By the co-author of the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook ever -- The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

Review: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

By Dave Shute


Review - Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from

Note: as part of a refurb that began in late spring 2014, the old full beds that were at Caribbean Beach have been replaced with queen beds in standard Caribbean Beach rooms.

Pirate rooms are finishing a different refurb, and it looks like they will keep their full beds.

Review Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.netMany (but not all) queen rooms have a Murphy Bed now as well–see the image at right, from my August stay–my sixth at this hotel.

As of September 2015, refurbs everywhere at Caribbean Beach except for the Pirate rooms are done, and the Pirate rooms are almost done.

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is the best Disney World moderate resort for first time family visitors who may never return, especially those who avoid the Trinidad South (“Pirate rooms”) and Barbados sections.

You can have a wonderful visit at any Walt Disney World resort hotel.

However, this site recommends that first time visitors to Walt Disney World who can afford it should stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, a deluxe resort, and that those who can’t should stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, a value resort.

Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from (6)

It also suggests that first time visitors should avoid the moderate resorts, while noting that these resorts are wonderful for visits after the first. See this for why.

Compared to other Walt Disney World owned and operated resorts, the moderate resorts are distinguished by having nicer settings and landscaping, and much bigger rooms, than the value resorts, while being less comfortable than and having not nearly as good dining as the deluxe resorts.

Main Pool at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from (2)

Among the moderate resorts, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort’s positives in kid appeal outweigh its negatives in convenience, and give it the first ranking among the moderates for first time family visitors.

(Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is second, Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside is third, Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter is a very close fourth, and The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are last. The rankings of the first four are very close, and sensible people can differ on them.)

(See this for much more on resort distinctions by price class–value, moderate, deluxe, etc.)


While many websites and books (but not all) claim that Caribbean Beach rooms have 340 square feet, every room I have measured at the Caribbean Beach has come out at pretty close to 314 square feet–nearly the same size as the rooms of the other moderate resorts (except the cabins.)

Four Person Queen Room Floor Plan Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from

Even so, Caribbean Beach rooms are quite spacious.  The bedroom area is particularly ample, and is bigger than the bedroom spaces at several of the deluxe resorts. (See this.) The floor plan above is for a two queen refurbed room…

Five Person Queen Room Floor Plan Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from

…and this is for a Murphy Bed room.

Queen Beds in Refurbed Rooms at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net_

The refurbed rooms have a new look, and, as you can see at the back right, also now have sliding “barn doors” separating the bath area from the bedroom, rather than the fabric curtains here in the rooms. before the refurb.

Murphy Bed in Refurbed Rooms at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from

And for many, the key feature of the refurb is the addition to many queen rooms (not king rooms) of a Murphy Bed, which gives another sleeping spot and a new option for five-person families.

I measured the Murphy Bed mattress as 30″ wide by 64″ long.  The way it is positioned on top of the bedframe and related to the back framing means that, unlike many such beds, it does not sleep shorter than this. I’d put a five foot tall kid on this and expect great results. The cushion is 5 inches deep.

You can add to this capacity of four a child younger than three who sleeps in a crib.

Centertown Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from


Resorts are ranked on this site for first time visitors based first on their kid appeal, and then on their convenience.

On this basis, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is the best moderate resort for first time family visitors to Walt Disney World.

Kid Appeal.

The kid appeal of the Caribbean Beach Resort comes from

  • The vibrant and playful colors that form the basis of its Caribbean theme (the other moderates are dull to a kid’s eyes)
  • The beaches that ring the lake it is built around (Coronado Springs is the only other “traditional” moderate with any beaches, and those in only one of its three sections; the Cabins at Fort Wilderness also have a beach, about a mile away)
  • The kid friendly theming of many of its rooms, with Mickey and Pluto in the five person refurbed rooms, and rooms in the not-recommended (because too distant) Trinidad South section themed around pirates. No other moderate has theming designed to appeal to kids in so many of its rooms
  • Splash Play Main Pool at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.netThe quality of its main pool, the best among the moderates—for example, no other traditional moderate has such a fully themed little kid pool.


This distinctive level of kid appeal is sufficient to make up for the resort’s inconvenience—among the moderate resorts, only the Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are more inconvenient.

The Caribbean Beach Resort was Walt Disney World’s first moderate, and Disney made one mistake that led to this inconvenience: designing the resort with seven bus stops. This is 2 or 3 more than it could have had, and almost doubles the amount of time it takes for buses to get around the resort compared to the other large moderates which, designed later, have 4-5 bus stops.

Moreover, a couple of the areas at Caribbean Beach–Barbados and Trinidad South–are quite a hike from the main central services, and the check-in building the Customs House isn’t really convenient to anything except Barbados.

Other distinctive features.

The Caribbean Beach Resort is the only moderate with no elevators at all, and with no indoor bar/lounge (there’s a bar at the pool).

Best places to stay. 

Map Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort

This site suggests that first time visitors stay in standard rooms, not preferred rooms (because they won’t be spending much time in their rooms, or going to the main resort food area often; the single exception is visitors to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, who should always pay for savanna views).

See the map (as always on this site, click it to enlarge it.)

Caribbean Cay Bridge Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from

Standard rooms on the ground floors (because no elevators) in the southern part of the Aruba section (buildings 51-53) and the northern part of the Jamaica section (buildings 44, 45 and 46) are the best balance between cost, tranquility, and closeness (via the Caribbean Cay bridge) to the main pool and food area. (Note: the bridge suddenly closed in September 2015 for construction, making Aruba not so great a choice until the bridge reopens later in 2015.)

Avoid Trinidad South and Barbados (too distant).

Caribbean Beach Online Check-in Form from

Here’s the current online check in form. Look at the map carefully before you click “Near Transportation.” At Aruba, that will put you distant from the bridge; at Martinique, it’s not necessary as there’s two nearby bus stops.


Any typical first time visitors who insist on staying, or only can stay, in a moderate.


Families with mobility issues (lack of elevators, spread out; multiple bus stops).


This review continues here.

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1 Melissa { 01.09.15 at 10:19 am }

Hi! Your website is absolutely amazing! Thank you! I do have one question though. I am looking at staying at the Caribbean resort and I am booking it now. I don’t see where I can try and request a specific village (Aruba or Jamaica). Is that something that can be done at time of booking or is done later? If so, do you know when? Thanks.

2 Dave { 01.09.15 at 3:40 pm }

Hi Melissa and thanks!!

You can do on-line check in beginning 60 days before your arrival date, and you’ll find there a link that will open up a place where you can make these requests.

Caribbean Beach Online Check-in Form from

3 Melissa { 01.10.15 at 7:48 pm }

Thanks so much for your help, Dave! much appreciated!

4 Julie { 01.13.15 at 2:01 pm }

I always stay at the Carribbean Beach Resort, and loved the atmosphere there, but looking at the recent renovations, I takes away from the cheerful atmosphere. I don’t like it

5 Dave { 01.14.15 at 1:40 pm }

Julie, many agree that the rooms are duller now…

6 Bri { 01.24.15 at 7:25 am }

Thinking of staying here, but wondering if it’s just the rooms that are under renovation? Would hate to stay in a construction zone, if they are working on other parts of the property, if you know what I mean? Thanks in advance! :)

7 Dave { 01.24.15 at 9:08 am }

Bri, it’s just the rooms. They do a few buildings at a time (there’s 33, about 21 complete) and empty them out first. So while you might see workmen and supplies it’s mostly pretty invisible.

8 Jim { 02.01.15 at 9:41 am }

Hi Dave! My wife and I have booked a King bed room at CB for next week, and I was wondering if the King bed rooms are available at all of the villages, or just specific ones, and also if you have any recommendations for one. I don’t see them covered in this article. We haven’t done our online check- in yet, so I know we may be limited for choices. We’ve always stayed at a value resort in the past, but decided to give CB a try this this time. Thanks!

9 Becky { 02.01.15 at 10:52 am }

We are a fam of 4, but could really use the Murphy bed for one of our little ones. She’s sometimes a rough sleeper and it’s hard to share a bed with her. Any way to know which rooms have them? It won’t be my first (primary) request, so I’d hate to put in conflicting requests.

10 Dave { 02.01.15 at 5:29 pm }

Jim, all the buildings have king rooms!

11 Dave { 02.01.15 at 5:30 pm }

Becky, you can’t request a five-person room befroe arrival. If you book 5 people, you’ll get one automatically, but for smaller bookings it’s luck of the draw.

12 Kristen { 02.13.15 at 2:06 pm }

We are heading to Caribbean Beach Resort for Easter weekend. This will be our first time staying in a 5 person room there. The last time it was just my husband and me and we stayed in Aruba. We didn’t mind the scenic walk over the bridge. Do you know which buildings they are putting families with the five person set up? We requested Martinique and I wonder (realistically) which buildings we should be asking for. Thanks for any help you can give!

13 Dave { 02.15.15 at 9:40 am }

Kristen, every refurbed building has five person rooms. As of last week, 4 of the 6 buildings at Martinique were done with the refurb, and I expect the other two to be done this month.

Do you have a “preferred” room or a regular room? If your room is regular, all those are now through the refurb.

14 Lena { 02.15.15 at 11:29 pm }

I actually love the new look of the rooms!! It’s very classy and cozy looking. All the colors before and the old fashion Nemo wall boarder made it look cheap and something you would find in a Holiday Inn or something even lower than that. The first time I stayed there(in 2013) I walked in the room and thought I’m paying all this money but looks like I’m staying at a cheap hotel. Staying there in April so I can’t wait to see the change in person! Way to go Disney for a awesome change!!!!!!! :-)

15 Dave { 02.16.15 at 8:20 am }

Cool, Lena, come back and let me know what you think after your stay!!

16 Michele { 02.19.15 at 6:39 pm }

Hi there! I’m getting ready to do my online check-in and was reading over your suggestions for which village to select. What about Trinidad North? I didn’t see you mention that anywhere. Has it been refurbed yet? I booked a Standard View room are those a different category? I see it’s listed on my online check-in as an option but wanted to check with you first to see if you recommend and knew if refurb was done there. Thanks!

17 Dave { 02.20.15 at 8:08 am }

Michele, all of Trinidad North is “preferred.” So if you didn’t book a preferred room you won’t get it. As of two weeks ago, refurb had not started there yet. I’d expect it to start in March, but won’t know for sure until it starts!!

18 Rochelle { 03.10.15 at 3:49 pm }

Thanks for all your helpful tips and insights. Love the site! Our family of 4 is staying at CBR in May. My husband and I stayed there in 2013 in Aruba before the refurbs started. I would like to stay in a refurbed room, but was thinking Martinique this time, as it’s closer to the main pools and food court, and that might be nice with the kids with us this time around. However, when I called CBR last night to ask if all the Martinique rooms were completed, the cast member hemmed and hawed around my question. So I ended up requesting Jamaica. Any idea if Martinique is complete, and what would you recommend? Should I change it, or just stay with Jamaica?

19 Dave { 03.10.15 at 3:58 pm }

Rochelle, I haven’t seen it with my own eyes, but this says Martinique is done–and I believe that, based on the progress I saw in Martinique in early Feb.

20 Unhappy at Caribbean beach { 03.13.15 at 7:30 pm }

I would NOT choose this hotel. Way too inconvenient. I stayed in Martinique and it cost $280 a night. That is the only way to get that location and I feel ripped off. Others got similar rooms for $170 (early march). Just a long walk still. Not good. I would do hotels near downtown. Take any money you saved and use cabs and still save a ton and use cabs at time instead of bus.

21 Dave { 03.14.15 at 10:00 am }

Not sure I am following you…Downtown???

22 Kathy kelly { 03.15.15 at 6:34 am }

Just came back from our disney trip and we stayed at the carribean beach like we have for the past eight years. We stayed in Martinique as we usually stay at a preferred Trinidad. The rooms are absolutely gorgeous. They are beautiful and tasteful. Much better than the cheezy nemo green theme. We did have a Murphy bed that we did not use but looks great if u have a small child. Love the sliding doors for privacy and the bed was beyond comfortable. I actually think I want to buy the mattress!!!
We had a wonderful trip!!

23 Dave { 03.15.15 at 6:45 am }

Glad you liked it, Kathy!!

24 Sherry { 04.12.15 at 4:45 pm }

Wondering if you think now that there has been a refurb at Caribbean and they have 5 person rooms if it will be exempt from the free dining program this year? I would really like to take kids this yr and stay on property during free dining. We have to get 2 rooms anyway for our lrg crew (6 kids) but really wanted to stay here.

25 Dave { 04.13.15 at 5:07 pm }

Sherry, great question. The short answer is that I expect it to be included in any free dining deal that might come out, but won’t know for sure til the deal launches.

26 Lena { 04.26.15 at 1:20 pm }

Hey again! I originally posted on here on 02.15.15 talking about how I couldn’t wait to see the new décor of the rooms in person when we went in April. I just want to say I LOVE the new look it has really brought the hotel rooms up to date and actually looks more like a moderate hotel instead of the cheap 2 star hotel look with the Nemo boarder and so forth they had when we stayed there in 2013. If you’re looking for a more of character theme room then go with one of Disney’s Character theme Value Resorts. All and all way to go Disney for the updated Caribbean look!

27 Lynne { 04.26.15 at 5:07 pm }

Hi, we are staying at the Carribbean Beach Resort in August, and would like some help as to which area you would advise. We are 2 adults & 2 teens? We are hiring a car so probably won’t use the transportation much. Thank-you. Also it will be my daughters birthday when we are there, do you know if they deliver cakes to the rooms?

28 Lena { 04.27.15 at 3:22 pm }

To comment and to answer to Lynne!

We’ve stayed in a preferred room our first stay but this past stay on April 12th-19th we stayed in a standard room in Jamaica section 46(exact room number was 4618) and was actually much more closer to “Center Town, main pool area and so forth than when we paid the extra money for the preferred room. Jamaica 45,46 and 47 are great! Dave I’m sure you can add more input to this as well as I can too but it’s your site so I’ll go ahead and let you take over. :-)

29 Dave { 04.28.15 at 7:55 am }

Glad you like it Lena!!

30 Dave { 04.28.15 at 7:56 am }

Lynne, I agree with Lena!

31 Lena { 04.28.15 at 2:00 pm }

As far as your daughter’s b-day. When checking in the hotel ask for a “It’s My Birthday” and “I’m celebrating” pins for each guest, wear them the whole time out to eat, to the parks and so forth you might just get a little extra “magic”. Also Disney Floral and Gifts have “In-Room Celebrations” not sure of your budget but Disney goes all out and it’s very much worth money! Check it out at Just copy and paste in your web browser.

32 Dave { 04.28.15 at 7:24 pm }

Lena another save! I missed the part of the question about birthdays! Lynne, in addition see this

33 Lynne { 04.29.15 at 1:27 pm }

Thank you both for your help, will try & get into Jamaica, and will definitely look into the birthday links ????

34 Lynne { 04.29.15 at 1:29 pm }

That was meant to be a smiley face, not a question mark !!

35 Lena { 04.29.15 at 2:25 pm }

No problem! Because a request is just that a request not a guarantee but Disney does try it’s best to fulfill. Upon check-in at the hotel they actually had us in a village I didn’t request but I asked for her to check to see if any rooms were available in Jamaica specifically 45,46,47 at which the lady there was more than happy to check and within 5 min I had a room in my requested section. So don’t be afraid to ask to check about a different section, they choose your room about 5 days ahead before you get there so people are always checking in and out. :-)

36 Dave { 04.29.15 at 5:24 pm }

:) I usually generate more questions than smiles lol

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