Monday, November 14, 2016

Universal Studios Day #1

Last Monday, John and I set off on our first kid-free vacation.  EVER.  John travels without the kids every year when he goes away with his Dad and brother and he often works late and doesn't see them before bedtime...but I have never ever gotten on a plane and left the girls.  Actually the only time I've been away from them for 3 nights was when I was in the hospital having babies.  So this was a HUGE deal for me! 

John and I dropped the girls off at school and headed for the Philly Airport!  We flew Southwest, which is an airline that I have never flown before (but the tickets were $59 so I figured why not?!?!)....
Well I guess on Southwest you don't get an assigned's open seating!  So that was interesting even though it turned out to be totally fine!  I must say everyone who worked for Southwest was extremely kind and fun!  At one point, they turned the lights off in the plane and had everyone turn on their call button lights and sign "Happy Birthday" to a man who was celebrating his 85th birthday!  So sweet! 

We arrived and proceeded to baggage claim and to the Universal Desk where we picked up a little bundle of information and our park tickets and headed to where a Universal Shuttle would pick us up!  This is something you have to arrange ahead of time (and something you have to pay for - not like Disney where the Magical Express is included).  It wasn't too expensive and I thought it would be better than trying to take an Uber (because now there's all sorts of rules about that at airports). 

The airport is very close to Universal, I would say it was about a 15 minute drive! 

We stayed at Universal's Cabana Bay Resort!  This resort is considered their Value resort and opened 2 years ago!  However, even though it's brand new, the resort is decorated in fun, retro decor! 

Our Room! 

There are a few vintage cars in the first few parking spots out front in keeping with the theme! 

Y'all...there is a Starbucks (a FULL SERVICE STARBUCKS) right inside the hotel!  This basically sealed the deal on why we decided to stay here!  Seriously! 

Relaxing by the pool...kid in hand! 

The main pool! 

The quiet pool! 

This splash pad is super cute for little (and big) kids! 

In addition to the two pools and the splash pad, they have a really awesome LAZY RIVER near the quiet pool.  In the background, you can see a HUGE volcano being constructed for Universal's new water park, Volcano Bay - opening 2017! 
You can swim through the lazy river, or you can purchase tubes.  There are racks of lifejackets by all of the pools for the little ones!

 The resort also has a ton of manmade beaches with games like ping-pong, connect four, corn hole and more.  They also have huge toy chests full of sand toys! 

After spending some time exploring our resort, we grabbed our sweatshirts and headed to CityWalk!  There is a complementary bus that picks you up at Cabana Bay and takes you to City Walk!  You walk through security (they have metal detectors there) and into CityWalk which is exactly what the name says - a mini city!  There are bars and restaurants and entertainment.  There you can also find the entrance to both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure! 

 We walked around, ate dinner, and then had ice cream for dessert! 

We took the water taxi back to our hotel at the end of the night!  You can't actually take the water taxi to Cabana Bay, but you can take it to the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort (another one of Universal's hotels) which is right across the street from Cabana Bay! 
The view of Hard Rock from the boat! 

Selfie on the boat! 

Back at Cabana Bay!

We ended our night by the pool!  The Americana was the section of the hotel that we stayed in! 

Come back tomorrow for Universal Day #2 (our first day in the parks)!

Are you thinking of planning your own trip to Universal Studios in Orlando?  I would love to help!  All of my travel concierge services are 100% FREE!  You can check out my travel page HERE and email for a quote today!

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