Caribbean Beach Update: Staying Here in 2019?

We (sort of) continue our January 2019 Walt Disney World construction updates at Caribbean Beach Resort. As you’ve probably heard by now, Caribbean Beach’s re-imagining is finished. There isn’t any ongoing construction at Caribbean Beach Resort right now, hence this being a “sort of” progress report.

This means the Old Port Royale lobby area and check-in is open, as are Centertown Market, Banana Cabana, and Sebastian’s Bistro. If you’re unfamiliar with the changes, we covered the good and bad of the changes in our Photos & Thoughts: Re-Imagined Caribbean Beach Resort post. Suffice to say, it’s mostly good.

With that said, construction isn’t totally done around Caribbean Beach Resort. Due to the ongoing work on other projects near the hotel, we’ve still been visiting on a fairly regular basis. Between convenience and questions we’re still receiving about construction impact, it makes sense to do a photo update and some recommendations on staying at Caribbean Beach Resort in 2019…

Along the northern perimeter of Caribbean Beach Resort, construction continues for Disney’s Riviera Resort, the newest Disney Vacation Club property, plus a shared Skyliner gondola station for the two resorts.

Riviera is a stand-alone hotel, but it’s being developed entirely on what used to be the grounds of Caribbean Beach Resort, so it’s not like it’s totally disconnected from CBR.

The construction impact of Disney’s Riviera Resort is relatively minimal. Scaffolding remains up on the exterior, but the cranes and other heavy machinery are largely gone.

Work has progressed to the interior of the resort, and that will mostly be the case between now and Summer 2019, when we’d expect work to substantially finish. (Officially, Disney’s Riviera Resort opens in Fall 2019, but we’d expect it to be done well before then based on current progress.)

On the southern boundary of Caribbean Beach Resort, work continues on the largest of the Disney Skyliner gondola stations. This is located by the new entrance to the resort, and directly across the water from the Pirate Rooms in Trinidad (we recommend avoiding these rooms for a few reasons, all of which are covered in our review of them), and the new-ish Spyglass Grill counter service restaurant.

With all of this in mind, one common question we’re still receiving is which building(s) we recommend at Caribbean Beach Resort right now. Let’s start with ones that are easily to eliminate right off the bat: all of Trinidad (34-39), 55 & 56, and 24 & 25. All of these either abut construction or are Pirate Rooms.

There are a few other buildings you might want to avoid. For example, 54 and 26 are nearish to construction and certain rooms might be a problem. On the other hand, I stayed in a corner room in building 26 facing towards Old Port Royale recently, and never once heard construction. To the contrary, it was a great location.

Personally, I’ve always been partial to the buildings directly across from Centertown. Buildings 51 and 45 are great, with a leisurely walk across the bride through Caribbean Cay. They’re removed from the heart of the action and have great across-the-water views, but aren’t a prohibitive walk over to the dining, pool, and lobby.

All of the buildings adjacent to these are also good options, and you’re unlikely to see or hear any construction from buildings 42-53. All of Barbados is also good, and the upside to this location is that it’s roughly equidistance from the Fuentes del Morro Pool, Centertown, and Spyglass Grill–which is far better of a dining option than it has any business being.

We haven’t stayed in Barbados recently, but that honestly might be the best option in terms of well-roundedness right now. You’re near the pool, main lobby, and every single dining option at Caribbean Beach Resort. Building 31 is also probably as removed as possible from both construction areas, too.

While that particular building is going to be the most isolated from construction blight and noise, we should reiterate that construction really isn’t a problem from the vast majority of rooms at Caribbean Beach. Only the far north part of Martinique and Aruba are going to see or hear work on the Riviera, and only the water-facing Pirate Rooms in Trinidad will see/hear the Skyliner. (And all of the Pirate Rooms should be avoided, anyway.)

Note that these building recommendations are for between now and Summer 2019. Officially, the Disney Skyliner gondola debuts in Fall 2019. (Unofficially, we’d expect it to be done by late summer–whether it starts ‘soft’ operating then is another story.)

At that time, we think it’ll make the most sense to be within walking distance of one of the two Skyliner stations–even if that means being a bit farther from the dining and feature pool. At that point, we’d probably opt for buildings 54-56, 41-43, or 31-33 (as before, Barbados will remain the ‘best of both worlds’).

In the meatime, if you want zero ‘construction blight’ during your Walt Disney World vacation, you might want to look elsewhere. While we, personally, would now stay at Caribbean Beach Resort, everyone’s construction tolerance is different. Our top alternative recommendation between now and around July 2019 would be Port Orleans Riverside.

With all of that said, a few more random things from our stroll around Caribbean Beach Resort:

Totally random, but it makes me really happy that the pineapple fountain wasn’t lost during the re-imagining.

Moving it to the backside of Sebastian’s was a nice touch, and also gives thematic depth to this little promenade.

As is the case at many Walt Disney World resorts, it’s still Christmas at Caribbean Beach.

The resort doesn’t get a ton of Christmas decor in the first place, and it’s kind of odd to hear tropical Christmas jams during the second week of January.

It’s hardly STOP THE PRESSES news, but the lettering here is a relatively recent addition. People were probably walking right past the building since it’s relatively nondescript.

Below are some merchandise photos from Calypso Trading Post:

Some of these items definitely are not new (I bought the blue hat ~4 years ago), but some of them are.

For instance, I had never seen the Banana Cabana Pool & Bar shirt before this month, and I know a couple other items weren’t here when Calypso Trading Post. However, I’m not entirely sure what else is new. (The left shot glass design is also on a coffee mug and some other stuff.)

That wraps up our January 2019 Caribbean Beach Resort Update. In short, we wouldn’t hesitate to stay here at any point now, but you might want to make a strategic room request for one of the buildings mentioned above. If you’re a frequent Walt Disney World guest, you might consider waiting until the Skyliner debuts (as that’ll be fun to use), but the downside of that is it’s also likely to increase room rates at Caribbean Beach Resort once it does open. I guess we shall see!

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

Your Thoughts

Do you agree or disagree with our Caribbean Beach Resort building recommendations? Have a favorite area of CBR? Least favorite room location at the resort? 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!

52 Responses to “Caribbean Beach Update: Staying Here in 2019?”
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