Opened in spring of 2014, Cabana Bay is Universal's first onsite resort aimed at the value and moderate markets. Cabana Bay's theme is mid-century modern, with lots of windows, bright colors, and period-appropriate lighting and furniture. We think Cabana Bay would be right at home in the deserts of Palm Springs or Las Vegas.
Of whatever it reminds you, we think you'll like Cabana Bay. Kids will enjoy the 2 large and well-themed pools (one with a lazy river), the vintage cars parked outside the hotel lobby, and the amount of space they have to run around. Adults will appreciate the sophisticated kitsch of the décor, the multiple lounges, and the onsite Starbucks. We were very impressed with Cabana Bay and think it is an excellent choice for price- or space-conscious families visiting Universal.
Its closest competition in the Orlando area is Disney's Art of Animation Resort, and there are many similarities between the two. Both resorts have standard rooms and family suites. At 430 square feet per suite, Cabana Bay suites are about 135 square feet smaller and have only one bathroom. We found them well-appointed for two to four people per room (though not for the 6 Loews claims as their capacity). Rack rates for the suites are around $175-$210 per night, depending on the season, about $140 to $300 per night less than Art of Animation’s rates ($317-$511).
The suite's small bedroom has two queen beds and is divided from the living area and kitchenette by a sliding screen. The bath is divided into three sections – toilet, sink area, and shower room with an additional sink. The sofa in the living area is a fold out. The kitchenette has a microwave, coffee maker (with pods), and mini-fridge. A bar area allows extra seating for quick meals, and there’s a large closet with enough space to store everyone's luggage. Standard rooms have two queen beds. Built-in USB charging outlets for your devices are a thoughtful touch.
Recreation options at Cabana Bay include the 10-lane Galaxy Bowl bowling alley (about $20/person with shoe rental), poolside ping pong and billiards, and large Jack Lalanne fitness center (fitness centers aren’t found at any Disney Value resort nor Moderate except Coronado Springs). We’re also told that Cabana Bay guests can use the pools at the other three Lowes Universal hotels. Finally, outdoor movies are shown nightly near the pool.
In addition to the Starbucks, there is the Bayliner Diner food court with seating area that shows '50s television clips and commercials, Swizzle Lounge in the lobby, two pool bars, pizza delivery to rooms, and food and beverage service available at Galaxy Bowl bowling alley. Additional dining options are nearby at the Royal Pacific Resort and CityWalk.
Unlike the other Universal resorts, there is no water craft service to the theme parks. Transportation is by bus or by foot. A new pedestrian bridge opened in November, 2014, connecting Cabana Bay to CityWalk and the rest of the Universal resort, but we'd still recommend the bus service for most people.
Cabana Bay guests are eligible for Early Entry at Universal, but do not receive complimentary Express Pass.
At the time of this review, signage to the resort for guests arriving in the Universal area is nearly nonexistent. Use your GPS or follow the signs for the Pacifica Ballroom at the Royal Pacific until you finally see the one sign leading you to the drive into the resort.
Blog Posts About Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort
- Universal's Cabana Bay Transportation Guide
- SATURDAY SIX: Six Surprises of Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort
- Photo Gallery: First look at Universal Orlando's Cabana Bay Beach Resort
- Photo Update: Universal Orlando's Cabana Bay Beach Resort Garden Bridge Construction
Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort Dining
- Atomic Tonic (Bar or Lounge)
- Bayliner Diner (Counter Service)
- Galaxy Bowl (Bar or Lounge)
- Starbucks Coffee - Cabana Bay Beach Resort (Counter Service)
- Swizzle Lounge (Bar or Lounge)
- The Hideaway Bar & Grill (Bar or Lounge)
|Park||Commuting Times||Resort Transportation||Walking|
|Islands of Adventure||15 min||15 min|
|Univ. Studios Florida||15 min||17 min|
|Shuttle to Parks||Yes|