Old Port Royale at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
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Every now and again you just want some Disney magic without the crowds and bustle of the parks. So instead of planning an exciting trip to the Disney Parks, my friends and I planned out a Disney no parks vacation at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Read on to discover all that a Disney no parks vacation has to offer! 

Checking In

We got off on the wrong foot with this trip, unfortunately. We got to Orlando around 11:00 AM and grabbed the breakfast we had mobile ordered from Old Port Royale. After a long car ride, Mickey waffles hit just right. We had checked in early via the app, but hadn’t gotten our follow-up text saying the room was ready- so we decided to check out some of the other Disney resorts we hadn’t seen before! 

Just a note, in order to accomplish this, we took a bit of a roundabout route. We took the Skyliner to Epcot and wanted to take a bus from Epcot to the Animal Kingdom Lodge- not remembering that the Skyliner drops you in the middle of the park, and you need to go THROUGH the park to get to the buses. With that plan foiled, we walked the Boardwalk and grabbed a bus from the Boardwalk hotel to Animal Kingdom. From there, we were able to board a bus to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. 

Animal Kingdom Lodge 

I’d only visited the lobby of the Animal Kingdom Lodge once before, and I relished the opportunity to explore it a bit more. The lobby of Jambo House is MASSIVE, with something to look at in every square inch of the building. Massive windows bathe the room in natural lighting, with an extra hit of warmth from a fireplace in the corner. 

The waterfall that leads to the lounge and the ground floor was soothing and added to the natural feel of the resort overall. Next time I go I’m hoping I’ll be able to visit the Victoria Falls Lounge when it’s open! Having a drink next with a background of that soothing waterfall sounds delightful. 

Next up we headed outside to see if we could spot some animals. We saw a giraffe and a zebra, but they were all hiding in the shade of the trees further out (as I would too, it was a scorcher that day). But it was nice to see at least a few animals before tapping out from the horrendous heat and humidity and heading back to Animal Kingdom to grab a bus to our next location. 

Polynesian Village 

It’s been on my Disney bucket list for a long time to finally see the Polynesian in person. As a VERY avid Dole Whip fan, seeing the Pineapple Lanai brought me immeasurable joy, which was enhanced when I found out they were serving lemon-flavored Dole Whip that day (my all-time favorite, which they haven’t served for a while at Magic Kingdom). 

The Polynesian is gorgeous, it has the best pool area I’ve seen in a Disney resort so far. You can literally see Cinderella Castle from the pool area. The Pineapple Lanai is also a hop, skip and jump from the pool, so you can dry off for a bit and enjoy one of the most refreshing treats Disney has to offer, poolside. 

Disney Springs 

A Disney no parks vacation would be incomplete without a trip to Disney Springs. So, after our resort adventures ended, we headed back to the Caribbean Beach Resort around 5:00 PM to find that our room STILL wasn’t ready. The young woman at the front desk was very kind and said the room would take another hour or so to prepare as they’d run into some issue with it. We had a looming dinner reservation we very desperately wanted to shower and change clothes for, so luckily she was able to find us a very similar room for the same price, and we were on our way. 

We made it to Disney Springs around 20 minutes before our dinner reservation at Raglan Road, so we put ourselves in the virtual queue for Gideon’s Bakehouse (Gideon’s is as well-known for its lines as it is for its out of this world cookies). We were seated early which was a very pleasant surprise and got to enjoy their soda bread with Guinness dip, as well as their AMAZING parmesan fries. 

For the sake of keeping things brief, the food and drinks were amazing. Dinner is on the pricier side if you end up getting drinks as well, but it was well worth it to this writer. We were seated in the Music Room with a partial view of the stage and got to enjoy the live music and dancing the entire time we were there. My only regret is that I didn’t save room for the bread pudding our server suggested for dessert! 

Gideon’s Bakehouse 

In a stroke of luck, we were notified we could return to the line for Gideon’s just after dinner! The interior is very Tim Burton-esque, and you’ll be tempted to buy one of everything as you pass through the line to the register. Reader beware: if your time slot ends up being later in the day, it’s very likely certain flavors will be unavailable. So if you have a specific flavor or treat in mind, get there early to put your name on the list! 

The cookies themselves are to die for. Truly worth the wait if you plan on spending your day at Disney Springs anyway. I got the original chocolate chip cookie, and it’s like taking a bite of cookie dough heaven. 

Wrapping it Up 

It is possible to do a Disney no parks vacation, just be sure to plan ahead! Also, know that resort hopping takes almost as much time and energy from you as a trip to the parks does. We were so hot, sweaty, and exhausted you’d have thought we’d just come back from a day of park hopping! If you have your itinerary and food reservations in advance, you can have a wonderful resort stay without the price of admission to a Disney park. 

For more Disney content you can follow me on Instagram @glamgeekguru, and you can check out the Travel section of my site for more Disney tips, tricks, and reviews!

By Hannah

Lover of all things geeky.

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