Inside the New “Old Port Royale” at Caribbean Beach!
Just days after its grand opening, I visited the newly reimagined Old Port Royale section of Caribbean Beach Resort. If you’ve never had the pleasure of visiting the Resort before the re-design, you didn’t miss much: it was time. The check-in was miles from the pool, gift shop, and glorified food court they tried to pass off as the Resort’s main dining option, and all of that was likely miles from your room.
On opening week of the new Old Port Royale, all of those old-timey worries and strifes faded as quietly and peacefully as a Caribbean sunset. The anticipated DVC-exclusive Riviera Resort is still far from completion, and the Skyliner landing hasn’t even begun to be erected, but a new era of Caribbean Beach is certainly well underway. Let’s take a look at the new Resort!
Old Port Royale
A step into the newly-opened lobby washed away all thoughts of the old. Well, it actually white-washed those thoughts away, because the lobby, if nothing else, is WHITE. The open floor plan-style check-in/ guest seating/ eating areas effortlessly segue into the next, giving the massive new space an open-air feel that screams “vacation”!
My only fear for this immaculate-looking lobby is that it will start to show signs of usage, and quickly. White upholstery and sheer white drapery will likely be exposed to wet bathing suits, dirty suitcase wheels, and food stains that will ruin that clean-cut look in seconds flat. Perhaps some use will give it a more lived-in vibe though, because right now, the whole thing definitely feels ‘new’.
Center Town Market
The new eating area that replaced that lame excuse for a food court (can you tell I really didn’t like it?) would be the most welcome change were I a returning guest! In the past, the set-up was a nightmare. There were stations for burgers, stations for tacos, stations for kids’ meals…each with individual queue lines. So if you were craving a burger, and your daughter wanted something from the bakery, you would be stuck waiting in two different lines for your food.
The new food options are not only more expansive and more appetizing, but the days of waiting in multiple lines are over! Now, the ordering at Center Town Market happens at a singular order point. Instead of waiting in line, picking up your food, and carrying a lopsided tray full of your family’s food to the check-out, the food is brought to your table!
Similar to Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom, a remote buzzer will be given to guests when they order and, no matter where they choose to sit, a Cast Member will bring them their food! Additionally, real, metal silverware has replaced the plastic. I think one of my friends has started to question my sanity, because the smile on my face when I noticed the real silverware which will not only enhance the eating experience, but also supports Disney’s new pledge to reduce the plastic used Resort-wide!
It’s too small. Modern lights strung through traditional steel drums hang low from the ceiling. You won’t find a more relaxing spot than the big, cushioned swings that are the perfect stop for enjoying signature, Caribbean-inspired cocktails. The menu (from Sebastin’s Bistro), fits the themeing impeccably. The open-air lounge overlooks both the pool and the lake…but it’s too small.
Next to Geyser Point, the new outdoor lounge is arguably the most inviting I’ve seen at the Resort! The two times I visited Caribbean Beach on this trip, the lounge was packed, and there were plenty of families impatiently waiting for one of the very few tables to open up. The small-scale, intimate design definitely aligns with any real, local bar you’d find in the Bahamas…but with much more guest traffic.
I would have loved to have stopped at the lounge and ordered a drink (or two) with some appetizers, but the wait was just too long. Although I think the lounge is gorgeous and inviting, my only wish is that they had made it larger.
Caribbean Beach’s new Old Port Royale section is very, very nice. The check-in, pool, gift shop, and dining options are all located within this new area, and it certainly makes for a much easier and more leisurely stay! The bright, open-air lobby is one of the very few that don’t feel specifically ‘themed’, yet somehow perfectly encapsulate a Caribbean vibe! Statements of a ‘sterile’-feeling lobby are misguided to say the least, especially when you compare it to the old design!
If I had to nitpick, I would dote on the small size of Banana Cabana, and the choice of white accoutrements in the lobby. I really wanted to listen to the live Jamaican musicians and sip on a coconut-infused drink, but the long wait didn’t allow for that. I’m really looking forward to Riviera Resort’s opening and how that will impact Caribbean Beach, what do you think? Is Caribbean Beach the right fit for you and your family? Let me know!
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