Swaying palm trees, tropical drinks, white sands … and Nemo swimming by while pirates plunge the mainland? Ah, only at Walt Disney World!
Yes, folks, I’m referring to a classic guest favorite –Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Kick off your boots, throw on a pair of flip-flops and take a tour of this tropical paradise… (Insert steel drum music here!)
Passport Please! As tempted as you may be to have your passport stamped, you’re not actually in Barbados or Martinique! Unlike other Disney Resort hotels, the front desk, guest services and bell services are located in a separate building known as the Custom House. Once you have checked in, you will be ready to visit your guest room – so which village will you call home?
The two villages flanking the food court and shopping area (also known as Port Royale) are Martinique and Trinidad North. Not surprisingly, these are the most coveted rooms and are priced as such. The closest ‘standard’ priced rooms are located across the bridge in Aruba and Jamaica. The most remote rooms at the Resort are Barbados and Trinidad South – these can be a 10-15 minute walk from Old Port Royale. Of course, these are also the most quiet and relaxing villages! The good news is an internal shuttle bus travels through each village if you would rather not walk. There are no elevators at Caribbean Beach Resort, so be sure to request a ground floor room if needed.
You will find relaxing hammocks, laundry facilities and sandy beaches within each location. The brightly colored buildings surround a 42-acre tropical lake, Barefoot Bay. Picnic tables, lounge chairs and even more hammocks await those who cross the bridge to the island sanctuary: Caribbean Cay.
A Bed Built for a Buccaneer? Have you ever dreamed of sailing away on a pirate ship? Oh come on, you know have! Well get ready, because pirates have taken over many of the buildings in Trinidad South. These Pirate Rooms are themed so authentically, that landlubbers of all ages may never want to leave the room! From the unique “wooden plank” carpet design to the ‘pirate ship bed,’ no detail is overlooked.
In my opinion, these rooms are well worth the added cost and remote location. However, if you’d rather have a room closer to the spectacular main pool area, you can be placed in a Finding Nemo themed room.
Island hopping gotcha hungry? You don’t even need to leave your room to satisfy your hunger – pizza delivery is just a phone call away! You may also order beverages, dessert and even wine – perfect for relaxing after a long day at the parks. I’m sure that many a college student has tried, but man cannot live on pizza alone. This moderate resort features not only a food court, but a table service restaurant as well.
The Old Port Royale food court is one of the resort’s more quaint eateries with cobblestone walkways and what appears to be a blue sky shining above. Just like arriving in port, you can pick and choose from different vendors and dine on everything from the new Caribbean Burger to vegetarian ziti. As a mom, I have to mention that many of the kids’ meals are served in sand pails – how cute is that?
If you are in mood for a more relaxing meal, Shutters is the place to be! The food at this table-service restaurant is pretty darn good and it’s usually easy to get a seat here without an Advanced Dining Reservation.
ONLY at the Caribbean Beach Resort! In my role as a mom on the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, I always recommend that guests spend a day relaxing at their resort. If you take my advice and forgo the theme parks for a day, you may be surprised at seemingly endless array of activities.
Caribbean Beach has one of the best pirate cruises at Walt Disney World! The Islands of the Caribbean Pirate Cruise takes little scallywags ages 4 to 12 out on the high seas of Barefoot Bay for a two-hour adventure they will never forget. The cruise is about $30 and includes lunch.
Guided bass fishing trips are also available. This catch and release program includes a guide, equipment, bait and beverages. If you’d rather head out without a guide, walk on over to the Barefoot Bay Boatyard and Bike Works. You can rent everything from Pontoon boats to Searaycers – of course, guests must be a certain age to take them out on the water. One of my family’s favorite activities is to rent a surrey bike and pedal all over the “island.”
After working up a sweat, it is time to hit one Caribbean Beach’s NINE pools! Each village has its own in addition to the amazing Spanish Fort Pool, whirlpool and kiddie pool located just outside Old Port Royale. The main pool area is nothing short of spectacular! With water cannons, a huge slide and fortresses, this pool is one of my absolute favorites. Aaaargh you ready to hear more? The kiddie pool has also been taken over by pirates and every few minutes a massive barrel of water is dumped over the early awaiting bathers.
If you are anything like me, shopping equals relaxation! The Calypso Straw Market offers everything from Disney plush toys to Caribbean Beach Resort merchandise. You can also find basic grocery items, “adult” beverages and more in this shopper’s paradise. I must say that my favorite item is the coconut postcard! Yes, you can really send grandma a coconut in the mail – how cool is that? At the end of the day, grab your family and catch a movie under the stars. Each night lawn chairs are scattered in the sand and you can watch Disney classics under the night sky. Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to end a perfect stay at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort!