If your family is torn between an island getaway and a trip to Walt Disney World for your summer vacation, a stay at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort might just be the solution. Situated around the beautiful 45-acre Barefoot Bay, the resort was designed to bring the island lifestyle to Orlando with its swaying palm trees, white-sand beaches, and colonial architecture. Here are 8 of our best pro tips for getting the most out of your visit to this lush tropical paradise.
8. Choose Your Room Wisely
Don’t be shy about requesting a particular room. The resort boasts colorful Caribbean themed two-story buildings that are grouped into six “villages”— Trinidad North, Trinidad South, Martinique, Barbados, Aruba and Jamaica. Some of the rooms are more secluded than others, like Trinidad South, while Martinique is centrally located in the middle of the action…but may come with some additional noise and foot traffic. The resort also does not have elevators, so if a member of your party is handicapped you may want to request a ground-floor room. Traveling with a little Jack Sparrow? You can book one of the resort’s newer pirate-themed rooms.
7. Pack a Swimsuit
The resort is home to six—that’s right, six—leisure pools, along with a Jacuzzi and the Fuentes del Morro kiddie pool, themed like a colonial Spanish fortress complete with two waterslides and a shipwreck play area. Each village has its own private sandy beach complete with lounge chairs and hammocks, which makes Caribbean Beach the perfect resort for those looking for a relaxing beach getaway while still enjoying the fun and excitement of Walt Disney World.
6. Learn the Bus Schedule
Like all of the Disney World resorts, Caribbean Beach offers transportation to all of the theme parks, but you may want to educate yourself on the resort layout if you plan to rely on Disney buses to get around. The village pick-up order can impact whether or not you get a seat during busy times of year. Park buses stop at each island in a particular order each day—the “first stop” may be Martinique or Jamaica, and typically Barbados is the last drop off—which is something to keep in mind if you want to avoid extra time on the bus after a long day in the parks. Additionally, all guests check in at the Custom House, and unless you have your own car, you’ll want to build in some additional time to wait for the internal bus to drive you and your luggage to your “island.”
5. Take Time to Relax
While all of the Walt Disney World resorts have plenty of activities to offer guests outside of the theme parks, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort allows guests to escape the hustle and bustle of the parks and provides an ideal place to relax. Along with spending the afternoon lounging around the main theme pool, families can sail away on the Pirate Adventure Cruise, do a bit of fishing, or pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on Caribbean Cay. There are also group activities like complimentary Movies Under the Stars near the Fuentes Del Morro pool and evening campfire activities like roasting marshmallows.
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4. Try the Local Dining Options
There’s no need to visit the World Showcase for a taste of international cuisines. You can savor American favorites with a Caribbean twist during your trip at the resort’s on-property restaurant Shutters, a relaxing, island-themed dining room with an open kitchen. Shutters blends European, Asian, African and local island influences to create Caribbean-infused American cuisine, such as grilled beef rib-eye or seared sea scallops and desserts like tres leches cake.
3. Get Some Exercise
Sure, walking the parks can be rough on your feet and legs—and can help burn off the calories from all those Dole Whips and Mickey ice cream bars—but for fitness enthusiasts there’s no shortage of outdoor recreational opportunities at the Caribbean Beach Resort. The kids can enjoy the arcade and playground while active adults play a game of volleyball, go for a run on the jogging trail, or even rent a bike a watercraft. The resort also provides transportation to the five on-property golf courses.
2. Wear Comfortable Shoes
Caribbean Beach’s expansive layout may mean longer walks from your room to the main building or other pools, so be sure to pack your sneakers if you plan to explore the resort on foot. It’s definitely worth a stroll; the lush landscaping is absolutely beautiful, and the resort is home to an array of tropical plants, trees, and flowers. Its large size makes a stay at the Caribbean Beach a quiet, peaceful getaway, so be sure to take some time to admire the grounds.
1. Catch the Fireworks
The Caribbean Beach’s proximity to Epcot means that you might just get to enjoy the popular nighttime fireworks show Illuminations without having to fight the crowds inside the park. You can even try to catch your own private viewing of the Illuminations fireworks from your village’s pool or beach.