The Universal Orlando Resort is to open a fourth on-site hotel, with the Cabana Bay Beach Resort set to welcome its first guests in 2014.
Whereas Universal Orlando's three existing hotels are aimed primarily at the high-end of the market, the Cabana Bay Beach Resort is designed to be an affordable option for families. It will be themed around old-style "road trip" vacations, and will be managed on Universal's behalf by Loews Hotels & Resorts.
Guests at the new resort will not receive the same perks as those at the existing Portofino Bay Hotel, Royal Pacific Resort and Hard Rock Hotel. Most significantly, they will not be equipped with unlimited Universal Express passes, which enable guests at the other resorts to skip the lines for major attractions. However, they will be able to take advantage of early entry into Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure - a particularly important perk for those visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Located on a 37-acre site next to Islands of Adventure, the new resort will feature a 900 family suites (capable of accommodating up to 6 guests) and 900 standard guest rooms. This places it squarely in the same category as Walt Disney World's recently-opened Art of Animation Resort, which aims to compete with nearby "value" resorts such as the Nickelodeon Suites Resort in Orlando.
The construction of the new hotel marks the first time Universal Orlando has taken on Walt Disney World in the family accommodation market, as it aims to claim a greater share of the time that families spend on vacation in Orlando. It will be heavily-themed, with 50s-style rooms, lobby area and pool.
Further details of the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, including pricing, are likely to be trickled out by Universal Orlando in the months prior to its debut.