Monday, May 21, 2012

A Little Slice of Paradise in Walt Disney World

You can find more pictures of this resort by clicking here

Sit back for a minute and imagine this.  You’re sitting on a hammock, rocking back and forth while surrounded by soft sand and water.  A warm breeze is blowing, carrying the sound of steel drum calypso beats around you.  The sun is shining, but a large, hovering palm tree is keeping you shaded.  Sounds like the perfect getaway to a tropical island, doesn’t it?  Many may be surprised to find that this place I’m describing is located at the most magical place on earth – Walt Disney World.  This little piece of heaven on earth is Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Or as I refer to it – a vacation within a vacation!

Caribbean Beach Resort is a member of the moderate family resorts. The first building guests will enter is the Custom House, where they will check in and out.  This resort is quite large, housing over 2000 guest rooms in 33, two story buildings.  These buildings are grouped together to form villages named after the most well-known tropical destinations - Aruba, Barbados, Jamaica, Martinique, Trinidad North and Trinidad South.  Each village boasts pastel blues, yellows, pinks and oranges, bringing in the vibrant, lively colors of the islands they are named after. In the center of the resort is Old Port Royale Centertown.  Here you will find your dining options, shopping needs and arcade.  An internal bus system stops at each village, transporting guests where they need to go in this sprawling resort.

The food court at Caribbean Beach Resort is quite possibly my favorite resort food court on property when it comes to theme and details.  The dining stations are set up in a row. Lanterns and lights are strung across the "sky" from buildings and windows.  You’re made to feel as if you’re walking through an outdoor Caribbean marketplace, which makes complete sense as the food court is appropriately named “Market Street”.  There is a great variety of choice when it comes to menu items at Market Street.  For breakfast you can find traditional items such as eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, French toast, Mickey waffles and omelets.  Or lighter items such as pastries, bagels and muffins.  Lunch and dinner provide choices from pizza and sandwiches to burgers, chicken nuggets or pasta.  There is something for everyone at Market Street! If you’re feeling in the mood for a bit more of a relaxed atmosphere for dinner, try Shutters table service restaurant located in the Old Port Royale building.  This restaurant brings the flavors of the Caribbean to your dinner plate with entrees such as Caribbean style rubbed pork ribs, jerk-crusted yellow fin tuna and Aruba-style roasted chicken. 

Along with dining options, Old Port Royale Centertown is also home to the Calypso Trading Post and Straw Market stores.  Here you can find Walt Disney World apparel, toys, stuffed animals and souvenirs of all kinds.  Forgot to pack your sunblock? Need a beach towel?  Maybe a magazine to read by the pool?  No worries – you’ll find them here!  Located next to these stores is the Goombay Games Arcade.  It isn’t the largest or most extravagant arcade at the Walt Disney World Resort, but if you’re looking for a few rounds of air hockey or maybe a shot at some pinball, this place has you covered.  While you’re in Old Port Royale, if you need any help or have any questions, you will also find the concierge desk here with Cast Members ready to help you.

Ready for a pool break?  Take your pick!   How about having the choice of seven pools and two spas to take a dip in.  Each village at Caribbean Beach Resort has a smaller, heated pool.  Located next to Old Port Royale is the main, themed pool.  This pool is no joke – a water slide, water cannons and zero depth entry? You better believe it.  Standing tall is a Spanish-style fort looking like somewhere Jack Sparrow may have hidden.  Water goes through and around the fort offering plenty of room for swimmers to splash around.   And for the younger matey is a water play area close by.  What looks to be an abandoned shipwreck is actually mini water slides, fountains and a small wading area. Keep your eyes open as a bucket on the ship is filling with water and can spill over at any moment! 

There is no denying that Caribbean Beach Resort makes you feel like you are somewhere more than just Walt Disney World. It brings you to a tropical paradise that most people dream of.  And no place at Caribbean Beach Resort does this more than the center island in the resort, Caribbean Cay.  You can get to this little retreat by footbridge.  This is my favorite spot at this resort.  Upon entering Caribbean Cay you can’t help but notice the thick, lush greenery.  Bird of paradise and hibiscus flowers bring in pops of yellows, oranges and pinks.  Winding walkways and paths bring you to serene spots where you can relax on a hammock or take a few minutes to sit in a gazebo while looking out over the water.  And here my friends is where I deemed Caribbean Beach Resort a vacation within a vacation.  Caribbean Cay is the to escape the hustle and bustle of the crowds and the parks, sit back and take a few minutes (or hours) to just chill.

Surrounding Caribbean Cay and filling in the middle of the resort is a 45 acre waterway known as Barefoot Bay.  The shores are lined with white sand beaches and a lighthouse standing high at the marina.  There you can find boat and bike rentals for a little extra fun while at the resort.  Scattered around the shores are the buildings of the villages, brightly colored and completing the vision of being in a warm, distant paradise.   Whether by bike, surrey, walking or jogging, the Promenade around Barefoot Bay gives a great look at the gorgeous landscaping and details that make this resort so beautiful.

The great theming at Caribbean Beach Resort carries over into the guest rooms.  Here guests can stay in a cheerfully colored room with touches of characters from the beloved Disney-Pixar film “Finding Nemo”.  These rooms have either two double, or one king size bed, vanity with double sinks, a mini fridge and more.  Is the pirate's life for you?  For those swashbucklers who are looking for adventure head over to Trinidad South and stay in a creatively themed Pirate Room.  In these rooms you will find full size beds set in the frame of a ship and old crates and barrels are turned into dressers and mini fridge storage.  This is a must do for any pirate fan!  Wheelchair accessible rooms are available.  Please keep in mind that these buildings do not have elevators.  For those who may have trouble with stairs, put in a request for a first floor room.  Note that requests are not guaranteed, but Cast Members will do their best to accommodate guests and their needs.

So who is ready to get their behind in a lounge chair and bury their toes in the sand?  At Caribbean Beach Resort you can do just that, immersing yourself in the splendor and sunshine of the tropics, while still being surrounded by Disney magic. There is something here for everyone to enjoy from pools and promenades to boats and bicycles.  Or maybe a cool, fruity beverage under a palm.  However you decide to enjoy your stay at Caribbean Beach Resort, a vacation within a vacation awaits you!

Jessica

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