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Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort – A Relook

Jack Spence Masthead


The last time I reviewed the Caribbean Beach Resort was during an overnight stay in November 2010. (To read that review, click here.)

Last month (June 2014) I returned for a two-night stay to see what had changed since my last visit. After a look around I discovered that very little has been altered during the past three and a half years. So with just a few exceptions, the resort is pretty much the way you remember it. Here are the changes I discovered during my stay.

In case you didn’t already know, Disney no longer uses plastic key-cards as room keys. They now give each guest a wristband that “magically” unlocks the door when you tap the band to a Mickey head positioned near the doorknob. You can also use these wristbands to pay for food and drink by simply “tapping” and entering a Personal Identification Number that you created at check-in. (You must leave a credit card on file during check-in to have charging privileges.)


Wristband


I have stayed at three Disney World resorts since the implementation of these wrist bands. And I have to tell you, I like them. I really appreciate wearing my room key on my wrist. It beats pulling out my wallet and searching for the keycard. The same holds true when paying for something. It’s much easier to “tap” than search for a credit card or cash. Also, the wristbands are waterproof which makes trips to the pool all the more convenient. Now you don’t have to leave your wallet or purse unattended while swimming. You can leave your money and credit cards back in the room. You have everything you need right at “hand.” I think the wristbands are great!

NOTE: I am NOT talking about using the wristbands for FastPasses. This is a whole other topic that I will NOT be discussing here. And please don’t send me comments on the subject of FastPasses. They will NOT get posted. All I’m saying is that I like the wristbands for room access and charging.

All six laundry rooms are now locked 24/7 and require a wristband for access. I can personally assure you that no matter what section of the resort you’re staying in, you can use any of these facilities. I know, because while I was filming the resort, I checked each and every laundry room and my “Barbados” wristband granted me access to all of them.


Laundry Room

Laundry Room


The offerings at the Marina have been scaled back dramatically. No longer available are the Sea Raycers, pontoon boats, canoes, pedal boats, and sail boats. If you want to pilot your own craft, you must now travel to the Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness, or the Yacht Club. Still available at the Caribbean Beach Resort Marina are surreys, bicycles, fishing excursions, and the Pirate Cruise. This was a cost-cutting measure made by Disney that has impacted all of their moderate resorts.

In this next picture, you can see the empty channel where the Sea Racers once waited for eager captains.


CBR Marina


As I mentioned in my recent blog about the All Star Resorts, the paper drinking cups purchased at the food court now have a microchip attached to them that monitors your consumption. After your initial serving, you are allowed three refills over the next two hours.


Fountain Drinks


I booked a standard room for my stay at the Caribbean Beach Resort. When I entered, I saw that nothing had really changed since my last visit in November 2010. The only noticeable difference was the lack of a bedspread in favor of the “spa” look. A “Finding Nemo” throw now offers the only splash of color in the room. Additionally, my room did not have a “Finding Nemo” wallpaper boarder circling the ceiling as my room did in 2010.


Guest Room

Guest Room

Guest Room


As I mentioned in my blog about the All Stars, the TVs at the Caribbean Beach now turn on to an informational channel about the resort. In addition, the volume is initially set very low as to not disturb others. I really like this change and I’m glad to see it being implemented at all of the resorts.

I was disappointed with the electrical outlet near the table as the refrigerator was plugged into one of the receptacles. I was visiting by myself and wanted to plug in both a cell phone and a laptop. I can’t imagine how a modern family of four would make out with just one outlet.


Electric Outlet


Overall, I found the room to be tired and uninspired. Very clean, but tired and uninspired. I can’t say that there was anything wrong with my accommodations, but I can’t say that there was anything particularly compelling about them either. If you were to pin me down for details as to why I felt this way, I would be hard pressed to come up with any. Overall, I’d just have to say that the room lacked Disney magic. With just a few small Disney details (the throw, a picture of a Disney Cruise Line ship, and one hidden Mickey), a similar room could be found at any motel along Hwy 192.

This depressed me. I know that the Caribbean Beach is a favorite of many, but I was going to have a hard time promoting this room. I began wondering how I was going to write a review and gently let down the ardent fans of this resort. But fortunately, this story does, or will, have a happy ending.

The next day, I set out on a three hour trek around the entire resort to film and photograph each of the six villages. I started at the Barbados village then moved on to the Aruba section. When I got to the Jamaica village I discovered that a number of the buildings were closed and construction workers were scurrying everywhere. It didn’t take me long to realize that Disney was in the process of refurbishing the rooms at the Caribbean Beach and work had only recently begun.

I try to respect rules and I try not to venture where I don’t belong. But I wanted to see what was happening so I carefully passed by a construction warning sign so I could peek into one of the almost completed rooms. And I have to tell you, it looked great. A far cry from the room I was currently staying in. However, I did not take any pictures because I didn’t want to push my trespassing any further than I already had. Instead, I headed over to Custom House so I could speak with a hotel manager.

After introductions were made, I explained to him that I write for AllEars and was currently staying at the resort. I asked if there was any way I could change rooms for my second night. But I was told that very few remodeled rooms are on line and nothing was available at the moment. I went on to explain that I live nearby and could stop by any day if they would grant me access to a remodeled room for just 10-15 minutes so I could photograph and film the new accommodations. Once again, my request was politely declined.

So, for the time being, all I can tell you is that new and more compelling rooms are on their way to the Caribbean Beach Resort. I know that AllEars will make every effort to bring you pictures and videos as soon as we can, but it will probably be a few months away. Since Disney will not guarantee an updated room when making a reservation, we need to wait until more refurbished rooms come online so we can be somewhat certain we’re booked into a newer unit.

As I mentioned earlier, I spent three hours circling the resort so I could videotape all of the villages. I also spent several more hours filming Old Port Royale Centertown. Below is the culmination of my efforts. I hope you enjoy this overview of the resort.



Since I’ve already told you about all of the changes I discovered at the Caribbean Beach Resort, and this blog is only half the normal length I strive for, I thought I would use the rest of the space to give you an in-depth review of the food court and Shutters, the resort’s table-service restaurant. Let’s start with the food court.

First, you need to know that I like Disney resort food courts. In fact, since I live so close to Disney World, I will occasionally stop in at a resort simply to have lunch at one of these counter-service eateries. Of course, when eating at a food court, one must keep in mind that this is not a fine dining establishment. For the most part, the food offered at these locations is pre-prepared or is a dish that can be cooked quickly. This is perfectly fine with me as I don’t always want “fine dining.” As long as you have the right frame of mind and don’t compare these establishments with a table-service restaurant, you should be fine.

The food court at the Caribbean Beach Resort is located in the Old Port Royale Centertown building. Disney tried to place this building in the center of the resort, convenient to everyone. But the truth is, it can be a long walk from some of the villages. Because of this, Disney offers bus service that continually circles the resort and stops at all villages and Old Port Royale Centertown.


Old Port Royale Centertown

Old Port Royale Centertown


As I’ve mentioned many times before, when making a room reservation, you can request a specific location. Disney will not guarantee they will honor the request, but they will try their best. So if you want to be close to Old Port Royale Centertown, request either the Martinique or Trinidad North village. Second choices would be Aruba and Jamaica.

The food court at the Caribbean Beach Resort is themed to resemble an open-air marketplace found somewhere in the islands. Brightly colored buildings line a stone street, each selling their wares. On the second story, you can see the homes of the shop owners. Overhead, lanterns light the way beneath a perpetual evening sky.


Food Court Alley

Second Story Shop Owner's House

Second Story Shop Owner's House

Second Story Shop Owner's House

Second Story Shop Owner's House


The first shop we come to is Grab N Go. This is the largest of the five shops found along this street and as the name implies, it’s the spot where you can “grab” your goodies quickly, pay, and be on your way.


Grab N Go

Grab N Go


The selection here is large. In the bakery section, rolls, muffins, and bagels dominate the offerings in the morning. As the day progresses, these give way to cookies, cupcakes, and other cake-like goodies.


Bakery


On an adjoining shelve, chips, salty snacks, more cookies, and wine are available. Whole fruit can also be found nearby.


Shelf of Goodies


The rest of the offerings can be found in open refrigerators. Here you’ll find sliced fruit, salads, yogurts, premade sandwiches, soft drinks, adult beverages, power drinks, milk, juices, desserts, and much more.


Grab N Go Refrigerator

Grab N Go Refrigerator


I’m not a big breakfast eater, so for me, Grab N Go works perfectly. I can get a bagel, cream cheese, and an orange juice and be more than happy.

Note, at Grab N Go you pay for your purchases within the store. At all other locations in the food court you pay at central registers.

When the Caribbean Beach Resort first opened, the Grab N Go station did not exist. This space was divided into two shops, Cinnamon Bay Bakery and Oriental Express. The latter served a variety of Chinese items like egg rolls, spareribs, and soups. Later, this shop was renamed the Wok Shop.

The next stop along the road is Royale Pizza and Pasta Shop.


Royale Pizza and Pasta Shop

Royale Pizza and Pasta Shop

Royale Pizza and Pasta Shop


The pizzas served here are the same as the ones served in the parks. Personally, I think they’re fine. Is it gourmet pizza? Nope. But they don’t taste like the store-bought cardboard variety either. However, your toppings are limited to cheese and pepperoni.

Other options here are Fettuccini Pasta and Meatballs, Vegetable Lasagna, Chicken and Mushroom Marsala, and Baked Ziti with Italian Sausage. Since I was at the resort to write a review, I decided to give this spot a try and selected the Baked Ziti with Italian Sausage for lunch one day. The meal is accompanied with your choice of either a breadstick or a simple iceberg lettuce salad.


Baked Ziti with Italian Sausage

Baked Ziti with Italian Sausage


I discovered while photographing this meal that the red and green table tops were not particularly complementary to the food. So please believe me when I say, the pasta tasted much better than it looks here. LOL

Overall, I was happy with my selection. It was quite tasty. My only complaint was with the salad. I wish it contained a little something more than just lettuce. A cherry tomato would have been nice. Prepackaged Ken’s dressing is available at the ordering station.

Next on our journey is the Old Port Royale Hamburger Shop. The offerings here include a 1/3 Lb. Angus Bacon Cheeseburger, Caribbean Catch Sandwich, Chicken Breast Nuggets, Hot Dog, Jerk Chicken Sandwich, Vegetable Burger, Chili-Cheese Hot Dog, and Portobello Mushroom Sandwich.


Old Port Royale Hamburger Shop

Old Port Royale Hamburger Shop


Here I selected the Bacon Cheeseburger and my friend Donald tried the Chicken Nuggets. For the burger, a topping bar is available near the beverage station that includes tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, and onions. For the nuggets, several dipping sauces are offered.


Bacon Cheeseburger

Chicken Nuggets


We were both pleased with our selections. Everything was hot and the fries were fresh, not soggy.

Bridgetown Broiler is only open for breakfast (7am to 11:30am) and dinner (5pm to 11pm). I did not sample any of their wares so I can’t offer any opinion for this spot. In the evening they offer Baked Chicken, Roast Turkey, Mojo Pork, Ropa Vieja (Braised Beef), a Vegetable Plate, and Seared Salmon.


Bridgetown Broiler

Bridgetown Broiler

Bridgetown Broiler


The last stop along this quaint street is Montego’s Deli. The selections at this shop include Turkey BLT Sandwich, Royale Sandwich, Vegetable Wrap, Cheesesteak, Roast Beef & Blue on Ciabatta, Cuban Sandwich, Caribbean Salad with Chicken, Shrimp or Tofu, Caesar Salad with Chicken or Shrimp, and Lime Chicken Wrap.


Montego’s Deli

Montego’s Deli


On the afternoon I opted to eat at this shop I selected the Royale Sandwich. It is loaded with turkey, ham, salami, roast beef, provolone, and red pepper ranch spread. It is served with either house-made jerk chips or pasta salad. I chose the latter.


Royale Sandwich


This sandwich was extremely tasty. In fact, it was probably the best meal I had at the food court. The pasta salad was also quite good. Sometimes pasta salads can be rather bland, but this one was not. It tasted of the many other ingredients present in the mix.

The food court begins serving hot breakfasts at 6:30 each morning with just one store being open. At 7am, two more stores begin serving and at 8am, the last of them comes on line. With each opening, more offerings are available. Note, the Grab N Go is open all day from 6:30am to 11pm.

Breakfast dishes include, Bounty Platter, French Toast, Spinach & Feta Omelet, Ham & Cheese Omelet, Western Omelet, Cheese Omelet, Mickey-Shaped Waffle, Steak & Egg & Cheese Quesadilla, Pancakes, Chocolate-Chip Pancakes, and Breakfast Cuban Sandwich.

Besides tasting as many meals as I could during this trip, I had another goal for this review. I wanted to take flattering photographs of the food to share with you. This prompted me to select the Bounty Platter as I thought it would make a good picture. The Bounty Platter comes with a scoop of scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, two strips of bacon, one sausage patty, one biscuit, and one slice of French toast.


Bounty Platter


It is my experience that breakfast foods do not hold heat well. This can be a problem when eating the morning meal in a food court. Even though I encountered no line when paying, the process still took a couple of minutes. After which I had to proceed to the condiment station and find jelly, salt, butter, syrup, cutlery, and napkins. By the time I got seated, my food was only lukewarm. By the time I had my last bite, it was cold.

The scrambled eggs tasted fine. After all, it is pretty hard to mess up scrambled eggs. However, they did need salt (and pepper, but I forgot to pick some up and I wasn’t going back to the condiment station).

I also like the potatoes. They were lightly spiced and actually quite good.

On the down side, the bacon slices were small and limp. If you like your bacon crispy, forget it.

The sausage was absolutely tasteless. In fact, if you had blindfolded me and given me a bite of this sausage, I would not have been able to tell you what had been placed in my mouth.

The biscuit was so cold it was incapable of melting a pat of butter. And the slightly warm French toast quickly lost what heat it had once I poured the cold syrup on top.

In the future, I’ll stick with my traditional bagel and cream cheese.

To enter the dining room, you must pass by one of several registers and pay for your meal. This is also the time to order your fountain drink if you didn’t pick up a bottle or can at one of the food stalls. On the backside of the register stands are napkins and plastic cutlery.


Food Court Register


Just past the registers is the beverage station. As I mentioned earlier, you must have a microchip embedded drinking cup or an all-you-can-drink mug to activate the machines. Water is the one exception.


Beverage Station


Behind the beverage station guests can find a multitude of offerings. Toasters, a microwave oven, condiments, the topping bar, and everything else you need to complete your meal is located here. If you don’t see something you need, just ask one of the nearby cast members and they should be able to help you out.


Microwave Oven

Toasters


The eating area consists of one large dining room and two smaller adjacent rooms. They all continue the same festive color scheme found at the food stalls.


Food Court Dining Room

Food Court Dining Room

Food Court Dining Room

Food Court Dining Room


With the exception of one of the smaller rooms, this space is not carpeted. Nor are the seats padded. Thus, there are no soft surfaces to soak up the noise. So when things get busy here, it can also get loud.

There a handful of tables located just outside of the food court. On nice days, this is a wonderful place to enjoy lunch or dinner.


Outdoor Seating


Near the beverage area is a “To Go” station. Here you’ll find everything you need to package up your meal for a trip back to your room. Plates, lids, napkins, cutlery, beverage holders, and paper bags are all available.


To Go Station

To Go Station


Overall, I like the Old Port Royale food court. I’m obviously not too keen on my recent breakfast, but other than that, I liked everything I sampled and I would have no problem returning here for lunch, even if I wasn’t staying at the resort.

Below is a short video of the Caribbean Beach food court. If you’ve already seen my resort overview video, there is no need to view this one as you’ve already seen the food court earlier.



My regular readers know that I am a believer in trying everything that Disney has to offer. That being said, I would hope that if you’re staying at the Caribbean Beach Resort, you only enjoy one, maybe two meals at the food court during your stay. Even if you don’t have the budget to eat in some of Disney’s finer dining establishments, stop in at the other resorts and give their food courts a try. Who knows, you just might be captivated by the offerings someplace else and want to give another resort a try on your next trip.

Well it seems that I’ve rambled on so long that I’ve run out of space from my review of Shutters. So I guess you’ll have to check back tomorrow to see what I think of the Caribbean Beach Resort’s only table-service restaurant. Until then, Bon Appetit.



The previous post in this blog was Tomorrowland - Part Eight.

The next post in this blog is Shutters at Old Port Royale.

Comments (33)

Elaine Wilt:

I really enjoyed your article. I have stayed at five Disney Resorts and The Caribbean Beach Resort is my least favorite! Like you, I don't feel the disney connection there and the resort is too spread out. It's quicker to just grab a quick meal at the parks than to trek over to the food court and then back to your room and on to the parks. We never got our money's worth with the mugs because who wants to walk so far or wait for a bus to get drinks after a long day in the parks? I will have to say that the grounds, exterior of the buildings, and food court decor are beautiful. The room was nothing special but clean. I would not go there again.

Lisa:

We stayed in "Pirate" rooms in 2011, I didn't see any mention of them in the article or maybe I missed it. Are they still there? Those rooms made us feel like we were part of the Disney magic, we all really liked them. My kids loved the pool and would ask to leave the parks in the afternoon to go back to the pool.

Jack's Answer:

This article about the Caribbean Beach resort was just looking at what had changed since my last visit. As I did not stay in a Pirate Room on this trip, I really couldn't report on them. But rest assured, the Pirate Rooms are still available and just as popular as ever. For more information, use the AllEars search engine and look for my previous blogs on this subject.

Jules:

We stayed at Caribbean Beach from 30th June till 14th July and were lucky to have one of the recently refurbished rooms in Jamaica (4164). Although the building (41) was the furthest away possible in Jamaica (from OPR), and our room was the furthest away in section 41, we loved it. It was a corner room and therefore felt extra roomy. Most of the decor was dark stained wood. I particularly liked the wooden louvered doors separating the sleeping area from the bathroom area (no longer just a fabric curtain) and the light fittings above the bed were lovely. As we left it looked like they had almost finished the buildings in the Jamaica section, or wouldn't be long doing so - plus we heard no noise and were not bothered by the renovations at all. If you want a lovely room - ask for Jamaica.

Peg:

Always love your articles Jack and missed you while you were on hiatus.
My husband and I stayed at CBR in Sept '01. While the resort grounds were beautiful I wouldn't go out of my way to stay there again. When we were guests there the rooms were very colorful with brightly colored carpets, drapes and blankets. Truthfully I didn't care for it one bit as the colors almost screamed at you as soon as you opened the door. I prefer a much more neutral and laid back color scheme like at the Wilderness or Animal Kingdom Lodges. The resort is HUGE so much time was wasted on the bus as it circled the resort stopping at each village before finally heading to the parks or the Old Port Royale.
The food court when we were there was disgusting with the only thing edible being the bagels. I'm glad to see and read in your blog that much appears to have changed throughout the resort. Though I would probably give the Port Orleans or Coronado Springs a try before going back to Caribbean Beach it's no longer on my list of I will never stay there again resorts.

Amy :

I stayed here in 2011 and was not happy with the resort at all, our room had mold issues, they would come spray some freshner into the air conditioner to take away the smell, but that really didn't work, it was enough for me to never want to return to this resort! There are so many great ones on Disney property to enjoy!

Nancy Thompson:

CBR is the only moderate resort we have stayed at in Disney, but we have stayed at AK, Boardwalk, and the Wilderness Lodge during previous visits. We seem to return to CBR, tho. We like the fact that the buildings are only 2 stories tall, the rooms are easy to access, and the rooms themselves seem to be larger than those we had in the deluxe resorts. There is very little outside noise, unlike the deluxe resorts where we heard kids and families in the halls. Usually the bus stops are close to our building, so the walk there is minimal. No, there is not a lot of Disney Magic here, but we spend the majority of our time in the parks and there is plenty of magic there! We always request a room in the village that is closest to the walking bridge to Port Royale, so it only takes a few minutes to walk over there for a snack or late meal, and the walk is often shorter than entering a lobby, taking an elevator, and walking through a maze of corridors to reach your room. We are a middle-aged couple with no children with us, so the resort may be a different experience for those younger families with kids who want to go to the main pool area often.

Jack, it's really too bad to hear that the rooms aren't inspiring at the Caribbean Beach resort. I used to stay there with my parents in the '90s and always enjoyed it.

When we've taken our young girls so far, we've always stayed in an off-site villa due to the space and convenience since we have a car. I figured that at some point down the road we might stay on site when they're out of strollers (it will be a while). Based on your review and others that I've read, it doesn't sound like the Caribbean Beach is the best choice.

Elizabeth:

Thanks for the update Jack, My husband and I love CBR and will be there again in October of this year. So glad to see they're updating the rooms, I did like the standard that you were in, that simpleness is calming to us, especially after a full day at the parks. I'm looking forward to watching your video later tonight with my husband, we are jonesing to get back there and the next 12 weeks are going to be a killer.

Mike Venere:

Always enjoy reading your reviews, appreciate the time and effort you put forth to give us a weekly article that is very thought out. I have a Magic Band question for you that for what ever reason I cannot get a straight answer from Visa.
I have a Chase Disney rewards card. We will be visiting this week and I have been trying (called 4 times) to find out for sure if I can link my Disney rewards REDEMPTION card to our magic bands for charging. I've called for clarification and unfortunately the operators are 2 for yes and 2 for no. One at least explained it a little better by saying I can put my regular charging card on the band, but when it comes to check out use my redemption card to pay. Didn't know if you had better information. I am going to try and call once more today before my vacation to find out.

Jack's Answer:

Sorry, but I know nothing about Visa/Chase Disney redemption policies. I use a Visa/Chase United Mileage card. Every dollar I spend goes towards a Business Class seat to Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Paris.

Sue:

Thank you Jack, for another wonderful review. I deeply appreciate your honesty about the CBR. I have enjoyed the CBR several times but on my last visit I too didn't get that 'wow' feeling when I saw my room. I thought you described it well by saying that it was, 'Very clean, but tired and uninspired.' So just imagine how happy I am to see you report that room refurbs are in progress!! I too will wait for more buildings to be completed and I'll try another stay at CBR.
Thank you once again!

Josh Weiss:

Hey Jack
Great blog on Caribbean Beach. I have not stayed there yet but some of my family has and they liked it. I did like what I saw with the food court. Many different options. Can't wait for your next blog and as always keep up the great work.

Ryan S:

Another great article. I can understand the feeling about the rooms just being... well there. I am not sure if you are going to include a review of the pool or not but this is where Caribbean Beach makes its mark. We have stayed at Coronado Springs and visited a few deluxe resorts and in my opinion the pool here is one of the best. Maybe not Stormalong Bay but possibly second. The kids splash area was second to noon when we stayed there and I believe the first of its kind at the Disney World hotels. Out of the two moderate resorts we have stayed at I rank this slightly ahead of Coronado Springs, and we are looking forward to our chance to head to French Quarter on our next trip. Thanks for the review.

Jack's Comment:

I didn't review the pool in this article because it had not change since my last visit/review. However, I do agree with you. I think it is one of the better themed pools at Walt Disney World.

Lindlee:

@Mike When I went in March, I had a Disney gift card that I wanted to link with the band. Here's how they explained how it worked. I linked my regular credit card with the band and charged my purchases throughout the week. Disney doesn't actually charge your card until the night before you leave. So I went down the day before and paid off most of my balance with the gift card and cash. The remaining balance was then charged against my credit card. I hope this helps with your question.

Lisa:

My husband, and two adult kids just stayed at the CBR from June 26th - July 1st. The first time my husband and I stayed there was in 1990 and then with our kids in Jan. 2011. We have stayed in other Disney resorts in-between. We had a Nemo room in 2011 and to our surprise we were placed in a pirate room this time. The pirate was very cool, but it was obvious that they took space from the closet to enlarge the bathroom and with four people in a room, the tiny closet in a problem. ...Overall we love the vibe at the resort and I think you are correct about the food court. Although I would say there could be signs above things like the toasters, etc and the to-go station could be easier to see. I found myself helping people find things a lot of the time. ...I really wish that the marina area was still doing the water craft rentals. It was sad to see that gone and the bike rentals don't start till noon. My son would have definitely gone for a morning bike ride...Thanks for listening and thanks for your review.

Jack's Comment:

From what you described in your comment, it sounds like you were given a "special needs" room. I too have stayed in a special needs Pirate Room and know it was rearranged to create a larger bathroom that could accommodate a wheelchair.

Lisa:

Yes, I believe you are correct about the bathroom. ...Overall I hope people give this resort a chance. The positive far out weighs the negative!

Pat:

My husband and I stayed here July 4-5. Originally we were put into an unrenovated room in Aruba, but the ac was making a lot of noise and were quickly moved to a renovated Jamaica room. So we got to see both styles and much preferred the renovated room. It was a nice room, we had a delicious meal at Shutters, and of course the service was great, but we will chose a different resort for future visits. While it's lovely and the rooms areas are laid back and tranquil, with the food court, restaurant, pool, and bar all so close together it gets extremely crowded in that area, especially during holidays. We much preferred Coronado Springs which is equally sprawling, but their food outlets and main pool are more scattered throughout the resort.

Thanks so much for your great articles. I've been reading them for years.

Don:

You know I love my Caribbean Beach - will be returning in March on the Sr Trip staying in Jamaica (so we *should* have the new rooms). Sad to see Barefoot Bay so dead...back in the day, the "Captain's Plan" was a length of stay boat and bike pass for up to 4 people for 125 bucks. The Bay was alive each and every year. Then Disney dropped the plan and raised the pricing, and the Bay got emptier and emptier each and every year. It's sad b/c it used to be a lively, bright, kinetic space. No longer. :(

But I am so pumped for the new rooms. Outwardly, CBR is beautiful. But the rooms were lacking. I have seen pictures of these new rooms and they are incredibly nice. Cannot wait for your blog on them- hope it comes out before the trip in March.

I'm gearing up now for Wine&Dine in November...Yacht Club here I come!

Thanks for the read.

-Don

Jenny Sperandeo:

Hi Jack! I have yet to stay at Caribbean Beach Resort, but it's on my list. Although huge in size, it looks like there are a lot of places within the resort to kick back and relax. I do enjoy a nice hammock!

Last March, during my stay at POFQ, I LOVED using the Magic Bands. They were soooo convenient. It was great not having to fumble with packages, my purse, mugs, and camera to open my resort door. Again, hats off to Disney for such a great idea. Why didn't they think of it years ago...

We stayed at Caribbean Beach Resort in 2005 when my mom and i were newbies. Back then I really liked it because we didn't know anything but now, I really dislike the hotel because you spend more time waiting for the bus and when you do get on the bus you are going around the hotel when you can get on the way to the parks.

Sarah:

Jack:

As usual, I enjoyed your informative article!

My mother and I took a girls trip to CBR 10 years ago. We really liked the resort, but one thing we noticed (and still comment on) is the seating just outside the food court. We only ever ate breakfast there, but we did so most mornings. While we found the food court pleasant, with nice décor, it was still an indoor food court. Every day we would pay for our breakfasts, walk through the crowded food court, then go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. And we were always alone. I know Florida weather isn’t always ideal for dining outside, but the week we were there is was. The temperature was mild, the sun was shining and the humidity was low. It always amazed us why people would choose to be inside when they had such a lovely outdoor seating area. Well, at least we never had trouble nabbing a table!

-Sarah

charissa:

We stayed at CBR in 2010, and had a great time. We could even partially see the Epcot fireworks from our balcony area. Port Orleans Riverside is our family favourite, but I would definitely stay CB again.

Sue Johnson:

Wonderful article!!! I thoroughly enjoyed your honest perspective and all the details, not only in your words, but also the pictures!!
So excited to see how the Magical refurbishment ends up! This Resort really needs not just TLC, but lots of Disney Magic!!

jeff:

Jack,

Can you recommend a village that is close to the pool AND Centertown building?? Or is there a village that is close to the pool and Centertown??

Jack's Answer:

If you want to be close to Old Port Royale Centertown, request either the Martinique or Trinidad North village. Second choices would be Aruba and Jamaica.

Marilea:

Hi Jack. My family has stayed at all the moderates except CS, and CB is, by far, our favorite. Coming from eastern Canada, the beautiful, lush landscape and the laid-back atmosphere is very appealing.It's very true that the theming of the rooms is somewhat lackluster,but the rest of the resort more than makes up for it, and the renovations will make the whole experience even better.We have stayed in Aruba and Jamaica, and both had great access to park buses and the pool and food court. A huge bonus for us is the VERY short bus ride to DHS and Epcot from CB. We have to ride the Tower of Terror at least once a day :)
I agree that the food court has some pretty good choices, but during our recent trip in May, it was so slow and disorganized, we ate most of our meals elsewhere. Still, we would not hesitate to stay at CB again. It's perfect for our needs.

Jill Hogg:

I am quite saddened by the removal of the watercraft for cost cutting measures. First off, with the prices they charge (resorts, parks, etc) Disney is in no financial tight spot. Also, those are the kinds of extras that make the resort a moderate. Taking those away makes this little more than a value resort, really. I haven't stayed here, but now, why would I if they are taking away the perks?
As for the single electrical outlet, what we did was to bring a surge protector, so we had plenty of plugs to charge our various devices.

Deborah D'Agostino:

Even though POR is our favorite, we also like CB. We were just there in May. I agree that the food court was extremely slow. I believe that was because the new college students were starting. A lot of people had earning our ears buttons. However, the people working there were very accommodating. We were able to make special requests for our food, such as changing sides, or changing the ingredients in the salads. As for the watercraft, we went over to FW. They are the only other moderate resort that still has them. Love your reviews, please keep them coming!

Melissa:

Thanks for the article, I enjoy reading about all the resorts and seeing what makes them different.

Curious if you found your magic band had to be flat and perfectly lined up ears to ears to work? I had my first experience with them while staying at AKL in April and wound up having to take mine off to get into my room and to get to club level via elevator. I simply could not get it to "green light" me at any angle the human wrist would bend. As a woman, meaning a purse carrier, I had no issue with taking my card out of the zip pocket, inserting it and getting in vs. a five minute struggle still resulting in the need for a free hand to remove the band to put it to the door. Although it was nice at the pool, like you said.

Jack's Answer:

It has been my experience that every lock/register/main gate works differently. Sometimes I tap and go, other times it takes some effort to get the green light. But I'm having fewer difficulties than when they first rolled out the wristbands. So maybe Disney is working on this problem.

Maria:

Hi Jack,
We are currently staying in one of the renovated rooms and I have to say it is lovely. I stayed here over 12 years ago an thought it was a lovely resort. The new rooms are definitely a vast improvement from what you have described in your blog. Just small things like the USB ports in addition to the plug sockets have made out experience (family of five) much more enjoyable! We are here till the 2nd August so you are very welcome to pop over to see the rooms for yourself!

Kristi Strembicki:

Hi Jack,

I just noticed that Parrot Cay is now Caribbean Cay. When did they take the parrots away? I was there in 2010 when Caribbean Cay was under construction but did not realize that they no longer have the exotic birds. Do you know what happened? Also the last picture in the Caribbean Cay still shots shows the sign from Jamaica pointing to "Parrot Cay".

Thanks!
Kristi

Jack's Answer:

I'm sorry, but I don' know the answer to your question. I'd do some research for you, but I'm currently out of touch with my sources.

Drew:

I'm a bit confused. I went to Disney last month (and stayed at Port Orelans) and the guards ask you if you have reservation, are checking in, or headed back to your resort. If you say you're eating there, they scan your magic band or card to confirm that you have a reservation. Am I right in assuming that the guards won't let you in if you don't have one? I remember before, if you said you were eating at the resort they didn't ask for your name or anything like that.

Jack's Answer:

With the exception of the monorail hotels at busy times, all guards will let you into a resort. Be honest and tell them you want to eat in a food court. I do it all the time. If you do have a reservation at a table service restaurant, they have started scanning your wristband. For example, I ate at Narcoossee's at the Grand Floridian the other night. Since it was a busy time of year, a reservation probably was required to get in.

The monorail hotels are more stringent because they don't want people taking up valuable parking spaces and trying to avoid parking fees.

I hope this clears things up.

Just curious. What kind of desserts are offered in the food court with dinner? I could care less but one of my daughter's favorite things is getting to pick out her Disney dessert on our first night there (the only time we actually eat at the resort).

Jack's Answer:

The vast majority of the desserts offered in the Food Court are found in the Bakery section. These consist of cookies, cupcakes, carrot cake, and the like. The selection is not large.

Phyllis Wheeler:

Does Old Port Royale Food Court not have an ice cream station to get soft serve ice cream?

Jack's Answer:

Sorry. But there is no soft ice cream service at Port Royale Food Court.

Jon:

Regarding the marina rentals, I read elsewhere that the watercraft rentals aren't run by Disney and therefore it was the third party provider who decided to only offer them at the other resorts. But this is just something I read on another blog so it may not be accurate!

Jack's Answer:

As far as I know, the water sprints, pontoon boats, and fishing excursions are run by Disney. Sammy Duval offers parasailing and water skiing at the Contemporary only.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 21, 2014 6:11 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Tomorrowland - Part Eight.

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