Cabana Bay Beach Resort is hands-down one of the best places to stay when visiting Universal. Specifically, it has to be the best place for families. From start to finish, it’s got everything you’re looking for when planning your ideal vacation.
First of all, the vibe is super cool. It will feel like you’re stepping back in time at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Designed to be just like Florida beach resorts during the 1950s and 60s, you’ll see this style used throughout the hotel. From classic cars parked out front to the music of the time, creating the soundtrack of your vacation. Cabana Bay creates a fun environment that takes you back to the good-old-days. But beyond the benefits of nostalgia, this prime hotel is a great place to stay for so many reasons.
Perfect for families, Cabana Bay offers suites at an affordable rate. Sleeping up to 6 people, these rooms are outfitted with a kitchen and living room space. This setup lets families spread out, relax, and do what they have to do.
Staying at Cabana Bay means you’re actually staying onsite at Universal. With this, you’ll have all the perks, like being close to the parks and early admission to the parks.
There’s so much to do at Cabana Bay that you don’t even have to leave. The resort has two huge pools with a lazy river, slide, splash pad, and poolside bars. Bowling and the arcade are perfect when you’re looking to have some fun indoors. Seven places to grab a drink or bite to eat at Cabana Bay means mealtime is easy too.
There’s so much to love about Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Let’s get into it and break it all down for you.
Is there a shuttle from Cabana Bay to Universal?
Yes. The shuttle from Cabana Bay will bring you to Universal CityWalk with the entrances to both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
Shuttle service begins in the morning one hour before parks open for early admission. It continues until 2 am. The shuttles run continuously, leaving every 10-15 minutes. The trip from Cabana Bay is only 5-10 minutes long. So it really doesn’t take very long to get to the parks and back.
Are there family rooms at Cabana Bay?
Yes. There are family rooms at Cabana Bay. The rooms have a kitchenette and living room area, which is separated from the bedroom. The kitchen mini refrigerator and microwave are handy for any family.
The family rooms can sleep up to six people. Two queen-sized beds in the bedroom will sleep four people. And the pull-out couch in the living room can sleep another two people. This is one of the major highlights of the resort.
Is there a water park at Cabana Bay Beach Resort?
Although it’s not technically a water park, Cabana Bay has so much to offer in terms of water fun. To begin, Cabana Bay has two separate heated pools. There’s also a 100ft slide, splash pads, and a lazy river.
Cabana Bay is also super close to Volcano Bay, and it even has its own entrance. So if you want the full water park experience, grab a ticket, and head on over. As a Cabana Bay guest, you’ll even get to enter Volcano Bay an hour before the general public.
What is the closest theme park to Cabana Bay?
Cabana Bay is closest to Volcano Bay, Universal’s themed water park. There’s even a separate entrance for Cabana Bay guests to access the water park from the hotel. So you can walk straight from your room to Volcano Bay within 5 minutes. A major perk of staying at Cabana Bay is that you’ll have early access to Volcano Bay. So you’ll be having fun up to an hour before the general public.
Are Universal hotel pools heated?
Yes. Universal hotel pools are heated. This way, when you stay at Cabana Bay, you can enjoy the pools until they close at 11 pm.
Another awesome thing about the pools at Universal is pool hopping. When you stay at Cabana Bay, you can use a bunch of pools at other Universal hotels. These include Aventura, Hard Rock, Portofino Bay, Royal Pacific, and Sapphire Falls. Just show your Cabana Bay room key, and you’re in.
Benefits of staying at Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort
There are so many reasons staying at Universal’s Cabana Bay is the best. But beyond the great rooms, reasonable prices, awesome pools, and dining options, there are a ton of benefits and perks. Here are some of the additional benefits to staying at Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
- Steps away from Universal Parks,
- Early entry to Universal Parks (up to one hour before the general public),
- Separate entrance to Volcano Bay from Cabana Bay,
- Free shuttle bus service to Universal Parks and CityWalk,
- Character appearances at Cabana Bay,
- Use your room key to pay for purchases, including meals,
- Delivery service to your room for purchases at Universal stores,
- Pool hop at other Universal Resorts, including Portofino Bay, Hard Rock, Royal Pacific, Sapphire Falls, and Aventura,
Why we love Universal Cabana Bay | Best Universal Orlando Resort for Families
Hands down, Cabana Bay Beach Resort is our top pick. Honestly, it’s the best place for families to stay at Universal. It has everything a family needs, including decently priced rooms.
There are so many reasons Cabana Bay stands out among other places to stay. The first is the family rooms. They give families exactly what they need, including a kitchenette, living room, and space for six people to sleep.
Beyond the rooms, Cabana Bay is super close to the Universal theme parks. And early admission to the parks is included in the stay. Onsite, Cabana Bay has everything from incredible pools to great places to eat and drink.
There are so many reasons Cabana Bay is our favorite place to stay at Universal. Let’s explain each one:
Great Family Rooms
Cabana Bay is a favorite among families. The reason? There are great room options designed for families at reasonable rates.
The standard room is nice, with two queen-sized beds, a private bath, and a large tv. The standard room is decently priced for staying onsite at Universal. But, for a bit more money per night, consider an upgrade to a family suite. It’s totally worth it.
Family suites at Cabana Bay have a kitchenette, living room, and separate sleeping area. The kitchen is set with a sink, mini fridge, microwave, and plastic plates and utensils.
When it’s quiet time, the bedroom can be closed off from the living/kitchen area. This way, your family can feel comfortable doing whatever it needs, no matter the hour. The other great thing about family rooms at Cabana Bay is that they can sleep up to 6 people.
Early admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
A major perk to staying at Cabana Bay is that you get early admission to the Universal parks. Specifically, you’ll be able to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for up to a full hour before the general public.
Each day, Universal will let Early Park Admission guests (including Cabana Bay guests) into either Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure. You can then go to the Harry Potter section of the park (Diagon Alley or Hogsmead). For this perk alone, staying at Cabana Bay is a great idea.
Charge it to the room key
Who wants to run around with a purse or fumble with a wallet while on vaca? At Cabana Bay, all you need is your room key. These special pieces of plastic are as powerful as a magic wand. With it, you can charge just about anything to your room. So, this way, you don’t have to lug around a wallet when you head to the pool, bowling alley or to grab a coffee in the morning.
Steps from Volcano Bay Water Park
Cabana Bay is insanely close to Universal’s Volcano Bay water park. Many of the rooms even face Krakatau, the giant volcano in the center of the water park. For guests of Cabana Bay, they’ve even made a special entrance from the resort into the water park. Guests also have the awesome perk of early admission to Volcano Bay one hour before the general public.
The Lazy River is something you’ll only find at Cabana Bay. While other Universal resorts have pools, none have an actual lazy river.
Sit back and relax as you float around the lazy river. You’ll enjoy the way you bob around and float under palm trees and a waterfall.
You can choose to use a life vest provided by the resort. But if you’re hoping to float on an inner tube, it’s best to bring your own. You can also rent or buy one from the resort. Resort staff will help you inflate it, so you don’t have to, which is nice.
Pools at Cabana Bay
The pools are really at the heart of Cabana Bay’s appeal. The two pools offer guests a choice in how to spend their time in the water. Both offer zero entry and are heated. Complimentary towels are available for guests at both pools.
At the center of the Cabana Courtyard is a large pool with an iconic retro dive tower. Although it’s not used for diving, at the base of the tower, the 100-foot water slide empties into the pool. You’ll find a kids’ splash pad along the Cabana Courtyard, the Atomic Tonic bar, cabanas to rent, picnic tables, and a fire pit.
On the other side of the resort is The Lazy River Courtyard. It also has a large pool and, you guessed it, the lazy river. There is also the Hideaway Bar and Grill, sand beaches, and fire pits.
Coming in strong with the retro vibe, Cabana Bay has Galaxy Bowl. This 10-lane bowling alley will take you back to the good old days of knocking down pins with family and friends. At Cabana Bay, you can relive it all. Just be sure to reserve a lane in advance to secure your night of fun.
Galaxy Bowl is also a full-service restaurant. So you can order snacks, drinks, or even a burger for dinner. This way, you won’t need to plan your game around dinner reservations. Instead, you can do it all at the same time.
Free shuttle buses to Universal Parks
Once you’re at Cabana Bay, there’s no need to worry about getting around. Universal has that covered. Free shuttle buses will take you to the parks without an issue.
The buses run every 10-15 minutes, so the wait shouldn’t be too long. They start running an hour before parks open in the morning. And finish late into the night. This way, you can enjoy your night at CityWalk without worrying about your car or who’s going to be the DD.
Of course, you’re planning to do a pool day during your stay at Cabana Bay. To make it even better, consider renting a poolside cabana. It will totally take your pool day up to a whole ‘nother level.
Each cabana can house up to 6 people with a shaded area, ceiling fan, tv, and fridge stocked with water. There’s a personal safe to make sure your valuables are secure while you take a dip in the water. Make sure to reserve your cabana in advance so they’re not all gone on your pool day.
There’s no need to be at the theme park to see your favorite Universal characters. They love to visit Cabana Bay. Specifically, they often come to the lobby on Friday evenings. This way, you can get your photo taken with the Minions or Sponge Bob right there at Cabana Bay.
Game-O-Rama is the killer arcade at Cabana Bay. With a whole bunch of games, it’s a great way to test your luck and skill. This arcade will take you back to the good old days when there were arcades in every town. The new high-tech games are fun for the kid in all of us.
You’ll have fun no matter the time at Game-O-Rama. But when it happens to be a rainy day at Universal, you’ll be happy in the arcade.
Restaurants at Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Cabana Bay has tons of places to eat onsite. No matter what you’re doing, chances are there’s a place within arms reach to order a snack or drink. This includes poolside and at the bowling alley.
The Bayline Diner is the place most people eat in Cabana Bay. It’s a huge eatery with tons of options.
They’ve got everything from eggs and sausages to fruit and yogurt for breakfast. There’s even cereal. So, no matter the type of morning person you are, you’ll have options.
During lunch and dinner, the Bayline Diner has stations prepping hot food for the whole family. There are sandwiches, salads, pizza, pasta, and burgers. The international station has great food like jerk chicken and Brazilian beef churrasco. Kids menus are featured at all of the stations too.
A great thing about the Bayline Diner is that they are mindful of dietary restrictions. There are tons of gluten-free options that are clearly marked. Vegans and vegetarians can also rest assured. Cross-contamination is also considered. For example, Beyond Burgers are cooked separately from other meat burgers. Phew.
The grab-n-go offerings at Bayline are extensive. You’ll find everything from chips and snacks to sushi, beer, and wine. There are also things to bring back to your room, like milk.
The way it works: Once everyone in the family has picked out what they want to eat, head to the cashier to pay for it all. Then pick a place to sit in the dining area. This way, the Bayline Diner is simple and convenient.
The Bayline Diner is open early and closes late. You’ll be able to get your caffeine fix and breakfast foods starting at about 7 am. For late night, Bayline has pizza and grab-n-go items ready. Some nights you can even get things until the wee hours of the morning.
The Hideaway Bar & Grill
Steps from the Lazy River, the Hideaway Bar & Grill is the perfect poolside bar. If you’re looking for food or drink, there’s no need to leave the fun. The Hideaway will serve up what you like for lunch, dinner, or just a snack.
There’s an array to choose from on the menu, like burgers, hotdogs, and chicken wings. The Hideaway specializes in cocktails the way you like ’em: frozen, on the rocks, mocktails, and smoothies. And, of course, they have tons of beer and wine too.
Atomic Tonic is your go-to when enjoying the pool at the Cabana Courtyard. They’ll set you up with things to eat and drink, so you don’t have to miss any of the fun. Choose from things like salads, pizza, sandwiches, and even a döner gyro.
The Atomic Tonic’s full bar will get you any drink you need. They’ll even create delicious cocktails that complete the pool day experience. Definitely try the signature Atomic Tonic which is a delightful mix of tropical flavors and vodka.
Galaxy Bowl Restaurant
To make your bowling game complete, the Galaxy Bowl Restaurant will have you covered with things to eat and drink.
On the menu, you’ll find things to nosh on, like chicken wings, pretzel bites, and mozzarella sticks. If you’re looking for more than just a snack, any one of the burgers will hit the spot. Beyond burgers, a grilled chicken sandwich and salad alternatives exist.
Galaxy Bowl also has a fully stocked bar. This way, you can sip a beer, glass of wine, or cocktail as you knock down the pins.
The Swizzle Lounge is the Cabana Bay lobby bar taken to the next level. Or rather, taken back to the 1950s when staying at a hotel was something of a high-class experience. Each evening at Swizzle, you’ll find killer cocktails and a chill retro feel. On the weekends, they even have live music, which adds to its cool factor.
Personal pizzas (10 inch), pasta, and snacks are on hand at Delizioso Pizza. Choose from the classics like cheese and pepperoni. Or order it the way you like with a handful of different toppings. The kids’ cheese is a perfect size (7 inch) for the little ones.
Delizioso Pizza is located in the Bayline Diner. So you can grab pizza or pasta for a sit-down meal in the dining area. The full Delizioso menu is available in the Bayline Diner during peak times. But you can also enjoy your pizza wherever and just about whenever you’d like.
After hours, a limited menu of mostly pizzas is available. You can pick up a pizza at Delizioso until 3 am some nights. Or, it can be delivered to your room or poolside cabana making life easy.
Starbucks is a steadfast provider of caffeine just about any way you like it. At Cabana Bay, it’s the same. Baristas will whip up whatever you enjoy at your normal Starbucks back home.
Just know the line can get a bit long in the morning. It seems like everyone is looking to get their ‘bucks before hitting the parks too. So plan accordingly.
Few Cons of the hotel
Cabana Bay is a stellar place to stay at Universal. But, like everything, there are always a few things that are a bummer. Some things we wish were different at Cabana Bay are:
- Tubes and rafts for the Lazy River aren’t free. You have to bring your own, buy, or rent them,
- No room service. The onsite pizza joint, Delizioso, will deliver pizzas to your room or cabana. But it would be nice to have a larger selection with normal room service. This would be good, especially for parents once the kids go to bed,
- Parking at Cabana Bay costs an additional $18 per day. Now, this is better than paying a much higher daily fee at theme parks. But this should really be included in the cost of the stay,
- Universal Express is not included in a stay at Cabana Bay. This is great for skipping regular lines at Universal theme parks. Universal Express is a benefit of staying at Universal Premier hotels but not Cabana Bay which is a Prime hotel.