Walt Disney World's Beach Club Resort is undeniably one of the most coveted destinations for Disney enthusiasts. Nestled in a prime location between Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios, it offers a host of amenities and attractions that make it a popular choice for visitors. In this in-depth review, we will explore every aspect of the Disney Beach Club Resort, from its accommodations and dining options to its location and activities, all with the ultimate goal of answering the burning question: Is it worth it?
To help you make an informed decision, we'll also share some valuable savings tips along the way.
Overview of Disney's Beach Club Resort and Villas
Disney's Beach Club Resort falls under the deluxe category of Disney resorts, offering a premium experience for guests who seek both comfort and convenience during their stay. The resort boasts a beach-themed ambiance, drawing inspiration from the New England seaside, giving it a touch of upscale luxury reminiscent of the Hamptons.
Differences Between Beach Club Resort and Villas
While Disney's Beach Club Resort and the Villas at Disney's Beach Club share many fantastic amenities and an enviable location, there are significant distinctions to consider. The Beach Club Resort provides a classic hotel experience, featuring standard rooms and deluxe accommodations to cater to a diverse range of guests. On the other hand, the Villas at Disney's Beach Club offer spacious, home-like villas complete with kitchens and laundry facilities, making them an ideal choice for families or larger groups seeking self-sufficiency during their stay. In my personal experience, booking a villa provided substantial savings (which we'll delve into later), but in general, the choice between the Beach Club Resort and the Villas primarily hinges on accommodation preferences, group size, and the desire for added conveniences, which aligns with the average vacationer's considerations.
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Location Benefits of Beach Club Resort
Beach Club to Epcot and Hollywood Studios
Location can make or break a Disney vacation, and in this regard, Disney's Beach Club Resort wins out hands down for two specific Disney parks. Situated conveniently between Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios, this resort offers unparalleled access to two of the most popular theme parks in Walt Disney World. From the hotel lobby, you can embark on a short five-minute stroll to the Epcot International Gateway, located at the back of Epcot. Alternatively, a 10 to 15-minute walk in the opposite direction will lead you to the entrance of Disney's Hollywood Studios. My kids ages 5 through 12 did this easily on our trip.
For those who prefer not to walk, the resort provides complimentary boat transportation to both Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios. Additionally, bus transportation is available to the Magic Kingdom, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, and Disney's water parks. If you're looking for more transportation options, there's a Disney Skyliner station near the Epcot International Gateway, connecting you to Disney's Hollywood Studios and several other Disney resort hotels, allowing you to explore the dining and amenities spread across Walt Disney World.
Beach Club to Magic Kingdom
Getting to Magic Kingdom from Disney's Beach Club Resort offers several transportation options, each with its own unique charm. The fastest way to reach Magic Kingdom is by taking the complimentary bus service, which will transport you directly to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC). From there, you can board either the monorail or the ferry for a quick and scenic journey across the Seven Seas Lagoon, arriving at the iconic Cinderella Castle in no time.
For those seeking an alternative experience, you can embark on a leisurely walk from the Beach Club Resort to Epcot, another nearby Disney park. Once at Epcot, you can access the Disney Skyliner, a gondola system that provides a picturesque ride to the TTC and, subsequently, to Magic Kingdom. While this option may take a bit longer, it offers a unique and enjoyable mode of transportation. Whether you prefer the speed and efficiency of the bus or the scenic route via the Skyliner, getting to Magic Kingdom from Disney's Beach Club Resort is a delightful part of your Disney adventure.
Beach Club to Animal Kingdom
Navigating the journey from Disney's Beach Club Resort to the captivating world of Disney's Animal Kingdom is a straightforward and convenient process. Simply head to the resort's designated bus stop area, where you'll find complimentary buses that provide direct transportation to the entrance of Animal Kingdom. These buses run regularly, ensuring that you can immerse yourself in the park's vibrant and immersive experiences with ease.
Other Location Considerations
Waiting in long Disney bus lines can be a common issue, and this can eat into your precious theme park time or force you to adjust your plans to arrive early. The sheer number of people waiting for buses at the resorts can lead to delays and a less-than-ideal start to your day. This is one of the compelling reasons why many guests opt to pay a premium for accommodations closer to the theme parks or those with direct transportation options, such as walking distance or dedicated transportation lines. While staying at a deluxe resort like Disney's Beach Club may come with a higher price tag, the convenience and time savings can make it a worthwhile investment, allowing you to make the most of your magical Disney experience.
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The Rooms: Comfort and Elegance
Upon entering your room at Disney's Beach Club Resort, you'll discover a space thoughtfully designed for comfort and relaxation. These rooms offer a familiar mid-range hotel experience, enriched with the distinctive Disney touch.
The resort's beach-themed ambiance lends a soothing and inviting atmosphere to your stay, creating a delightful beachfront retreat right in the heart of Walt Disney World. You'll have the flexibility to select from various room categories, including standard rooms, suites, and club-level access rooms, allowing you to customize your accommodations to match your specific preferences and requirements. Each room boasts a generous layout, offering plenty of space for unwinding after a thrilling day of Disney adventures, ensuring your comfort and enjoyment throughout your stay.
The Best Resort Pool at Disney World: Stormalong Bay
One of the standout advantages of staying at Disney's Beach Club Resort revolves around having exclusive access to the resort's crown jewel, Stormalong Bay. This unique feature sets it apart from many other Disney properties and provides guests with an unparalleled beach experience.
Stormalong Bay is not your typical resort pool; it's a beach lover's paradise. The pool's sandy bottom creates an immersive coastal atmosphere, making you feel like you've been transported to a pristine beachfront. This sandy oasis offers a rare opportunity to bask in the sun, build sandcastles, and enjoy the sensation of warm sand beneath your toes, all while being in the heart of a Disney resort.
One notable aspect of Stormalong Bay is its controlled access policy, which prevents unauthorized guests from "pool hopping." While this policy can be perceived in different ways, it plays a crucial role in ensuring that the pool area remains a tranquil and enjoyable space for resort guests. By limiting access (and being fairly strict on it), Stormalong Bay maintains a more serene and less crowded atmosphere, allowing you to fully savor the beauty and amenities it offers.
However, it's worth noting that the restricted access to Stormalong Bay can present a minor inconvenience, especially for families with small children eager to experience the shipwreck-themed waterslide. To access the pool, parents must open the pool gate and escort their children to the other side. While this added step may raise some concerns for parents, it's important to emphasize that it's primarily a safety measure to ensure the well-being of younger swimmers.
For families with children aged 8 and older, this arrangement works well (at least it did for us). Older kids can navigate the process with ease, allowing parents to feel more comfortable and secure. While it may initially seem daunting for parents of younger children, the safety precautions in place ultimately contribute to a worry-free experience.
One of the standout features of Disney's Beach Club Resort is its exceptional dining options. The resort offers a variety of culinary experiences that cater to every palate and craving. Whether you're in the mood for an unforgettable character meal or indulging in sundaes as big as the kitchen sink, you'll find something to satisfy your culinary desires. All of these require reservations, so make sure you get them planned as soon as the booking windows open.
Beaches & Cream Soda Shop (Disney's Beach Club Resort): Known for its nostalgic 1950s diner atmosphere, Beaches & Cream is famous for its enormous "Kitchen Sink" dessert, featuring multiple scoops of ice cream and a mountain of toppings, perfect for sharing with family and friends. The restaurant also offers classic American comfort food, such as burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches.
Cape May Cafe (Disney's Beach Club Resort): This seafood buffet is renowned for its all-you-can-eat crab legs and seafood dishes, making it a seafood lover's paradise. The restaurant also offers character dining experiences with Minnie, Goofy, and other Disney characters, providing a memorable meal for the whole family.
Ale & Compass Restaurant (Disney's Yacht Club Resort, right next door): Ale & Compass is known for its New England-inspired cuisine, offering dishes like clam chowder, lobster rolls, and roast chicken. The cozy and elegant atmosphere adds to its charm, making it a great choice for a relaxing and upscale dining experience.
Disney's Beach Club Resort has a delightful surprise in store for guests – the frequent appearance of beloved Disney characters right on site. This resort offers an enhanced experience for character enthusiasts, providing opportunities for memorable interactions with your favorite Disney friends without the need to visit the parks. Whether you're enjoying a character meal at Cape May Cafe or encountering familiar faces in the resort's charming lobby, Disney characters often make surprise appearances, adding an extra dose of magic to your stay. It's a fantastic bonus for families and Disney fans looking to create cherished memories during their time at Beach Club Resort.
Fitness Center: Staying Active
Maintaining your fitness routine while on vacation is made easy at Disney's Beach Club Resort. Guests have access to the 24-hour fitness center located next door at Disney's Yacht Club Resort. This state-of-the-art facility is just a short five-minute walk from the Beach Club lobby and is equipped with a wide range of fitness equipment, including strength machines, cardio machines, free weights, medicine balls, and kettlebells. Whether you're an avid gym-goer or just looking to squeeze in a quick workout, this amenity ensures you can stay active during your stay.
When is Disney's Beach Club Resort is Worth It?
Disney's Beach Club Resort is undoubtedly worth considering if:
- You have kids and plan on having a non-park day to enjoy the resort's beaches and activities, including the fantastic Stormalong Bay pool complex.
- You love Epcot and Hollywood Studios don't mind a short 5 to 15 minute walk to the park, making it a convenient place to stay while also enjoying the nearby Disney Skyliner.
When Disney's Beach Club Resort May Not Be Ideal or Recommended?
On the flip side, Disney's Beach Club Resort may not be the best choice if you need streamlined access to all the porks in order to prioritize riding the monorail without the need for additional transportation changes.
While Disney's Beach Club Resort has many advantages, it's important to be aware of potential things I also came across.
- Unpleasant Foyer Odor: Certain guests have noted an unpleasant odor in the foyer near the convenience store (stark contrast to the main lobby that smells like a beach), which can be somewhat discouraging. Given that you pass through this area when heading to the lobby or the park, the unexpected odor can be quite disconcerting, particularly in the context of an otherwise upscale and inviting lobby.
- Cramped Rooms: Despite their elegant design, some guests may find the rooms to be relatively small, which could be a consideration for larger families.
Saving Money on Beach Club Resort Prices
If you're looking to make your stay at Disney's Beach Club Resort even more cost-effective, consider a valuable savings tip: booking through David's Vacation Rentals. I stumbled upon David's Vacation Rentals a few months into my trip planning and thought it's a valuable tip worth sharing.
Disney has masterfully branded their timeshare program into the Disney Vacation Club (DVC), creating a new and inviting narrative around the concept of timeshares. (I personally am against anyone owning a timeshare.) While it still fundamentally operates as a timeshare system, the Disney Vacation Club offers members an enchanting experience that feels more like joining an exclusive club of Disney enthusiasts. With the Disney touch, DVC emphasizes flexibility, magical vacation experiences, and access to coveted Disney destinations. David's Vacation Rentals facilitates stays in Disney Vacation Club (DVC) villas, a program where timeshare owners need to use or rent out their points. The beauty of opting for David's is that you can enjoy the perks of a timeshare stay without enduring any sales pitches, saving both time and money in the process.
This ingenious strategy can result in substantial savings, but it requires some forward planning. By booking through David's Vacation Rentals, you gain access to Disney Vacation Club (DVC) points, which can significantly reduce your accommodation costs. It's essential to note that this approach requires booking at least 11 months in advance, as DVC members book their stays that far ahead. While it may require a bit of foresight and preparation, the financial benefits are well worth the effort.
To illustrate the potential savings, let's take a look at a real-world example. Imagine you want to book a room at Disney's Beach Club Resort during a specific time period. Booking the same room directly through Disney may come with a higher price tag due to standard rates. However, by using David's Vacation Rentals and securing a reservation through DVC points, you could significantly reduce your expenses. It's not uncommon to find substantial discounts, allowing you to enjoy all the perks of a deluxe Disney resort while keeping more money in your pocket. Planning ahead and exploring alternative booking options can result in a win-win scenario—luxury accommodation at a fraction of the cost.
How Much Does It Cost?
For our family in a Studio at the Beach Club Villas (sleeps 5) in January, a 4 night stay cost only $900 total in 2023. In general, the rack rates per night for the Beach Club Resort costs on the lower end $750 a night. That is absolutely a huge savings if you are able to plan in advance with David's Vacation Rentals.
Maximizing Your Beach Club Resort Experience
To make the most of your stay at Disney's Beach Club Resort, here are some valuable tips and hacks:
- Advanced Booking: Due to its popularity, it's advisable to book your stay at the Beach Club Resort well in advance to secure your preferred dates.
- Use Disney Transportation: Take advantage of Disney's complimentary boat transportation to Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios, as well as the Disney Skyliner for additional convenience.
- Explore Dining Options: Venture beyond the resort to explore the wide variety of dining options available at Disney's BoardWalk area, enhancing your culinary experience.
- Enjoy the Beach: Make time to relax and enjoy the sandy beach area at the resort, especially if you have kids who love playing in the sand.
- Late-Night Options: Don't forget about the late-night dining and drinking options available nearby, including the Disney Skyliner to Riviera and the unique offerings at the BoardWalk.
- Plan Non-Park Days: Consider incorporating non-park days into your itinerary to take full advantage of the resort's amenities and activities.
In conclusion, Disney's Beach Club Resort is a deluxe Disney property that offers a host of benefits, including its prime location, elegant rooms, fantastic dining options, and a world-class pool complex. It's worth considering for families with children and Epcot enthusiasts who don't mind a short walk. However, it may not be the best fit for those seeking direct monorail access to the parks. By keeping these factors in mind and utilizing the provided tips, you can make an informed decision on whether this resort is the right choice for your magical Disney vacation.
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