Read on or my Caribbean Beach resort review:
Disney’s Caribbean Beach resort will always have a special place in my heart. When I took my first Disney trip, the “big one-time family trip,” we stayed at Caribbean Beach. I have memories of how colorful and fun it was. Back when they sold the reusable mugs that were resort specific, I had one of those that I used for years (and I still have it on my desk right now to hold pens!). I’ve stayed a couple of times since my childhood, and with my most recent visit a few months ago I figured it was time to actually write a full Caribbean Beach resort review!
Of course a lot has changed about Caribbean Beach since my first visit in 1998, but some things are still the same – including the bright colors and the fun tropical feel. In many ways I think it has even more going for it now with the addition of the Skyliner station. As a moderate resort it’s a top choice for me now because of the transportation.
Read on for my full Caribbean Beach resort review!
Location and Transportation
Caribbean Beach is considered to be in the Epcot area, but it’s not close enough to walk like other Epcot area resorts (Boardwalk, Yacht and Beach Club). It does, however, end up being close enough to use the Skyliner gondola system to get to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios. This is probably one of the best things about Caribbean Beach for me. I love the Skyliner and it makes it so easy to get around.
Funny enough, on this past trip our room was actually really close to the Riviera resort and it was only about a 2 minute walk to their Skyliner station – so we actually ended up using that one instead of the Caribbean Beach station. I never had any trouble getting around. We did use buses for Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom and had no real issues there either. They were running regularly without any severe delays.
Size of Caribbean Beach
As a moderate resort, Caribbean Beach is quite large and covers a lot of space. This is sometimes one of the biggest complaints I see about this resort – depending on where your room is located, you may have to take an internal bus or a long walk to get to things like the pool or the food court. Our room was in the Aruba section of the resort, so very much on the outskirts (so much so that we were basically right next to the Riviera). I was dreading having to get to the main building, but it ended up being easier than I anticipated.
There is a central “island” in the middle with the bridges that connect various areas, so you can kind of cut through there and get to the central location. I used my watch’s GPS and I think it was only about a quarter of a mile for me to get from my room to the pool. I also went for a run one morning and doing an entire loop around the outskirts of the resort + the Riviera was only about a mile. I realize I say this an an able-bodied solo adult, but if you are up for walking around the theme parks a lot then a quarter of a mile might not be terrible. However if you want to avoid that I’d recommend looking at the preferred rooms.
Of course we have lots of tropical vibes at a resort called the Caribbean Beach resort! I absolutely love the bright colors of the buildings. The Aruba section where we stayed was a lot of pink, but some of the other areas have bright yellow, bright blue, etc. It’s kinda cool because you can see all the colorful rooftops from the Skyliner when you’re on it!
Also true to its name, there is a “beach” at Caribbean Beach… or at least what looks like beachy areas (definitely do not go swimming there though!). The water is lined with beautiful white sand and palm trees. They’ve added hammocks, lounge chairs, and other types of seating options, so you could definitely relax and find a quieter place to yourself around the resort.
Finally, there is a bit of a pirate theme happening around the resort too. The pool is pirate themed and very cool looking. There is a section of rooms that are all “pirate rooms” with a pirate theme. The gift shop has a lot of pirates merchandise, and especially Pirates of the Caribbean.
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Caribbean Beach has one sit-down restaurant as well as a few quick service options and a pool bar. The sit-down restaurant is Sebastian’s Bistro, and I had dinner there one night and was honestly super impressed by the meal I had there. All of the food was really fantastic, I had very good service, and the price was surprisingly reasonable (especially for Disney!).
You can also grab food at the Centertown Market (in the main building) or the Spyglass Grill (on the other end of the resort where the pirate rooms are, close to one of the smaller pools). And then the main pool has a pool bar called Banana Cabana, which in addition to drinks has a pretty extensive lounge menu and a nice seating area.
If you’re interested in a full, detailed look at a standard room at Caribbean Beach, you can head over to my Caribbean Beach room tour. In general it’s a nice room, though I found the decor to be a bit sparse (I think it could be more fun!). But the size of a room at a moderate resort vs. a value resort is definitely noticeable, and I appreciated having the extra space.
I actually used the pool at a resort for once instead of just taking pictures of it! Although I took pictures too, as Caribbean Beach has a pretty cool pool with the pirate theme. The slide looks like a lot of fun (though I didn’t try it out this time) and there is a kids splash area that’s all pirate themed. It’s a large pool with plenty going on, and it had a nice hot tub too. There are smaller pools in each of the sections of the resort, so if you’re just looking to swim you don’t have to go far.
Things to do at Caribbean Beach
In addition to all of the “typical” stuff you can find to do at Caribbean Beach, like the pools, playground, and movies under the stars, there are some unique opportunities here as well. Caribbean Beach offers some sports and recreation options, like fishing, volleyball, and bike rentals. They also have an extra fee event called “pirate adventure cruises” for kids which currently isn’t being offered but will hopefully be back soon (or if it’s not, maybe something else like it!).
Would I stay again?
Yes, I would definitely plan to stay at Caribbean Beach resort again at some point in the future. My biggest “turn off” about it in the past was the size, but after walking (and running) around it I found it was less overwhelming than I thought it would be. In my opinion, the Skyliner access is a huge perk. While Pop Century and Art of Animation also have this option, depending on who I was traveling with I might want a bit more space and access to a good sit-down restaurant and a hot tub. I think I would actually book a pirate room next time, because my biggest disappointment in Caribbean Beach right now was the lack of themeing in the standard rooms – let’s go big with themeing! Sebastian’s Bistro was fantastic and it’s nice to have a good restaurant right at your resort.
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What do you think of my Caribbean Beach resort review? Have you stayed there?