Best Rooms & Locations at Caribbean Beach Resort
Now that the Skyliner is open, several readers have asked us about the best locations and buildings at Caribbean Beach Resort, the only Walt Disney World hotel with two gondola stations and non-stop access to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios. In this post, we’ll cover room recommendations based upon various priorities.
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 few years, we’ve seen a massive transformation of this resort, and we cover the good and bad of the larger-scale changes in our Photos & Thoughts: Re-Imagined Caribbean Beach Resort post. 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.
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 near buildings 53-56, which is proximity to Disney’s Riviera Resort, which 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 nearer it are recommended.
In general, we like the dining options at Caribbean Beach (especially Sebastian’s Bistro), but the overall lineup is better at Disney’s Riviera Resort. That should be unsurprising given that it’s a Deluxe Resort.
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 Pirate Rooms in Trinidad are another option, albeit one we’re not tremendously high on. We revisited these recently and had a better experience than our past stay (see our Pirate Rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort Review for the first stay–it needs an update).
Our opinion of these rooms is more positive now, but that’s in large part to changes made outside the rooms. Having Spyglass Grill right there, plus a nice view of the gondolas gliding overhead across the water is pleasant and relaxing. We still have a tough time paying a premium for a location that can be inconvenient to most of Caribbean Beach, but if your kids are into pirates, go for buildings 34 or 35.
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.
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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!
Would a person who is 5′-1″ be comfortable sleeping on the 5th sleeper bed? We are going with our son and bringing his girlfriend and need the extra bed for her.
Mmmm I am 5’4” and it’s not that comfy for me. It’s perfect for a kid or smaller teenager. But she could probably fit and be fine. I just like to spread out more. ;). If she is along for the ride she will prob be ok!
Coming with grandson in August 2022 – will be my ninth time at C.B. I love it. Very concerned about how easy/or not it will be to have the PCR test we need to fly back to Canada on Labour Day weekend. I will not have a car and I understand the so-called “On-site” clinic at Stage Backdoor is not only a car ride away from C.B but you also cannot make an appointment. What should we do? Of course maybe that requirement will be gone by then but I need to be prepared. I’m not computer literate so the test you can purchase and “administer” in front of your computer will not work for me? Help please. P.S. I always opt for a preferred room.
Would you recommend this hotel for someone who is pregnant? Or would you say there is too much walking involved. Trying to decide on the best mid-range hotel for my wife and I as a baby-moon trip.
We just got back from 10 days at Port Orleans Riverside a week ago and now we’ve booked another 10 for CBR. Love you blog and guides! Just wondering how you make a specific room/building request. I can’t seem to find it anywhere.
We stayed at CBR Aug 2021. I thought Jamaica 45 was a perfect location. We had a corner garden view and overlooked a pretty patio with tables and umbrellas. Sometimes I enjoyed my morning coffee there. A quick walk over the bridge to food court and the other amenities. We enjoyed the food court, Banana Cabana and had a great meal at Sebastian’s.
Also a quick walk to either Skyliner station. We also walked over to Riveria one night for dinner at their quick service.
Is that corner room in building 51 with the water view a preferred room? We have a preferred room booked and that sounds like the PERFECT room for us!!!
@Laura. No not all rooms Have a 5th sleeper. It will say when you book if it has a 5th sleeper and is usually pricier. We try to get a sleeper hits for extra bed if needed.
I was wondering about the 5th Sleeper beds. Do all rooms have 5th bed? It just looks like it from the photos. We have the option of booking the Standard Rooms or the Water/Pool View with the 5th sleeper. We definitely want a 5th sleeper so I was just wondering if all rooms had that. Thanks!
Great article! Which building would you request if you are only interested in being as close as possible to the skyliner? We don’t ever swim and we stay at the parks open to close! We are just looking for the more convenient transportation option. Thanks in advance.
Jennifer, we stayed in building 41 in the Jamaica area and the Skyliner (and Joffreys!) were right across the street. We were farther from the lobby but we were able to get into Epcot quickly and that was worth the longer walks to the main area of the resort.
Enjoy your trip! It’s our favorite resort!
Speaking as someone who knows numerous people who work at resorts, people need to keep in mind that requests ARE NOT guarantees. They are requests. There are a number of factors that determine the room room you get. I know Disney does honestly try to fulfill as many requests as they can, however this is not always possible.
Curious…what would be the reason to take the Skyliner from Riviera instead of CBR? If you are going to Epcot and get on at CBR can’t you just stay in your gondola at Riviera?
Can anyone give me info on Martinique I thought it would be a good choice as it’s close to the Riviera and also close to Port Royale.
Now I’m beginning to second-guess myself as I look at reviews and comments from other people.
Best place to stay is Aruba hands down and that’s from first hand experience. Tom’s advice 5 on this was spot on… You’ll be half way between both Skyliner hubs… And a brisk walk over the bridge to the main pool/lobby/restaurants
Yes! I just came back and building 26 is perfect for me. The walk to center is like 1 min but The walk to Riveria skyliner is a bit longer. But it is a wonderful veiw and the walk to roast marshmallows is really close!
Hi Diane!! Hopefully you will see this, as I cannot reply directly to your comment…
You can see my other responses I have posted regarding our trip in September. I know the parks have increased capacity since then, but I suspect the hotel capacity is still about the same. When are you going?
It looks like you are a WDW professional, with all of your previous stays. We have stayed at the Swan 3 times previously, and wanted to try CB for similar reasons to yours (mainly the Skyliner). I will say, please be prepared to find it quite different. I would advise taking a youtube room tour. The rooms are fine, but not fancy. All of the convenience I had hoped to have being at the Skyliner hub did not pay off. Since the bus transportation is extremely limited (unless that has changed a lot since we were there), the lines for the Skyliner were VERY long. We wound up only using it once and taking Uber the rest of our commutes.
We were also quite disappointed with the food at CB. Not sure if they have opened more venues, but the cafeteria was “ok” at best, and the only other option was the Banana Cabana, which was good for a couple of meals, but not a place you want to eat all the time. See my other comments regarding dining at the Riviera instead, if you decide to stick with CB.
In retrospect, we wish we would have stayed at the Swan again, or another resort where we could at least walk to one or two of the parks. Or better, which I never thought I would prefer, would be to stay at a non-Disney hotel right near Disney Springs (will give you more dining options if the parks still have limited hours). Note, this is ONLY due to the current Covid restrictions while park hours are shorter, dining is limited, and transportation is greatly affected.
All said, we still had a fantastic trip!! I am just highlighting the “negatives” for you here because you asked for the comparison. I am soooo glad we went!! We are in Southern California STILL waiting for our idiot governor to open up Disneyland!!!!! 🙁
Jennifer when were you there? Was it during Christmas/Dec high season? Disappointing to hear about long waits for Skyliner.
CBR was our first onsite stay years ago. So holds a soft spot. We enjoyed it very much and thought it was a beautiful resort. Since then our fav moderate became POR. Mostly stay deluxe with moderate stays sprinkled in.
Also disappointed to see the CS has nowhere near the variety it had before remodel. It had such cool theming. I love the look of new lobby areas, very upscale. But the food court, bleck.
We have reservations for August 2021. Hopefully if Canada doe sn’t have quarantine rules upon returning. Right now we do. Daughter can’t take 2 additional weeks off work to quarantine 14 days. Fingers crossed.
I really wanted to stay at CBR for skyliner but now considering YC.
Hi Jennifer!! Yes I have seen your reply as I received an email prompt; thank you so much for your advice. All being well our stay at Disney in 2021 will commence July 26th. I don’t know if you have been to the AK Lodge for a visit, which is currently our preferred resort? The lobby is fantastic, all the restaurants superb, and the surroundings fabulous, however, I have always been quite underwhelmed with the rooms there. They are by no means fancy, certainly not luxurious, and the bathrooms are particularly small. I don’t think the rooms would qualify as ‘deluxe’ outside of Disney. But of course it is all fitting with the theming and so it works. That said, I think the rooms have had an upgrade since our last visit in 2018, but where some of the theiming has been removed. When I look at the CBR rooms after their upgrade, they don’t look too dissimilar to AKL prior to the recent upgrade. I guess they will be smaller, but look alike in decor/colour, the main difference will be that they are ‘motel’ style exterior corridors whereas AKL and others we’ve stayed at have internal corridors and entry is via the main lobby. Transport is all by bus though. We did enjoy Saratoga Springs which is again sprawling and kind of motel style although it was our wedding year so we had a one bed villa which was nice, and made it special, but that was a few years ago! We married ‘secretly’ at Luau Beach in between the Poly and the GF, just the two of us – yes I’m bit of a Disney nut!
IF and I think it is a BIG IF – we do get to go in July – it’s a big deal for us as we couldn’t go in 2020 (obvs) and in 2019 I was finishing my PhD thesis, so I really need my fix! I guess we may end up changing nearer the time and if/when AKL becomes available, but then we’ll never know what CBR, or other moderate resorts are like! Such a quandary, and I apologise I’ve been waffling away….I get lost in my Disney daydreams! Thanks again x
Word of advice, leaving Riveria right now as I sit on the Magical Express and I would not dare return or spend another dime until Disney brings back Fast Pass+ because the lines are absolutely insane and completely asinie. We also did Universal while here and they have Express Pass up and running with no issues. There is NO reason Disney could not have kept the fast pass system running and to blame it on the Virus is a lame excuse and you will not convince me otherwise. Also the plexiglass barriers on rides RUINED the experience ie Frozen was HORRIBLE. They were dirty, not clear, reflective and just completely destroyed the experience… I will not spend another dime at Disney until they stop libbing out and get back to normal operations…
Is there anyway to know where you might’ve located when booking a King Bed room here at CRB?
Hi Zach, I have the same question. We just amended our reservation and had to get a King Bed room. Are these rooms located all throughout the resort or are they located in certain buildings? Can I set request a stay in Building 45 or 51?
Hi!! We stayed at CRB in September. Not sure where the King bed rooms are located, but you can definitely call the number posted below and they will do their best to accommodate you. We called and requested bldg 45 and got it. I called back right before our trip, and they had the noted request “in the system”.
Sidenote – we didn’t love the food at CRB, but the extra walk to The Riviera was definitely worth it. Their pool bar had some fantastic salads (Greek, yumj!!), wings, shrimp, and pizzas (not fast food style, yet not toooo expensive) They let you order from the other restaurant next door as well. 🙂
We are booked for CBR in July 2021 (well, hopefully we are able to visit are travelling from the UK) in a King bed room.
We have previously stayed at Saratoga, Boardwalk, The Swan, Wilderness Lodge, Grand Floridian, Yacht Club – and several times at our favourite AK Lodge.
Must admit I am a little apprehensive as it’s the first time staying at a moderate and I just don’t wat to be disappointed (particularly with us missing our vacation in 2020 to AKL due to the pandemic 🙁
is there a massive difference between them? We thought we would try it with the Skyliner now being available. Any help or tips would be great thank you 🙂
What phone number do you use to actually make the room request with the resort. When I call I get the regular vacation customer service.
@andy hope this helps (407)934-3400
@Docmarmo Thank you! We leave in 2 weeks and can’t wait!
Enjoy @Andy, we had an absolute blast, weekend crowds were a little larger than during the week but still overall most rides were walk on! Have a great time and world showcase was a great treat, we had the best time walking around the world sampling all the food from different countries. Enjoy!
Yes…we just got back. I used that number a week or so before our trip, and our request for Bldg 45, second floor, was honored 🙂
(I did call back a few days after the first call to confirm, and they were able to see my request in the system)
Bldg 45, as other nice people here have noted, was not too far away from anything we wanted.
I will add some comments about CB right now during the partial re-opening…
although it is in a nice location near the skyliner, we felt a little “trapped” there. The food options were not great (okay for one or two meals, but got very unappealing for more than that). Only Banana Cabana and Marketplace are open right now. BC was festive, and Marketplace was “just ok”. Pretty much NOTHING else is nearby, except THANKFULLY, the Riviera. The food there was MUCH better. Bar Riva was a great place to sit down in the enclosed patio and the Greek Salads were fantastic. They allowed us to order from the Primo Piato menu as well, so we got some good rustic pizza (much better than CB), and yummy gourmet chicken wings. We went there twice because it was so good the first time. And, it looks far, but it is a very reasonable walk from the pool area of CB (no need to backtrack and take the skyliner unless you are already at that part of CB).
And, regarding the skyliner…it was REALLY crowded at park opening!! We couldn’t use it for HS because we would have had to be there at 7 something. A $9 Lyft ride at 8:15 seemed much more appealing. We did take it in to Epcot since we could start later, and it was nice. But, when we went to take it back at night, the wait was about 45 minutes!!! We wound up walking to BW and taking a Lyft from there. Yes, these options added some expense…but with limited park hours, time was more valuable than money.
During these weird hours and crowds, I would definitely consider staying closer to Swan or Boardwalk so you could walk to HS and EP, at least.
Hopefully that helps someone until things change…again. 🙂 🙂
I have a trip scheduled for October 2020. We had to change to the Caribbean resort from our original reports due to it not being open. They only rooms they had were premium or pool side( we opted for pool view as it saved $460) where would you suggest staying? It’s my first time at the resort and I appreciate all your suggestions! Thank you!
We just got back stayed in Aruba Corner Room bottom floor building 51 Waterview, don’t need the water View but we had a gorgeous view when we opened our curtains of the Riviera and you’re literally right next to the bridge to walk over to Banana Cabanas and the main pool lobby area & halfway between both Skyliner stations… more than happy to try and answer any other questions you might have and you’re going to have a blast! The skyliners are awesome!
I know this is an older post but is the Water View Pool View 5th sleeper anywhere near your recommendations @TomBriker? We’re scheduled for next Saturday and I want to get rid right and it seems looking at my reservation, this is what they have me. I have not checked in yet online so if you can please would appreciate a tip. Thank you in advance!
Dear my grammar. Thanks Google!
What did you find out during your trip? We are headed down in a few weeks and have the exact same question.
@Tim literally scroll down a few comments and I posted about our stay and we had a blast, hope it helps you but for us Aruba building 51 corner room bottom floor water view was awesome, specifically room 5121
We booked pirate room because we have a 5-year-old little boy who is going to Love it. We hope to make in September. Why building 34 and 35? BTW this is the first time at this resort. All the other times we stayed in Disney World it was either at the Swan or the Dolphin which we really like.
I’m guessing those buildings because they’re closer to everything. The other buildings are a hike. (On a side note we LOVE this resort. Our usual spot is the Grand Floridian but we have really come to love CB. The Skyliner has become my favorite mode of Disney transportation!). Hope you love the resort as much as we do!
Hi Christy!! Not sure if you will be alerted to get this, but would love to hear your feedback. What dates are you going in Sept? We are going the 17-22nd. We, too, usually stay at the Swan and would love to know what you think of CB in comparison. We will all have to keep in mind that things are NOT going to be the same right now, especially with the limited hours and many hotel features being closed 🙁 I’m hoping there are some things to do at night once we get back to the hotel. Have a great trip!!!
@jennifer we just got back 1 week ago and while I can’t compare to swan as we’ve never stayed there, I can say following Tom’s guide was a huge help and he was spot on. We stayed on the ground floor, corner room of Aruba building 51 which is right next to the bridge that brings you to the main pool area /restaurants and you are half way between the Riviera sky liner station and the Jamaica Skyliner station. It was a PERFECT location on this huge sprawling resort. The Skyliner was so enjoyable and efficient I don’t think I’d want to ride the bus again If I could help it. Any other questions feel free to ask. I’ll do my best!
We stayed in Aruba, building 54, for a week in late February. It was the perfect spot for our family of four. We were very close to the Riviera and the sky lift to Epcot. There was a smaller pool right outside of our room that we enjoyed a few times while the toddler was napping. The walk to the main building and pool was less than 10 minutes. I would recommend this area for the closeness to the sky lift and bus stop.
Ok Tom, talk to me about the best way to make room requests. I have a regular room reserved and my whole option (through the MDE app) is “corner room”. Do I need to goop through the website? Have my TA add the request? Call Disney myself? I need first floor (kids and strollers) and would prefer Jamaica
The corner room is the only option the website gives so I called Disney myself about three weeks before the trip. I did not, however, get the buildings I requested. I have heard that you can fax your request directly to the resort, but I have never actually done that so not sure. I requested Jamaica, but we were placed in Barbados and actually loved it! It is right between the skyliner station and Old Port Royal. I think either Barbados or Jamaica are the most convenient locations. I don’t think a corner room is really that necessary either.
When we want a specific room I call myself (several times) and also have my TA add it in on her end. We’ve gotten lucky (most of the time) by doing it that way. We just got back from staying in a corner room, first floor in Jamaica. It was great! Little bit of a walk but the grounds are beautiful.