Just returned from a WDW trip from Nov. 12-18. Our last trip 3 years ago we had stayed at the Pop Century. This time we decided for a moderate hotel and stayed at the Carribean Beach Resort. We were fearful of some of the previous reviews that said the resort was too big and not worth the extra money you pay from a value resort. Well my short review would be, our stay was great and it may be worth the extra money you pay.
In my opinion the hotel resort seemed empty. We stayed in the Trinadad North section and had a great corner room. The parking lots were empty during our whole stay. Only a couple nights did we hear people coming back from the parks late but it never bothered us. The pools were also great for all ages. We traveled with a 2 and 6 year old and they loved the main pool which had two water slides and a water play area for those under 48 inches. The only complaint would be that the slides and play area are only open 10am-8pm, so if you go to the parks all day, then you may not have a chance to enjoy them.
The shuttle service was also fine. Only a couple times did we have to wait awhile for our bus to a certain park to show up. We were located at the second to the last bus stop in the Carribean Beach, so at times it was a little crowded. But it was not too bad. Once again, I believe the resort was not too crowded, so during a busy period this may be a problem waiting for a bus.
The rooms are just like the value resorts, so your not paying anything more for in room services. Actually, we never came back to anything special in our rooms during the entire week. Meaning towels in the shape of animals or anything. We did have a clean room which was great. We also did not take advantage of the food in the food court area. It looked basic, so we decided to eat in the parks instead.
My advice would be, if you plan to run around the parks all day and just need a place to crash, then a value resort would do just fine if money is an issue. If money is no issue then this place was great for a moderate resort and the pool and service was great. I would stay here again, but will try and stay at the Animal lodge or village, those places looked awesome. Look for some food reviews from me as well, had some great new places that we ate at.
Last bit, the time of year we went was perfect. 80 degrees all week, no rain and no lines. Also was able to catch the Food and Wine festival last weekend and it was awesome! Now I can see why California Adventure can not compete with EPCOT.