For my thoughts on the re-opening of Walt Disney World, see this.


By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)





Category — q. Reviews

Review: Rise of the Resistance in Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

REVIEW: RISE OF THE RESISTANCE AT DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opened in the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in early December 2019.

By far the better of the two new rides here (Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run  is the other), Rise of the Resistance has received “universal acclaim,” has been called the best ride to open in a Disney park in decades, and has been viewed as one of the top attractions in the world.

I myself am not quite so wild about Rise of the Resistance—but I would absolutely put Rise of The Resistance among the top 5 Disney World rides, and for people who are bigger Star Wars fans than I am—I am at best an average fan, with 90% of my interest in the original trilogy form the 70s and 80s—all of the superlatives are deserved.

Rise of the Resistance is hard to get access to—more on that to follow—and once you do have access, it breaks down a fair amount. But those who access it and are able to ride—some 12,000 to 16,000 people a day—will experience a unique, thrilling, and satisfying ride.

Here’s Disney World’s description of Rise of the Resistance:

Without giving to much away, the ride involves

An interlude and briefing by BB-8 and Rey…

A journey led by Nien Numb…

Some difficulties, associated with bad guys…

…more bad guys…

…a lot of bad guys.

An attempted escape…

…while a battle goes on around you

…and a final adventure, with a return to base.

Much has been made of Rise of the Resistance’s “four ride systems” (there’s actually three) and the technological sophistication of the ride. But frankly the only thing that matters is whether or not you enjoy it, no matter how sophisticated or unsophisticated the ride system is.

And on that basis, Ride of the Resistance is a great ride, and not to be missed.

GETTING ACCESS TO RISE OF THE RESISTANCE: BOARDING GROUPS

Access to most Walt Disney World attractions is rationed by either your ability to get FastPass+ for them, or your willingness to wait.

Rise of the Resistance does not work that way. It offers neither FastPass+ nor the ability to wait in a standby line to get on it. Rather, you need to successfully join a “Boarding Group.”

To join a Boarding Group, you must have the My Disney Experience app on your phone and ready to go, and to have tapped in with your ticket to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Then, as soon as the official open of the park (lately that’s been at 8a; we’ve also seen 7a opens) hits, you will be able to hit the “Join Boarding Group” button and get assigned a boarding group.

You need to act quickly. All “guaranteed’ Boarding Groups lately have been booking up as quickly as the first minute the park is open. (“Guaranteed” doesn’t actually mean guaranteed. It means that if your Boarding Group is in fact not called, you will receive a FastPass for a later visit on another day to Rise of the Resistance. So don’t plan Rise of the Resistance. Other Boarding Groups, “backup boarding groups,” receive no compensation if they are not called.

There’s been much debate over whether you should try to join over your cellular carrier or via Disney’s wifi, and also about where in Hollywood Studios you will find the least crowded signals. Nothing I have seen on this topic is conclusive. The best advice is that everyone in your party should have the app and their phone, and all try at the same time.

Once you have a Boarding Group, your boarding will later be called (via a push notification, probably, if you have enabled it; keep checking the app just in case). You will have either one or (more likely) two hours to go to the ride and get in line once your Boarding Group has been called.

More people are in the park at opening than will be able to get boarding groups. Some hop away, others stay and see the parks’ other attractions. Of those who are successful, folks with earlier Boarding Groups tend to stay in the park—others may hop, or go back to their hotel, until called.

As a result, Hollywood Studios is seeing a level of morning crowds that is unprecedented, and likely will become even worse with the March 4 opening of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

If all you care about is Rise of the Resistance, you don’t have to arrive at the park super early to be eligible for a boarding pass—you just have to arrive in time to get through security, and get through the tapstiles before official open, say 45 minutes before open.

If, however, you plan to see with low waits and without FastPass+ any of Smugglers Run, Slinky Dog Dash, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and, I expect, the Runaway Railway, you do need to arrive quite early so you can be among the first to line up for these rides once you are allowed access to them.

But that’s a post for another day…

 

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!

March 1, 2020   No Comments

Photo Tour of the Master/King Bedroom Side of a One or Two Bedroom Villa at Disney’s Riviera Resort

(For the first page of this review of Disney’s Riviera Resort, click here.)

THE MASTER OR KING BEDROOM IN ONE AND TWO BEDROOM VILLAS AT DISNEY’S RIVIERA RESORT

The master bedroom, or king bed, side of both One and Two Bedroom Villas at Disney’s Rivera Resort is the same.

Taking layout cues from the Villas at the Grand Floridian, the king bed area at Disney’s Riviera Resort is accessed at one end from deep in the living room. The bath associated with the space is then divided, with a sink and soaker tub closer to the bedroom, then a full bath with a large shower that is also accessible from the villa’s entry.

PHOTO TOUR OF A MASTER OR KING BEDROOM IN ONE AND TWO BEDROOM VILLAS AT DISNEY’S RIVIERA RESORT

Here’s the king bed side from near the entry from the living room.

The king bed side from closer to the bath.

As had been the case in all recently re-done Disney rooms, the bed is a single mattress on a platform…

…with room underneath for luggage storage–not that you’ll need it; these villas have more closets than pre-Stonewall New York.

Next to the bed are this bedside table with power behind, and an easy chair…

…and just outside is a balcony, also accessible directly from the living room.

On the other side of the bed is this large desk with power. Its size lets it also function as the bedside table for this side of the king bed.

The TV side of the room includes a dresser with a 54” TV above, and a closet.

The TV side from the bath end of the room.

The nine dresser drawers have plenty of storage.

From the outside, the closet looks oddly proportioned, but it actually grabs some space from the kitchen
wall on the other side and ends up with correct dimensions inside.

The first part of the bath, accessible from both the king bedroom and the second part of the bath,
includes a sink on one side…

…and a large soaker tub with spray jets in its base on the other.

The second part of the bath is a full bath that’s also accessible from the rest of the villa. It includes a sink…

…and a toilet and shower.

The shower is large and has both rainfall and regular heads…

…and includes a seat at the back—along with in-wall toiletry bottles.

The hall from the entry to this bath has some important stuff, too—the image is shot from the entry, with the door to the bath directly ahead. On the left is a closet, and on the right, behind a set of doors, is the washer dryer.

The closet serves as the coat closet for everyone in the space, and the clothing closet for people sleeping in the living area (dedicated Two Bedroom Villas have an additional smaller closet, near the entry to the two-queen area). Note the soft focus, adding to the romance of the closet… You’ll also find in this closet spare linens for the living space beds, a vacuum for anyone who misses cleaning,* and a safe.

The safe is quite large—my book is six inches by nine inches—but perhaps not large enough for the nine people a dedicated Two Bedroom Villa will sleep (lock-off Two Bedroom Villas have another safe on their studio side).

Finally on this side of the room is this washer-dryer.

There’s nothing positive I can say about the carpet design, and overall the space is  a bit austere–although not as bad as the second bedroom of dedicated Two Bedroom Villas. But the layout and amenities of this space at Disney’s Riviera Resort are top-notch, and it is as good a master bedroom/bath combo as you will find in a One or Two Bedroom Villa DVC offering at Disney World, with only the Villas at the Grand Floridian in its class.

*Actually, people staying in these rooms with DVC points rather than cash get housekeeping service only every four days—hence the cleaning supplies. Folks staying with cash get housekeeping every day. Don’t forget to tip your maid. I tip $5 per bay per night, unless we’ve made an unusual mess.

PHOTO TOUR OF THE SECOND BEDROOM OF A DEDICATED TWO BEDROOM VILLA AT DISNEY’S RIVIERA RESORT

This review continues here.

 

The long-time travel agent partner of this site, Kelly, can book you at Disney’s Riviera Resort or anywhere else at Disney World.  Contact her using the form below!

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY

PAGES IN THIS REVIEW OF DISNEY’S RIVIERA RESORT

 

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!

February 26, 2020   No Comments

Photo Tour of the Second Bedroom of a Two Bedroom Villa at Disney’s Riviera Resort

(For the first page of this review of Disney’s Riviera Resort, click here.)

THE SECOND BEDROOM IN A DEDICATED TWO BEDROOM VILLA AT DISNEY’S RIVIERA RESORT

The ~238 bookable Two Bedroom Villas at Disney’s Riviera Resort come in two flavors, “lock-off” and “dedicated.”  About 60% are lock-off, and 40% dedicated.

  • Lock-off Two Bedroom Villas are assembled from one One-Bedroom Villa and one standard Studio, with an entry from the hallways to each and an internal connecting door between them.
  • “Dedicated” Two Bedroom Villas were designed from the start as one single unit, and almost all of their differences are in the second bedroom—the space that in a lock-off would be the Studio.

At Disney’s Riviera Resort, the second bedroom of dedicated Two Bedroom units has the following differences from a standard Riviera Studio:

  • No direct entry from the outside hall—they are accessed through the main entry of the villa
  • No microwave, mini-fridge or coffeemaker (all these can be found in the kitchen of the unit)
  • A larger closet
  • Instead of a queen and a fold-out or fold-down couch, they have two queen beds and no couch.
  • No table.
  • Instead of a fifth sleeping spot that unfolds from under the TV, they have a dresser here and sleep four.

This photo tour is of the second bedroom of a Dedicated Two Bedroom Villa at Disney’s Rivera Resort.  I’ll have a photo tour of a Studio here up later in March!

PHOTO TOUR OF THE SECOND BEDROOM OF A DEDICATED TWO BEDROOM VILLA AT DISNEY’S RIVIERA RESORT

In the floor plan, the second bedroom is the bay on the right side.

Entry is through a hall at the side of the main entry to the Two Bedroom Villa.

Once you enter, turn and you’ll find a medium-sized table with storage, in the space that in a Studio would be the entry door.

Turn around, and you’ll find a hall with the bath spaces on one side, the closet on the other, and the sleeping/living space and balcony  beyond.

The bath follows the design at the Villas at the Grand Floridian.  It is divided in half, but each half can be accessed directly from the hall, and there’s also a pocket door connecting the two spaces internally.  This gives the highest degree of flexibility to the bath space I can imagine.

One side has the toilet and a large shower.

The shower fixtures include a rainfall head.

There’s a seat in the back.

Toiletries, as is now trend at Disney World, are supplied in large wall mounted bottles.

The other half of the bath is accessible both from this half, as well as from the room’s hall.

It has a sink…

…and a tub/shower combo.

Across from the bath is this large closet.

One side of the closet.

The other.

Beyond these, in the main living-sleeping space, you’ll find two queen beds on one side.

This side of the room from the back.

A closer view of one of the beds.

On each of the far sides of the beds, there’s a shelf with power points. Between the beds is this bedside table, also with power…

…and with three small drawers, each large enough for your important books, and a foot or two.

As has been trend for a while now, the beds have a single mattress on a platform, which creates room below…

…for luggage.

Also at the end of each bed there’s a couple of built-in drawers.

The TV side of the room has a dresser with a 54” TV above and a couple of chairs.

The TV side from the back of the room.

I find this side of the room—and frankly, the entire room, despite some nice moldings behind the beds—a bit austere.  There’s some OK art on the wall between the bed area and the bath, but the blankness of the TV side (and perhaps the funereal color of the carpet) cries out for something.

Anyway, here’s a closer view of the dresser and TV.

There’s plenty of storage in the nine drawers in this dresser.

In fact, this room may have more storage than any other Disney World room I’ve stayed in.  Part of this is an leftover from much of this furniture (e.g. the bedside tables and under-bed drawers) being designed for a Riviera studio, which by Disney design practices has much less storage, as it will lose the dresser to a fold-down bed, the second set of under-bed drawers to a fold-down couch bed, and have a smaller closet as well.

Outside is a balcony.

I have nothing to object to from a livability point of view in this room.  It could, however, have much more interesting decor.

AMENITIES AT DISNEY’S RIVIERA RESORT

This review continues here.

The long-time travel agent partner of this site, Kelly, can book you at Disney’s Riviera Resort or anywhere else at Disney World.  Contact her using the form below!

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY

PAGES IN THIS REVIEW OF DISNEY’S RIVIERA RESORT

 

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!

February 25, 2020   No Comments

Theming and Villages at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

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

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is themed to Caribbean islands, their beaches, and the pirates who once voyaged among them.

Rooms in the resort are found in five “villages” ringing a lake, each of which has three or six two story, 64 room buildings. All the villages are named after Caribbean destinations: Barbados, Trinidad, Martinique, Aruba, and Jamaica.

Each colorful village has palm-tree lined beaches, and each has its own pool and bus stop. The central Old Port Royale area includes another bus stop and the main pool at the resort, the pirate-themed Fuentes del Morro Pool—the best pool of the Disney World moderate resorts.

All rooms were refurbed in 2014-2015. Pirate rooms (in Trinidad) got a light makeover, retained their full beds, and sleep four.

Rooms in all other villages got a major makeover.  Full beds were replaced with queens, and many rooms now have in addition a fold-down Murphy bed, suitable for a person five feet or shorter, increasing the capacity of these rooms to five.

In all villages you can book water-view rooms (some of the “water” views are of the pools). In all villages except Trinidad, you can book king rooms.  Also in all villages except Trinidad, you can book a room with a third sleeping spot–these rooms previously were reserved for families of five, and any left over were randomly assigned.

You can also book “preferred” rooms in Barbados (and perhaps in Martinique), where for an extra cost you can get a room closer to the central services of Old Port Royale.

There’s much similarity among the villages, but also some key differences, especially in access to the central services of the resort and the new Disney Skyliner.

The Skyliner is a gondola system that connects Caribbean Beach with two parks, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (and also with Pop Century and Art of Animation). The Skyliner has two stations at Caribbean Beach, one south between Jamaica and Trinidad that serves all destinations, and another north between Aruba and Martinique that in one direction goes to Epcot and in the other goes to south station.

This part of my review of Caribbean Beach will discuss the villages one by one, starting with Martinique and going clockwise.

Note that in May 2017, the former village Barbados and half of Martinique were leveled.  In October 2018 the village formerly known as Trinidad North inherited the name of the demolished Barbados, while Trinidad South became simply Trinidad.

MARTINIQUE

Martinique is a three building area (it used to have six, but three were leveled in May 2017). The three buildings that remain here have recently been priced as both preferred and regular.

A re-orientation of bus routes in late June 2017 means that park buses pick up and drop off Martinique guests first. Martinique is the furthest of the villages from the main Skyliner station, but in the middle of the villages in its distance from the Riviera station–where you can pick up the Epcot line. Martinique and Aruba are the two villages closest to Riviera and its new dining options.

Beach Martinique Village Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Each village has a beach.  At Martinique the beach, shown above, is near Old Port Royale.

Pool Martinique Village Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Each village has a pool–all are similar. Here’s the one at Martinique.

The view from the Martinique area is of the lovely beaches across Barefoot Bay in Aruba…

…and, at the right, the somewhat jarring Riviera building.

Martinique guests will find two bus stops to use–one at Old Port Royale is closer to some rooms especially in building 26, and most other rooms will be closer to the other bus stop.

BARBADOS

Barbados was known until October 2018 as Trinidad North. All buildings here are at “preferred” prices. Because many of its rooms are not far from the central services, dining and pool at Old Port Royale, and also among the closer rooms to the Skyliner, rates are $85-120 per night higher than standard rooms in non-preferred buildings. The other dining venue at Caribbean Beach, the Spyglass Grill in Trinidad, is also fairly close.

It has just three buildings and two beaches, and thus is overall with Martinique the most compact of all the Villages, and is by far the most convenient.

Beach at North End of Trinidad North Village Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

One of the beaches–near Old Port Royale.

Beach Trinidad North Village Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The second beach, further south.

Pool Trinidad North Village Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The pool at Barbados is at the end furthest from Old Port Royal–if this were a six building village, it would be right in the middle. This means all rooms are close to both the main pool and this smaller “quiet” pool.

Buildings here are a brown pink that adults probably call “coral.” We’ll get a better view in the same-color Trinidad material coming next.

The view from Barbados is of the great beach of Jamaica.

The bus stop is in the center and convenient to all rooms. The main Skyliner hub is just across the bridge between Barbados and Trinidad and Jamaica.

TRINIDAD

Up the road–in a dead end–are the six buildings of Trinidad, known until October 2018 as Trinidad South.

In this somewhat inconvenient area of Caribbean Beach, you’ll find the expensive Pirate rooms.

 

Pirate rooms are full bed rooms with special decorations meant to make them nautical and piratical. More on these is here.

Here’s the beach at Trinidad.

Pool Trinidad South Village Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

…and here’s the pool.

In March 2018 a new quick-service venue, Spyglass Grill, opened here.

Spyglass Grill provides interesting, though limited, dining options that are much more convenient than what is in Centertown/Old Port Royale.

Trinidad North Village Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

A better view of the insipid colors it shares with Barbados.

Trinidad is on a separate lobe of Barefoot Bay–Barefoot Bay Bay? The hub station of the Skyliner is just across the bay. On average, both Barbados and Jamaica rooms are closer, but Trinidad is the next closest village to the Skyliner.

The Spyglass Grill and gondola stop make Trinidad a better and less isolated choice than it had been in the past.

The bus stop is in the center of the village.

JAMAICA

Jamaica is my favorite among the Caribbean Beach Villages. Most of its six buildings are near enough to Old Port Royale via the bridge across Caribbean Cay, and those that aren’t are still a reasonable walk via the road bridge and Barbados. Along with Barbados, on average its rooms are closest to the Skyliner among the five villages.

Some southern rooms are close to the new Spyglass Grill in Trinidad, and Jamaica is just north of the Caribbean Beach hub of the Disney Skyliner transportation system to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Jamaica Village Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Jamaica also has a great color scheme…

Pool Jamaica Village Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

…a pool similar to the rest…

Beach Jamaica Village Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

…a huge, gorgeous beach, and a nice view of Barbados and Old Port Royale.

The bus stop is in the center. It’s the second to last stop.

ARUBA

Aruba is the next best choice after Jamaica for those unwilling to pay for a preferred room.

Aruba Village Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

It has a so-so color scheme, and its bus stop is at the far end.  Some rooms will be closer to the footbridge to Caribbean Cay and Old Port Royal, others will be closer to the bus stop. The Riviera Skyliner stop to Epcot is close, and the rest of the Skyliner stops are on the other side of Jamaica.

Pool Aruba Village Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

It has the usual pool…

…and a beach second only to Jamaica’s in extent and loveliness.

Aruba View Disney's Caribbean Beach from yourfirstvisit.net

It has a nice view of Martinique and Old Port Royale.

Buses stop here last.

The best overall village, almost regardless of what you are looking for, is Jamaica.

PHOTO TOUR OF A FOUR PERSON QUEEN ROOM AT CARIBBEAN BEACH

This review continues here.

 

PAGES IN THIS REVIEW OF DISNEY’S CARIBBEAN BEACH RESORT

OTHER KEY PAGES FOR WHERE TO STAY AT DISNEY WORLD

 

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!

December 11, 2019   No Comments

Review: Rafiki’s Planet Watch

Rafiki’s Planet Watch is a multi-offering area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom accessed by the Wildlife Express Train in Africa. The area closed in October 2018, and despite rumors that it was permanently closing, re-opened in July 2019. New with the re-opening is the opportunity to follow along with a Disney animator and create a drawing of a Disney character.

Here’s the review of the re-opened Rafiki’s Planet Watch from our book, The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020:

Until the opening of the Animation Experience, I viewed Rafiki is quite skippable.

The petting zoo, Affection Section, while darling adds little to what you can find in even the smallest zoos.

The Conservation Station can be fascinating to those with an interest in nature…

…and, for the non-squeamish, the times it is actually being used for procedures can be fascinating.

But frankly not many folks come to Disney World to learn—I honor of course those who do, and they can learn a lot from many aspects of the Animal Kingdom.

The Wildlife Express train that you must use to access Rafiki’s Planet Watch is both a feature and a bug.

Train rides are always fun. This one has an odd layout of seats with a blind side to the coaches…

…that hides the fact that much of its route is up one side and back down the other of a service road.

From the train you can see a few backstage areas, especially animal holding areas where the animals of Kilimanjaro Safari stay overnight—but during visiting hours these are largely empty buildings.

There are three locomotives and two train-sets, but most of the time I’ve been at Rafiki, just one train has been operating. This means that with a bit of bad luck you can spend as much as 45 minutes waiting of the train and traveling on it (there’s one station in Africa, and the other at Rafiki’s Planet Watch).

This potential time committed to get to and from the area, when combined with the past slender appeal of its attractions, was my biggest reason why I had classed Rafiki as skippable. If you could simple walk into Rafiki’s Planet Watch and immediately leave if it’s not for you–like Gorilla Falls–then testing its appeal would be fairly costless. But with the train, it’s not.

The new-in-2019 addition of the Animation Experience changes things a bit.

Here you sit in a small amphitheater…

…receive a sheet of paper with some special drawing guidelines…

…and following a Disney animator’s hands on a big screen, draw your character.

It may not turn out all that well…

The whole thing is similar to what we’ve seen in temporary settings elsewhere, but this is the first time (at least that I can recall) that such an experience is available on a regular everyday basis.

FastPass+ is available for the Animation Experience, and it is a good use of a third FastPass+ if you really want to experience it, as it would be unfortunate to make the commitment the train ride involves and find the Animation Experience already full.

I’d still skip this if you are a first time visitor and don’t have a lot of time devoted to the Animal Kingdom. But if you are a returning visitor who is intrigued, or as a first-timer are planning more than one Animal Kingdom day, then Rafiki’s Planet Watch may be worth a visit.

 

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!

December 2, 2019   No Comments

Pirate Rooms at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

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

THE PIRATE ROOMS IN TRINIDAD

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is this site’s top-rated moderate resort for first-time family visitors to Walt Disney World.

It gets that position because it has a little more kid appeal than the other moderate resorts.

For example, it has

  • The most widely appealing setting, beaches
  • The best main pool among the moderates
  • And light Disney theming in many of its rooms–e.g. Mickey and Pluto in its five person rooms

 

Moreover, the former substantial inconvenience of these rooms (they are the furthest of all Caribbean Beach options from the central dining, main pool and shopping at Old Port Royale) had been diminished by

  • The 2018 opening of the Spyglass Grill within the Trinidad village, making this the only village with its own dining venue, and adding  a handy and tasty alternative to walking to Old Port Royale for dining
  • The 2019 opening of the Disney Skyliner, whose hub is just across from Trinidad. Rooms in Jamaica and Barbados on average are closer to the Skyliner, but Trinidad is on average the next closest.

On the other hand, these rooms remain the only standard rooms at any Disney moderate with full rather than queen beds. Also, they sleep only four–unlike the five person rooms available elsewhere at Caribbean Beach

REVIEW: THE PIRATE-THEMED ROOMS AT CARIBBEAN BEACH

Caribbean Beach was the first moderate resort at Walt Disney World, and shows a few first-time mistakes.

  • Some sections of the resort–particularly Trinidad–are simply too far from the rest of it.
  • The resort was designed with more bus stops than it could have had, partly related to an isolated check-in building, which was eliminated in late 2018 (check in is now in the central Old Port Royale)
  • No elevators…

Trinidad in particular has always felt isolated from the rest of Caribbean Beach–over a bridge, out of sight.

In response, a few years ago, Disney World tried to turn lemons into lemonade, and redid the rooms in Trinidad to a pirate theme, at a higher cost–for example, standard view pirate rooms are (including tax) $376 a night on weeknights during the Fall 2020 price season, compared to $290 then for standard rooms elsewhere at Caribbean Beach.

Floor Plan Pirate Room Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Like Disney’s other moderate resort rooms, these pirate-themed options are spacious and livable.

One side of the room has two full beds. Note the ship theming!

The bed side from the back of the room.

A closer view of the beds. Note the detailed wheel, mizzen mast, yard, shrouds, ratlines, and lanterns aft, and the bow chasers forward.

The bedside table takes the form of a barrel, and has a storage shelf underneath…

…as well as a drawer that can hold your important books.

The TV side of the room continues the nautical theming, adding crates to the barrels.

The TV side from the back of the room.

The rug is both nautical and somewhat sea-like. It, combined with the blue (a light sky blue) wall colors, makes the “ships at sea” bed concept work a bit.

I did not spend enough time with this rug–once again, I write a phrase that no one else has ever written before–but suspect that if I had, I’d find lots of references to the movies and a hidden Mickey or two.

Back to the TV side, a closer view of the table and chairs. A compass rose tops the table.

The dresser has a 54 inch TV above, and resembles a pile of crates.

This yields four large drawers.

The coffee service is on top of a barrel…

…which encloses the mini-fridge.

At the end of this side is a treasure chest with hanging hooks above. Note that the hooks are cleats.

The chest has a large storage drawer.

Wall Art Pirate Room Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Note that this room is really more nautical than piratical, with a few exceptions. One the art on the wall between the beds and the bath, featuring Captain you know who…

…and another is the curtain separating the bath area from the main bedroom area. Seeing this is a cheery way to start your morning.

Behind the moveable curtain, the bath has two sinks.

At the side of the bath there’s a closet area. Note the beam above.

In the closet area you’ll find this safe. It’s quite large–my book is six by nine inches.

Separated into their own room are the tub/shower combo and the toilet.

The shower curtain…

Shower Curtain Detail Pirate Room Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

…is covered with ships.

These spaces have one of the weaker shower head set ups remaining among the moderate resorts…

…and have the same in-wall toiletries now common at this and lower price levels.

The extent and depth of the nautical theming is remarkable, and the less pervasive pirate theming is fun too. Back when I was a boy, I would have loved this room.

But Trinidad is still a ways away from the center of the resort and its main pool, shops and dining. The situation has been improved by the opening of the Spyglass Grill within Trinidad, and the opening of the nearby Disney Skyliner station. But unless all your kids are really into pirates, I can’t recommend it.  The value of the theming itself is not enough to offset the relative isolation…add the extra cost, and you are paying to be inconvenienced.

AMENITIES AT DISNEY’S CARIBBEAN BEACH RESORT

This review continues here.

 

PAGES IN THIS REVIEW OF DISNEY’S CARIBBEAN BEACH RESORT

OTHER KEY PAGES FOR WHERE TO STAY AT DISNEY WORLD

 

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!

November 26, 2019   No Comments