By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

Category — d. Where to Stay at Walt Disney World

Theming and Accommodations at Copper Creek Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

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


There are currently ten official Disney Vacation Club resorts at Walt Disney World.

Because the two sets of options at the Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge and Saratoga Springs are so different, and the Polynesian offering is so distinctive, for review purposes I count a total of twelve resorts, but rank only eleven.

Their overall ranking for first time family visitors is as follows:

  1. Copper Creek Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  2. Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  3. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas–Jambo House
  4. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas–Kidani Village
  5. Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  6. The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
  7. Disney’s Beach Club Villas
  8. Disney’s Boardwalk Villas
  9. Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  10. Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, main resort
  11. Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, Treehouse Villas area

My rankings exclude the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, as it does not offer one or two bedroom villas. If the ranking were based solely on studios, the Polynesian offering would be near the top.

These resorts are available to anyone to reserve through the regular Walt Disney World website or the resort reservations phone number at 407-939-7675.

They also are available to the general public at great discounts through renting points from a Disney Vacation Club member.


Disney’s Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at the Wilderness Lodge is “rooted in the history of America’s westward expansion, made possible by the building of the transcontinental railroad… It’s a tip of the conductor’s cap to America’s rich railroad history, a period of time that famously captured the imagination of… Walt Disney.”

More specifically, Copper Creek represents the end—and re-use—of the line. According to Disney, the three parts of the Wilderness Lodge complex have theming as follows:

“Disney’s Wilderness Lodge draws inspiration from the majestic vacation lodges of yesteryear that attracted tourists traveling to U.S. National Parks during the dawn of the railroad.

“Boulder Ridge Villas revolves its scene around the rustic communities that emerged along this revolutionary mode of transportation as it grew in popularity.

“Copper Creek Villas & Cabins completes this tale by embodying modern life in America’s Great Northwest. You’ll find relics of this now abandoned railroad cleverly weaved into the Resort’s contemporary vibe.”

Frankly, I’m not at all sure what this claimed Copper Creek theming means.  To be specific, you will not find much in the way of railroad themed material in the rooms, other than the book above…

…and this bed fabric on Studio beds.

There’s a beam in a Studio, but it’s not in the proportions of a railroad tie…

…and there’s some curious metal above the kitchen cabinets in one and two bedroom villas, but it’s not in the cross section of a railroad rail.

Otherwise, the art and decoration of the rooms is rustic, wilderness-y, self-referential to the Wilderness Lodge, and/or Native-American inspired.  You won’t find much in the rooms that speak to railroads at all, much less “abandoned railroads.” (A photo tour of a Studio and its art is here, and a photo tour of a One Bedroom Villa begins here.)

The hallways of the Copper Creek area of the Wilderness Lodge have the art that the Lodge is famous for–but it is either western vistas, Native Americans, or Native American artifacts–all lovely and interesting, and consistent with the rest of the Lodge, but not about “abandoned railroads.”

Oh, also, the four floors of the Copper Creek wing with Grand Villas have this bear.  The floors without Grand Villas have nothing on this wall.

However, there’s substantial new construction between the Copper Creek wing and the old Villas, now renamed Boulder Ridge.

You can see in this re-done outdoor area shared by the Wilderness Lodge, Copper Creek and Boulder Ridge abandoned railroad materials, reminiscent of Big Thunder Mine train, including this part of the new Geyser Point bar and grill area…

…and this part of the new Boulder Ridge Cove pool.

But none of these is dedicated to Copper Creek–rather the opposite–nor do they have anything to do with the transcontinental railroads, so I am at a bit of a loss as to the actual Copper Creek specific theming…

That said, except for the Cascade Cabins, Copper Creek is fully integrated into the main Wilderness Lodge, and the Wilderness Lodge is the most stunning, and most kid-appealing, of all the Disney World resorts…so I’m not sure this absence of specific theming matters much…


August 5, 2017   No Comments

Photo Tour of a Refurbed Room at Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Disney’s Pop Century Resort entered a building-by-building room refurb project early in 2017.

As of late summer, buildings 7, 8, and 9 (in the 80s and 90s sections) are done, and Building 10 in the 70s section is being worked on. The expectation is that refurbs will continue to happen one or two buildings at a time (Pop has ten buildings) in roughly chronological order.

The key positive features of the refurb are the first queen beds in value resort standard rooms, and the first coffee makers in value resort standard rooms. Less universally praised is the bright white color scheme–exacerbated by the loss of the colorful bed stripes, which is happening generally across Disney World resorts–and the fact that one of the queens is a fold down bed that disappears the table and chairs while it is down.

I had the chance to stay in one of these newly-refurbed Pop Century rooms in late July, so here’s a photo tour and my observations.

One side of the room has a thingy with the coffee maker above and the mini-fridge below, the dresser and TV, and a connecting door, if present.

This side of the room from the back.

The coffee thingy has multiple crannies and cubbies, a general feature of this room. Note the folded luggage rack tucked in at the side.

A closer look at the coffee maker.

The drawer in the thingy contains the coffee supplies and is also nicely sized to shove all of your power cords, tablets and such into.

The mini-fridge, as is common in new Disney World rooms, has a glass front so you can see what’s inside without opening it. I’ve propped the door open in this shot.

The dresser has drawers on one side and shelving and a safe on the other, is flanked with two sets of power points each of which can charge four devices, and is topped with a 54-inch TV.

The three drawers are 31 inches by 13 inches but only 4.5 inches tall.

This is still much more storage in these new rooms than in the un-refurbed rooms–their dresser/ mini-fridge and dresser drawers are shown above.

Back to the refurbed room, next to the drawers are shelves and a safe.

I measured the safe as 19 inches by 15 inches by 6.5 inches tall. If your electronics won’t fit in here, you are on the wrong vacation.

By the connecting door you’ll find this coat rack.

In the back of the room are the sinks, closet, and, in a separate space, the toilet and shower.

In a first for value resort standard rooms, the overall bath and dressing area is closed off from the rest of the room with a sliding solid door, rather than the fabric curtain you’ll find in other such rooms.

Here’s the sliding door almost closed.

Note all the crannies and cubbies around the sink.

The small cabinet to the left of the sink…

…has this hair dryer.

On the right side of the sink you’ll find this make-up mirror.

On the side of this space is a solid hanging closet–another first in a standard value resort room. There’s 19 inches of hanging space inside, and another 9 inches on the rod extension to the right.

The toilet and tub are enclosed by this two-part sliding door.

The tub is enclosed with sliding doors–a more straightforward arrangement for most than a billowing shower curtain, but an awkwardness for bathing children.

The shower has both rain fall and hand-held heads.

The toiletries.

Some of these rooms only have showers, no tubs. This photo came to me from alert reader Ann.

Back into the main area, the other side of the room has a table and chairs and a fixed queen bed.

The bed side from the back.

A closer view of the fixed queen…

…and of the art above it.  Just with this, these refurbed Pop Century rooms have more Disney theming than any other value resort rooms except the Little Mermaid rooms in Art of Animation…and there’s more to come.

Another new feature of this refurbed Pop Century room is space under the bed for storing your suitcases.  There’s 14.5 inches of clearance, which will fit most rolly bags.

There’s a cubbie with power points between the bed and bath wall…

…and another between the bed and table.

The distinctive feature of this room is the fold down bed, found behind this table and chairs.

Stack the chairs in the corner…

…pull the two handles, and the table disappears and this bed replaces it.

Pluto also appears.

I measured the fold-down bed as 59 inches by 79 inches–just an inch short on both dimensions of being a queen, but it’s so much larger than a full (which would be 54″ by 74″) that none can quibble at calling it a queen.

The mattress is a full 12 inches deep–as deep as that of the fixed queen. This bed is entirely appropriate for adults, and in fact adults might prefer it, as they can put the kids in the fixed queen and use the table until they themselves are ready for sleep.

There is yet another cubbie and power point between the fold-down bed and outer wall.

Some shots of the room with both beds down:

And for comparison, a shot of an un-refurbed Pop room with two full beds:

Some have wondered if an air mattress would fit between the table and the door.

I measured the clear space between the full opening of the door and the edge of the table as just about 34 inches.

The addition of the queen-sized beds and coffeemaker is a clear win, as is the safe,  the shower heads, the sliding solid door to the bath area, and the make-up mirror. The loss of the table when both beds are down is a bit of a pain, but as noted there are a couple of work-arounds–e.g. putting the table users in that bed. While bright white, these rooms have more Disney theming than almost any other value resort rooms, and as most resorts have now lost their bed stripes, white bedding is now the thing at Disney World, not a Pop Century specialty.

And I know I repeat myself, but queen beds and a coffee maker wildly improve the livability of these rooms.

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July 22, 2017   47 Comments

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.)


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.


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.)


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…).


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.)


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.


This review continues here!

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July 18, 2017   1 Comment

Review: 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 (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 (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:

Note that the long-time travel agent partner of this site, Kelly B., can help you book your Disney World vacation at Caribbean Beach or anywhere else–contact her at at or 980-429-4499.


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.


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

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 five person two queen and Murphy Bed room.

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

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

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.


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.


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.


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


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).


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. 

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.


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.


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

The long-time travel agent partner of this site, Kelly B., can help you book your Disney World vacation at Caribbean Beach or anywhere else–contact her at at or 980-429-4499.


This review continues here.

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June 28, 2017   8 Comments