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2014-08-14 06.44.01

This stands at the front of the hotel. At night, it’s all lit up.

Six months ago, a group of friends and I began joking about taking a vacation. I do believe it was all a joke until one saw that this hotel had just opened. Mickey loves the 50s and 60s, so he desperately wanted to go. So we did. Six of us piled into my car for a 20 hour road trip to Orlando, Florida. The reviews on the hotel were mixed, so we weren’t sure what to expect.

Some of the perks of staying at this hotel were early admission to both Harry Potter parks inside Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure. We were able to take a shuttle to and from CityWalk and the parks because the walking trail isn’t finished quite yet. The shuttle ran often. We never waited more than five minutes to get on one and it’s a very short drive to CityWalk.

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There are three vintage cars lining the front.

When we walked in, we saw the lobby bar and the check-in desk. It was about 10:00 pm, so there was no one in line. We breezed right to the front and were helped immediately. The next day, I saw a long line to check in, so I imagine it takes longer at busy times. We got a choice as to which floor we wanted and we chose the top. Go big or go home, right?

All of the pictures where it looks like there is no one around were taking around 7 am when there was no one around.

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The lobby bar

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The lobby bar

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Lovely chairs

We were given a map with arrows and circles guiding us to our room. We had to park first, which was simple enough. We had to run a room key through a slider and then the gate opened. Our lot was directly outside of our building, so we could always see the car. We came and went from the hotel several times and never had trouble getting back inside.

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I loved the signage!

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The outside was beautiful.

We had a family suite that slept six. The room was small, but we never felt crowded. The space was used well. We used the kitchen shelves to store things and the fridge had ample room to store our leftovers. There was a lot of drawer space and shelf space all over the room. There were more outlets available than I could ever use. Some had USB plug-ins as well.

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Our kitchenette

We moved the tables out of the way and used them for more shelving once we pulled the bed out. It was the most comfortable couch bed I’ve ever slept on.

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The couch turned into a comfy bed

These beds were comfy too, but I liked the couch better. There was a large closet in the corner of the room with a safe in it that we kept all of our valuables in. There was a sliding partition that separated the beds from the couch. It was nice because it felt more private, but it was thin and didn’t block out any sound. If you have loud roommates, it’ll be problematic.

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One of the two beds

I loved how even the soap looked period. We never had trouble getting fresh towels and toiletries in the room. Only once did it take forever to get our room cleaned but that was because we slept in and missed the early housekeeping and had to wait until the afternoon round. The bathroom was unusually designed, but it worked great. There was a sink and a vanity first. It had no door. To the left was a door that led to the toilet room. To the right was a door that led to the shower room which had it’s own sink and vanity. Several people were able to get ready at one time.

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Shower soaps

If you went upstairs above the lobby, you would run into the Jack LaLanne fitness center and Galaxy Bowl. There is also an arcade there. We went bowling once and had a wonderful time. Our lane broke down for a bit, but we got 20 free minutes added to our time because of it. They had traditional bowling alley food for purchase and we all got cheap, greasy, delicious food.

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Bowling sign

I felt the food at the Bayliner Diner was fairly priced for the amount you got. I was never disappointed. I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich once and it was huge even once I took off the bread. I would get a bottle of water with everything and never paid more than $10-$12, only hitting $12 when I added a side to something. In the mornings, they had pancakes, eggs, and bacon, but I usually went to the omelet bar and ordered a fresh one. In the evening, they had the burger bar, which is where I stayed, but they also had pizza and a vegetarian section. There was also a full Starbucks. Not a normal hotel “We brew Starbucks coffee” Starbucks. A real one. It took my Starbucks gold card so I never had to pay for coffee!

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Bacon burger

I never got in the pool, so I can’t comment on that, but the others in my group loved it so much they all had to take a trip down the water slide on the morning of our departure. I know there were two pools. One had a lazy river around it. There were sand pits with ping pong and hula hoop contests going on during the afternoons. You could play horseshoes and cornholl and billiards down there too. 50s and 60s music played everywhere you walked.

The staff was great too. The lady who checked us in was helpful and made sure we knew where we were going. The gift shop ladies all talked to us about our trip and how we were doing. The Bayliner workers all smiled and helped. It made me smile when I saw older workers singing along to the songs.

The gift shop had hotel souvenirs (vintage dresses, swimsuits, hotel shirts and hats,) as well as Universal souvenirs like minions and Harry Potter. I bought a lot of Harry Potter stuff.

I’m glad to be home, but I can’t wait until I get to go back.

Any questions? Feel free to ask!