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Universal Orlando's still-under-construction Cabana Bay Beach Resort will have cross-generational appeal

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Universal Orlando's still-under-construction Cabana Bay Beach Resort will have cross-generational appeal

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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 Jersey Shore. 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 reserved

"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 Bay Beach 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.

Copyright Universal Orlando. All rights reserved

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 the rooms.

Russ Dagon (R) talks with a young Universal Orlando about some of his favorite parts
of the Cabana Bay Beach 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.

Copyright Universal Orlando. All rights reserved

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 Stadler

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.

Copyright Universal Orlando. All rights reserved

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?

Your thoughts?

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  • 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

  • A few of my vintage loving friends and I have booked a room for a week in August of 2014! There are six of us going it total and we've booked a family suit. We run a vintage social club called "The Casablanca" and we are TERRIBLY excited to be visiting this totally awesome retro place. I am disheartened that there isn't a 1950's/60's themed full restaurant on sight, and that such a place doesn't offer things like a supper club "Dancing & Dancing" for the parents.  Despite that we are buying clothes, saving our pennies and plan to have a marvelous time!

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