David and I have stayed at our fair share of WDW resorts over the years, ranging everywhere from value resorts, to the Grand Floridian. And usually when people ask if I had thought about staying at one of Universal Studios Resorts, I would legitimately scoff at the idea. But in November, we were getting ready to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the first time, and we wanted to do it right. From everything we could learn online,”doing it right”, meant getting early admission to the park, which you could only do if you were staying at a Universal Studios Resort. I researched some more, and found out that by staying on property, even for just one night, it would allow us into the parks several hours before the general public. On a busy Saturday during Thanksgiving week, I knew this was going to be crucial. So I reluctantly got off my Disney high horse and booked a room at Universal Studios lowest price resort – Cabana Bay, which is comparatively priced to a high season WDW value resort, or a low season moderate resort.
I knew very little about the property before checking in, and quickly summarized that they were going for a 1950s beach motif. I was more than impressed with the thought, detail, and theming that went into this hotel. I know it’s the newest of all the Universal Resorts, but I would go as far as to say that many sections of the hotel had a more cohesive theme than parts of the park. From the row of restored vintage cars parked outside the front of the check-in building, to the vintage shampoo and conditioner brands in the room, this place is incredibly well done.
We were also really impressed with the shuttle service offered. As someone who hates WDW shuttle service, I found Universals to be quicker and more effective. It seemed as though the bus only went to Cabana Bay, instead of stopping at other resorts. Again, they don’t have to deal with as many resorts as Disney does or as much land.
We were also loved the fact that Cabana Bay offered an onsite Starbucks. As huge coffee addicts, this made our morning much simpler.
What started as just a need for early morning admission to a park, turned into something that doesn’t happen very often – me admitting I’m wrong. It turns out Universal Studios does have hotel offerings that can compete with Disney on a playing field of theming and detail. Well done Cabana Bay, well done.