I get asked quite frequently which Walt Disney World resort is my favorite. My go-to answer is that I cannot choose a favorite—they are like my children, I love each one for a different reason. Some resorts have an amazing theme, some are in a great location, some have unique offerings and activites, etc. However, I will freely admit that the Beach Club is the resort where my family stays most frequently. I really think that you can’t beat the Beach Club as far as value at a Deluxe Resort. Here are 8 of my Pro Tips for making the decision to stay at Beach Club, or making the most of your stay once you are there:
8. Pick A Pearl
Most people are familiar with the Pick a Pearl option in Japan, and while they certainly make a production of it at Mitsukoshi there is an alternative location on the pathway between the Beach Club and Yacht Club—very close to Hurricane Hannah’s. This one rarely has a line and gives you a bit lower key experience if you want to do the pick a pearl activity on vacation. You can still get the jewelry options there too.
7. Cape May Café
In the lobby of the Beach Club you will find Cape May Café which serves up two very good (but very different meals) each day. For breakfast it is a character meal featuring Minnie, Goofy & Donald in their beach attire (do you think Mickey is aware of this?). It is much easier to get into this meal than somewhere like Chef Mickey’s, so if you are close to your arrival dates and want a character meal this is a good place to try—bonus if you are staying here and can just walk down to breakfast. We have always enjoyed our experiences here with the characters and the food selection on the all you care to eat buffet. At dinner it is still a buffet but turns into a clam bake/seafood theme (no characters). In addition to the seafood offerings (that can vary by the day) you will find something for the landlubbers as well like ribs or chicken or a carving station. It is great to take advantage of the convenience of this tasty dinner while you are staying at the Beach Club.
6. The Lobby
The Beach Club Lobby doesn’t have the same sophistication as the Grand Floridian or the grandeur of the Wilderness Lodge or Animal Kingdom Lodge . . .but it has a casual elegance that makes it very comfortable and a place where you can find a cushy seat by the window and just relax. The lobby has a couple of other things going for it as well. It is one of the best smelling places in Walt Disney World. Truly. (Unless it is dinner time and the seafood buffet from Cape May in #7 is floating into the lobby). The scent that is piped into that lobby is so soothing—and I find myself smelling it at home and being instantly transported back to my happy place. There are several Etsy sellers with a Beach Club scented candle, but my go-to is Walter and Rosie Candle Co. if you need your fix at home. The other thing I love about the lobby are the greeters. You will find them at many of the deluxe and even some of the moderate resorts, but the greeters at the Beach Club have a great way about them that engages their guests and makes everyone feel welcome. So, if you find yourself staying at the Beach Club be sure to spend some time around the lobby . . .stop and smell the Beach Club.
5. Room Requests
If you are a guest of the Beach Club you may wonder how to get the best room, and there are some room requests you should consider. There are several categories of rooms that you can book so that you know you have a view of the Woods or Gardens, or a view of the Water/Pool/Lagoon. Beyond that you could make requests for what you want for your room, for instance: a king bed, or a location close to Epcot (there is an entrance to the resort right at the bridge going over to the International Gateway), or maybe close to the lobby. A couple of requests that are popular at Beach Club and might be important to you are for a full balcony and/or a daybed. The Beach Club has rooms that have a patios, rooms with full balconies, and rooms with “Juliet” balconies that are only large enough to step out and stand on. If the outside space is important to you and you want chairs, you will want to request a full balcony or a patio if you prefer the first floor. The bedding in Beach Club rooms varies as well from king beds with fold out sofas, 2 queens, 2 queens and a daybed, etc. Families of up to 5 people can be accommodated in a Beach Club room—and if you have 5 you should get a room with 2 queen beds and a daybed. If you are a family of 4 and have 2 children who prefer not to sleep together (like a teenage boy and a teenage girl) you should request a room with a daybed. Requests are not guaranteed by Disney, but if they know what you want they do try to accommodate you.
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One of the best things about staying at the Beach Club are all of the activities that are at your fingertips. The recreation staff does a great job bringing a variety of entertainment to the resort from the nightly movies on the beach and marshmallow roasts, to poolside games, and I’ve even made ice cream in a Ziploc bag there. Because the Beach Club Villas are attached to the resort you will sometimes have Disney Vacation Club specific activities you can participate in (for a fee). A great advantage here is that you can easily walk over to the Boardwalk to participate in the events there as well—it is like having 2 resorts for the price of one. The evening Boardwalk entertainers can be a lot of fun, along with the carnival type games they have along the Boardwalk. You can also rent surrey bikes from the Boardwalk, or at the Yacht Club Marina you can rent bicycles or boats to cruise along Crescent Lake. Plan to spend some time taking advantage of these activities at the resort.
3. Beaches & Cream
This little gem is a great place to eat while you are staying at the Beach Club—reservations are recommended. You can grab a burger, a patty melt or a hot dog in the kitschy soda shop setting, but the main attraction here is the ice cream. The ice cream concoctions are famous from the No Way Jose chocolate and peanut butter treat to the legendary Kitchen Sink. You have to check this place out! And if you just need a scoop after a day in the parks there is a take out side where you can grab a cone.
2. Location, Location, Location
While the monorail resorts are great to be able to catch the highway in the sky, I think the Epcot resorts have a pretty amazing location. You can walk right into the World Showcase at Epcot through the International Gateway. It couldn’t take more than 10 minutes from any spot in the Beach Club. You can also walk to Hollywood Studios if you wanted—there is a nicely lit path along the water, but it does take a bit longer (and more wear & tear on your feet after a day in the parks). But, never fear, there are also the Friendship Boats waiting to take you to Epcot or the Studios (I would skip it for Epcot because it probably just as fast to get to the Epcot entrance from Beach Club as it is to get to the boat dock). I absolutely love not having to rely on any Disney transportation, just my own two feet, to get to the parks in the mornings and come home at night. I particularly love it in the evenings—hop over to Epcot for dinner in World Showcase, catch some entertainment, watch Illuminations then leisurely walk back to your resort as if it is your own private entrance. Pro Tip: If you stay at the Beach Club you might want to add the Park Hopper Option on to your tickets just to be able to go to Epcot in the evenings.
1. Stormalong Bay
Probably the number 1 reason my kids love the Beach Club. This mini water park of a pool complex that is shared by the Yacht Club is simply amazing. It has a sand bottom, and there is a play area on one side that is like being at the beach with warm shallow water and plenty of sandy shores for kids to play. The pool has a lazy river, a whirling waters area, 2 hot tubs, a kiddie slide and play area around the Albatross ship wreck area, and a huge water slide the “flying jib.” If you are staying at the Beach Club I highly recommend you schedule in a day to enjoy all that Stormalong Bay has to offer—you are paying for it with your resort stay after all. And not only a day, but maybe a break each afternoon . . . yes, it is that awesome.
What are your top tips for staying at the Beach Club?