The Epcot Resorts at Walt Disney World
By Dave Shute
The Epcot resorts are deluxe resorts grouped around Crescent Lake within easy walking distance of Epcot, and a moderately longer walk away from Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Boats take guests to both parks as well.
As I count them, there’s seven Epcot resorts:
I’m not keen on these resorts for first time family visitors–they hold up the bottom end of the list of Disney World deluxe resorts ranked in order.
But for returning visitors, they are wonderful choices and the favorites of many.
Resorts are ranked on this site for first time visitors based first on their architectural and visual kid appeal, and then, within kid appeal groupings, on their relative convenience in carrying out this site’s recommended itineraries for first time visitors.
The Epcot resorts suffer on both criteria.
- Compared to alternatives like the Wilderness Lodge and the Animal Kingdom Lodge, they are thin on kid appeal, and
- Compared to the Magic Kingdom resorts with limited kid appeal, they are not as convenient
On the visual dimension, these resorts have similar kid appeal, so the tie is broken by the Yacht and Beach Clubs’ shared Stormalong Bay, the best pool at Walt Disney World, which moves the BoardWalk Inn to last.
The Beach Club is also the only one of these three with a character meal, and the only one with a counter-service option–limited as it is–further making it better for first time family visitors.
The main negative of the Beach Club is that not all of its rooms have full balconies–see the image above.
THE EPCOT RESORTS FOR RETURNING VISITORS
The Epcot resorts share convenient access to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and a short walk to dozens of interesting table service dining options located in these resorts, at the Swan and Dolphin, on the BoardWalk, and in Epcot.
These positive qualities make them a favorite of returning visitors, especially for those with older kids, kids who love Epcot, or who have no kids along at all.
That said, the Yacht and Beach Clubs have plenty of adult fans, and were Michael Eisner’s “favorite hotels at the resort, the ones where he himself stayed.” (DisneyWar 81.)
Those seeking Disney Vacation Club options will choose the BoardWalk Villas for its larger and more livable floor plans, or the Beach Club Villas for its charm, compactness and access to Stormalong Bay.
There’s differences among these resorts–the BoardWalk Inn is a tad more expensive, and loveliest; the Beach Club the best combination of convenience, charm and kid-friendliness; the Yacht Club has some of the strengths of the Beach Club, but with full balconies much more likely.
Pick based on what works for your family, as any can be a great choice for returning visitors.