In short…Big, beautiful and a great value. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is located at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. This moderately priced, beautifully designed resort, affords you the luxury of not having to choose between a relaxing Caribbean vacation or a Disney vacation, because you get both! The resort opened in 1988 as the first moderately priced resort on Disney property and is located in the Epcot Resort Area, which means Epcot is the closest theme park and the shortest bus ride away.
With six tropical villages nestled along the white sand beaches of the 45-acre Barefoot Bay, you are sure to feel as if you’ve landed in paradise the moment you arrive at the Custom House to check in. Each village: Trinidad North, Trinidad South, Martinique, Barbabos, Aruba and Jamaica, is unique in its color palette and architecture, but all offer the same lush, tropical grounds and convenient amenities. With a quiet pool, laundry and bus transportation stop at each, there really is no bad location per se. However, like every resort on Disney property there are preferred rooms you can reserve at an extra cost. At Caribbean Beach, “preferred” refers to the rooms either close to the Old Port Royale, (where you will find the food court, some shopping in Centertown and the feature pool), a water view room OR the Pirate Themed rooms. That’s right matey! Rooms decorated in full pirate regalia based upon the “Pirates of the Caribbean” attraction and films complete with ship shaped beds!
Whether you choose to shell out the extra doubloons for a preferred room or not, you will still wonder at the décor of the standard rooms which are themed after the Disney Pixar film “Finding Nemo”. Bedspreads, curtains, borders and artwork are where you can find Nemo, Dory and their aquatic friends throughout. Each room includes: a king or two double beds, a small refrigerator, hairdryer, coffee maker, iron and ironing board and a very small safe. It’s important to note all rooms are NON-Smoking. Designated smoking areas on the grounds are marked on the resort map. There is a rumor that standard rooms will be getting an upgrade in the near future. Queen beds perhaps?
The feature pool at Old Port Royale, named Fuentes del Morro, is perhaps the crown jewel of the Caribbean Beach Resort. Modeled after a colonial Spanish fortress, this pool features a zero depth entry, 2 water slides (including a huge 82 foot long plunge), water cannons, two Jacuzzi spas and a shipwreck water play area for the little swashbucklers in your party. Adults will enjoy the libations that can be found at the Banana Cabana pool bar and kids (and even bigger kids) will love the nearby Goombay Games Arcade.
There is much more to this resort though than just pretty colors, white sand beaches, hammocks, lush grounds and magnificent water features. The Caribbean Beach resort also has a full service Marina. Barefoot Bay Boatyard is where you can rent several styles of boats, take a guided fishing excursion, rent bicycles, surrey bikes or send the kiddos off on a Caribbean Pirate Adventure in search of treasures. You can even pick up a volleyball here and start a game on the beach of Martinique.
What makes this resort especially unique is it has it’s own island! Caribbean Cay located on Barefoot Bay is a separate island from the resort and is connected via bridges at Old Port Royale and the Jamaican village. The lush island has walking paths, old Spanish cannons, picnic tables, hammocks, play areas and fantastic sunset views. So whether you take your kids on an imaginary Pirates adventure or take a leisurely stroll with your better half, definitely do walk the bridge over to Caribbean Cay during your stay.
All of this resort adventuring tends to make you hungry. Luckily, there are several dining options at the Caribbean Beach. Market Street, inside the Old Port Royale, is set up exactly like a port town open-air market. Cobblestone pathways and street lights strung under blue skies, gives you the feeling of being outside while inside, and adds to the ambiance of this thrilling food court and shopping experience. Food offerings are plentiful. From rotisserie meats, pizza and pasta to deli sandwiches, burgers and baked goods, you are sure to find something to please even the most discriminating palette.
However, if you prefer a little more pampering than “grab and go” or Quick Service meals offer, Shutters is the resort’s table service restaurant and features an American/Caribbean menu with land and sea options. Rumor has it Shutters is known for their Key Lime dessert.
Lastly, if you are just too exhausted from your full day at the theme parks to fetch food for yourself, there is always pizza delivery service. That’s right, get a pizza delivered right to your room! All of the dining options do accept the Disney Dining Plan.
As mentioned before, each of the six villages has it’s own bus stop where guests can catch transportation to all of Disney’s theme parks, water parks and Downtown Disney. With 2,112 guest rooms, spread over six villages, the Caribbean Beach Resort is one of the largest on Disney property. Guests lodging in one of the further villages from the Old Port Royale, can take comfort in knowing there is an internal bus system that will transport you to locations around and throughout the resort. Alternately, there are walking trails and paths that lead to all the villages and Old Port Royale for more active guests.
Like all Disney resorts, there are Cast Member activities day and night. At the feature pool at Old Port Royale, you will find poolside dance parties, activities and games, there are nightly campfires with songs, stories and of course S’mores and nighttime “Movies under the Stars”. You will be presented with a schedule of these activities upon check-in.
The Caribbean Beach Resort is a favorite to many who return year after year, enjoying a soothing, tropical refuge after the sensory overload that often overwhelms even the best of us at the theme parks. Having stayed at the resort on two occasions myself, I can certainly see what brings guests back. If you do find yourself as a resort guest here, maybe one of the coolest souvenirs you can buy, can be found at the Calypso Trading Post and Straw Market… send a coconut postcard to someone back home! Neat Fact: the Caribbean Beach Resort is one of only three locations on Disney property where these can be found.