Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort at Walt Disney World has gone through a significant transformation over the past several years. The addition of the Disney Skyliner has created convenient access to both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios while other notable changes involve the main lobby and dining experiences.
Have all of the updates made Caribbean Beach Resort a top option for Disney guests? We’ll walk through the pros and cons of this destination before evaluating how it compares to other Disney resorts.
As of the date of this article, Caribbean Beach is considered a moderate category resort that’s the most comparable to Coronado Springs, Port Orleans French Quarter and Port Orleans Riverside. Its average price per night comes in above the value category resorts (Pop Century, All-Star Resorts), but below the many deluxe resorts (Yacht Club, Polynesian Resort, etc).
Caribbean Beach is one of the more centrally-located resorts at Walt Disney World. Situated near Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Caribbean Beach isn’t too far from any of the theme parks, water parks or Disney Springs.
Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are a short trip away on the Disney Skyliner while the more distant theme parks, Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, require a 15 to 20-minute journey by car or bus.
We’ve found the location of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort to be convenient and it doesn’t feel like you have to go too far out of your way for anything on Walt Disney World property.
Size and Layout
Caribbean Beach is a massive resort. There are five themed areas – Aruba, Jamaica, Martinique, Barbados and Trinidad – that are each home to numerous guest buildings. The heart of the resort can be found between Martinique and Barbados in the Old Port Royale section.
Take a look at the Caribbean Beach map to see the size and layout of this sprawling resort.
We stayed in one of the Aruba buildings that was directly across Barefoot Bay from Old Port Royale, which is where guests will find the main lobby, gift shop and the resort’s primary dining location Centertown Market.
Aruba looks relatively close to Old Port Royale, but don’t be fooled by the scale of the map. Our hike from Building 54 in Aruba to the main lobby was significant. There is an internal resort shuttle available for guests, but it’s a coin flip on whether walking or the shuttle will be quicker.
As of the date of this review, the rooms at Caribbean Beach are a bit overdue for a remodel. The rooms look more worn down and dated compared to the newer rooms seen over at Coronado Springs Resort. That doesn’t mean the rooms at Caribbean Beach are terrible per se, but they are in line for some upgrades to the flooring and bathroom to keep up with comparable Disney properties.
We thought the room was more than spacious enough for two guests and should offer plenty of room for a family of four. Our room had two queen beds and a fold-down bed that could have accommodated a fifth guest.
Our biggest complaint about the room was the noise. The walls at Caribbean Beach are extremely thin. That’s a significant issue considering how many guests may walk past your door to get to their rooms, or if you have noisy neighbors. The connecting doors between rooms are terrible at filtering noise and it may sound like your neighbors are in your room with you.
Summarized, your experience with the rooms at Caribbean Beach will vary, but we would recommend bringing ear plugs just in case.
Access to the Disney Skyliner is the absolute best feature of Caribbean Beach. The Disney Skyliner’s main hub is at Caribbean Beach, connecting guests to Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Pop Century Resort, Art of Animation Resort and the Riviera Resort. That’s a huge benefit as it eliminates crowded bus rides to two of Walt Disney World’s theme parks.
The Disney Skyliner is quick, efficient and a lot of fun. It’s like a ride in itself. Even guests who may have a fear of heights (like yours truly) should enjoy a convenient alternative to the more traditional transportation options around Walt Disney World. You can see more of our thoughts on the Disney Skyliner in our full review.
If you are planning to visit the Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you’ll find that Caribbean Beach is centrally located and isn’t too far away from any of the theme parks. Bus rides range between 15 and 20 minutes to any Walt Disney World location.
The primary dining location at Caribbean Beach Resort is Centertown Market. While comparable to some of the food court restaurants at other Walt Disney World resorts, Centertown Market has some significant differences.
Guests order at one central location at Centertown Market and receive a pager that will buzz when their food is ready. Depending on the time of the day, the line to order can be a bit lengthy and empty tables may be difficult to find. We twice had to circle, circle and keep circling to find a table around breakfast time. That issue aside, the food was tasty and matched what you’d expect from a quick service offering.
If you visited Caribbean Beach in the past, you might find that Centertown Market lacks some of the personality of the old quick service offering that made guests feel like they were in an outdoor market. The transformation is more open and brighter, but lacking character as seen in many of Disney’s recent remodels.
The grab-and-go location at Caribbean Beach is fairly small and lags behind what’s seen at other resorts. It’s decent, but not great. Options are relatively limited while Coronado Springs has grab-and-go options both at their primary quick service location and at its dedicated coffee stop.
Caribbean Beach is also home to Sebastian’s Bistro, a table service location, which we were unfortunately unable to try during our visit. Reviews on Sebastian’s Bistro have been mostly positive, with the most common complaint being some unpredictable operating hours.
Pools and Amenities
Fuentes del Morro Pool, the resort’s main pool, is a well themed area that should delight children with its cannons and turrets. It’s a popular draw and may be a bit too crowded for some looking for a more relaxed experience. Thankfully, Caribbean Beach is also home to five “quiet” pools that are a bit more leisurely. The quiet pools really live up to their name as the night progresses, offering a chance for a rather peaceful swim.
Other recreational activities are offered and will vary depending on the time of the year. Outdoor movies, campfires, fishing, bike rentals and more are usually available for guests.
Caribbean Beach Resort is a perfectly fine place to stay at Disney if you know what to expect. Its transportation options are the best of any moderate resort and rival some of the deluxe resorts in terms of convenience. However, the rooms leave a bit to be desired and would benefit from some of the updates that we’ve seen at Coronado Springs Resort.
The dining options are good for a moderate, though you may encounter large crowds at Centertown Market during peak hours. We also think the pools and other recreation amenities are comparable to similar quality Disney resorts.
Our summary can be simplified into two words: Disney Skyliner. The access to the Disney Skyliner makes it easy to overlook some of the negatives at Caribbean Beach and assist in justifying the nightly rate. We loved the easy access to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Will we stay at Caribbean Beach again?
Possibly. Despite our love of the Disney Skyliner, the upgrades and more affordable price at Coronado Springs Resort are compelling. We’re also fans of Pop Century Resort, which offers access to the Disney Skyliner at a significantly more affordable rate. If the Disney Skyliner and a Caribbean aren’t selling points for you, we’d recommend booking elsewhere until Caribbean Beach Resort smooths out its edges.