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Thursday Treasures

October 6, 2011
By Stacia Mentus

As a Disney Vacation Club member, I have been blessed to stay at many of the resorts in Walt Disney World. As a 'Pirates of the Caribbean' fan, I have wanted to peek inside the Pirate themed rooms of the Caribbean Beach Resort, but this is not a 'DVC' resort; so I thought it would not be possible. That is, until I called three weeks ago for a last minute trip for From Screen to Theme's Ultimate Hide and Seek Game.

September 30th was the start of Epcot's Food & Wine Festival and all of DVC was sold out. However, I had what are called 'Disney Collection Points' in holding, so I booked the first resort that was mentioned. You guessed it ' Caribbean Beach! And yes, a Pirate room was offered. My ship had come in!

When I arrived, the theming started right away. I was greeted at the gate with a friendly 'Welcome to the islands!' Once I showed my ID, I went to the Custom House to check in. This is themed like a five star Caribbean Hotel and there is a shuttle to take you to your room as they are far away from check in. But I had driven, so once I got my Key to the World, packet of maps, parking pass, etc., I headed to the last 'island' ' Trinidad South. The resort is beautiful and sprawling over 200 acres. On the drive to my 'island,' I passed the others: Trinidad North, Martinique, Barbados, Aruba and Jamaica. I also caught a small glimpse of Barefoot Bay, a 45-acre lake around which the resort is built. All the buildings are a lovely pastel and really do look like villages on one of the many islands in the Caribbean Sea.

Then came the moment I had been waiting for. I opened the door to room 3611 and there it was: My Pirate themed room. The first thing I saw was the curtain that leads to the bathroom. That iconic skull with Capt. Jack's headband and beads just made me happy to be here! There was a painting on the wall next to the curtain (that I FORGOT to get a picture of!) ' the painting was Jack Sparrow himself sitting in a chair surrounded by his treasure and it looked a lot like the final room of the POTC Ride at WDW. The coolest thing in the room, in my opinion, was the dresser/TV stand. It looked like a stack of cargo crates and all were stamped with the East India Trading Co. logo. They looked weathered and like they just came off the ship. Next to this was a rum barrel, and to my amazement, it was the mini-fridge! There was another rum barrel between the beds as a night stand. It opened up to a cabinet and even had a drawer with the Bible in it; of course! The bed frames were the piece de las resistance! SHIPS! Even the night lights above the beds were themed perfectly toward a tall ship's lanterns. I was in Pirate heaven! Some might say this is a little campy ' but a true POTC fan would appreciate the fine details. Even the carpet was made to look like planks on the deck of a ship.

In the bathroom, I found the Flying Dutchman carved into the shower wall and other ships from the era printed on the shower curtain. Of course, the room came with the usual amenities of other Moderate Resorts: Mickey Soap, a bottle of Mickey Shampoo/Conditioner combo, hairdryer, coffee maker with appointments, lots of towels, and an iron with ironing board. Did I mention the table in the main room was the face of Jack's compass? I loved every minute I spent in the Pirate room, but I really enjoyed the view of the lake just outside my room.

I strolled down to the quiet pool where I found a connection to the walkway that lead to the lake and the beach. There were several hammocks hanging from palm trees on the beach and even more lounge chairs for guests to enjoy. The walk from my room to Old Port Royale was about five minutes and it took me right by the lake. There were ducks and egrets and the landscaping is impeccable. It was nice to be in the Florida sunshine with 85 degree temperatures and a light breeze blowing. When I got to Old Port Royale, I knew I was at a family friendly resort. The resort's feature pool has waterfalls, water slides, and shooting cannons.

It looked so inviting. I opted to go inside to discover more of the resort's facilities. I found a food court with the following:

' Shutter's at Old Port Royale - Caribbean Beach's full service restaurant, serving American cuisine with Caribbean influences.

' Old Port Royale Food Court - designed as a bustling Market Street, this food court recreates an outdoor Caribbean port town with cobblestone streets and a recreated sky at dusk, complete with hanging lanterns and features six counter-serving restaurants offering hamburgers, pizza, pasta, and broiled specialties.

' Montego's Deli - deli featuring sandwiches and other quick service food items

' Grab N Go Market ' it is what it sounds like' offering fresh fruit, drinks and snacks.

I chose to have lunch once I saw the Cuban sandwich at Montego's Deli. It came with homemade potato chips and was excellent: pork, ham, and Swiss cheese on artisan bread with pickles and mustard. In a word'YUM!

I then made my way to Calypso Trading Post to do some shopping. This is bigger than most resorts' gift shops. I found not only the traditional sundries and t-shirts, but a large selection of Disney Pins, hats and gifts. And, yes, there was a whole section dedicated to 'Pirates of the Caribbean!'

In a nut shell; I loved everything about Caribbean Beach Resort. I would highly recommend it to anyone whether traveling alone as I was, or with a family. I am not sure if it would be a good choice for couples as the only hot tub is at the Feature Pool, and most of the rooms have two double beds. But on the other hand, it is secluded, has lovely beaches with double hammocks, and a poolside Cabana Bar serving those tropical cocktails for adults to enjoy.


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