Last week I was out in Orlando for a training conference. As luck would have it, the most inexpensive conference hotel happened to be Cabana Bay. So I figured I'd take advantage of my surroundings to explore some of the non-park offerings of the resort.
I had hoped to head into the parks one day, but given that I only had a few hours on one of my days it wasn't meant to be. But I had a great time exploring what the resort has to offer away from the parks. Let's check it out!
Written by Gregg Condon
After taking the red-eye from LAX I arrived at Cabana Bay around 7:30am last Monday. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to check in that early but that turned out to not be an issue at all. I was able to check in, get something to eat and head up to the room to take a bit of a nap before my first training session at 1:00pm.
The first day of the trip was obviously catching up on sleep, but I did make my way to/from the Convention Center for some pre-conference sessions. I utilized the I-Drive Trolley on the first day since there was no shuttle on Monday. It took me a couple of trips to figure out where the closest place to catch the Trolley was from the hotel. Something that won't be a problem when Universal opens their two new hotels (more on that later).
The first day I took a bus to CityWalk, then a boat to Portofino (as I thought the easiest place to catch the trolley was at the DoubleTree).
On the way back that afternoon, I took the shuttle back to the DoubleTree but made my way to the Water Taxi by way of the Hard Rock.
I then transferred to the next WaterTaxi to Sapphire Falls. Which meant I was able to get Water Taxi POV for pretty much the entire route. Check it out below, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel.
LOVE the spiral staircase at Sapphire Falls
The trek back from Sapphire to Cabana was a bit longer than I anticipated, but after a day of traveling and training, it was nice to stretch the legs a bit.
Love the Cabana Bay merchandise!
Also made sure to take advantage of the free-refill cup for the duration of my stay. This came in very handy as I ate more meals in the hotel than outside of the hotel.
Morning two, as I headed out to the shuttle to OCCC.
The hotel shuttles didn't quite fit my conference schedule on Tuesday, so it was back on the Trolley. Which allowed me to get a couple of good looks at the two new Universal Hotels (and I figured out that the actual closest trolley stop was here and not the DoubleTree).
I know some are asking why I didn't just Lyft/Uber (trust me, I did), but I always love exploring a city on foot. It just gives you a different feel.
After a bit of a rest in the room, I met up with Sean from California, Florida, European Coaster Kings for dinner at Cow Fish and a visit to both Fun Spots. But that's a different update. =)
Day 3 was about a 12 hour day at the convention center, but I did take the time when I got back to do a bit of a tour of the hotel.
I ate breakfast, dinners and snacks pretty much exclusively at Bayliner Diner, I was very impressed with the food choices and the staff was spectacular.
The pool area's are kind of amazing. If it was a different kind of trip I can imagine spending a lot of time in the lazy river.
What's up Volcano Bay
Cabana Bay Lobby
I didn't realize that the hotel had interior and exterior corridor rooms, I had just asked for "whatever is available" when I checked in.
So if you have a preference, be sure to request it. Personally, I was happy to have a room with an interior corridor, away from the pools as that's not what I was there for.
My last stop before heading up to the room to pack was the store to do some shopping. They had Hagrid's merch out.
I was very tempted to buy this hat, but have a rule that I don't wear merch until I can ride the ride.
Plus, I prefer fitted hats. I wish more parks would have them as an option.
Phone cases in a variety of styles
And of course, lots of Magical Creatures
Thanks Cabana Bay for a fantastic stay.
I was totally blown away by Cabana Bay. I knew I would love it, and it's retro style, but I wasn't sure how much. Sure, I wasn't really there for relaxing and enjoying the hotel, but even as a conference goer it fit the bill.
We're talking about a family trip to Orlando in the near future, definitely think Cabana Bay will be where we stay for our Universal portion.
Stay tuned later this week for additional updates from both Fun Spots and SeaWorld Orlando where we discover there are still good people in the world.
Today we're taking our first look at Halloween Horror Nights Orlando for 2018. Well, really, this is the culmination of 3 different trips to HHN, but who's counting!!
We hope you enjoy this extended look at HHN Orlando, be sure to check back for more pics as we make more visits!!
Written by Renée Girard
We couldn’t make it to opening weekend of Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando this year, but we’re here tonight for the first of many this season!
First house of the night was Slaughter Sinema, a great comedy horror house. Really fun!
The colorful and cute characters in the Revenge of Chucky scare zone.
We didn’t do Stranger Things on our first night, but honestly, a 45 minute wait isn’t so bad! Expect peak nights to be much higher, I’m sure.
Wait times stayed fairly low and we did every house except Stranger Things.
Had a blast watching the dancing in the Vamp 85: New Year’s Eve scare zone. Gotta love Thriller!
Beware of the Killer Klowns from Outer Space!
Twisted Tradition is another awesome scare zone, and one we’ll need to go through when it’s dark out next time.
The Trick r Treat house is SO good! I loved the scare zone last year, and it’s so fun to see it back as a house.
It looks like another fantastic year at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights! We’ll be back for more real soon!
I’d say that the Stranger Things house is a little popular, with a wait time of 105 minutes immediately after the gates open.
In addition to the awesome houses and scare zones, Horror Nights has some pretty tasty treats and snacks you need to try!
I really love the look of this bar setup at Horror Nights. I haven’t tried the specialty drinks yet!
And it’s still Dufftoberfest in Springfield! Pretty cool that they offer a seasonal beer there.
We also tried the Horror Nights doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnuts at CityWalk. Yum!
The scare zones and scare actors of Horror Nights have all been terrific!
And finally at Horror Nights tonight, we’ll count down and party like it’s 1985 with a bunch of vampires.
It’s a busy night at Horror Nights but I did 5 houses before 7pm! The front of the park is much more crowded at the moment.
I love these!
Stranger Things house wait time as of 7:30pm. Yikes!
We'll be adding even more pics to this update on our next visits!! Stay Tuned!!
Today we have a great update from our first visit to Universal Orlando's Volcano Bay Water Theme Park.
If you haven't seen this park yet, you're in for a treat. If you have seen this park chances are you haven't seen it as empty as it was during our visit.
So pull up some waves and enjoy a look at this next generation water park.
Written by Renée Girard
We’re on the bus to our first visit to Universal’s Volcano Bay water park!
Learning how to use Tapu Tapu reservation system on the bus ride over to Volcano Bay.
Nice view of Aventura Hotel upon exiting the bus at Volcano Bay.
Travel through a few tunnels and walkways to get to the Volcano Bay entrance.
We are here! Volcano Bay looks gorgeous so far!
Got my Tapu Tapu, time to go exploring and ride some slides!
Here’s a map of Volcano Bay. It’s pretty easy to navigate, even if you can’t correctly pronounce the slide names.
Kohola Reef is one of the park’s quick service food restaurants. Haven’t decided where to dine yet but this place looks really good!
Stopping by one of Volcano Bay’s two full service bars, Dancing Dragons.
Got the beer exclusive to the park, Volcano Blossom. Dancing Dragons bar also has the perfect view!
We’re really not using Tapu Tapu at all to reserve rides because there’s no need to! Today is a perfect day to visit Volcano Bay!
Bambu Jungle Kitchen, another quick service restaurant at Volcano Bay.
Bambu Jungle Kitchen, another quick service restaurant at Volcano Bay.
Feasting Frog and Kunuku Boat Bar at Volcano Bay.
No one is here today! It’s awesome!
The Krakatau aqua coaster is probably the most fun we’ve had ever on a water slide!
Taniwha Tubes is almost like a normal water slide except there are some pretty good g forces on the twists and turns!
Throughout Volcano Bay, you can use your Tapu Tapu to activate different things, like this fountain in the lazy river.
If you walk through the volcano, you’ll find even more fun stuff. This isn’t an ordinary fountain, it actually talks and interacts with you!
It’s fun to find the things you can use your Tapu Tapu for. This one lit up one of the cave walls inside the volcano.
Venturing inside the volcano also gives you some unique things to look at, as well as seeing how huge the structure is!
Seeing these Tapu Tapu stations near the rides made me curious to how the system works on a busy day, but I’d much rather be here on a day like today!!
The wave pool is quite large, and we also enjoyed the smaller pool beside it that overlooks the area.
We almost missed this slide since it’s tucked in the back, but we enjoyed the Ika Moana and Honu raft slides, especially Honu where you get some crazy height going up the wall.
Kala & Tai Nui serpentine slides are intense! We climbed forever to the top of the volcano for these but wow was it worth it. The speed on these takes your breath away.
Ohyah and Ohno slides were probably my least favorite slides in the park, but there’s honestly nothing wrong with them. We still liked it, and the drop off at the end is cool.
Something unique at Volcano Bay is having your photo taken without the need of a photographer. Using the Tapu Tapu, you just stand in front of certain locations, and it takes your photo. On ride photos are automatically added too.
We had such an amazing day at Volcano Bay! Loved all of the attractions, and the park itself is beautiful. Forgot photos of the Fearless River, which was one of our favorites as well. I’m glad we waited till now to visit, it was worth it!
And we had to part with our Tapu Tapu friend before exiting the park. Thanks for a great day!