Review: Disney’s Beach Club Villas
By Dave Shute
OVERVIEW: DISNEY’S BEACH CLUB VILLAS
Disney’s Beach Club Villas (a Disney Vacation Club (“DVC”) resort, and one of the Epcot resorts,) is a wonderful place for returning visitors to Walt Disney World to stay, and could easily become one of my personal favorites among the DVC resorts.
For typical first-time visitors, I don’t recommend the Disney Vacation Club resorts.
Among the Disney Vacation Club resorts, Disney’s Beach Club Villas ranks sixth overall for first-time visitors, and is particularly strong for charm, compactness, convenience to Epcot, and access to the great pool Stormalong Bay.
THE BEACH CLUB VILLAS AND THE DISNEY VACATION CLUB RESORTS
You can have a spectacular visit at any Walt Disney World resort.
However, this site recommends that typical first time visitors to Walt Disney World avoid the Disney Vacation Club resorts, while noting that these resorts are wonderful for visits after the first.
(You can find extensive detail on the DVC resorts here.)
The recommendation comes from the simple fact that the distinguishing features of these resorts–extra space and full kitchens–will not be of much value to first-time visitors following one of the itineraries on this site, as they won’t be used much.
However, the Disney Vacation Club resorts represent more than 10% of Walt Disney World’s total rooms, and are very appropriate for first time visitors with large families, needing extra sleeping spaces, or looking for a more comfortable place to stay.
Because of this, I’m providing a series of up-to-date reviews. We’ve stayed in the Beach Club Villas four times, most recently in a refurbed Studio and One Bedroom Villa in August 2016, and this review is based on those stays.
It includes the following material:
- The page you are reading, an overview of Disney’s Beach Club Villas
- Theming and accommodations at Disney’s Beach Club Villas
- Photo tour of a Studio at Disney’s Beach Club Villas
- Photo tour of the living/dining/kitchen space in One and Two Bedroom Villas at Disney’s Beach Club Villas
- Photo tour of the bath and master bedroom in One and Two Bedroom Villas at Disney’s Beach Club Villas
THE 2016 REFURB AT DISNEY’S BEACH CLUB VILLAS
The Beach Club Villas came out of a refurb in September 2016. The most material changes:
Studios now sleep five–the fifth on a fold-down bed.
Studios have also lost drawer space.
One and Two Bedroom Villas have had much carpet replaced with wooden flooring.
The master bath in One and Two Bedroom Villas is simplified, with the whirlpool tub being replaced with a soaking tub, and the window between the bath and the master bedroom now gone.
In all villas and studios, the refurbed spaces have a more austere and less playful color palette than the former decor.
Compare the above from an old Studio…
…with this from a new one.
DISNEY’S BEACH CLUB VILLAS
On this basis, Disney’s Beach Club Villas comes in sixth overall of the Disney Vacation Club resorts. (See this for resort rankings.)
Beach Club Villas Kid Appeal.
The kid appeal of the Beach Club Villas, such as it is, comes from largely the pool it shares with its parent resort the Beach Club, and not its design, architecture, or theme.
Kids will love the Stormalong Bay pool, the best pool at a Disney-owned resort, but otherwise find the Villas a yawn compared to resorts with higher kid appeal.
Beach Club Villas Convenience.
Disney’s Beach Club Villas is the sixth-most convenient of all the Walt Disney World resorts in carrying out the Magic Kingdom-focused itineraries for first-time family visitors on this site, and the fifth-most convenient of the DVC resorts.
All of the Epcot resorts are convenient to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Epcot is a short walk away, and the Studios are a longer walk or boat ride away.
The other two parks are accessed by buses from the main Beach Club resort, which are shared with some of the other Epcot resorts.
BEST AND WORST ROOMS AT DISNEY’S BEACH CLUB VILLAS
On the map, the Beach Club Villas are the dark brown building in the upper right corner. On the map, these Villas kinda looks like a cat with its tail raised, seen from the side. (Well, it does to me…) The cat’s head faces the center of the map.
The Beach Club itself is the brown building below the Villas, and the Villas share its amenities, dining, and pools. In the Villas, there’s two elevator areas–one at the cat’s neck, and the other about halfway along its tail.
The Beach Club Villas is very compact, so room location matters less than at some other resorts. The best views are of its little quiet pool, as other views can be so-so. First floor rooms have patios.
All guest services–check in, dining, etc.–are available in the Beach Club itself. There is also a little check in/concierge desk in the Villas themselves, not open all the time.
Parking is available where the top of the Villas crosses the canal at the top of the map–at the top of the cat’s tail.
The pathway to Epcot is in the middle of the right side of the map–the white path that is cut off by the map’s key.
The boats to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are reached from the pier that juts out into the lake (in front of the Yacht Club). From the Villas, it’s faster and almost shorter to walk to Epcot than to walk to the boat dock.
Buses to the other two parks and Downtown Disney are at the Beach Club’s bus stop, which is at the top center of the map, near but to the left of the cat’s head.
All things considered, the pool-view rooms on the second and higher floors of the cat’s head are the best choices–these are even numbered rooms 202-210, 302-316, and 402-412. These rooms are close to the elevators, have a stair at the end close to the bus stop, and are close to the main Beach Club services.
Don’t ask your reservationist for a cat’s head room or they may hang up–instead ask for a pool-view room on the second floor or higher in the wing that’s closest to the bus stop.
There really aren’t any bad rooms, but a first floor room on the non-pool side at the tip of the cat’s tail has little to recommend it other than being close to parking.
First time family visitors looking for extra or more comfortable space, and prefer its theme or location to DVC resort with more kid appeal, such as The Villas at the Wilderness Lodge.
Families on a budget; families looking for the highest degree of kid appeal.
This review continues here.