The Cabana Bay Resort at Universal Studios Orlando, Florida is located approximately 25 minutes from Orlando International Airport (MCO) and 5 minutes from the entrance to Universal Studios, Orlando. The retro 50’s themed hotel is great for anyone planning a visit to the park but is perfect for families with kids. From their casual dining options to their activities and entertainment throughout the day, the Cabana Bay Resort Orlando is a great place to make your “home base” for your Universal Studios, Orlando vacation.
The Cabana Bay Resort Orlando is technically not on the grounds of Universal Studios, Orlando but is close enough. Along with the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort and the Hard Rock Hotel, these hotels are the official hotels of Universal Studios, Orlando. Of the four hotels, the Cabana Bay Resort Orlando is the most affordable.
The hotel does offer a free shuttle from the hotel to/from the main entrance of the City Walk/Islands of Adventure/Universal Studios, Orlando. The shuttle runs every 15 minutes, starts approximately 2 hours before normal opening hours and ends way after park closing time.
As a guest of the Cabana Bay Resort Orlando, you do get early entry (one hour) into Universal Studios, Orlando. It may not sound like much but that extra hour before the park opens up to the general public is fantastic. On our visit, we were able to do the Harry Potter and Minions rides and see the Shrek show before the park even opened to the general public. We then took the train (Hogwarts Express) to the Islands of Adventure to hit the other Harry Potter ride right as the park was opening to the general public. It’s a huge benefit and was definitely worth the up-charge to stay here.
That alone should be reason enough to stay here but the rooms and amenities aren’t bad either. I booked a standard two-queen room and was assigned room 5235 upon checking in. I do not have any elite status with Loews Hotels and our room was not upgraded. Room 5235 is located on the second floor of the Americana building. There are five buildings located around the property: Americana, Castaway, Continental, Starlight and Thunderbird. I have no idea which rooms in which buildings are better than the others. They all looked the same to me.
Our room was decent and was furnished with two queen beds, a small desk, dresser, LCD TV, coffee maker, mini-fridge and in room safe. I would have described this room as hideous but it goes well with the whole 50’s theme. The beds were comfortable and the blackout curtains did a great job of keeping the light out.
And just look at this amazing view of the parking lot.
The bathroom was smart with the sink located outside of the enclosed toilet/shower-tub. That way, one person can be showering or taking care of business and the other person can still use the sink or vanity area to get ready. Bathroom amenities were pretty minimal with VO5 branded shampoo and conditioner and Zest body soap.
As a hotel that is focused on families and kids, you can expect a lot of the amenities here to be also. Here, you will find more pools than you can count, numerous water slides, several Jacuzzis, a game room, video game arcade, bowling alley and fitness center. Movies by the pool and other kids activities are provided free of charge throughout the day. There’s also a Universal Studios desk located inside the lobby to purchase tickets or get help planning out your day.
Dining is convenient with one large dining area that serves a variety of foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s a central food court with different food stations. You pick what you want, pay at the central cashier and enjoy. This works well for families with different tastes and diets. You can get anything from burgers and fries to a steak dinner to a “make your own” salad from the salad bar. And at the end, you bus your own tables and trays. Don’t want a full meal and just want a coffee on the go, there’s also a full-service Starbucks located inside.
But all that happiness and joy aside, I did have one complaint with the property. The bedroom walls are super thin! You will hear kids screaming up and down the hallways at all hours of the day and night. I would definitely recommend bringing some earplugs or asking for a room away from everyone else if you are not used to being around kids.
Other than that, this was a fantastic hotel and a great stay to start our trip to Universal Studios, Orlando. The early entry program allowed us to hit a lot of the busier attractions before the general public and the free shuttle made the visit convenient and easy. I don’t know why they went with a retro 50’s theme but it’s cute and it worked. The room was comfy and clean and the hotel restaurant was actually tasty.
Have you stayed at the Cabana Bay Resort Orlando before? If so, please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.