east coast Florida southeast Uncategorized Universal

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort review

Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando is a great place to stay when visiting Orlando, Florida. Best thing, you don’t need to visit Universal Studios to stay here. Of course, with you being so close you should. I mean why would you not want to?

Take a step back in time with this retro style hotel. Jump in and make a splash in one of the two pools. Or just lay around all day in the lazy river. The possibilities are endless when you stay at this moderately priced Universal Hotel. It’s so affordable that you might never want to stay at a Disney Hotel again.

Let’s take a look at everything Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort has to offer. It is one of the better priced theme park resorts around with a ton to do. If you ever wanted to stay at a moderate Disney Hotel but couldn’t stomach the price. Check out Cabana Bay at Universal. It’s cheaper and in some ways better.

When you book a room at Cabana Bay Beach Resort you also get some pretty nice perks. You can get complimentary buses to Universal CityWalk and both theme parks. But the greatest perk you get is early park admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You are able to get in one hour before the park opens. Way more than what is going on currently at Disney World.

Rooms

Cabana Bay has over 2,000 hotel rooms. Over 900 of them are family suites that sleep six and have a kitchenette. The rest are standard rooms that sleep four. 

Standard rooms start at $132 a night and family suites start at $172 a night. Unlike Walt Disney World, you can find these prices for more than just one night. While the hotel rooms are similar to what you would find at Disney’s Value resort POP Century. The rest of the hotel is more like a moderate Disney Resort. However, we will dive into that a little more below. 

The rooms are bright and colorful. While they might not be too big. They don’t feel small like some hotel rooms do. Even after four days I didn’t feel like I was on top of my daughter. We still had plenty of room during our stay.  Everything from getting ready for the parks in the morning or getting showered and getting ready for bed. Never did it feel like we didn’t have enough room.

The beds and pillows were comfortable. No neck or back pains for me. No USB plugs near the beds but there are four standard plugs. That really sucked but by the table you will find the only two USB plugs.

Speaking of the table, I have to say I was a little disappointed by it. It felt rather small and the chairs were not to comfortable. I’m sure it will meet your needs with no problem. For me it wasn’t great but wasn’t bad either. I spend a decent amount of time at the tables on my laptop. 

The bathroom area is pretty decent size. Plenty of room for two people to use the sink for brushing their teeth or washing your face. The actual bathroom is a good size too. You won’t have a problem getting changed inside there.

Now the water pressure wasn’t great. It could be because I was on the 6th floor but I’ve been on higher floors at other hotels and didn’t have any issues. The temperature also was a bit of a challenge for me. I had trouble finding that “goldilocks” zone. It was either too hot or cold. 

Flushing power with the toilet also seemed to be lacking. Again it could be from just staying on a high floor. Overall, I was very disappointed in the water pressure in the room. However, it didn’t take away from how amazing this room was. Just wish the water pressure was a tad bit better. But like I said maybe it was just because I was on a higher floor.

You can also find a small mini fridge in the room. It’s not large at all but can still keep some of your drinks cold. In the room I had we didn’t have a microwave. Not sure if this goes for all rooms or not. I just know that in my building (4), we didn’t have one.

However, right by Bayline Dinner you can find a microwave you can use. It does suck you have to go all the way to the main building to use one but I guess that’s one of the reasons it is a little bit cheaper.

Recreation

cabana bay lazy river pool, universal Orlando resort,

Cabana Bay has two pools, a water slide and a lazy river. You just can’t beat that in my eyes and for that price. Plus you can rent cabanas that are big enough for six people. 

During my visit (August 2021) both pools were open on the weekend. However, during the week they had odd hours. The pool with the slide was only open till 3pm. At 3pm the lazy river pool opened. I can only guess this was because of lack of staffing. 

The slide is incredibly fun. It’s not a big one at all but still provides plenty of enjoyment. The pool too is nice and large. It was very refreshing jumping in. It wasn’t too warm or cold.

Cabana Bay pool, universal resort, Florida Hotel

The lazy river pool seems to be a bit smaller. This pool felt very warm. Now it could be because it was baking in the sun all day with no one in it till 3. 

The lazy river was also a lot of fun. You can go in with or without a tube. They DO NOT provide a tube. You can buy one for $7.50 or bring your own. 

Besides all the water themed recreation there is also a fire pit outside. Inside you can buy marshmallows,  chocolate, and gram crackers. Or you could just pack your own.

If you are a fan of bowling, Cabana Bay Beach Resort has you covered. Galaxy Bowl is the hotel’s own bowling alley that has ten lanes. While the bowling alley isn’t free, it’s a nice thing to have when you want to escape that dreaded Florida afternoon sun on your resort day. Of course, you will also find an arcade nearby. 

Plus who could forget about the gym at the resort. Inside you will find everything you need to stay fit while on vacation. There are plenty of treadmills and machines to use. Everyday I would see a handful of people in there. Never was it too crowded where you wouldn’t be able to get your work out in.

Dining

You can have your pick when it comes to dining. There are five different places to pick from and two places to get drinks. You will find them all in the main building and by the pool.

Bayline dinner is a food court area within the main building. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The prices are what you would expect to find at a theme park resort. The food is also pretty good. I didn’t find anything that blew me away. However, I didn’t come across anything that I would never try again. 

We tried the pasta, pizza, and even a sandwich. All four things were large meals. We could have easily split our meals. Yes, it was that much food.

One thing I didn’t find out till the last day I was there is that they have refillable mugs for sale. Now I probably wouldn’t have used them since we didn’t spend too much time at the resort. But if we did having the refillable mug would be a great thing.

Overview (The good, the bad, and the Ugly)

THE GOOD

Overall, Cabana Bay Beach Resort is a wonderful place to stay. It’s close to CityWalk and both theme parks. So close in fact it’s usually faster to walk than drive or take the bus. 

THE BAD

A lot of reviews complain about checking in. I did the mobile check in the day before so my check in was quick and easy. However, the problem came with letting me know my room was ready. I was able to check in around 9am so I didn’t expect my room to be ready just yet. Plus we were going to the theme parks so it didn’t matter if the room was ready yet or not.

We came back to the resort around 2pm hoping we could get in our room and change so we could go swimming. We walked around the resort for about an hour and never received a text message with our room number. So we went back to the theme parks. We came back again around 7 and still no text message. This time we stood back in line to find out what was going on.

Thankfully we were helped by Louis at the front desk. He apologized and wasn’t sure why we never received a message. We ended up getting something for our troubles. Louis definitely made the situation easier after a day with a four hour drive plus hours in the Florida sun. 

THE UGLY

The biggest complaint I have with this resort has to deal with the bathroom. Just the lack of water pressure and flushing power. You need to flush the toilet twice. That’s even after just going pee.

However, it wasn’t bad enough for me to say that I’d never stay here again. In fact, I would probably stay here again. I would just ask for a lower floor. Just not the first floor.


If you are planning a trip to Universal Studio’s Orlando and looking for the perfect place to stay. A stay at Cabana Bay Beach Resort is what you are looking for. From the fun retro theming. To the easy access to the theme parks.

You really can’t go wrong. The room is comfortable and large enough for a family of 4. The pools are amazing and who doesn’t love bowling? Plus it is priced just right. Not cheap but not expensive.

Have you stayed at Cabana Bay Beach Resort in Orlando Florida? Planning a Universal trip? Is this a hotel you might book a stay at? Let us know in the comments below.

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