We ended up at the Beach Club and it quickly felt like home. Here’s why, for our family, the Beach Club is the best Walt Disney World resort.
Being close (as in around a 5 min. walk close) to Epcot was particularly helpful because we visited during the Flower & Garden Show, and our proximity made it possible for us to take full advantage of the special food and drink offerings that were part of the event.
It was great to be able to enter Epcot through the very uncrowded back entrance at the International Gateway – guests are permitted to walk through the countries in the International Showcase, which opens a few hours later. If you want to get some photos around England or Canada, this is a great chance to do so.
Taking the boat to Hollywood Studios worked out nicely and was faster than walking. We also really enjoyed being so close to the Boardwalk. The funnel cakes there alone would be enough to make my tween happy, but there are several additional dining options, including an ESPNZone, perfect for any big sporting events while you’re at Disney.
We had no problems with the bus service to the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. One day we took the monorail from the Magic Kingdom to Epcot and grabbed lunch as we wandered through Epcot towards the International Gateway and just a short walk from there to the Beach Club.
Now, if you’re not into Epcot at all, Beach Club may be less ideal. We’re big Magic Kingdom fans, though, and didn’t feel like the Beach Club kept us from spending a lot of time there.
2. StormAlong Bay
The awesome Storm Along Bay, the pool for the Beach Club and Yacht Club, is reason to stay here alone. It really is great – huge, sprawling, and beautiful. (And “sprawling” is not an exaggeration. The pool complex is 3 acres.
Pool entry is limited to guests of those properties, which kept it from getting too crowded.
The slide was my daughter’s favorite part of the pool and I have to say, it’s a great one. It is meant to be a broken mast on a ship moored on the beach. It is high and long but not at all scary.
One morning my tween and I had the pool pretty much to ourselves and racked up a ton of sliding time. We had a ball!
I loved the sand bottom of the pool, which made it seem extra special.
Speaking of sand, Walking out the lobby door and seeing the beach makes you feel like you really are on vacation. Feeling the sand between my toes was exactly what my feet and my soul needed after a brutal Midwestern winter.
There are also fun activities usually found on the beach, and my daughter loved getting her hair wrapped, a souvenir that stayed in for several weeks.
While it isn’t large and lacks crashing waves, there are seagulls and you can even play beach volleyball and a view of the pier marina. It also makes a lovely spot to watch the fireworks from Illuminations at Epcot, but if you the movie is still showing, take a walk on the pier instead.
Walking downstairs to a character breakfast is just awesome. We didn’t get a chance to try the seafood dinner buffet, a non-character meal, but it’s there. In fact, on a rainy day, you could eat somewhere different for each meal and not be exposed to the elements.
There are lots of great dining options on the premises. Beaches and Cream, the 50’s style ice cream parlor, is great! Just remember to get reservations if you want to eat there. Our burgers were fine, not amazing. The ice cream really is the highlight.
There’s a grab and go line, and no reservation is needed although the menu is limited. One evening we got root beer floats and taken them to one of the two hot tubs at the pools. Technically, that’s not allowed, but I will say that we didn’t get in any trouble. Shhhh, don’t tell!
Hurricane Hannah’s is the pool-side bar and grill. We loved grabbing a drink there and being able to see the kids in the pool. (They were having too much fun to stop and eat.)
Beachclub Marketplace had plentiful breakfast options and also offers sandwiches and snacks throughout the day. And don’t forget there’s the Yachtman’s Steakhouse and the Captain’s Grille at the Yacht Club Resort, next door.
The dining nearby is plentiful as well, especially at Epcot, but also Boardwalk. We didn’t realize just how close the Swan and Dolphin are to the Beach Club. On our next visit, we’ll dine at the Garden Grove restaurant at the Swan hotel, a walk or boat ride away. It’s character meal features Rafiki, Timon, Pluto & Goofy. Lilianne J. Opsomer, co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids said, “I dined there with two tweens and found the characters very funny.”
5. Awesome Activities
There are also tennis and volleyball courts with equipment available to be checked out for free. Bike rental and fishing excursions are also available.
While many Disney resort hotels offer wonderful experiences, the Beach Club made them seem extra-special. Watching “Frozen” on the beach as the Epcot fireworks burst above head was simply magical. (There’s a different movie every night.) Be sure to get a schedule when you check in.
We had a lot to pack in at the parks, but the Beach Club was so great that I was very sorry that we had not left a day to just hang at the resort. There was more than enough at the Beach Club to keep us busy and happy.
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