The Pirate Rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort are the only place at Walt Disney World where you can sleep on a boat…with a mattress in it. This review features photos of the Pirates of the Caribbean-inspired hotel rooms and whether they are worth the money. (Updated February 9, 2021.)
I’ll start by stating that every red-blooded American loves pirates. Captain Jack Sparrow is a national treasure, and approximately 84.7% of all Americans have dressed as him or some other pirate at least once. I think most of us yearn to someday be pirates (minus the whole nefarious side of things that we conveniently overlook).
As a result, there’s a lot of appeal to the Pirate Rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort. Adults and children alike recognize the cool factor in pirates. These are definitely cool rooms…at least in theory. Unfortunately, they just are not worth the money.
There are few things at Walt Disney World that I am willing to unequivocally say are not worth it. Usually, this is an “it depends” type thing. In this case, the Pirate Rooms flat out aren’t worth it. That is, unless your kids really love pirates, and you want to make the trip special for them without regard for your own comfort.
The problem with the Pirate Rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort is threefold: 1) location, 2) price, and 3) quality of the regular rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort. Let’s take a closer look as to why…
Let’s start with an update, which includes a couple pieces of good news about the Pirate Rooms at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.
First, the rooms have received a soft goods refurbishment since we first reviewed them. This is basically a mostly minor cosmetic refresh. Above is the new room, below is the old one.
Noteworthy changes are the larger, wall-mounted flat panel television, new carpeting, and a lightened up color scheme. It’s hard to tell from the photos, but the rooms aren’t as drab as before–it’s an upgrade. However, the bed runners have been removed, which is a downgrade.
Another upgrade comes via the beds. They’re still full-sized and still have thin mattresses, but they’ve been upgraded to a thicker foam as compared to before. (Note that the before here is a few years ago–it had been a while since we had stayed in one of these.)
The next improvement is not to the Pirate Rooms themselves, but is a bigger deal even though it’s indirect. Here, we’re talking about the Disney Skyliner.
The hub station of the gondola system is directly across the water from the section of Caribbean Beach where all of the Pirate Rooms are located. This is a big win for guests who book the Pirate Rooms.
Speaking of which, the Pirate Rooms are located in Trinidad, the farthest section of the resort from the main lobby and Old Port Royale (pool, food court, etc).
Now, I am hardly averse to walking, but these are (as my grandpa would say) a country mile away from everything else. It’s realistically about a 15 minute walk from Old Port Royale.
While that’s still the case, having the main Skyliner station about 5-10 minutes away is a big improvement. Moreover, two Coke Freestyle machines plus Spyglass Grill, one of our favorite ‘hidden gem’ counter service restaurants at Walt Disney World, have been added to Trinidad.
(Unfortunately, these dining enhancements are not currently operating during the phased reopening of Walt Disney World. If you’re booking a 2022 vacation, expect them to be back by then.)
While those upgrades definitely help tip the scales in favor of the Pirate Rooms, it’s still insufficient. In our Best Room & Locations at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, we have a rundown of recommended building number requests. Suffice to say, there are better options, and many of them are standard rooms with no location surcharge.
Ironically, Walt Disney World was having trouble booking these remote rooms and receiving guest complaints about them, and decided to address the problem by refurbishing them as Pirate Rooms, thereby capitalizing on the pirate craze and adding a unique appeal for the rooms.
Also, increasing the price in the process. Ahh, Disney, you wiley minxes…never failing to find ways to charge more! The Pirate Rooms cost about $50+ more per night than equivalent regular rooms. I write “equivalent” loosely, as the location farther from Old Port Royale really makes the Pirate Rooms lesser rooms, but I think we’ve already addressed that concern.
I view the Moderate Resorts as the Walt Disney World hotels you book when you want to splurge a bit to move up from a Value Resort, but are on a tighter budget than necessary for the Deluxe Resorts. Given my assumption, I find it wholly unreasonable to pay ~$50/night more for inferior rooms.
The quality of the final rooms is the final nail in the coffin. We regularly stay in the regular rooms at Caribbean Beach, including around the same time as the Pirate Rooms, and the quality was a night and day difference. For the sake of comparison, above is a photo of the standard rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort.
However, the standard rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort are nicer. You can read our Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort Review for a detailed look at the regular guest rooms (along with the common areas and other elements of Caribbean Beach…no point in this post being duplicative), but suffice to say, they are like the Polynesian-lite now.
The Pirate Rooms just do not compare to the regular rooms from a basic quality perspective. The finishings and style of the regular rooms is superior to the Pirate Rooms. In fairness, you might personally prefer the style of the Pirate Rooms, but from an objective perspective, the refurbished regular rooms are nicer.
The details like the carpet, dressers, and housing unit for the fridge are relatively cool. The style is squarely aimed at kids, but it’s still fun. The style of these Pirate Rooms is fairly cool, especially the beds which are like pirate ships. Pirate ship is exponentially cooler than a race car in terms of novelty bed designs. Still, these are full size beds as compared to the queen beds in the regular rooms at Caribbean Beach.
As with the other rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort, bathrooms are basic. The sink is located outside of the bathroom, separate from the main room by a curtain.
Nothing special about the bathroom itself.
Ultimately, aside from the “my kids loved them!” argument, I’m not sure how else they are even remotely defensible. There’s nothing wrong with catering to your kids on a Walt Disney World vacation–especially if the trip is for their benefit–but that amounts to sentimentality, not an honest assessment of the rooms.
Anyone wanting good value for their money or a more comfortable stay should avoid the Pirate Rooms. That’s true even after the minor enhancements to the rooms themselves, and the addition of the Disney Skyliner. Even now, these are our least favorite rooms at Walt Disney World; we highly recommend everyone but the biggest buccaneer buffs book elsewhere.
Do you like the Pirate Rooms, or do you agree about them being overpriced and inferior to the regular rooms? Would you consider splurging on a stay here for the sake of your kids? Planning on staying here someday? Does the nearby Skyliner hub change your perspective on the Pirate Rooms? Do you agree or disagree with our review? 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!