Universal Orlando‘s newest hotel, Cabana Bay Beach Resort, officially opened Monday. The resort, which features a retro, 1950s-1960s theme, is the fourth — and biggest — hotel to join the popular theme park. In comparison with other onsite lodging options, such as Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, it also offers the most affordable rates, along with a slew of amenities for families.
In fact, the resort’s concept began with a family vacation destination in mind, evoking memories of yesteryear when parents and kids packed into station wagons — not minivans — and traveled together, says Russ Dagon, VP and Executive Project Director at Universal Creative. “What we’re most proud of is the family aspect,” he explains. “Younger kids will think it’s cool, while other generations will remember staying at a place like this.”
The property offers Family Suites (along with standard guestrooms), which provide two queen beds and a pullout sofa, optionally separated by a sliding door and with space for six guests. Family Suites also offer common areas, kitchenettes with mini fridges and microwaves and particularly spacious bathrooms.
The zero-entry Cabana Courtyard Pool is especially enticing for families, with a dive tower-inspired waterslide and encircling sandy “beaches.” Nearby, an interactive area offers cannons and dump buckets for toddlers, and another area offers pool tables, shuffleboard and hula hoops. Other features include an outdoor fire pit — where S’mores kits will soon be offered — along with a 10-lane bowling alley, arcade and four restaurants and lounges. And when it comes to food, the resort appeals to families in every way imaginable. “There are two full kids menus in every food station [at Bayliner Diner],” explains Phil Klinkenberg, Director of Food & Beverage at Cabana Bay Beach Resort. “We have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, macaroni and cheese… kids will also like the serve-your-own yogurt area,” he continues. “We also plan to add kids items to the grab-and-go area.” Additionally, in-room and poolside pizza delivery are available.
As hotel guests, families also receive early acesss to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, along with free shuttle service — in appropriately nostalgic buses — to Universal Orlando and Universal CityWalk.
Upon completion of the resort’s second construction phase — expected to be complete in mid-June — another zero-entry, 8,000-square-foot pool; lazy river; restaurant and additional accommodations — which will put the total number of rooms at 1,800 — will be unveiled.
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