Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort Hotel Review- Best Skyliner Access and Themed Pool
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort Hotel is located nearest to Epcot and Hollywood Studios and is a fantastic moderate category hotel. We stayed during one of Disney World's promotions which run consistently throughout the year and saved over $350 on our seven night stay.
Gavin Doyle Update February 2021: Based on Lindsay's great review of the Caribbean Beach Resort I stayed at the hotel during our February trip. My sister and I really enjoyed the stay and great proximity to the Skyliner. I have updated this review with anything that has changed since she wrote the review back in November 2020.
This hotel is considered in the moderate category of the Disney World hotels making it a little more expensive than the value options and you can expect to see higher class amenities because of that such as table service dining and a pool with a hot tub and water slides.
Keep reading my honest review to read what it's like to stay at this resort, not just during the holiday season, but post-COVID.
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Overview of Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort Hotel
Each Disney World hotel resort has a theme and Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort hotel embodies a theme of a relaxing paradise. Each area of the resort is defined by 5 islands: Barbados, Jamaica, Martinique, Trinidad and Aruba. Each of these hotel neighborhoods will have slightly different designs to represent their areas. The grounds of the resort are tropical and lush with the center of the hotel being themed as a vibrant market. You can also find beaches with hammocks in each of the neighborhoods to embody that relaxing vibe.
Caribbean Beach Resort Amenities
This hotel falls in the moderate category among the Walt Disney World hotels which puts it in a nice middle ground range with price and amenities. The amenities you can expect at this hotel include:
- childcare services
- laundry and dry cleaning services
- mail services
- merchandise delivery and pickup
- Disney signature services
- resort transportation including the Skyliner and busses
- Disney's Magical Express- free transportation to/from airport
- complimentary wifi internet access
- online check-in
- currency exchange
Keep in mind that some of these amenities weren't available during our stay, such as the merchandise delivery/pickup, due to COVID-19 safety precautions. You can also expect common amenities such as air conditioning, mini fridges, Disney's H20 brand toiletries, Joffrey's coffee, and more in your actual hotel room.
Caribbean Beach Resort Pools and Recreation
The only way you get a pool with slides and a hot tub is if you book at a moderate or deluxe resort at Disney World so this is where those perks come in.
The Fuentes del Morro Pool is the main pool at the resort themed like a colonial Spanish fortress. There's two waterslides including one that is 102 feet long and water cannons shooting water into the pool. There's a shipwreck area with mini slides and a downpour bucket for smaller kids under 48 inches to play in. There is also a 12-person hot tub available around the back of the main pool area where adults can relax after a long day of walking in the parks.
Each neighborhood of the hotel has its own leisure pool so you're never far away from a swim if you want one.
The resort also includes recreation options such as:
- Campfire Activities
- roast marshmellows around a campfire
- Movies Under the Stars
- watch Disney films outside under the nigh sky
- Pirate Adventure Cruise
- a pirate themed scavenger hunt around the resort for kids aged 4 to 12 years old
- Bike Rentals
- Jogging Trail
The only recreation option we used on this list, not all were available due to COVID, was the playground which my son loved. It was never crowded, most of the time it was empty, and he was thrilled to just be on a playground since our county had closed them during the lockdown for quite a long time.
Caribbean Beach Resort Dining Options
There's a variety of dining options at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort which is another perk of booking a moderate level resort as you will have a table service dining option to choose from as well as to-go options. The resort dining includes:
- Centertown Market
- This is their breakfast, lunch, and dinner food court style option. You can use mobile ordering and pick it up to take back to your room or eat in their dining area.
- Updated February 2021: We really enjoyed the jerk chicken bowl when we had it for dinner after getting back to the hotel from the parks late one night and not wanting to go out hunting for dinner. Recommended!
- Banana Cabana
- This is the pool-side bar with great tropical drinks along with traditional beer choices. I enjoyed this option quite a bit since I could easily grab a drink while my son was playing in the pool.
- Spyglass Grill
- Sebastian's Bistro
- This is the table service restaurant at the resort with Caribbean themed dining. This option was closed during our stay but as time goes on with Disney World's staggered reopening we expect these smaller table service options at resorts to start opening soon.
- Disney Pizza Resort Delivery
- Any of the Disney World resorts can take advantage of Disney's pizza delivery during their stay. We didn't use this option since we ate in the parks so much but it's a popular option if you don't feel like leaving your rooms in the evenings to eat,
Overall, we used the Banana Cabana and the Centertown Market the most during our stay. The location of the Centertown Market was convenient if I wanted to grab a coffee on our way out the door to the parks so I utilized the mobile order feature quite often there.
Transportation Overview and Review
This is where the resort really shines as it is one of the hotels on the Skyliner transportation line to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. But even better, the Skyliner hub at the Caribbean Resort Hotel is one of the main transportation hubs meaning that if you are departing from this station you will not be required to transfer and will go straight to your destination. We saw many families arriving from Pop Century and Art of Animation that had transfer to a new gondola which often meant joining the line already in place at the transportation hub. If you're staying at the Caribbean Resort, you're at the front of the line regardless with no transfer necessary.
The bus transportation at the Caribbean Resort is easy to use with bus stops surrounding the entire resort so regardless of what neighborhood you're staying in you are always within short walking distance of at least one bus stop. Getting bus transportation back to our hotel was a breeze, especially if we stayed after official park closing, as we'd often be the only group on the bus and we'd head straight to our bus stop.
Here are some takeaways from what I learned using both the Skyliner and bus transportation during our hotel stay:
- General rule of thumb to be at the park when they open is to arrive at your choice of transportation 90 minutes before the park opening time.
- For our day at Hollywood Studios with a park opening of 9AM, we arrived at the Skyliner early at 7AM and were the first group in line. By 7:30AM the line was already stretched down the street so I'm glad we arrived as early as we did. There's a Joffrey's Coffee stand right by the Skyliner entrance so we were able to enjoy a quick breakfast as we waited. The Skyliner started running at 8AM and we were one of the first families on our way to the park. Because of this early morning dedication, we walked right on to Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway!
- For our day at Epcot with a park opening of 11AM, we did not have to arrive quite as early to the Skyliner since not as many people head straight to that park in the morning. We got in line at about 9:30AM and the Skyliner started running at 10:15AM. Again, we were one of the first groups on and were some of the first groups in line for Frozen Ever After which started running ten minutes before the park officially opened.
- For the bus transportation, our neighborhood bus stop was in Jamaica which is one of the last bus stops on the route. Since arriving to Magic Kingdom requires a bit more work than the other resorts, I decided to wait at the Port Royale bus stop (which is the main one in front of the lobby area) so we would fit on that first bus. Since they're limiting capacity on busses, there's a chance you may have to wait for the next bus when it arrives at the stop. If you want to avoid that, choose to walk to one of the first bus stops on your Magic Kingdom day. The first bus stop is in the Martinique neighborhood, followed by the Port Royale bus stop. Either of these options should work fine. Note from Feb 2021 Stay: We stayed in the Aruba area which has the last stop on the bus loop before departure – this was awesome because we then had a direct drive to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. We never experienced a full bus preventing us from getting onboard.
- Animal Kingdom was much more laidback to get to using the bus transportation so we used our bus stop closest to our hotel room (Jamaica) and were one of the only groups on the bus. But this was with a park opening of 7AM so you might want to adjust your plans if the park opens later. Again, our early arrival paid off and we were done by both Pandora rides by 7:15AM.
- For the end of the night, the Skyliner ran for an hour after close for Hollywood Studios and 90 minutes after close for Epcot. If the Skyliner isn't running, there will be busses to take you back to your hotel. Disney will not leave you stranded- you will always have an option to get back to your resort hotel.
- We did use Uber during our stay which was quick and easy. Our first Magic Kingdom day we took an Uber to the Magic Kingdom transportation center where we were first in line for temperature checks. If you choose this route, you will have to ride either the Ferry, Bus, or Monorail over to Magic Kingdom. If you take a bus straight from your hotel, you go right through. Each way was about the same amount of time but we wanted to ride the monorail on our first day which is why I choose to Uber in the morning.
Overall, the transportation can seem overwhelming but with enough planning you will figure it out with ease. The perk of being at the Caribbean Resort is the Skyliner access which was one of my favorite parts of our stay. Because of physical distancing bus capacity was limited and for the Skyliner each party was given their own gondola which made that experience even cooler.
Disney's Magical Express
We utilized the complimentary Disney's Magical Express service to our hotel from the Orlando airport. The process was actually really fun! We got to use our Magic Bands right away and scan them in the airport. The cast members were full of enthusiasm as they pointed us to our line for our resort hotel. It's hit or miss how long you will wait- for us we only waited a few minutes before boarding the bus but it can take up to 45 minutes depending on when your flight arrives. Overall, the experience was easy and a great way to start our trip!
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort Photo Tour and Review
I booked a standard room with two queen beds and 5th sleeper (only standard room available during our dates) and was given a room in the Aruba neighborhood which wasn't far from the Skyliner. Our closest bus stop was the Jamaica bus stop which was about a similar distance from the Skyliner. We were pretty far from the main Port Royale Hub and pool which did get a bit wearing after awhile since it was a long walk whenever we walked to get food or to utilize the main pool.
Room Photo Tour
These were very comfortable beds- we were happy with them.
Overall, I had no complaints about the room. The beds were extremely comfortable, the water pressure in the shower was great, and everything was spotless when we arrived. I had no concerns when it came to cleanliness inside the room. Everything with high tough points (the remote and pumps on the shampoo) were wrapped in plastic and marked as sanitized. If I were to change one thing next time, I would pay the extra cost (about $60 per night) for a preferred room to be closer to the main Port Royale area with the pool and the dining. Even though we were close to the Skyliner, the long walk to and from the pool was rough as the trip went on.
Pool Photo Tour
We only spent time at the Fuentes del Morro Pool since my son had no interest in the leisure pools (you can probably expect most kids to feel this way making those leisure pools great spots for adults!) which was fine with me because I enjoyed relaxing in the sun while he swam. The pool was staffed with plenty of lifeguards and I felt that I could grab a chair and always have him in eyesight making it great for an afternoon break. I loved the pool at this resort, was probably one of our favorite parts of our stay!
Hotel Grounds and Lobby Photo Tour
Disney is encouraging everyone to check in online which I was able to do within seconds from the My Experience App. Check in is at 3PM and checkout is at 11AM. We arrived around 2:30PM and our room was ready!
You can also have groceries delivered to the resort, even before you arrive, and they will keep them cold for you. For a fee of $6, you can have bell services deliver them to your room which is what I did to save myself the hassle of carrying them. Our check out process was also seamless and was done via the app. Overall, the check in and out process was easier than ever. Since you are given Magic Bands (as of 2021, you will use the app as a virtual key if you choose not to purchase Magic Bands) we were able to use those to access our room without stopping by the front desk.
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort Hotel Review Final Thoughts
Here are my overall pros/cons from our stay at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort Hotel:
- This resort has the best Skyliner access since it is the main hub- we never had to join a second line or transfer like other resorts have to.
- The pool was perfect for all ages. My 10 year old son had plenty of things to do for fun and I was able to lounge in a chair by the poolside bar! The lifeguards were attentive which was a nice perk- not all resort hotels have lifeguards.
- The customer service was top notch and everything you can expect from Disney.
- Our room felt spacious and comfortable. I have zero complaints about the interior of our hotel room.
- Every area was clean and spotless from our room to the pool to the lobby. We constantly saw cast members cleaning high touch points like rails and sanitizing pool chairs.
- The gift shop on site had items we couldn't find in the parks like a Skyliner ornament and holiday items that were sold out in Magic Kingdom. Don't underestimate how awesome your resort gift shop can be!
- If you stay at Disney World hotel you also get complimentary transportation to and from the Orlando airpot with the Disney Magical Express bus.
- Booking with Get Away Today made our experience even easier as they took care of any reservations I needed them to such as making our reservations for the Disney Magical Express so I could enjoy the trip.
- I loved staying in the Disney bubble, I will always stay on-site when we come to Disney World for this reason. The grounds were beautiful and I felt like we were in a tropical paradise.
- Being a moderate hotel, it's more pricey than the value resort with this hotel averaging about $270 per night for a standard room.
- If you don't pay for a preferred room, at an average of $330 per night, you might be a far walk away from the main pool and dining locations. Next time, I would pay the price for a preferred room to save our energy for the parks.
- Due to COVID-19 restrictions, some amenities and dining were not available. The most noticeable of these being the table service option being closed and no package delivery from the resorts. Magical Express also currently does not pick up your luggage from baggage claim and deliver to your room so that was another noticeable change.
- The Pirate themed rooms offer a great option for room themes (think Pirate beds!) but they are in the building furthest away from the Port Royale lobby and pool which is why we didn't pick them even though they looked so cool.
- If you use your Magic Band to charge, be sure to use a credit card with a large limit. Upon check in everyone has $100 charged to their card on file. If you do not make any charges to your room then that $100 will drop off. However, I've read reports of guests noticing that pending charge taking a long time to clear if you also charge purchases to you room. For example, I had a $100 pending hold on my card and charged $80 of purchases to my room. As of two business days after check out, I still have $180 pending on my card. This is not unique this hotel but to all Disney World resorts. It's good to be aware so you use a card with enough cushion.
- The Disney theming is more subtle at this hotel than you will see at the value resorts which might be a deal breaker for families with small kids.
Overall, we loved this resort hotel so much that I had a really hard time even thinking of anything negative to say about it! I loved the room, the food, the pool, and the tropical theming. Most of the negatives we experienced during our stay were lack of certain amenities due to COVID-19 safety precautions which won't be forever. I highly recommend staying at this hotel- I found it to be the perfect moderate resort and you cannot beat that Skyliner access.
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I also stayed at the CBR this November and your comments were spot on!!! I stayed in Martinique and it was a short walk to food but long to the skyliner! I loved the pools. I would definitely stay at this hotel again!