliner Diner that makes made to order burgers, pasta, pizza, and some international dishes. Both cold and hot breakfast is served in mornings that include made-to-order omelettes.
TIP: Grab a ‘Sonic Fill’ refillable cup for the length of your stay and get FREE refills.
Or you could grab a bite to from the ‘Grab N’ Go’. Other good eating options are at the Galaxy Bowl which is located in the on-site bowling alley and the Hideaway Bay & Grill.
The Hideaway Bay & Grill is steps away from the lazy river and offers grilled lunch and dinner options, quick snacks, sandwiches, frozen and non-frozen drinks, crafted cocktails, beer, and wine. Plus, all the tables have a great view.
TIP: Try the salad bar at Bayliner Diner, it is incredible. Also, play a game of bowling at Galaxy Bowl and while you do, enjoy the Sampler Platter that contains Ultimate Nachos, Chicken Wings and Mozzarella Sticks.
The Atomic Tonic is located on the Cabana Courtyard pool deck, serving cold beer, wine, specialty cocktails, and non-alcoholic beverages. The Swizzle Lounge is also another great place to wet your whistle. They serve a refreshing collection of made-to-order cocktails and snacks in the hotel lobby’s retro-inspired lounge.
TIP: Call up Delizioso Pizza and have pizzas, salads, and desserts delivered to wherever you are within the resort.
Don’t forget you can get your favorite latte or frappe when you’re on-site at the Starbucks. I know my brother was there each morning because you can’t break the habit! Cabana Bay Beach Resort has you covered.
6. Shopping and Working Out
While they don’t go hand in hand, they are both therapeutic. The Gift shop of Universal Studios and Cabana Bay Beach Resort is huge and provides you with a vast selection of theme park merchandise and fun souvenirs of the resort that are perfect items to take back home.
TIP: Don’t forget to grab a Cabana Bay Beach mug for memories!
You’ll find all types of clothes, toys, and collectibles from Marvel, Despicable Me, Dr. Seuss, The Simpsons, Harry Potter, Transformers and more. This is where you can get toiletries and anything that you may have forgotten or run out of too.
Get Your Work-Out On!
You can stay on your routine with a really unique gym. The Jack LaLanne Physical Fitness Studio lets you get in shape surrounded by memorabilia of the famed television physical fitness pioneer. I’m sure you recognize Jack, even if you may not know his name or if you do–you will recognize him.
It was cool to see all of his awards and accomplishments and the gym in itself is retro but, modern. You can work out and get your fitness on since this fitness studio is complimentary for hotel guests. Hours: 5 am-midnight, daily.
7. Easy Check-in and Check-out
Check-in is at 4 pm and check-out at 11 am. When we checked in, our room wasn’t ready because we arrived early. We were able to check our bags at the concierge and explore the resort. But, we signed up to get notification via text and email for when our room was ready. It was really cool! No matter where we were, we were able to find out when our room was ready.
Plus, FREE WiFI in your room and most common areas!
Time to check-out?
You can check out by television, phone, express check-out box available at the front desk or traditional check-out at the front desk. How wicked cool is that? I loved that everything is super easy and accommodates everyone by preference.
The Universal Studios and Cabana Bay Beach Resort offers you family fun at a great value. Plus, it is located right in the middle of Universal Resorts theme park and the bustling CityWalk! The convenience of being so close to the parks is undeniable and the resort itself is a place you want to spend time in not just lay your head.
They’ve thought of everything! Plus, with the really stellar theme throughout the resort, you’ll be “hanging loose” in no time!
Do you like staying on site at amusement parks?
Let me know, til then–cheers m’deres!
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Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist, lifestyle content creator, and editor of Whispered Inspirations. She is a proud Mom to Gabby and Michaela and partner and best friend to Darasak. Having worked as part of a health care team for almost a decade, Nancy is happy to be back to her passion. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY’s Parents, and an Oprah Magazine Brand Ambassador.