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Last week, I finally had the chance to spend three nights at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando Resort. I have sent many happy clients to Cabana Bay, and this is always a fan favorite, so I was excited to check it out for myself. With a retro 50s/60s Florida roadside motel vibe, Universal’s Cabana Bay is an excellent choice for your family’s next Universal vacation. Keep reading for my full Cabana Bay Review
Universal Orlando’s Cabana Bay Review
Universal Orlando Resort has eight on-site hotels. They range from premier ($$$$) to value ($) properties. Universal’s Cabana Bay is a prime-value ($$) resort. At a great price point, with rooms for larger families, and some fun, unique amenities, Cabana Bay is worth considering for your next Universal vacation.
Where is Universal’s Cabana Bay?
Universal’s Cabana Bay is located adjacent to Volcano Bay, the incredible water theme park at Universal Orlando Resort. There is a dedicated walking path to Volcano Bay, it’s such a short walk!
On my recent stay at Cabana Bay, bus transportation was frequent, quick and efficient. We also walked home to Cabana Bay along the walking path past Loews Royal Pacific and the back of Sapphire Falls. You have to carefully follow the small signs (and make sure you cross the bridge by Royal Pacific), but it’s about a 15-20minute walk to City Walk from Cabana Bay.
A nice option to have.
Universal’s Cabana Bay Theme
Universal’s Cabana Bay resort is modeled after the 50s/60s road side motels. The theming is great throughout!
The property gives a nostalgic vibe with cute details like 50s/60s commercials playing in the Bayliner diner, and little bottles of V05 shampoo and crème rinse in the bathroom!
The set up and layout of the eight buildings feel like a 1950’s motel!
What are the benefits of staying at Universal’s Cabana Bay?
Like with all on-site Universal Orlando Resort hotels, guests at Cabana Bay have some exclusive perks.
On site Universal Orlando Resort Guests all receive:
- Early park admission. This is at one theme park per day, and at Volcano Bay all days.
- Complimentary transportation throughout Universal Orlando Resort.
- Free Merchandise Delivery to your hotel.
- Resort-wide charging privileges.
- Every on-site resort offers lifeguards at the pool and life vests for little ones
- The ability to pool hop to other Universal Orlando resorts
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Rooms at Universal’s Cabana Bay
At Universal’s Cabana Bay there are three room types:
Standard Room which sleeps 4 – featuring two queen beds, a tub or shower, separate vanity/sink, and a small table. All Universal Hotel rooms have a fridge and coffee maker.
You can book a standard room with a no view (aka parking lot, a pool view, or a volcano bay view
Family Suite which sleeps 6 – The Cabana Bay family suites feature a separate bedroom with two queen beds, and a living room with a pull out. Family suites have a slightly larger mini fridge and a microwave. In this category, you can book an interior or exterior entry family suite.
NOTE: Poolside rooms mean just that – the rooms are on the poolside of the building. You may/may not have a pool view from your poolside room.
2-Bedroom Volcano Bay View Suites which sleep 8 guests – these true two bedroom units are over 770 square feet and feature 2 full beds in one bedroom, 1 queen bed in another, and a full-size pull-out sofa in the living room. Plus, these suites include 2 full bathrooms, a kitchenette with mini refrigerator and sink.
Are there Adjoining Rooms at Cabana Bay?
There are adjoining rooms at Universal’s Cabana Bay, but they are always on request and not guaranteed. When you book your Universal Orlando vacation with me, I put in that request right away, but it is based on availability.
If you truly need two bedrooms/bathrooms, I would advise booking the 2-bedroom volcano Bay Suite to guarantee the space your family needs.
Dining at Universal’s Cabana Bay
There are a few eateries at Universal’s Cabana Bay, but being a prime-value resort there are no sit down, table service restaurants on site and this hotel does not offer room service.
The main place to dine is the Bayliner diner. This is located off the lobby. This is a food court type/cafeteria style dining open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The food at Bayliner was decent and ranged from pizza and burgers, to salads and stir fry.
Bayliner also offers some grab and go items, bottled drinks and alcohol. It’s like a café and mini-mart in one.
Also off the lobby is a Starbucks. If you love your Starbucks, expect a long wait in the morning hours.
In the lobby area you can grab drinks at Swizzle Lounge, a hopping bar with a retro theme, and right above the lobby they do serve food at Galaxy Bowl.
Lastly, there are two bars that serve food out by each pool.
CABANA BAY PRO TIP: Word on the street is that the best pizza on property can be found at Atomic Tonic, located by the pool. With a meat grill and their own (secret) pizza recipe, be sure to check out the shawarma, pizza and philly cheesesteaks served here!
Pools At Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
At Cabana Bay, book for the value and stay for the pools! There are two great, huge pools at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
Out by buildings Starlight/Castaway/Thunderbird, you have the pool with waterslide. Here you will find Atomic Tonic to eat and drink.
On the other side of the lobby, by the Bayliner diner and buildings 5, 6, 7 and 8, you have the pool with the lazy river.
At each pool there are hot tubs, and lawn games like cornhole and giant connect four.
You could very easily do a relaxing non-park, pool/resort day at Universal’s Cabana bay!
What does Cabana Bay have to offer?
Like we need more to do after long park days, quick access to Volcano Bay, and swimming in both of the incredible pools, but if you are looking for even more at Cabana Bay, then be sure to:
- Buy a Smore’s kit at Bayliner diner and roast marshmallows at the fire pit
- Go Bowling at Galaxy Bowl
- Check out a Movie under the stars
- Work out in the Jack Lalane fitness center
- Play at the largest arcade at Universal, and the only Dave & Buster’s style arcade where you play for tickets that you can redeem for prizes
Is Universal Cabana Bay Worth It?
I’m going to be honest here, Cabana Bay was probably MY least favorite Universal resort I have stayed in – and yes that might be the unpopular opinion! But there are definitely things I liked about the resort and can see why it is a great choice for families.
Things I didn’t love was the size of the resort. My standard room was in building 8, which is the furthest from the lobby you can be. Admittedly if I had a volcano bay view room vs a parking lot view, I could justify the trade off in location.
If your room is in buildings 2 or 7/8, you are quite far from Bayliner diner, Starbucks, and the shuttle bus to the parks. I personally prefer smaller resorts.
I also didn’t love the lack of services like a sit down restaurant and luggage assistance. But for some families this is a small sacrifice for a better price point when planning a Universal Orlando Vacation.
I did very much LOVE the pool areas – and how each had their own distinct vibe. I loved the theming throughout the resort, and the standard rooms were comfortable and large. Bus transportation was easy to get to the theme parks and the proximity to Volcano bay cannot be beat!
For those reasons, I will continue to send happy guests to Universal’s Cabana Bay and would definitely go back with my own family on a future Universal Orlando trip.
Have you stayed at Universal’s Cabana Bay? Did you love it? Tell me in the comments.