Cabana Bay Beach Resort concept art

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.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort concept art (1)

Image © Universal Orlando Resort

Cabana Bay Beach Resort concept art (4)

Image © Universal Orlando Resort

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.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort concept art (2)

Image © Universal Orlando Resort

Cabana Bay Beach Resort concept art (3)

Image © Universal Orlando Resort

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.

Comments

This is coming a few years later than I'd have liked, but nice to see it at last. I understand the lack of Unlimited Universal Express (if only because it would drown the system and de-value the "premium" hotels) but it would be nice to see the "once-per-ride" REGULAR Express pass given to visitors. As it is, it's a little like Disneyland's precarious position: early entry is great, but is it worth what will certainly be a premium price over the dozens of value-priced family hotels that are a 10 minute walk from CityWalk?

I'm with Brian on this one. It looks like it'll be a great addition to the Universal hotels range probably pitching at the same level as the Pop Century/All Stars market.

If they introduced a fastpass style ticket as a compromise where you have to return in an alloted time (like in the old days) could work. It'll be interesting to see how they go without the inclusion of express pass.

So they are saying if you have the money to stay at the high end hotels, you will get a free express pass. If you stay at the value,either because that is all you can afford or you don't want to spend premium at universal, no express pass. That's not a good idea. I think it will make people think that universal sees them as not worthy of express passes because they are not spending money in their high end hotel. To truley compete with Disney they need to make the express pass an option because in all reports coming out of the new xpass, or whatever Disney is going to call it, you can get xpass even when staying at any of their value resorts. Of coarse now, free dining options when offered, room charge privileges, most every perk offered to one hotel is offered to all. That's what Universal really needs to do. I like Universal, I've been there a few times, but to me, little things like this still keeps it a far second behind Disney.

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