Caribbean Beach is the Walt Disney World Moderate Resort at which we’ve stayed more than any other hotel in the tier. In this ultimate guide, we’ll share photos, offer tips, info, and everything you need to know about the accommodations, dining, and more before booking your WDW vacation.
We first fell in love with Caribbean Beach several years ago, and since then it has jockeyed with Port Orleans for the title of our favorite Moderate Resort at Walt Disney World. We love the lush, tropical grounds and laid back vibe, which are a nice contrast to the frenetic nature of the theme parks. Coming back to Caribbean Beach each night is a good way to decompress, and makes a trip to Walt Disney World feel a bit like a relaxed island retreat.
With that said, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is not for everyone. It’s one of the largest resorts at Walt Disney World, meaning you might be in for a bit of a walk to the main lobby. It also has multiple bus stops, which is true of all Moderates except Port Orleans French Quarter. Nevertheless, we love Caribbean Beach, and consider it the “Poor Man’s Polynesian.”
A couple of things to note up front if you’re planning a trip now and are reading older reviews of Caribbean Beach Resort. Many of these might be unfavorable when it comes to transportation. To be sure, Caribbean Beach has an internal bus loop, and it can be an annoyance. However, it has improved in the last year-plus, and has fewer stops thanks to the resort decreasing in size.
Second, the Disney Skyliner gondolas have now debuted. There are two stations located at or near Caribbean Beach, and will offer transportation to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This alone is a game-changer for Caribbean Beach. We cover initial impressions in our Skyliner Gondola Review: Walt Disney World’s Most Magical Flight on Earth article.
Finally, there’s the adjacent Disney’s Riviera Resort–the ‘sister’ property to Caribbean Beach in the Barefoot Bay Resort Area. This is a Disney Vacation Club property that’s positioned in a luxury class, and it’s an easy walk from Caribbean Beach. Those planning a trip to Caribbean Beach will absolutely want to stroll over to Disney’s Riviera Resort during their stay.
Whether it be for the Character Breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace (Walt Disney World’s hottest character meal) or the lounges or simply the luxurious grounds, it’ll be worth your time to see. We are actually big fans of the dinner menu at Primo Piatto, the counter service restaurant at Disney’s Riviera Resort.
For now, here’s a rundown of our best posts about Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. In addition to handy links to the resources themselves, we’ll also provide a summary and a few quick tips & takeaways for those who don’t want to read each full post…
Hotel Info & Rooms
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort Review – This fully-updated review features the hotel rooms at Caribbean Beach, along with thoughts about the resort’s pools, amenities, transportation, and more. This is the best starting point for reading about Caribbean Beach Resort, and lays out all the basics.
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. This covers the best options for proximity to the Skyliner, pools, and dining at Caribbean Beach, and makes specific building recommendations, none of which are preferred rooms that cost extra!
Photos & Thoughts: Re-Imagined Caribbean Beach Resort – If you’ve previously stayed at Caribbean Beach Resort, but it’s been a few years, you’ll want to start with this. A lot has changed, from the demolition of Customs House and several hotel buildings to the expansion of the lobby area and new waterfront dining. This covers all of the changes, and discusses the good and bad of the ‘new look’ Caribbean Beach Resort.
Pirate Rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort Review – When they originally debuted, we panned the Pirate Rooms. Sure, the decor is cool, but there are a lot of downsides. They’re more expensive, far from everything, and the beds aren’t great. There have been some improvements since, and proximity to Spyglass Grill and the Skyliner station further elevate this room category.
Polynesian v. Caribbean Beach Resort – It may seem crazy to compare Caribbean Beach to a hotel that is triple the nightly cost, but we alternate between calling Caribbean Beach the “Poly Lite” and “Poor Man’s Polynesian,” so we think it’s apt. Obviously and unsurprisingly, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort wins this face-off, but it’s a lot closer than you might expect. (And of course, there’s the whole “significantly lower prices” thing in Caribbean Beach’s favor.)
Caribbean Beach v. Coronado Springs Resort – Although they are both Moderates, we think Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs have far less in common with one another. Thematically, they’re worlds apart. However, if the island life isn’t for you, Coronado Springs might offer something more suited to your tastes.
Restaurants & Dining
Sebastian’s Bistro Review – The new table service restaurant located along the waterfront in Centertown has an exceptionally strong and inventive menu. It’s also seldom busy, which is another strength. The downsides are the bland interior design and theme, which seems like a squandered use of the Little Mermaid.
Centertown Market Review – This counter service restaurant is Caribbean Beach’s lobby food court, and it received a massive overhaul as part of the resort’s aforementioned reimagining. We really like Centertown Market, but it’s been met with a mixed reaction by most Walt Disney World guests. If you want a diverse selection of plant-based or healthy foods, it’s a good pick. If you’re on vacation and want to eat as such (delicious, unhealthy foods!), it may not be the best choice.
Spyglass Grill Review – The quiet pool counter service restaurant tucked away over by the Pirate Rooms, this is a hidden gem in every sense of the word. The menus are great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and there’s truly something for everyone. It can get busy first thing in the morning due to guests from nearby rooms and the restaurant’s limited capacity, but once the morning rush is over, it’s a quiet spot with a waterfront view.
Banana Cabana Review – One of Walt Disney World’s most underrated bars, Banana Cabana is great for its mellow ‘island time’ ambiance, and a solid menu that includes a couple of popular appetizers and desserts from the Sebastian’s Bistro menu.
Skyliner Sip & Snack Stroll – Finally, a “just for fun” one that you could do on your non-parks day. Really, this doesn’t require staying at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, but that certainly makes things easier. With this itinerary, you dine and wine (although you’re probably going to be drinking fruity tropical drinks) your way around the Skyliner at Walt Disney World. It’s a lot of fun, and a way to explore and eat at other resorts!
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!
What do you think of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort? What’s your favorite room type here? What about dining? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? 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!