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CABANA BAY @ UNIVERSAL – should you stay here?
Let me begin by saying we were VERY excited to stay here and wish it had gone better. It was very cool to step back in time with this RETRO styled hotel. It looked very cool and the kids were super into it, so our hopes were high. Although, the style did not disappoint, this hotel will be a no for us in the future because we needed it to be more / better.
Let’s cover some good first, because the price point is fabulous and you might be able to overlook the things we are not able to. Negative reasons are towards the bottom.
We stayed in a 2 bedroom – BUILDING 8 – Beachside
VIDEO… Here is our video review of the hotel. There are images in the video – they are not synced up… but they are also below for further review.
My suitcases fit in really well here
HOTEL / LOBBY
Characters just might pop up while you are there
Upper Lobby Area has the Arcade / bowling
Lobby on the other side of the Bayline Diner
Cabana Bay – Positives Points
- Retro Décor is super super cute and detailed
- Room was VERY spacious / clean
- We had a 2 bedroom – it has 2 fridges / sink / microwave and coffee maker
- Lobby / Pool area seemed to hold a lot of guests and was very large… we can see this filling up FAST
- Very close to Volcano Bay – as in across the parking lot with special access for hotel guests (with paid admission).
- Walkway to Universal is good for those who do not want to take the bus – this walk is about 45minutes.
- laundry rooms – there seem to be a few spaced out throughout the hotel
- movie on the lawn – space for many
- You could roast marshmallows – like most hotels – overpriced – bring your own.
- Several food options / plenty of condiments
- Starbucks in the lobby.
- Universal merch in lobby store is a good selection.
- Lots of outlets / USB chargers
FOOD / BAR OPTIONS
- Food court style options as well as grab and go – large sitting area with retro large screens playing. You are able to pick up the smores here as well as to go rinks.
This is the view of the diner from the 2nd floor looking down – MASSIVE
Scroll to the bottom for more images from the take away section of the store / pricing.
- This was located near the lazy river pool is was actually a cool set up. there is also a food stand there that sells “Hawaiian” styled hot dogs. The bar tender was super nice.
- This bar was located at the pool with the slides. The waterfall was not fully working and to be honest looked very dirty.
- I really wanted this to be cooler – I think they could have done a better job at making this into a bar. It was too much part of the lobby.
They did have a live guitarist playing in the lobby – he was pretty good.
- There was ALWAYS a long line. located in the lobby.
- This is first come / first serve. They opened around 5pm and were fully booked for the entire evening by 5:20pm for bowling. They were able to seat us for food and drinks.
- This pizza can be pickup in the lobby during the day and delivered to your room in the evening.
The View – Building 8 – Floor 11 – Volcano Bay side
2 BEDROOM SUITE
Bathroom 1 – Full – located near bedroom2
Bathroom 2 – split – sink & toliet together near kitchen – shower / tub next to it
OUTSIDE by the lazy river pool
Walking from the Beachside Tower to the Lobby you will pass the Lazy River Pool as well as the fire pits. Hideaway Bar is located here. No Cabanas. Yes to sand games.
OUTSIDE by the pool with the slide
This pool is right outside the front desk portion of the lobby and has the walkway to Universal and the Atomic Bar here. The outdoor movie is also here on the lawn. You can reserve a Cabana here. We were charged $100.00 for the day.
The movie is played on this lawn
WALKWAY TO UNIVERSAL STUDIOS
Alright, now this hotel is located directly across the street from Sapphire Falls, which has a boat ride to Universal. The boat is reserved for that hotel and a couple others – so you have to walk or take a bus. My guess is that they do not want you walking right across the street and trying to get on the boat… so your walk to Universal is longer than it needs to be. They have you walking down the street a bit and over a walking bridge and through the along the backside of Sapphire Falls and has you connect to the Garden path near the Royal Pacific – after their boat ramp as well. Very Tricky / Smart Universal. The walk is absolutely beautiful, lush landscaping and the bridge is pretty cool. It will take you about 45 minutes to walk to Universal and get through the mini security. You will come out near the porch of indecision at Margaritaville.
This is a very busy road – there is no crosswalk – DO NOT TRY crossing the road – just take the long pretty path.
Can you see the bridge covered in landscaping?
This foot bride crosses the water and connects you to the Royal Pacific. Mark suggests you go to the lobby bar Sushi Restaurant and get some Sushi – opens after 5pm.
REASONS WHY CABANA BAY IS A NO FOR US – the details are important to us.
- staff was not forthcoming with important check in information.
- Housekeeping – never came… 3 days
- Renting a movie on the tv – this required a tech person to come to our room – this was after reaching out to the front desk in person and on the phone over 5 times.
- Toiletries – these were retro and cute… but I would bet my life they were refilling it from guest to guest… that’s a no for me
- parking was a nightmare
- luggage carts were hard to find / could not find one
- we were in one of the towers… there was no where to unload your luggage
- walking – the walking path to and from the lobby was VERY long – this was pretty. The issue was the ENTIRE path was a SMOKING section. Yes – to each their own… but the smoking was EVERYWHERE. From the moment you walking out the hotel doors and through the entire path – there was NO ESCAPING IT.
- bowling – can not make reservations and it sells out far too quick.
- food at bowling alley – we are pretty sure that it made Mark and Saoirse sick.
- pool area… looked dirty
- landscaping in parts of the pool areas needs refreshed desperately.
- Keys in parking area NEVER worked.
- No room service – just pizza and it is only in the evening.
- Cups for wine at the bar were cheap and tacky (not in a good way).
- No blue tooth radio / speaker
To each their own… and that includes me. I feel like smokers should have an area that does not make others feel like they are smoking. The entire walkway to and from the lobby is for smokers – there was no way of avoiding it. This alone is why we would never stay here again.
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS MERCH STORE
Bayliner Diner – here are some additional photos
We had a laundry room in the tower and I also saw laundry in the lower buildings.
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My name is Tabitha and this blog is about my family and our life. We are always looking for inspiration and nonsense to keep us going… one day at a time… one celebration at a time. I am just another mama with no sick days and no days off trying to juggle family, life, wellness, getting dinner to the table while raising good humans and staying mentally sound.
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[…] Orlando has a RETRO resort located within walking distance of the parks. It’s called CABANA BAY and it would not be complete without a perfectly tacky bowling alley. NAILED IT! This bowling alley […]