In response to the desire for contactless options, some Universal Orlando Resort hotels have implemented a mobile check-in option for guests. This system is not available at all Universal Orlando Resort hotels, but it appears to operate well at the value and value plus resorts. During a recent stay at Cabana Bay Beach Resort, I used this feature for the first time. For me, it worked very well and smoother than my experiences at Walt Disney World resorts with their version of mobile check-in. It was also much better than the former in-person check-in at Universal Orlando, which could take 20 minutes or more. (No one enjoys driving or flying to Orlando area to then wait in a long queue even before you hit the theme parks.)
Before I show you how helpful this procedure was, let me point out some negatives. You can only pay with your debit/credit card for mobile check-in. You cannot use cash and/or gift cards for payment. Also, you will still need to visit the check-in counter upon arrival.
If your hotel offers mobile check-in, you will receive an email the day before your arrival. In this email, you will have a link to confirm check-in and complete payment, leaving you only an extremely basic check in upon arrival.
When you arrive, you will enter mobile check-in lane. Then, when your turn arrives, you will meet with a team member to confirm your identity and payment. They will give you the room keys. They will confirm your payment. You will be given basic directions with a map of the resort. You will be advised about bus transportation and the walkway to CityWalk, which allows you to avoid the main security hub while enjoying a nice leisurely walk.
From my latest experience, I was dropped off by my ride share at 11:02 a.m. This could have been a bad timing since this is usually a busy time with people checking out of Cabana Bay thus filling the front desk queue. There was only one guest in line for mobile check-in in front of me, and they had just started the process with the team member. I had my room card and basic instructions 4 minutes later. (If you are wondering, I really did time it because this is a blog for toruingplans.com after all!) After a nine-minute walk, I made it to my room at Cabana Bay at 11:11 a.m.
The line for check-in over the six days I observed was never more than two people. Average time for guest for entire arrival process of mobile check-in seems to be less than 5 minutes.
As you might expect, Universal Orlando/Loews resorts offer easy mobile check-out as well. The day before you check out, you will receive an email looking something like this to explain your options:
This process is simple and matches most hotel check-out procedures. In my most recent trip, this process was painless. I had not charged anything to my room so there was no outstanding bill to pay. I was able to click through this faster than clicking the words “Join ” on my phone at 7:00 a.m. for a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance the day before. (For record, I got boarding group 7 while seated in lobby at Cabana Bay.)
Mobile check-in may not be the most fun you have on vacation. Yet, saving time can be its own reward.
Have you used mobile check-in at Universal Orlando? Let us know what you think in the comments.