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Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort 3.5

Universal Orlando, Orlando, Central Florida

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Review Summary

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  • Fantastic location inside of Universal Orlando
  • Lively 1950s decor plus visits and wake-up calls from Universal characters
  • Early admission to Universal Parks, including Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Colorful rooms, including Family Suites equipped with wet bars
  • Casual dining including food court and poolside grill
  • Two lively bars in lobby and pool area
  • Regular free shuttles to and from Universal theme parks
  • Huge pool area including slides and lazy river
  • Bowling alley and arcade on-site
  • Large fitness center equipped with high-end, high-tech machines
  • Free scheduled shuttles to SeaWorld and local water parks
  • Free Wi-FI throughout 


  • Pool area and hotel in general can be loud
  • No balconies in rooms
  • Outdoor parking subject to nightly fee
  • No pets allowed

Bottom Line

An amusement park in itself, this enormous, 1800-room upper-middle-range property is inside of Universal Orlando and within easy walking distance of Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Rooms are decked out in zany colors and there are plenty of family-friendly suites with wet bars. With an enormous pool area equipped with waterslides, plus a bowling alley, arcade, and early admission to Universal, the hotel is geared toward families, much more so than the neighboring sister property Loews Royal Pacific Resort. Although it has a couple of bar areas and large fitness center, business guests and adults without children might find Cabana Bay a little loud and kitschy.

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Fun, colorful, and lively theme park resort hotel with 1950s beach theme

Resembling a flashy Las Vegas-style hotel from the outside, the Cabana Bay has a 1950s retro beach theme. The property comprises a series of white buildings with blue-tinted windows plus yellow, red, and green panels, and exterior accent walls. There is a fun vibe throughout the property, particularly around the two big pool areas and the lazy river, where guests float around on tubes in a peaceful current past tropical plants, faux islands, rocks, and waterfall features. Both pool areas feel like miniature water parks, with a sandy “beach” lounge area, shovels and pails for kids, a kids' fountain play area, and a large, winding waterslide. There is also a pool bar area with a mini rocket ship and colorful machines swirling daiquiris -- while there are other bars on-site for adult guests as well, the vibe here is decidedly family friendly. 

Inside, the lobby area resembles a cruise ship, the vaulted ceilings reached by enormous glass walls and held up by round white pillars. All furniture is vibrantly colored, mostly in hues of yellow and orange, maintaining the 1950s theme with vinyl upholstery and stylish glass hanging lamps. The Swizzle lounge space is open and relaxing, serving yummy tropical cocktails, while the on-site Starbucks -- with its wood-paneled walls -- is a nice place to sit and check email or people watch. The main dining area is an enormous food court with a theater-sized screen on one wall, round turquoise-colored vinyl booths featuring individual, streetlamp-style lights, and a large cartoon mural. Most guests are families with younger children, though plenty of couples find there way here as well, but keep in mind that with this many rooms and this many young guests, things are on the wild and lively side.


In the middle of Universal theme parks, many within walking distance

Situated in the middle of Universal Orlando’s theme parks, Cabana Bay is within walking distance of a few of the Universal parks and there is a regular free shuttle to and from the hotel throughout the day and evening. The nearest park is Universal's Islands of Adventure, which is about a six-minute walk from the hotel, while The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Jurassic Park Discovery Center are about a 20-minute walk away for those feeling ambitious (also reachable by shuttle). The shuttle is best to reach Universal Studios Plaza and Citywalk-Orlando. Downtown Orlando and SeaWorld are less than a 15-minute drive away, while Walt Disney World and Epcot Center take under 20 minutes to reach by car. The Orlando International Airport is about a 20-minute drive from the hotel.


Vibrantly and colorful rooms plus Family Suites with wet bars

There are a whopping 1800 rooms here, and while they vary in square footage and views, the hotel really offers just two room configurations: Standard Rooms and Family Suites. All are spacious, and Standard Rooms start at 300 square feet (28 square meters). Both are decorated in bright hues that include turquoise, lime green, orange, and yellow. Expect to see mod-style abstract art, lots of vintage furniture with curved lines, and fun accents like eye-catching padded headboards. Standard Rooms all feature queen-size beds, air-conditioning, 40-inch flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, and mini-fridges. Family Suites are larger (430 square feet, or 40 square meters), but have separate double-queen bedrooms with TVs plus living areas with sofa beds, small tables, armchairs, and second TVs. All Family Suites have colorful wet bars with mini-fridges and coffeemakers, with the addition of microwaves as well. Bathrooms are large and each has a vanity and a sink in the main room plus a toilet and shower/tub combo in a separate room. There are no balconies, but all rooms have large, wall-sized windows, some with nice views of the pools and surrounding area.


Huge pool areas with lazy river, bowling alley, and arcade plus bars and dining

This enormous resort has plenty of amenities for families, including a mini water park with two huge pool areas, a waterslide, children’s play fountains, and a lazy river. There is a free shuttle running to and from Universal theme parks and guests have early access to the parks and to the Harry Potter attraction. Shuttles also run to SeaWorld and local water parks -- they are free and scheduled. Characters from Universal make frequent appearances at the hotel, and wake up calls from characters are also available. The hotel is home to a full-size bowling alley and a huge arcade with a massive assortment of video games and prize machines. The fitness center is enormous, but bright, with plenty of natural light pouring through the numerous windows. There are several lines of modern treadmills, bikes, and weight machines, and it includes a room full of memorabilia related to American fitness hero Jack LaLanne -- namely trophies, photos, and a video documentary. There is also a coin-operated laundry room with several washers and dryers as well as a huge gift shop with every possible variety of Universal-themed souvenir. 

The hotel has several bars on-site serving cocktails plus casual dining at the bowling alley, poolside, or in the food court. There's a Starbucks at the hotel as well, for any refueling needs. No meals are included with standard room rates. Basic Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel, and premium plans are available for a fee. Parking is not included with room rates. 

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6550 Adventure Way, Orlando, Central Florida 32819-7610, United States

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