Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort: A Photo Tourby Donald and Bonnie Fink, contributing writer
Our first Photo Tour of Disney's Caribbean Resort was in 2016, but there have been so many changes over the last couple of years that a second look is a good idea. So what's new? There's a lot, and we'll try to focus on those changes as we walk through the Photo Tour this month.
There's a new form of transportation available at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, and that's called the Skyliner. The Skyliner is an aerial gondola that runs to Hollywood Studios and Epcot. It makes a stop at the new Riviera Resort and has connecting services to Disney's Pop Century Resort and Disney's Art of Animation.
The newest transportation system at Walt Disney World is the Skyliner. this is an aerial gondola similar to gondolas used all around the world, mostly at ski resorts. There is quite a bit of speculation about how this system will work in the heat of Florida's summers since they do not have air conditioning. Our experience has been positive so far. There are several windows in each cabin and there's quite a bit of air flowing when it's moving. We'll see. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
When the Skyliner first opened, we took a ride from Epcot to Hollywood Studios with a stop at the Skyliner Station at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. We found the ride comfortable and very enjoyable. It affords a unique view of some of the Disney Skyline we hadn't seen before. Video by Donald Fink.
Disney's new Skyliner has a central hub at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. Guests leaving here can travel to Disney's Art of Animation and Pop Century Resorts on one line, Hollywood Studios on another, and a third line goes to Epcot with a stop at the new Disney's Riviera Resort. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
There are two entrances to each Skyliner line. Here is an entrance for wheelchairs. The gondola is brought off the main line and stopped, allowing more time to board. It's then re-inserted into the flow when everyone on-board is safely situated. Other passengers will board a slowly moving gondola as it makes its way around the terminal. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
Our understanding is that bus service from Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios has started running every hour instead of the customary 20-minute interval found at most resort bus stops. This is because of the Skyliner service to these parks. It's like Disney hotels that have boat service to another attraction, like the Yacht and Beach Club to Hollywood Studios. So, if you're not fond of the Skyliner, your wait for a bus could be a bit longer than you expect.
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort is situated around a water feature called Barefoot Bay. Each section—or Caribbean country—has a beachfront along this small lake, but the nature of being along a lakefront means that things tend to get spread around. In fact, one of the biggest complaints we see on social media about Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort is that it's too big. It takes too long to walk from your room to the food court and lobby at Old Port Royale. Fortunately, there's a bridge in the middle of the hotel that connects old Port Royale from the countries on the opposite side of the lake. There's also an internal bus service that moves guests around the hotel grounds. It's really not hard to get around once you know the drill.
This bridge, which spans the narrow part of Barefoot Bay, goes between Caribbean Cay Playground and Jamaica and Aruba. Another smaller bridge connects Caribbean Cay and Old Port Royale. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort is themed after five different Caribbean Countries: Trinidad, Barbados, Jamaica, Aruba, and Martinique. Here is a view of Barbados, located to the left of the bridge near the Main Entrance. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
Each one of the countries at Disney's Caribbean Beach Hotel has a beach. No swimming or wading is allowed as you can see by the fence at the shoreline, but you can enjoy a total of six swimming pools on the property. In the meantime, if your aim is some quiet downtime on the beach, you can grab one of these hammocks or a lounge chair. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
The main swimming pool at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort is called Fuentes del Morro Pool. It's patterned after a Spanish fort of the 18th century; an architecture that's prevalent all throughout the Caribbean. This is the main fun spot for the resort, located near all the other amenities like Old Port Royale and the Banana Cabana. Photo by Donald Fink.
The attraction to Caribbean living and Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort for many people has got to be the party atmosphere, especially for the kids around the main pool. But sometimes you just need a quiet spot to reflect or do whatever you might do in a quiet spot. Fortunately, there are many secluded and quiet areas around the resort that offer a place to unwind. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
We don't see this very often at a Disney resort, but you can rent a bicycle by the hour or by the day at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort Hotel. They're at the marina, by the lighthouse. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort has several places where you can grab a meal. The most obvious is the main food court in Old Port Royale, called Centertown Market. You can get all three of your meals at Centertown Market and there's seating available inside or covered seating outside.
If you're in a hurry, there's Centertown Market Grab & Go, where you can get salads, sandwiches, and snacks already made and ready to enjoy. You can get bakery items too.
Dining is at Sebastian's Bistro, which is outside Old Port Royale in the building it shares with the Banana Cabana. Sebastian's is only open for dinner.
The way you get your meals at Centertown Market is that you first place your order at this order desk. From there, you make your way to the pick-up windows, located to the left of this image. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
Sebastian's Bistro is the new dining restaurant at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. It is a new building since 2018, located outside Old Port Royale and next to the Fuentes del Morro Pool. Sebastian's replaced Shutters, which was located inside Old Port Royale.
Sebastian's is considered casual dining with island-inspired cuisine, like Jerk Chicken with Black Beans, Cilantro Rice, and Dark Rum Glaze. You can find their menu here.
There's a comfortable bar next to the Fuentes del Morro Pool called Banana Cabana. It's a walk-up bar but has seating in a covered area. You can enjoy tropical drinks with names like Caribbean Smuggler, Guave-Rita, or a Bourbon Breeze. And yes, there's beer too. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
Take a look at some of the things we found as we walked the grounds at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. Photos and videos by Donald and Bonnie Fink.
The skyline is changing at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. To the west is the Skyliner, but north of the hotel is the new Riviera Resort. This is Disney's newest Disney Vacation Club resort and has been open for only a short time. Photo by Donald Fink.
There's a lot to like about Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. The times we've visited and even stayed at this hotel, we couldn't escape the feeling that there was a lot of emphasis placed on the party atmosphere of Caribbean life. The Fuentes del Morro Pool seemed to be the center of activity around the resort, promoting outside activities all day, every day. Chris Barry talks about his Top 5 Things about the Caribbean Beach Resort in this article, and one of his favorite features about this resort was the pool, and we agree.