“I Feel the Rhythm, Mon!” Caribbean Beach Resort Review

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Last month I stayed at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort for five nights with my husband and two of our friends. Caribbean Beach is the first and only moderate resort I’ve stayed at on property. My last visit was in 2008, just before the room renovations. My feeling about it then was that the grounds were beautiful but the rooms needed an upgrade. I gave it a few years and here in 2011 I tried again.

I’ll be honest, check-in was remarkably slow. I used Online Check-In, and while that line moved quickly, once I got up to the counter everything slowed to snail’s pace. The cast member taking care of me wasn’t “earning her ears” but certainly seemed like she needed to be brought up to speed on the current system. Her basic communication with me was dull and unpleasant. The room was ready for us, but it wasn’t attached to our Key to the World cards. She had a hard time figuring that out. On top of that, our room request (Jamaica) wasn’t honored. While this didn’t bother me so much, where we did get placed irked me. Martinique building 21 is the absolute furthest building away from a bus stop and Old Port Royale. The walk was insanely confusing (and I’m good with maps) at first, but after a few trips to the bus stop we got the quickest path down.

We were placed in room 2140 on the second floor. I was really excited when I saw that we had a corner room. I just like having the extra window. The room was very tidy and clean upon my first inspection. My only negative comment about the room is that the furniture seemed too worn to be still used in the room. The bathtub also seemed a little dingy. Not dirty, just dingy.

As far as the other details of the room stay, I’d have to say that there were some flaws but nothing that ruined my visit. The sound was pretty standard for most Disney hotels. I could hear other showers running from our bathroom but that doesn’t personally bother me much. The sound that did bother me was the air conditioner. It was excessively loud and I think it would bother a very light sleeper that needs quiet. The lighting in the vanity area was decent, and I appreciate the full length mirror on the bathroom door. The thing I disliked most about the room were the pillows. They were very small, and some of them were odd shaped so it made relaxation a little uncomfortable. C’mon Disney! Invest in better pillows!

My group didn’t even set foot in Old Port Royale on account of the torrential rain we encountered on our vacation. You’re probably thinking, “But the walkways are mostly covered!” This is true, but when the wind is blowing the rain, the walkways get VERY slippery. So slippery, in fact, that my husband fell down a flight of stairs in our building. While it provided a good laugh at the time, he could have seriously gotten hurt. I was afraid to even walk from our room to the bus stop let alone all the way to the food court just to grab some ice cream. We also didn’t make it to the pool, but I can pretty much say that it’s still as awesome as last time.

Overall the bus service at Caribbean Beach Resort was decent. Epcot buses were consistently the worst: there just weren’t enough of them running, and of course that was the park that we visited the most. Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom both had plenty of buses running. Disney’s Hollywood Studios had a couple of longer waits but nothing extreme. On a night when Fantasmic was cancelled, we had to wait about ten minutes for the first bus to show up, but once that one did, two others came right after. That’s killer efficiency. While on the buses I noticed something really weird. The most popular bus stop was by far Martinique. It seemed like the other sections of the resort were practically unoccupied compared to Martinique.

I think that it’s going to be a little while before I stay at Caribbean Beach Resort again by choice. There are just too many flaws for me to go out of my way to spend my money there. Hopefully with a few customer service improvements and some updates it’ll be able to bring me back.

What do you think of this resort? Have you had more success? Let us know in the comments!

Stacey Lantz

Born and raised in Southwest Michigan, Stacey believes she lives far too many miles away from Walt Disney World. In her spare time she enjoys singing/dancing, spending time with her nieces, and of course, talking about Walt Disney World to anyone that is willing to listen. She's been blogging about all things Disney since 2008. Follow her on Twitter @Stacey87.

10 thoughts on ““I Feel the Rhythm, Mon!” Caribbean Beach Resort Review

  • November 22, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I’ve stayed at Caribbean Beach a couple of times and enjoyed it. Like the other moderates (except Port Orleans French Quarter), it is spread out. And it’s odd that the check-in building is not set off on its own, not really connected to anything else at the resort.

    However, if you’re fine doing some walking, the grounds and amenities are great. The water play area for kids is better than any others I can think of on property, and the pirate-style pool is a lot of fun. It even has multiple slides. The food court is large and interesting, too.

    Although I expected a noisy air conditioner based on Len Testa’s comments on WDW Today, I didn’t find that to be an issue in a renovated room. In fact, I’ve found rooms at the moderate resorts to be pretty much the same. Notable differences are that some rooms have queen beds rather than doubles (although all should eventually have queens), Coronado Springs only has a single sink in the vanity.

  • November 22, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    I’ve stay at Caribbean Beach twice. Both times it was good, but not great.

    The buses for the most part are good, but every once and awhile there will be a long wait.

    The pool is great. My son loved it.

    The food court is ok. Some things need to be avoided, while others were good.

    The rooms were good, but usually had one or two minor things wrong.

  • November 22, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    I’d have to agree with not wanting to stay there again. I have only stayed there once and we were put in Trinidad South- which is truly the farthest buidling from Port Royale- not covered walkways and you have to cross the street to get to Port Royale. We did have a close bus stop but being “outside” the loop, it wasn’t the most reliant. We many walked to Port Royale for breakfast and caught bus there. The one benefit was that we could see part of the illumintations not far from our building at night, but that also meant we heard them from inside the room. Not a big to most, but those with children might not like the extra noise…

  • November 22, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    My husband and i just stayed at the carribean beach resort 3 weeks ago for 6 nights…and, we thought it was fine..clean room…and lucky for us, every request was fulfilled. We got the building we wanted (Trinidad N.) on the floor we wanted, and the type of bed we asked for (king) with no problem. also, check in, for us, was abreeze and our room was ready 3 hours before check in. I cant say anything about the buses as we had a rental car but we saw a ton of them continually. Only complain i had was the bathroom was a bit small but no biggie..I would stay there again.

  • November 22, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Interesting. We stayed at Caribbean Beach in September. We had no problems with check-in (did not use online check-in). We were traveling with our daughter and her family and we were given connecting rooms in Jamaica without having to ask, right on the path leading to the bridge. The room was fine all around. I didn’t notice any noise from adjacent rooms or that the AC was noisy. The beds were much more firm than we’re used to, which was a bit of a problem for my wife (back problems). We had good weather and, yes, the pool is great. I do like Caribbean Beach, by a slight margin over Port Orleans Riverside. We haven’t stayed at Coronado Springs. The cabins at Fort Wilderness would be my pick of the moderates overall, though it is more expensive.

  • November 23, 2011 at 10:16 am

    My family and I stayed here in January. The biggest complaint I had was the snails pace for check in. Cast members weren’t really feeling it that day and it just took forever. We also had a room in Martinique, but we actually loved it. Our building was just a short walk to the bus station and we didn’t find the walk to Port Royale a big issue. Allowed us to enjoy the landscaping. The buses sometimes took awhile, but I’d read up on the hotel here at TouringPlans.com so knew what to expect. My kids, ages 7 and 2 at the time, had a great time and loved the beaches and hammocks. Because my daughter was only 2 we asked for a crib and it was in our room pretty quickly. Overall we had a really great time and would visit this hotel again. Although I’m hoping to save up enough to stay at Wilderness Lodge next time.

  • November 23, 2011 at 10:18 am

    We stayed here Sept 2008 & like the author were put in Martinique although corner ground floor.This was our first stay on-site & had very high expectations but sadly overall all we got was disappontment! Nothing in the room screamed Disney,in fact it was no better or worse than the Comfort Inn,towel animals -what are they? Even when we stayed at the Staybridge suites,daily housekeeping would do something with our son’s pyjamas & teddy,CBR nothing!
    The food court was generally good but very busy,in particular we enjoyed Shutters-if I was being overly crical we did feel rushed but the food was good.Also the sandwiches as the quick service counter were very good & there was plenty of eating in them.
    The pool has only just been re-opened & there was no fault to be found there.
    My final thoughts are that we wouldn’t stay here again,it was just..ok.

  • November 23, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    We have stayed at CBR in the past, and enjoyed it. I liked reading the thoughtful review. My only suggestion is, if you make a request and it is not honored, or have some other issue, let them know you’re not happy. The cast members are good people in general, but like anyone else, they’re trying to get through the day and if that means you don’t get what you want, that might not be a problem for them unless you let them know it is for you.

    • November 25, 2011 at 8:46 pm

      I actually brought it up. I mentioned that I put in a request and asked if it was honored (this was before she told me we’d be in Martinique) and she looked, shook her head no, and said “No, it wasn’t. You’re in Martinique.” I thought maybe if I mentioned it then she would be happy to look and see if it was available for us but she didn’t. I didn’t want to push my luck since she seemed on the crabby side anyway.

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