Royal Pacific vs Cabana Bay which should we choose?

We will be making our 3rd trip to Universal next April 2016, but staying on site for the first time. We are a family of 4. Me, DH, DS 14, & DS10. Can anyone help me with the pros & cons of RPR vs Cabana? I currently have reservations for club level at RPR, but lately have been reading not so great reviews about the place on TripAdvisor. I was hoping to save some money on the cost of food & beverage by using the club level. Also our Spring break in MI is a week after Easter. So I’m wondering do the crowd levels drop after the Easter holiday? Is it worth staying at RPR for the unlimited fastpass? Or are we better off saving our money on the fast pass & staying at Cabana in a suite? We only plan on buying a 3 day park pass anyways. I have heard the food at RPR is average at their on site restaurants for the price you pay. Plus looking at their menus, don’t think my boys are going to be too thrilled at the choices. My husband is health freak when it comes to eating & I know he’s not going to like eating at the food court at Cabana. Any kind of help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I’m torn between the two hotels. Thank you.

We are visiting 12-16th April. Decided to book RPR Jurassic park suite over cabana bay suite. Main reason was exp pass . RPR has burgers and nachos at the pool for kids ( Bula bar menu) and healthy stir fry etc in main restaurant. You can eat in other hotels at night, they run dining shuttles between 6.30-10 ish just speak to concierge. I love staying concierge level but for a theme park vacation the timing of food and drink is when we will be in the parks so I would rather save the $100 plus per night and eat what we want when we want instead of clock watching to get back in time. Its our second visit but first onsite. I would suggest non club room at rpr . OR split stay 1 night rpr gets 2 days exp pass that might be enough to see what you want this time.

Thank you for the suggestions. Much appreciated. My other concern with RPR is their pool. Have you or anyone else heard anything about the cleanliness of their pool? I keep reading how they allow the ducks to use it as bathroom and the hotel does nothing about it. I just read on tripadvisor how one family’s kid ended up with an ear & eye infection from RPR’s pool. The doctor from emergency advised them to stay away from the pool, it has a reputation for being unsanitary. My younger son has a skin condition and just got over impetigo in August which can be contagious. 4 doctors visits, 3 medications, and month half later it’s finally going away. I don’t think I can risk our family vacation being ruined cause my son is suffering from impetigo again from an unsanitary pool.

I too have seen the photo of a duck in the pool. All public pools pose risks from kids urinating to people swimming who are contagious. My kids paddle in the sea and swim in the sea here in UK. while seagulls swoop for food and other birds swim in the area. For me the pool at CB will pose the same risks as one 10 minutes away at RPR. They are both open to the elements and any wildlife that decides it wants to visit will although I think you are more likely to catch something from a sick kid in the pool than anything. I think the pool is better at CB and RPR is the only pool without a slide. If you are not comfortable with your decision then changing hotels might be best.
Do you use the lines app. If so subscribe to the uni chat feature its about $4 to add on to an existing sub. Many who post there don’t come on the forum and they are a wealth of info.
Cabana Bay is proving very popular with the uni chat liners at present . You could stay there suites have mini kitchen for hubbys healthy snacks use dinIng shuttle to eat elsewhere and buy exp pass if you need it for a day or 2. Lots of options . Mx

We have stayed at RPR twice, HRH once. We have been there the last 2 Aprils, within the first 2 weeks. You definitely want the express passes. It will still be quite busy. Our favorite hotel there is HRH though, I think your boys would like that best (my 11 & 13 year olds do). It is closest to the parks, has an awesome pool with slide, has good food at the pool bar, and is just perfect for the tween/teen crowd. This April the pool at RPR was like a hot tub. It is very shallow and is great for small kids, not so much adults and big kids. The pool was nasty feeling and was not the refreshing place we expected on a hot day.
Cabana Bay looks interesting, but it is not on our to do list due to the lack of express passes. We have used them 3 trips in a row now (Thanksgiving and 2 spring breaks) and there is no way I would go at a busy time without them. They are worth every cent.


I do see your point. But I must say for the amount of times we have visited WDW over past 12 years staying at various on site hotels, I don’t recall the ducks being a problem at any of their pools. I’m just concerned how clean the pool is kept and looks at RPR.

Yes, I do have the TouringPlan app. It’s wonderful. In fact we just used it for our two week trip to WDW this past June.

I’ll have to look into the other forum. Where do I go to sign up?

Thank you for sharing your experience.

We would love to stay at HRH, but at club level unfortunately is not in our budget. We would have to ditch the Blue Man Group tickets which we have never seen before. Think my boys would be disappointed. HRH menus seem to have more of the foods my boys would eat. But then again at their prices we would probably make up for the difference at club level where you get free food/beverages all day. Also I read at club level the bathroom and room itself are a disappointment for what you pay.

When we visited Universal last February for winter break, we went to the parks on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Didn’t have fastpasses then and got to do all the rides as much as we wanted. Think everyone was at Disney in 2014.

But I see your point with your past experience for crowd levels in April. I guess I’m still questioning the necessity of the fastpass tickets as TouringPlan is estimating a crowd level of 4-6 for the week of April we are there. Our dates are April 2nd thru 9th. So we won’t be in the parks on a Friday or Saturday at all.

Pay no attention to Tripadvisor, ther are an unfortunate number of Disney partisans trying to game their system with invalid reviews. Every hotel pool in Florida has occasional waterfowl visits, it’s inevitable and harmless as long as the pool chemicals are properly maintained. You’ll have a great time at any of the on site hotels!

Yes, I have to agree there’s too many folks out there who have high expectations as if they were on Disney property. Not us. We were just at Universal last February 2014 and stayed across the street at the Hyatt. True, the waterfowl situation can happen anywhere. It’s just not an noticeable occurrence where I’m at. The ducks tend to stay away from people in Michigan.

I guess I’m just an over cautious mother since my son had impetigo for month. That’s a virus I don’t wish on anyone.

I did end up switching our reservations to a family suit poolside at Cabana Bay. I believe we will have a great experience there. May not have the same perks as Royal Pacific, but I was told by the agent when get the park and find we don’t need our fastpasses, due to low crowd levels, we can go to guest services and get a refund on them.

Thank you Skubersky for your kind thoughts. I appreciate your time.

I would call to check but I was told express passes are non refundable and can’t be exchanged for different days if bought in advance. You are better to buy on the day if you need them. @skubersky could you confirm

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I’ve never heard of pre purchased Express being refundable either, I’d double check with guest services before buying.

Skubersky and Mumcalsop,

Oh my Gosh! Why in the heck would the agent tell me that?

Thanks for giving me the heads up on that one.

We are going in April after easter and the crowds are currently expected to be around a 4. For me personally - I would spring for Royal Pacific - regular room and get the express passes. We did look at the Club level room for the same reasons you did - but the hours seemed short. We usually pack our breakfast and eat tin the room to save some $$. I would rather take advantage of the express pass - get through the parks and then be able to actually enjoy the resort hotel a bit. Just my opinion.


Thank you for the suggestion. Will keep that in mind. I was thinking about using Garden Grocer as an option to help save on the cost of food/beverages.

We also just back food from home. We usually fly SW - so the bags are free. We basically pack a suitcase - that way we have exactly what people want (and it is a bit cheaper). This time we are getting a car as we are doing WDW and Universal so if needed we can go get stuff - but hey I hate to food shop at home - so definitely don’t want to do it when on vacation!!! My wife is so smart too - she puts a loaf of bread in a shoe box so it doesn’t get crushed. I run hot water through the coffee maker for oatmeal (which I love). It just makes the mornings easier. We aren’t rushing for a morning meal - we can just wake up and eat

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We are flying this time from Detroit, and won’t be renting a car. I’m the same way, hate grocery shopping while on vacation. Tried to avoid it while on our two week stay at Ft. Wilderness Campground this past June, but we ran out of water, bread, eggs,etc. So we took our truck and went shopping. Same thought here, just like we did on our WDW trip, want to wake up, eat, and get to the park before it opens. Love your wife’s creativeness. Anymore suggestions on how to pack food in a luggage? Cooking tips from coffee pot?

We don’t find that we need a big breakfast, so we usually just bring snack bars, trail mix, fruit squeezes, and other non-perishable items that pack easily in our suitcase.

Coffee pot is good for any “hot liquid” - so I usually just use it for oatmeal - but every once in a while some soup as well. We get a lot of the “single serve” items like peanut butter and bars like you have noted. We aren’t big breakfast eaters. So breakd with PB or granola bars are the staple

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Also it may just be worth it to stay at the premium resorts. At ~ $80 a person / day - you may just be better off staying at one of the higher tier properties


Thank you for the suggestions. Easy and small enough to pack.