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 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!
UNIVERSAL’S VOLCANO BAY REVEALED:
UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT’S HIGHLY-ANTICIPATED WATER THEME PARK TO OPEN IN 2017
Volcano Bay to Become Universal Orlando’s Third Theme Park,
A One-of-A-Kind Paradise Filled with Adventure-Drenched Thrills, Relaxing Indulgence and Rejuvenation
International Tickets On Sale Soon for Travel Dates Beginning June 1, 2017
ORLANDO, Fla. (June 21, 2016) – A lush, tropical oasis unfolds before you, instantly transporting you to a little-known Pacific isle. In the distance, a colossal volcano rises above a sparkling beach, boasting majestic waterfalls by day and blazing lava by night.
Welcome to Universal’s Volcano Bay– a radically-innovative water theme park opening next year at Universal Orlando Resort. Spanning 28 fully immersive acres, Universal Orlando’s third theme park will be an entirely new kind of water theme park experience, giving guests even more to enjoy on their vacation.
At Volcano Bay, guests will discover a place like no other, filled with incredible thrills and relaxing indulgences. This one-of-a-kind park will combine exhilarating experiences with hassle-free convenience so families can get the most out of their vacation together. They won’t have to stand in long lines or wrestle with tubes before diving into the unique attractions found throughout the park. They can enjoy a variety of experiences, ranging from winding rivers and private, two-story cabanas to family raft rides and twisting body slides that launch guests above the water.
Here’s what you need to know about Volcano Bay:
An Innovative Water Theme Park Experience:
Volcano Bay will redefine the queue experience so guests can focus entirely on having fun and spending time together. Guests won’t even have to carry their own rafts up the slides.
18 Unique Attractions in Four Imaginatively-Themed Areas:
Volcano Bay will offer 18 unique attractions ranging from daring to serene. They’ll be divided across four primary park areas where there’s something for everyone, including a multi-directional wave pool with sandy beaches, peaceful winding river, twisting multi-rider raft rides, speeding body slides that drop from the top of the volcano into the waters below – and a state-of-the-art marquee attraction that will be revealed at a later date. Additional details on the park’s attractions can be found on the last page.
An Award-Winning Team of Creators:
A place like this could only be brought to life by Universal Creative – the same team behind ground-breaking theme park experiences like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. The team researched water parks and tropical resorts around the world to help redefine the water park experience and shape their vision for Volcano Bay.
Easy-to-Access, Resort-Like Amenities Throughout the Park:
Each area of the park will offer its own easy-to-access, resort-like amenities, such as concierge locations and lockers, so guests won’t have to stroll out of their way to get what they need. There will also be highly-themed restaurants and bars located throughout the park offering signature food and beverage options and impressive volcano views. Even more unique features of the park will be announced later.
Convenient Location On-Site at Universal Orlando:
Volcano Bay will be located within Universal Orlando, adjacent to Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. The water theme park is just a short walk or ride away from Universal Orlando’s two additional theme parks – Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, on-site hotels and Universal CityWalk.
International Tickets On Sale Soon:
Universal Orlando will soon introduce a brand-new, 3-Park Explorer ticket for guests where they can plan to experience the highly-anticipated Volcano Bay for travel dates beginning June 1, 2017. Tickets will soon be available through international web sites and travel professionals, and additional ticket options will be announced later.
This is just the beginning, and more exciting details about Volcano Bay will be released over time. Stay tuned for additional information by visiting www.UniversalOrlando.com and following Universal Orlando’s blog.
Volcano Bay’s Four Primary Areas:
Guests will have the opportunity to explore four imaginatively-themed areas at Volcano Bay, filled with experiences ranging from daring to serene.
The 200-foot volcano, Krakatau, will lie at the heart of the park, inviting guests to venture through its hidden caverns and cascading waterfalls.
o A state-of-the-art marquee attraction found only at Volcano Bay. More details will be announced later.
o Three distinctive body slides found at the rear of the volcano, which start off with surprise doors that drop out from beneath guests:
· Ko’okiri Body Plunge: A racing, 70-degree drop that will plummet 125-feet through the center of Krakatau. It will be the world’s first slide to travel through a pool filled with guests.
· Kala and Ta Nui Serpentine Body Slides: Two intertwining slides where guests will fall freely along 124 twisting feet.
o Punga Racers: A high-speed race through four different enclosed slides featuring manta-shaped mats.
Located at the base of Krakatau, Wave Village will be home to:
o Waturi Beach: A sparkling, multi-directional wave pool where guests can swim, relax on the sand or indulge in private, one- or two-story cabanas.
o The Reef: An adjacent leisure pool will provide guests with calmer waters and exciting views of riders speeding through the Ko’okiri Body Plunge.
Named for the peaceful river that snakes through it, River Village will feature unique attractions for the entire family, including:
o Kopiko Wai Winding River: A gentle, winding river that will pass through the volcano’s hidden caves, featuring spontaneous water effects and special nighttime lighting.
o Tot Tiki Reef: A whimsical toddler play area with spraying Maori fountains, slides and a kid-size volcano.
o Runamukka Reef: A three-story water playground inspired by the coral reef overflowing with twisting slides, sprinklers and more.
o Honu: An adventurous, multi-passenger raft ride that will soar across two giant, sloped walls
o Ika Moana: A twisting, multi-passenger raft ride that will glide across bubbling geysers.
Exhilarating thrills await guests in Rainforest Village, including:
o Maku: North America’s first “saucer ride” – sending multi-passenger rafts speeding around three saucer-shaped curves.
o Puihi: A breath-taking multi-passenger raft ride that will plunge guests into darkness before bursting into a funnel and launching into a zero-gravity drop.
o Ohyah and Ohno Drop Slides: Two twisting, adrenaline-pumping slides that launch guests four- and six-feet above the water at the end.
o TeAwa The Fearless River: An action-packed, racing torrent river where guests hang tight in their inner tubes amidst roaring, whitewater rapids.
o Taniwha Tubes: Four unique Easter Island-inspired slides with rafts for single or double riders.
o Puka Uli Lagoon: A tranquil pool where guests can swim and relax.
About Universal Orlando Resort
For more than 25 years, Universal Orlando Resort has been creating epic vacations for the entire family – incredible experiences that place guests in the heart of powerful stories and adventures.
Universal Orlando’s two theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, are home to some of the world’s most exciting and innovative attractions. Its on-site resort hotels, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, and Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort are destinations unto themselves. Its entertainment complex, Universal CityWalk, offers dining and entertainment for every member of the family.
Universal Orlando Resort has unveiled 20 new guest experiences since 2010 – powerful attractions, incredible dining opportunities and a dramatically themed hotels. And more is on the way. Coming this year is Universal Orlando’s fifth on-site hotel, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort; Skull Island: Reign of Kong, a groundbreaking attraction in Islands of Adventure; and CityWalk’s newest, unique dining experience The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen. And in 2017 will come Universal’s Volcano Bay, an entirely new water theme park experience.
Universal Orlando Resort is part of NBCUniversal, a Comcast company. Follow us on our blog, Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.