Since I shared pictures of the neon display at Laumeier Sculpture Park yesterday, I thought today I’d take a look back at our vacation this summer, and share my favorite vintage-inspired signs from Cabana Bay Beach Resort. They might not be original to the era, but they definitely catch the spirit of mid-century signs!
Sometimes, when I look back on our vacation, even though it was only just over a month ago, I can hardly believe it happened. For everything that went wrong on the first true summer vacation we took three years ago, something went right on this one. It was a dream come true…as close to a perfect vacation as I can imagine. Here’s one last look at all the fun we had:
- Day One–The first day of our trip was mostly spent in the car. We drove through part of Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia (for what seemed like an eternity!), and Florida to reach our destination of Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort in Orlando. We did have time for a swim in one of the hotel’s amazing pools after we got checked into our amazing room!
- Day Two–On the second day of our trip, we made some dreams come true with a visit to Legoland! After a fun day at the park, we enjoyed more pool time when we got back to the hotel.
- Day Three–The third day of our vacation was busy, busy, busy! We were up super early to view SpaceX launch from the roof of the hotel parking garage. We then spent the day at Universal Studios Florida and Universal Islands of Adventure. We especially enjoyed visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter…both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. From start to finish, it was the most amazing day ever!
- Day Four–After our busy day at Universal, we needed the fourth day of our trip to recover, so Ryan rented a cabana at the hotel, and we spent the day by the pool, playing games, building sandcastles, and swimming.
- Day Five–The final day of our vacation meant more time in the car, but we also got to stop and talk a walk on the beach and visit Castillo de San Marcos before another seemingly never-ending drive back through Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
I am so thankful we had this opportunity as a family. I know that we don’t have too many chances like this left before the children venture forth and begin their adult lives, and I hope that we will all remember this trip together as one of the most fun times we’ve ever had!
In case I somehow haven’t made it clear, we took the best vacation ever last month (and we really needed it!). Part of what made it so perfect was the resort at which we stayed. We weren’t supposed to stay in Orlando, much less at a Universal property, but sometimes life doesn’t work out the way you plan…and every once in a while, the unexpected is far superior to what you had planned! That was definitely the case here, because we ended up staying at what is my dream hotel…the Cabana Bay Beach Resort!
The whole resort is done in a 1950s/1960s theme…perfect for me, right? From the first moment I stepped through the doors into the lobby, I was in love. And I cried. Literally cried. It was just how I dreamed it, from the vintage luggage to the mosaic behind the front desk to the retro bar. I was completely overwhelmed by how gorgeous everything is! And while I was crying, I was also smiling so hard my face hurt, because it’s so amazing!
Just across the circle drive from the lobby is the Bayliner Diner, a huge room that has cozy round booths and giant TV screens playing old TV clips and retro commercials. Ryan and I split a sandwich our last night there, and it was delicious!
There are different types of buildings named after famous hotels of yesteryear, done in three different themes. We stayed in the Continental, which is modeled after the glamorous type of hotel that stars like Frank Sinatra popularized in movies (again, perfect!).
Our room was beyond amazing. We stayed in a family suite which was actually big enough for all of us, and came with a kitchenette. I loved all the retro touches, from the furniture to the artwork, and even to the toiletries in the bathroom! Speaking of bathrooms, Cabana Bay has an ingenious set-up, which places the toilet behind one door, the shower and a sink behind another, with a sink and full counter in between the two, and open to the bedroom. It was so nice being able to have different people doing different things without always having to wait in line!
Cabana Bay has two pools. The one closest to our building includes a lazy river. The other pool, which is surrounded on three sides by buildings representing mom-and-pop motels that were popular beachside, has a water slide plus cabanas you can rent for the day (we did!). Both have other amenities, as well, including poolside bars, pavilions for rent, sand play areas, outdoor games like ping-pong and ladder ball, and fire pits. On Saturday, there was even a poolside D.J.!
There are also great vintage-style signs everywhere…seriously, you can see why I say it’s just like I dreamed it!
And so many other great details throughout the resort, from the furniture and decor to the vintage cars parked out front!
Staying at Cabana Bay was a dream come true for me. If the architects and designers had looked directly into my brain when it was built, they couldn’t have created something I would like more. I had such a great time there that I almost didn’t want to come home, and I will always be thankful for the four blissful nights we spent there!
The fourth day of our summer vacation was a much-needed day of rest and relaxation at our amazing hotel. Ryan rented us a poolside cabana for the day, and we enjoyed hanging out in the pool, going down the water slide, building sand castles, and playing ping-pong. A storm sent us to our room for a bit, but we had fun watching cable TV, and the children even got their first room service experience when we ordered a pizza!
After it got dark, we enjoyed one last walk around the property:
And then Ryan and I went down to the diner to share a sandwich:
Up next…the long drive home, with a few stops along the way!
Last Thursday, we had one vacation event planned, and it was a big one, especially for Turkey…we went to Legoland! While everyone was looking forward to going, Turkey in particular has always dreamed of visiting Legoland, but he was starting to think that our trip to the Legoland Discovery Center in Chicago last January was as close as he was going to get.
We had such a fun time! We went on as many rides as possible, including Chickadee’s first roller coaster (she was not a fan!). We also really enjoyed the Miniland, which included landmarks from Florida, the U.S., and, of course, Star Wars!
One of the highlights of our visit was the water skiing show, which included life-size minifigs on water skis!
When the regularly scheduled afternoon thunderstorm popped up, we decided we had seen everyone we wanted to see, so we stopped at Publix (again), which was conveniently located across the street from Legoland, and then at the Wawa gas station, which Ryan was very excited about. Along the way, we even saw actual orange trees along the side of the road!
Back at the hotel, we went for another swim, and then took a walk around to see more of the retro sights.
Thursday was a busy day, but wait until you see all we did on Friday!
It’s been three years since our first real family summer vacation, so we were all very excited when things worked out for us to go on another road trip this year, this time to Florida. Actually, I was a little worried that the trip wouldn’t happen, because things fell apart Father’s Day weekend. We salvaged it, though, and even though it ended up being a slightly different trip than we were planning on taking, and we didn’t get to do everything we had originally planned, it ended being a far superior vacation than I had imagined!
We left very early in the morning from Bowling Green, KY, a week ago to make the drive to Orlando. I was kind of dreading the drive, partly because of how long I knew it would be, but mostly because the Smoky Mountains were an inevitable part of the trip, and we did not have a good experience driving through them three years ago. Everything was fine, though, and even I had to admit it was a pretty drive!
After the mountains, we had to drive through Georgia for what seemed like an eternity. Did you know that Georgia is an incredibly boring state to drive through? Except for Atlanta, which is not boring, but does make me rage-y, because the traffic is always terrible! We were all unbelievably happy to see the “Florida Welcomes You” sign, even though we still had a few hours left in the car before reaching our destination!
Before we arrived at the hotel, we stopped at a Publix grocery store to pick up a few supplies. I love checking out new grocery chains when we travel, and Publix did not disappoint…it might be my new favorite grocery store, and I wish we had one closer to home!
We did finally arrive at the hotel, the Cabana Bay Beach Resort on Universal property, what seemed like several days later, and I’m not going to lie…I cried when I walked into the lobby for the first time. It was just like I dreamed it. The resort has a 50s/60s theme, and it was perfect for me. There was nothing I didn’t love about it!
We had just enough energy left for a swim and a walk around the pools after our very long day:
But then it was time for bed, because we had big plans for the following day!