Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort: Review
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We recently spent a few nights at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and truly loved it! But before we share all the things we loved (and a few we didn’t!), here are a few notes about how the resort has changed due to COVID.
First, we felt incredibly safe wherever we went. Mask wearing was strictly enforced throughout the resort, including when you were outside walking to dining or transportation. The only places you could take off your mask were while eating or when inside the pool area. The additional cleaning measures could be seen in full force, including the cleaning of seating areas and lounge chairs frequently. One of the downsides to the changes is that they are no longer doing daily room cleaning services and only restock linens every other day or as needed. They will not touch the beds during your stay at all. While this last point was a bummer, we were able to make do during our shorter stay.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort recently went through an incredible renovation to the main lobby area as well as the rooms themselves. The updated lobby is very open and spacious with an airy feel like you might find in (yep, you guessed it!) the Caribbean. The area outside the lobby, where you will find most of the dining options, opens up to a large lake and boardwalk type area with a marina. This area is great for grabbing breakfast, an afternoon drink, or late dinner after visiting the parks.
The entire resort is spread out, with 5 different sections and over 1500 rooms. Each section sits around the lake, with three sections on the side of the lobby and two across, and is painted differently to match the Caribbean island it is named after. In the middle of the lake sits an island, Caribbean Cay, that serves as the connection between both sides of the resort. On this island you will find a playground and some more private seating areas.
The updated rooms are more or less the same as you would find at other moderate resorts in terms of amenities. However, the orange and brown color scheme does make the room feel a little dated and dark.
When booking hotel accommodations, WDW divides its properties based on price range. Caribbean Beach is considered a Moderate Resort Hotel (similar to Disney's French Quarter Resort or Disney's Coronado Springs Resort). What that means is it is about $240/night to stay at one of these mid-level hotels, with rates increasing to as much as $350/night during the busiest times of year. However, you can often find discounts of up to 30% through Disney.
The amenities of a moderate resort are about on par with a Hilton Garden Inn or Courtyard by Marriott. One benefit to Caribbean Beach is that it does have the option to have a 5th person sleeping in the room, with a pull down Murphy bed cleverly disguised underneath the TV.
Food and Drink
Caribbean Beach, like most of the other moderate level resorts at Disney World, has three main dining locations: a cafeteria style quick service location, a moderately priced table service restaurant, and a bar area. Caribbean Beach also has an alternate quick service dining location, Spyglass Grill, located in the Trinidad section of the resort.
The quick service location, Centertown Market, is open from 7am until 10pm and offers hot and cold breakfast, and sandwiches, salads and pizza for lunch through closing. You can place your order through the app (which is super easy! The pick-up was also easy and quick) or speak to a cast member for help if you are unable or need to make a special order. For breakfast for two adults, we recommend splitting the Island Bounty Platter and the Kids Mickey Shaped Waffles. You get 3 waffles, and plenty of bacon/sausage, eggs and home fries. For dinner, we found the smoked turkey sandwich to be particularly delicious. It's also important to note that you can order most of the food options offered at the restaurant and bar, we special ordered a shrimp salad by speaking to a cast member.
Unfortunately, due to the slow reopening of Disney World in 2020 due to the global pandemic, Spyglass Grill as well as the table service restaurant, Sebastian’s Bistro, were closed. When open, both locations offer a Caribbean style flavors, with Sebastian Bistro having a more diverse menu that includes something for everyone. Spyglass Grill offers some creative breakfast options, like the “cream cheese and guava-stuffed French toast with bacon” (get in my belly!) that are different from the items found at Centertown Market for breakfast. Spyglass Grill also has tacos and seafood choices for lunch and dinner.
The bar area, Banana Cabana, was one of our favorite spots at the resort. Located on the boardwalk area and overlooking the lake, with a view of the Riviera Resort and the Skyliner was very calm and relaxing. However, with the other dining locations closed, it was a very popular location, especially on weekday nights when the parks tend to close earlier. We were able to grab a table late one evening and often just grabbed drinks to go and found another comfortable spot around the lake.
The best part about this resort is the ease of access in using the skyliner to visit Epcot and Hollywood Studios and proximity to other nearby resorts for drinks and dining options. However, there are definitely some drawbacks when you consider its size. As large as it is, it can often be difficult to catch a bus to and from Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom or get to the pool or on site dining options.
Our recommendation is to request to stay in the Aruba or Jamaica sections of the resort, which are across the lake from the lobby. This makes it a slightly longer walk to the main pool but more importantly, very close to the Skyliner. If you are interested in hearing more about how we would recommend leveraging the Disney transportation to get to the parks, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Facebook or Instagram.
At the end of the day, or when heading back for your afternoon rest you might find longer lines for Caribbean Beach than many of the other resorts. This is due to the large size of the resort. The line does move and the bus operators really do try to get you moving as quickly as possible, but you may have to wait. When you get back to the resort it can often be faster to get off at the Old Port Royale stop and walk across the lake back to your room. Plus, you can make a quick stop at Banana Cabana and grab a drink to cap off your evening or to sip on as you sit by the pool!
Throughout this massive resort you will find a total of 6 pools and a splash pad! The main pool, Fuentes del Morro Feature Pool, along with the splash pad are located near the main lobby and are pirate themed. You will also find the bar, Banana Cabana, close by along with restrooms with showers if needed. With a pool seating area smaller than some of the other Disney resorts, and with reduced capacity due to COVID restrictions, this pool gets full most afternoons. However, don’t worry as there are plenty of other spots for a relaxing afternoon between visits to the parks.
The remaining five pools are all smaller unthemed pools located in each of the five sections of the resort. These pools each have plenty of lounge chairs and a table or two. There is also an outside shower and restrooms available if needed.
If you plan to take a pool day with the kids, we recommend getting to the Fuentes del Morro Feature Pool as soon as you can - it opens at 10am each day. But, we found that the smaller pools were great, calm and uncrowded - perfect for an afternoon rest.
Despite its size, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort has become one of our favorite moderate resorts. First, the updates to the lobby and dining areas are great! We loved the feel of the resort and enjoyed our times sitting around the lake and enjoying the atmosphere. And secondly/most importantly, the Skyliner access cannot be beat! It is so fun and convenient to hop on over the EPCOT or Hollywood Studios as well as nice to be so close to dining at the Riviera, Boardwalk, and Yacht and Beach Club Resorts.
No matter where you stay at WDW resort, one of the things that you can count on is exceptional customer service. The stories that could be told of medicine left behind after check-out, forgotten lovey’s & luggage, accommodation mixups, and other travel perils that the Cast Members at these resorts have solved are incredible. Whether you’re headed to the parks or looking for a relaxing getaway, Walt Disney World resort hotels always deliver!
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