Last month I stayed at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort for five nights with my husband and two of our friends. Caribbean Beach is the first and only moderate resort I’ve stayed at on property. My last visit was in 2008, just before the room renovations. My feeling about it then was that the grounds were beautiful but the rooms needed an upgrade. I gave it a few years and here in 2011 I tried again.
I’ll be honest, check-in was remarkably slow. I used Online Check-In, and while that line moved quickly, once I got up to the counter everything slowed to snail’s pace. The cast member taking care of me wasn’t “earning her ears” but certainly seemed like she needed to be brought up to speed on the current system. Her basic communication with me was dull and unpleasant. The room was ready for us, but it wasn’t attached to our Key to the World cards. She had a hard time figuring that out. On top of that, our room request (Jamaica) wasn’t honored. While this didn’t bother me so much, where we did get placed irked me. Martinique building 21 is the absolute furthest building away from a bus stop and Old Port Royale. The walk was insanely confusing (and I’m good with maps) at first, but after a few trips to the bus stop we got the quickest path down.
We were placed in room 2140 on the second floor. I was really excited when I saw that we had a corner room. I just like having the extra window. The room was very tidy and clean upon my first inspection. My only negative comment about the room is that the furniture seemed too worn to be still used in the room. The bathtub also seemed a little dingy. Not dirty, just dingy.
As far as the other details of the room stay, I’d have to say that there were some flaws but nothing that ruined my visit. The sound was pretty standard for most Disney hotels. I could hear other showers running from our bathroom but that doesn’t personally bother me much. The sound that did bother me was the air conditioner. It was excessively loud and I think it would bother a very light sleeper that needs quiet. The lighting in the vanity area was decent, and I appreciate the full length mirror on the bathroom door. The thing I disliked most about the room were the pillows. They were very small, and some of them were odd shaped so it made relaxation a little uncomfortable. C’mon Disney! Invest in better pillows!
My group didn’t even set foot in Old Port Royale on account of the torrential rain we encountered on our vacation. You’re probably thinking, “But the walkways are mostly covered!” This is true, but when the wind is blowing the rain, the walkways get VERY slippery. So slippery, in fact, that my husband fell down a flight of stairs in our building. While it provided a good laugh at the time, he could have seriously gotten hurt. I was afraid to even walk from our room to the bus stop let alone all the way to the food court just to grab some ice cream. We also didn’t make it to the pool, but I can pretty much say that it’s still as awesome as last time.
Overall the bus service at Caribbean Beach Resort was decent. Epcot buses were consistently the worst: there just weren’t enough of them running, and of course that was the park that we visited the most. Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom both had plenty of buses running. Disney’s Hollywood Studios had a couple of longer waits but nothing extreme. On a night when Fantasmic was cancelled, we had to wait about ten minutes for the first bus to show up, but once that one did, two others came right after. That’s killer efficiency. While on the buses I noticed something really weird. The most popular bus stop was by far Martinique. It seemed like the other sections of the resort were practically unoccupied compared to Martinique.
I think that it’s going to be a little while before I stay at Caribbean Beach Resort again by choice. There are just too many flaws for me to go out of my way to spend my money there. Hopefully with a few customer service improvements and some updates it’ll be able to bring me back.
What do you think of this resort? Have you had more success? Let us know in the comments!