By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.



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Category — d. Where to Stay at Walt Disney World

The Bath and Master Bedroom Spaces of One and Two Bedroom Villas at Disney’s Copper Creek Villas

(For the first page of this review of Copper Creek Villas, see this.)

THE VILLAS AT DISNEY’S COPPER CREEK VILLAS

This photo tour covers the baths and master bedroom spaces of a Copper Creek Villa. The living/dining/kitchen space, and the master bedroom and baths, are the same in both One and Two Bedroom Copper Creek Villas.

The floor plan shows a Two Bedroom Villa.

(The living, kitchen and dining spaces in a Copper Creek Villa are here.)


From the entry to the Villa, turn and and you’ll see this hall.

On one side is the laundry.

At the end is this open closet with coat hooks and cubbies, a couple of small drawers, and shoe storage at the bottom.

The other side has an entry from this hall to a full bath, with a sink, toilet…

…and a large shower.

The shower has both a rainfall head…

…and a mounted handheld head.

Accessible both from this space and from the master bedroom is a second bath area, with a sink and a soaking spa tub.

A closer view of the tub.  The jets are at the bottom, and after you are done and gone, and the tub has emptied (it takes a while to fill it by the way) the jets come back on with a bit of a surprising roar to clear them.

The hair dryer is in a sink drawer. There may be another one in the full bath–I forgot to check.

The makeup mirror.

The master bedroom itself has a king bed on one side.

The king from the back.

Closer.

Note the interesting headboard. Note also the power points on the bedside table.

There’s two such tables, each able to power four devices.

There’s room for typically-sized rolly bags and such under the bed.

The other side of the room has a desk, dresser, TV and wardrobe.

The inside of the wardrobe.

The dresser and TV.

Lots of drawer space.

The desk adds more power points and has a cute stool that adds some color.

Also adding color is the large art thingy between the spa tub and the master bedroom, which perhaps is meant to be petrified wood.

The art thingy is translucent, so lets light escape from the master bath area into the bedroom when the lights are on in the bath.  All told, despite the room being short on art, I would have preferred drywall.

Finally, there’s a balcony outside.  Our seventh floor room had small dormer balconies–Villas on other floors will have larger ones, most with rails instead of solid walls.

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July 21, 2017   No Comments

The Living/Dining/Kitchen Space of One and Two Bedroom Villas at Disney’s Copper Creek Villas

(For the first page of this review of Copper Creek Villas, see this.)

THE VILLAS AT DISNEY’S COPPER CREEK VILLAS

Copper Creek Villas, the new Disney Vacation Club offering that has taken over a wing at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, has opened, and we checked into a One Bedroom Villa a couple of days after they opened. (For a similar photo tour of a Copper Creek Studio, see this.)

Our Villa was on the seventh (top) floor, and so has smaller balconies and a slightly different ceiling line near the balconies than most others, but the floor plan other than balconies is the same.

This photo tour covers the living/dining/kitchen space of a Copper Creek Villa. The living/dining/kitchen space, and the master bedroom and baths, are the same in both One and Two Bedroom Copper Creek Villas.

As you enter your villa, the kitchen, dining and living areas are dead ahead, and the baths and master bedroom are around a corner.

The side of the entry area, towards the master bath…

…has a lovely parquet floor.

Here’s you’ll find a large closet…

…with hanging storage for those sleeping in the living room–well, not for them, unless they are little bats, but for their stuff. The master bedroom has its own wardrobe–as we’ll see, there’s tons of storage in these villas.

The safe in the closet is large and deep enough for several laptops or your most valuable books.

Back in the main space you’ll first find the kitchen.  The refrigerator is alone on one side…

…but is plenty large.

The rest of the kitchen is on the other side.

From the back of the room.

Some of the stuff the kitchen comes with:

Pretty much everything you need to prepare, cook and serve meals for the eight people a Two Bedroom Villa at Copper Creek will hold is here.

You won’t find the breakfast bar that’s common in other Disney Vacation Club One and Two Bedroom Villas, but as we’ll see in a minute the dining table is larger than those in most other Villas.

Deeper in the room on the kitchen side you’ll find the dresser, TV and connecting door to a Studio or second bedroom, if present.

A closer shot of the dresser and 64-inch TV.

Six large drawers–each is 30 inches wide– provide plenty of storage for the two people this side of the Villa sleeps. Note that the top of the dresser is flanked by two power points that can each charge four devices–there’s all the power you’d want in these spaces.

The charming book on the right is for you to look at, not to take.

Beyond is the balcony.  Because we were on the seventh floor, ours were quite small. Normal rooms have a full balcony for each bay.

The other side of the room has the dining set up, couch and an easy chair.

This side from the back.

A closer view of the dining table.

I measured the wall bench as six feet long. With that long a bench seat and three chairs, this table will easily seat 6 of typical hips.  That’s not the eight people the room will hold, but is more than most DVC Two Bedroom Villas can seat or even have seats for.

Under the bench is this drawer.

Beyond is the couch and easy chair. The couch will sit three, so there’s cushioned seating only for four.  You can turn the dining table chairs around for more seats.

The coffee table opens to this bedding, and is also on wheels to make moving it out of the way (to unfold the sofa bed) easier.

The couch unfolds into this bed. I measured it to be as wide as a queen–60 inches–but at 76 inches long four inches shorter.  The cushion is four inches deep, thin for all but children and lighter adults (or bats…).

THE MASTER BEDROOM AND BATH IN ONE AND TWO BEDROOM VILLAS AT COPPER CREEK VILLAS

This photo tour of a Copper Creek Villa continues here.

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July 21, 2017   No Comments

Photo Tour of a Studio at Disney’s Copper Creek Villas

(For the first page of this review of Copper Creek Villas, see this.)

THE STUDIOS AT DISNEY’S COPPER CREEK VILLAS

Copper Creek Villas, the new Disney Vacation Club offering that has taken over a wing at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, has opened, and we checked into a Studio the day after they opened.

Our Studio was a dedicated Studio, without a connecting door, so the TV side of the room is a little different than the connecting “lockoff” studios. Its floor plan is above.

This floor plan shows a regular lockoff Studio with a connecting door. The door connects to a One Bedroom Villa–a photo tour of that space begins here.

Here’s an overview of the space.

The entry is similar to other Studios, with the closet and kitchenette on one side, and a divided bath on the other.

The sink area of the bath can be closed off by a sliding barn door.

A more direct view of the sink area…

…with storage below.

The hair dryer is in a drawer.

Beyond the sink in their own room are the shower and toilet. The shower has sliding doors…

…a hand-held shower…

…and a rainfall shower head. The shower set up is cool, and many will welcome the sliding doors as easier to handle than a billowing curtain.  But parents of small children know it’s much easier to bathe a little one in a regular tub with a shower curtain.

Across the hall is the closet and kitchenette. One side of the closet…

…and the other.

The safe is in the closet. For sizing, see in it my book–6″  by 9″–and my laptop, which is 9.5″ by 13.25.” In between, just a bit larger than my book,  is a larger iPad.

The closet is smaller than in most Studios, and is the one compromise I see in Copper Creek Studios from the smaller size of the standard Wilderness Lodge rooms they were converted from. That said, as we’ll see, there’s plenty of storage in these rooms–especially since you don’t need to put your bags in the closet.

The kitchenette comes with a coffeepot, toaster, microwave, and some utensils and such.

Some of the supplies and storage spots–

Note above the slide-out pantry, which I’ve not seen in another DVC studio

Also here is a mini-fridge.

Further in the room, on one side is a queen bed and a couch that folds out into a second queenly bed (it’s as wide as a standard queen, but four inches shorter).

This side of the room from the back.

A closer view of the queen.

Some of the headboard detail.

The bed throw has a stylized railroad map of the west.

There is room under the bed for bags, a new feature we’ve been seeing in the more recent Disney World refurbs, which lessens demand for storage space for them in the closet or elsewhere.

This is a standard-sized rolly bag under the bed. It would have fit totally in the middle but then you couldn’t see it, could you? You could easily put six bags of this size under the bed, probably more.

On either side of the queen is one of these bedside tables.

The three drawers in each can be used for storage, and each has two standard and two USB outlets for charging.

At the far end of this side of the room is the couch and and a chest that functions as a coffee table.

In the chest you’ll find bedding for the queen-ish bed that the couch folds out into.

Note that by opening the chest you also make a handy keyboard-height table in front of the couch. I am impressed…

The couch folds out into a bed I measured as  60 inches wide by 76 inches long with a 4 inch cushion.  It is as wide as a queen but 4 inches shorter.

I’ve put this bed through my detailed testing regimen (step one shown above), and can confirm that like most Disney World sofa beds you should save it for kids or lighter adults.

At the far end of your room you’ll have either a balcony or, if you are on the first floor like we were, a patio.

The other side of my room had a bench, dresser with TV above, and table and chairs.

The TV side from the back.

Note the beam separating the living space from the entry hall.

Standard studios put their connecting door where our table was, slide the TV and dresser a little towards that door, and have their table where we have the bench.

A closer view of the table and chairs–note the fun mirror frame. The power point holds two standard plugs and two USB plugs.

The dresser and TV. Note the size of the TV, and the variety of fun handles on the dresser.  On either side is a power point, each of which can charge four devices–two via plugs, two via USB.

On the dresser you will find this book–at least until so many are stolen (there’s a note on the back that you will be charged $50 for the book if you take it) that Disney tires of replacing it.

The 6 drawers have varied shapes and can easily hold the stuff needed for the four people these room will fit–and recall there’s six more smaller drawers in the bedside tables.

Finally, my room had this bench…

…with storage inside. Studios with a connecting door do not have this bench, and put the table and chairs here instead.

There’s little Disney theming to these rooms.  Here’s closer views of the three pieces of art you’ll find:

However, there’s a number of nice small touches in the room–the carved headboard and mirror, the railroad map on the bed and book on the dresser, the fun shower heads, the slide-out pantry, the under-bed storage, the keyboard desk at the sofa, the quantity and size of drawers–that make these Copper Creek Studios really stand out.

I can’t say they are the best studios at Disney World–in different ways both those at the Polynesian and Grand Floridan are probably better overall.  But they are very, very well-done, and very impressive.

PHOTO TOUR OF THE LIVING-KITCHEN-DINING SPACE OF ONE AND TWO BEDROOM VILLAS AT COPPER CREEK

This review continues here!

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July 18, 2017   1 Comment

Review: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

OVERVIEW: DISNEY’S CARIBBEAN BEACH RESORT

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort has always suffered from strong pros and almost equally strong cons. Its loveliness, playfulness, great main pool and kid appeal have been offset by its overly complex bus stop set up, the distance of some rooms–especially the Pirate rooms in Trinidad South–from central services, and average dining.

A major construction project kicked off here in May 2017.  It holds the promise of eventually fixing many of the resort’s more negative aspects, but in the meantime adds some visual blight and a weak set of temporary replacements for the now-closed permanent dining.

Even so, for those who care little about dining at the resort, and understand fully what they are getting into, 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”) area.

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

Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (6)

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.

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.

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

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

Among the moderate resorts, for those who don’t plan much dining at the hotel itself, 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.)

Because of the construction, the consequent dining situation, and the three very different room types at Caribbean Beach, this review has nine pages:

THE CONSTRUCTION PROJECT AT DISNEY’S CARIBBEAN BEACH RESORT

Disney’s Caribbean Beach resort is undergoing a major redo. Nine out of what were 33 accommodations buildings have closed and are surrounded by construction fences. The shops, concierge services, table service restaurant, quick service restaurant, and other amenities at Old Port Royale are closed. They will be rebuilt near the same area but along the water.

Temporary replacements for this closed dining are available See this for much more on the dining options during the refurb at Caribbean Beach, but the summary is as follows

  • Breakfast: Fine. Supplies for cold in-room dining are easily available, and the hot buffet and food truck offerings are entirely adequate.
  • Lunch: Weak. Both hot and cold offerings are limited. The quality of the hot food is good, but options and capacity are each slim. Cold food is widely available in limited options and while the fruits and salads are OK, the cold sandwiches are weak.
  • Dinner: Adequate for a meal or two.  Between the buffet, food truck, room service, and other options, most will find something to like, but the offerings at each option are limited, and capacity is tight except at the buffet.

My advice? Well, unless you have a pin code, effective prices go down, or dining options are strengthened,

  • If you have any qualms, change your resort. The potential for you to second-guess yourself is too high.
  • If you never felt strongly about staying at Caribbean Beach anyway, change your resort.
  • If you picked Caribbean Beach for its tranquility, consider how construction noise might affect that.
  • If you plan more than one or two lunches or dinners at the resort, consider changing your resort

For more on the construction at Caribbean Beach and its implications, see this.

ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S CARIBBEAN BEACH RESORT

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort has 24 two story (no elevators) accommodations buildings divided into five villages–Jamaica, Aruba, Martinique, Trinidad South, and Trinidad North.

While there are some variants (like a few king bed rooms), most room are one of three basic room types–four person queen bed rooms, five person queen and Murphy bed rooms, and four person full bed Pirate rooms.

While many websites and books (but not all) claim that these 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 yourfirstvisit.net

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 yourfirstvisit.net

…and this is for a five person two queen and Murphy Bed room.

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

I measured the Murphy Bed mattress as 30″ wide by 64″ long.  The way it is positioned on top of the bed frame 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.

Bed Side Pirate Room Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Pirate rooms have full beds and a cloth curtain between the bedroom and bath areas, rather than a sliding wooden door, and sleep four. The beds of a refurbed Pirate room are above.

A photo tour of a four person queen room is here; a photo tour of a five person queen and murphy bed room begins here; and a photo tour of a four person full bed Pirate room begins here.

DINING AT DISNEY’S CARIBBEAN BEACH RESORT

The principal dining options at Caribbean Beach during its refurb are at Centertown.


Here you’ll find a food truck with a limited breakfast, lunch and dinner offering…

…and a buffet serving breakfast and dinner.

Additional options elsewhere are in-room dining, a second food truck that may be available in Trinidad South, and snacks and shelf stable and cold breakfast offerings and sandwiches in three “Island Markets” in Aruba, Jamaica and Martinique.

The overall situation–in good weather–is fine at breakfast, weak at lunch, and barely adequate at dinner. A hard rain interferes with most of the principal options.

Guests planning just one or two lunches or dinners at the resort should find something that works, but guests expecting more out of dining should avoid Caribbean Beach until dining gets better, unless they can get a great deal.

No one really knows when dining will come out of refurb.  There may be a hint in Disney’s 2018 prices for Caribbean Beach, which unlike most other resorts, show next to no increases until August 2018, then go up quite a bit for the “Fall” price season–which begins August 26, 2018.

There’s much more on dining at Caribbean Beach during the construction here.

THE POOLS AT DISNEY’S CARIBBEAN BEACH RESORT

Each of the villages has a small quiet pool within easy walking distance of guest rooms.

They are almost identical–above is the small pool at Martinique.

In addition in Centertown is the main pirate-themed Fuentes Del Morro pool.

The main pool at Caribbean Beach is the best at the Disney World moderates, and its adjoining kids water play area (below) is bested among the moderates only by the water play area at Port Orleans French Quarter.

For more on the Fuentes Del Morro pool at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, see this.

KID APPEAL AND CONVENIENCE AT DISNEY’S CARIBBEAN BEACH RESORT

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

On this basis, based on my nine stays here, most recently in June 2017, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is the best moderate resort for first time family visitors to Walt Disney World–but only for those who don’t care much about dining at the resort during their visit.

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

Convenience.

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 too many bus stops. While one has disappeared because of the refurb, there’s still a lot, and the number in effect 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 Trinidad South is quite a hike from the main central services, and the check-in building the Custom House isn’t really convenient to anything.

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 temporary outdoor bar in Centertown).

BEST PLACES TO STAY AT 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 yourfirstvisit.net

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. 

Avoid Trinidad South (too distant) and Martinique, which has construction at both ends and access to the rest of the resort only through an un-lovely walkway.

Here’s the current online check in form. It’s not much help, as it offers only Martinique as a village to be selected.  You are better off calling in your requests (407-939-7675 ). And 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.

BEST FOR:

Any typical first time visitors who insist on staying, or only can stay, in a moderate, and don’t mind the issues created by construction–especially the limited dining.

WORST FOR:

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

THE REFURB AT DISNEY’S CARIBBEAN BEACH RESORT

This review continues here.

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June 28, 2017   2 Comments

Four Person Queen Rooms at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

(For the first page of this review of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, see this.)

PHOTO TOUR OF A FOUR PERSON QUEEN BED ROOM AT DISNEY’S CARIBBEAN BEACH RESORT

Most rooms at Caribbean Beach sleep four on two queens, five on two queens and a fold down bed, or, in the Pirate rooms in Trinidad South, four on two fulls.

This photo tour is of a four person, two queen room. (For five person rooms, see this, and for Pirate rooms, see this.)

A 2014 refurb added queen beds to most Caribbean Beach rooms, replacing the full beds in all but the Pirate rooms in Trinidad South.  Some rooms also had a fifth sleeping spot added.

In the construction and demolition project that kicked off in May 2017, the furniture from the fifth sleeping spot from demolished rooms in Barbados and half of Martinique was added back into what had previously been four person rooms, making the three sleeping spot/five person rooms easier to get.  But four person rooms remain–I stayed in one in June 2017.

The bed side of the room has the queens and a small bedside table between them.

Here’s the bed side from the back. This side will also have the connecting door (at right) if present, and a coat rack near the door.

Bed Light Refurbished Queen Room Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

There’s fun light fixtures.

A closer view of a queen.

The bedside table has a storage shelf below…

…and a drawer large enough for your most valuable books

Barn Doors Refurbished Queen Room Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Further back is the bath. The sink area of the bath is separated from the rest of the room by sliding solid doors–rather than the fabric curtain you will find at Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter. The sliding doors improve the trapping of both light and noise from the bathroom, plus make it feel more private. (This photo is of a different room than the rest of the images on this page; note the bed stripe, which is disappearing.)

Here’s the sinks themselves.

Note the storage underneath.

At the side is the clothes hanging area, iron, ironing board, and wall safe.

A closer view of the hair dryer.

In their own separate space you’ll find the toilet and tub/shower combo.

Back in the main space, the other side of the room has a table and chairs with mirror above, a dresser/mini-fridge combo with a TV above, and a thingy  that can be used either as a bench or for luggage.

The TV side from the back.

A closer view of the table and chairs…

Table Light Refurbished Queen Room Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

…and of the lamp overhead, styled like the ones at the heads of the beds…

Curtains Refurbished Queen Room Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

…and the window curtains.

The object on the table was a “welcome back gift, which Disney has recently started giving to visitors returning to a resort they’d stayed at before.  This was my ninth stay in a Caribbean Beach room, so it’s about time!

The gift itself–nice chocolate.

The dresser has three small drawers on either side, a TV above, and min-fridge in the middle.

A closer view of some drawers. To give you a sense of size, my book is 6″ by 9″.

The mini-fridge with scaling objects. Note the glass door–a new thing emerging across Disney World that helps you see what’s in the fridge without opening the doors. It’s amazing how much energy a little thing like that can save when spread across 25,000 rooms…

The last item on this side of the room is this bench/luggage stand.

Wall Art at Refurbished Queen Room Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The art above the bench.

For families that don’t need the fifth sleeping spot, these rooms are slightly more livable than five-person rooms, as the dresser drawers are more accessible and there’s more of an open feeling to the TV side of the room.

PHOTO TOUR OF A FIVE PERSON QUEEN AND MURPHY BED ROOM AT DISNEY’S CARIBBEAN BEACH RESORT

This review continues here.

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June 28, 2017   No Comments

Dining Options at Caribbean Beach During Its Refurb

(For the first page of this review of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, see this.)

The counter service area and Shutters table service venue in Centertown at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort closed in May 2017 for replacement.

Alternate dining arrangements have been made, and during my May visit and June stay at Caribbean Beach, I had eight meals here.

A full report follows later on this page, but here’s the short review of  temporary dining at Caribbean Beach:

  • Breakfast: Fine. Supplies for cold in-room dining are easily available, and the hot buffet and food truck offerings are entirely adequate.
  • Lunch: Weak. Both hot and cold offerings are limited. The quality of the hot food is good, but options and capacity are each slim. Cold food is widely available in limited options and while the fruits and salads are OK, the cold sandwiches are weak.
  • Dinner: Adequate for a meal or two.  Between the buffet, food truck, room service, and other options, most will find something to like, but the offerings at each option are limited, and capacity is tight except at the buffet.

A couple of general points before diving into the details

  • Disney has not consistently met demand in its smaller venues, so outages have happened–the Centertown food truck was out of sliders when I wanted them, and I’ve seen reports of the Trinidad South truck being out of lamb and the Island Markets selling out of sandwiches.
  • Waits at the Centertown food truck and buffets may “feel” long at busy times. By my stopwatch, in both cases the entire cycle wait (from committing to starting to eat) is comparable to what you’ll find at other Disney World moderate and value resort food courts at busy times, but don’t expect these to be “quick” options.
  • The buffets may use two holding lines–one to enter the tent (for fire marshal/egress safety issues) and a second before the buffet line (to allow those who have already eaten to get in line for seconds without going back out of the tent to the beginning of the line).
  • While you are in these lines, others may enter the tent simply to use the air conditioned tables or access the beverage station. Neither these people nor those returning to the buffet line for “seconds” are cutting in line, though it may feel like that at times.

OK, everything else I know is covered below.  If you want to see a specific venue, click the links:

THE CENTERTOWN OFFERINGS

The largest range of dining options is in Centertown, between the main pool and Trinidad North.

Here’s you’ll find a food truck offering all-day dining, a buffet serving breakfast and dinner, a bar, and, at times, a mini-truck with snacks.

I’ll get to the food truck and buffets in a minute, but to cover the minor Centertown entries, here’s the mini-truck…

…and a closer shot of its menu (click it to enlarge it).

The bar is visually horrible but with two bartenders, it operates just fine.

The bar menu.

Bar seating is available along a rail and at tables by the beach.

Back to top

THE CENTERTOWN FOOD TRUCK

All day dining is available from a food truck. You order from the kiosk on the right above…

…and pick your food up at the truck itself, typically being given a pager so that you can wait for your meal in the air-conditioned buffet tent.

You can then eat outside, bring it to your room, or enter the buffet tent and eat there.

The food truck runs two menus, one for breakfast and one for lunch and dinner. My image of the truck’s limited  breakfast menu, above, has a bit of a Jungle Cruise feel. For a more readable version, click here.

I had the bacon egg and cheese sandwich with a side of potato casserole. Both were fine.

Morning coffee is available outside (later in the day sees a shift to a lemon-water service here) and also inside the tent, which also has a refillable mug station.

The lunch/dinner food truck menu is also limited (click it to enlarge it)…

…but the burger was much better than most Disney food court burgers.

The fish tacos were good, too.

The food truck serves breakfast from 7-11.30a, and lunch/dinner (same menu) from 11.30a to 9p.

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THE CENTERTOWN BUFFET–BREAKFAST

The main option, however, is the buffet. It’s open for breakfast and dinner–but not lunch. The buffet is open for dinner from 5-10p, and for breakfast from 6.30-11.30a.

You pay for the buffet at the same area where you pay for the food truck. Breakfast prices are $13.99 for those ten and up, and $8.99 for those 3-9 years old, or one quick service credit. Dinner prices are $20.99 for those ten and up, and $11.99 for those 3-9 years old, or one quick service credit.

You then get a wrist band, which is what allows you into the buffet line—and allows the buffet tent to also serve double duty as an air-conditioned area for eating off the food truck, and/or filling your refillable mugs.

Here’s a couple of views of the buffet tent, which seats on the order of 250-300 people.

The buffet is all-you-can-eat if you dine in, and you can dine in or do it as a takeaway. However, you can’t both do a sit-down all-you-can-eat buffet meal and then also fill up a to-go plate. One or the other, bucko.

The breakfast buffet menu is above and also here.

First on offer is the waffle station, with waffles being made in the background.

The waffle station includes waffles, syrup, and blueberry and strawberry toppings.

Next is oatmeal, grits, and some more toppings.

Around the corner you’ll find butter and cream cheese, a variety of fruits…

…and several yogurts.

The hot station is next, with eggs, sausage, the same potato casserole you can get at the food truck as a side…

…veggie fritattas and “Island Crepes.”

Next is  a station with biscuits, sausage gravy, and pastries.

Then the bacon and ham station, with ham glaze.  This is the only station where a cast member portions the offerings–which, after you’ve tried the sausages, will make perfect sense to you.

Finally,  there’s a selection of breakfast bagels, pastries and breads.

Here’s what I assembled.  All was fine except the sausages, which looked unappetizing, were cold, and had little flavor. Bacon is the way to go! (The potato casserole looks weak but was quite good, as was the frittata.)

See below for the drinks station.

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THE CENTERTOWN BUFFET–DINNER

Here’s the dinner menu. Frankly, there’s a little less here than meets the eye, so I strongly suggest that early on a stay at Caribbean Beach you go inside and inspect the actual offerings, so that if you later decide to have dinner here there’s no surprises.

My main issue with the buffet is how limited the options are. Frankly, for a quick service credit, it’s nicely priced if you can find meal items you are in the mood for, but the adult cash price is high for the range of options available.

The first station combines some kids offerings with what the menu calls the “Pasta with a Selection of Sauces.” You’ll find here chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, meatballs, sausage, pasta alfredo, and pasta marinara.

Next are a couple of soups—on one of my visits, tomato and Island Conch Chowder. I had the chowder—it was very mild.

On another visit, instead of tomato, the second soup was collard green soup.

The salad section has precisely one greens option—mixed lettuce, mostly garden variety—well you know what I mean, it’s exactly the opposite of the variety of greens in our salad garden—six dressings, mixed fruit, and a pasta salad and slaw salad.

The entrée station includes the carving station—at both of my dinners, it was carved turkey. At one dinner, other options included roast pork, jerk chicken, and shrimp curry.

At another dinner, the same roast turkey, pork, chicken and shrimp was available, with “Island Glazed Fish.”

No beef—even though beef is common at carving stations at moderate and value food courts. If you want beef, get a burger at the food truck.

The meats were all adequate–mildly flavored (even the curry) and with a tendency to dryness–although the turkey gravy helps with this. The baked chicken and the shrimp curry were probably the best of the lot.

The image is of one of my dinners–the chowder, shrimp curry, rice, and collard greens. All these were delightful, expect for the greens, which were far too sweet.

Vegetables available my visits included broccoli, mixed vegetables, mashed potatoes, rice, black beans and collard greens.

There’s also a dessert selection…

…and a bread service area.

Off to the side is the beverage station, which is also accessible to those with refillable mugs. (You can get the mugs both outside the buffet and in the Island Markets, covered next.)

Service is incredibly attentive—at my first dinner, I must have had three cast members ask me how the food was, and two others ask if they could get me a drink. Others have commented on nightly live music here as well—such was not playing during either of my dinners.

An expansion in offerings would make me not hesitate to recommend this buffet. Another pasta, another soup, one or two more leaf salad leaf options, some salad toppings, a beef entrée and one or two more “casserole” or sauced entrees, and a couple more vegetable options would round it out nicely.

But without that, if exactly what’s on offer works exactly for your group, it’s fine; otherwise, it’s more of an emergency option than something I’d count on for a nice dinner at Caribbean Beach.

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THE ISLAND MARKETS

“Island Markets” are in three converted rooms—one each in Martinique (2509), Jamaica (4308), and Aruba (5524). (The first two digits of the room number indicate the building number.)

They offer

… ice cream (above, in the box at left), pastries, coffee and tea, cereals and pop tarts (with a microwave above)…

… drinks, yogurt, fruit, salads, sandwiches and wraps…

… and refillable mugs, bananas, and snacks.

A couple of closer looks at the salad side of the cold case…

…and the sandwich and wrap side.

The wraps/sandwich/fruit/salad choices are thin, and have sold out at times by early evening. I expect that problem to be largely fixed shortly as Disney learns more about patterns of demand.

Regardless, the offerings of these spaces work better for snacks and for breakfast supplies than they do as a place to grab lunch or a light dinner—unless you are thinking very light.

The Island Markets are open from 7a-10p.

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THE FREESTYLE COKE MACHINES

Refillable mugs can be refilled in freestyle coke machines—where you get to design your own drink, like my favorite, peach Sprite.

These machines are available in one or two buildings in each village, replacing in those buildings the old-style Coke machines—which remain in the rest of the buildings. Find the right building, then follow the signs for Ice and Vending.

Buildings with the freestyle machines are marked on the resort map–note what I’ve circled in red.

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THE TRINIDAD SOUTH FOOD TRUCK

The overview of dining at Caribbean Beach Disney provides does not include a food truck at Trinidad South.

But on both my mid-May and June visits, every day one was there, on the parking lot side of the quiet pool…

…specializing in gyro and pita sandwiches (click the image to enlarge it).

I quite enjoyed my lamb and beef gyro. Lots of sauce…

I imagine that the absence of it being listed means you can’t count on it being there.  But if it is, it’s a handy option for those staying in the otherwise distant-from-food Pirate Rooms in Trinidad South.

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IN-ROOM DELIVERY OF PIZZA AND SUCH

Another option is ordering off of the limited delivery menu, which features, pizza, wings and such. The menu (click to enlarge):

I’ve never had delivery pizza at Disney World. I tried to order one on my June visit, but a lizard-drowner of a storm meant everyone was sheltering in their rooms and ordering pizza, so after 15 minutes on hold I gave up and got a salad from an Island Market instead.

This option is available from 4p till midnight. Don’t use the dining plan for these options–way too many credits will be charged.

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SNACKS AT CUSTOM HOUSE

There’s a small selection of snacks available for sale at the Custom House.

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A BREAKFAST BAG IN YOUR ROOM

As a “thank you” for staying here during the construction, you’ll find a small soft-sided cooler in your room (if you don’t get one, call from your room phone for one).

The bag includes a couple of bottles of water and a selection of shelf-stable breakfast items.

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THE VENDING MACHINE IN THE QUIET POOL LAUNDRIES

Finally, a post on the disboards Caribbean Beach thread reminded me that there’s a vending snack machine in the quiet pool laundry rooms!

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THE MAIN FUENTES DEL MORRO POOL AT DISNEY’S CARIBBEAN BEACH RESORT

This review continues here.

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June 7, 2017   2 Comments