Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Favorite Kid Friendly Resort ~ Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort

WDW Daily News
Making Magical Memories Column
September 2009

There are so many options for resorts, vacation homes, and timeshares to stay in when visiting Walt Disney World. We always stay on property because of the benefits of being a resort guest. Disney has a range of resorts to fit any budget and many choices of theme. The hotels are categorized into different price categories – deluxe, moderate, value and then the Disney Vacation Club Villas. Of course, the more it costs, the more amenities they have available to you. For us, a family of five, we stick with the moderates, but I dream of the day I can afford to stay at a deluxe resort on the monorail! Another important consideration when choosing your hotel is how much time you will actually spend in your room. For us, with three little ones, we knew everyday, midday, we would be back at the hotel for a few hours so Emily could nap. We needed a room larger than a value room and a resort that had things for Joey and Hayley to do while Emily was asleep.

Before having children, our favorite resort was Port Orleans Riverside. We loved the theming; the gift shop, called Fulton’s General Store, is one of the best I’ve visited; and the food court is great. River Roost is a great lounge with some live entertainment from Bob Jackson, who is a very energetic and fun piano player. He certainly gets the crowd into it. We especially love the option of riding the boat down the Sassagoula River to Downtown Disney, which is a nice change from taking the buses. Another plus of this resort is having the option to walk to Port Orleans French Quarter to use the Doubloon Lagoon pool area with a large dragon slide. This is a great option if you are traveling with kids.

Because of our stay during our last trip, we now have a new favorite resort – Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. The theming is great, as well as the landscaping. The big draw for us was the new pool area. The pirate kiddie pool area was probably my children’s favorite thing about the entire trip. The water was only ankle deep which meant my kids could play without me having to be in a bathing suit and “carrying” them in the water. Every so often the bell would ring and a large bucket of water would dump over the top of the ship and spray the children underneath. The first time that happened, it scared my son so badly, I wasn’t sure he’d go back in. Luckily, he quickly recovered and it became more difficult to get him out of the pool than out of the theme parks! A great parent perk was that the bartenders from the Banana Cabana would stroll through the kiddie area and ask the parents if they wanted a drink – by the way, the Pina Colavas are delicious! Another kid friendly perk to the Caribbean Beach Resort is that some of the kids’ meals are served in plastic sand buckets. Those buckets and shovels came in handy when the kids played in the sand at the playground and along Barefoot Bay, and my daughter loved using the bucket in the pool area.

When it comes to Disney, all the hotels have some sort of area for kids, whether it is a game room, pool area or playground. You know your child best and what interests they will have. What is your favorite kid friendly Disney resort? Leave a comment and feel free to share your favorite kid friendly resort tips.

Just a little sidenote (added October 2010): We visited this resort this March while it was freezing cold in Orlando.  The kiddie pool and the Banana Cabana are closed when the weather is extremely cold.  This is something to consider when traveling during months that could be potentially cold.

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