Cabana Bay or Offsite?

NYG

Member
Apr 21, 2013
524
Hey All,

I've been a long time reader, sporadic contributor on this website and I truly value all of the opinions on this forum so I figured I would come here!

I am visiting with my friend (his first time) to Universal and Animal Kingdom this upcoming April from Thursday 4/26 through Tuesday 5/1. The plan is to spend 3 days at Universal/Islands/Volcano Bay and 1 day at AK to see Pandora.

I currently work at a company that is offering vacation packages through Universal to stay at Cabana Bay. I’ve visited the parks many times over the years, but I have never stayed onsite. That being said, the packages are non-negotiable for 5 days and a 5 day 3-park pass. The price is $670 for each of us.

I have been doing a bit of shopping around otherwise on Expedia and I found the Best Western Universal Inn (which has solid reviews) will save us about $200 each because now I can just get a discounted 3 day 3-park ticket as well as a cheaper hotel. It looks like an Uber to the park from there will only cost like $7 each way split by 2.

I guess my question is, since Cabana Bay doesn’t offer express and since we are going at a generally uncrowded time of the year, does it make more sense to just stay at BW? I think we would have to take the boat back and forth to Cabana or walk pretty far anyway to get to Citywalk from the hotel anyway right?

Any feedback would be appreciated! Just please keep in mind that we are both on a tight budget, so if there is some major draw to staying at Cabana that I’m not seeing, please let me know!

Thanks in advance guys!! :cheers:
 
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graspthesun

Premium Member
Feb 21, 2013
1,102
New Orleans
Keep in mind the things that you'll lose by staying offsite:

Early entry (beat the general public, plus get an extra hour)
Package delivery to the room (super convenient)
Room charging from anywhere in the resort (super convenient)
Comp club access at Citywalk ($12 per night per person)
Free bus service to and from the hotel ($14 a day savings)

If giving up those things are worth the $200 in savings, then you have your decision made.

I usually stay on site, but for budgetary reasons, I cashed in some SPG points and booked at the Four Points. I plan on buying a Universal Gift Card to make up for the loss in room charges and I'm buying all of my souvenirs on my last day so I can carry it back at the end of the last day. I don't go out in Citywalk. The part that is going to hurt me the most is taking Uber instead of the boats.

Plus, you're trading down from a 3 star hotel to a 2 star hotel. That's the other part that is bumming me out about my choice this year. I can't wait to get back to Sapphire Falls or Royal Pacific next year.
 

NYG

Member
Apr 21, 2013
524
Keep in mind the things that you'll lose by staying offsite:

Early entry (beat the general public, plus get an extra hour)
Package delivery to the room (super convenient)
Room charging from anywhere in the resort (super convenient)
Comp club access at Citywalk ($12 per night per person)
Free bus service to and from the hotel ($14 a day savings)

If giving up those things are worth the $200 in savings, then you have your decision made.

I usually stay on site, but for budgetary reasons, I cashed in some SPG points and booked at the Four Points. I plan on buying a Universal Gift Card to make up for the loss in room charges and I'm buying all of my souvenirs on my last day so I can carry it back at the end of the last day. I don't go out in Citywalk. The part that is going to hurt me the most is taking Uber instead of the boats.

Plus, you're trading down from a 3 star hotel to a 2 star hotel. That's the other part that is bumming me out about my choice this year. I can't wait to get back to Sapphire Falls or Royal Pacific next year.
Thanks for the info Grasp! I guess my next question then is how valuable will early entry be at the end of April? I looked at the crowd calendar and 3 out of the 4 days all have a 5/10 crowd rating. I don't think we will need to see everything at each park (like missing Dr. Seuss, Animal Actors, Sinbad, etc) is not the end of the world to us.
 
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Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
17,034
Pittsburgh area
No contest. CBBR is a surprise for the price. Beautiful hotel, great pools, and uncrowded lazy river. And you just can't beat the convenience and leisure of staying on site.
 
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fryoj

Premium Member
May 19, 2013
2,727
Thanks for the info Grasp! I guess my next question then is how valuable will early entry be at the end of April? I looked at the crowd calendar and 3 out of the 4 days all have a 5/10 crowd rating. I don't think we will need to see everything at each park (like missing Dr. Seuss, Animal Actors, Sinbad, etc) is not the end of the world to us.
The question is, is it worth the $400 to you? Everyone's budget is different. Some only look at the $400 difference and will always take the cheaper option. To some, $400 is nothing. Another question would be how much time do you plan on spending at the hotel? If you are going to be at the park all day and night and just go back to the hotel to sleep, I'd definitely say pick the cheaper option.
 
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GadgetGuru

Premium Member
Dec 2, 2011
2,187
Seattle, WA
To the best of my knowledge, an Uber will only get you to the outskirts of CityWalk. You'll still have to get through the crowds coming from the parking structure. Universal transportation can drop you off closer to the parks.
 

Scott W.

Premium Member
Feb 26, 2014
11,278
Glasgow
The only warning I'll give about staying st CBBR is that once you do, you won't ever want to stay off site again.

If you're heading to AK, CBBR also has great access to the I4 as well if you're driving.
 

Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
17,034
Pittsburgh area
The only warning I'll give about staying st CBBR is that once you do, you won't ever want to stay off site again.

If you're heading to AK, CBBR also has great access to the I4 as well if you're driving.
Yes, the I4 ramp is right next to Sapphire & CBBR. Took us about 15 minutes to get to the Disney parks each of the 4 days we drove up to WDW.....Yes, Scott, I remember giving you that very same advice when you were going to book off site but instead considered CBBR..."once you do (stay onsite), you won't ever want to stay off site again".......Even the locals stay at CBBR often now.
 
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Andy

aka Hatetofly
V.I.P.
Mar 16, 2010
11,095
Just got back from 4 days / 3 Nights at Cabana Bay in the new 2 bedroom suites overlooking Cabana Bay and I live 30 mins from Universal. That answer your question lol
 
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UNIrd

Premium Member
Jul 18, 2008
6,191
My vote is for Cabana Bay all the way, ESPECIALLY if you plan on visiting Volcano Bay. The convenience of being able to walk right over is just unparalleled.
 

Frank Drackman

Premium Member
Dec 20, 2012
2,174
SFL
Have you looked at the cost of CBBR without the package or anything?

Staying on site, in my opinion, completely changes the vacation. The food options at City Walk (or any of the hotels). CBBR's lazy river is such a wonderful addition to a pool (to me).

I just find everything so convenient when I stay on property. I doubt I would have done things like the mini golf at night if I were not staying on site.

I even like CBBR's food court type set up, but there are still a lot of restaurants we want to try and haven't (family seems stuck on toothsome and Cowfish prior to that)...these days, it feels like those are the only two they want, but we have eaten and many others.

Anyway, I'm not sure why, but I always feel like I am on vacation when I stay on property, I always felt like I needed a vacation from my vacation when we use to visit other places in the area.
 
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GadgetGuru

Premium Member
Dec 2, 2011
2,187
Seattle, WA
For what it's worth, if you choose to stay off-site, try looking into other restaurants in the Orlando area. CityWalk's food is very good, but there's a whole bunch of other good restaurants scattered across Orlando.
 
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Frank Drackman

Premium Member
Dec 20, 2012
2,174
SFL
For what it's worth, if you choose to stay off-site, try looking into other restaurants in the Orlando area. CityWalk's food is very good, but there's a whole bunch of other good restaurants scattered across Orlando.
I get this and you are correct, heck we don't even have any Waffle Houses here and I sort of miss being in ATL where there are two on every corner, but we always tend to grab at least one breakfast there on Kirkman (I think).

But I believe the op mentioned UBER and when it comes to 'food within walking distance', I find the Hotels/ City Walk being a walk, bus, or boat ride away (not truly a boat from CBBR, but I think that is technicality, not to mention how close SF and RP are...like RP's Emeril restaurant, and I swear I have had great later than I would typically eat in RP's lobby level area...across from checking on the complete other side of that floor...I just find the convienance of parking the car, locking the keys in the safe and never picking them up until we are ready to leave..well, to me, that is a vacation!
 
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Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
17,034
Pittsburgh area
Have you looked at the cost of CBBR without the package or anything?

Staying on site, in my opinion, completely changes the vacation. The food options at City Walk (or any of the hotels). CBBR's lazy river is such a wonderful addition to a pool (to me).

I just find everything so convenient when I stay on property. I doubt I would have done things like the mini golf at night if I were not staying on site.

I even like CBBR's food court type set up, but there are still a lot of restaurants we want to try and haven't (family seems stuck on toothsome and Cowfish prior to that)...these days, it feels like those are the only two they want, but we have eaten and many others.

Anyway, I'm not sure why, but I always feel like I am on vacation when I stay on property, I always felt like I needed a vacation from my vacation when we use to visit other places in the area.
This :thumbsup: