Thanks very much for the report!
Thank you for the detailed report and pictures!
Thank you so much for reporting back!! The pictures are beautiful!! Sounds like you had a great time!!
Thank you for the report! You have eased by mind about staying there in November. I haven’t exactly been dreading staying there, but you might say the construction has been on my mind! Haha.
Staying Dec 10-18, is there a certain section I should request to stay in?
We just returned from our CBR stay, 7/31 to 8/6.
We got the $75 per night gift card ($450 total) and the Room Only discount rate of around $155, so was an excellent deal! The rebate gift card had a construction Mickey on it that several CMs liked and commented on that they had not seen one before.
We stayed in Jamaica 46 (for some reason in posts and chat I keep saying Aruba 46, my brain must be stuck in my first stay there), parking lot view and just around the corner was the path over to the pool and food areas. We drove down this trip, so drove to all parks except MK. The wait for the bus on our 2 MK days was less than 15 minutes. Jamaica is at the end of the bus stops, but before RD we all got seats each ride without problem.
One note: One day there was a family waiting for the internal bus to get to the front of the resort so they could hop a bus to whisper Universal end whisper. They were there for a bit before we got there and spoke with a driver who checked on that bus for them: turns out there is a single resort loop bus so it takes up to 30 minutes to get around, so if you need it be aware you might need to build extra time into your plan. (That is probably the case all the time, not related to construction.)
(Unrelated to construction: Loved the parking lot view since we could load and unload car right in front of our door. Did NOT like the huge number of mosquitoes hanging around door at all times that immediately flew into room every time you opened it. We ended up ceremoniously spraying mosquito repellent around the door each morning and night.)
When driving around the outer loop, you pass a few obvious construction locations, but most spots are covered with nice decorated fencing, so not very obtrusive at all. Walking around the resort you can see work being done across the water (as others have posted), and see the food court work closed off when you are at pool.
But, in the 6 days we were there, I think the only noise I heard was a single set of medium-loud hammers one time. The day we stayed at the resort and were in the pool most of the day - heard nothing at all. (In fact the 6:40AM lawn mower brigade on one day of the trip was much more annoying and went on for a long while!)
The huge tent they put up for the QS buffet is very nicely done (and very cold!) - however we did not eat there or the food trucks at all so I can’t comment in detail on that. (On a given trip we tend to eat only once or twice in the resort. Our kids have severe nut allergies and even with Disney’s great handling of things the combination of the buffet style and temporary feel to it, don’t think they were too comfortable with the idea of eating there.)
However, DW and I did look around at them and they were very nice - in other circumstances the setup was more than fine and I would have eaten there and not had any problem.
I think my largest complaint: The coffee was just. never. hot. NEVER. Not at 645AM, not at dinner. That includes both the main tent and the mini-market.
While fairly annoying for DW and I, and as much as I like a nice hot cuppa in the morning - if that was my biggest problem, then I’m good.
There was also a truck dedicated to souvenir and store items that had a nice large selection. (In fact, my wife had a wonderful experience there talking to the CM. My wife has been looking for a nice Tink pin, but couldn’t find one she really liked. The CM struck up a conversation and they talked for a long time while kids and I were in pool, sharing family stories and things about Disney. At the end of the conversation the CM told my wife she was going to give her a pin - and she gave her the best Tink pin we’d ever seen, a large one with a pixie dust background. Really touched my wife.)
Back to the resort info: The pool area itself was really unchanged.
The mini-markets in the various room locations were good - could have used more selection IMHO, but good. Around the corner from each mini-market next to an ice machine was a Freestyle soda machine - kids loved those (too much.) Every time we went to one there was a trail of kids waiting to refill.
The mini-market was about 3 buildings over - about a 5 minute walk. Not really bad, but a lot of lefts and rights to get there if you keep to paths. (I ended up just hoofing it over to the main tent most times, since I usually went to get coffees about 6:45 each morning and like the sunrise walk anyway.)
There are also a few concierge locations in buildings around the resort, but I did not used them. I only learned about them because I had an issue with how charges were done on my credit card and needed some money to be shifted around to maximize my rewards.
So, the TL;DR: My take away: If you are a Disney veteran and got the $75 rebate and/or room only discount, the resort is absolutely fine and staying there is a no brainer. Aside from the food tent and trucks, everything else when in room areas and the resort is the same, except for a few transition spots.
If I were to add any warning at all: if you go to the resort food court a lot, or if you are a first or infrequent visitor: there may be a bit less magic for you when looking for food, but still more than acceptable.
Again, with the discounts and if you have the rebate: I’d absolutely stay with CBR again.
If I were booking now and had to choose between CBR and Port Orleans Riverside or French Quarter and room rates were the same (with no construction rebate): I think I would go POR or FQ just to have the nicer food experience.
Othwerwise, If I’d already booked CBR I wouldn’t worry about trying to move.
Speaking with other folks at the resort - Everyone there was very upbeat about staying at CBR. (Funnily enough, we talked with a lot of other guests and almost without exception everyone was from the UK or France. Same in parks - I think half of the UK was in park this week.)
As a reward for sticking with my long report - here’s my favorite resort photo from one of my early morning walks for coffee last week. Hope you have a great trip if you’re going!
Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for sharing! We’re heading there for the first part of our split stay in November, sounds like despite construction everything is going as swimmingly as possible.
Excellent post, thank you so much for sharing. We will be there in October and hope to be able to contribute for others too.
Thank you @JJT
We have a stay in September. First time staying onsite and planning a split stay to really try different resorts. Booked the pirate standard view. Any suggestions for room request? We will have our own car if that helps. Not planning to eat at resort but will want a morning cup of coffee.
Thanks for sharing. It looks beautiful and the buildings are so pretty. I thought the food choices looked pretty good considering. Pity about the coffee - I wonder if the room coffee makers get hot enough? We will be there in September so I hope the mosquitoes aren’t!
Looking at the new Disney map of CRB it appears that the road no longer circles the hotel, (See below)
How is this affecting the busses? Are they doubling back?
Great write-up. Thanks very much for this @JJT. Pity about the coffee.
The bus route has changed, The first stop is now Martinique, then Port Royale, the Trinidads, and on around to Jamaica and Aruba.
Thank you, that information will allow me to search for a different room.
We’re staying at CARIBBEAN BEACH RESORT in September (2017) on a bounceback offer we made last year (2016) before we knew about the construction. So we’re getting the free $75/day Disney bucks (yay!) but really unsure about some of the challenges we are going to encounter (boo!)
I had planned to bring very few clothes and do a load of wash mid-trip, but now I’m wondering if there is even access to the washers / dryers at CBR at all. Wanted to put in a load, sit in a hammock or pool side, then go to the park(s) in the evening.
Does anyone know if the washers / dryers will be available for use at CBR?
I’ll be following this thread, and can/will report back after our September trip. Yay! 30 days from today, I can’t wait!
Hi … We’re going to be there around the same time … The 8th through 16th. I am hearing that laundry facilities will be available as usual, near the quiet pools in each island. The only major change is the closing of the main restaurant and shops in Port Royale, which have been replaced with the food tent buffet, quick grab food locations, and food trucks.
Thanks @LissaKay !
Sorry this is coming a bit late, but school started for me the day after we returned, so I am still playing catch-up. We had a 10 night stay at CBR (Aug 14-24). I was extremely hesitant to stay here, but thanks to a BB offer and the construction gift card (thanks @potternut for the heads-up!), and an unofficial forum survey, we really couldn’t pass up the deal…and I am happy to report, I’m glad we took the plunge!
My chief concern was the bus system…so many horror stories! We toyed with renting a car, but DD really wanted to stay within the Disney bubble the entire time, so we allocated a chunk of money for Uber/Lyft. Luckily we never had to dip into that fund! We were supposed to be in the pirate rooms, but a kind CM switched us to Aruba building 55. At first I was a tad disappointed because Aruba was the last stop on the bus loop, but I wasn’t going to complain.
Building 55 room 5544 turned out to be an excellent location for us. In the mornings we walked to Port Royale (second stop) to make sure we got on the buses. “Walking with purpose” this trip took 7 minutes. For the return trips back to the resort we got off at the Aruba stop just because of our aching feet! Of the 10 morning trips to the parks, 8 of those had very short waits for the buses…all less than fifteen minutes…several just 5 minutes! One early morning on our way to MK we were the only guests! We also took several midday breaks. Again, the bus gods must have been smiling down on us because we never waited more than 20 minutes. We even had another personal “limo” ride from Epcot…the driver’s words! We also got lucky at the end of the day, including after MK fireworks!
All of the wait times are pretty accurate because DH took great delight in timing each one…just so he could say “I told ya so”…he had listened to me fret for months about transportation issues and always replied with…it will be fine! I guess he was right!
Now the not so magical…one morning we waited 25 minutes for an MK bus. It seemed like everyone in CBR was going to MK that morning. When the bus finally came it was SRO at this second stop! One poor family had been waiting since 6:40am…their total wait time was 60 minutes! We zoomed by more packed bus stops without stopping. We could see guests throw up their arms in frustration! One woman on board called her friend who was waiting in Jamaica to warn her that we weren’t making any more stops. Her friend responded that a bus had just pulled up! Thank goodness…but where had that bus come from? Oh, and I really wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, but we were in close quarters! This also happened one morning going to AK…another 25 minute wait and a full bus.
One night as I was waiting for an internal bus, I started chatting with a woman who was going to the Custom House to specifically complain about her bus experiences. She also reported an hour wait to go to MK one morning and several long waits in the afternoon to return home. I didn’t have the heart to share our experiences.
On our last morning we saw a CM at the Aruba bus stop tracking waits. Hopefully this will result in more consistent waits for everyone!
Now on to the construction…it really was a non issue at this time. As @JJT stated, most of the construction zones were well hidden, and the ones that weren’t, DH enjoyed watching the progress! Building 55 seemed to be the last building before one of the construction zones. This is what we saw from the second floor if we looked left.
Looking straight ahead we could see Old Port Royale. If we didn’t look too closely, it looked just like it did when we stayed here 7 years ago!
I apologize for my awful picture taking, by the way!! We didn’t really hear much of anything. When we left in the morning we were usually out before work began. When we did come back in the afternoon we could hear the music coming from the pool party and not the construction…and with our door closed we heard absolutely nothing! And speaking of the room…very little foot traffic, right above the Coke Freestyle machine and mini market, next to the quiet pool/laundry area, and a short walk to the Aruba bus stop. Loved 5544!
We did one breakfast buffet and one dinner buffet in the tent. It was a great use of a QS meal since we were on the DDP. The food was fine…nothing special, but there was something for everyone, including uber picky DD. The morning we were there they had 7 or 8 Mickey waffle irons going!! We were given wrist bands when we paid. There were also takeout containers if you wanted to eat in your room. You could also access the tent to refill your mugs or grab a snack from one of the food trucks and eat in air conditioned comfort for a brief respite from the sun/pool. No one will go hungry here…it’s just not spectacular…but definitely
better than some of the QS in the parks.
On the monthly calendar of events we were given, some sort of pool party was listed each day. What wasn’t on the schedule, however, were characters joining some of those parties! During our time the characters came Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays…I think around 1:30. DD was able to do the Macarena with Donald and Goofy…the one time I didn’t bring my phone to the pool!!
Everyone we came in contact with at CBR was super nice and helpful. The landscaping is beautiful and the pools were very clean. We would stay here again if the price was right! I hope this will help to allay some of your fears if you are heading to CBR soon, and I hope you have magical time!!
Thank you sooo much for the update! We are booked to stay at CBR in October for our first WDW visit and I have been becoming more and more nervous about our choice. Your post helped to relieve some of my worries. I think if it were just my immediate family I wouldn’t be as concerned but we have both grandmothers traveling with us and I want everyone to be happy. I originally was just drawn to this resort (have heard it even described as Polynesian-lite) and then when we were able to book a great room rate, I jumped on it. Hopefully it will go as well for us as it did for you! I will post our experience when the time comes!