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Disney’s Beach Club Resort: A Seaside Retreat

Friday, January 07, 2011

Have you ever dreamt of staying in the heart of Walt Disney World?  Disney’s Beach Club Resort is as close as you can get to staying right in the middle of the action.  Located near Disney’s Boardwalk the Beach Club Resort is one of the most desired and highly acclaimed accommodations on Disney World property.  With its light sea-foam green and blue colors, and Atlantic Coast woodwork this resort will transport you to the sandy beaches of the Eastern Seaboard.

Disney’s Beach Club Resort is full of amenities and benefits most guests desire during a Walt Disney World vacation.  Many Disney park veterans will tell you that selecting a resort location is the most important factor (some would argue price).  The Beach Club delivers in a big way when it comes to location. The resort is right next door to EPCOT and a boat ride or leisurely walk away from Hollywood Studios.  Also nearby is Disney’s Boardwalk and many other resorts like the Swan and Dolphin.   However, location is only one positive aspect of this resort.  There are a slew of fantastic amenities attached to this retreat   Arguably one of the best resort pools on Disney property, Stormalong Bay, is located here.  Also, one of the best table service locations, Beaches & Cream, is nestled along the back of the resort.  It’s loaded with various ice cream delights, including the famed Kitchen Sink sundae. 

The Beach Club resort was built in 1990 and renovated in 2003.  In 2002 the Disney Vacation Club opened its extension of the resort to vacation club members offering studio, 1, and 2 bedroom villa accommodations.  Many DVC members feel the Beach Club Villas are the most desired DVC accommodations on property because of its location and amenities.  It’s also the smallest DVC resort on property driving-up the demand for the limited amount of rooms available to DVC members. 

As you walk into the 2-story lobby you are greeted by several oceanside touches immediately transforming you to the eastern seaboard of the United States.  The resort recently added and replaced new lobby furniture giving it a fresh, new look.  

One of the two check-in areas in the main lobby.  The lobby accommodates check-ins for both Disney World guests and DVC members. 

As you walk around the main lobby area you will discover other amenities of the resort like the Marketplace souvenir shop full of Disney World merchandise, food, and other sundries to make your vacation more enjoyable. 

Also located off the main lobby is one of the most popular table service restaurants on Disney World property.  Cape May Café offers a character breakfast each morning and a clam bake each night filled with delectable seafood favorites.  The restaurant is very large and can accommodate several guests.  Making an advanced dining reservation is a good idea, but I have been successful in the past walking up to the restaurant and getting a table without an ADR. 

As you walk past the Cape May Café you’ll run into one of the resorts watering holes or bar areas called Martha’s Vineyard.  It is a great place to hangout if you are looking for some peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the main lobby. 

As you walk out the back of the resort you can’t help but notice the large pool complex called Stormalong Bay.  This is arguably the best pool on Disney World property.  It is vast and can provide an entire day worth of fun and entertainment.  It’s dissected into several areas with each area providing different water activities for different age groups.  Some areas provide deeper pool depths or shallow sandy bottoms so be sure to pick an area that best suits your family’s needs. 

Another element of the pool complex is a shipwreck.  Located in and around the shipwreck is the pool slide.  It’s a long, narrow, and fast slide which gives children and adults a thrill all the way to the bottom.  It is one of the longest slides on Disney World property. This slide is not for the very young.  Depending on your child’s fear levels you may want to skip the slide and try the lazy river or stay near the sand bottom pool area. 

As you would expect the Beach Club resort is equipped with a pristine sandy beach located on the shores of Crescent Lake.  On certain evenings the resort will show Disney movies on the beach and on some special nights provide guests with a bonfire during the movie.  Across Crescent Lake are great views of Disney’s Boardwalk.  Disney prohibits guests from entering the water from the beach for safety reasons. 

Strolling along the pathway between the sandy beach and the resort you’ll run right into the walkway which leads you to the back door of EPCOT (also called the International Gateway).  The resort’s proximity to EPCOT makes it very appealing to adults and couples.  A short walk to EPCOT’s World Showcase restaurants makes the Beach Club resort a romantic getaway for couple who enjoy international style dining experiences. 

If you find yourself at the Beach Club resort in the afternoon you’ll definitely want to consider lunch or dinner plans at Beaches & Cream.  This restaurant is home to the best ice cream, ice creams sundaes, and hamburgers on Disney property.  Beaches & Cream is located at the back of the resort near the Stormalong Bay pool complex.  It’s themed after a 1950s soda fountain restaurant.  One of the restaurant's famous sundaes is the No Way Jose which is a peanut butter and chocolate lovers delight.  This restaurant is also home to the famous and gigantic Kitchen Sink sundae.  You should know this a rather small restaurant.  The best time to visit Beaches & Cream is between 2:00PM and 4:00PM to avoid waiting for a table, booth, or seat at the bar. 

After you’ve downed a 1200 calorie No Way Jose you will probably want to erase the guilt by heading next door to the resort’s fitness center called the Ship Shape Health Club.  It’s a very nice health club complete with the latest in fitness equipment from Life Fitness. 

Also nearby Beaches & Cream and the Ship Shape Health Club is Lafferty’s Arcade filled with the latest and greatest arcade games. 

The Beach Club provides guests and visitors with great views of its exterior.  There’s plenty to see and do during your time at the resort including, if you are so inclined, beach volleyball. 

A stay or visit at Disney’s Beach Club resort is a convenient way to see a lot of what Walt Disney World has to offer.  A short walk to EPCOT or a leisurely stroll or boat ride to Hollywood Studios is available to you if you feel the need to visit one or both of those theme parks.  Additionally, motor coach transportation is available if you want to visit the Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom theme parks.  If you do take a motor coach to those two parks you will be making additional stops at other nearby resorts to pickup additional guests.  Be sure to factor those stops into your commute time to and from the theme parks. 

For guests who plan on visiting the theme parks a lot during their visit to Disney World the Beach Club resort may not be the best place to stay.  The resort is rather expensive because it is part of Disney World’s deluxe resort category.  When staying here you will want to take advantage of the many resort amenities like Stormalong Bay and the abundant area restaurants like Beaches & Cream or Flying Fish Cafe located across Crescent Lake.  If you plan on visiting the theme parks during most of your time at Disney World you may want to consider a less expensive resort in the moderate or value categories. 

Even if you are not staying at the Beach Club Resort consider visiting this seaside retreat.  It’s loaded with great views, excellent restaurants, and wonderful Cast Members who are willing to share their stories with you.  One of my favorite memories of visiting the Beach Club resort was talking and spending some time with a Cast Member guests referred to as “Art the Greeter.”  He retired in 2009, but is still remembered for his hospitality as guests walked into the front door lobby of the Beach Club resort.  To Art and all of the other Cast Members who make this resort welcoming thanks for your hospitality. 

Related Link:  Disney's Beach Club Resort

Next Up:  Paradise found!  A visit to Disney's private island Castaway Cay 

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About this column

Aaron DelPrince looks at the various activities you and your family can experience at Walt Disney World


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