Ever since we first set foot on Universal Orlando Resort in 2016, we fell in love. The girls have asked to go back every single day so getting the news that we would be returning to Universal Orlando was a literal dream come true for all of us.
Universal kindly gifted us a six night stay with tickets to the three parks too. During our stay we had the pleasure of staying at Cabana Bay Beach Resort for the first time. We stayed in two different room types during our stay (three nights in each) which I’m excited to share with you in this blog post. This blog is a complete overview of the hotel.
I will be writing a day to day account of our entire Orlando adventure so please keep an eye on my blog for as they will be viewable in the following weeks. Also, please head over to my YouTube channel as the video diaries are slowly appearing there too. I’m uploading Monday, Wednesday and Sunday’s at 7pm UK time.
Cabana Bay is one of eight hotels (Endless Summer the new hotel has two sections – Surfside and Dockside) on the Universal Orlando Resort. The hotel has a retro style inspired by classic Florida beach resorts of the 1950s and 60s.
It’s bright and all of the colours instantly make you feel happy. This hotel has lots going on including entertainment, pools and the bonus of being next door to Volcano Bay.
This hotel is in the “Prime Value” range of the hotels at Universal and you can get rooms from $120 per night. Prime Value means “cheaper” but in my opinion you really couldn’t tell it was a cheaper hotel.
Universal Orlando Resort is located about twenty minutes from the Orlando airport.
In terms of Cabana Bay Resort Hotel, it is situated between Islands Of Adventure and Volcano Bay on the resort. Here’s a link to the map so that you can get an idea of the resort.
It’s very overwhelming when you arrive at Cabana Bay. The Lobby is huge, bright and colourful. There’s plenty of seating space to pop your luggage. As you arrive you are immediately greeted by staff who assist you with your luggage.
Check in is at 4pm. We had actually arrived in the morning, about 10am and I was a little worried we may be turned away. Thankfully this didn’t happen, the staff showed us to where we could store our luggage.
The process of checking in was really easy. You tell them your name, they ask for photo ID and then they give you your room key cards. The key cards are so cool! They have different Universal characters on. The lady who checked us in then gave us a map of the hotel and explained where everything was.
As we had arrived early they took my phone number and explained they would give us a text when our room was ready.
If you have already booked Universal park tickets then you can also collect these at a desk that is also in the Lobby at Cabana Bay. They have self service machines or you can speak to a member of staff during their opening hours. It’s very straight forward and saves time queuing at the parks.
As I said above, we stayed in two different room types. I’m excited to share both of these with you.
The first room we stayed in at Cabana Bay was in the Castaway building. The building is close to the Lobby and has four floors. Our room was on the top floor overlooking the Cabana Courtyard below.
Our Family Suite has exterior entrance but you can pick to have interior entrance too. The Family Suites sleep up to six people.
As you enter the room you immediately walk into the kitchenette. The kitchenette has a mini refrigerator, sink and microwave. There’s also a coffee machine with some complimentary teas and coffees. Cabana Bay also give plastic cutlery, bowls, plates and cups too.
There’s a breakfast bar separating the kitchen from the living area with bar stools too. The living area has two small armchairs, a pull out sofa bed, a flatscreen TV and two drawers. The room felt a little cramped for the six of us if I’m honest especially when we had all of our suitcases piled up too.
Behind a partitioning wall that offers some privacy, are the two Queen sized beds. I really loved the way the bedroom is decorated, it’s brightly coloured and matches the theme of the hotel. Everything is in really good condition and feels almost new.
This area also has a flat screen TV attached to the wall. A bedside table with phone, clock and a notepad too. This hotel room is air conditioned and unlike the previous hotel we stayed at, this air con was very quiet and easy to control the temperature of.
As for storage, there’s a set of two drawers along the partitioning wall and then further into the room on the far corner, there is a walk in wardrobe area. It’s open with no door but houses the ironing board, security safe, plenty of room for hanging clothes and a suitcase stand too. The extra bedding for the pull out sofa bed was also found in here.
The bedroom area is quite dark even with the partitioning door open as here is no back window. The entire room just has one window in the living area. The lights offer a more cosy feel rather than giving off much light.
The bathroom was really good for the amount of people we had as it had a separate toilet with closing door, then a separate bath room with the bath, shower over the bath and sink. Then there’s also a sink area between them both. This means more than one person can get washed or use the toilet. The sink area was open plan to the bedroom, possibly the only downside to the bathroom area. There was plenty of towels to use and a few toiletries too.
This room had housekeeping come each day which was a pleasant surprise. It’s so nice to get fresh bedding to fall asleep in after a long day at the Universal parks.
Overall, we felt the Family Suite was a little small for six people. It would definitely work better with four or possibly five people at most. It was a lovely base though and the room was clean and fresh.
2 Bedroom Suite
You have no idea how excited we was to check in to the new two bedroom suites that overlook Universal’s Volcano Bay. These are the biggest rooms at Cabana Bay Resort. We checked in on Friday evening late at night after watching the Universal’s Cinematic Celebration. The two bedroom suites with Volcano Bay view sleep up to eight people so great for a family or a group.
The two bedroom suites at Cabana Bay are located in two towers, Bayside and Beachside. We was in the Beachside which is the furthest away from the Volcano Bay entrance. The towers require your room key card to enter. At the bottom of our one was a little games/arcade room, toilet facilities and a laundry room.
Our two bedroom suite was on the 11th floor. Thankfully there was a lift. As you walk in to the left was a large wardrobe/cupboard space with the security safe, ironing board and spare bedding inside. There was also a few supplied hangers for clothing.
The first thing you are hit by is the incredible view (see below) through the floor to ceiling glass windows that spread across all of the outer walls. It was night time when we arrived so the Volcano glowed and the lights from the buildings sparkled. It was breathtakingly gorgeous.
The living area is open plan with the kitchenette. In fact the kitchenette was identical to the one in the Family Suite room, with microwave, mini refrigerator, coffee machine, sink, plastic dinnerware. We also found another fridge inside the TV cabinet.
The lounge area has a cute little dining table with a few chairs and a large L shaped pull out sofa bed. There was also a large flat screen TV too and an armchair near the windows. The living space was spacious and we had plenty of room to move about and play. My Mum and Freya ended up sleeping on the sofa bed together.
The bedrooms and bathrooms (yes plural bathrooms) were all off of a corridor. This suite definitely felt more like an apartment than a hotel room and it was quite luxurious.
Our Master bedroom has a Queen sized bed, bed side tables and a huge TV with cabinet underneath. There was plenty for floor space too. I ended up having our suitcases left open along one wall for easy access to clothes and it still didn’t feel cramped.
We also had the most amazing view to wake up to of the Volcano. From about 8am you can hear the Volcano noises, it’s like a drum from the water park. It’s quite soothing. The tip of the volcano also glows orange at times too. It’s honestly incredible.
The second bedroom was at the end of the corridor and had two full sized double beds in. This room had a TV with cabinet and drawers, it also had a small table and chairs in too. The view from this room was of the Lazy River Courtyard at Cabana Bay.
There are two bathrooms in this suite, actually technically I suppose there’s three. The bathrooms have no windows but the lighting is good for make up application.
Firstly, there is a toilet room that also has a sink inside. It’s really spacious inside and the door had a full length mirror attached.
Right next door is the bath room with bath and overhead shower. The light in this room was inside the shower area and when the shower curtain was pulled it left the room feeling quite dark.
At the very end of the corridor and between the two bedrooms was the shower room. This also had a toilet and sink in. This allowed more than one person to wash at the same time. I was really pleased about having the two toilets especially with three small children.
Although the room was so beautiful, I found the location of it a little inconvenient for a family. It’s quite far away from the main building of the hotel with the restaurant, games room and bowling. I also much preferred the swimming pool on the other side of the Cabana Bay resort as it was a little more child friendly. However, we had a really comfortable stay and thoroughly enjoyed the incredible Volcano Bay view!
Each Universal hotel has it’s own restaurant and food areas. Cabana Bay Beach resort had quite a few on offer.
This is a cute little bar area tucked in the corner of the lobby. It’s a lovely way to chill out or meet some friends for a drink in the evenings.
We didn’t actually use the Starbucks but it is situated between the Lobby and the Bayliner Diner. It offers the usual light food options and drinks.
This is the main restaurant at Cabana Bay. It has a really amazing retro theme. This is also where you can get your breakfast too. The restaurant area has three stations as such with different types of food. They have kids meals too, a salad bar and grab and go style options too. There is plenty of seating available. The prices are not too bad either.
The Hideaway Bar & Grill serves quick food and drinks for a more relaxed outdoor dining experience. The bar is also here.
We found the resort cups on our second day and I would highly recommend doing it. You can either pay per day or a set price for your entire stay. It was about $18 for our six night stay. These resort cups have a chip in the bottom that triggers the drinks machines. You are allowed to top up unlimited amounts (once every ten minutes) whilst at the Cabana Bay Resort. Universal parks have their own cups and its worth noting that the resort ones do not work inside the cups, you’d have to pay for the drinks like normal. You can top it up with both soft and hot drinks. We will definitely be doing this next time we visit and also looking into getting the Universal parks cups too. We only bought one cup, and shared so it was very cost effective.
This is situated upstairs of the main building inside the bowling alley. I have posted the menu below. It’s a casual dining experience with lots of options for all.
There are two pools at Cabana Bay Beach Resort – Cabana Courtyard pool and Lazy River pool. There is lots of seating, shaded pavilions and toilet facilities around both pools. Each pool area also has cute fire pits for toasting marshmallows or chilling out in the evenings.
Although you can take your own swimming towel, if you’re like me and wasn’t quite prepared, they have a collection area for clean towels and to drop of dirty ones. Completely free. I love that!
The pool in the Cabana Courtyard has a slide. Freya had loads of fun going down this. Both pools were warm enough to enjoy and with the Orlando sun beating down it was quite nice to be slightly cooler under the water.
I suppose it was inevitable that the Beach Resort would have sand and near both pools are sandy areas to play. In these areas there’s a huge play box full of beach toys like buckets and spades. We spent most of our evenings chilling out on sun loungers as we watched the girls play in the sand. It’s lit up by fairy lights at night. A gorgeous setting.
There’s honestly a lot going on at this resort. I was so impressed as we wandered around and explored on our first day. We didn’t have enough time to experience it all but these are the things we found.
For those fitness lovers there’s a really good gym facilities or fitness studio as it’s called on the upper floor of the main building. I had a quick peep and didn’t dare enter, after all I was on holiday walking enough miles each day to keep fit.
We stumbled upon the games room whilst wandering and ended up staying for quite a while. You can buy an arcade card for as low as $5 or as much as you like, this allows you to use credits to play the games. The girls had a lovely time in there and used their collected tokens to get some sweeties, slime egg and a bouncy ball. It was a great way to burn some time whilst we waited for our room to be ready on the first day.
I loved that they offer a poolside movie every night. It’s done over in the Lazy River Courtyard pool. It attracts quite a gathering in the evenings which is great for children. They also have live music and various other cool entertainment so keep an eye during your stay.
The shuttle service to the Universal parks are complimentary when you stay in a Universal hotel. The shuttle bus arrives every fifteen minutes and takes you to the security at Universal City Walk.
Most of the other resort hotels have a water taxi shuttle that goes down the beautiful river that connects the hotels to the Universal City Walk, however Cabana Bay is just too far and instead has the bus shuttle.
We travelled via it for the first trip into Universal City Walk. It was easy to access, plenty of space and everyone was really friendly. However, we had experienced the water taxi before and this shuttle followed the road and was not quite as picturesque and Universal-y. If that’s even a thing.
So we decided to go by water taxi for the rest of our time at Universal. This is also quite simple to do and is still complimentary. To catch the water taxi from Cabana Bay you have to walk to Sapphire Falls. Sapphire Falls hotel is literally opposite and across the road to Cabana Bay. It takes about five to ten minutes to walk along a safe walk way.
After walking through the lobby of Sapphire Falls you will reach the water taxi dock. You have to go through bag check and security at this point before queuing for the boat. They arrive every fifteen minutes. All the boat staff are super friendly and a few of them even let the girls push the horn. The water taxi is by far the best way to travel and it’s so beautiful.
We very nearly ended up playing a game of bowling as we waited for our room to check in. The price was really reasonable and the Galaxy Bowl is situated on the upper floor of the main building. I’m actually quite gutted we didn’t get to go.
Shower & Laundry Facilities
In the upper toilets of the main building there are shower facilities. I took a peep in and they provide toiletries and towels. It’s spacious and there’s quite a few showers. This is perfect for check in or out day when you may want to freshen up from the Orlando sweat you’ll inherit. It’s also right next door to the gym so perfect location for a workout.
There are also onsite laundry facilities. You use your bank card to pay for either the washing or drying faculties. We used this once during our stay. The laundry rooms are located in various places on resort.
There’s a really handy Universal Shop. This sells merchandise from the Universal Parks. The girls loved taking a peep in the shop and getting very excited about visiting the parks.
Obviously the most important part right? There’s WiFi throughout the Universal Orlando Resort including Cabana Bay. I have no idea about speeds and stuff, but had no issues connecting or watching videos from my laptop, iPad and phone.
Dreams came true at Cabana Bay. It absolutely blew our expectations and gave us everything we could ask for under one roof, kind of. The girls had loads of fun and we felt safe and secure the entire time. I mean, look at that sunset, who could complain at that?!
Don’t forget to head over to my YouTube channel to watch our epic Orlando trip.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.