When you stay with Disney, you’re in very safe hands! Here’s my in depth review of our stay…
My husband, myself and our 20 month old son boarded the Magical Express at the airport and from then onward, we experienced nothing but great customer service and a mostly easy, smoothly run holiday. Travelling with Virgin Atlantic was NOT a great experience and then arriving at the airport and having to reclaim our luggage, drop it off, catch a shuttle and reclaim it again left us tired, sweaty and agitated. We approached the Magical Express desk and that’s when things started to turn around. We boarded an air conditioned coach immediately and Disney took care of everything else, including lugging our bags around (2 big bags, a car seat, stroller, 3 lots of hand luggage).
We arrived at the resort where we were warmly welcomed by friendly, helpful, knowledgeable front desk staff. We were issued with our magic bands and then our luggage and us were loaded into a van and bell services drove us to our room, and unloaded us, our luggage and also our large shopping delivery from Garden Grocer (highly recommended if travelling with a little one – nappies, wipes, water, food etc all ready and waiting. The milk had even been refrigerated by bell services until our arrival).
The room was on the ground floor – we had requested this. It was large, clean, spacious. I liked the curtained off double-sink vanity area and there was plenty of storage available for our bags. The beds were double sized and were honestly far too small but I know the resort is halfway through being upgraded to queen beds so I can’t mark down for this as Disney have already recognized the issue and are fixing it. We had requested a crib prior to arrival but it wasn’t in the room. A quick call to housekeeping fixed this but when you have arrived off a 9 hour flight and fought your way through an airport and customs, you want to arrive in your room and crash out and get your very tired toddler to bed. Also, bell services forgot one of our bags – in our tiredness we didn’t notice. We certainly noticed at 1.30am when they knocked onto our hotel room door to deliver it!! This plus the cot means I have to mark down a little.
The room was located in Trinidad North, block 33 (we paid for a preferred room). Even so, it was a decent walk to go and refill our resort mugs. But it was a lovely walk, and the resort is beautifully landscaped and maintained. The shop, food court, concierge and pool are all great – well staffed and all staff members were polite and helpful. The food quality at the food court was good. A decent selection, including the fantastic breakfast bounty platter. We made good use of our resort mugs and even though we really tried we did not manage to use all the meals on our dining plan during our stay! We had 2 character breakfasts, so maybe if we hadn’t done those we would have. But when we left we have 4 meals to go. We used all our snack credits – a lot of these we used to buy fruit cups and yogurts for the baby.
We were close to the bus stop. We never waited long for a bus and only had to stand up a couple of times. However, when you have a baby and you are carrying a buggy/stroller and the bag you need for the day containing baby supplies, you would think people would move small children onto their laps so the person holding the baby could sit. Or move their bags off a seat (I didn’t know bags needed their own seat??!). More than once, fit, able, people took the seats at the front of the bus, forcing families like us to the back where we had to tackle steps carrying a little one. Just a minor grievance and more about inconsiderate people than the resort! Just be aware if you are travelling with small ones. Trips to the parks didn’t take long and buses are air conditioned, so that’s a saving grace.
The magic bands were a highlight of the trip. They open your door, get you into the park, you touch against the Mickey Mouse symbol and type in a 4 digit pin and it updates your dining plan, you use it to pay for purchases and access your fast passes. Ingenious! We didn’t need to take cash anywhere – it was so easy and innovative. It’s easy to get carried away and spend a lot of money (which we did).
Overall, we loved this resort and were sad to leave. Disney make everything as easy as possible and we loved every aspect of our stay. The parks were less busy this time of year and we never queued longer than 5 minutes for anything. The 3 fast passes per day for resort guests can be booked online in advance – makes it all so much easier. We love Caribbean Beach Resort and would probably return at some point. We would definitely recommend it.