Thursday, 19 May 2016

Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, Florida

Thursday 21 April 2016. After two full days at the Magic Kingdom we were ready for a bit of a rest. We were booked for lunch at a restaurant in EPCOT, but we allowed ourselves a leisurely morning and Gill and Eddie let Grace sleep through until she woke - she slept through a full twelve hours!

So a chance to take a look at the resort where we stayed. This is the beach for the Jamaica segment, looking across the lake towards Old Port Royale.

Caribbean Beach Resort is large. It has six "villages" each themed on a different Caribbean island set around a 45-acre lake known as Barefoot Bay. There are seven beaches like this around the perimeter of the Bay. Swimming is not permitted in the lake itself. There are turtles in the lake which is given as a reason. I wasn't aware that they were all that dangerous, I have heard of snapping turtles of course but assumed that was the sound their beaks made rather than their victims' legs... Apparently turtles are carriers of salmonella bacteria. Usually mild, it can be deadly and in any case I would not want to be on a fairly expensive holiday and spend all my time running to the bathroom... Caribbean Beach has the best-themed swimming pool of all Disney's Moderate resorts at Old Port Royale village and each village has its own smaller pool.

The patio just in front of the Old Port Royale, Centertown building which houses the restaurant, shops, arcade, concierge and a large dining seating area facing a row of fast food outlets.

There is only one choice of cooked breakfast for the bacon and egg fancier and that has three scoopfuls of scrambled egg (around 6 eggs worth probably), three or four tiny half-inch strips of bacon so thin you can read through them and done to a crisp. There is hardly any meat at all on them, they are two-thirds fat. A "sausage" that was the same shape, same size, same appearance and exactly the same taste as a burger patty, an inch-thick slice of bread, so sweet to english tastes as to be inedible for Fran and I, a "biscuit" - a sort of cross between an english scone and a dumpling - also inedible for us, and a pile of rather greasy potato wedges. Asking for stuff to be left off earns you an incredulous stare indicating they think you are quite mad and sometimes they just simply refuse. There is a smaller breakfast but it's just for kids, they won't serve an adult with it.

On the plus side the fruit and danish pastries and croissants were lovely. If you are on a meal plan, a Quick Service meal is three items and unless you pick three they will take items off your snack allowance. Most days we opted for a cereal (a small packet plus a carton of milk classes as one item), either a tub of fruit or a croissant/danish and a fresh orange juice. The bottles of orange juice were large enough for us to share one and then we took the other back to the room and stuck it in the fridge to drink when we returned in the evening.

This particular morning I had got a mug of coffee and sat on a picnic table by the lake. It turned out to be a smoking area but this morning the smokers were absent and I spent some time sketching the scene before me. Fish were swimming along the bank of the lake just in front of the table.

In fact you can hire boats and go fishing for bass and other fish. This is the Barefoot Bay Boat and Bike Works. Besides the boats you could hire bicycles or a two-seater four-wheeled bike to terrorise walkers.

We saw a huge carp one day that someone in a state of excitement pointed out to us as we were crossing one of the bridges between Jamaica village and the island in the middle of the lake. The island is called Caribbean Cay and contains a kiddies' playground and a few pathways with gazebos. Signs proclaimed they were open for "your enjoyment from sunrise to sunset". So no going at night for a spot of outdoor nookie! Besides, one day we were walking along the path and turned a corner to come face to face with a black snake. It was about three feet long, with a body about an inch and a half thick and its head was raised off the ground. A group of us all exclaimed and came to a dead stop! Then someone made a move to cross its path and it turned like lightning and disappeared back into the plant cover at the side of the path!

Another sketch (I'm cheating - I did it on a later day during the holiday) of Caribbean Cay from the Jamaica village beach, showing two of the wooden gazebos along the pathways.

The Centertown building contains all the food outlets, shop and amusement arcade. If there's one thing I've realised and kicked myself for since coming back, it's the fact that I didn't take any photos of the interior. Sorry!

Well, apart from these which don't really show much of the interior at all anyway. On a desk facing the door was a Duffy bear. Duffy is a Disney character that I think has a programme on TV. I said I'd never heard of him which got me into trouble because Grace apparently already has one that I have seen and helped dress up in costumes. So I'm told (and with some severity...)

Anyway, this Duffy started every day in a state of undress and the first child to volunteer could dress him in a costume of their choice and he then stayed in that costume on the desk next to a certificate that said who had dressed him.

Grace had been disappointed for a week until we went over early and there he was, naked as a bear with no clothes on... She chose to dress him as Pluto (the dog not the planet) and she was given a copy of the certificate to keep. It says: "Duffy the Disney Bear. Duffy was dressed today April 26th 2016 by Princess Grace. Thanks for dressing me today. Your Pal, Duffy".

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