Universal Orlando Cabana Bay Pedestrian Bridge Construction Begins

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Cabana Bay pedestrian bridge

All photos by Seth Kubersky

The first phase of Cabana Bay Beach Resort opens on March 31, 2014, and while Universal Orlando‘s first value-priced hotel will have plenty of amenities (like a 10 lane bowling alley) it won’t have water taxi transportation to the theme like the original three Loews-operated resorts. Universal will provide bus transportation from Cabana Bay to the main parking hub, but many guests will find it quicker and more convenient to walk to the attractions. In order to accommodate them, construction began last week on a new Cabana Bay pedestrian bridge, which will permit safe passage across Hollywood Way at Adventure Way.

 

This bridge sparked a bit of controversy in Orlando last year when the city council voted to fund the project’s $9 million dollar construction cost from a special taxing fund in the name of “public safety.”

Universal Orlando Cabana Bay pedestrian bridge

This corner will soon be the site of Universal Orlando’s Cabana Bay pedestrian bridge.

Electronic signs warn motorists of bridge construction.

Landscaping appears to be cleared in order to prepare for bridge construction.

Construction warning flags mark buried utilities.

 

The exact design of the bridge is also bit of a mystery. Originally, concept art depicted a fairly utilitarian structure.

Concept art courtesy Universal

 

Then late last year, proposed designs surfaced for an innovative landscaped “green bridge.” Now that work has begun, we should soon know which way they’ve decided to go.

Concept art by Green Roof/Miles Architecture/Libra Design

 

To celebrate the groundbreaking, I recently took a stroll from the Cabana Bay construction site to the CityWalk entrance near Margaritaville, in order to document what the path currently looks like:

 

 

As you can see, there are some interesting backstage views into Islands of Adventure (which may very well get covered up) and lots of greenery. The walk took me 8 minutes; even if you almost double that to account for crossing the bridge and finding your room, most Cabana Bay guests should be within about a 15 minute walk of Universal CityWalk. That’s only a few minutes further away than the Royal Pacific Resort, and about the same as many “walking distance” hotels around the Disneyland Resort (including the Disneyland Hotel).

Are you planning on staying at Cabana Bay? Do you think you’ll walk, or will you get to the parks by bus? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Posted on February 11, 2014

7 Responses to “Universal Orlando Cabana Bay Pedestrian Bridge Construction Begins”

  • As I understand it, Cabana Bay guests will not get unlimited Universal Express, so I personally see very little reason to stay there. That is the key amenity for staying onsite at Universal. If I’m going to pay for hotel parking and then have a 15-minute walk every day, I’ll just stay at the Doubletree or the Holiday Inn over on Kirkman. Early entry to Diagon Alley will be something, admittedly. But in the long run, no Universal Express = no stay.

    • I thought that the key amenity in staying in a Universal hotel was getting into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour earlier.
      Anyway, I’ll go alone to Orlando in October, so it’s way cheaper for me to stay in Cabana Bay and pay for Express Pass than staying in the other deluxe hotels. Specially considering that I’ll stay for 4 nights, but I’ll only go to the parks for two days.

    • Hi Mark, thanks for posting, I’ve heard similar comments about CBBR before. It’s true guests there will not get unlimited Express included. But here are a few things to consider about the new resort’s amenities:
      1. You still get early entry to WWoHP, which will be crucial when Diagon Alley opens.
      2. Family suites with split bathrooms.
      3. 10 lane bowling alley, 2 themed pools with lazy river, and other upgraded recreation.
      4. Awesome retro theming (IMHO)
      5. Once the bridge is complete, the walk should be much safer & more attractive than from Major Blvd.

      If you have a family of 4, the deluxe rooms are a better deal with Express included. But for 1 or 2, you can stay at CBBR and purchase Express, and come out ahead.

      Finally, every single hotel charges for parking, others just hide that fee in the nightly rate. Even with parking, a night at CBBR is cheaper than a night at Pop Century or All Stars. And if you don’t have a car, it’s even cheaper.

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  • by Jon Peterson on March 7, 2014, at 11:13 am EDT

    I plan on staying at Cabana Bay from 4/27-5/02, it really sucks the lazy river won’t be available, as that was a huge bonus, but the suite upgrade counteracts that. The only thing I’m not sure about is whether or not we can use the pools/waterslides at the other Universal properties? Can anyone help explain to me what amenities we can and can’t use at the other Universal properties?

    • Hi John, they’ve said since booking started that the south wing recreation (with lazy river) wouldn’t be ready until June, but the north pool is looking very nice. If you show your hotel keycards you should be allowed entry into pools at the other 3 hotels, I’ve done it myself in the past.