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So who here misses the Jersey Shore?
And no, I'm not talking about that horrible reality television show with The
Situation & Snooki. I'm talking about the REAL
Places like Wildwood, NJ which -- thanks to some very smart doo wop
preservationists -- still have that authentic late 1950s / early 1960s look.
Wildwood, New Jersey
back in the day
Well, if you're the type of person who now drives your kids around in a
mini-van but still finds yourself pining for the sort of family vacation that
your parents used to give you. Back when they'd pile just everyone in the
family station wagon and then head out for the beach ... Have I got a resort
for you: The Cabana Bay Beach Resort at the Universal Orlando Resort.
Though this 1,800-room hotel (which is located at the corner of Turkey
Lake Road and Hollywood
Way) is still under construction, Universal
Orlando officials anticipate that Cabana
Bay's first 600 rooms will be come
online by the end of the first quarter of 2014. In fact, UOR seems so certain
of this that they're already taking reservations for rooms at this hotel
starting on March 31, 2014.
Copyright Universal Orlando. All rights
"And what will the first guests find when they arrive at the Cabana Bay
Beach Resort?," you ask. According to Russ Dagon (i.e. executive project
director for Universal Creative), this new Universal Orlando resort is
... kind of a retro hotel, a
Mom & Pop beach hotel from the Fifties. Think A1A, Pacific
Coast Highway, Wildwood New
Jersey. That's what this place is. It's got Googie
architecture. Which is a kind of post-war architecture that's kind of cool,
kind of funky and brightly colored.
Photo of model room for Universal Orlando's
still-under-construction Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Photo by Nancy Stadler
But one of the things that we're most proud of when it comes to the Cabana
Bay Beach Resort is that -- when you're staying here -- you can do everything
as a family. The suites at this hotel comfortably sleep six. Plus the way that
we've got the bathrooms set up in these suites, three guests can get ready to
leave at the exact same time in the morning. So it's all about everyone being
able to go out and enjoy the pool together, everyone being able go out and
enjoy the theme parks together, and do that all as a family.
Speaking of pools ... Universal's Cabana
will have two large beach pools with zero entries. The first pool will have a
highly interactive kids pool area. We're talking roughly 4000 square-foot of
kids play area. This pool -- which will have a large slide, pop jets and
squirting water -- will open with our first 600 rooms. The second beach pool
will open with Cabana Bay's
other 1200 rooms. And this pool is sure to be popular with our Guests, given
that it's going to feature a lazy river.
David Bartek (i.e the area managing director for Loews Hotels at the
Universal Orlando Resort) is equally enthused about this new hotel which will
be coming online at the tail end of March next year:
David Bartek speaking at yesterday's
informational session about Universal Orlando's new Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
Photo by Nancy Stadler
I too love the retro look of Cabana Beach Beach Resort. But it's the modern
amenities that we've managed to slip into these late 1950s / early 1960s-style
rooms that I think will really impress Universal Orlando visitors
Take -- for example -- what we've done about the electrical outlets in all
of our suites & standard rooms. How many times have you been forced to get
down on your hands & your knees in a hotel room as you searched for an electrical
outlet. At the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, we've made sure that all of our
electrical outlets are easy to use and easy to find. More importantly, each
room will feature multiple outlets. After all, who travels with just one device
these days? My wife and I have four sons and my oldest is 20. And he travels
with us, he's got his iPad, he's got his iPhone ... So to accommodate guests
like that, we've installed multiple, easy-to-find outlets in all of this
hotel's suites and rooms.
A sample interior of a room at the Cabana Bay
Beach Resort. Copyright Universal Orlando.
All rights reserved
That ease-of-use theme carries through the entire Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
Take -- for example -- the food and beverage offerings at this hotel. Because
we assume that the Guests staying at the Universal Orlando Resort will be in a
hurry to get over to the parks, we opted not to build a full service restaurant
at this hotel. But -- rather -- put in a food court that will then offer American
cuisine as well as an international station for three meals a day.
Of course, if you're looking for food that you can have delivered to your
room while you're staying at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, we will be offering
that American staple, pizza in the food court. Which we will then deliver to
Russ Dagon (R) talks with a young Universal
Orlando about some of his favorite parts of the Cabana
resort project. Photo by Nancy Stadler
As Bartek began talking about the amenities that will be offered at this
soon-to-open new Universal Orlando resort, Dagon once again chimed in about
some of his favorite aspects of this project:
We've got a 10-lane bowling alley with this property. It's a bit of a retro
bowling alley. But it's not over-the-top, retro, too-cool-for-school type
thing. This is a late 1950s / early 1960s-style bowling alley that you can all
enjoy as a group. So Mom & Dad can have fun but your youngest child can
have fun there as well.
One of my other favorite aspects of the Cabana Bay Beach Resort is that --
though we'll have a shuttle bus that will take Universal Orlando guests to and
from the parks -- we're also going to have a garden walkway. In fact, once
construction is complete, the Universal Orlando Resort is going to have this
garden walkway that runs all the way from Cabana
Bay (which is the southern-most point
of this resort) to Portofino Bay
(which is at the northern-most tip of this resort). So Guests -- if they're
looking to get away from the theme parks for a little while -- will then have
this long, lush green walkway that they can explore.
It took a long, long time for this resort to finally get built. We've been
toying with uisng this theme for a hotel since we opened Royal Pacific. Which
was over 10 years ago now. But before we began construction, Universal did a
lot of research on this. With one of the Company's main concern being that --
if we actually built a hotel like this, one in the style of the late 1950s /
early 1960s -- would this theme then resonate with a younger generation? I
mean, it's one thing for the people who actually grew up back when families
actually took Station wagon vacation trips. But what about those kids who grew
up with mini-vans? Would this look, this style mean anything to them?
These Universal Orlando team members look
like they're ready to move in the Cabana Bay Beach Resort right now. Photo by Nancy
Well, as it turns out, just as the Universal Orlando Resort decided to roll the
dice on Cabana Bay,
"Mad Men" come along on TV. And now everything that's late 1950s /
early 1960s is cool, hip and trendy again. Which amuses Russ no end.
My Mom just loves the look of this hotel and my kids think it's cool too. I
don't know how we managed to create a new resort for Universal Orlando that has
that sort of cross-generational appeal. But I'll take it.
So what do you folks think of Universal Orlando's still-under-construction
hotel, the Cabana Bay Beach Resort? Does its late 1950s / early 1960s-style
appeal to you?
I'm a little too young to have experienced the classic road trips in a station wagon, but this place sounds really cool! I have a feeling I might be staying there for a couple of days on a future trip to Orlando.
We weren't going back to universal next yr, the hotel was just to expensive this year. But now.............I just want to know when I can book a room at the new Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Really!! Looks great and the prices sound like normal people could stay there and not worry they have hock the farm.
I love the other 3 Lowes properties on-site. That being said, I don't know that I'll stay at this one, as plans are not to offer the Express Pass that the other 3 on-property hotels offer guests. Looking at booking prices next spring, a $200ish rate per room puts Cabana Bay at risk for competition from off-site hotels that can offer a much lower price point. Universal has been knocking it out of the park lately on a regular basis, so I'm hoping they surprise with amenities and such, but right now I'd rather pay slightly more per night to fit my family of 5 in another on-site property that offers Express Passes.
Looks like a fun place!
I have booked for sept 2014 however, discovered there is an $18 PER NIGHT!!! parking fee no way...also not clear if there are tea/coffee making facilities, fridge etc.....I think I am going to cancel and book another venue