Are you thinking of staying at Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort? We have been lucky enough to stay here a number of times and Cabana Bay Beach Resort is one of our favorite hotels in Orlando.
Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort has a really fun retro 50s and 60s theme.
If you ever wanted to go back to nostalgic Americana you are going to love Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort Review
Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort is perfect for a Universal Orlando theme park vacation.
I have stayed here on many different occasions, most recently in August 2023. It is still one of my favorite Orlando hotel resorts.
And a great choice if you want a value option for a hotel right in the heart of the Universal Orlando Resort.
There are few hotels where you arrive as a grown-up and are just really excited by the theme.
Cabana Bay Beach Resort puts a smile on your face from the moment you arrive in the lobby.
The theme is upbeat, fun, and really well done.
Here is our video which shows the really funky room design of a Universal Cabana Bay Resort Family Suite
We think Cabana Bay is an excellent choice for those who want great features, value for money, and a fun theme.
It is a particularly good choice for families as the majority of the rooms are Family Suites which sleep up to six guests.
You really can’t get a much better location than Cabana Bay Resort if you are visiting Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.
Cabana Bay is part of the growing family of Universal Studios Resort Hotels.
There are 8 Universal Studios Orlando Hotel Resort Choices:
- Portofino Bay Hotel
- The Hard Rock Hotel
- Royal Pacific Resort
- Sapphire Falls Resort
- Cabana Bay Beach Resort
- Endless Summer Dockside
- Endless Summer Surfside
These are shown, pretty much, in order of price per night from the highest to the lowest. Meaning that Portofino Bay is usually the most expensive and the Endless Summer Resorts are the least.
Universal Studios Hotel Benefits
All of the Universal Studios Hotels offer these benefits to guests.
If you stay in the Deluxe resorts of Portofino Bay, Hard Rock Hotel, or Royal Pacific Hotel you also get a free Express Pass for each day of your stay including the day of check-in and check-out.
For a guide to whether or not Express Pass is worth it or not:
Guests of Cabana Bay do not get the Express Pass, but they do get all of these benefits:
- Early Park Admission
- Complimentary package delivery to your room
- Purchases can be charged to your room by using your resort room key
- Complimentary scheduled transportation to SeaWorld and Aquatica
- You can use any of the pools of the Universal Orlando Resort Hotels, except Endless Summer Surfside and Dockside.
Early Park admission is a huge advantage.
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures, Motorbike Adventure, and Jurassic World’s Velocicoaster are open to Universal Hotel Guests an hour before they are open to the general public.
Arriving at the early entry rope drop is one of your best chances of getting to ride Hagrids Motorbike Adventure with the least long wait time. During the day wait times often get up to 100 to 120 minutes, and rarely less than 50 minutes.
Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort Hotel Location
Cabana Bay is located right next to the Universal Water Park, Volcano Bay. This is one of the many attractions of this value resort.
The Cabana Bay Orlando address is 6550 Adventure Way, Orlando, 32819. The phone number is 407- 503-4000.
Access to Volcano Bay
The location cannot be beaten for access to Volcano Bay.
This picture is taken from Volcano Bay and shows the Cabana Bay Beachside Building – you can see just how close this is.
It was very easy to get through security as this is only for hotel guests, so there was no line.
Cabana Bay Beach Resort is ideally placed to visit the new Volcano Bay Water Park. There is an entrance at the back of the property.
So no need for a shuttle bus.
Volcano Bay is a short walk from any of the rooms in Cabana Bay. We find this a particularly convenient feature of Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
It really doesn’t get any better than this.
You have to get a shuttle bus to Volcano Bay from the more expensive Portofino Bay, Hard Rock, and Royal Pacific Hotels.
It’s not too far on the shuttle, but it is a great feature just to be able to walk to Volcano Bay from Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
In 2023 we stayed in Building 6 of The Americana Building very close to the Volcano Bay entrance. It was only a few minutes walk to the security checkpoint.
Here is a map of Universal Cabana Bay Resort so that you can see the position of all of the buildings.
Cabana Bay Resort to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure
You can walk to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure from Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
However, we really wouldn’t recommend doing that when it is so easy to get on board the shuttle bus.
Particularly in the Florida heat, the air-conditioned bus is a welcome break!
The shuttle buses travel at regular intervals from the front of Cabana Bay Resort.
It is rare that we ever experienced more than a 5-minute wait for a bus.
The actual journey from the hotel to the parks takes about 8 minutes by the Cabana Bay Beach Resort shuttle.
It’s easy and the buses are clean and the drivers are helpful and cheerful. We never had to wait long for a Cabana Bay Beach Resort shuttle.
If you walk from Universal Cabana Bay it is going to take at least 25 minutes to reach the entrance to Universal Studios Orlando or Islands of Adventure.
It can also get pretty hot in Orlando and we have to confess that we would rather take the Cabana Bay shuttle bus.
We suggest that you save your time and perhaps, more importantly, your energy for the parks!
The Cabana Bay shuttle bus stop is close to the main entrance to the security checkpoint at Universal Orlando Resort.
It is a short journey up the escalator and through the security lines.
You then walk over the bridge. Turn left to Islands of Adventure or right to Universal Studios Park.
If transportation is a priority for you then the resorts that are served by the boats are more convenient. These are the Deluxe Resorts and Sapphire Falls.
However, the difference in cost can between these hotels and Cabana Bay Beach Resort can be $200 to $300 a night.
If you are just looking at the transportation system difference, then this is not a good reason to spend more, as the bus system is fine.
Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort Hotel Perks
Apart from the location, there are a number of additional perks that are only given to Universal Cabana Bay Resort guests.
The most valuable of these perks is being able to enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Park an hour earlier than the general public. T
his can make a huge difference to your Universal theme park visit.
If you only have two days to spend at Universal Orlando it can make a big impact on how much you can see.
Even though the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been open for a long time now, it is still the busiest area of the Universal Parks.
The main Harry Potter rides Escape from Gringotts and The Forbidden Journey are still the most popular rides in the park.
At peak times the wait times can approach 90 minutes for Gringotts. The lines for Forbidden Journey do not tend to be as long, because the loading system is so efficient.
The more expensive Universal Studios hotels, the Portofino, Hard Rock, and Royal Pacific all have the extra, incredibly valuable perk of a free Express Pass for everyone staying at those hotels.
Unfortunately, Cabana Bay Beach Hotel doesn’t offer an Express Pass as part of your hotel stay.
Lowes Sapphire Falls doesn’t and neither does Aventura or the Universal Endless Summer Resorts.
However, we think that this is the only disadvantage to choosing Universal Cabana Bay over the other hotels if you are looking for a budget option.
The Express Pass is a huge perk, but of course, the hotels offering it are considerably more expensive than Cabana Bay, Endless Summer, and Universal Sapphire Falls.
It really depends upon your budget and how important the Express Pass is to you.
If you are going at a slow time then Express Pass is nice, but nowhere near as much of a perk as if you are going at a peak time.
The other perk is that you can charge everything to your room. All restaurant and merchandise purchases at Universal Resorts can be charged on your room key.
We are not sure how much of a perk this actually is.
One large account instead of splitting it between credit cards? Not really a reason to stay at a Universal Studios Resort Hotel.
However, if you have the perk it is easy to use.
It’s a nice feature that you can also have purchases delivered to your room.
This means that if you buy all the Harry Potter merchandise that you have had your eye on you can have it delivered to your room.
However, you do sometimes have to wait until the next day for it to arrive. Not an amazing perk, but nice to have.
Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort Rooms
This is a major benefit of staying at Cabana Bay Resort.
They are some of the best-designed rooms I have ever stayed in with family comfort in mind.
There are 2,200 rooms at Cabana Bay, making it the largest Universal Studios Orlando Hotel.
Cabana Bay first opened on March 31st, 2014. More rooms were added when the two new towers that overlook Volcano Bay were opened in 2017.
In our latest say the rooms and some of the hotel common areas were showing signs of wear and tear. The comforters are definitely in need of an upgrade, and some of the carpets in the main hallways definitely need deep cleaning or possibly replacement.
This didn’t take anything away from our stay, but there are some areas that do need to be addressed, It wasn’t a deal breaker, but some easy fixes are needed.
There is a choice of 3 types of rooms at Cabana Bay Resort:
- Standard Rooms
- Family Suites
- 2 Bedroom Family Suites
There are choices of view and location, all of which are differently priced.
- 315 courtyard family suites located in the North Courtyard
- 285 courtyard family suites poolside located in the North Courtyard
- 184 tower standard view family suites in the South Courtyard
- 116 tower family suites poolside in the South Courtyard
- 915 standard rooms located in the South Courtyard and Volcano Bay Tower
- 365 standard rooms poolside in the South Courtyard
- 20 two-bedroom suites located in the Volcano Bay Towers
Standard Rooms at Cabana Bay
These standard Cabana Bay Rooms are 300 square feet and have 2 Queen Beds.
There is also a bath, with a shower over, and a toilet.
The sink is outside, which is a good feature when you are sharing with a family.
There is a choice of view within this category of either Standard View, Volcano Bay View, or Pool View.
The Volcano Bay and Pool View rooms cost around $20 a night extra.
When we arrived this was our “Volcano Bay View”. We immediately contacted the front desk and they agreed to reduce the price to the standard view.
We have always stayed in the Family Suites on previous visits, but this time stayed in a Standard Room and it was fine as there were only 3 of us.
One not-so-great thing about Cabana Bay Beach Resort Rooms and Suites is that the walls are thin. A lot of the rooms are connecting, which is a good thing if you want that, but not so wonderful if you are looking at soundproofing.
If you are looking for a quiet stay then Cabana Bay is probably not for you. It has a lot of features that adults will enjoy, but you do need to be aware that there are likely going to be a lot of children at this resort. It is very much designed for families, so expect a lot of children and teens there.
Cabana Bay Family Suites
We all know that cramming four people into a hotel room can be a challenge. Not at Cabana Bay Resort. The Cabana Bay Family Suites really are perfect for parents with children.
The Family Suites sleep up to 6 guests.
They offer a very generous and well-planned 430 square feet of space.
You can choose between Interior and Exterior Entry Suites, as well as Pool Side Suites. The Exterior Entry Suites are priced lower than the Interior.
The bedrooms in the Cabana Bay Family Suites have 2 Queen Beds.
The bathroom is a split bath with the toilet on one side, and a sink in the middle, and the bathroom to the right has a bath with a shower and a sink.
This really is the ideal setup for a bathroom for a family.
Several people can get ready in the morning at once. This is really important when you are trying to get different members of the family out to the Universal Parks early in the morning!
There is also a separate living room and kitchenette area.
The living room has a full sleeper sofa. It is comfortable enough for two small children to share.
An adult probably isn’t going to want to spend many nights sleeping on there, but it is pretty comfortable for a sleeper sofa.
The kitchenette area has a microwave, small sink, decent-sized but small refrigerator, coffee maker, and a bar with seating.
You can certainly save yourself some money if you are efficient about getting some breakfast items and snacks.
The bedroom and living area are completely separated in the Cabana Bay Family Suites.
It has a really good sliding door so that you can have privacy between the two areas.
There is also a really useful closet area in the bedroom. It offers a good amount of space for putting your luggage and hanging clothes. It also has a safe.
Both the living room and the bedroom have 48″ televisions.
There is enough separation between the two areas that you can use both televisions at the same time if you really want to.
Universal Cabana Bay Family Suites are also available with connecting suites.
If you have a really large party these are ideal.
If you book a Family Suite at Cabana Bay Beach Resort you will choose between a Tower Suite and a Courtyard Suite.
The Tower Suites have internal hallways and the Courtyard Suites have external hallways. We always book the Tower Suites even though they are usually at least $10 a night.
Just not a fan of external hallways.
If you need extra space at Universal Orland Cabana Bay you can book a two-bedroom suite. These are ideal for larger families or even two families sharing.
Cabana Bay 2 Bedroom Suites
The two-bedroom suites offer up to 772 square feet of space and sleep up to 8 people. There are only 20 of these rooms so you do need to book early.
An alternative is that many of the Cabana Bay rooms and suites are connecting, so if you have a larger family you could combine 2 rooms.
All of these suites are in the Volcano Bay Towers and have a view of the water park.
The two-bedroom Cabana Bay Suites have 2 separate bedrooms. One has two full beds and the other has a Queen bed.
The 2-bed Cabana Bay suites also have a pull-out full sofa in the living area.
There is a kitchenette and 2 full bathrooms.
It is really difficult to find affordably priced larger accommodation close to Universal Studios, so if this is what you need you should definitely look at this option in Cabana Bay Resort Hotel.
You can also book a room for 4 at Universal Cabana Bay.
These are the perfect solution if you want a standard hotel room for up to 4 guests. The room has two Queen beds and sleeps up to 4 guests.
The standard Cabana Bay Resort Hotel rooms also have a mini-refrigerator and a full bathroom. At 300 square feet, the standard rooms at Cabana Bay offer a decent amount of space.
Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort Pool
Cabana Bay Beach Resort has two main pools.
The Cabana Bay Courtyard Pool is the largest of the two.
You can access this straight off the lobby and it has a tower-themed water slide.
We really didn’t enjoy the water slide as the turns were really sharp which meant that you kept hitting the sides.
In contrast to this, the pool slide at the Universal Sapphire Falls was one of the best hotel resort pool slides that we have ever encountered.
The Universal Cabana Bay Lazy River Pool is definitely our favorite and we talk more about that below.
We much prefer that pool to the Courtyard Pool.
The Cabana Bay Beach Resort pool hours vary according to the season. Check with the lobby so that you can find out the current Cabana Bay Beach Resort pool hours.
You can rent a Cabana at Cabana Bay Resort. We have never done this and feel that we probably never would.
You can just walk to Volcano Bay from Cabana Bay so if we were going to spend money on a cabana rental it would really be at Volcano Bay.
However, Cabana Bay Hotel cabanas are available.
Prices vary by the season but they are suitable for up to 4 guests.
Cabana Bay Lazy River – The Good and the Not-So-Great
The Cabana Bay Beach Resort Lazy River is one of the best features of the resort for us.
It is a reasonable size for a resort and usually, it isn’t too crowded.
It is a rare feature of any hotel resort to find a lazy river. It is the only one available at any Universal Orlando Hotel Resort right now.
It takes about 5 minutes to go through the whole circuit and there are two main entry points.
However, we do have one major complaint about the Universal Cabana Bay Lay River.
To get an inner tube you have to pay!
We never felt nickel and dimed in any Universal Resort, but to have to actually buy an inner tube for the Cabana Bay Lazy River is annoying.
To get a decent-sized inner tube is $17. Let’s do the math.
Yes, you can tell we are pretty put out by this. $34 for 2 kids. You can take them home with you.
It’s pretty cool to have a Universal Cabana Bay lazy river-themed inner tube or two at your home, but we really could have spent the $34 elsewhere.
This really is our only complaint about Cabana Bay. Just give us a free inner tube! You can bring your own Cabana Bay Beach Resort Lazy River inner tubes, but who is really going to do that? We now own two but the chances of us remembering to back them next time we go to Universal Cabana Bay is probably almost zero!
Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort Dining
The Cabana Bay Bayliner Diner is a great place to grab something to eat.
The Bayliner Diner is a large, fun, quick-service dining location.
There are plenty of different choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
There are four different hot food stations to choose from as well as a salad bar, frozen yogurt self serve and a drinks section.
The prices are pretty reasonable considering the location.
We enjoy the Breakfast Waffles with strawberries and whipped cream for $7.65.
The Create Your Own Omelet is also a good choice for $9.10. It is freshly made while you wait.
Lunch and Dinner at the Bayliner Diner also have some great choices.
The Grill Station offers burgers, including a Black Bean Veggie Burger for $8.99.
We like the International Station which serves some interesting choices such as Colombian Chicken Empanadas and Swedish Meatballs.
Pizza and Pasta are also available. The pizzas are particularly good.
All of the hot food stations have a vegetarian choice. If you have a special dietary requirement just tell one of the staff.
Bayliner Diner has a huge seating area.
There are places for 600 inside and 100 outside.
The whole theme is the retro 50s and 60s theme of the hotel. Lots of bright blue and orange furniture. Plenty of booths for you to sit and enjoy your food.
You can watch old commercials on the huge screens in the seating area.
Cabana Bay only has one small full-service restaurant, the Galaxy Bowl, which is located on the second floor of the lobby building.
Galaxy Bowl is open each day from 12.00 p.m. to 12.00 a.m. It serves burgers, wraps, and salads, and has a full drinks menu.
However, there are plenty of places to dine just a short shuttle ride away.
You can take the Cabana Bay Resort Shuttle to Universal Studios City Walk and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from.
There is also a Universal Resort Hotel Shuttle which runs in the evening to take guests to Portofino, Hard Rock, and Royal Pacific Hotel if you want to dine in one of the full-service restaurants there.
Or you could even walk over to Universal Sapphire Falls Resort and dine at the excellent Amatista Cookhouse or Strong Water Tavern.
Another option is to walk a short distance to Loews Aventura Resort and go to Bar 17 Bistro. There are breathtaking views of the surrounding area from this roof top bar.
Cabana Bay Resort Bars
There are two outside bars at Cabana Bay – one in each pool area.
Our favorite is the Hideaway Bar and Grill which is open from 10 a.m. until 10 pm.
It is right by the courtyard pool so convenient for the Cabana Bay Lazy River.
The Atomic Tonic poolside bar is also a great place to enjoy a cocktail by the pool.
The Sizzle Bar is located inside the lobby area and is open from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m.
This is the menu from 2023.
Galaxy Bowl Bowling – Cabana Beach Resort
Not many hotels have their own bowling alley! Staying with the retro theme, there is a bowling alley inside Cabana Bay Hotel.
If you have ever seen the movie The Big Lebowski then you may recognize that the Galaxy Bowling Alley is modeled on that.
There are 10 lanes available for bowling from 11 am until 11 pm every day.
The prices for Bowling are a little high, but it is a lot of fun.
The amount of time you get depends upon how many guests are in your party.
There is also a bar offering cocktails, beer, and wine.
Cabana Bay Beach Resort Starbucks
If you simply have to have your Starbucks fix every day then you will be well catered for at Cabana Bay.
There is a large Starbucks right next to the Bayliner Diner.
There is a large seating area.
Lines can be pretty long in the morning when everyone needs their first coffee of the day.
Cabana Bay Beach Resort Store
We really like the Cabana Bay store which is located just off the hotel lobby.
They have a good selection of items including a dedicated Harry Potter section.
It is good to be able to browse without the crowds of people that you often find in the stores in the park.
There are some fun Cabana Bay-themed merchandise items available too.
Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort Parking
One of the really great things about staying at Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort is that you do not need to have a car. If you just want to visit the Universal Parks then we would suggest you leave the car at home.
There is a Hertz rental location available at all of the Universal Studios Resort Hotels, but if you are just visiting the Universal Parks you can walk or use the resort transportation.
We found that the easiest way to get from Orlando International Airport MCO to Cabana Bay Beach Resort was to take an Uber. It was cheaper and easier than renting a car to get to the resort.
If you do bring your car to Universal Cabana Bay Resort there is plentiful parking available.
The day rate for Universal Cabana Bay Beach Parking is $18 for guests If you are not a guest of the resort the overnight rate of the hotel is $45 a night.
Hint. Don’t do it.
In summary, we think that Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort Hotel is one of the best hotel options if you are spending time at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
It’s a combination of well-designed rooms that are big enough for a family, location, fun theme and amenities are hard to beat.
Want to Know More About Universal Orlando?
Here are some of the guides to help you plan and enjoy your Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure experience: