Cabana Bay plays the role of a family vacation escape by kitsching it up as a retro 1950s beach hotel. Geometric midcentury fabrics, teals and lemons, swooping Space Age architecture, a Jack LaLanne–branded gym, and a 10-lane bowling alley all wink at the midcentury era. Things may look old but they’re decidedly modern, down to the ample outlets in the bedrooms, gated parking, and air-conditioning that’s whisper quiet. On the north end of the complex, where a motor court theme prevails, you’ll find 600 family suites with kitchen areas (microwave, no stove) that sleep six somewhat tightly, two on a sofa bed. The music never stops in the two ginormous pool areas, which have Universal’s only lazy river, and guests get a special side entrance to Volcano Bay next door (some rooms look right into the park and at its iconic volcano). But there’s a trade-off: no Express Pass privilege (you do get into the parks early), no room service, and to reach the action, you’ll have to take a shuttle to CityWalk—there is no water taxi to this hotel. (Sapphire Falls, priced a notch higher, has that.)