Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort Review

Alex Coleman

Mouseketeer
Joined
Nov 4, 2017


This is a comprehensive review of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. I will give my thoughts about the resort itself and I will review the room. I will also give some recommendations for those who may want to stay at the resort and some suggestions to make your stay better.

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is a Moderate resort in the Epcot area of Walt Disney World. There are just over 2000 rooms and they are arranged around Barefoot Bay. The resort is themed in the style of the islands of the Caribbean. There are six villages. Each village is named after a different island.



Sarah and I stayed here during our November 2017 trip. We had never visited the resort before our last trip so I was excited to walk around its vast grounds. Sarah was not incredibly excited about this resort. She is more interested in the Disney intellectual property resorts (Art of Animation, All-Star Movies, or Royal Rooms at Riverside).

During the planning phase of our November 2017 trip, we were considering staying for all 10 days. Disney was giving a considerable discount for guests staying at this resort. Due to construction (more on that to come), this resort is a shadow of its completed self. Sarah disliked the resort so much when we walked through it in July 2017, she did not want to take the discount.

Resort
Let’s start with positives. I think the largest positive of Caribbean Beach is the recreation areas. Fuentes del Morro Pool and the Caribbean Cay areas directly in the middle of the resort are excellent.



There are also beach areas with hammocks and lounge chairs in each section of the resort. This creates a laid-back, fun vibe across the entire resort.



If you are looking to stay at this resort, it is important to understand that CB is massive and spread out. I think the size of the resort can be both a positive and a negative. Sarah and I realized that we really enjoy the larger, more spread out resorts on our November 2017 trip. We love walking aimlessly through the resorts and feeling like we are isolated from the rest of the world during our vacations. Because of that fact, we like the size of the resort.



The size of this resort can also be a negative. I have to be honest, this may be the worst Disney bus transportation resort at Disney World, currently. There are several bus depots at CB because of the way the villages are spread out. The buses also need to make a trip around the entire resort and then u-turn and do the entire circle again because of construction. This unorthodox route means that ride times can be painfully long. Even though this resort is centrally located, the ride times were very long. If you are driving to WDW or not using bus transportation, this will not be a problem. If you are, you may consider another resort.



The current renovations at this resort can either be a positive or a negative. Sarah and I both tend to be optimists when it comes to WDW touring. We like to be future-minded about renovations, rather than focusing on the current inconveniences. We see the potential of the changes. I think that CB has incredible potential. As a part of the recent 12 Days of Disney Parks Christmas special, we got a sneak peek of the resort.



These renovations include a reimagined Centertower Market, a new full-service restaurant, and a new lakeside bar and lounge area. We also got to see some artistic renderings of the new Disney Skyliner hub at CB. The new Centertown village looks like a welcomed addition which will centralize the CB experience. I am sure these new eateries will be adequate options for guests who do not want to leave the resort. The Skyliner hub looks like it will fit stylistically with the resort, but was not remarkable. The fact that the gondolas will be coming to CB is exciting enough in itself.



I have to be real, the current state of the resort tests that optimism that Sarah and I hold about renovations. Currently, most of the Centertown village is walled-off for construction. We stayed in the Martinique village of the resort and the entire walk to the central hub was walled-off. The current dining situation is fairly grim at CB. The Centertown Pavilion dining area is a tent. There are mini-markets set up in each village, but they are repurposed rooms. I do like that they put several food trucks surrounding the tent, but it is not worth spending money or credits at the resort.



Rooms
The rooms at CB do go a long way towards restoring our optimism. Sarah and I were both incredibly impressed by the quality of the space. The rooms have been recently renovated at are beautifully done. During our November 2017 trip, we were having a conversation with a Cast Member at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort who told us that these rooms will be the template for resort rooms across WDW. If that is the case, I am excited!



It was very clear that the rooms had been updated. I am sure that the theming will divide opinions. Some people still may think that it is over-the-top and gaudy, but I did not mind it. I liked that I felt like I was at a tropical island resort. Sarah and I also did not feel like we were being attacked by the islands. I think Disney has transitioned well from overwhelming patterns to subtle nods.

Sarah and I also loved the clearly upgraded aspects like the television and the refrigerator. The television was mounted to the wall and the fridge had a glass door, which feels higher end. The sliding bathroom doors were nice and the fixture fixtures felt like a hotel that happens to be at WDW, not just a WDW resort. The difference seems subtle, but ask anyone who has stayed at an All-Star resort the difference.



We both really liked the bed at CB. It was incredibly soft. Even though Sarah and I prefer firm beds, we can appreciate the softness of the beds here. The only negative of the bed was that the pillows were incredibly weak. We have run into this issue across all the WDW resorts. I prefer to use 2 normal pillows, so I struggle with not having enough support for my head. That is nit-picky, but we really liked the rooms!



Should I Stay Here?
I am going to make a judgment call here that some people may disagree with. I would not recommend staying at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort until Late 2018. Originally, Disney announced that the renovations would conclude at CB in Late 2017, but it is currently 2018 and they have not concluded yet. Due to the size of the project, I would not count on the renovations being done until Late 2018. The resort is currently a bit of a mess and the renovations severely limit the guest experience. Instead, I would stay at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort - Riverside.

As a result of this, I would recommend CB for the following people:

  • Parties looking to save some money, but do not want to stay in a Value resort.
  • Guests who are booking last-minute.
  • People who may have an emotional connection with the resort.
As I stated above, I struggle to recommend this resort to tourists until the renovations are completed. I imagine the under construction feel is not what most people will want while they are on vacation. The dining situation at the resort also makes it less appealing. I also think the bus transportation is bad enough that it will turn off hardcore park tourists. I can see several very specific populations wanting to stay here, but not most of the general public.

Tips


First, I would not plan on dining at CB until Centertown is complete. The idea of eating in a tent was not appealing to Sarah or I, so we decided to not. I imagine that most people will feel the same way. Stay in Martinique. Being that the bus transportation takes so long, it is best to stay at the first bus stop. Sarah and I both prefer to do our longer waiting on the front end, rather than after the parks have closed and we are exhausted. If you stay in Martinique, you will need to budget extra time to get to the parks, but you will be able to get off earlier upon returning.

Have you stayed at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort? Share your experience! We would love to hear from you! Just add to the Comments section below.

Want to see more Walt Disney World reviews? Check out our Reviews page!
 
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AngiTN

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 7, 2011
We stayed there in the summer and had a fabulous time. It was our second stay at CBR, the first was 5 years back. I had no complaints but we aren't types to eat at the resort anyway. We did try the tent once to report on it. Wasn't bad food. Lacks variety though. We had great days at the pool, usually had characters around each afternoon. Also enjoyed sitting on the beach having drinks and watching fireworks. They had musicians to entertain too.
 

ejgonz2

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
We got the same GC deal and will be there this March. For the value of a buffet for a QS credit we’re looking forward to eating there. But with 4 kids buffets meet our needs since everyone finds something they like.

Can I ask which is the last bus stop to get picked up? I’d prefer less waiting to get to the parks. I assume Aruba?
 
  • hereforthechurros

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 26, 2017
    We stayed in May and had fairly similar experience. The bus system particularly which turned us off from staying there unless we have a car or until the skyliner opens. Even the internal bus service takes forever.

    The tent food buffet wasn't awful, but it's nothing more than food for the sake of needing to have a food option. The food truck outside the tent however was atrocious even by QS makeshift food truck standards. Eat elsewhere considering its vacation.

    Agreed on the potential of this resort though. Grounds (minus construction) are serene with wonderful landscaping. The Beaches, little lizards running everywhere, flowers, hammocks all lend to the island feel. The pool area is fantastic and will be even better once the pool bar reopens. Ordering drinks outside the pool from a trailer just doesn't feel as fun haha.

    Front desk CM customer experience was lacking but the CMs working the food were so doting and sweet which made the odd construction situation easier to bear.
     

    Alex Coleman

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 4, 2017
    We stayed there in the summer and had a fabulous time. It was our second stay at CBR, the first was 5 years back. I had no complaints but we aren't types to eat at the resort anyway. We did try the tent once to report on it. Wasn't bad food. Lacks variety though. We had great days at the pool, usually had characters around each afternoon. Also enjoyed sitting on the beach having drinks and watching fireworks. They had musicians to entertain too.
    Yeah I think the resort is perfectly serviceable, but there are much better options. That Moderate category is saturated with great resorts. I am excited to see how it turns out!
     

    Alex Coleman

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 4, 2017
    We got the same GC deal and will be there this March. For the value of a buffet for a QS credit we’re looking forward to eating there. But with 4 kids buffets meet our needs since everyone finds something they like.

    Can I ask which is the last bus stop to get picked up? I’d prefer less waiting to get to the parks. I assume Aruba?
    I am doing a bit of digging. From my experience in November, it was Aruba.
     

    Alex Coleman

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 4, 2017
    We stayed in May and had fairly similar experience. The bus system particularly which turned us off from staying there unless we have a car or until the skyliner opens. Even the internal bus service takes forever.

    The tent food buffet wasn't awful, but it's nothing more than food for the sake of needing to have a food option. The food truck outside the tent however was atrocious even by QS makeshift food truck standards. Eat elsewhere considering its vacation.

    Agreed on the potential of this resort though. Grounds (minus construction) are serene with wonderful landscaping. The Beaches, little lizards running everywhere, flowers, hammocks all lend to the island feel. The pool area is fantastic and will be even better once the pool bar reopens. Ordering drinks outside the pool from a trailer just doesn't feel as fun haha.

    Front desk CM customer experience was lacking but the CMs working the food were so doting and sweet which made the odd construction situation easier to bear.
    Yeah the resort feels like it is currently a sleeping giant. I think it will be really great when all the renovations are done. I wouldn't eat at the resort, unless I needed food desperately. The food at WDW can be so good, it seems like a waste of money to just eat for the sake of eating!

    We had a great experience with the CM's who helped us with our bags (we were resort hopping). It was the one change where our bags were at the next resort before we were!
     
  • Magalex

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 14, 2004
    Thanks Alex for all the recent photos and updated review of CBR. We stayed there twice when CBR was the moderate that Disney gave discount codes for because it was the oldest moderate. We loved it and always stayed in Jamaica buildings. In June 2019 we are returning so the running list are POP or CBR. I am excited to see all the renovations. When the CenterTown Market is completed will Check in/Guest Services be in the same buliding (unliike in the past it was a separate building)?
     

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