Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is a stunning resort hotel located right on the Universal Orlando property.
The islands-themed hotel, with its water views and spectacular pools, is a great place to stay when visiting the Orlando area.
Visitors staying at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort often wonder where it is vis-a-vis the theme parks.
There’s a bit of confusion about how big the Universal Orlando property really is and whether hotel guests will need to arrange transportation to the parks.
Fortunately, Cabana Bay Resort guests can easily walk to the theme parks. A walkway takes parkgoers safely across the property to the entrances of all the Universal Orlando theme parks in about 25 minutes. Visitors can also take one of Universal Orlando’s free transportation options if they cannot or don’t want to walk to the parks.
In this article, we’ll discuss the transportation options available at Universal Orlando’s resort property, the benefits of staying at an onsite hotel, and when staying onsite isn’t the right choice.
How Do I Get Around Universal Orlando?
The Cabana Bay Beach Resort isn’t the only onsite hotel available at Universal Orlando.
There are eight (8) hotels to choose from, all with their own themes and charms.
Cabana Bay is one of the most popular resort hotels because of its 50s and 60s beach themes, amazing pools, and a food court full of great food options.
The hotel also has fun onsite activities. There’s a bowling alley, arcade, and lazy river to enjoy.
Best of all, Cabana Bay (and all the other resort hotels) are close enough to walk to the theme parks.
The Universal Orlando property has walkways leading to and from all the onsite hotels, entertainment options, and theme parks.
Once settled at an onsite hotel, you’ll never need to drive or find parking to visit the parks or enjoy a fabulous meal (unless you want to).
That said, Cabana Bay is one of the hotels furthest away from the parks. It takes around 25 to 30 minutes to walk from the hotel entrance to the entrance of either Islands of Adventure or Universal Studios Florida.
The walk from the other hotels is also easily doable, with the journey taking anywhere from five minutes to half an hour.
Guests with mobility constraints or who don’t feel like walking to or from the parks after a long day have plenty of onsite transportation options.
Universal Orlando provides complimentary transportation from hotels to the entrance gates of the theme parks, and shuttle buses run every fifteen minutes from the Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
Some of the other hotels also offer water taxis in addition to the shuttle bus, so no matter where you stay at Universal Orlando, you can walk or catch a ride to the parks.
What Are the Benefits of Staying at an Onsite Hotel?
There are some major benefits to staying at a Universal Orlando onsite hotel, but it also depends on which property you stay at.
The onsite hotels are divided into tiers – the higher-priced properties come with better benefits.
All hotels offer Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, complimentary transportation, contactless payments throughout Universal properties, and free merch delivery to the hotel.
Early Park Admission gives hotel guests access to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter up to an hour before it officially opens.
This is major since it lets parkgoers experience the most popular rides at the parks ahead of everyone else.
Complimentary transportation is a definite perk because guests can catch a ride instead of walking to (or from) the parks, which can help save on parking and fuel costs.
All resort hotel guests can safely leave their wallets locked in their room safe and use their room key to charge any purchases made inside the theme parks or at CityWalk.
Any merchandise visitors purchase at the parks will also be delivered to their hotels for free. That way, they don’t have to carry it around all day while in the park.
Cabana Bay is a Prime Value hotel, meaning it’s one of the less-expensive options at the resort.
The standard perks mentioned above, paired with the ambiance and activities at the hotel, make Cabana Bay one of the best values at Universal Orlando, which is why it’s so popular.
Guests staying at a Premier property, such as Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel, and the Loews Royal Pacific Resort, also receive Unlimited Express Passes in addition to the standard benefits.
Express Passes allow parkgoers to skip the normal line at participating attractions.
Premier hotel guests also receive preferred seating at some restaurants.
Finally, staying onsite can save visitors money. Bundling park tickets with hotel rooms can grant guests up to 30% off nightly hotel rates and lower the cost of park passes.
When Shouldn’t You Stay at a Resort Hotel?
With all the benefits, staying at a Universal Orlando resort hotel like Cabana Bay sounds like a great plan. In many cases, it’s probably the best way to save money and maximize time at the theme parks.
But that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone.
Hotel and ticket bundle discounts are only available for trips of at least four days.
Guests staying for less time can still book vacation packages, but they won’t see the same savings.
Staying onsite also isn’t the best choice if visitors aren’t focusing their entire vacation on Universal Orlando.
Guests who want to do anything else while in Orlando, like visit Disney World or Sea World, should probably stay in a more central location.
Finally, staying onsite might not be the right choice if visitors already live in the Orlando area.
Even with the cost of parking, it’s much cheaper to buy multi-day tickets at Florida resident pricing and stay at home for the night.
Walking from the Cabana Bay Beach Resort to Universal Orlando theme parks is easy and takes about 25 minutes.
Guests can just follow the signs on the safe and convenient walkway from the hotel to the park entrances.
If they don’t feel like walking, they can also take a shuttle bus, which runs every fifteen minutes.