There’s no other place to spend a fun filled weekend other than Universal Studios Orlando!
Whenever we visit Orlando, Florida it seems to be a trend for us to stay at one of the 6 (as of 2018) Universal Studios’ on-site resorts. This time we stayed at Cabana Bay Beach Resort, one of Universal Orlando’s more affordable hotels on property.
Cabana Bay seriously makes you feel as if you were in a real life Jetson’s cartoon! It felt as if we are taking a trip back in time to the 1950’s! Everything from the colorful neon signs, the classic tunes that are playing throughout resort, to the vintage commercials that play throughout the dining area. 📺 Everything was so retro and we loved it!
As soon as you walk into the lobby, it’s so bright and airy. On the right hand side is the check in desk, and on the left hand side is where you’re going to find the vacation planning desk. This is where you can get your tickets to the theme parks. 🌋🎢
If you go straight from the front door you’ll run into the main entrance to one of the two pools on site, called the atomic pool!
Also in the lobby you’ll find the Swizzle Lounge, for cocktails and kid friendly cocktails, as well as a Universal Studio’s gift shop!
Cabana Bay is a very large resort so they have the rooms spread out into 7 towers!
– The Americana
– The Continental
They offer different rooms such as a pool view room, and family suites but we wanted to book the best room they have to offer, which is the Volcano View Room! 😍🌋
Our room was located in the Beachside tower! This building is close to plenty of parking, is near the atomic pool (which we will get to later), and has a direct path right into Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park! This building even has its own Game-O-Rama game room, so if you’re staying in Beachside you don’t have to go far for some entertainment! 👍🏼
As soon as we walked in our first glance was to the window that was covered by a sheer curtain which we could see the outline of the volcano. So we went straight to the window to unveil the amazing view of the Volcano Bay and a view of the entire water park right from our room! If you saw our insta stories (@trippingwithmybff) of our reaction when we first saw the volcano then you know how excited we were about this view!! #roomgoals
We’ve never had a view like it. It was so cool to be able to wake up and go to bed to that view! It was mind blowing, we couldn’t stop staring at it for at least the first 30 minutes we were in the room! It seriously blew us away! Below is the view from our room during the day (left), sunset (middle), and at night (right). All amazing!😍
The rest of the room is a little bit more standard but does have a very colorful retro theme. They even have a coffee maker with generic brand coffee, and the bedside table had plenty of outlets for charging but didn’t include an iHome, instead they had a very old school yet basic alarm clock. ⏰ Which totally goes with their retro theme!
The bathroom was a decent size, the vanity had a really unique shaped mirror that was best for one person. Although they did have a mid length mirror on the door to the toilet and shower. The shower featured a classic tile design that felt very retro. They even had VO5 shampoo and Zest soap to use! It was really cool how their theme even came down to the little details like the soaps, so many throwbacks!
Overall the room felt spacious for three people and was pretty comfortable! What makes Cabana Bay stand out the most is that they have pretty affordable rooms as far as a resort standard. So if you’re visiting Universal Studios parks, want awesome amenities and an affordable price tag then this is the best resort to book! Especially if you want to impress your family & friends definitely try to book a volcano view room!
The cool thing about Cabana Bay is that they really stick to their retro theme throughout the entire resort!
They have two pools!
The Cabana Courtyard pool is the larger of the two pools. It features an awesome water slide and their Atomic Tonic Bar. It’s right in between the Starlight, Thunderbird, and Castaway towers.
Surrounding the pool were tons of beach chairs for you to lounge in, with the most colorful umbrellas! We also loved that they had real sand to walk in around the pool area, it made it feel so beachy. 🏖
They even have some poolside activities like ping pong, bean bag toss, and a sand box full of toys for the kids to play!
They also supply life jackets for the kiddos which we think is another part of the retro theme because Nikki had one of these same life vests when she was a kid! #throwback
We grabbed a few drinks from the Atomic Tonic bar. Nikki went with the Piña Colada 🍍 and Kristina got the Froze 🍓. The frozen drinks were a great choice for the hot and humid Florida weather!☀️
The Lazy River Courtyard pool is the smaller pool, right in between the Americana and the Continental towers. This pool is directly in front of the volcano! The best feature of this pool area has to be the lazy river. Although it’s kind of small, it’s still a really cool feature and is surrounded by palm trees!
If you forgot your tubes at home they sell some at this pool, at the Tube Shack!
They sell arm floaties, baby floats, beach balls, tubes, literally anything you need! We got the 47″ “Fun in the Sun” tubes which were $12 each. You can either pay by putting it on your room or by credit card, they do not accept cash. And they even blow them up for you, super convenient!
Splash pad for kids to play.
Right next to the Lazy River Courtyard pool is The Hideaway Bar & Grill where you can get drinks and food! It’s nice that they have food at both pools so you don’t have to leave the pool area to eat.
The hot tub has an amazing view of the volcano as well!
For the last day of our stay we decided to have a full day at the pool and rented a cabana for the day! On the particular day that we went, we were able to go up to the bartender at the Atomic Tonic bar and let her know that we reserved a cabana for that day. A lifeguard/host walked us over to the cabana area where we were able to pick out our cabana.
The cabanas had a mid-century style look it was actually very cool! They came with a round table and standard chairs, two lounge chairs, plenty of towels, they also stocked up the fridge with a lot of water bottles which is so nice! Our cabana also had a TV and plenty of outlets for charging phones.
The downside to the cabanas at Cabana Bay is they don’t offer service. So there’s not a server that comes over to take any drink or food orders, we had to walk across the pool to the Atomic bar to serve ourselves. But they do have pizza delivery, which can be ordered from the phone. For the price of having a cabana for the day, even though they do offer a discount if you rent after 3 p.m., you would think that they would have someone come over to check on you.
Their gym, Jack LaLanne Physical Fitness Studio, is even decorated as a old school beach style studio that looks as if its owned by Jack LaLanne, aka the “Godfather of Fitness”! The equipment is very state of the art and new. And there’s so much equipment!
What’s really cool about Cabana Bay is that they have plenty of entertainment options.
They have a Game-O-Rama Arcade game room that has everything from vintage games to more modern games, and they even have a bowling alley!
In case there’s a rainy day or you need a break from the parks, you really don’t have to leave the resort to have fun with the entire family! 🎳
Dining – Bayliner Diner
Bayliner Diner is open for breakfast from 7 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Dinner ends at 11 p.m.
The way dining works at Cabana Bay is cafeteria style. You go to these different stations like yogurt bar, omelet station, grab & go, and more, pick out what you want, and then you go through the checkout line. It almost felt as if we were back in school! The options seem to be mainly comfort food, so if you want a healthier option they have a salad/fruit bar, and they carry gluten-free snacks!
Depending on the time, lines can get pretty long! We decided during our stay that we wanted a full service sit down restaurant, which they don’t offer at the resort, so we did not dine at Cabana Bay. Although, the lack of a restaurant would be a downside to the resort for us, Bayliner Diner, is definitely great if you’re looking for something really convenient, and they have different options for everyone!
The outside of Bayliner Diner was so retro! It had a couple of old cars and a bus stop.
There are two ways to access Universal’s CityWalk during your stay. You can either take the shuttle bus from Cabana Bay or you can walk over across the street to Sapphire Falls and take their water taxi. Which is something we decided to do because we really enjoyed it!
If you are visiting Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure we think it would be better to stay at another hotel, such as Royal Pacific (see our review here), Hard rock or Portofino Bay. Because you get more perks for staying there, such as early access, water taxi, and Universal Express Unlimited passes. But still that doesn’t mean you should overlook Cabana Bay because it definitely screams fun as soon as you step inside!
Anyone looking to go to Volcano Bay during their stay at Cabana Bay Resort gets early entrance to the park! The park opens at 9 a.m. and we were able to go in an hour early at 8! And it isn’t just for Volcano Bay but early access is available for all the theme parks at Universal Orlando! #awesome
Check out our blog post on Volcano Bay Water Park! 🌋 👉 here
– Starbucks, as basic as it sounds, it’s on premise so you don’t have to leave to get your morning coffee! ☕️
– Two Pools on site with a super cool water slide
– Fun decor
– Amazing views of Volcano Bay from the room and the Hideaway pool
– Easy walking path and early access to Volcano Bay Water Park for all resort guests
– Budget friendly Universal Resort!
– Extremely family friendly, there’s so much for the kids to do that you don’t even have to leave the resort if you don’t want to!
– Lack of full service/sit down restaurants
– Although they have a lot of food options, they didn’t seem to have too many healthy options (besides salad which can get boring)
– No water taxi to City Walk (although, they have a shuttle)
– No Universal Express Unlimited passes with room key
Our honest opinion, if you are visiting Volcano Bay this is a great spot to stay. Especially if you are trying to stick to a budget. Even with its over the top, colorful, 1950’s decor, it still keeps that resort feel without being too cheesy. Although it’s not luxury, it is very fun! Cabana Bay Beach Resort is 100% family friendly. Definitely a great place to bring the kids along, but not the best if you’re going on a relaxing romantic getaway or with a group of adults. If you’re visiting the parks, nothing is better than accessibility and being able to walk to the water park!
*A huge thank you to Universal Orlando Hotels for partnering with us on this blog post!