Resort: Beach Club Resort
Everyone has that one resort where they dream of one day staying at Disney. For many, it’s the Grand Floridian. For others, they dream of one day staying at the Polynesian or splurging on the Animal Kingdom Lodge with a view of the animals.
Deluxe Resorts have always been an unnecessary expense in my family’s eyes. “Why pay so much for a room you’re only sleeping in,” we’d ask. We’d argue the prices, often citing how we’d rather spend our money at Disney. But staying at a Deluxe always remained a dream. Something we’d save up for and splurge on “some day.” While we’d love to one day stay at the Grand Floridian, the Beach Club has always been a resort that interested us.
We didn’t see the full advantage of staying Deluxe until my sister and I spent a night at Disney’s Dolphin Hotel. While not a Deluxe Resort, per se, it does share a lot of the perks. One in particular is its close proximity to Disney’s EPCOT. We’re huge EPCOT fans. Despite the crowds and all the craziness, there’s no place we’d rather ring in the new year. But traffic getting to and from the parks, during both New Year’s Eve and most of the holiday week, adds a bit of stress to our trip. So after long discussions and everyone saving up, we’re finally staying at the Beach Club Resort this year! The perk of staying so close to EPCOT was one of the many reasons we decided to go with the Beach Club. I’m sure you can tell from my review that we’re pretty big fans!
Last week I wrote about Disney’s Yacht Club. Yacht Club features a very upscale theme and formal atmosphere. While Yacht Club and Beach Club are considered sister resorts, I often think of the Beach Club as the cooler younger brother.
It all begins with the exterior of the resort. While Yacht Club features a refined grayish exterior with pops of red window coverings, the Beach Club boasts a bright blue paint job with white accents. It certainly “pops” next to the Yacht Club Resort.
The interior is no different. While Yacht Club has a very dignified feel, the Beach Club feels more like a resort that wealthy families would visit for a beach vacation. It has a playful and carefree atmosphere, yet still holds its own when it comes to elegance and sophistication.
The rugs, chandeliers and walls are bright, with a nautical, beachy theme. There are subtle nods to Little Mermaid throughout, adding to the fun and playfulness a bit. It definitely has that Disney feel to it that the Yacht Club kind of lacks.
Christmas Decorations & Theming: 8/10
Beach Club features a large, life-size gingerbread carousel with chocolate molded horses, which is a bit more fun than Yacht Club’s model train set. The spinning carousel is made with 100 pounds of icing, 50 pounds of dark chocolate and 36 pounds of honey. Disney adds new hand-crafted chocolate and fondant horses to the rotation each year. The horses each have a name and theme. Take a few minutes to really check them out— they feature a ton of detail!
The lobby features a few smaller (normal-sized) Christmas trees throughout, each decorated with an aquatic theme. It’s adorned with aqua blue ornaments, as well as a bunch of adorable sea creatures. The decor and theming make the Beach Club the must-stop resort in the EPCOT area.
Similar to the Yacht Club, the Beach Club is fairly large and seems even larger from the outside. The resort is connected to its Disney Vacation Club, the Beach Club Villas, making the resort appear even larger.
Again, I’ve never been down the
Location, location, location. Guests pay a hefty price to stay at the Yacht and Beach Club for a reason. I’d argue that the Yacht Club, Boardwalk and Beach Club are the best-placed resorts on property.
Sure, the Magic Kingdom resorts get all the attention with having the monorail and being so close to the main theme park, but you could also make an argument that the three EPCOT Deluxe Resorts offer the best location—especially for those that don’t mind walking.
The amount of transportation options are endless. The Beach Club offers guests a quick 10-minute walk to the International Gateway of Disney’s EPCOT. The Beach Club offers bus service to and from Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, the water parks and Disney Springs. There is no bus transportation to EPCOT’s main entrance, which is the only real downfall. If guests wish to enter through EPCOT’s main entrance, they must take a taxi from the resort or walk through the park from the International Gateway. The Beach Club also offers boat transportation to and from EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.
The real benefit to the Beach Club is its close proximity to EPCOT. A quick 10-minute walk will get you to the International Gateway entrance, making this a very popular resort during Disney’s Food and Wine Festival (or for pure EPCOT fans.) The resort is also around a 30-minute walk to Hollywood Studios. Most of the the walkway is lit up during the night and it makes for a nice stroll on a cool evening—a great way to walk off all that fried chicken from 50’s Prime Time Cafe.
All in all, the location makes Yacht and Beach Club a great resort, while its theme and amenities make it an elite place to stay at Disney.
What really won us over about the Beach Club is its plethora of food options. If you can’t find it at the resort, it’s probably within walking distance.
Whereas the Yacht Club lacks a Quick Service spot, the Beach Club does not have a Signature restaurant. I think the absence of a Signature restaurant does a great job in maintaining the resort’s “fun” and laid back atmosphere. Personally, I’d argue that the lack of a Quick Service restaurant at Yacht Club is a far bigger negative than the absence of a Signature restaurant at Beach Club. After all, a Signature dining experience is viewed as a luxury, whereas a Quick Service meal is far more common.
Beach Club’s Quick Service restaurant, the Beach Club Marketplace is great for a quick meal or a late-night snack. Beach Club is also home to Beaches and Cream, a Table Service restaurant serving up old school soda shop fare, like burgers, sandwiches, floats, shakes and towering ice cream sundaes. It’s a favorite among Disney fans. Due to its small size and popularity, it’s an incredibly difficult ADR to secure.
Beach Club is also home to Cape May Cafe. For dinner, Cape May serves up a clam bake, with tons of seafood. In the morning, it’s home to one of the better breakfast buffets on property. Cape May Cafe’s breakfast buffet features the typical favorites, like Mickey waffles, eggs and breakfast meats, as well as unique dishes like cheesy chorizo scrambled eggs and freshly prepared crepes.
If you’re in the mood for a Signature restaurant, just head over to Yacht Club. The Yacht Club is home to Yachtsman Steakhouse, a highly regarded Signature Restaurant serving up high-grade cuts of steak, fresh seafood and more. On the Boardwalk is the refurbished Flying Fish, serving up upscale dishes and a unique dining experience. The Swan and Dolphin also offer an impressive array of restaurants, although not on the dining plan. Bluezoo has drawn comparisons to Narcoossee’s, while Schula’s is often recommended over Le Cellier and Yachtsman.
The entire area is a hotbed for restaurants. Guests can walk over to Boardwalk Bakery for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just to fill their sweet tooth with one of its many delectable desserts. The Boardwalk also features Trattoria Al Forno, an Italian restaurant that also serves up an impressive breakfast.
And if none of these tickle your fancy, head over to EPCOT. We’ll have an 8-day park hopper and I plan on heading to EPCOT often to grab a quick snack or meal. The world showcase is your oyster, with nearly any kind of food to choose from.
The only downfall to Beach Club is its lack of a Signature restaurant. It’s the only Deluxe Resort without a Signature restaurant. It’s not a huge deal, as there are a few within walking distance, but it is something to be noted.
Overall, The Beach Club is a fantastic resort. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with either the Beach Club or the Yacht Club. Beach Club just has a more fun, laid-back theme. That includes the decor, the aesthetics and even the food options. Both share a spa and fitness center and are home to the best pool on property: Stormalong Bay. If you don’t mind walking a little, your options are pretty much endless.
Tips & Tricks:
- One of the nicer features of Beach Club is the fact that you can get to all of the restaurants from within the hotel or under a covered walkway.
- While Yacht Club is slightly closer to the boat pier, the Beach Club is closer to EPCOT’s International Gateway.