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Art of Animation vs. Caribbean Beach Resort

by dana


I have a reservation booked to stay at Art of Animation, in a Little Mermaid Room, with my family, in June. With the current Disney promo, I could stay at the moderate resort, Caribbean Beach, in a preferred room, for not much more money.

My question: should I upgrade from AoA? I have read many reviews of both, can’t decide, but I am trying to factor in walking distance, pools/slides, and the general transportation between both. It would be great to get an honest opinion from someone who has stayed at both fairly recently.


Generation Gap Bridge looking at the Art of Animation Resort

Generation Gap Bridge – Photo by Brett Svenson

Dad’s Switcheroo Answer


It’s hard to know what the right hotel for any family is at Walt Disney World – there are so many options of where to stay, and when you throw special discounts into the mix, even when your mind is made up it can easily be persuaded to change. The best thing to do in a situation like this is to decide what matters most to your family.

To be clear, I myself have not stayed at the Art of Animation, but I did take a wander through the property on my last trip (I was staying at the Pop Century). But, the Art of Animation is the shiniest, newest hotel on property and people are falling over themselves to get a reservation there. I stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort years ago and wasn’t a fan – but that’s more likely the weather’s fault than the resort’s.

Dad’s Art of Animation Page
Dad’s Caribbean Beach Resort Page

So, what’s your family like? That is the question that will influence your decision here. The rooms the same beds. Moderate resort rooms do have coffeemakers and two sinks, if this is important to you.

If you have smaller kids, the theme at Art of Animation is hard to beat and they’ll get much more out of the experience there. If you have teens, they’ll probably prefer the less gaudy theming at the Caribbean Beach resort.

The Little Mermaid rooms at the Art of Animation are the furthest from Animation Hall, but really it’s only a couple minutes of walking. The Caribbean Beach Resort, on the other hand, is much more spread out and even with a preferred room you could be in for a hike to Old Port Royale.

At the Art of Animation, transportation leaves from one location only – at Animation Hall. At the Caribbean Beach Resort, you’ll find multiple bus stops at each “island” – which sounds convenient, but it can take a long time to circle the property to pick up everyone and get on the road to the parks!

When it comes to food, the Art of Animation has an upgraded food court with lots of healthy and exotic options you won’t find elsewhere (plus pizza, burgers, and fries if you’re not as adventurous). You can also walk across the Generation Gap bridge and get to the Pop Century food court for a change of pace. At the Caribbean Beach Resort the food court is more limited, but there is a table service restaurant.

Destinations to Travel

Dad’s Bottom Line

Dana, before you pull the ol’ switcheroo, consider which decision will help your family have the most magical vacation possible!

Comments for

May 14, 2013 What we ended up deciding…
by: Anonymous

Hello Everybody,

First, thanks so much for your feedback on these resorts. After a lot of thought, we booked a preferred room at Caribbean Beach, and are scheduled to go late in June. My kids are 9 and 11, and I think they will like the slides that the pools have to offer. Also hoping with the “preferred room” location, there won’t be a huge walk to the dining/transportation. Countdown is on, and we can’t wait! Hopefully we made the right choice. Your contributions were definitely helpful. I will follow up upon our return.

(Our travel dates allowed for the 20% off moderate resort, which was great… still paying for the meal plan though. 🙂


May 14, 2013 Traveling in September???
by: LostBoy28

If you are traveling in September, one thing that may help with your decision, is the free dining promotion. The Little Mermaid rooms at AoA do not qualify for the promotion. Depending on the length of your stay, picking another room at AoA could qualify for the Quick Service Dining Plan. Staying at CBR would qualify for the standard Dining Plan. For a few bucks more a night you could end up with a LOT more value.

May 11, 2013 Caribbean Beach Resort
by: Allyson

My family stayed at Caribbean Beach Resort in February 2013 and loved it. It is colorful and the grounds and buildings are beautiful. We found it to be very relaxing and would have liked to spend more time at the resort, instead of running to the parks. We found plenty of good food choices in the food court for the few meals we ate there. The resort is spacious but we enjoyed the walk and scenery. The buses run frequently so we didn’t wait very long at any stop. The pools, waterslides, and hot tubs were great! When we needed an iron, soap, towels, the staff quickly arrived at our door with supplies. Staying at Caribbean Beach was a great experience and I would definitely stay there again.

May 11, 2013 CBR
by: michelle

We stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort when we went on our last trip. We loved it, we stayed in Martinque section normal room. Food was really good walk to main pool was not bad and didn’t find the bus rides around resort too bad or from parks. One thing we did notice was when it came to park closing times the buses were not too bad to get on right away. A travel told us that there are some of the value resorts that share a bus from the parks so we chose to go with CBR because it was a one resort stop. Bus stop and place to do laundry was easy access. I think we only had 2 times where the bus was really full but I was able to sit with daughter on lap and hubby stood in front of us. Bus drivers were great!!

May 11, 2013 AoA vs Caribbean Beach
by: Stacy

We haven’t stayed at AoA yet, although my son wants to try it next trip. We stayed at Caribbean Beach last trip. While beautiful, it is HUGE. We had a pirate themed room in Trinidad North and it literally took 15 minutes to walk to Centertown where the themed pool and food court is. The kids will love the main pool though, with a fort theme and two slides. I loved the two hot tubs as well. Don’t know if AoA has one.

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