A SIDE TRIP FROM
Yesterland

House of the Future
Resort

Universal’s
Cabana Bay Beach Resort


Werner Weiss, November 8, 2013
Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Retro billboard at the corner of Turkey Lake Road and Hollywood Way in Orlando

Last week, I drove by what had been a big vacant lot south of Universal’s Island of Adventure last year. Now it’s a massive construction site for Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort.

In 2014, this on-site moderate/value hotel will join the three on-site deluxe hotels at Universal Orlando—Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, and Hard Rock Hotel.


Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando

© Universal Orlando Resort

Rendering of Cabana Bay Beach Resort porte-cochère

I love the theme. What could be a more perfect theme for a huge motor hotel than homage to Mid Century motor hotels? Instead of attaching giant decorations to the exterior as Disney has done with its value resorts, Universal is embracing the clean, sleek architecture of the 1950s and 1960s.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando

© Universal Orlando Resort

Rendering of South Courtyard with pool and lazy river

Then again, no Holiday Inn of the 1960s had 1,800 rooms—consisting of 900 family suites and 900 standard guest rooms... or a themed lazy river, for that matter. The new resort will even have its own 10-lane bowling alley.

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is directly across the street from the back of Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls at Islands of Adventure, but park guests won’t see the resort looming over the park. To avoid visual intrusion, the closest buildings of the resort’s North Courtyard are just three stories high. As the distance from the park increases, the buildings get taller, with seven-story buildings at the South Courtyard.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando

© Universal Orlando Resort

Cabana Bay Beach Resort Guest Room

The sleek Mid Century style carries through to the interiors. According to Universal Orlando, the guest rooms “will feature bold design, period colors and a neon and retro feel”—“with a hip, vintage look.”

Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando

© Universal Orlando Resort

Cabana Bay Beach Resort Family Suite

The “hip, vintage look“ looked oddly familiar to me. I had seen those colors, shapes, and patterns somewhere else.

When I was looking at a Yesterland article from a few years ago—“The Future Won’t Wait”—I suddenly had the answer...

The Monsanto House of the Future!

Monsanto House of the Future at Disneyland

© 1960 Monsanto Chemical Company

Inside the Monsanto House of the Future at Disneyland

Okay, the Cabana Bay rooms don’t look exactly like the rooms of the House of the Future. But they certainly feel similar.

Monsanto House of the Future at Disneyland

© 1960 Monsanto Chemical Company

The all-plastic Monsanto House of the Future

Of course, the exterior of the House of the Future is completely different, right?

Sure, the Cabana Bay Beach Resort is not built of gently curving synthetic materials. But, surprisingly, there are even exterior similarities.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Cabana Bay Beach Resort North Courtyard rooms nearing exterior completion

Compare the shape of the windows and the color of the glass. Look at the right angles and railings at the base of the House of the Future. The Cabana Bay and House of the Future convey a similar look of modernity, even though the structures are entirely different.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Mid Century motor hotel architecture

I know it’s officially called Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, but I’ll think of it as the House of the Future Resort. I’d like to stay there some day.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Construction along Adventure Way, late October 2013

If I stay, I know I won’t get one of the major benefits of staying at a deluxe resort at Universal Orlando. Cabana Bay guests won’t get free Universal Express Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines at both Universal theme parks all day. They will, however, not be deprived of admission (with a valid theme park ticket) to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before Islands of Adventure park opens to the general public.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

South Courtyard towers under construction, late October 2013

When Universal announced the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, the pricing would be, “Starting at $119 per night for guest rooms and $174 per night for family suites. Guests who stay longer will save more with discounts up to 25 percent off per night.”

Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

A colorful resort

I’m not planning an Orlando trip in May 2014, but, for the fun of it, I checked online to see what the rate would be for a three-night stay beginning May 1, 2014, for two adults. I did not use any discount code or group code.

I could have booked a Courtyard Family Suite for 107.20 per night or a Courtyard Family Suite Poolside for $149.00 per night. That’s an amazing value for a suite that sleeps six, has two flat panel TVs, a kitchenette, and a bathroom designed so that three people can get ready simultaneously. When I searched again, now specifying two adults and four children (although I don’t have four children), the rate stayed the same.

Undoubtedly, these bargain rates reflect that May is traditionally a slow time in Orlando and that, although the North Courtyard will be operational, the South Courtyard, including the lazy river, will still be under construction.

Maybe I should plan a trip for May!


Yesterland has three articles about Disneyland’s House of the Future. Please take a look.

Monsanto House of the Future
Homage to the House of the Future
“The Future Won’t Wait”

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Updated November 8, 2013.