Resort Hopping: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Recently we were lucky enough to spend a night at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort! There is a lot to love about this property, and I’m excited to tell you about our experience. This beautiful property just marked 25 years since opening, and she has aged beautifully! For starters, below is the property map that guests receive at check-in.
Now, I had to request an extra map to share with you guys because mine had tons of writing on it to get me to the room. If I had to describe the resort in one word, it would be: massive. While I know lots of the resorts inside and out, this isn’t one I frequent, and I can see where it would be very confusing for some. Also, due to the large size there is an internal bus system to get you around the resort. That doesn’t sound like a negative until you can’t walk to breakfast or the pool. However, that is the only negative I found, and it is a minor one considering all the beauty that comes with this resort!
Resort Amenities: Looking at the map above I thought it would be best to take each of the lettered amenities one by one.
(A) Custom House: This is where all guests go to check-in or visit Guest Services.
(B) Old Port Royale Centertown: At this location there is a lovely indoor gift shop with more than just the normal sundries you’d find by the pool. We found lots of great Disney merchandise and even a coconut designed to mail to your friends back home! There are several quick service dining options, including grab-and-go cold snacks and hot dishes like pizza and burgers. There is also a huge and lovely indoor seating area in which to sit and enjoy your meal. And this area houses in a nice indoor arcade!
(C) Fuentes del Morro Feature Pool Area: This is the enormous and beautiful pool area for the resort. It must be one of the most grand pools in the entire Central Florida area! If you are bringing your kids to Florida to swim, then look no further – you’ve found the ideal place to stay! This area also features several hot tubs hidden around away from all the madness by the pool. The little ones will also have fun in their own splash area themed after a pirate ship! While we were there it seemed like there were activities going on around the pool to keep the kids entertained most of the day. The only trouble is your kids might not want to actually leave to go to the park with a pool like this back “home!”
(D) Barefoot Boat Yard / Bike Works: This is where you can rent a boat to take out on the lake or a bike to ride around the resort!
(E) Caribbean Cay: This is a beautiful “island” in the middle of the lake accessible by walkways. There are tropical alcoves all over in which to sit and enjoy the views. My favorite spots were the shady areas with hammocks! It took me a few minutes to put my finger on what this reminded me of, and then it hit me – Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay! The lush greenery and secluded seating areas are very similar. There is also a very nice playground for the kids!
Room Amenities: I found the rooms at Caribbean Beach to be slightly larger than the rooms at the value resorts, but the buildings still have exterior corridors. Our room was in the Jamaica area, which was lovely with lots of little paths and sitting areas to enjoy. I don’t know what kind of air conditioner was in the room, but it was industrial strength!! We checked in around 6pm and found the room to be freezing cold, so we turned the air conditioner off. When we returned at 10pm, the room was still freezing! (Yes, we are the people who turned the heater on when it was 90 degrees outside!) Other in-room amenities include: iron, ironing board, valet laundry, coffee maker, hair dryer, and in-room safe. Note that the safe had an actual metal key. There was also a large cabinet that would usually house a mini fridge, but it was empty; perhaps my room was part of the resort-wide project to replace faulty in-room refrigerators.
Overall, Disney’s Caribbean Beach is not just a great place to stay during your Disney vacation; it is just a great place to stay! After spending a night here, I can see us spending a few nights here for a staycation without ever visiting the parks. This relaxing, tropical resort is a perfect escape from a busy day in the parks.
Have you stayed at Disney’s Caribbean Beach? Is there something you love about this property that I missed? Do you have questions about the hotel? Please let us know in the comments below, and – as always – thanks for reading!
27 thoughts on “Resort Hopping: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort”
I have fond memories of Caribbean Beach resort. It was our resort on our first visit to WDW in ’88. It was our “gateway drug”. We loved it!
I’m glad you love the resort! I remember staying here years and years ago. I’ve always like the place. Glad you do too! 🙂
We stayed at Caribbean Beach Resort September 2012 in a pirate themed room. It was PERFECT and my 4 year old son absolutely loved it! He wants to stay there when we go next May. I had read several complaints about pirate rooms being too far away from Old Port Royale and the main pool, but we enjoyed the 5 minute walk on the path by the water and made the trip several times. Don’t rule out a pirate room because of “distance” the theming is awesome!
I found that with most moderates the rooms just aren’t close to anything. Especially with Caribbean Beach we had to take the internal bus to get most places. It isn’t my favorite thing about the place – but it is still beautiful!! 🙂 Thanks for reading!
We stayed there in November 2001 for our 18th wedding anniversary. It was quiet and quite lovely. We enjoyed walking the grounds. The food court was average. (Staying at Yacht Club for our 30th!)
Hi Page! Thanks for reading! You will love Yacht Club. We stayed there last year (before I was writing with TP) and it really is so much better than Caribbean Beach. The entire property is walking distance and the amenities better. I’m sure you will love it!
My family stayed earlier this month and my kids (5 & 7) LOVED the pirate adventure cruise that departs from the marina at the Caribbean. The cruise includes pirate gear, snacks and lots of stories about all the pirates that used to inhabit the resort. Even by non-disney standards it was affordable and my husband and I got 2 hours child free to wander the resort and relax!
That is so cool! We don’t have kids so I guess we didn’t get that flyer. Great tip for parents, though!! Thanks for sharing! 🙂
We stayed there twice, once in the Jamica section and the other time in Martinique section. I have to say, when riding the buses to and from the parks, the Jamica section was the best one to catch it. You were the first ones to be picked up and dropped off. That helps when the buses make several stops within the resort. When it came to being close to the main pool and food court, Martinique was the best. We made a point to take time and relax and walk around the resort. The grounds are just spectacular! We would also sit on the beach at night and watch the fireworks from Epcot! A great place to stay and the pool is so nice that we never went to the water parks. My son was satisfied with the pirate ship area.
Thanks for the great tips! This is great info for anyone that wants to request a room location. Thanks for sharing!!
I wish they would make the rooms at CBR like the ones at Riverside that sleep 5. We stayed at CBR when my youngest was 2, and I was sick for the whole trip. I didn’t get to enjoy the resort at all. 🙁 It’s my husband’s favorite too, but now since all of our kids are over 3 years old we can’t all fit in a room. I’d love to stay there again!
Hi Neula! My parents had the same trouble. It is really tough with 3 kids! You’d think Disney would be more accommodating. The good news is we stayed at Art of Animation last year and I liked it better! That is a great fit for a larger family! 🙂
We took my daughter to Disney for her 13th birthday. We had planned the trip for months and were so excited. We had reservations at CBR. I was impressed with the lobby, but it all ended there when we checked into our room. Was I at the same place you all were? We love Disney and have made many trips and stayed at all resort levels. The room was old and not taken care of. The smell was musty. The comforter and sheets had stains. The carpet was awful. We were so disappointed. Although, the staff, as always were amazing. They switched us that night to Coronado Springs and we were thrilled and had a great stay.
Because CBR is many little individual buildings and it’s up there in age, I imagine maintenance conditions are inconsistent.
A musty room is not necessarily not well cared for by housekeeping. Once water penetration occurs behind the walls, a only a major renovation can truly fix the problem and the musty smell.
And because it’s still just a MOTEL, the heating and A/C are not the nicer really large chiller evaporator units for the whole building, they have through the wall units under the window to the walkway. So, again, a recipe for inconsistency. If the A/C condensate drain backs up into the room, then the carpet is constantly wet near the door, and you’re greeted with musty damp smells.
I find this review to be completely believable, and that’s a good reason to get to the hotel early in the day to get a good room.
If you’re hunting for an inconvenient transfer to Coronado Springs, then arrive late.
Hi Ron- all good points! Thanks for sharing.
Hi Debbie! That is rotten! I’m sorry you had such a bad experience. I’ve worked in hospitality before and it seems like every hotel has some really awful rooms. I’m glad they were able to transfer you to somewhere you were happy! 🙂
We stayed there May 2013 while they were busy repainting the exterior of Jamaica – seeing the color difference between the faded yellow and the newly painted yellow was dramatic. We really enjoyed our stay with the resort. The grounds are absolutely breath-taking and there’s no better way to end a day than by lazing in one of the hammocks!
The ONLY problem we have is that the beds are not queen sized, but doubles. While this does contribute to the sense that the room is larger than many other Moderate resorts (in fact, it’s actually smaller by a few square feet), you lose 6 inches across and 5 inches in length on the bed – and sometimes you just want room to sprawl after a long day touring.
Hi Crystal! Good point – we sure noticed the bed size. We tried but ended up in separate beds! 😉
You mentioned outdoor corridors as if you might have felt that it is a negative thing. I suppose some people may feel that way, but I think it’s one of the major features that makes the resort seem so quiet and relaxing. For me, an indoor corridor is just a big echo chamber that magnifies and amplifies every running footstep, slamming door, and loud voice. We’ve stayed at CBR several times, and while we are in our room, we almost feel as if there is no one else around. People walk by your room very rarely, and when they do, you almost never hear them. It’s one of the things that makes CBR so peaceful and relaxing for us.
Outdoor corridors at pop century or all stars have much more traffic and see many more people strolling by your only window to the outside world leaving your view to be of people who have a 100% clear unimpeded view into your bedroom.
It’s a very little thing, but being able to leave a window open, yet still be undisturbed is a huge reason hotel rather than MOTEL style layouts work.
But CBR is definitely more peaceful than a value resort because the number of rooms per building or per staircase is so much lower. But I found saratoga springs resort (SSR) to much more private and just as peaceful as CBR. And at an SSR studio, you can walk or boat to DTD, you get a kitchenette, and the parking situation (especially when just loading and unloading) is much better.
Of course comparing value resorts to CBR and then to a DVC steps you up in price at every comparison, so no wonder it gets better as price goes up.
The reason hotels are noisy is the guests. CBR spaces the guests further apart.
Hi Joanne! I mentioned the outdoor corridors because people seem to either love them or hate them and it’s good to understand what you are getting. Personally, I don’t care but my hubby always prefers interior corridor. (Though he can never really tell me why…. ;))
In a normal hotel I feel safer with interior corridors but at a Disney resort I feel safe with either interior or exterior corridors.
I’ve stayed at CBR twice… It’s okay. It’s NO Saratoga springs. And if you’re willing to rent DVC points with all the hassles, restrictions, and risks that involves, then get the DVC rental before even thinking about the moderate hotels.
But if you need a simple motel room, you hate the value resorts, and you’re not staying that long, then this is a great option for that last minute straight forward booking.
I love that it’s not pop century though. (It’s basically next door to pop century from a transportation perspective.) I just can’t stand disney value properties. (It’s too bad, too, because there are a lot of positives. But not for me.) I’d just stay off site before staying at a value again. The room is TOO small and there’s just too many rooms per corridor making for a LOT of foot traffic outside of the only window to the outside of the room.
CBR is at the “bottom” of what I find acceptable, and is a slight improvement on the value resorts.
CBR rooms extra size are just big enough to me fitting a stroller or pack n play easier, and the bathroom privacy curtain helps. It’s also lower density than the value resorts (more spread out). But without the convenience of actually having good parking. The lower density means less foot traffic right outside your window.
There’s really no reason a place can’t have more of a saratoga springs or old key west parking lot to room layout except that those properties are newer, and they pretend to be deluxe. (They’re nowhere near comparable to the resort adjacent DVC hotels).
And the pirate rooms are an over priced gimmick to make really out of the way rooms actually more expensive than regular priced rooms. I’d recommend trying to get a preferred room at CBR or just expect to skip walking to the main food court, pool, or restaurant.
The kid’s water playgound is one of the best on property. The bar is excellent, and every aspect of hotel operations is executed like I think the value resorts should do (but don’t).
My conclusion: I’d like to try to see how Port Orleans (which has a boat to Downtown Disney) stacks up to CBR. And I probably would always like staying at Saratoga Springs when I can for the same price (but more risk when renting DVC points).
But I’d stay there again for sure.
I also WISH check in was faster. Check in at Disney takes way too long.
Hey Ron- thanks for sharing! You make really great points here. 🙂
Hi Ron. Our family of 4 stayed at CBR for our first trip, and then 6 months later we stated at Riverside (based on Len’s direct recommendation to me when I called into the Live show of WDW Today!)
We were NOT disappointed. We stayed in Alligator Bayou section. We preferred the feel of the resort, the rooms were very recently renovated, the landscaping was lush and it just felt more deluxe than CBR. I agree about the slightly musty smell at CBR, but it actually didn’t bother us too much.
In May, I took just my son the All Star Sports for a long weekend. I know what you mean about all the traffic in the corridors, but you just don’t get that in the moderates. Maybe because they are not made up of long straightaways, or else the layout & ratio of the stairwells as you suggest. Or the clientele doesn’t wander the corridors like the young kids do?
Anyway, my point is try Riverside. And the boat to Downtown Disney is such a cool added amenity (that I’m sure you’ve experienced at SSR), that I feel it is another perk that makes PO-R much more like a deluxe than a moderate.
We stayed at Caribbean Beach Resort last summer and we stayed in Jamaica on the back side near the bus stop and it was great. It was so quiet at all times and it was a short walk to the bus stop. We enjoyed it so much that we have reserved our June 2014 trip at CRB and we have requested Jamaica again. Cant wait! Only 236 days to go.
If its from Disney them it must be good. I always belived that Disney always bring the best attractions and the best accommodations so having a resort this big is no surprise.