Now that Universal Orlando Resort has announced the 2014 dates for Halloween Horror Nights, it's time to make your vacation plans for the haunt season. If you're going to stay on site, here are four reasons why the brand new Cabana Bay Resort is a perfect headquarters for your trip:
1) Location: Actually, this one is true of all four of the on-site hotels. At Cabana Bay Resort, you can easily walk to the parks or take a shuttle bus. Halloween Horror Nights attracts hard core partiers, so if you drink a little too much, you won't have much difficulty getting back to your hotel room.
2) Price: This one is the big difference between Cabana Bay Resort and the other three hotels. It's considered the "value" resort, with the lowest on-property room rates, and it also features family suites that sleep up to six people. That means you can get a group together and share a room, which is remarkably reasonable when you spread the cost among half a dozen people. The uniquely designed bathrooms allow three people to get ready at the same time, so you won't have to battle over the facilities.
3) Early entry. One of the biggest differences between Cabana Bay Resort and the other on-site hotels is that you don't get Express line access to the rides. However, if your primary goal is to visit for Halloween Horror Nights, you probably don't care too much about the regular rides anyway, since you've probably done them many, many times.
Of course, Diagon Alley should presumably be open by the fall, since the grand opening is slated for some time this summer. You still get early park entry at Cabana Bay Resort, so that will give you a head start if you want to see the new area. It's highly unlikely that the new Gringott's ride will have Express access anyway, since it's still not available for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which opened in 2010.
4) On-site activities: You may or may not want to buy a day ticket for your Halloween Horror Nights trip. Personally I recommend it because if you have one, you can stay in the park after closing and wait in a holding area until the event begins. Then you get a head start on the haunted houses.
However, if you don't want to spring the extra money, you can easily get in line early and still get a jump on most of the crowd. In the meantime, if you're not visiting the parks, you'll need something to do. Cabana Bay Resort has an impressive pool and water slide, and the other hotel section with a lazy river will be open by fall. There's also a ten-lane bowling alley, game-packed arcade, and the well-equipped Jack LaLanne fitness center. You won't have any problem finding things to do until it's time to head to the park for Halloween Horror Nights.
Florida weather can be fickle, so if you get rained out, it's nice to have all those activities available. Granted, Halloween Horror Nights runs rain or shine, but you might want to call it an early night if you get too soaked and miserable. Dry off in your hotel room and bowl a few frames while the monsoon rages outside.
Those are my reasons for recommending Cabana Bay Resort as a perfect haunt season home base at Universal. You can have plenty of fun at any of the four on-site hotels or even one of the partner properties off-site, but it's always fun to check out the new kid on the block. If you need a little more help deciding whether it's right for you, check out the video tour accompanying this article.