Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort turned 25 today with a festive celebration that included Mickey and Minnie dressed in their colorful island outfits while boating the length of Barefoot Bay!
A few months back, we covered the 25th anniversary of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort – looking back, I would have guessed there were several years instead of several months between the two. I did stay at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort in it’s first year – it was such a different experience than the 10+ years I’d stayed on property before that, mostly at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. But while it wasn’t on the monorail line and the rooms were smaller than the deluxe properties, it was beautifully themed and affordable (which was important in my early 20’s!) Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort boats 2112 rooms in 6 villages around Barefoot Bay. It is also interesting to note that Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort opened on the anniversary date of the Walt Disney World Resort, Magic Kingdom and Epcot (the Magic Kingdom opened with the Walt Disney World Resort on October 1st, 1971, Epcot on October 1st, 1982).
When I was an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, I found Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort to be especially popular with marathon runners. It is spread out, with a beautiful walk around Barefoot Bay! You can see my photo walk of 240 photos of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort from 2012 here.
Now on to the 25th Anniversary ceremony, along with the Mickey & Minnie meet and greet!
When we arrived for the ceremony this morning, decorations were being set out.
Cast Members wearing yellow ribbons printed with “Caribbean Royalty” were there from the first year! 25 years in one location is amazing.
There were two pontoon boats visiting each “village” this morning – the boats stopped in the water, and then moved on. Mickey and Minnie were in one boat, dressed in their island finest! Cast Members were on the beach to greet them at each stop.
This was my first view of the pontoon boats, driving under the bridge.
I do not ever remember seeing Mickey and Minnie in life preservers before – and they were themed! Minnie wore dots on hers, and Mickey’s preserver included buttons.
Cast Members had a great time this morning – it was wonderful to see such enthusiasm!
Mickey and Minnie were still making the rounds to each village. They had “Lake Patrol” patches on their life preservers.
Cast Members greeted Mickey and Minnie on the opposite side of the lake.
The boats docked here, but Mickey and Minnie weren’t part of the ceremony itself – this was the last we saw them until their special meet & greet at the Custom House. The meet & greet wasn’t advertised, it was meant to be a surprise for guests.
Cast Members sang and danced before the ceremony began.
There was a steel drum band as part of the event.
Signs were being held up with the 25 Year anniversary logo.
The second of the two boats had included two entertainers, who also helped host the ceremony.
Kevin Myers, Vice President of Resort Operations spoke. Myers started working at the Walt Disney World Resort in 1971, and said that Walt Disney himself had wanted a variety of Walt Disney World resort options. Myers stated that Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort “continued his (Walt’s) vision”.
Walt Disney World Ambassador Tye Arnold poured water into the fountain. We were told it came from the Caribbean, thanks to the partners at the Disney Cruise Line.
The ceremony ended after the water was poured.
Here is our video of the ceremony:
A new plaque was installed in the fountain. It contains a Hidden Mickey and says “Here my waters watch the sky, Reflecting friends as they pass by. Legends say these isles are enchanted. Toss a coin, your wish may be granted!”
We posed at the podium after the ceremony.
After all the rain we had, it was a gorgeous day for the event!
Each Cast Member at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort received a gift – this umbrella, with a 25 year logo on the outside, and clouds inside.
Mickey and Minnie started greeting guests at the Custom House just after 11:30 a.m., and were supposed to be there until about 2:30 p.m. They even danced for us on the video!
Here is our video of Mickey and Minnie:
There were no decorations for the 25th Anniversary at the Custom House, but I like these Pirates of the Caribbean balloons.
Happy 25th to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort! The years have flown by since it first opened. Here is to another 25!