Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort opens at Universal Orlando
Universal Orlando Resort today opened its fourth on-site hotel, Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Photo courtesy Universal
The 1,800-room hotel, operated by Loews Hotels & Resorts, which operates Universal Orlando's other three on-site resorts, offers a retro Googie style, evoking roadside hotels of the late 1950s and 60s. (Though on a much, much, much larger scale.) Here's an overview from Universal Creative:
Our Krista Joy is there for the opening day and sent in some photos:
Okay, they've fudged the theme with flat screen TVs, which along with in-room hair dryers are some of the modern amenities that visitors expect, regardless of theme. But look closely at those old-school phones and alarm clocks. Universal Creative seems to have applied an OCD-level commitment to theme detail in this resort.
Do note that visitors to the Cabana Bay won't get the same Universal Express benefit that visitors staying at the other three on-site resorts get. They will, however, get the early access to Islands of Adventure and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade. It's also the farthest from the front gates of the parks.
So Krista Joy is just all kinds of fabulous today. First, an awesome column. Now she's our own Lois Lane getting the scoop and the photos of Cabana Bay. Hooray for Krista. Never has anyone been so aptly named because she gives us all so much Joy with her photographs especially. She always knows how to not only get the big scoops but the perfect shots as well. Go Krista!
The worst thing about the 70s is the ugly bedspread. Seems like they preserved that and the uncomfortable sofa and ugly colors. While I like nostalgia, the 70s isn't it. Besides, any cheap hotel looks like the 70s and they still don't have the money for a makeover.
Great story, thanks!
This looks meh.
@Anon Mouse As the article mentioned it's not a 70's BUT 50's/60's resort. Maybe you recognise the bedspread still being on your bed at the 70's.
Anonamouse -- this isn't the 1970s at all. This is late-50s/early 1960s. I can't tell if you are kidding or not and being sarcastic, but if you think this is 1970s then you are way off. The 1970s were a lot of paisley, browns, shag carpet, wood paneling, brass, velvet paintings of things like tigers, lava lamps, orange-yellow-white plastic things, lots of orbs and circles.
Let's just all agree it's retro.... The suites include Alice from the Brady Bunch as your housekeeper.... and she will NOT shut up about Sam the Butcher.
Looks like a pretty good value option for those folks most concerned with going to "The Harry Potter Park". Adding the lazy river and slide does put the hotel in a comparable category to Disney's moderate resorts at a (currently) cheaper price (keep in mind you have to add $10 for parking as well).
It looks like the 70s to me in the era of the Brady Bunch and disco fever. Since the article mentions the 50s and 60s, it would be incorrect to omit the 70s out of hand.
There were a lot of different styles in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, just as there are many different styles in architecture and fashion today. This particular style is Googie, and you could find its influence persisting well into the 1970s, particularly through the whole retro-futurism movement.
The bridge hasn't started yet, they just put up the markers. It also appears that the walking path, which will connect to the Royal Pacific path is about to be started on. The bridge location was changed. It isn't crossing the large Hollywood Blvd., it will cross the smaller side street between Cabana & the empty 60 acre lot. It's walking distance is nearly identical to the Portofino to parks walkway. But there is no boat access as at the other three hotels. Keep in mind that these rooms are the suites. The standard rooms don't open until July. If you stay at the standard rooms for five days the price generally decreases to $94 a day for most months of the year. Though this resort has amenities and the look of a Disney moderate hotel, it's priced similar or lower than the Disney values. It's a good alternative to the Universal partnership hotels off property. Basically, it's for large families & the price oriented customer, and of course does not offer Express since it's price point is so low. But it does have early access, an important point since the new attractions won't have Express at the beginning.Universal just purchased a fleet of buses for the park's transportation and they are decorated in the 50's, 60's motif, some with surfboards on the roof.
Hard to imagine someone with the word "Mouse" in their username would have something negative to say about Universal.
This is right up my street! I love anything kitsch and retro. Might have to try a few nights next year!
I live across from this monster - and it ain't pretty. The outside of the two biggest buildings(I think they are called Thunderbird and Continental) have avocado and the drab olive ... you remember those colors you detest in old kitchens.... yep they are on the side of the buildings on intermittent panels. The sun will do another number on them in a few years. The locals think its quite ugly.
This hotel is absolutely stunning. Kudos to Universal for creating an immersively themed resort.
James Rao said something interesting above that is very reflective of how my family and friends look at Universal: he called it "the Harry Potter Park". Last weekend, I was helping a friend plan her vacation in May. They ended up deciding not to go to "The Harry Potter Park" because her daughters are 7 and 4 and she didn't think it was worth the money right now. She wants them to read all the Harry Potter books and really be into it before they'd plunk down all that money on the two-park passes to ride the train and everything. My friend, like me, is a HUGE Potter fan but she didn't want to take a day away from WDW and go to the "Potter Park" and spend all that money until the girls are older (maybe when the younger one is 8 and the older one is 11).
Annette, with children 4 and 7, I would definitely recommend Disney over Universal. There are so few rides they can go on at that age, all they will be able to do is play in the small kids areas in each park. Yes, there are some kids rides, but Disney is filled with all ages attractions.
I agree with James and Annette. This hotel is for people who just want to come and see Harry Potter. But I am the opposite of Annette, it has been several years since I have been to WDW. I only go to Universal when I go to Orlando, I remember being there when I was little and the ground was just being broken for Islands of Adventure. So for someone like me, there is no incentive to stay there. I am too spoiled on unlimited express pass. And the Royal Pacific has ferry access. And having express automatically at Cabana Bay would dilute the value. This hotel was made to combat places like Holliday Inn, it was not made for true Universal fans.
Annette, here's something else the general public messes up: they think Potter Land is at a Disney park...and even more, they think Universal Orlando is owned by Disney. Most people that spend loads of money on a themed resort vacation in the greater Orlando area have NO IDEA whats what in the theme park industry.
Okay here's the rules:
Anon poster 18.104.22.168, you want real thrill rides, take your kids to Busch Gardens, Cedar Point, Magic Mountain, or your local amusement park. You want highly themed, narrative attractions go to Disney and Universal. Calling Universal a thrill park is an insult to everything they are trying to accomplish these days.
I agree James... but those parks you mentioned lack the all inclusive multi-day experience of UOR (parks, CityWalk, hotels, insanely expensive themed dark rides etc...)
At only 48" tall your child misses out on five of the main thrill attractions at Universal Orlando. However, 48" is perfect for Disney as your kids will be able to ride everything, including Rock n Roller Coaster. So, at 48" the better choice is Disney.
Impressive. Very Impressive. I'd love to stay here. The style is incredible and the extra things to do (lazy river, bowling, etc...) set it a notch above other hotels like this.
I noticed yesterday that one of the entrances to this hotel is right off the entrance to I-4 from Hollywood Way. People are going to have to pay attention if they go in this entrance or they will wind up on I-4 West and the next exit to turn around will be Exit 68 in Lake Buena Vista.
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