Resort Review: Beach Club Resort

This resort opened in 1990 and has been popular ever since. Connecting guests to two theme parks and in the hub of the Epcot resort area this resort has a lot to offer. This is the resort we always stayed at as a family. My mom finally stayed at a different resort, for the first time since 1990, last year when they stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge while we were vacationing at Kidani Village. This resort keeps guests coming back because there’s no reason to go anywhere else. So let’s dive in and find out what makes this resort so special.

Location

You’ll find the Beach Club resort in a neighbourhood of resorts. Sharing a lake with Disney’s Boardwalk Inn & Villas, Walt Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin resort and sister resort Disney’s Yacht Club resort. Being surrounded by four other resorts, your options for resort dining are more than you’ll be able to explore in one vacation. This also gives you ample resorts to explore during non-park days. The Beach Club borders the World Showcase entrance to Epcot, making it extremely easy to access this park. The walkway along the beach club resort will lead you to the entrance of Hollywood Studios. It’s the ideal location for any party bringing tweens or teens. Your tweens or teens can go off and enjoy either park and meet you back at your resort for lunch or for dinner. It’s also in the middle of ample nighttime entertainment. The area is flooded with lounges, ideal for the adult only vacation. There are two nightclubs on the Boardwalk as well as street performers. Being this close to Epcot you can stand on the bridge that connects the Boardwalk to the Beach Club resort and enjoy parts of Illuminations or you can go to the outskirts of the World Pavilion entrance to watch the nighttime show as well.

Transportation

For two parks transportation isn’t an issue but with the other two, Disney Springs and the water parks there is one major issue: bus sharing. The resorts of this area share transportation so you spend a lot of time driving around the area when you are coming back from a park and when you are going to a park. The best thing to do in this scenario is get out at the first stop and walk. Below is a list of all the parks and how you have access to them from the Beach Club resort.

Magic Kingdom

Bus.

The only method of transportation to the Magic Kingdom is by bus. Buses start running an hour before the park opens so use this to your advantage. Get to the bus stop an hour before park opening. Give yourself time to wait for the bus, drive around picking resort guests up at the other resorts, drive to the park and walk to the main entrance. The bus ride itself is about 15 minutes. If you are going for any other time of the day the buses arrive less frequently so it’s best to again give yourself lots of time, especially if you are going with a dining reservation at Crystal Palace or you have a FastPass booked. If you stay for the whole day and will be leaving after the fireworks expect a lengthy wait for the bus and a lengthy ride back to the resort. It always feels longer at the end of the day. If you have young ones, this is when bringing your own stroller comes in handy.

Epcot.

Walking.

You are steps away from the World Showcase entrance to Epcot when you are staying at the Beach Club. All you have to do is exit the lobby at the lake exit and make a left. Walk half a km and you are at the gates. Now keep in mind, World Showcase does not open until 11am, if you plan on spending the morning at Epcot you will have to walk through England and Canada before entering Future World, which is open at 9am. This is the ideal way to get home after the park closes though. You miss a large amount of foot traffic and the exit is close to ideal viewing for Illuminations, France and England.

Boat.

Not the most efficient way to get to Epcot, take the boat from the Yacht Club launch to the World Showcase launch that is at the gates of World Showcase. A fun little boat ride, it takes twice as long as it would to walk, because you have to walk to the boat launch which is just as far as walking to the World Showcase gate from the Beach Club lobby.

Hollywood Studios.

Walking.

Although this seems convenient it is a long walk, 2 kilometres to be exact. Great for a run but not an ideal way to start the day. The only thing that walking to Hollywood Studios has over the boat ride is you can leave when you want. You are ready, you go, you do not have to wait for anything to arrive you leave when you are ready. Which, a day at Hollywood Studios does have a lot of sitting involved, so you may be alright starting off your day walking such a distance. But this is coming from a runner so you are getting a very biased opinion. To access the walkway to Hollywood Studios you leave the lobby and turn right, turning left adds a couple extra meters to your walk. Pass the Yacht Club on your right, go over the bridge passing the Swan and Dolphin on your right. Follow the pathway with the Boardwalk Inn on your left. You will walk underneath a bridge and keep going straight until you get to the main entrance of Hollywood Studios. It will take you at least 20 minutes. The air here is very stagnant so I do not recommend walking in the middle of the day but you should be fine in the morning or in the evening.

Boat.

This boat is a great method of transportation to Hollywood Studios, unless you just missed the boat when you arrive at the boat launch you will find the boat ride is as long as the walk to Hollywood Studios. This boat is shared between Boardwalk and the Swan and Dolphin Resorts but when the boat arrives at the boat launch you have only to go to the Swan and Dolphin before reaching Hollywood Studios. When you return you’ll be going to the Swan and Dolphin and then to the Yacht and Beach Club boat launch. Which if you’re anxious to get off the boat you can disembark at the Swan and Dolphin and then walk the rest of the way back to the Beach Club. This cuts your walk in half. The boat launch is shared with the Yacht Club and is closer to the Yacht Clubs building then the Beach Club but it is a cool and unique way to travel to the park. To get to the boat launch from Hollywood Studios take a left instead of a right when leaving the park.

Animal Kingdom

Bus.

The only way to access the Animal Kingdom is by bus. The bus ride lasts about 15 minutes.  If you want to be at the Animal Kingdom for opening then I would be at the bus stop between 8:00am and 8:15am. With the opening of Pandora, Animal Kingdom has gotten much busier so the traffic may be heavier and the people heading into the park will be heavier as well. There are a few things to do while you’re waiting to get into the park so if you get there early, use the washrooms, put sunscreen on, wander the shop. It’s always better to be there early then to be there late. When Blizzard Beach is open this bus stops there as well. If you’re travelling in the middle of the day keep this in mind. Which is why I’d recommend going to the Animal Kingdom first thing to cut down on your transport time.

Disney Springs

Bus.

The only way to get to Disney Springs is by bus. If you have a restaurant reservation then I would give yourself a half hour window to get there. The consistency in which this bus comes and goes is not great. We have waited many a times for the Disney Springs bus, the drop off takes time but the bus also stops at Typhoon Lagoon and at Disney Springs. So be prepared to wait at the bus stop for a while. My advice in regards to Disney Springs, give yourself lots of time. Leave early with anticipation of spending a leisurely morning or afternoon at Disney Springs. That way there’s no pressure while you’re waiting for the bus. Be sure to use Merchandise Delivery and Pick Up. When you purchase an item tell them to have it delivered to your resort. This way you won’t be carrying bags during your visit.

Typhoon Lagoon

Bus.

Spending the whole day at Typhoon Lagoon? Leave the Beach Club a half an hour before you would like to get there. With all the stops on the way, Disney Springs and the neighbouring resorts, you’ll be waiting a while to get there. The drive is at least 20 minutes if not more depending on the traffic. So save applying sunscreen for the bus ride for something to do.

Blizzard Beach

Bus.

The Animal Kingdom bus stops here when Blizzard Beach is open. So be sure to bring a change of clothes for when you are done at the water park. There’s nothing worse then a wet ride back to the resort.

ESPN Wide World of Sports

Bus.

During special events, such as RunDisney expos, there are buses continuously going to the ESPN Wide World of Sports. If you are interested in going to the ESPN Wide World of Sports on any other occasion you can use a taxi service or head to one of the three resorts that have regular bus services to the Wide World of Sports. Head to the All-Star Sports Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney’s Pop Century. Easiest way to get there would be to travel to Hollywood Studios by feet or boat and find the bus transportation to one of these resorts at Hollywood Studios’ parking lot.

Pools

The biggest appeal of the Beach Club Resort is the main pool, Stormalong Bay. This pool is epic, with a sandy bottom and four different sections this pool is a major reason why many people stay at this resort. Making it very busy but worth it. Plan a full day at the pool side when staying here.

Stormalong Bay

This pool is available to all those staying at the Beach Club Resort and the Yacht Club Resort, no pool hopping is allowed at this pool. There are several zero-depth entry points making it ideal for families with toddlers and preschoolers. There are a couple spots that have sand wet enough that you can build sand castles. There is an actual whirlpool spot, where you go into the cove and you find yourself swirling around the pool. It’s very awesome. You’ll find waterfalls bordering the pool side, a 230-foot long slide is on the beach club side of the pool. You have to climb to the birds nest of the shipwreck to slide down. On that shipwreck is a kiddie pool with a kiddie slide. It’s not a splash park area so you may find you can’t spend all that much time there with toddlers and preschoolers but it’s ideal for an infant or baby. There’s a lazy river that you can jump on with a tube and quick sand. This pool is really a destination and makes the resort a very appealing place to stay. You must do a non-park day and spend the day exploring all the adventures you can find at Stormalong Bay.

Tidal Pool

Surrounded by the Beach Club Resort, this pool is your average pool, not very big and deep. Perfect for swimming laps or doing some serious swimming. This is one of the quiet pools. I can remember swimming here with my sister and playing mermaids, while my dad watched from the sidelines. It’s an easy spot to keep an eye on your kids if your parenting solo for the morning or afternoon. Not ideal for young ones who are not comfortable in the water. There is a whirlpool found next to the Tidal Pool for warming up on a cool evening.

Dunes Cove Pool

Located on the Disney’s Vacation Club Villas side of the resort, this pool is surronded by villas and looks out onto the lake. There’s also a whirlpool nearby. This pool is very private, as opposed to the Tidal Pool which is very close to the walkway that is used by so many guests. There are plenty of deck chairs around for lounging and enjoying the sunshine. Great place to spend a quiet afternoon.

As a guest of the Beach Club resort you also have access to the Yacht Club’s quiet pool: Admiral Pool. The quietest of all the pools because of how secluded it is. Located on the outer end of the Yacht Club you can find it by walking around the yacht club or through the yacht club by following the pool signs. Of all the pools you can enjoy in this area of Walt Disney World this would be one that is like any other. Although, because it’s so quiet it could be an ideal spot to teach your child to swim.

Restaurants

Staying at the Beach Club you are located in a hub of fabulous dining without even having to spend money on admission. Here we’ll explore your options at the Beach Club but you can also head to the options found at the Boardwalk Inn or to the other great resort table-service restaurants at the Yacht Club.

Table Service

Cape May Cafe

A great place to come dine on your vacation with character loving or seafood loving guests. In the morning you are treated to a breakfast buffet with appearances from Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy. At supper time you’ll enjoy a buffet offering a variety of seafood choices. Staying at the Beach Club I would definitely partake in this restaurant. It’s right off the lobby so it makes for an easy meal. Serves breakfast from 7:30am-11:00am and dinner between 5:00pm and 9:00pm.

Beaches & Cream

An absolute must if you can get a reservation. This soda shop has been a favourite of our families for years and is now one of the most popular restaurants on site. Enjoy cheeseburgers and fries or my favourite: the grilled cheese. This meal has grease all over it and you’ll love every minute of it. But you need to save room for dessert. With a variety of ice cream sundaes to choose from you can enjoy one on your own or attempt to eat the kitchen sink (suggested to be shared between four people). The environment is festive and family focused. A wonderful way to enjoy a meal or a dessert with your fellow vacationers. You can find Beaches & Cream across from Stormalong Bay. Or you can make your way past Cape May Cafe to the outdoor promenade and you’ll find Beaches & Cream on your right before the gym. Beaches & Cream Soda Shop is open from 11am-11pm.

Quick-Service

Beach Club Marketplace

In my opinion this place so does not count as quick service. This is a gift shop with a few items to grab and go. With a great spot out at Stormalong Bay, grab lunch at Hurricane Hanna’s before heading here. It is an okay spot for grabbing your coffee in the morning but if you’re looking for a good quick service breakfast head over to the Boardwalk bakery. If you find yourself craving a nighttime snack then this place will hook you up because it’s open until midnight. To find the marketplace you’re going to need to get yourself to the lobby. The marketplace is located past the eastern staircase. There are two entrances, one is off the lobby where as the other is closer to the doors leading out to the villas. The marketplace opens at 7am and closes at 12pm.

Hurricane Hanna’s Grill

This quick service restaurant is the perfect place to grab lunch when you’re spending your day at the pool. Located in the centre of stormalong bay you can locate this restaurant by walking across the many bridges that connect this piece of land to the different areas of the pool, or you can walk up to it off the walkway bordering the lake. Offering an assortment of sandwich-like meals you can order your meal and then bring it back to your chair with a nice cool beverage. You can use up some of your dining plan snack credits and buy some Mickey Ice Cream Bars. Hurricane Hanna’s is open from 11am-9pm.

Lounges

Martha’s Vineyard

The one lounge on Beach Club property is Martha’s Vineyard. This one has odd operation hours, open from 11:30am-2pm and 4pm until midnight. Serving a full menu but you can not use your dining plan. This quaint spot is your quintessential club spot. It’s a destination for those looking to enjoy a variety of different beverages. With a large selection of cocktails, wine, and beer there will be something for everyone in your party.

Hurricane Hanna’s Grill

This quick-service restaurant is also your pool side bar, offering your favourite frozen drink (alcoholic or non).

Rooms

Each set of rooms has different views which changes the price point. These rooms have received a face lift over the last number of years, making them current beach themed as opposed to 90s beached themed.

Standard Room

These rooms are offered with a standard view, garden or woods view and a lagoon or pool view. The standard view gives you a view of the parking lot or the roof, the garden or woods view is just that you have a view of the beach club gardens that surround the property and lastly, the lagoon or pool view rooms mean you’ll be on the water part of the property. The lagoon or pool view can be loud because this resort area gets a lot of traffic from people enjoying a night out and people park hopping from Epcot to Hollywood Studios. So if you’re travelling with littles it’s not the ideal spot. Also some of these rooms do not have balconies, giving you no place to go during nap time or early bedtimes. So save yourself some change and go for the other views. Upon entering a standard room you will have a closet on one side and the sinks and bathroom area on the other. Beside the closet will be a small dresser with a single cup coffee maker and mugs. The bathroom has two sinks and two mirrors and the toilet and bathtub/shower are separated by a door. Continuing into the room you’ll have beds on one side of the room and tv, desk or day bed and dresser on the other side. There are lights above the beds, making it great for reading at night while others are fast asleep. These rooms come either with 2 queen beds and 1 day bed, 2 queen beds, 1 king bed and 1 day bed or 1 king bed. At the end of the room is a door and window, all doors open, some onto a small patio or main level patio others do not.

Prices range from $374-479 depending on your view.

Club Level

At the club level you’ll have a choice between standard rooms, a deluxe room, a 1-bedroom suite or 2-bedroom suite. At the club level you’ll receive around the clock concierge service to help you with any dining reservations or park plans. The biggest benefit to the club level is the refreshments served from 7am until 10pm. And these are not your average “complimentary” servings. There are bountiful options at breakfast: cereals, pastries, bagels, eggs and so on. At lunch time you’ll find wraps, sandwiches and salads. There’s an afternoon tea time and of course supper time. Supper time is your most limited offerings but there is still a nice variety, with hors d’oeuvres, dips and salads. To end off the day you can stop by to enjoy some delicious desserts, coffee and liqueurs. Throughout the afternoon and evening you have access to a wide variety of beverages, alcoholic and non. With such close park access this is one of the club levels where you could actually come back and enjoy these offerings during your day at the park, cutting down on your dining costs. If you’re plan is to stay at the beach club and purchase the dining plan make sure to do a comparison first to see which makes the most sense.

Standard Rooms.

The standard rooms are the same at the club level as they are throughout the rest of the resort.

Deluxe Rooms.

In a deluxe room you’re getting the same layout as the standard room with a slightly bigger space. You can also guarantee a 6 person sleeping arrangement with 2 queen beds and a queen size sleeper sofa. These rooms have views of the quiet pool, stormalong bay or crescent lake.

Approximately $585 per night depending on the time of year.

1 Bedroom Suite.

This 1 bedroom suite is not to be confused with a villa. There is a living room with a separate bathroom and patio entrance as well as a dining table but there is no kitchenette. Which you wouldn’t need anyways with the access to the eats on the club level. Upon entering this room you’ll enter the living room with a tv, sofa (pull-out couch), chairs and dining table and chairs. Off to the left is your second bathroom with shower and separate double sinks. Off of the hall entrance you have a door entrance into the bedroom which will have a king size bed, tv and tv stand and bathroom. This is your normal standard room with a king size bed, bathroom and closet. You’ll only be able to sleep four people in this suite.

Approximately $697 per night depending on the time of year.

2 Bedroom Suite.

These suites offer lots of space and beds for plenty of guests. Walking straight into the room you’ll have a living space with TV unit, sofa (pull-out couch), a couple chairs, and a dining table and chairs. To the right of this room is a bedroom with two queen size beds, TV and stand, and a bathroom. With separate sinks and closet. The second bathroom is close to the main bathroom, with a king size bed. This room does not have its own bathroom. It also does not have its own patio access. These suites give you room for 8 people. With all the separate spaces it is ideal for a large family or a combined family vacation. Giving a room for the grandparents and a room for the immediate family. There are so many combinations of ways you could make this work for your family and then share the cost.

Approximately $1452 per night depending on the time of year.

Extras

Arcade

Lafferty Place Arcade is located beside Beaches & Cream Soda Shop. It’s the ideal place to spend a few hours on a rainy day or to let the older kids entertain themselves while you’re enjoying a cocktail or two around the corner at Martha’s Vineyard. If you’re waiting for a table at Beaches & Cream you can head in here to occupy your time. Featuring games for a wide variety of ages, these games do have a cost.

Movies Under the Stars

Come and enjoy a family film on a clear night beside the volleyball courts. You’ll receive a list of the films being featured during your stay upon checking in. Take a look at the list and plan ahead to ensure you pick a movie that is suitable for your family. You can find the screening area upon leaving the lobby of the Beach Club. It will be on your left as you are looking at the Boardwalk. There are plenty of places to sit so don’t feel like you need to arrive too far ahead of time. 9pm is the viewing time. They are also screened between the Beach Club resort and the Beach Club Villas. Inside the lobby walk past the concierge desk and past the Sandcastle Club, there’s an exit on your left and that’s where you’ll find the other movies under the stars.

Children’s Activity Centre

Looking to spend a night away from the kids, wining and dining at Epcot or heading to Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar? Bring the kids to the Sandcastle Club. This great facility, where your children between the ages of 3 and 12 can be dropped off for a fee of $55. They will be served dinner and enjoy a variety of activities. Call and make a reservation at (407) 939-3463 ahead of time to secure your child’s spot.

Volleyball Court

Find this beach volleyball court in the court yard as you exit the Beach Club resort lobby. Enjoy a game among your family or maybe you’ll make friends with some fellow vacationers for a memorable non-park day. You can borrow a volleyball from Ship Shape Massage Salon Fitness located in the passage after Lafferty Place Arcade.

Ship Shape Massage Salon Fitness

This gym is open 24 hours and can be used by anyone staying at the Beach Club and Yacht Club resorts. There are cardio machines as well as weight training stations. Start your day off right before a long day of eating and park touring. Find the gym on your right past Lafferty Place Arcade. Leave the lobby walking past Cape May Cafe until you find yourself at a door that takes you outside. Follow the pathway to the gym entrance.

Spa

Ship Shape Massage Salon Fitness is also a spa offering massages and facials. Call ahead to book an appointment at their location or in-room. The number to call is (407) 939-7727.

Campfires

Enjoy a campfire on the beach looking out at the Boardwalk. Roast marshmallows or just sit and relax with your family during a non-park day. You can find the fire pit on the beach beside the shipwrecked boat. When you are walking out of the lobby head straight until you reach the beach.

Pirate Adventure Cruise

This pirate adventure is called Albatross Treasure Cruise, children aged 4 to 12 can enjoy a morning searching for treasure across the lake. Snacks are provided and the cost ranges between $39 and $49 depending on the time of year. Call to make a reservation at (407)-939-7529.

Miniature Golf

Around the corner from the Beach Club resort are two miniature golf courses. For only $14 per adult and $12 for kids this activity is a wonderful way to pass an evening or a non-park day. This also can be used as a day of your water parks and more option of your theme park tickets. You can find these golf course across the street from the Swan and the Dolphin resorts. The quickest way to get there from the Beach Club is to walk the beachfront pathway, passing the Yacht Club on your right, when you cross the bridge to the Boardwalk hang a right and walk towards the Swan Resort. Keep walking straight passing the boat dock on your right and one of the pools on your left. Take a left when you reach the beach area of the Swan Resort. Take this pathway across the street and you are at the golf course. Use this route to know exactly where you’re going: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=7129046

Fishing Excursions

Go out onto Crescent Lake and catch and release some fish. You can choose between a 2 hour excursion or a 4 hour excursion. These include a guide and all the tools you’ll need to accomplish a successful fishing outing. You can call ahead at (407) 939-2277 to book or check with the front desk upon arrival.  Prices range from $170 to $455 depending on how long you plan to go, how many people and what time.

Boat Rentals

From the Bayside Marina you can rent one of three watercrafts. There’s Sea Raycers, Montauks and Pontoon boats. The Sea Raycers seat up to 2 guests, a $32 per half hour, Montauks seat up to 6 guests and rent for $45 per half-hour and the pontoon boast which seat up to 10 guests is $45 per half hour. These are all on a first come first serve basis. You can either head right down to the marina or check with the conceirge service at the front desk.

Cycling

Head to the Bayside Marina to rent a bike to ride around the Epcot Resort Area. You can even rent some with training wheels for your younger ones. How cool would it be to tell your kid they learned to ride a bike on a trip to Walt Disney World. The cost is $18.00.

Private Cruises

There are a few options for private and specialty cruises from the Bayside Marina, some are during the day and can include dining while others can be at nighttime to view Illuminations. They can really create any kind of variety of what you’re looking for. Prices can begin at $149 and range up to and above $500 depending on what kind of boat you wish to embark on and the dining you choose to enjoy on board. Call (407) 939-7529 to make a reservation.

Pearl Factory

Found on the beach, this little shop sells jewelry and can do beaded braids. A tradition found at many resorts down south this is something I got done a few times as a teen. A fun reminder of our travels. Be forwarned, it takes a long time for them to complete.

Shopping

The Beach Club Marketplace is the only shop on the resort. They do offer a wide variety of souvenirs, apparel and necessities. The only unique pieces you’ll find here are Beach Club resort embossed items. You’ll have more selection across the lake at the Boardwalk.

Running

This resort is a beautiful place to run and you can get some really good distances in if you’re creative. Here are some routes I’ve used in the past and really enjoy:

5.5 Miles 

3 Miles

Yacht Club 5k

Tennis

The tennis courts are found at Beach Club’s sister resort Yacht Club. You can borrow tennis equipment from Ship Shape Massage Salon Fitness. Make your way to the tennis courts by following the beach front walk way until you reach the end of the Yacht Club resort. There is a pathway to your right that will lead you directly to the courts. They are typically opened from 9am until 10pm. First come, first serves.

Personal Touch

I love this resort area. You’ve got great Table Service Resort Dining all around you. You’ve got the best pool on property, ideal for any age. Walking distance to 2 of the 4 parks. You really can’t go wrong with this location and resort. If you are thinking about staying here I am going to give you a high recommendation. The only reason to not stay here is if you’ll only be visiting the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Otherwise this resort is for you.

Happy Planning.