First time on resort- Sept Trip Report!


Earning My Ears
Aug 15, 2014
Hey everyone!

This is my first trip report, and to be honest I'll probably just end up rambling on about how wonderful our recent Universal vacation was. My husband and I stayed at Cabana Bay from Sept 16-20. Our itinerary was fly in early Sunday and relax around the resort, Monday was Universal Studios, Tuesday was Disneys halloween party and Wednesday was islands of adventure. It has been six years since we last went to Universal, and this would be our first time staying on site. We left feeling like "Why did we wait six years? And when can we go again?!". Some highlights of the trip:

  • Cabana Bay. We loved the resort. We've been together 7 years and usually visit Disney yearly (sometimes multiple times a year) and usually stay at Pop Century. We felt like Cabana Bay was what Pop should be. Had the retro feel, but in a non tacky way. The staff was great, and the amenities were neat. We'd like to try other on site resorts, but we wouldn't hesitate to stay at Cabana Bay again.
  • The theme parks themselves. Wow are they beautiful and well maintained. I think what really added to our trip was the crowd levels, or lack thereof. I think the longest we waited for any ride was 20 min and that was for the mummy (go figure). We are so used to Disney level crowds that can cause headache and stress, but we never experienced anything like that at either Universal park. We are so excited to see what they do with the parks in the future (Nintendo!).
  • Wizarding world. It's GEORGOUS. They did such a fantastic job on each section. I was in awe when I walked into diagon alley. Escape from gringotts has to be my favorite ride queue from any theme park. The bank lobby is beautiful and the rest is just so well done.
  • Resort transportation. Admittedly we didn't use the buses much. Once, I believe. But let me tell you those suckers were there often. One morning I went to walk to the rental car and there were four buses just sitting there waiting. Kind of impressive. We used the garden path quite often. It can seem like a long walk, but it's a pretty path along the water. We loved the convenience of being able to walk to the parks.
  • Prices. This may seem odd, and not what you hear often from theme park guests. But we kind of thought pricing around the resort was pretty fair. We used the bowling alley at the resort, thought that was well priced. We even thought the food in the food court was well priced. As I mentioned earlier, we visit Disney often, and we thought universal was much cheaper. One of the comparisons that comes to mind was I got a cheeseburger at the food court that was $10. We did the Halloween party at Disney during our trip and paid almost $14 for a cheeseburger. We thought breakfast at universal was well priced as well. Donuts (they are rather large btw) were $1.60 and at my local grocery store they are $1.50 and not as good. So again, we never really thought we weren't getting our money's worth.
There were a couple sour notes on our trip that I'll explain.
  • Disneys Halloween party. My God was this party crowded. On a Tuesday! It was so packed it really put a damper on our night. It was our 3rd Halloween party and it was by far the busiest and the worst. At one point we looked at each other and said "I miss universal". Idk if it's maybe we have Disney fatigue, or we had a taste of universal the day before, or what but we did not enjoy ourselves. We heard alot of groaning about the amount of people in the park.
  • Connecting rooms. This was minor and by no way a reflection of universal or Cabana Bay, but I just don't like connecting rooms. When we checked in (around 1230p) I asked if we could not have a connecting room. The lady at the desk was very nice and said of course. Turns out that connecting rooms were all that was available at the moment. She asked if we wanted to wait, she said it might not be until 4 when a non connecting room was ready. I agreed to having a room that was already ready because we had been up since 3am and we just wanted to relax and re-shower. Wellllllll I would have been better off waiting. Our neighbors on the other side of the door we're obnoxious. Screaming during a football game, and that night got into some sort of fight that woke my husband up from his sleep. They were throwing things against the walls, yelling, slamming the main door, etc. It was bad. I ended up calling and asked to switch rooms and my only request was that it wasn't a connecting room. The staff was so accommodating and more than willing to help. It actually worked out in our favor because the room we got had a much better pool view and was sooooo quiet. I'm still not even sure if we had ppl on either side of us. So lesson learned for when we visit again, wait for the non connecting rooms haha.
Like I said earlier, it was a fantastic trip. I almost wished we had upgraded our tickets to APs since the seasonal pass really isn't that much more than regular tickets. But maybe that will be for next time ...thank you for listening to me rant and rave!


DIS Veteran
Feb 7, 2008
Sounds like a great trip!! I agree about connecting rooms! They can be horrible! That's one of the room requests I put on our reservation- asking for a non connecting room. But, that's good they were able to move you to a better room:thumbsup2
I really wanted to add a MNSSHP to our trip next week, but I decided to skip it this year. They do seem to get more crowded each year.

Thanks for sharing your experience! I love to read everyone's TR's!!:)

Eve & Wall-e

Jul 18, 2018
DH and I are doing a split Universal/WDW trip this Nov-Dec 2018. We will be staying the first three nights at Cabana Bay. We choose it for the retro theme. We will be using the buses since we won't have a car. I'm really looking forward to Diagon Alley. Haven't seen it yet.

Glad you had a wonderful trip!
  • macraven

    Proud Redhead
    Apr 21, 2003
    Thank you for sharing your report with us!

    It sounds to me, you will be a repeat customer to UO

    Cbay is a fun resort
    I’m glad you enjoyed your time there

    It was a good thing you were able to switch rooms and have peace and quiet


    Earning My Ears
    Aug 15, 2014
    One thing I forgot to add was that the locker system was sooo much easier than we anticipated. Our only other experience with lockers was at six flags and it was a terrible nightmare. I should have known that Universal would have been miles ahead of six flags haha
  • bobbie68

    DIS Veteran
    Aug 14, 2009
    Hi what a great report:thumbsup2 Thanks for sharing:goodvibes

    My family loves Cabana bay and we try and stay there a couple of days if not the whole week. I agree with everything you said about it especially the pricing. I found the food court great and very reasonable for resort/theme park food. I have not had any problems with connecting rooms yet but I could see how it could be. I am hoping that won't happen.

    It is so nice to hear that people had a great time at Uni. We love it there and prefer it as our number one place to go too. It is really relaxing and I don't feel like I need a vacation from that one. We can take our time, we have express passes and leave enough time to stroll.

    When a park is busy like you experienced at Disney can be awful. It really makes you stop and think about what you are doing.

    Gringott's is my favorite ride there. When we walk in to DA it is like stepping into the movies. It is so amazing. My daughter refers to it as "going home":D

    You can't go wrong with any of the Universal resorts. You could always do a split stay between them. We do this usually every trip and it works nicely.


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