Insider’s Guide to Disney’s Beach Club Resort

beach club resort

Like all Disney resorts, the Beach Club will transport you to another world.  Not only will you be experiencing a Disney resort stay at its best, but you’ll also feel yourself whisked to a nostalgic Mid-Atlantic seaside.  The Beach Club is obviously, like all of the Orlando area, landlocked; but the combination of theming, sky-blue Atlantic architecture, boardwalk surrounding a sunny beach (as well as an area for sand castle building and lounging inside the resort’s own water park) all come together to make you feel that you’ve really gone “down the shore.”  (“Down the shore” is what many Easterners call going “to the beach.”)  While not as elaborate as the historic oceanfront homes in Cape May, New Jersey, the Stick Style balconies, wooden railings, and fretwork of the Beach Club evoke their spirit.

The Beach Club has nearly 600 rooms (for four or five guests), with the five-story Beach Club Villas (Disney Vacation Club) providing an additional 200.  DVC rooms range from Deluxe Studio to Two Bedroom Villa (sleeping eight).  Some guests like strolling over to the villas just to get a picture of the brass Ariel statue near the entrance.  An offshoot to the north of the Beach Club, the sea foam green buildings of the Beach Club Villas look their most charming at night when the twinkling lights are reflected in the water in front of the resort.

beach club room

One of the biggest Beach Club perks is its location – just outside Epcot’s back door.  You’ll usually find that you can walk to Epcot faster than the boat can get you there.  Whether you take the path up onto the bridge or the  secret pathway along the water under the bridge, it’s about a 10 or 15 minute walk to Epcot.   The International Gateway entrance is a relaxing way to arrive at the park, since lines for security and the ticket touchpoints are normally very short.  (If a boat has arrived just ahead of you, a miniature throng will form, but a few minutes will serve to get everyone into the park.)  Walking into Epcot, you find yourself in the English Channel – with the UK on one side and France on the other!  The only disadvantage to the International Gateway entrance is that the World Showcase pavilions don’t open until 11:00 a.m., so if you’ve arrived early in the day, you have a bit of a hike to Future World (which opens at 9:00 a.m.).

It’s also possible to walk from the Beach Club to a second theme park, Hollywood Studios.  This is a bit more of a workout, and you’ll want to be wearing some good walking shoes for the 25-35 minute brisk stroll along the canal behind the Boardwalk Villas.  (In this case, a boat to the Studios would beat you in a race to the park entrance from the resort.)  It’s definitely nice to have the option to walk or take the boat.

epcot resorts

Another Beach Club proximity advantage is its nearness to four other resorts.  If it’s raining, you can walk to the Yacht Club without even getting wet.  It’s also a short walk to the Boardwalk Inn as well as the Swan and Dolphin.  This gives you more walking-distance dining and entertainment options than any other resort area.

Many Beach Club rooms have views of Crescent Lake.  Full balconies have a small table and two chairs, perfect for your morning coffee.  Request a full balcony if that’s a priority, but you might end up with a less desirable view.  In any case, when at Disney (as in life generally) attempt to happily play the hand you’re dealt when your room number magically pops up on your phone (if you’ve chosen online check-in) and you approach the door with your MagicBand.  Many of the balconies at the resort are small and shallow – but you can step out onto them, unlike for instance the Juliet balconies on the upper floors of the Polynesian resort rooms.  Creative landscaping often makes even a room facing the parking lot feel scenic.

stormalong bay

Stormalong Bay is a three-acre miniature water park shared by the Beach Club and Yacht Club.  It has a series of large sand-bottomed pools with curving coves (such as Bubblin’ Bay) and overarching bridges (and a windmill!), a lazy river to tube along (single or double tubes), and one of the highest water slides at a Disney resort.  Guests must cross to the other side of the public walkway to access the Flying Jib Slide, mounting a shipwrecked pirate vessel that has been beached on the shores of Crescent Lake.  Reaching the top of a spiral staircase, thrill seekers then plunge back down 230 feet to the other side of walkway into the main pool.  Note that there is a very short kiddie slide for young children which guests also reach via the shipwreck.  It splashes into a small separate pool at the base of the spiral staircase.  In the main pool area, two hot tubs are nestled into rocky nooks behind the waterfall, with a third hot tub positioned in the middle of the complex.  Sun worshippers lie on the elevated sundeck atop the lazy river.  Kids love the whirling waters whose current pulls them gently in circles while a sinking sand sensation nearby never fails to fascinate (it’s not really quicksand!).

Gamers will want to visit one of the largest arcades at Disney World – the Lafferty Place Arcade, located next to Beaches & Cream, near the Ship Shape Health Club and Salon.  On the last day of a trip, guests with remaining points on their arcade card will often leave the card on top of the card recycling box (rather than putting it into the box), hoping that another guest will find it.  So if you see such a card, check the point balance – it might have been left just for you!

You can end your Disney day watching IllumiNations from the beach, while the twinkling lights from across Crescent Lake tempt you to stroll over to see the entertainment and sample some boardwalk treats.

Beach Club MousekeTips

  • Request turn-down service when you check in.  If you were swimming in the afternoon, you’ll come back from dinner to find towels replaced, chocolates on your pillow, and music playing softly.
  • Also at check-in, request a late check-out.  If your travel plans allow, you may not need to vacate your room until as late as 1:00 p.m.  Late check-outs are limited, so be sure to request yours when you arrive at the resort.
  • Most Disney guests have ended up with duplicate MagicBands.  The Beach Club is a good place to bring them along.  Mom can toss a set of the kids’ bands in her bag while also leaving a set in the room for Dad.  This can come in handy when the group’s interests diverge – particularly if you have family members who don’t like wearing their band.  Whether Dad is taking the boys to the Arcade or mom is taking the girls to the Beach Club Marketplace, there will always be a MagicBand for everyone.  (You need a MagicBand for each person to enter Stormalong Bay.)
  • Occasionally you’ll spot a Photopass photographer on the walkway around the lake in front of the Beach Club.  Don’t hesitate to stop him or her to ask for a photo – with your own camera or with theirs!

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