Caribbean Beach Resort Update – Summer 2019

We’re back with another walk around Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort to check on the latest happenings. This continues our Walt Disney World Construction Updates & Photo Reports, and offers a look around the guest buildings, Centertown, Skyliner stations, and Disney’s Riviera Resort.

If this is you’re new to these Caribbean Beach Resort updates (lucky you!), we’ll start with a brief preface that everyone else will probably scroll past. For a basic primer on Caribbean Beach, including a look inside the refurbished guest rooms, read our comprehensive Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort Review.

For a look at the common areas, all of which are new or newly-redone as of last October, read our Photos & Thoughts: Re-Imagined Caribbean Beach Resort post. That details the good and bad of the large scale overhaul to the resort’s central area. Those are good starting points if you want to know about the substantive changes to the rooms, dining, layout, check-in, and amenities at Caribbean Beach Resort in the last few years. As for this update, we have some good news…

This is basically just a check-in to confirm that, yes, work around the guest buildings at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is “still” done. Confirming that something is still finished might seem odd, but we’ve been down this road before with Caribbean Beach, and it seems like a lot of elements of the Skyliner that ostensibly were finished have been revisited.

The good news is the the Disney Skyliner gondola system has now been testing for a little over a month at both Caribbean Beach stations, and on all lines. This means gondola cabins are gliding above Aruba and Jamaica. These are relatively quiet, and there’s almost no way you’ll hear them in your room.

As you can see in our Summer 2019 Disney Skyliner Gondola Update, it now appears very close to being ready to debut. Construction crews should turn over the main Caribbean Beach Skyliner station to Disney Transport Cast Members in the near future. In fact, exactly that happened earlier this week with the Disney’s Hollywood Studios station!

At this point, the bulk of the work being done at or near Caribbean Beach is occurring exclusively on the northern perimeter of the property, where construction continues for Disney’s Riviera Resort, the newest Disney Vacation Club property.

Above is a look at current progress, with the Fuentes del Morro Pool in the foreground. As you can see, almost all of the exterior scaffolding is now down on this side of Disney’s Riviera Resort. This project is not nearly the disruption that it once was.

On ground level, there is still work on S’il Vous Play, an interactive water play area for kids, as well as the waterfront promenade. However, the heavy equipment and work that produced the most noise is mostly gone or done.

While Disney’s Riviera Resort isn’t scheduled to open until mid-December, it would appear that the work is well ahead of schedule–or at least mostly confined to the inside of the resort. (There’s also still exterior work on the street-facing side of the Riviera, but that won’t impact you if you’re staying at Caribbean Beach.)

Both the Riviera and Skyliner projects are either outside the current boundaries of Caribbean Beach Resort, or on the far perimeter of the resort and both are in nearly finished form. You won’t actively encounter walls for these projects while wandering the grounds of Caribbean Beach Resort and all construction noise is now minimal.

Nothing that remains to be done to with the Skyliner or Riviera is anything that would cause me not to book a stay at Caribbean Beach. These projects are substantially-finished at this point, and if they still bother you in July 2019 or thereafter, there’s a good chance Walt Disney World might just be “too noisy” for you.

There are landscaping crews at every Walt Disney World hotel on a daily basis, and you’re just as likely to be disrupted by a random weed-whacker or lawn mower than what remains to be done on the Skyliner and Disney’s Riviera Resort. (This isn’t to say that the projects aren’t producing any noise–they are–it’s just a negligible amount in the grand scheme of things.)

On the other hand, whether these projects are visual blight is another story. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is beloved by many (us included) as a tropical oasis, a place to decompress from the chaos of Walt Disney World. Seeing construction, or just the Riviera towering on the horizon (a problem that’ll remain after work is done), can pull you from that frame of mind.

On the other other hand (or maybe we’re back to the first hand?), grabbing a hammock on the beach and watching the Skyliner glide along the horizon at sunset is arguably a better experience than just watching static buildings across the water.

In any case, if this doesn’t sound like something you want to experience, our top recommendation for an alternative hotel at Walt Disney World is Port Orleans Riverside. It’s thematically quite different, but the approach is similar. It also has beautiful, sprawling grounds, a charming atmosphere, and a resort vibe.

We already shared building recommendations in our last update, but to reiterate: we think 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 too long of a walk over to the restaurants, pool, and lobby.

All of the buildings adjacent to these are also good options, including buildings 42-53. Buildings 54-56 will be great once the Skyliner station closer to Disney’s Riviera Resort opens, but we don’t know when that will be. It wouldn’t surprise us if that line opens after the rest of the Skyliner–potentially as late as December 2019.

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. Speaking of Spyglass Grill, the Pirate Rooms in Trinidad at Caribbean Beach Resort are another option.

Our opinion of the Pirate Rooms is now more positive. Having Spyglass Grill right there, plus a nice view of the gondolas overhead across the water is pleasant and relaxing.

We don’t have any stays at Caribbean Beach Resort booked in the near future, but likely will grab something closer to Christmas to take advantage of the Skyliner, Extra Extra Magic Hours, and milder weather–Caribbean Beach is a resort best experienced between October and April, we think.

Our waitlist for Riviera still hasn’t come through, so there’s also that–proximity to those amenities will be nice come December. Moreover, booking a room in Aruba or Jamaica for easy access to both Skyliner stations will be a great option once Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is open, Epcot Forever is running, and Festival of the Holidays is underway!

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

Have you stayed at Caribbean Beach Resort recently? How did you feel about your stay? Any other construction impacts? Looking forward to staying here once the Skyliner and Riviera are finished? Do you agree or disagree with our Caribbean Beach Resort building 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!


23 Responses to “Caribbean Beach Resort Update – Summer 2019”
  1. CBR no more July 7, 2019
  2. Bonny July 6, 2019
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      • Tina Lee July 7, 2019
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  3. Trent Bodine July 5, 2019
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