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Comparing Disney's Hotels to UNI's latest

MarkTwain

Well-Known Member
The thing that simultaneously impresses/saddens me the most about Universal's new hotel is how classy and well-themed it manages to be, while still being the "value" option. At Disney's value resorts, you detect a very dramatic difference in the quality of "theming" (if you can call it that) and immersiveness between the value and moderate options. You can quite visibly sense the monetary difference in what you saved by opting for the cheaper option, and frustratingly, can also sense that Disney is talking down to its more budget-eering guests with a louder, dare I say tackier theme.

Meanwhile, Universal provides several excellent amenities that would make them desirable hotels regardless of price point, and all wrapped up in a true and genuine theme that is all at once stylish, fun, and even lightly lightly sophisticated. There is nothing at all tacky about Universal's value hotel; I would go as far to say it reinforces Universal's presence as a leader in thematic design. I wish Disney's value resorts were equally capable of both maintaining a sense of classiness and fun, while being (necessarily) more gently themed than their more deluxe counterparts.

I hope I haven't offended any value enthusiasts; I fully appreciate that Disney's value resorts are a great option for many people and that criticizing them can be a sensitive topic for some. I'm merely talking about their design; not their existence.

I wonder how many people will shift their model from staying at Disney and visiting UNI.. to staying at UNI and visiting Disney.

Suprised UNI hasn't advertised bundled transportation.. that is probably Disney's biggest 'asset'. Even if it's just a bundled offer, instead of free.. UNI could do heavy damage if guests weren't worried about transportation.
I almost wonder, insane as it may sound, if it would be in Universal's best interest to seize onto the increasingly popular split-WDW/Uni vacation model, and offer complimentary resort transport to WDW. Then any such "split" guest looking whether to stay at either WDW or Uni would see that while WDW offers no transit off-property, Uni offers transit to, essentially, everywhere, and that such a vacation would be best off staying at Universal.
 

dgp602

Well-Known Member
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Pop Century doesn't 'draw' anyone - they stay there because it's the cheap option on property.
Completely agree. Poly, Wilderness Lodge, they draw me. Unfortunately the accomodations my family needs and the cost associated with that prevent me from staying at those hotels. Therefore, I settle on the All Stars ( as opposed to being drawn to the All Stars ).
 

Cosmic Commando

Well-Known Member
Completely agree. Poly, Wilderness Lodge, they draw me. Unfortunately the accomodations my family needs and the cost associated with that prevent me from staying at those hotels. Therefore, I settle on the All Stars ( as opposed to being drawn to the All Stars ).
The thing that simultaneously impresses/saddens me the most about Universal's new hotel is how classy and well-themed it manages to be, while still being the "value" option. At Disney's value resorts, you detect a very dramatic difference in the quality of "theming" (if you can call it that) and immersiveness between the value and moderate options. You can quite visibly sense the monetary difference in what you saved by opting for the cheaper option, and frustratingly, can also sense that Disney is talking down to its more budget-eering guests with a louder, dare I say tackier theme.

Meanwhile, Universal provides several excellent amenities that would make them desirable hotels regardless of price point, and all wrapped up in a true and genuine theme that is all at once stylish, fun, and even lightly lightly sophisticated. There is nothing at all tacky about Universal's value hotel; I would go as far to say it reinforces Universal's presence as a leader in thematic design. I wish Disney's value resorts were equally capable of both maintaining a sense of classiness and fun, while being (necessarily) more gently themed than their more deluxe counterparts.

I hope I haven't offended any value enthusiasts; I fully appreciate that Disney's value resorts are a great option for many people and that criticizing them can be a sensitive topic for some. I'm merely talking about their design; not their existence.
Honestly, I hope it comes across that I'm not anti-Uni even though I've never been there. And I want to say that the amenities seem like they are worlds ahead of what Disney is offering at the same price point. But... I do not get the love for this hotel. It looks nice. Just nice. I say that as someone who will probably be staying there in 3-4 years. It looks like an alternate universe version of Pop Century. Is it just because it doesn't have the big icons that everyone loves it? The entrance concept art looks like it could be Pop concept art! I don't get it.


About "settling" for Pop versus the Poly... of course you settle for Pop! It costs 1/4 the price! I don't see how that's any different than Cabana Bay versus the Royal Pacific or Portofino Bay. If money were no object, how many people would really choose Cabana Bay over this:


or this:

To say that you're not settling at Cabana Bay is...:confused:? Again, I will be "settling" there myself someday of my own free will. I just don't see this wonderful "theme".


The lobby is themed? Marvel themed? Because they put those trees in Loki's prison cell from The Avengers? I like the scale, but a hospital lobby is grand in scale, too. The lines are clean and nice, but it doesn't look special, warm, inviting. It could be anywhere. All I see is a bunch of sturdy budget furniture with wavy lines and tacky colors to be retro-hip... you know, the kind that you're sure must be made of foam but hardly indents when you sit on it?

The amenities sound amazing. The location sounds amazing. The look is adequate. I look forward to staying there. It is not a masterpiece of architecture and interior design to me.

I almost wonder, insane as it may sound, if it would be in Universal's best interest to seize onto the increasingly popular split-WDW/Uni vacation model, and offer complimentary resort transport to WDW. Then any such "split" guest looking whether to stay at either WDW or Uni would see that while WDW offers no transit off-property, Uni offers transit to, essentially, everywhere, and that such a vacation would be best off staying at Universal.
As crazy as it may sound, Uni may be past that soon. I think they really could get to the point where they'd be better off doing the "pretend your opponent doesn't exist" thing. If I were them, I'd see how everything shakes out with HP Phase 2. We could realistically see a point where both Uni parks are neck-and-neck with every WDW park except MK and they wouldn't need to do something like offer transportation to WDW. How much do the returns diminish or do they even grow for HP Phase 2? That's the (multi?)billion dollar question for the next three years.
 

WishIwasThere

Active Member
Uni's stealing my next Orlando trip
They did mine in January. Had only three days to spend in the parks, and having not been to USO since 1992, and they buy 2 get one day free deal. It was a no brainer for me to go to USO/IoA to see what they had to offer. Wow, was I impressed, and can't wait to see Diagon Alley in a couple years and check out Transformers. Universal is going to start stealing some of my days from WDW in the future.
 

darthspielberg

Well-Known Member
I think this resort looks pretty damn cool. It reminds me of a book I used to own where a family went on vacation to a beach resort very similar to this one. It was a kids picture book, and I don't know why it captured my imagination, but the hotel was lovely to look at, and Cabana captures that pretty succinctly. I doubt I'd ever stay there, simply because even with Harry Potter, Universal has yet to capture my interest in staying at their resort long term.
 

dcibrando

Well-Known Member
one thing that's kinda always bothered me about Disney resorts is the sq footage and cheapness of the rooms themselves. The resort theming is great (although values are a lil tacky imo), but if you compare a room at the grand floridian to a room at pop, realistically there isn't much different. For the rates we all pay at disney, you'd like all the rooms could be suites to some degree... seems to be where cabana bay is heading
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
Is it just because it doesn't have the big icons that everyone loves it? The entrance concept art looks like it could be Pop concept art! I don't get it.
Pop Century is not themed. There is no attempt to bring you someplace else. It just uses decoration to remind one of the time periods, and to ensure you don't miss it they're ridiculously sized because there is not much else.
 

flynnibus

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
About "settling" for Pop versus the Poly... of course you settle for Pop! It costs 1/4 the price! I don't see how that's any different than Cabana Bay versus the Royal Pacific or Portofino Bay. If money were no object, how many people would really choose Cabana Bay over this.
There is a difference.
Did someone 'settle' for their choice of wife simply because there are hotter women on the planet? No, they picked what combination of things they loved.
Settling would be taking the only woman you could get.

For pop century, it's not desirable on its own. The only reason to go there is because you want to be onsite and you need cheap... So you settle for the hotel you can afford because it meets the onsite criteria.

Contrast that to what cabana bay is illustrating... There are things that might actually DRAW you to stay there... Like the pools, etc

Just because there are higher end hotels around... It doesn't mean you picked that hotel only because you were trapped and had no other choice... Just like you didn't settle if your wife isn't a super model
 

Bolt

Well-Known Member
As for me, UNI is not stealing vacations from Disney, it is stealing days. UNI too now offers free shuttle service to the airport, and free shuttles to and fro Sea World and Wet 'n Wild. If given the choice right now, of a 14 day vacation, I think I would spend five days at UNI/SEA, nine at WDW. This up from three non-WDW days three years ago.
I wish I could take a 14 day vacation :(
 

RSoxNo1

Well-Known Member
I had thought this was meant to be half moderate/half value. All rooms would get early entry, but I thought Express Pass wasn't going to be included (at least not for value).
 

flynnibus

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I had thought this was meant to be half moderate/half value. All rooms would get early entry, but I thought Express Pass wasn't going to be included (at least not for value).
Express Pass is not listed on the website as a perk - tho I've seen some other 'news' articles quote it as included. My guess is the 'news' pieces are wrong.

UNI website for perks for cabana..

Hotel Guests Enjoy Exclusive Theme Park Benefits, Including:

Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, one hour before the theme park opens (valid theme park admission required).
UNI website for perks for Royal Pacific..

HOTEL GUESTS ENJOY EXCLUSIVE THEME PARK BENEFITS

SKIP THE REGULAR LINES with Universal ExpressSM Unlimited ride access* in both theme parks - a FREE benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day^
(valid theme park admission required)
Early Park Admission† to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, one hour before the theme park opens (valid theme park admission required)
And more!
The half and half seems to be suites vs regular style rooms​
 

Genie of the Lamp

Well-Known Member
I had thought this was meant to be half moderate/half value. All rooms would get early entry, but I thought Express Pass wasn't going to be included (at least not for value).
It seems like they are including these benefits instead for on site guests staying at that resort: Early Park Admission^ to Universal’s Islands of Adventure®, one hour before the theme park opens, Complimentary shuttle busses to and from both theme parks and CityWalk®, plus walking paths to make getting around the resort fast and easy so you can make the most of your time, Complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to your hotel Resort-wide charging privileges with your room key card, Complimentary scheduled transportation to nearby Wet ‘n Wild® water park, SeaWorld®, and Aquatica™, Golf Universal Orlando® program, providing preferred tee times and complimentary transportation to select area golf courses:Windermere Country Club Grand Cypress Golf Club, and Start your day with a wake-up call from one of your favorite Universal Orlando characters. One more Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, one hour before the theme park opens. So after naming all of those, yeah so far no express pass will be included with your benefits package if you were to lodge at CBR. Eventually over time though that's something they might reconsider to add that resort with Portofino Bay, Hard Rock Hotel, and Royal Pacific. Here's a comparison link:

https://www.universalorlando.com/Hotels/Hotel-Comparison.aspx

Edit: Flynn beat me to it:)
 

IHeartArt

Active Member
People in this thread are enjoying the theming of Cabana Bay because it goes whole hog into 50s and 60s kitsch instead of settling at "FAR OUT!" and "TOTALLY!" being put up on signs on the hotels. It purports to make the experience of staying in a hotel in the 60s instead of just... staying at a hotel. Shocking, I know.
 

RSoxNo1

Well-Known Member
Because all of their hotels have been deluxe hotels at this point, it seems that they don't want to set the precedence. I wouldn't be surprised if Express Pass is available at a discount.
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
Because all of their hotels have been deluxe hotels at this point, it seems that they don't want to set the precedence. I wouldn't be surprised if Express Pass is available at a discount.
I too have expected a discount on Express Pass Plus.
 

MarkTwain

Well-Known Member
Honestly, I hope it comes across that I'm not anti-Uni even though I've never been there. And I want to say that the amenities seem like they are worlds ahead of what Disney is offering at the same price point. But... I do not get the love for this hotel. It looks nice. Just nice. I say that as someone who will probably be staying there in 3-4 years. It looks like an alternate universe version of Pop Century. Is it just because it doesn't have the big icons that everyone loves it? The entrance concept art looks like it could be Pop concept art! I don't get it.
In a word, yes. The giant icons are a huge part of why I dislike the value hotels. As an architecture student, there were few rules we learned that across the board created "bad" architecture (with most of the mind that you can make a great building out of anything), but dressing up buildings as giant oversized objects was one of them. Such buildings were described as "ducks" by Robert Venturi in the 1980s, and are generally regarded as one of the poorest and most unimaginative ways to design a building. The fact that you can open 1 in any 2 books on architectural postmodernism and find a picture of one of Disney's value hotels next to a caption that effectively says "don't do this", to me comes off as very embarrassing... especially when Disney was practically pioneering the architectural and urban planning field in the '60s and '70s.

Even if you don't partake in architectural criticism, one can't deny that hotels like Pop Century don't partake in any of Disney's usual rules for successful themed spaces. As @lazyboy97o has often pointed out, the Pop Century giant objects are employed only as decoration, and the idea of historic decades are never used to inform the actual interior spaces to create a sense of being in another time/place - what we know as "theming". Cabana Bay does. It looks and feels like a beachside resort straight from the 1950s/60s, and has all the fun and retro theming to enforce that. It creates a genuine sense of time, place, and atmosphere, which recalls another time in history. That's why it succeeds where Disney's value resorts fail.
 

Captain Neo

Well-Known Member
Could be wrong but aren't the Universal resorts walking distance to the parks? From what I remember its a similar set up to Epcot and its surrounding resorts. From Citywalk there are even boats that pick people up and stop at each resort along the river.
 

Gabe1

Ivory Tower Squabble EST 2011. WINDMILL SURVIVOR
Premium Member
The parking issue is a problem.. but even paying for parking at Disney AND UNI.. that's like under $35.. if you are saving $100+ for a room.. it still pays for itself. But UNI is farther than I would want to be driving back and forth every day from Disney.

I think this offering looks far more interesting than the AoA launch. Maybe split stays are where this will end up..

Do 5 days at Disney hotels, do 2-3 days at UNI hotels..

decisions.. decisions!!
We did 10 nights, 6 at Disney 4 at Universals Portofino. Remember resort pool hopping is encourage and we had a lot of fun doing that!
 
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