Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is the oldest moderate resort at Walt Disney World in Florida. It’s also the largest resort on property at over two hundred acres and 2109 rooms. I stayed here for the first time during October of 2016. The resort has just undergone a major renovation and every room is newly remodeled so I wasn’t worried that it was the oldest moderate. What is it like to stay at the largest Walt Disney World resort hit the jump for my review of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.
The resort is in the Epcot area and is very close to both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I took Disney’s Magical Express from the airport and it was the first resort stop which was nice! The resort check-in process was a bit odd. When you arrive at the resort you will check-in at the Custom House. This building houses the front desk, concierge, bell services and that’s it. It’s not connected to any other services and sits off by itself near the Resort entrance. I felt this was strange since I’m used to hotel lobbies to have everything! If you’re looking for the resort’s restaurants, feature pool and shops then you’ll have to head to Old Port Royale or Center Town which is apparently the same building (I heard the building called both names by Disney Cast Members). Caribbean Beach offers two restaurants, the quick service food court & the table service Shutters restaurant. The gift shop is also located in this building and was quite large. It felt like one of the larger gift shops at a DVC resort.
Caribbean Beach Resort has a feature pool which is located next to Old Port Royale and each of the “villages” have their own quiet pool. I didn’t have a chance to see the feature pool in person as I only made one trip to Old Port Royale. The feature pool does have a snack bar type restaurant and you can fill up your refillable mugs there as well. The resort is centered around a large bay. This was a beautiful feature and you can even rent a boat from the Barefoot Bay Boatyard located near Old Port Royale.
Location and Transportation
As stated above the resort is located in the Epcot resort area. This means that getting to Epcot and Hollywood Studios was very fast. Magic Kingdom was a bit of a ride, but wasn’t bad unless you’re forced to stand after being in the park all day. Other than being in the Magic Kingdom area I think this is a great location. I absolutely loved the location for Bay Lake but getting to any park other than Magic Kingdom was a pain no matter which mode of transportation we used.
Now, we unfortunately have to get into why I stayed at Caribbean Beach for five nights and only made one trip to the Old Port Royale/Center Town building. This boils down to one thing, this resort is HUGE. The resort has its own internal bus system that you can use to get from your room to other places around the resort. This includes checking in. If you have luggage you’ll be dragging this onto the bus. This internal bus seems to run less frequently than the park buses so it wasn’t uncommon for me to wait 15+ minutes for an internal shuttle. By the end of my stay I had learned the park bus routes and would jump on one of those that I knew would be stopping at my destination before it headed out to the parks. If I had been on the dining plan for this trip I would have only used my mug once or twice. It simply wasn’t worth the trouble to wait for a shuttle to Old Port Royale and then wait again for the trip back to the room. There’s nothing stopping you from walking from your room to another building in the resort. I just didn’t have the energy to walk more after a full day in the parks. Each “village” only has one bus stop so you may have a little bit of a walk to/from your room to the bus stop.
Aside from the internal bus route you will be utilizing the main Disney bus service quite often to get to the parks. This is the only mode of transportation offered at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. The buses to the parks arrived fairly frequently and I never had an issue with the bus showing up full. The only time I saw a bus fill up were on Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party nights. The bus ride back from the parks, especially Magic Kingdom, seemed to be quite full every time I rode them. I was solo on this trip so I was always able to squeeze onto a bus but if you’re traveling in a large group you may have to wait for another bus.
I stayed in a standard double bed room in the Barbados village. This is the closest village to the Custom House building so I was able to just walk over after checking in. I had originally requested the Martinique village as it was closer to Old Port Royale. The preferred rooms are housed in Martinique and Trinidad North since they are both next to Old Port Royale. The village seemed quiet. Almost too quiet! I don’t think I ever saw another guest while walking to/from the bus stop. This was odd for me. It made me feel like I was staying in a remote Caribbean hotel. I did enjoy the peace and quiet while sleeping and relaxing in the room! There was a patio area just outside my room which had some outdoor furniture and would have been nice to relax in if it the humidity weren’t 2000% and the heat 238,042 degrees during my stay.
The room itself was very nice. As previously mentioned, all rooms at Caribbean Beach have been recently renovated. The beds were comfortable, AC worked nicely and the decor felt both modern and yet fit the theme of the resort. There were USB ports by the bed which was really nice and should required for all hotels. The room had the standard flat screen TV and a fridge which was hidden under the TV. I love that Disney is including refrigerators in most of their rooms. This is great for keeping drinks cold and maybe saving those leftovers from dinner! Some rooms at Caribbean Beach may have a pull-down bunk bed under the TV. I’m not sure if these rooms have a fridge somewhere else, so if this is a high priority for you make sure to ask the cast members at check-in!
The bathroom was pretty standard but nice. The curtain separating the bedroom from the bathroom area has been replaced by a sliding barn door after the renovations. The sink is very modern looking and I loved the faucets! The tub and toilet are separated by another door so it is possible to have multiple people getting ready at the same time in the morning!
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is very nice and is usually the lowest priced out of the moderates. It definitely feels like a step up from the value resorts and was more peaceful and quiet than my stay at All Star Movies. My biggest complaint with this resort is its size. I almost wish I had a rental car so I could just drive myself around the resort. Disney’s Coronado Springs is fairly large but it was still possible for us to walk to the main building. I wish that Disney would put just one more bus on the internal bus route. I don’t think guests should have to wait more than five minutes to grab an internal shuttle.
So, the question of the day: would I stay here again. Well, the answer is yes and no. If it makes sense from a financial standpoint to book a room here I would do it in an instant. I feel I got good value for my money and it was a very relaxing resort. However, if other resorts are similarly priced then I would choose them over Caribbean Beach. The transportation situation is enough to make me stay away unless I can get a good deal here.
Review disclosure: All reviews on Behind Magic are my sole opinion. I will never accept compensation in return for a review. I paid for my stay at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. If I do not pay for the product or service being reviewed this will be disclosed and will not impact my opinions in the review.