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Arts & Culture

Top 10 reasons to love Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Universal Orlando’s new retro-revival hotel complex gets the details right



Jack LaLanne

The widow of fitness pioneer and juicer pitchman Jack LaLanne, who passed away in 2011 at age 96, lent the exercise icon’s name and memorabilia collection to the hotel’s ginormous workout room, where you can sweat away on ultramodern iPhone-enabled treadmills or with old-fashioned medicine balls and free weights, while watching black-and-white reruns of LaLanne’s bodybuilding routines.

Pool party

Cabana Bay’s crescent-shaped pool recalls historic Miami and Wildwood motels. If you get bored with the dive tower-inspired slide and water cannons, chill out with a game of poolside pool or ping-pong while a DJ mixes the Beach Boys with Bruno Mars. Then relax at rest stop shelter-style picnic tables with a snack from Yum Yum Cupcakes or another rotating food truck. After sunset, poolside movies (Elvis’ Blue Hawaii on opening night) and a fire pit keep things hopping. The only problem: They pull the plug on this party at 10 p.m.

Throwback toiletries

It’s the little touches that count, and nothing made me smile like seeing bars of Zest and bottles of VO5 in the bathroom. These aren’t just generic hotel soaps with retro labels; one sniff of these resurrected brands and you’ll be transported back to childhood showers.

Classic cocktails

You can’t smoke like Don Draper here, but you can drink like him at three (soon to be four) full-service watering holes.

Unlike Disney, each bar has its own unique list of signature cocktails, many creatively crafty and all quite potent. Prices are reasonable for a resort, ranging from $4 PBR cans to $22.50 for a 32-ounce top-shelf mega-margarita. Meet me at the Swizzle Lounge for a Manhattan, and we’ll party like it’s 1959!

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