Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is my favorite of the moderate range hotels on property. These have better amenities than the Values like Pop Century or Art of Animation, but are way more affordable than the Deluxe resorts like Animal Kingdom Lodge. While there are several moderates to choose from, Caribbean Beach gets my pick because of its fun pool, well done theming, and easy access to Hollywood Studios and Epcot – plus the dining at the Boardwalk – thanks to the Skyliner.
Caribbean Beach is a large resort, spread out over quite a large area. There are five different sections themed to places in the Caribbean: Aruba, Barbados, Jamaica, Martinique, and Trinidad. The buildings in each area are styled differently to distinguish between them. Overall, it has a nice, laid back theme that manages to not be over the top. You’ll love the colorful architecture, beach hammocks, and fun Caribbean flavors.
If it’s been a few years since you stayed at Caribbean Beach, you’ll definitely want to read my guide as there were some major changes made during renovations in 2017. Several buildings were demolished to make way for the Riviera Resort and the old Customs House is gone. All of the main resort functions have been consolidated in Old Port Royale, with the lobby, gift shop, quick service, table service, and main pool all close together at a much more central location, which is a great improvement for guests.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort rooms
Room quality is always a huge factor when choosing a hotel and the Caribbean Beach Resort rooms don’t disappoint. The room pictured here was in the Jamaica section.
Like most Disney hotels, the Caribbean Beach Resort rooms have a split bathroom where the toilet and shower have a separate door dividing them from the sinks. Additionally, the sink area can be blocked off by rolling barn door style partitions. This is super handy for mornings trying to get the whole family showered, dressed, and ready to hit the parks.
The standard shampoo, conditioner, and soap are also provided in dispensers in the showers and these are actually pretty good quality products unlike what you’ll find in a lot of hotels.
In your room, you’ll find the beds, a dresser, night stand, small table, and chairs. Some rooms also offer a pull-down sleeper for a fifth person, which is a great option for larger families. Rooms also have a mini refrigerator and a small coffee pot. A few packets of coffee and plain tea with cream and sugar are included. Other standard amenities include an in-room safe, ironing board, iron, hair dryer, and a nice big tv.
Standard offerings have two queen beds or one king. I tend to find Disney World mattresses to be actually pretty comfortable, though in all honesty after logging my usual 10+ miles a day in the parks, it wouldn’t matter if they were stuffed with rocks. As always, you get an unreasonable amount of pillows.
One downside of Caribbean Beach is the size. It’s large enough that walking to the lobby may not be convenient for all locations. There’s an internal bus system that takes you from section to section, but I definitely prefer to just walk whenever possible. You do have the option of paying for a Caribbean Beach Resort preferred room, which should be located in one of the buildings closer to the main area.
Caribbean Beach Pirate room
For a special treat great for kids, you an book a Caribbean Beach pirate room. These heavily themed rooms feature beds that look like pirate ships and instead of a nightstand, you’ll use a barrel among other touches. You’ll pay a little extra, but it might be worth it if you have kids who are into Pirates of the Caribbean. One important thing to keep in mind: the pirate rooms at Caribbean Beach are located in the Trinidad section, which is quite a hike from the main lobby and most of the amenities at Old Port Royale. If you’re driving it may not be as much of an inconvenience as you’ll be able to park nearby, but the center of this area is almost a half mile walk from the lobby.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach pools
There are several pools at Caribbean Beach, but the Fuentes del Morro pool is the showpiece. Located just off the lobby – and, by extension, most of the Old Port Royale amenities – this large, well-themed pool has two waterslides and features a kiddie splash area that looks like a pirate ship. Wading into the water between the fake battlements of an old Spanish fort is lots of fun.
One of the waterslides is located inside one of the battlements right at the front. It’s the smaller of the two by far and would probably be considered a kiddie slide, but I actually liked it better than the other one. The bigger slide is located toward the back of the pool and has a spiral staircase inside a silo like building up to the top. It’s a lot longer and taller, but never really picks up speed whereas the smaller slide actually kind of spits you out into the pool.
There is also a separate kiddie area themed to look like a broken pirate ship. It features shallow water, squirting water, and some small slides for little kids. All in all, it looks like a lot of fun.
Other Caribbean Beach pools
Each of the five themed areas has its own quiet pool. These are unthemed and smaller, but can be much more convenient for a quick swim if you’re located in one of the buildings further away from the Fuentes del Morro pool. They also tend to be a lot more relaxing as fewer people are using them and there’s just a lot less action happening.
Note: Each of the pools has pool towels available, so there’s no need to pack your own or haul the regular room towels over for a swim.
Caribbean Beach Resort dining
There are three Caribbean Beach restaurants, plus a bar for you to check out. The quick service is always the most important to me, and the Centertown Market is definitely above average for Disney hotels. Located in the main lobby in Old Port Royale, it’s the busiest and most bustling spot, particularly in the mornings. It offers several “standard” options as well as dishes with some Caribbean inspiration. When I stay at Caribbean Beach breakfast is usually the only meal I eat at the hotel, though the dinner options here have been good when the parks have earlier hours. If you purchase a refillable mug for your stay, you’ll be happy to know that there are refill stations scattered throughout the resort in each of the themed areas so you don’t have to hike back every time you want a drink.
An additional quick service option called the Spyglass Grill is located way over in the Trinidad section, which is great for guests staying out that way since it’s quite a hike to the main area. It also serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and features similar menu items to the Centertown Market.
For table service dining, Caribbean Beach has the highly rated Sebastian’s Bistro. Serving dinner only, this restaurant also highlights flavors from around the Caribbean. Reservations are strongly recommended, but don’t worry – it’s not too formal and there is a kids menu.
You’ll find Banana Cabana by the Fuentes del Morro poo. It serves up a variety of tropical themed drinks and also has a few open air tables in the lounge area. A few appetizers, sandwiches, and salads, again with some Caribbean flavor.
Often overlooked in Caribbean Beach Resort reviews is the relatively new Joffrey’s Coffee stand at the Skyliner hub. This coffee stand is a great place to grab something caffeinated and a donut before you hop on the Skyliner in the morning, and could also be convenient for guests staying in nearby buildings for their morning coffee fix rather than walking all the way up to Old Port Royale. It even features a Skyliner-themed latte.
Caribbean Beach Resort transportation
Caribbean Beach is the hub for the relatively new Skyliner system, which means that guests here are in the best position to rope drop (aka be there at opening) Hollywood Studios. Though the changes to the Rise of the Resistance boarding group process have lessened the need to be inside the park when it opens, it’s still very advantageous to be there early since Disney has been opening the gates an hour before posted opening time and operating rides not long after that. In fact, by park opening, lines for the top attractions have been topping an hour already and without FastPasses at this time, getting there first thing may be the only way to ride one of the big rides without a long wait.
The Skyliner also travels to Epcot, dropping you off at the back entrance called International Gateway. I don’t love coming in the back entrance for first time visitors, but it’s what we’re stuck with. This line also gives you access to the many restaurants and bars at the Boardwalk area.
You can also hop on the Skyliner in the opposite direction and visit Pop Century and Art of Animation, though those hotels only have quick service food courts.
For the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, and the water parks, bus transportation is offered. It’s supposed to run approximately every 20 minutes, but this is always hit or miss anywhere on Disney property. The internal bus system that takes you around the Caribbean Beach resort uses the same bus stops. Watch the signs on the buses as they arrive.
Other things to do at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
One of the most unique activities you (well, actually your kids) can do at Caribbean Beach is take one of the pirate cruises departing from Caribbean Cay. This kids only – ages 4-12 – pirate cruise sails around Barefoot Bay. Captain Hook’s new recruits will hear about pirate legends from the area and have a blast out on the water.
The Movies Under the Stars program features outdoor movies shown in a viewing area on an island in the middle of Barefoot Bay. Check with the front desk for the movie schedule during your stay.
Other recreation options include volleyball courts, hammocks on the beach, bike rentals, a playground (also on the island), and campfires for roasting marshmallows.
Other Caribbean Beach amenities
Complimentary Magical Express transportation is provided round trip from Orlando MCO (not Sanford) to Caribbean Beach until the end of 2021. Disney has announced that this service will be discontinued in 2022, which is very disappointing.
Guests can order discounted Magic Bands prior to check in. These used to be complimentary, but beginning in January 2021, this was taken away as well.
Like all Disney World resorts, Caribbean Beach offers mobile check in. You can process your check in well in advance and get a notification when your room is ready. This allows you to go directly to your room without needing to stop at the front desk on the way and I love it. There is also an option to make requests for room locations or preferences like having one king bed, but these are not guaranteed and are limited by what kind of room you’ve booked.
One benefit of staying on site is merchandise delivery from the parks. It’s really nice to not have to lug your purchases around all day at the parks. When checking out, simply ask the cashier to send it back to your hotel. You’ll be able to pick it up in Old Port Royale (usually) the next day at no extra cost. Note: this service has been paused due to covid, but I expect it to return in the future.
Parking is available in lots near each of the themed areas as well as in near the Old Port Royal area. I recommend parking near your room whenever possible for convenience. Parking is $20/night.
There are coin operated laundry facilities located at each of the small quite pool areas should you need to run a load during your stay.
Where’s the best area to stay in at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort?
This question always seems to come up in all of the Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort reviews I see, likely because of its huge size. Martinique and Barbados are the closest areas to the Old Port Royale lobby area, but with the addition of the Skyliner, my vote now has to go with Jamaica. On my last visit, I had a room right by that section’s pool and cutting across the bridge to the main area was an easy walk to get to the dining, and the Skyliner station was just a couple buildings away meaning that I didn’t need to take one of the internal buses to get there. Aruba also has the benefit of being close to the Riviera Resort and its Skyliner station which could be a bonus if you want to dine there. Really the only section I’d avoid is Trinidad unless you’re choosing a pirate room.
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That pool is amazing. I mean the rest of the resort looks good too, but that pool is wicked. I’m always on the lookout for a new resort to try, great review