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Planning a visit to Universal Orlando and looking for an on-site family friendly resort? Look no further than Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Located just minutes from the parks, this value resort was designed for families. Themed as a retro beach resort from the 1950s and 60s, the Cabana Bay Beach Resort includes two zero-entry pools, an on-site bowling alley, a lazy river, special daily themed activities and more.
The BEST Thing About Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort in Orlando, Florida
If you’re looking for the ultimate Universal Orlando vacation without breaking the bank, Cabana Bay Beach Resort is your place. With on-site resort hotel benefits, spacious family suites, and amazing amenities at a budget family friendly price, this resort has my June Cleaver stamp of approval.
The Benefits of an On-Site Hotel
When traveling to theme parks, I always opt for staying in an on-site resort hotel for the extra perks. Universal Orlando offers great benefits to on-site guests. Staying at Cabana Bay Beach Resort not only allows guests early park admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Volcano Bay, but also provides the following benefits:
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- Complimentary Wi-Fi;
- Resort wide charging privileges with your room key;
- Complimentary shuttle bus transportation to and from Universal Orlando, Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay, and Universal CityWalk;
- Character experiences in the resorts;
- Complimentary scheduled transfers to SeaWorld, and Aquatica;
- Resort non-smoking policy;
- Golf Universal Orlando program, and
- Complimentary Express Pass if staying in one of their 3 Deluxe Resorts.
Step Back in Time in this Retro Themed Resort Hotel
As soon as you pull into the parking area, you are completely immersed in the theming of the resort. From classic cars parked in front of the entrance to music from artists such as Buddy Holly and the Turtles playing throughout the lobby, guests are transported to the past. Think back to the days when Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon starred in the “Beach Party” films.
The Bayliner Diner on site has two giant projection screens with a constant reel of commercials and cartoons from the 1950s. The décor and all amenities are set to a retro beach party theme. Even the guest bathrooms are nostalgic with V05 hair products and Zest soap restocked daily.
Affordable Family Suites
As a mom of a tween and teen, we like rooms with extra space when traveling. The family suites at Cabana Bay Beach Resort worked perfectly for our group, as everyone had plenty of space and we never felt cramped. Family suites offer 430 square feet with the ability to sleep up to 6.
The living room has a full size sofabed, chair and 40″ flat panel television. The kitchenette has a mini refrigerator, microwave, sink and a Cuisinart Single Coffee Pod Brewer. I’m a coffee junkie so the ability to make a fresh pot in my room each morning is important.
The bedroom has two queen beds and a 40″ flat-screen tv. Other amenities include an iron, ironing board and in-room safe inside the large walk-in closet. Traveling with baby? The resort offers a complimentary crib to each room. Simply notify the front desk at check-in if you will need one. There is a convenient sliding partition that separates the living area/kitchenette from the bedroom.
Two Bedroom Family Suites
Families needing even more space can stay in a two bedroom suite with 772 square feet. The two bedroom suites have two full bathrooms, a living room with a full size pull-out sofa, kitchenette, two full beds in one bedroom, a queen bed in the other, and sleeps up to eight people. These extra large guest rooms provide families with all the space they need.
TravelingMom Tip: We stayed in a poolside tower suite that was quite a walk to all of the amenities. If you like to be in the middle of all the action, request a courtyard poolside family suite so your door will open to the pool area.
TravelingMom Tip: One of our favorite things to do when taking a vacation is to hire a photographer for family photos. This is a special gift and souvenir that we cherish. We use Flytographer to book a local photographer located in the area that we're traveling to. Use this link and you will get $25 off your photo session.
Budget-Friendly Nightly Rates
Cabana Bay Beach Resort is one of two Value Resorts at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. As a travel agent, it is difficult for me to categorize this resort as value as typically that entails fewer amenities and standard rooms. I would compare Cabana Bay Beach Resort to one of Disney’s Moderate Resorts.
In mid-2018, standard rooms start at $164, family suites at $209, and 2 bedroom family suites at $419 per night, plus tax. There is a parking fee of $14 per night that is payable at check-in. Guests have the option of choosing to self-park or use valet parking for the same rate.
Many Amenities For Everyone in the Family to Enjoy
Hands down my favorite amenity of this Orlando resort was the water park. I loved floating down the lazy river on an inner tube after a hot morning in the parks. The ONLY negative thing I can say about this resort is that you must purchase an inner tube in order to float on the lazy river. You can purchase a tube ranging from $6-$15 from a stand located in the Lazy River Courtyard.
TravelingMom Tip: Bring your own tube to save money.
Safe Areas for Children to Swim
If you’re like me and enjoy reading by the pool while the kids swim, then you’ll love Cabana Bay! You’ll find lifeguards stationed throughout the pool and lazy river areas which makes it much easier to relax.
The Cabana Pool, located in the Cabana Courtyard, offers a zero entry sand beach, a giant water slide, and an interactive water play area. In addition, there are poolside cabanas with a mini fridge, fan, TV, and other amenities that hotel guests can rent on a daily basis. You can reserve a cabana by calling (407) 503-4175.
On-Site Bowling Alley
Another one of my favorite family-friendly amenities is the on-site 10 lane bowling alley, Galaxy Bowl. Bowling is $15 for adults and $9 for children 12 and under. In addition, there is a $4 shoe rental fee. Parties of 1-3 people will receive 1 hour of lane time, while parties of 4-8 will receive 1.5 hours. The Galaxy Bowl Restaurant is located inside, serving up burgers, hot dogs and more. Galaxy Bowl is open daily from noon to midnight.
Fitness Center & Arcade
Jack LaLanne Physical Fitness Studio is complimentary for all resort guests. My husband enjoyed being able to continue his gym regimen while on vacation. I personally had ample exercise walking through the parks but did find the gym to be one of the nicer ones I have seen. Like to play arcade games? Game-O-Rama will be a hit with the kids. The game room is open daily from 11:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.
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Plenty of Food Options
Cabana Bay’s food court, Bayliner Diner, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Food offerings include sandwiches, a salad bar, pizza, pasta, as well as vegan options. Meals can be dine-in or carry out, which is great for an on-the-go family. Delizioso Pizza also offers pizza delivery to your room. Need a caffeine fix before heading to the parks? Stop by Starbucks, conveniently located in the lobby.
Parents Can Enjoy a Poolside Cocktail
There are 3 bars: the Swizzle Lounge located in the lobby; Atomic Tonic, a poolside bar found at the Cabana Courtyard; and The Hideaway Bar & Grill located in the Lazy River Courtyard.
Universal Orlando offers 5 (*soon to be 6) on-site Loews resorts: Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel, Portofino Bay Resort, Sapphire Falls Resort, and coming in summer 2018, Aventura Hotel.
From time to time I’ve heard comments from clients stating that if Express Pass was offered complimentary to guests at Cabana Bay, this would be the number one on-site resort. I agree. Ultimately, you can purchase Express Pass as an add-on to your package even when staying at Cabana Bay. Depending on the time of the year, you may even still save money over booking a Deluxe Resort. In the end, there are so many reasons why you should book your Universal Orlando vacation at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
Have you stayed at the Loews Cabana Bay Beach Resort? Share your experience with us in the comment section below. Planning a trip to Universal Orlando? Consider joining us in our Facebook Group – Universal Orlando Tips & Planning by TravelingMom.