Choosing the best room location and building at Caribbean Beach Resort is tricky, as it’s the only Walt Disney World hotel with two Skyliner gondola stations and non-stop access to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. This post covers room recommendations based upon various priorities. (Updated June 8, 2023.)
First, I’d be remiss if I didn’t start by mentioning that we love Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. When it comes to Moderate Resorts, it’s right up there with Port Orleans for us, albeit for very different reasons. For a basic primer on Caribbean Beach, including a look inside the guest rooms (all of which were refurbished only a few years ago), read our comprehensive Caribbean Beach Resort Review.
In the last several years, we’ve seen a massive transformation of Caribbean Beach Resort. This included the construction of Disney’s Riviera Resort, reimagining of Old Port Royale, and addition of the Skyliner. Most recently, the Pirate Rooms were reimagined into The Little Mermaid rooms with a style that borrows from higher-end Disney Vacation Club rooms. With that, the once-weakest rooms at CBR became the best!
Suffice to say, there have been a lot of growing pains at Caribbean Beach, and the lushness and laid back tropical vibe we loved about the resort has to a degree been traded for nicer amenities and significantly better transportation. We’ve been meticulously documenting the evolution of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort over the last several years, and regular readers of the blog have no doubt seen at least some of our monthly construction updates from the hotel. We’ll spare you a rehash of that.
The fruits of all this work have been a lot of new and unique features for the Caribbean Beach Resort. Which of these matter most to you will play a large role in determining the building and room type you should book and request. Let’s dig into the best & worst options…
If you are thinking you might want to stay at Caribbean Beach, or have already booked a stay, the question becomes which building(s) we recommend this resort now that the Disney Skyliner gondola has debuted and Disney’s Riviera Resort has opened.
Let’s start with our “best of all worlds” recommendation, which assumes you want balance…
In this scenario, the location you want to request at Caribbean Beach Resort is buildings 51 or 45 (the yellow/blue and green/pink buildings pictured above). Personally, this is my favorite location in all of the resort. You’re removed from the heart of all the “action,” but you still have a centralized location that’s convenient to literally everything at the resort.
You have a leisurely walk across the bridge through Caribbean Cay to get to the Fuentes del Morro Pool, Centertown dining options, Banana Cabana bar, and everything else in the Old Port Royale lobby. From most rooms in these two buildings, you’re roughly 5 minutes to everything in this area, which is great considering the sprawling size of Caribbean Beach Resort.
For us, the more significant upside of this location is that you’re almost dead-center between the two Skyliner gondola stations. Each will be around a 7-10 minute walk from here, which again, isn’t bad given the layout of Caribbean Beach.
The upside to being centered between the two stations rather than really close to one or the other is that this means you have direct, non-stop access to everywhere you want to go. While we love the Skyliner, not having to hassle with potentially waiting in a second line is nice. This location guarantees you the shortest transit times and only having to bother with buses for 2 parks.
If you want a more specific recommendation, we’d recommend requesting rooms 4501-4504 or 4529-4532. These are going to be a mix of your shortest walk to the Skyliner, bus stop, lobby, and even the Coke Freestyle machine over in building 46.
Really, though, such a specific request is unnecessary–just go for a standard view room in buildings 45 or 51. You can’t go wrong with any of the rooms in this location. All of the buildings adjacent to these are also good options, too. If you’re less picky, we’d expand our recommendations to anything in the range of buildings 43-53.
You might notice that we stopped short of recommending buildings 41-42 and 53-56. The former two buildings are actually closest (albeit across Sea Breeze Drive) to the Caribbean Beach Skyliner hub station, while the latter three buildings are closest to the Riviera Resort Skyliner station.
If you know you’d prefer to be closer to one Skyliner station, you should definitely go for one of these sets of buildings. In terms of Skyliner convenience and breadth of options, the lower number buildings near the hub station are the significantly better choice.
There’s additional upside of being in buildings 53-56, which is proximity to Disney’s Riviera Resort. This recently-added DVC/Deluxe Villa Resort is easily accessible via the walkway that circles Barefoot Bay and connects the two sister hotels.
The dining options at Disney’s Riviera Resort are fantastic, with Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera. This is a Signature Restaurant at dinner and character breakfast–we love and highly recommend both meals.
Likewise, we are big fans of Primo Piatto, the counter service restaurant at Riviera Resort, and also recommend checking out Le Petit Café for dessert and Bar Riva for drinks. If you think you’ll eat a lot at Disney’s Riviera Resort, the buildings closer to it are recommended.
Next, what we probably wouldn’t recommend. That would be any of the Preferred Rooms, which are in Barbados and Martinique. Not because there’s anything wrong with these rooms–to the contrary, they’re super convenient for Fuentes del Morro Pool and Centertown.
However, the “Preferred” classification for Caribbean Beach was created pre-Skyliner, meaning you’re paying a premium for buildings that are some of the farthest from both stations. Unless you are gondola-averse, we see little reason to pay more for this location.
We also don’t really see the point in paying extra for a water or pool view room at a hotel with exterior hallways, but perhaps that’s just us. During hours when guests foot traffic outside our room is heaviest, we seldom open our blinds, but again, maybe you’d prefer a view.
One specific room request we would make is for a corner room, which has the advantage of two windows as opposed to one. This isn’t a huge thing, but we find it makes what can otherwise be a dark room a tad more light and airy.
If you are Skyliner averse and do intend upon spending a lot of time at the pool or in the lobby, what to request really depends upon when you’ll be visiting and what you want to utilize.
If you might want to explore Disney Riviera Resort’s dining scene, go for something in Martinique. If you want to dine at the hidden gem that is Spyglass Grill, opt for Barbados.
The new-for-2023 Under the Sea rooms inspired by The Little Mermaid in Trinidad are another option. We just did a stay at these in June 2023 (room review and photo/video tour coming soon!) and found them to be a tremendous improvement over the infamous Pirate Rooms that they replaced.
Our opinion of these rooms is much more positive now, to the point that we now highly recommend Trinidad. These Under the Sea rooms are great for families who want more space while they’re not sleeping, as the pull-down beds make the main living area far less cramped during the day. In addition to the quality of the Under the Sea rooms themselves, having Spyglass Grill right there plus a nice view of the gondolas gliding overhead across the water is pleasant and relaxing.
Oddly enough, the Under the Sea rooms are not a distinct booking category despite being dramatically different from the regular rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort. In order to obtain these Little Mermaid inspired rooms, you need to start by booking the 5th sleeper category.
That’s not all, though, as there are a number of 5th sleeper rooms all around Caribbean Beach Resort. During the online check-in process, you’ll need to make a room request, and will have the option to choose between Old Port Royale or near the Skyliner–pick the Skyliner. To really cover your bases, follow that up with the in-app chat feature and request a room in building 34 or 35.
Those are going to be the shortest walk to the Skyliner station and Old Port Royale, whereas buildings 36-39 are much more of a hike. (Building 39 is literally across from the Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation–a totally different resort!)
Ultimately, we know this presents several options and a lot to contemplate. Normally, we aren’t overly-keen on room requests, and think Walt Disney World planners put too much emphasis on them. However, one thing we’ve learned with Caribbean Beach Resort is that location is often make or break in terms of guest perception of the resort.
We love CBR and want others to share that same appreciation, hence this long analysis of the best and worst locations at Caribbean Beach Resort. If you’re still torn or are now more conflicted than before and want us to make your decision for you, go for building 45 if you’re a solo traveler or couple. If you’re a family with kids, opt for the Under the Sea rooms in Trinidad, requesting buildings 34 or 35.
Have you stayed at Caribbean Beach Resort since the resort’s reimagining finished? What about since the Skyliner gondolas debuted? Which building were you in? How did you like the location? Would you agree or disagree with our Caribbean Beach Resort building and room recommendations? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!