Disney Caribbean Beach Resort sometimes gets a bad rap for being the oldest Moderate resort or for being huge/spread out.
While this is true, I think Caribbean Beach has a lot of strengths, including:
- An incredible pool complex
- Recently refurbished rooms
- Excellent renovations to the lobby and restaurants
In this post, I’ll share my resort review with info on the pools, restaurants, rooms, and the Caribbean Beach Resort renovations that were completed in 2019.
I’ll also share what I think are the pros and cons of the resort to help you decide if it is right for you!
Disney Caribbean Beach Resort Map
Caribbean Beach Resort is made up of five “villages” positioned around a body of water called Barefoot Bay. To give you a sense of scale, it is 1.2 miles around the main part of Barefoot Bay.
And here is a close-up map of the Old Port Royale area. This map shows where you will find the different dining options and Freestyle Machines (now found all over the resort!)
You can click on these Disney Caribbean Beach Resort Maps if you’d like to print them for your reference.
If you want to see how Caribbean Beach stacks up against the other Disney Moderate Resorts, check out this post on the best and worst of the Moderate Resorts at Disney World.
Rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort
Some rooms now sleep five thanks to the addition of a fold-down Murphy bed.
The buildings at Caribbean Beach are only two stories tall but they do not have elevators. This is important to note if you are traveling with strollers, wheelchairs or scooters.
If you need a ground floor room due to an ECV or wheelchair, be sure to note that in a room request. You access the rooms via outdoor walkways, similar to all of the other Moderate resorts.
I lucked out and got a corner room on my recent stay which has an extra window. I really enjoyed everything about the new rooms. The decor is modern and understated but still has a Caribbean vibe.
The queen beds were comfortable and the room seemed larger than most Disney rooms to me, likely due to the fact that the resort was built in 1988.
My favorite feature of the room was the heavy rolling wooden doors that separate the bathroom area from the main room.
We were able to fit two strollers plus all of our stuff in the room and still had room to move around.
My nephew was one year old and our plan was to put his Pack ‘n Play in the bathroom area and close it off from the main area with the doors during nap time and at night.
He never woke up from noise from the main room and the Pack ‘n Play fit perfectly under the shelving once we moved the ironing board.
The heavy doors essentially made a second room for him to sleep in, which was great considering there was also a three-year-old in the room!
The bathroom area contained two sinks and a separate (and really tiny) room with a toilet and shower.
My only complaint about the room was how small the sink/shower area was. Is was hard to maneuver in that space, especially when I was giving both kids a bath.
Disney Caribbean Beach Room Categories
There are many different types of rooms you can book at Caribbean Beach. Here they are, listed from least to most expensive:
- Standard View
- Standard View – Sleeps 5
- Water or Pool View
- King Bed
- Water or Pool View – Sleeps 5
- Preferred Room (Bldgs 24-26 in Martinique)
- Pirate Room – Standard View
- Pirate Room – Water or Pool View
Caribbean Beach Resort Pirate Room
Now about those Pirate rooms… The Trinidad South area of the resort contains rooms that are heavily themed to the Pirates of the Caribbean.
A Caribbean Beach Resort Pirate room has two double beds and costs around $70 more per night than a standard room.
Be warned that they are some of the furthest rooms from the dining and main pool, which is a deterrent for some folks. But if you have a pirate-crazed little one, these rooms might be worth the extra walking and cost.
If you want help deciding on the right resort and room for your Disney vacation, I highly suggest getting a free quote from my travel agent partner Siera with Destinations in Florida!
At no additional cost to you, she can help you with all aspects of planning your trip.
Disney Caribbean Beach Resort Pools
Pools are always a big attraction for us at Disney resorts, and this pool ended up being one of my favorites.
The feature pool is located at Old Port Royale and is called Fuentes del Morro. It is the only zero-entry pool at a Moderate resort and I thought it was a fairly large pool.
Two water slides empty into the main pool – a shorter one for the younger crowd and a 102-foot long slide that requires climbing to the top of the fort and sliding through the almost-total darkness.
There are towels, restrooms, showers, and lockers located in the pool area as well. I was most impressed with how well it was themed to a pirate’s fort, complete with cannons, lookouts, hidden passageways, and iron bars over the windows.
There is a hot tub in the main pool area along with a gated kiddie water play area.
The shipwreck play area was a big hit with my three-year-old, though she had NO INTEREST in getting water dumped on her head (which happens every few minutes).
There were a few slides and lots of room to splash and play for the little ones.
There are also five “leisure” pools found in each village around the resort. They are basic pools but are decent sized and may offer a calmer experience.
Disney Caribbean Beach Resort Restaurants
All of the Caribbean Beach Resort restaurants received an overhaul in 2018-2019.
Here are the four restaurants:
- Centertown Market in Old Part Royale (quick service)
- Sebastian’s Bistro (table service)
- Spyglass Grill in Trinidad South (quick service)
- Banana Cabana (outdoor bar with some food)
Overall the dining scene improved at Caribbean Beach with these new restaurants. I particularly love Sebastian’s Bistro and recommend eating dinner there one night during your stay.
The quick service food still leaves much to be desired, unfortunately. I had lackluster food at both quick service locations on my recent trip.
Currently the only way to get to the theme parks from Caribbean Beach is via Disney buses or car. Starting later this summer there will be a Skyliner stop at Caribbean Beach as well!
Since the resort is huge there are six bus stops within the resort.
That’s right, you will possibly stop up to five additional times before you reach the parks/return to your room.
We had a pretty rough time with the buses on our trip and we only took them a handful of times. It took us almost an hour to get back to our room from Epcot one night.
I normally advise taking Disney buses to the theme parks for the convenience and time that it saves. However, at Caribbean Beach, I would suggest driving to every park except the Magic Kingdom if you have a car available.
Epcot would have been a less than 10-minute drive, and even with an additional 10 minutes of trekking to your car you still would have saved about 40 minutes in our situation.
I still would recommend taking a bus to the Magic Kingdom because of the additional time involved in taking a ferry or the monorail to get to/from the parking lot.
Caribbean Beach Resort Renovations: Lobby & Gift Shop
Thanks to the Caribbean Beach Resort renovations, you’ll be treated to a brand new lobby, check-in area, and gift shop.
The new location of the check-in desks at Old Port Royale is a HUGE improvement to the resort. You used to have to trek to the very front of the resort to visit the desks which was a giant pain.
I think the new lobby is beautiful and very upscale. I liked all of the furniture to lounge on. It was very much appreciated when we arrived after a 5:30 am flight!
The gift shop (Calypso Trading Post) is located right off of the lobby. It is smaller than the old gift shop but had a nice selection of items and some basic food supplies.
Disney Caribbean Beach Resort Review: Cost
One of the strengths of Caribbean Beach is that it is the most affordable of the Moderate resorts.
Not only is its rate rack slightly lower (e.g. about $20 less per night than Port Orleans Riverside), but you can also often find discounted rooms available at this resort when other Moderate resorts are booked up.
Disney releases “room-only” discounts for most dates throughout the year, and I’ve never seen Caribbean Beach excluded from these discounts.
I always suggest booking room-only Disney reservation with Orbitz because you can stack these Disney discounts with promo codes from Orbitz to save even more.
I purposefully planned this trip to fall in the “Regular” season that begins after Easter and runs until the end of May. This is one of my most recommended times to visit Walt Disney World due to the great weather and lower rates.
Caribbean Beach Resort Activities
We decided in part to stay at Caribbean Beach because of how much there is to do here, and it didn’t disappoint.
The kids played on the beach, swam in the pools, played on the playground, roasted marshmallows over a campfire, caught part of Frozen on a giant screen by the pool, and even watched fireworks from the beach.
We ran out of time to do all we wanted to do at the resort, even after five days there and not going to the theme parks!
Our little ones really loved playing on the beach closest to our building. I think they would have been happy spending hours here each day.
Note that swimming isn’t permitted, and for your kids’ safety please keep them out of the water. There was a volleyball net set up on this beach, though I’m not sure how you obtain a ball.
Cast members lead a campfire on the Martinique beach select nights during the week, and we liked that it was early enough that our little ones could participate without missing bedtime.
I think it was at 5:30 pm one night, and 6:30 or 7:00 on the others. You can roast as many marshmallows as you want for free, plus you can buy S’mores kits for a few bucks.
We also spent some time at the playground, which is located on the island called Caribbean Cay (FYI that’s pronounced “key”, just so you don’t look like a goober like I did) near the pool complex.
It had lots of equipment for all ages and was never very crowded.
Like all Disney resorts, Caribbean Beach has daily recreation activities. They were posted on this sign at the pool as well as in an Activities calendar you are given at check-in.
We did catch a little bit of Frozen on a blow-up screen in the courtyard one night which was really fun.
Finally, you can rent watercraft or bicycles at the marina near Old Port Royale from 10 am through around 4 pm each day.
We intended to rent a surrey bike for a ride around the resort but ran out of time.
Kids ages 4 to 12 can participate in a Pirate Adventure Cruise that leaves the marina on select nights at 5 pm.
It lasts 2 hours, involves following clues to discover secret treasure, and parents aren’t allowed! It costs $37 per child and is a great chance for parents to have an evening for themselves.
Disney Caribbean Beach Resort Theming
In my opinion, the grounds, architecture and theming at this resort are one of its big strengths. Each village has its own distinct feel from subtle design and color differences.
There are beaches along Barefoot Bay in each village, complete with hammocks and palm trees. The pathways among the villages are shaded and beautifully landscaped.
The vibe at this resort is laid back, tropical and uniquely Caribbean.
I really enjoyed walking around the resort and checking out the different villages. At over 200 acres, you could spend the better part of your vacation just exploring the resort!
Disney Caribbean Beach Resort Review: Pros & Cons
Instead of making you wait until the end of this (kinda long) review for the pros and cons of the resort, I’ll share them now and explain as I go along.
Caribbean Beach Pros:
- Refurbished rooms (including some that sleep five)
- Incredible pool complex
- Gorgeous grounds with lots to do
- New dining & lobby thanks to renovations
- One of the last resorts to fill up and is always included in discounts
- Is a stop on the gondola system to open in fall 2019!
Caribbean Beach Cons:
- Lower quality of food than other Disney resorts (some was downright bad)
- Long bus rides to/from the theme parks
- Long walks to food/pool from many rooms at the resort
- Not very “Disney” (which could be a pro or con depending on how much you love the Mouse)
A Few Closing Thoughts
Disney’s standards of excellence for its cast members are in full effect at Caribbean Beach. We had nothing but positive interactions with everyone there.
Our little ones received a princess wand/pirate sword at check-in and adorable pirate rubber duckies when we went back to the Customs House to add my sister’s credit card to her Magic Band.
We left some items in our room (including my Kindle… cringe) and a member of the Mousekeeping staff collected them for us and shipped them back to me at no charge. Disney sets the bar so high for guest satisfaction that it makes it hard to vacation anywhere else.
We enjoyed watching fireworks from both Epcot and Hollywood Studios from the beach outside of our room.
However, the noise from the fireworks was so loud in our room that it sounded like they were directly outside.
This might have had something to do with the orientation of our room (facing the water and parks), so if this is going to be problematic for you then request a room facing away from both.
We didn’t have any other trouble with noise in our room until our last night when what sounded like a family of twelve descended on the room next to ours and made tons of noise until past midnight.
I’ve read complaints about paper-thin walls and noise in the rooms at Caribbean Beach, so I thought I should mention our experience.
Overall, we had a fantastic stay at this resort. I had to physically remove my little one from the pool when it was time to go home because she was having so much fun.
The Caribbean Beach Resort renovations has moved this resort up my list of my favorite moderate resorts. Once the Skyliner opens, it might be right at the top!
Any questions about my Disney Caribbean Beach Resort review? Leave a comment below or join the discussion in my free private Facebook group The Budget Mouse!