Cabana Bay Resort is the newest hotel to open on Universal Orlando property. Themed after the 1960’s, a period when family time and social interactions (the real kind, not the internet kind) were a high priority, this resort is designed with the family in mind. I’d say they accomplished their goal with two family style pools, a bowling alley, and food court dining.
The theme park benefits to staying at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort include: early entry into the theme parks, on site charging, free shuttle service, and the ability to have your purchases sent directly to your resort from the parks. If any of this is important to you, then Cabana Bay is the place to stay for a family that can’t afford the pricier hotels on the property.
Let’s start with the basics.
The rooms at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort can be as low as $93 per night for a standard room and as high as $134 per night (depending on the length of stay) for a suite that sleeps six. After staying in a family suite with just myself, my husband, and our 8-year-old son, I can’t imagine anyone with more than four members in their party being comfortable in the suites. We were a little cramped with just the three of us, but then again, we didn’t spend enough time in the room to care.
The kitchenette area was a bonus complete with a bar and bar stools, a mini-fridge, sink, and microwave.
The groovy part of this room is the split bath setup. This came in handy when I was in the shower and my son needed to use the bathroom. I also liked how the doors and drawers were rigged so they couldn’t slam shut. I can see many an ankle biter’s finger saved by this.
Now that you’ve gotten settled in your room, let’s head to the pool!
The main pool is outta’ sight with a slide, toddler play area, and walk-in entry. This is a fun pool for those who enjoy being a bit noisier and let their inner-child out. While we were there they had a DJ outside, and the far-out part was that whatever he was playing on the deck you could hear under the water through the pool speakers. The Atomic Tonic is off to the side of this pool and has a bar with a limited menu.
The second pool is the bees-knees because of the lazy river. This is the coldest of the water sections, but it’s not so bad once you get used to it. You can bring your own floats from home, or starting at $8.00 you can purchase a float and relax the day away. Don’t worry about blowing all your air on this one because the attendants at the float stand will fill it, and refill it, for free.
The restaurant at this pool is Hideaway Bay and if you get lucky, like my son, and Ryan is your bartender, you might be able to request a drink that isn’t on the menu. Words can’t describe how happy my little guy was to hear Ryan tell him that he could absolutely make a special cherry slushy for him.
If you would like to watch a movie while you swim, each pool has a different movie showing on select nights. This is great for kids who like to have more than one choice in their nighttime entertainment.
Now that we’ve hung out at the pool, it’s time to serve up some grub.
Cabana Bay has one main dining area as well as pizza delivery to your room. The Bayliner Diner is the main dining area and includes four different stations including: pizza, grill, deli, and international. They open for breakfest at 7am and the food is reasonably priced starting at $5 and up for kids and $8 and up for adults.
I highly recommend the Swedish Meatballs at dinner. I had them with broccoli and mashed potatoes and they were amazing. My son’s pizza was also pretty tasty and he devoured the entire thing.
This brings me to the tech side of the resort.
All the drink cups have RFID chips that will allow you to fill it as many times as you want for two hours after the first use. This is a neat way for the hotel to let you refill your own drinks at the pool without having to have a manned soda station to refill it for you. This same technology is used in the theme parks for beverages.
If you would like to have the freedom to get as many refills as you want, you can purchase a refillable mug from the hotel, but they charge per day (with a maximum number of days based on your stay). This special mug allows you to to refill it as many times as you would like and once the days are up, the soda machines will no longer recognize the cup (the soda machines in the parks act the same way). The mugs can cost up to $17.99 for use during the entire length of your stay.
If you purchase water while at the hotel, my recommendation is for you to save the bottle. The soda machines will allow you to refill them with ice cold water for free.
Starbucks opens at 5:40 AM and is the only option for anyone who wants to take advantage of the early entry into the parks.
Whew. We’ve checked out our room, lounged at the pool, and had a nice dinner.
I’ll go ahead and warn you that this is where you will be spending a little more bread.
Bowling starts at $11 per game per adult and $8 per game per child (not including rental shoe fee). With only 10 lanes, you can bet that this fills up quickly, so I suggest you do this in the afternoon rather than in the evening hours. If you get the munchies while bowling, the food menu is traditional American fare (additional cost).
Once you play a round-or-two of bowling, the connecting arcade is a fun place to spend what you have left of your vacation money. The arcade is a decent size and there’s a minimum of $5 charge for a game card. For $5 my family played two rounds of a Batman car chasing game, two rounds of skee-ball, and one round of air hockey.
So up to this point, I’ve kept things kid-friendly, but what about the adults who want to hang loose and enjoy a beverage of the alcohol variety after a long day hauling a stroller through the park? Have no fear! Adults can get alcoholic beverages at five locations:
- Hideway Bar and Grill
- Atomic Tonic
- Sizzle Lounge (open in the evening)
- Galaxy Bowl Bar
- And bottled alcoholic beverages at Bayliner Diner.
Overall, the theming is accurate throughout the resort with the the exception of playing current pop hits at the hangout areas such as the pool, the bowling alley, and the arcade. In Bayliner Diner they play commercials from the 60’s time period. For those traveling with strollers, you will appreciate how spacious the main parts of the hotel are. My family had a lot of fun in the two pools and while we found the room to be a bit cramped – the beds were comfy, the shower was hot, and we still had fun.
Disclaimer: GeekMom attended a blogger event for this resort.