Monday, August 11, 2014

Disney Reviews: Resort Edition #6 - Caribbean Beach Resort

Not including our very first trip to Disney World in 1981 (which we stayed off-site for), my first two adult trips to WDW (1999 and 2004) had us based at Caribbean Beach Resort. I didn't take pictures back then like I do now because I was still in that newbie "shocked" phase of being so amazed by what I was seeing, I would just forget I had a camera! I'm sure it happens to a lot of people.

Cameras back then weren't the absolutely amazing pieces of electronics they are camera in '99 was still a film camera, and a Kodak at that. I had that camera for many years and, although it was film, it had tons of special features and was one of the first cameras that used the 'then' advanced Advantix film which could take pictures in either normal, landscape, or panoramic. It was incredibly expensive to develop, it took me over a year to get the 10 rolls I took in Disney all completed. Boy did I think I was leading the photo tech game back then!

In 2004 got me my first digital, yet another Kodak, the DX6440. A lot of bad things were said about Kodaks in those days, the biggest complaint being that they "overcolorized" things. But in a bright and colorful place like Disney World, overcolorization was a good thing. The pictures popped like you wouldn't believe (but are pale in comparison to today) and it led me on a several year journey with the Kodak company. Even then, I was still upgrading cameras every couple of years as the tech got better. By 2008, Kodaks had changed so much, they were no longer "Disney friendly". Now Kodak no longer even makes cameras. RIP.

But it wasn't all bad, being the Sony worshipper I am, I turned to them for my cameras and I've never looked back! Granted, cameras typically only last me a year now, but it's because of technological advances and not because of my dissatisfaction. My next camera step up will be to a mirrorless (Sony, of course), but until then, this upcoming trip will be my first ever of using the same camera three times in a row! That's how special the RX100m2 has been.

The whole point of that weird camera rant was to warn you that when I've said before that my pictures were bad, that was the understatement of the year compared to these...a film camera's pics (that have been scanned in) and one of the first digital point & shoots. Plus, there are very little of these pics in the first place, so this will be more of a word review than a picture review.

Oh, and I feel I should backtrack just one more time - 1999 was my first trip as an adult, but it wasn't meant to be my first adult trip...1998 was. I was married at the time, the trip was booked and almost paid off, but I ended up getting divorced before we finished paying for it (or, I guess I should say before I finished paying for it). But that was a good thing, trust me, the second best decision I've ever made! My desire to go to Disney was even stronger after my failed attempt, so my mother and I decided to go together, but I had severe social issues at that point. 1999 was before I started trying to figure myself out, to figure out why I am the way I am which led me to my Asper journey. My social anxiety was the absolute worst it had ever been before or since, so it was probably the worst time ever to go to Disney World, but go we did and, although there were extremely difficult moments, I don't regret a single minute of it! It started me on the journey to where I am today and even paved way for me to go to Disney World solo, a pretty big feat for someone like me. So let's get on with the review already!

Caribbean Beach Resort is an Epcot area resort and is a moderate, but it's one of the largest resorts on property. It is composed of six "villages" each named after a Caribbean island and each one of those are made up of several buildings clumped together, each with their own private pool. There is a main pool at Old Port Royale as well as food courts (yes, I mean pleural), the gift shop, the arcade, and their one sit-down restaurant Shutters. There is also the Custom House where guest services and check-in is located. There is even an island called Caribbean Cay. Remember when I said that some resorts are huge...Caribbean Beach is the poster child for that. Depending on where your room is, it could take you a good 20 minutes just to walk to the food court. Each "island" has it's own bus stop, but you have to circle the entire property, stopping at each stop for drop off and loading, so again, depending on where your room is located, you could either be the first one off or on or the last. There is also a good possibility that the bus will be full by the time it gets to you. But it also means you have to tack on quite a bit of time for these bus stops on top of your transportation time. It's a factor when you're in a hurry to get to a dinner ressie.

Let's start in with 1999:

We were in Aruba that year and here is the bus stop:

Our room:

I really tried to get good pictures of the grounds, but this was the only survivor:

And that is literally it for my 1999 pictures! No more of the resort itself! I tried a bit harder in 2004, but they are still lacking. I did manage to stumble across this little gem from my Sister's '04 pictures:
me checking out a picture. Get a load of this clunker! It's huge (and I'm not talking about me)!

But here is the resort, we were in Jamaica that year (and thank goodness not the yellow buildings!):
the lighthouse at Caribbean Cay:
outside my room:
and a limited shot of the inside:
Of course I still have these toiletries:
my first towel animal:
Every night, I'd come back to the room and mousekeeping had arranged my Donald's in a new way. I still have that little memo. It's framed and lives in my "duck room". But here's another nightly arrangement:
This one actually kind of pissed me off because they left the blinds open for anyone to see into my room.

Here is one of my Sister's arrangements:

Considering the fiasco of that trip, I am still eternally grateful I forced the issue of me having my own room! At least I had the solace of a quiet world after dealing with my step-dad all day. And despite the fact that there was a lot of walking (not a good thing for a fat chick), more than once I would find myself walking to down to Old Port Royale just because I enjoyed being there. We didn't eat at the restaurant, but the food court had so many different options, we really didn't miss it. Besides, we had the plethora of restaurants in the parks to eat at!

I did enjoy staying there and we have debated doing it again throughout the years, we've just never made it back. One of these days I will, if for no other reason than to take pictures! It has undergone numerous rehabs since 2004 and is even currently getting bed upgrades now. A couple of years ago, they changed out the furthest buildings, Trinidad North and South into pirate-themed rooms. They do cost more (which I find odd considering you're still extremely far away from everything...the upgraded decor should be a bonus for staying so far away). And the main pool was completely redone. I really regret not getting any shots of the pool. But I did learn a lot during that '04 trip, and '05 saw Keebles Disney Photography Mania (or KDPM as I like to call it) go into full swing! I took pictures of everything then, including my first food pictures!

There is only one more resort for my reviews (at least for now). I have visited numerous resorts, but have only stayed in 7 (again, at least for now) and the next one will be the least of my favorites, but it was still pretty cool (or as cool as a value can be).

1 comment:

Linda said...

Looks like a fun one to stay at.