Originally published April 16, 2015
This past December I lucked out and grabbed a last-minute one-night reservation at Disney’s Beach Club Villas. I was visiting Walt Disney World with my daughter and to soak up the holiday spirit and review the Art of Animation Resort but I couldn’t resist a quick stay at the Beach Club!
I found cheap DVC points to rent (for more info read my post on how to rent DVC points to save big on deluxe resorts) and paid $150 for a one-night reservation.
While this definitely qualifies as a very expensive hotel stay in my book, I think you will agree as you read this review that there is a lot of bang for your buck at the Beach Club Villas!
I split my review up into two parts, so this post includes a review of the grounds and amenities. Check out Part Two for a review of our room, a Disney Vacation Club Studio Villa.
First of all, the most notable aspects of a stay at the Beach Club are
1) proximity to Epcot (little more than a stone’s throw away) and
2) the resort’s mini water park pool complex called Stormalong Bay
And, as you will see, these are HUGE perks that may convince you that a stay at the Beach Club is a must-do for Disney aficionados!
The Beach Club Villas are the DVC rooms at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. The Beach Club is connected physically to it’s sister resort, Disney Yacht Club. This huge complex is found on the shores of Crescent Lake and is across the lake from Disney’s Boardwalk Resort.
I will review the the resort’s grounds and amenities first, then move on to the accommodations themselves in part two. The villa room was not the high point of our stay, however the Beach Club Villa rooms are receiving a major refurbishment this year which will include new furniture, carpeting, curtains, linens and appliances.
So let’s do what we did when we arrived and head straight to the pool!
It is gated and you do have to have your Magic Band scanned to gain access to the pool. It was kind of hard to photograph because it is so sprawling. But hopefully these pictures will give you an idea of just how amazing it is.
To reach the start of the water slide, you have to leave the gated area, follow a path that crosses the major walkway through the resort and climb a spiral staircase inside of a “wrecked” pirate ship.
Talk about an adventure just to get to the waterslide! This would be a guaranteed way to wear out your seemingly inexhaustible youngin’s!
The huge kiddie pool has a neat location inside of the pirate ship. There is also a smaller water slide for those not ready for the climb to the crow’s nest.
I think that this pool complex is a great fit for older kids and especially teenagers. I feel like you have to be a pretty strong swimmer to enjoy all of the features such as the lazy river and water slide.
Other resorts have pools and water features best suited to the younger crowd (Animal Kindgom Lodge Kidani Village comes to mind ) but Stormalong Bay is without a doubt the best pool on property for families with older kids who love to swim!
There are three leisure pools found around the Beach Club resort if you are looking for something more low-key. The resort also features a sand volleyball court, lit tennis court, and a playground. There is certainly enough here to wear everyone out!
What would the Beach Club be without a beach? Although you can’t swim off of its shores, this lovely beach that sits behind the resort is a nice place to relax.
Each night you can roast marshmallows over a bonfire on the beach (no additional charge) and watch a Disney movie on an inflatable screen from the comfort of a beach chair. Why go to the parks, right?
After the pool I think the greatest perk of this resort is its proximity to Epcot. I have never stayed at an Epcot-area resort before and I expected that it would be cool to walk over to the park in the morning.
But I had no idea just how pleasant and even relaxing it would be! If you have ever been to Disney park at opening you are used to long lines for the bus, long lines at bag checks, then again at the turnstiles to actually get into the park. I find it a kind of stressful way to start a day.
We had a 10-minute walk to get from our room at the Beach Club to the “back” entrance to Epcot which is found between the UK and France pavilions in World Showcase. Our experience entering Epcot around 9:30 am couldn’t have been more different than your standard park entrance routine. This picture says it all:
There were only a few others entering Epcot at the same time as we were so no jostling and no lines. Here is the lovely scenery along the walk to the Epcot back entrance:
And here is an almost empty World Showcase that we walked through to get to Epcot’s Future Word.
Ok, now back to the Beach Club resort itself. This place has no shortage of dining options. I count four restaurants just at the Beach Club Resort, with additional options at the Yacht Club.
Here is a brief rundown of each spot and here is a link to all of their menus at AllEars.Net.
The Beaches & Cream Soda Shop is a table service spot close to Stormalong Bay that serves hamburgers, sandwiches and ice cream. It is home to the famous “No Way Jose” sundae and the “Kitchen Sink” sundae, which could easily feed a family of six.
Cape May Cafe is a popular Character Dining spot for breakfast, featuring Minnie, Goofy and Donald in beach attire.
It is highly rated and one of the cheapest character dining options. Cape May Cafe also serves a clam-bake dinner buffet. You enter the restaurant right off the lobby.
You can access it outside of the gated pool area from the sidewalk that circles Crescent Lake. Hurricane Hanna’s has a variety of sandwiches and a full bar (but no glow cube drinks – I had to ask).
There are tables right outside of the pool area or you can take your food inside Stormalong Bay to one of the many tables found there.
The last is the Beach Club Marketplace. It is located between the Beach Club lobby and the walkway to the Villas and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is definitely the most convenient dining for guests staying at the Beach Club Villas.
There is limited seating right outside of the Marketplace and in the breezeway to the Villas. Don’t be surprised if you can’t find a seat during the busiest times.
You can also buy some basic groceries, supplies (I forgot my toothbrush and had to buy a replacement here), and souvenirs (of course) at the Marketplace.
As for transportation, you can access the theme parks via boat or bus. There is a boat dock behind Stormalong Bay on Crescent Lake. From there you can catch a boat across the lake to visit the Boardwalk (an especially fun place in the evening hours) or ride on to Epcot or Hollywood Studios. Bus service to the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom is found in the front of the resort.
In summary, Disney’s Beach Club Villas offer an amazing pool complex, various dining options and quick walking access to Epcot. We spent most of our day hanging around the resort and I felt like there was so much to see and do there I didn’t miss going to the theme parks!
Head over and check out Part Two for my review of our studio villa. Have you ever stayed at the Beach Club or dream of staying there? Leave a comment below!