Guides and Tips, Hotels

Guide to Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando Resort

March 29, 2024
A man and woman on a bed laughing and a kid sitting on the floor in a tube.

Nostalgia has always been part of my personal brand. I can’t help it. A known sentimentalist who frequently uses storytelling as an escape, I find it very easy to dwell in the feeling of another time. And when that reminiscence can be taken beyond imagining and into the realm of the tangible and physical, that’s when I’m really in my element. 

Lucky for me, one of the most transporting examples of the vintage charm I cherish lies a short walk away from the theme parks of Universal Orlando Resort at Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort. But that’s not all this hotel has going for it… So sit back, turn on some old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll, and let me tell you all you need to know!

ABOUT THE HOTEL

A lobby with bright orange chairs and a family walking.

Brilliantly designed for fun and affordability, you’ll find everything you need for a memorable vacation right here.

Price Range: $$

Perfect for: Families and groups on a budget who want to stay close to the action, but still have room to spread out; fans of Universal Volcano Bay.

Theming: The clock starts to rewind right as you pull up to Cabana Bay Beach Resort, where there are classic cars lining the outside of the lobby and a sign that says you’re in for “COLOR TV” and “COLD AIR.” But the real immersion happens when you step out of the present and into a Floridian beach resort circa the 1950s and 60s. Retro tunes fill your ears as you take in the colorful, pop-art-inspired atmosphere. Heading into the courtyard, you’ll notice buildings accompanied by giant names written with midcentury flare: “Starlight,” “Thunderbird,” “Castaway.” Welcome to the picture-perfect past! Your stay has begun. 

Rooms: After you check in, you’ll quickly find the decor doesn’t stop in the lobby. Every room is decked out with vibrant shapes, clean lines, and fun details. Let’s take a look at some options!

  • Standard Room: 2 queen beds, a flat screen TV, and a mini-fridge — who knew the basics could be this stylish?
  • Family Suite: 2 queen beds in the bedroom, a pull-out sofa in the living room, 2 flat screen TVs, plus a kitchenette with a mini-fridge, microwave, and sink — perfect for larger groups.
  • Volcano View: With truly stunning views of the mighty Krakatau at Volcano Bay, these are some of the most coveted rooms in all of Universal Orlando Resort!
  • Pool View: Cabana Bay is home to two tropical pools, the Cabana Courtyard And Pool and the Lazy River Courtyard And Pool, both of which are a sight to behold. (Keep reading for more deets on these!
  • Mobility and Hearing Accessible Rooms: All the appeal of the rooms listed above, but with features like a tub with grab bars, wider door openings, and visual alarms and doorbells — making the fun accessible to all.

Benefits

The value of a Universal hotel extends way beyond themes and amenities. Every day in the parks (valid theme park admission required) is made easier by the advantages offered with your stay. 

  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Enter the park up to one hour before it opens and knock out some of the most popular rides and attractions before the crowds.
  • Walking Path to Volcano Bay: Cabana Bay Beach Resort is literal steps away from a tropical oasis. You won’t have to deal with buses or other forms of transportation. Just whisk yourself down the path to paradise!
  • Transportation to Universal Studios Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure, and Universal CityWalk: Complimentary shuttle buses offer a quick hop on/hop off solution for getting to the action.
  • Room Key Charging: You can easily charge purchases to your room resort-wide ­(in the theme parks and at Universal CityWalk)… all you need is your room key!
  • Complimentary Purchase Delivery: Speaking of shopping, select stores throughout the resort will deliver your purchases directly to your hotel, keeping your hands free.

WHAT TO DO

While the theme parks are just minutes away from your doorstep, it’s also possible to have a fully eventful or relaxing day and never leave Cabana Bay Beach Resort. In fact, I would encourage it when planning your Orlando vacation.

Pools

5 ladies laughing in a pool.

My first stop after checking into any hotel is the pool area. I need to know what my lounging afternoons are going to look like, after all. Here, I’m never disappointed.

There are two pools to choose from:

  • Cabana Courtyard and Pool: On one side, you have a dive-tower themed water slide, cabanas for rent, fire pits, and the Atomic Tonic bar for all your food and drink needs.
  • Lazy River Courtyard and Pool: On the other, a pool with its very own winding river and sand beach, in addition to fire pits and the Hideaway Bar & Grill. Let me say that again: A lazy river right in your hotel, with amazing views of the Krakatau, the mighty volcano of Volcano Bay!

Personally, I’m headed straight for an inner tube where you can find me floating to my hearts’ content… at least until I’m in need of a cocktail.

Galaxy Bowl

A family laughing and a man and girl high-fiving.

Straight out of every beloved 50s-inspired movie, you’ll find 10 lanes of fun for the whole family at the heart of Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Retro style blends seamlessly with modern technology as you record a strike and enjoy a table service restaurant with sandwiches, hamburgers, pizzas and a fully stocked bar.

I find this to be one of the real hidden gems of Universal Orlando Resort as a whole. It’s not something you think to look for, and yet, you could spend an entire afternoon here easily.

Jack LaLanne Physical Fitness Studio

An ode to the “Godfather of Fitness,” this gym is complimentary for guests and will keep you in tip top shape on vacation. It even contains décor and artifacts from the home of Jack LaLanne, himself!

Ace the Arcade

Your kids (and kids at heart) will stay occupied all day long exploring this haven of arcade classics and modern video game favorites.

WHAT TO EAT & DRINK

Two men eating breakfast.

I keep dwelling on the hotel’s immersive qualities — the architecture, the furnishing, the music. Well, add food to that list because dining here is immersive in its own right.

Shakes Malt Shoppe

No visit to the midcentury is complete without sitting on a stool and casually sipping a delicious milkshake. Harkening back to the soda counters of old, this place deserves a stop any time of the day. Serving breakfast, as well as a mouthwatering array of ice cream-based goods, you’ll probably find a reason to return tomorrow, too. 

For those 21 and older, I suggest the Chocolate Peanut Butter shake from the “Grown-Up” list with peanut butter ice cream, peanut butter whisky, and whipped cream.

Bayliner Diner

Centrally located, this large food court contains everything you need to feed your family breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With stations specializing in sandwiches, pizzas, burgers, salads, desserts, and grab-and-go options, everyone will find what they’re craving. But perhaps the best detail lies in the entertainment: Throughout the dining area, you’ll see large screens broadcasting nostalgic commercials, completely enveloping you in the origins of the TV dinner era.

PRO TIP: This is also where you can grab a s’mores kit to take out to those poolside fire pits I mentioned for a real treat!

Swizzle Lounge

Those of drinking age will find this swanky watering hole not too far from the lobby. Try the signature Swizzle Rum Punch or opt for one of many other creative cocktails. With a full set of barstools and colorful arrays of armchairs, you’ll find the perfect seat to let the atmosphere sweep you into a bygone age.

Atomic Tonic & Hideaway Bar & Grill

A man and a woman in swimsuits holding food.

You don’t have to leave the pool areas when you get hungry. These hot spots are perfect for lunch and dinner with grilled options, sandwiches, pizza, salads, and beverages to keep you cool. Note the out of this world details of Atomic Tonic that harken back to the glory days of the space coast — a great touch!

Delizioso Pizza

Two words: room delivery. After a full day exploring the parks, you collapse in bed and decide you really don’t want to move again to get food. Perhaps the best news you’ve heard all day is that the food can come to you! Soon, you’re enjoying the cheesy goodness of a pizza with salad and dessert on the side.

Starbucks

You undoubtedly need some fuel before you take advantage of that Early Park Admission we discussed, and the lobby has you covered. Get caffeinated with your routine order and feel ready to go by the time the shuttle arrives.

WHERE TO SHOP

Two mannequins in a gift shop.

Taking a piece of my temporary home back to my permanent home is always something I treasure about vacations. There are plenty of keepsakes to be found here!

Universal Studios Store

The perfect stop for a souvenir run or for last-minute toiletry needs, you’ll undoubtedly end up frequenting this central market. Stock up on mementos branded with beloved characters you’ve enjoyed in the parks. What I love most, though, are the items you can’t get in any other store: T-shirts, bathrobes, and other home goods with the Cabana Bay logo. For years to come, you’ll be able to look at that retro emblem, smile, and remember your trip back in time.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Certain times of year call for a little something extra when it comes to hotel décor…

Halloween Horror Nights

Every year when fall rolls around, the fog creeps into Universal Studios Florida and nights are suddenly filled with the screams of Halloween Horror Nights. Fright fans will definitely want to consider a stay at Cabana Bay Beach Resort because the festivities often extend to the hotel. In the past, we’ve seen fun photo ops and special food offerings. Plus, resort guests can arrive at the separately ticketed event via a resort-dedicated entrance by presenting their room key, allowing for more time in the thick of the terror.

Holidays

In the winter, ‘tis the season for trees topped with tinsel! Cheery adornments pop up all over the lobby, perfect for your family’s celebration and even a photo op for a holiday card.

If you’re sold on making Cabana Bay Beach Resort a part of your next great adventure, click here to make a reservation today!

Must be 21 years and older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages.

Epic in your Inbox

Never miss a thrill. Subscribe now to get email updates from Universal Parks & Resorts.

Share
Facebook Share on Facebook X Share on X / Twitter Pinterest Share on Pinterest

You Might Also Like


No Comments

Leave a Reply