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The Caribbean Beach Resort occupies 200 acres surrounding a 45-acre lake called Barefoot Bay. This midpriced resort, modeled after resorts in the Caribbean, consists of the registration area ("Custom House") and six two-story "villages" named after Caribbean islands. Each village has its own pool, laundry room, and beach. The Caribbean motif is maintained with blue metal roofs, widow's walks, and wooden railed porches. The atmosphere is cheerful, with buildings painted blue, lime green, and sherbet orange. In addition to the six village pools, the resort's main swimming pool is themed as an old Spanish fort, complete with slides and water cannons.
Most of the 2,112 guest rooms are 314 square feet and contain two double beds and a table and two chairs. Some are decorated with bright tropical colors, while others are decorated with neutral beach tones. All are outfitted with the same light-oak furniture. Rooms don't have balconies, but the access passageways are external and have railings. Many of the rooms are being refurbished and rethemed to include characters from Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo. In addition, rooms in Trinidad South have recently been rethemed to a Pirates of the Caribbean motif. These rooms cost about $30 more than comparable ones elsewhere in the resort.
One of the most centrally located resorts, the Caribbean Beach offers transportation to all Disney World destinations by bus. Though it has one full-service restaurant and a food court, food service is woefully inadequate for a resort of this size. Walking time to the transportation loading area from the most remote rooms is 7-9 minutes, so guests should seriously consider having a car.
Despite these limitations, many readers love the Caribbean Beach.
A Calgary, Alberta, reader comes to its defense:
The Caribbean Beach Resort gets a bit of a tough rap, but we thought it was excellent. We stayed in Aruba and found it convenient, quiet, clean, and accessible. The transit system ran like clockwork, and for our full 10 days in Disney World we never waited more than 15 minutes for a bus, and many times less.
From an Edgewater, Colorado, couple:
Caribbean Beach was great. The hotel was full, but we saw very few people. It's laid out so that you have some privacy, even though there was a bit of walking. However, the food court didn't prepare on-site—it was always served at the same temperature and degree of staleness.
This Columbia, Maryland, mom is certainly one of our more practical readers:
Con: in-room AC was very loud and annoying. Pro: it drowned out the noisy people at the pool/courtyard.
A Philadelphia dad with two tots in tow liked the Caribbean:
The Caribbean Beach Resort was beautiful. Our island (Barbados) was very quiet and relaxing on the courtyard/garden side, but the walk to the bus stop with a child was a bit of a haul. The bus service was also slower than in my past experiences.
From a Randolph, Massachusetts, family of three:
The Unofficial Guide really helped us with the decision to stay at Caribbean Beach, and we were pleasantly surprised. Despite the vastness of the resort, everything is relatively close by. The food court, although smaller than other resorts', was outstanding, as was the pool area at Old Port Royale. It was so quiet and serene.
A family of four from Gretna, Louisiana, disagrees that "everything is relatively close by," writing:
Too far around resort for convenience. To main desk to solve key problems—45-minute round-trip by shuttle. To food court—40 minutes, plus 3-minute walk in rain to and from bus stop.
From a Ridgeway, Virginia, mother of one:
The Caribbean Beach Resort was great—especially the housekeeping staff, who creatively rearranged my daughter's toys every day. Made coming back to the room much more fun. My only complaint with CBR was the inefficiency of checkout—although express checkout was available, someone had to be present to have luggage moved from the room to the main house for transport via Magical Express. We had scheduled a late-afternoon flight on our last day so we could all spend one last morning in the park—I missed most of it because I had to go and sit with the luggage. I was not happy AT ALL.
A mom from Fenton, Michigan, gives the Caribbean high marks except for bus service:
We loved the Caribbean Beach Resort for the most part, but we recommend renting a car and/or paying for a preferred room location—especially if you're going in the hotter months or are impatient. The buses just take way too long with all the stops, and we thought it was a long hike to the food court and pools in the heat. Otherwise, it's a great resort. We thought the food court, pools, and landscaping were great.
A dad from Medina, Ohio, agrees:
After staying at the Caribbean Beach Resort for eight nights, my party and I found out many things that I didn't remember when I stayed at the resort eight years ago. For a resort of this size, the transportation is inadequate. Supposedly a bus comes every 20 minutes, but the actual time is every 25-30 minutes. The staff for this place is undersized and overwhelmed.
|Hotel||Definitely (+/- since last year)|
|Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort||70% (+7%)|
|Average for WDW hotels||76% (+0%)|
|Average for off-site hotels||57% (+0%)|
|Hotel||Definitely (+/- since last year)|
|Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort||89% (+3%)|
|Average for WDW hotels||92% (+2%)|
|Average for off-site hotels||79% (-7%)|
Good (and Not-So-Good) Rooms at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
The resort's grounds are quite pleasant. Landscaping—lots of ferns and palm trees—is verdant, especially in the courtyards. The six "islands," -or groups of buildings clustered around Barefoot Bay, are identical. The two-story motel-style structures are arranged in various ways to face courtyards, pools, the bay, and so forth. The setup is similar to Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in nearly every way but theme.
In general, corner rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort are preferable since they have more windows. Standard-view rooms face either the parking lots or courtyards, and the usual broad interpretation of water views is in play here. Beyond that, your main choices will revolve around your preference for proximity to (or distance from) the Custom House, pools, parking lots, or beaches on Barefoot Bay. Each island has direct access to at least one beach, playground, bus stop, and parking lot.
The island of Barbados is nearest the Custom House, but its central location guarantees that it also experiences the most foot traffic and road noise. It also shares its only beach and playground with Martinique, which probably is the best area for families. (Martinique has access to two beaches, is adjacent to the main pool and playground at Old Port Royale Centertown, and yet is removed enough from the Custom House to offer a little serenity for parents.) The islands of Aruba and Jamaica are similar in character to Martinique, but each has only one beach, and guests must cross a footbridge to reach Old Port Royale center. Trinidad North comprises three buildings, and its thin layout means that noise penetrates its courtyard from surrounding roads and from rambunctious kids at Old Port Royale next door. The quietest island is Trinidad South, which is most remote from resort facilities. It has its own playground and beach, and the beach has a bonus—the view across Barefoot Bay is of wild, undeveloped Florida forest, a rarity on Disney property.
After you've sorted out your convenience and location priorities, think about the view. Avoid the standard-view rooms; all look onto a parking lot, road, or tiny garden. Water views at the Caribbean overlook swimming pools or Barefoot Bay. Pool views are less than enchanting, and there's lots of noise and activity around the pools. Bay views are the pick of the litter at the Caribbean. Such rooms in Barbados, Martinique, Trinidad North, and Trinidad South catch the afternoon sun. Bay-view rooms in Aruba and Jamaica catch the morning sun. Because we like the sun at our back in the evening, we always go for Rooms 4245-4252 in Jamaica or Rooms 5253-5264 and 5541-5548 in Aruba. If you don't mind the sun in your eyes during cocktail time, Rooms 2245-2256 and 2413-2416 in Martinique, 1246-1248 in Barbados, and all lake-facing second-story rooms in Buildings 35, 38, and 39 in Trinidad South are good bets. Weâ€™re not crazy about any room in Trinidad North. Be aware that the aging air-conditioning units for individual buildings are pretty loud. One room with an especially nice bay view (2525 in Martinique) is nonetheless not recommended because of its proximity to a clunky air-conditioner.
|Attractive Caribbean theme||Large, confusing layout|
|Children's play areas||Long lines to check in|
|Convenient self-parking||Lackluster on-site dining|
|Walking, jogging, biking||No easily accessible off-site dining|
|Lakefront setting||No character meals|
|Extreme distance of many guest rooms from dining and services|
|Occasionally poor bus service|
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort Dining
- Banana Cabana (Bar or Lounge)
- Old Port Royale Food Court (Counter Service)
- Shutters at Old Port Royale (Table Service)
|Magic Kingdom||23 minutes|
|Disney's Hollywood Studios||23 minutes|
|Disney's Animal Kingdom||31 minutes|
|Quietness of Room||B|
|Shuttle to Parks||Yes|