The upside is that prices at the Cabana Bay will be the lowest of the four on-site hotels. This is the new "moderate" option at the resort.
Cabana Bay looks like a dormitory.
You should look up Googie architecture. That's what the 1960s period referenced here is. The 1970s were more brutalist and the color palette was very different.
For true Universal fans (those who are not Potterites), the better option is still the Royal Pacific as you get a better quality hotel, closer proximity to the action, and Universal Express for about the same price as what you would pay at Cabana Bay if you added Universal Express (thanks for doing the math Brandon so I don't have to!).
Krista.... do you have more photos of the pool area and the slide?
Lava lamps invented in the 1960s if you don't know. Shag carpeting... 1960s... yeah baby. Both were very popular in the 1960s and 1970s. There is overlap in the two decades.
On another matter ... the Harry Potter train is moving and undergoing testing. It has the main engine and two passenger cars on the tram like structure moving slowing between both parks.
Finally, new HP inside info ... don't expect the new Gringotts Bank ride to open when the new area opens... you heard it here first!
To the people (person) who does not like the look of this hotel, perhaps this is a matter not just of personal taste, but age. If you were alive during the fifties, sixties, or seventies, when Googie architecture was a lot more prevalent, I can see how this might all seem a bit 'been there. Done that.'
For example, I'm in my early thirties (Born in the '80s), so the '60s has always seemed like an exotic and exciting decade to me.
What James said made me realize that almost everyone I know calls it "Potter" or "The Potter Land" or says "Harry Potter" instead of "Universal". For us, Universal doesn't have anything we are really interested in besides Potter, especially the Studios park. Looking at Universal, we're definitely in the niche that only sees a day there as going for the Potter stuff...and that's now pretty expensive considering that to enjoy it all you have to buy the two-park pass. It would be weird to go and just experience Diagon Alley but not Hogsmeade or vice versa.
Universal to me is now like Discovery Cove. A really cool thing that is super expensive and we have to look at it accordingly. With WDW, my friend for instance is going to be there for 6 days so it was super cheap with the multi-day tickets after like 3 days. Going to Potter one of those days would have been an extra $400 to $500 easy. My friend just could not afford that for her family of 4 (and that's not even including all the food and drinks and things).
I'm really surprised my friend is okay with skipping Potter because she loves the books and movies so much but this trip she just can't swing the money for it.
I'm not sure I would pay the admission for USF parks just to experience Potter either, and I am a huge fan of the movies.
This is one of those time where Disney wins no matter what.
Something us insiders have to realize is that we are a niche audience. A tiny segment of the population to whom neither Disney nor Universal are all that interested in catering.
It stinks, but it is true.
Your kids are 9 and above - go to Universal. See what real thrill rides are like. Enjoy a tasty churro. Your kids will actually remember the great memories of riding A+ rides and having fun. Repeat as necessary...
So, I would consider UOR a thrill park by comparison to Disney, but not to a park like Cedar Point.
Once your youngest is 48" tall (56 is better) Universal becomes a whole different experience without child swapping.
If your family seeks thrills, and that's it, best wait until everyone is at least 54" before heading to Universal. But again, at that point, Busch Gardens Tampa is a more thrilling option without a doubt - and immersive, relaxing resorts are just a few minutes away from the park along the gulf coast.
However, we both seem to agree that Universal is not a thrill park. It is a family park, very much in the same vein as a Disney park - a model that works better than any other if you want to have a highly profitable business. Sure, Universal has a couple of decent coasters, but for the most part their headliner attractions are designed for families and for people who are willing to leave their skepticism at the door and let their imagination run free. In fact, without imagination and a suspension of disbelief most of Universal's attractions, like Disney's, just don't work. It is the sum of the parts that transforms the ride into a memorable experience.
With Universal's new HP expansion, I fear that people who visit the Gringott's Coaster expecting to be thrilled by the ride alone will be very disappointed. This family coaster is going to be a multi sensory experience that caters to the young and young at heart (and adults who read kids books). Uber thrill seekers are going to see it as boring and slow, and will quickly head back north to ride Millennium Force sixteen times in a row instead. But, to quote James Cameron's THE ABYSS, "You have to see with better eyes than that!" Imaginative families will think Gringott's is the best thing since.... Revenge of the Mummy (a great coaster that doesn't register as a blip on most coaster enthusiast lists). So again, to label Universal as a thrill park is an insult to everything the company has labored to achieve in the last five years. And N B, you've mentioned a couple times in various discussion threads that your kids have outgrown Disney. But I wonder if it might be their father who has moved on instead? My kids are all taller than 54" and range from 16 down to 10 years. They love roller coasters and thrill rides (heck, we're headed up to Kings Island for Banshee this summer), and they have an amazing time when we visit Universal. But their true love, their first love, is Disney. It is the place they want to visit above all others. If they ever outgrow Walt's Kingdom it would mean they have outgrown adventure, story, and imagination. And if such a thing happened it would be a real tragedy, and would probably break this father's heart.
And if your kids have truly outgrown Disney, it is only a matter of time before they leave Universal in the pixie dust as well.
I have to say that having driven past this place quite a lot that I am not too enthused about the color and design of it. It looks like a Holiday Inn and if I am going to spend $94 night, I might as well stay on International Drive for less in a place that looks the same. When I stay on property, I like to stay in a place that looks and feels special. On Disney, I love Animal Kingdom Lodge and for Universal, I would like to stay at Portofino Bay or the Hard Rock if my budget would allow.