In May 2006, I made my 8th trip to Walt Disney World and for the 4th time, I stayed at Caribbean Beach, located in the Epcot area. What brings me back to this resort again and again? Well, let us explore the resort and all of its accommodations and discover why it’s one of my favorite resorts.
While planning your trip to Walt Disney World, it is very evident that Disney provides a vast array of choices when choosing to stay with them. This is one of the many reasons I found it worthwhile to stay on Disney property. The magic doesn’t stop when you retreat to your hotel room after a long night of park hopping. In fact, when I booked my trip with Disney, the magic started before I even left home! Disney would send me personalized notes in the mail, telling me how they couldn´t wait to see me and glad I was coming back to visit (I found it very amusing that Disney knew how many times I had been there). Call me a child at heart, but those little details made me excited to be going to Disney World months before our plane even left the airport.
When it came the time to decide where we were going to stay in Disney, it didn´t take long for us to decide to stay at Caribbean Beach. We had stayed in hotels in almost every price range before, but Caribbean Beach offered good quality for a moderate price, which is exactly what we wanted.
We booked a standard room for 7 days, 6 nights with the meal plan and magical express to the hotel, but our airline wasn´t qualified to use the magical express from the hotel. We had a good experience while booking our trip, the Disney travel agent was very pleasant and chipper, which is what I love about dealing with Disney, they really make the entire process enjoyable. All went well until I called up Disney reservations to ask a question. The person I dealt with was very rude and made no effort to find the answer to my question. This troubled me, being my experiences with Disney have always been so pleasant. So, I ended up e-mailing Disney directly, telling them of my experience and expecting to never hear from them. I was pleasantly surprised. I was e-mailed my customer relations, asking to speak with me on the phone. They called me the same day and asked me details of the situation and apologized several times. They also, incredibly, gave us Disney dollars to spend on our trip there to make up for my bad experience.
When the first day of our vacation finally came, we arrived at the Caribbean Beach in the mid afternoon and waited in a small line to check-in at the "Customs House".
For those of you who don´t know, Caribbean Beach is split up into six sections: Trinidad North, Trinidad South, Jamaica, Aruba, Barbados and Martinique. The Customs House, located at the northern part of the resort, is where you check-in. There is also a food court, called Old Port Royale, located in between Trinidad North and Martinique. In the center of all of these sections, is a lake and beach where you can sunbathe, play volleyball or take a boat ride (guests are not allowed to swim in the water).
The one downside about staying at the Caribbean Beach Resort is the resort is so large that it can be inconvenient to get to the food court. The two sections next to the food court are considered "preferred rooms," and so you´ll end up paying more money to stay there for the convenience. There are buses that can take you to the food court, but who wants to go through all of that trouble just to get a bagel?
When we went to check-in, we decided last minute to try to get a room somewhat close to the food court. We ended up getting a water view room, located in Aruba, so that we could walk across the bride and through an island in the middle of the lake, to get to the food court. This was about a 10 minute walk.
When arriving in our room, we found a good size room with two sinks outside of the bathroom, two full size beds and a mini refrigerator. The room was decorated in tropical colors and we had a nice view of the water.
One of my favorite parts about Caribbean Beach is Old Port Royale. Old Port Royale houses several restaurants in the food court, a gift shop and arcade and a sit-down restaurant called Shutters. Outside, there is a large themed pool, a bar and seating if you wish to dine outside.
The food court offers sandwiches, pizza, pasta and burgers for lunch and dinner and all of your typical breakfast foods (and Mickey waffles!) in the morning. You can also buy a souvenir cup here for unlimited beverages during your stay that can only be used at the resort.
There is one area where you can get snacks for your Disney meal plan that offers MANY choices including: cupcakes, brownies, bagels, large cookies, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, ice cream and more! All of these are considered snacks on the meal plan!
The food in general is average for "fast food," but I love how Old Port Royale is decorated. The colors are so rich and the feeling is so tropical, I really enjoy how nice the décor is.
We found Old Port Royale to be very crowded in the morning, but not so crowded that we couldn´t find a table. The busiest times seemed to be between [8:30]-[9:30] AM. That, however, seemed to be the only time we saw a lot of people. The resort, for the most part, was quiet and peaceful.
Getting to and from the parks is easy, there is a bus stop in front of every section.However, the buses sometimes took a very long time to arrive. You´d want to go to Epcot and wait 20 minutes for the bus, while 5 Magic Kingdom buses in a row came by and picked up no one. Epcot is the closest park to Caribbean Beach, so it wouldn´t take very long to get there. The Magic Kingdom is the furthest away and it would take around 15 minutes to get there.
The 7 days went by very quickly and when it was finally time to go home, I once again was not disappointed by Caribbean Beach and it continues to be my favorite resort at Walt Disney World.