Photo Gallery: First look at Universal Orlando’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Welcome to 1962! The first phase of Cabana Bay Beach Resort opened on March 31, and we are bringing you a photographic peek at Universal Orlando Resort’s first moderately priced hotel. As you can see, the new resort is inspired by the mid-century modern motor lodges from Wildwood, New Jersey, to Miami Beach, which once defined the American family vacation. We’ll be back in the near future with a fully detailed review of the resort, but for now enjoy this pictorial guide to the newly launched property.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort Exterior

 

Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort photos
Photos by Seth Kubersky

Cabana Bay Beach Resort Lobby

 

 

 

Cabana Bay Beach Resort Family Suite Guest Room

 

 

Swizzle Lounge Lobby Bar

 

 

Universal Gift Shop

 

Some seriously mod resort wear for sale!

Cabana Bay Starbucks Coffee

Photos of Weeki Wachee mermaids.

Cabana Bay North Courtyard Pool

 

Live band performing poolside on opening night.
Poolside fire pit, s’mores kit optional.
Self service laundry: $3 wash, $3 dry, $1 soap.
Dive-in poolside movies, featuring Elvis’ Blue Hawaii.
Pool closes at 10pm.

 

Bayliner Diner Food Court

 

 

Galaxy Bowling Alley

 

 

Game-O-Rama Arcade

 

Many of the arcade games are brand new models straight from the IAAPA show floor.

 

Jack LaLanne Fitness Center

 

 

Seth Kubersky

Author of The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. Co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland and Beyond Disney. Contributor to Unofficial Guides to WDW and Las Vegas. Live Active Cultures columnist for the Orlando Weekly. Travel and arts journalist. Theatrical director and producer.

24 thoughts on “Photo Gallery: First look at Universal Orlando’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

  • April 1, 2014 at 1:34 pm
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    Mental note: wait until 12:01 a.m. before activating souvenir beverage cup. 😉

    • April 2, 2014 at 6:38 pm
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      I hear you, Mark! If you are staying more than 2 nights, the length of stay is your best value. I stick with free water personally, but with the Freestyle machine I was tempted 😉
      Unfortunately the dispensers there aren’t compatible with refillable Freestyle cups sold in the parks, at least for now. They said they’d look at it but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  • April 1, 2014 at 1:44 pm
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    It seems to me like they took all the unique aspects of Disney resorts (refillable mugs, food courts, pool side movies) and copied them.

    • April 2, 2014 at 6:41 pm
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      Thanks for the comment Catie. The refillable resort mugs were pioneered by Disney (at least locally), and I can see your argument with the food court (though other resorts outside Orlando had them long ago) but Universal’s other hotels have had “dive-in movies” for over a decade.

      • April 3, 2014 at 11:09 am
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        I would say though that from what you’ve presented Seth it creepily mirrors a Disney resort. In fact, I was convinced this was an April Fools joke about a new WDW property until I took a moment to read the title!

        I think it shows great incentive for competition though. I guess we will see what happens.

    • April 3, 2014 at 12:42 pm
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      Given that tons of resorts around the world do all of these things (many long before Disney), I wouldn’t call any of this copying Disney. More like meeting industry standards and consumer expectations for resort-hotels.

      Great post, Seth. This resort looks incredible–far superior to the Disney Values. Universal/Loews did an excellent job.

  • April 1, 2014 at 4:05 pm
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    It looks awesome! I can’t wait to stay there at some point. Catie Universal and Disney copy each other all the time. It looks like they improved on the Disney model.

  • April 1, 2014 at 4:08 pm
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    It looks like a beautiful resort and I know it is considered value, but I just don’t understand why anyone would want to stay there when it doesn’t offer the “front of the line” access like the other resorts.

    • April 1, 2014 at 4:35 pm
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      The price. It is cheaper than the others.

    • April 2, 2014 at 6:52 pm
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      Hi Linda! I agree the unlimited express is a great perk, but it would destroy its value if everyone staying at this ENORMOUS hotel (once finished) got express too!
      The deluxe rooms are a great value with 4 people, but for 1 or 2 you may save $ by staying at Cabana Bay and buying express, depending on the season.
      Besides, as someone who vacations in Wildwood NJ, I would stay here even if there wasn’t a theme park across the street. 😉

  • April 1, 2014 at 4:30 pm
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    Great photos! Is it wrong that I want those orange chairs in the lobby for my house?

    • April 2, 2014 at 6:53 pm
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      I may have been caught trying to load one in my car… No worries, I told security my name was Len Testa. 😉

  • April 1, 2014 at 6:23 pm
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    Cool theme and well done….food, cocktails, and beer are pretty sad however.

    • April 2, 2014 at 7:00 pm
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      Hi Keith!
      I tried about a half dozen of the signature cocktails over the last 3 days (hiccup) and they were all tasty and strong. I’m no PBR fan but they have Yuengling, Blue Moon, Kronenbourg, Sam Adams seasonal, and a few other good brews on tap.
      As for the food, I wish there was a full-serve restaurant, but for counter service the diner was as good or better than any quick service in the parks, and $10 for a dinner entree is a fair price. The churassco beef, chicken artichoke pasta, and tuna casserole were all really tasty, and nothing I had tasted bad. The biggest issue I had with food was that the staff hasn’t had enough training on the POS terminals so checking out took forever, but that is fixable.

  • April 2, 2014 at 6:58 am
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    well yes. I know the price is cheaper…that is why I mentioned that I knew it was a value resort. However, the front of the line access makes the other resorts a much better deal especially at busy times. For less busy times, it looks like a fun place to stay!

    • April 5, 2014 at 2:25 pm
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      Having a “suite” also has appeal. From the photos, they look like a smaller version of the AoA suites. Having stayed in those, it really makes these ones seem not so great.
      You could also add front of the line to your tickets. If the cost of doing so would be equal to or less than the cost of a regular room at one of the other resorts, I might stay here for a suite.

  • April 2, 2014 at 11:52 am
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    I was excited about this resort until I found out it does not offer the front-of-the-line access. The other hotel rooms will not accommodate my family of 6, and two rooms is just too cost prohibitive.

    • April 2, 2014 at 6:46 pm
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      Annie, the great thing about Touring Plans & Lines is that you can enjoy UOR even without Express 🙂
      If you weren’t staying onsite previously, you were probably staying somewhere off Uni’s property that costs the same or more than Cabana Bay, and DOESN’T include Early Entry to the Wizarding World like you get here. With the new Potter rides not accepting express, we expect early entry to be even more valuable.

  • April 3, 2014 at 7:39 am
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    The new suites looks great. I much prefer their floor plan to those of the WDW family suites and 1-bedroom villas, and I think they’ll be much more convenient for the typical family to use. (E.g., split baths and multiple sinks are always a welcome addition, and with a separate bedroom that sleeps a family of 4, parents can actually put the kids to bed for the night and then hang out in the living/kitchenette area. Family suites where kids have no option but to to sleep in the common room has never made sense to me…)

  • April 3, 2014 at 12:57 pm
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    Wow! Really gorgeous! So Mad Men.
    We just got back from a stay at HRH and loved the Express passes. Allowed us to wander around without a plan which is a different feeling than a TP at WDW. Not sure I’d give it up for a pretty hotel, which this sure is…

  • April 3, 2014 at 2:16 pm
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    How did no hit the “NOPE” button on this resurrection of horrible style and architecture before it was constructed. Fantastic, your rooms look like they’re 40 years old and disgusting before they’ve even had a guest in them. This isn’t a troll comment, I love Universal, but the ball was dropped, down a well, and into an underground culture of sightless demi-humans when it comes to the design of this resort.

    • April 3, 2014 at 3:08 pm
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      Oh come on now…what do you *really* think?

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