Review: Disney’s Beach Club Resort
By Dave Shute
OVERVIEW: DISNEY’S BEACH CLUB RESORT
Our most recent stay (our sixth, in December 2015) confirms that Disney’s Beach Club Resort, one of the Epcot resorts, is the sixth best deluxe resort at Walt Disney World for first time family visitors.
However, this site recommends that first time visitors to Walt Disney World who can afford it should stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, a deluxe resort, and that those who can’t should stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, a value resort.
Compared to other Walt Disney World owned and operated resorts, the deluxe resorts are distinguished by having (on average) the most amenities, nicest views, best dining options, best transport options, largest rooms, best service, and highest prices.
Among the deluxe resorts, Disney’s Beach Club Resort has a lot of positives.
It stands out for sharing with the Yacht Club Resort the best pool among the Disney-owned resorts, sharing with the Yacht Club and the BoardWalk Inn convenient access to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and also sharing with these resorts a short walk to dozens of table service dining options located in these resorts, at the Swan and Dolphin, on the BoardWalk, and in Epcot.
(See this for much more on resort distinctions by price class–value, moderate, deluxe, etc.)
One of the principal negatives of the Beach Club–tired, beat-up rooms–was fixed by a 2015 refurb, although it did yield quite bland spaces.
The other principal negatives–inconvenience to the Magic Kingdom, and a few too many so-small-as-to-be-useless balconies–remain.
This review has 6 pages
- The Beach Club overview you are currently viewing
- A photo tour of a Beach Club room
- Accommodations and Theming at the Beach Club
- Dining at the Beach Club
- Amenities at the Beach Club
- Stormalong Bay, the Beach Club’s main pool
ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S BEACH CLUB RESORT
You can add to this capacity of five a child younger than three who sleeps in a crib.
These rooms received a much-needed refurb in 2015.
The refurb yielded minor improvements in livability–the drawers, which used to be divided between the entry and main room, are now largely in a single dresser in the main room, and multiple power points were added.
But they also lost what little charm they previously had–for example, note the old desk and desk lamp:
…compared to the new ones:
For a photo tour of one of these Beach Club rooms, see this, and for more on accommodations at the Beach Club, see this.
DINING AT DISNEY’S BEACH CLUB RESORT
The Beach Club has two table service restaurants. Beaches and Cream is a wonderful burger and ice cream shop, but far too small for the demand for it. The Cape May Cafe has Minnie and other characters, but not Mickey, at breakfast, and an OK seafood buffet at dinner.
More dining is within walking distance at the Yacht Club and Boardwalk Inn but none has great kid or family appeal.
Quick service dining is quite limited, with just small venues at the back of the Beach Club gift shop and by the main pool.
For more on dining at the Beach Club, see this.
THE POOLS AT DISNEY’S BEACH CLUB RESORT
The Beach Club and Yacht Club share the best pool complex at any Disney-owned resort (the Four Seasons has the best overall pool complex on property).
Known as Stormalong Bay, there’s actually three pools in the complex, plus a stunning water slide. This pool complex vies with the Beach Club’s nearness to Epcot for being the reason so many families love this resort.
There’s also two smaller pools at the Beach Club, and a third small pool at the far end of the Yacht Club.
KID APPEAL AND CONVENIENCE AT DISNEY’S BEACH CLUB RESORT
On this basis, Disney’s Beach Club Resort is the sixth-best deluxe resort for first time family visitors to Walt Disney World.
- Three of the deluxe resorts–the Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Polynesian Resort, in that order–have spectacular kid appeal. The Beach Club has comparatively little architectural kid appeal
- None of the moderates do.
- All of the value resorts–Disney’s All-Star Sports, All-Star Music, and All-Star Movies, its Pop Century Resort, and its Art of Animation Resort–have strong kid appeal.
The kid appeal of the Beach Club Resort, such as it is, comes from its pool, not its design, architecture, or theme.
Stormalong Bay, the pool that the Beach Club and Yacht Club share, is the most fun and kid-appealing pool at Walt Disney World.
Otherwise, nothing about the design or architecture of the Beach Club shouts out that it was built for kids.
Convenience. Disney’s Beach Club Resort is the sixth-most convenient of all the Walt Disney World resorts in carrying out the itineraries for first-time family visitors on this site.
All of the Epcot resorts are convenient to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Epcot is a short walk from the Beach Club, and the Studios are a longer walk or a boat ride away. (Epcot can also be accessed by boat, but the boat dock is almost as long a walk from the Beach Club as is Epcot itself.)
The other two parks are accessed by buses, which are shared with some of the other Epcot resorts.
BEST PLACES TO STAY AT DISNEY’S BEACH CLUB RESORT
This site suggests that first time visitors stay in standard rooms, not preferred rooms.
This is because they won’t be spending much time in their rooms.
The single exception is visitors to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, who should always pay for savanna views.
On the map (click it to enlarge it), the Yacht Club Resort is on the left, the Beach Club Resort is center-right, and the Beach Club Villas are at the top right. The walkway to Epcot is at the far right, and the boat dock shared by the Beach and Yacht Clubs is at the center in the lake.
The room areas of the Beach Club–at the right in the map–are in a long, narrow building with only two elevator banks, one central, and one on the (right) Epcot side.
As a result, rooms on the Yacht Club side of the Beach Club–center left on the map–can be a hike away from the elevators.
Epcot-side rooms are not only better served with elevators, but also have the shortest walk to Epcot.
The other issue with the Beach Club is that many of its rooms have tiny and largely useless balconies, with room only for a couple of people to stand, and no seating space.
This results in a charming, nicely modulated facade, especially compared to that of sister resort the Yacht Club. (See the Yacht Club image below.)
The Yacht Club’s full balconies are integrated into the long, plain vistas of its facade in such a way that its architecture is at best boring and in some ways reminds me of a parking garage.
That said, I’d take a full balcony over charming design any day of the week. In fact, diminishing livability to improve looks is almost the definition of bad architecture.
Full balconies give you another space–and hence a place to separate and retreat–which can be critical to keeping the peace in your family.
So you should ask for a room with a full balcony, as close to Epcot as possible.
The current online check in form lets you select a large balcony.
Any first time family visitors who can afford it, but can’t get into or don’t want to stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort.
Families seeking the highest degree of kid appeal. Families too large to fit its 5 person rooms. See this for more on large families at Walt Disney World.
This review continues here.