**POST UPDATED APRIL 2017**
During our holiday in 2014, and then again in 2016 to Disney, we stayed at Disneys Caribbean Beach Resort. The resort is made up of six different villages. Aruba, Jamaica, Martinique, Trinidad North, Trinidad South and Barbados. Spread over the six villages are 2,112 rooms making the resort the largest Moderate Disney hotel.
STARTING MAY 2017 THE RESORT WILL BE UNDERGOING AN EXTENSIVE REFURBISHMENT WHICH WILL RESULT IN THE CLOSURE OF THE MAIN FOOD COURT OLD PORT ROYALE AND BANANA CABANA POOL BAR WHILST NEW AND IMPROVED FACILITIES ARE CREATED. MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND HERE
We have opted to stay at Caribbean Beach Resort again in 2017, and I will update this post after our trip again to provide more tips if you choose to stay at the resort.
Before we arrived, I did some research into the hotel and I found the issue most people had was the distance from their room to the food court (Old Port Royale). After spending some time worrying over how far we would have to walk for meals, or how long we may spend waiting for the internal bus to arrive, I stopped worrying and decided it would be what it would be and we would enjoy our holiday anyway. I was really pleased to discover that actually it wasn’t any where near as bad as some people made out on review sites, so I have some tips to pass on from my experiences.
Each village has it’s own pool. We often found we were the only swimmers or at most they may have been half a dozen of us. In the pool area there are changing facilities which is great for using the pool on leaving day after you’ve checked out from the room. There is also a launderette and plenty of life vests if you need them. The smaller pools don’t have lifeguards, but we found that the added benefit of Miss A having a life vest gave us extra security of her safety and we could also enjoy the sunbeds whilst watching her in the pool.
The main pool is located next to the food court and also has a smaller toddler pirate ship area. We found these pools to be a lot busier and whilst there was a lot of activity going on, sunbeds were in short supply due to the amount of people and there wasn’t a lot of room to swim. We definitely preferred the smaller village pools.
We stayed in Martinique in 2014 which was a three minute leisurely stroll to the food court. When completing the online check in prior to arrival, we were able to request two preferred villages to stay in. Trinidad North and Martinique are the two closest villages to Old Port Royale food court.
When we visited again in 2016, I requested Martinique again as I was so impressed with it before. We were allocated Jamaica, and whilst my heart sank initially, I actually ended the holiday not being able to choose between the two. Jamaica is on the other side of the resort, however there is a bridge connecting to Old Port Royale and we only has a couple of minutes walk to get our meals and visit the pool. We also had the benefit of walking past the playground which was lovely to stop off in. The views across the lake are stunning from Jamaica as well. You can read my 5 reasons why I love Caribbean Beach resort here.
The food court is a large dining area with plenty of choices for meals. We did find they became a little on the “samey” side after a few days but it’s easy to mix up your options by seeing what the daily special is, and also choosing from the snack stand rather than having a main meal. Breakfast was the only meal of the day that we ate every day at Old Port Royale. I soon realised that I could have fruit bowls and flapjacks with juice or water in place of cooked breakfasts or pancakes.
We always found a table to sit at and there was never any rubbish around as cast members were clearing away any rubbish that people had left very quickly. On dry evenings, we did sit outside for our meal as we worked out that the outside area would fill up very quickly past 7.30pm depending on the film playing that evening.
Weather dependant every evening, an inflatable screen was put up next to the bar just outside Old Port Royale and a Disney film was played. The timetable was set per month, and we noticed that depending on which film was playing determined how busy the seating area got. We were lucky the night Frozen was playing and managed to eat our dinner outside so we had chairs and a table to rest our drinks on.
The busses worked on a ten minute system. The aim was you should see a bus going to the park or hotel you wanted to get to within ten minutes. I only saw this system fail once in the two weeks we stayed at Disney. We were very lucky with the queues and always got on the first bus that arrived despite the queues. The busses can get crowded when full with seats filled and standing spots taken. There were plenty of grab rails to hang on to, and it was easy to keep Miss A contained between us without swaying around too much when it was needed. There is a bus stop at each village at the resort, and we often found that despite their being two entrances to the resort, Martinique was usually the first or second stop when arriving back at the resort from the parks. This was welcome at the end of a long day. Martinique is also the bus stop before Old Port Royale which is where everyone seems to wait for the bus, so to guarantee a seat on a near empty bus, Martinique is a great place to catch the bus.
Comparing the bus stop at Jamaica to Martinique was also very interesting as through 2016 we also found that Jamaica was near the first drop off points on return to the park depending on which entrance the bus came in via.
Overall I was really happy with our stay at Disneys Caribbean Beach Resort. Our room was basic but clean and was cleaned every day by the maid service. It’s customary to leave a tip for staff when they provide a service for you. We left the maid a dollar per day and tipped the bus boys a dollar per bag they carried. Everyone got slightly more on our last day.
The rooms have all had an upgrade to the decor above in 2016. They are nicer in my opinion but I do miss spotting Nemo at the end of the day.
Top things to remember about Disneys Caribbean Beach Resort.
- There is FREE wifi
- Each village has it’s own private pool
- Martinique and Trinidad North are closest to Old Port Royale
- There are no lifts at the resort
- There is a 45 acre lake in the centre of the resort which provides amazing views.
- Each village has it’s own beach area next to the lake (not for swimming in)
- There is a bus stop in each village
If you’re reading this and you’ve already booked your holiday, then check out ways to surprise the kids with your holiday, and if you’re wondering whether Memory Maker is worth the money then check out my post covering what I thought. You can save a lot of money by buying certain items before you go, check out my post letting you know how to save money. Is it time to book your Fastpasses?
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