Friday, March 27, 2015

A Disney Weekend and the Caribbean Beach Resort

March 8, 2015
(Above: Resort center “Port Old Royale” from our building) Good afternoon fellow Disney-Junkies! I apologize for the dismal number of posts this week…it has been very busy! My mom and I went on an over-nighter to WDW and did the Magic Kingdom on Monday, and then a couple of hours at Hollywood Studios on Tuesday before heading home. Mom is kind of funny because she’s NOT a Disney kid like everyone else in the family. Even my grandma wants me to lug her down to either the Magic Kingdom or Downtown Disney, which means wheelchair, oxygen, etc. etc. Being that Mom hasn’t been in the Magic Kingdom in years (and due to some handicaps that keep her from putting in more than a few hours a trip), she’s still getting slowly reacquainted with it. That’s kind of fun because she wanted to see stuff that I haven’t seen or ridden in DECADES. This trip, it was the Country Bear Jamboree and Small World. I admit, it was kind of cool. I think next trip she’s going to make me do the Tiki-Room. LOL
I’m not sure why mom chose the second day at the studios because she HATES movies (I swear, I was switched at birth!), although now that we’re sharing an apartment, I’m force-feeding her the Disney Channel. I dragged her around a bit and took her to lunch at the Sci-Fi Dine In Theater which she seemed to enjoy (she was reliving her youth a bit, because she said it was just like the drive-In in Ft. Lauderdale where she grew up). She even recognized some of the movies they were taking clips from. I told her I remember them from “Creature Feature” after Saturday morning cartoons (I was an only child, and movies kept me out of trouble. Usually.)
We also got a pic with the gold carriage (not a flattering picture of us, so I’m giving you a generic photo) from the new “Cinderella”, so I thought that was cool. Mom could care less, but played nice! It is definitely a sturdy prop, but I didn’t really see the pumpkin in it.
TRIVIA: The carriage, created under the direction of Academy Award-winning Production Designer Dante Ferretti, was custom built for “Cinderella.” Decked out in gold leaf and measuring 10 feet tall and 17 feet in length, the carriage weighs nearly two tons! I also volunteer at a ranch (MTRA) a couple of days a week that does therapy riding for special needs, wounded warriors and senior citizens who need to work on their mobility. In addition to that I was organizing a huge tack and saddle sale for yesterday. See? Busy! But today is my down time so I’m taking the opportunity to tell you about the hotel we stayed at. Mom and I do live very close to Disney, but when we get good rates (i.e. Florida residents specials, mid-week specials, etc.), we’ll go down and stay at one of the resorts for a night or two. We won’t be doing that as much because we just got a new dog, but he was at the vet for surgery so we escaped.
(Above Photo: In the past, we’ve stayed at All-Star Movies, All-Star Music (which would be the budget hotels in Disney), Pop Century (which is really like an extension of All-Star Music) and our absolute favorite, Art of Animation. I did a full post on that one, especially because we were given a free upgrade from the low-end room to a full suite at the other end. (You can read the Art of Animation Post HERE).
(Above: Our building in the “Barbados” area) This trip, we stayed one night at the Caribbean Beach Resort. I wish we could have stayed a couple more nights just to enjoy the resort! This was our first visit to Caribbean Beach and we weren’t sure what to expect. We loved it! A beautiful resort, an awesome room, friendly staff, and cool activities as well. I believe the resort is around 25 years old, but it was apparently just renovated this past year, and there are more than 2,100 rooms, so it’s huge. We thought the price was a really good deal.
I lived in the Bahamas for a while, and I’ve visited several of the South Caribbean islands. As usual, Disney nailed it! The resort grounds are very tropical and each section is named for different islands, all built around a lake. The main portion of the resort is on one side of the lake (called Old Port Royale), which is where the food court, sit-down restaurant, shop, and arcade are located and on the other side of the lake is a white beach. There are nine pools on the property; one in each ‘island’ section with the main pool being pirate-themed (regrettably, I didn’t get to see it this trip). There are also walking trails around the lake (1.4 miles). They offer movies under the stars and marshmallow roasts each night at the bonfire on the beach, free volleyball and tennis, and bikes/surreys for rent (possible skates as well). The room was great and was a very nice size (2 queen beds). The beds were wonderful and we slept like the dead. One thing you don’t always find in a Disney resort room is a coffee maker, but this one had one. We’re used to having to go to the food court in the morning and battling the crowds just for coffee, so that was especially nice for us. It also had a mini-fridge, flat-screen TV, ceiling fan, safe, iron, hair dryer, and lots of plug ports on the night-stands. I was exploring a rather unusual piece of furniture and discovered a hidden Murphy-bed which provided a bench when folded up (for whatever reason, I get tickled by Murphy beds!). The shower was very nice and even had a head shelf for those wishing to soak. The vanity area had dual sinks and sliding “barn-type” doors for privacy from the main room.
(Above: Hidden Murphy bed!) There were several bus stops all around the resort so you’re never very far away from one, which is great if you want to park and take the bus to where ever you want to go. At 9 pm, I was able to step out of our room and see the fireworks from the Park, which looked like we were really close. Had we been at Old Port Royale (main area), we probably would have seen them reflected off the lake. We didn’t get a chance to eat at the resort because we ate at Downtown Disney (Ragland Road Irish Restaurant and Ghiradelli’s for desert!), but we will definitely check it out when we return, which we fully intend to do. In addition to the food court, there is also pizza delivery and a sit-down table-service restaurant as well. They also offer in-room babysitting so the adults can have a little grown-up time on their own. A really great resort and we loved it! Room Tip: Buildings are 2-stories, but have no elevators so if you’re disabled of have trouble with stairs, request a first floor room. TRIVIA: The Caribbean Beach Resort has more rooms than any other resort at Walt Disney World. Carriage source: Disney Park Blogs

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