The Epcot Resort Area is a fantastic place to stay on your Walt Disney World vacation. Since it is close to not one, but two of the theme parks, you’ll be right in the middle of the action. The Epcot Resort Area consists of Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, and Walt Disney World Swan Hotel. All except for Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort are located along gorgeous Crescent Lake. Remember that the Swan and Dolphin are not owned by Disney, so if you stay there you may not be eligible for all on property benefits. Here are just seven of the many reasons why you’ll want to stay near Epcot.
7. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Since Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is not located in quite the same area as the rest of the Epcot resorts, it will receive its own section here. The rest of the information in this article may not apply to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. It is a Moderate Resort, so it will be a little bit easier on your vacation budget than the rest of the Epcot resorts. While it may cost less, it is still an remarkable place to stay. The theme is tropical, and there are six guest villages. Caribbean Beach is currently undergoing several changes with construction. Old Port Royale Food Court, Shutters at Old Port Royale, Banana Cabana Pool Bar and Calypso Trading Post are currently closed. A temporary dining area is open and the other pools on the resort are accessible. In the midst of construction, we still can’t get enough of Barefoot Bay along Crescent Lake. It’s just beautiful. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort may be a little bit farther from Epcot than the other Resort Area hotels, but you’ll love it so much that the distance won’t bother you.
6. IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
There are two reasons why staying at a Crescent Lake resort makes sense if you love IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. First, you can watch the fireworks from the nightly Epcot show at several places near the resorts; the two bridges probably offer the best view. Second, if you do watch from inside Epcot you will not have to go far once the show is over. It will be just a quick walk back to your Epcot Resort Area hotel. If you’re too tired to walk, you can also take a Friendship Boat, but they will be crowded at the end of the night.
5. Ice Cream!
What is a Walt Disney World vacation without ice cream? In the Epcot Resort Area you’ll find two delicious places to get your ice cream fix. The first is The Fountain at Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort. Ice cream specialties include Blastin’ Brownie Sundae and Ice Cream Panini. At Disney’s Beach Club Resort you’ll find Beaches & Cream Soda Shop. That’s home to the ultimate ice cream treat; The Kitchen Sink. It serves four, and comes with eight scoops of ice cream, brownies, cake, chocolate bars, and plenty of other toppings. An entire can of whipped cream is used. Both places also serve meals, but they’re known for their ice cream.
Walt Disney World is not just for kids. At the end of Disney’s BoardWalk you will find two nightclubs. The first is Jellyrolls. This nightclub is popular with tourists and locals alike. The club features two dueling pianos, and you can try to stump the maestros. The second club is Atlantic Dance Hall. You can dance the evening away to the most popular hits from the 1980’s through today. Both nightclubs are strictly for those 21 and older. There is a cover charge at Jellyrolls, but not at Atlantic Dance Hall.
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3. Signature Restaurants
The resorts along Crescent Lake are Deluxe Resorts, so you’d expect to find some incredible restaurants. There are several different signature dining experiences that you can choose from. You’ll find seafood, steak, Italian, and more. At Disney’s Swan and Dolphin you can dine at Il Mulino, Shula’s Steak House, and Todd English’s bluezoo. Yachtsman’s Steakhouse is located at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. Disney’s BoardWalk is the home of Flying Fish Cafe and Trattoria al Forno. There are many other restaurants (both Table and Quick Service) options available, including character meals. You can easily leave Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a delicious, relaxing meal, and then head back to the park for the rest of the evening.
2. Convenient to TWO Parks
If you stay at one of the resorts along Crescent Lake, you’ll be able to walk to not one, but two of the theme parks. The International Gateway entrance to Epcot is an easy walk from Disney’s BoardWalk, Beach Club, or Yacht Club. It is a little bit longer from Disney’s Swan and Dolphin, but it is still doable. There is also a walking path behind Jellyrolls to Disney’s Hollywood Studios that will take most people 15-20 minutes at a relaxed pace. You will save a lot of time in the morning if you choose to walk. At the end of the night you might not feel like walking, but you’ll be glad you did when you’re back in your room in a matter of minutes. If you don’t want to walk, you can take a Friendship Boat. It will take a little longer, but it’s a nice, relaxing ride. Keep in mind that the boats will be crowded at the beginning and end of the day, so give yourself extra time.
If you stay at one of the Epcot Resort Area hotels, you will want to plan at least one day of your vacation as a pool day. They are simply awesome. The pool at Caribbean Beach Resort is themed after a Spanish fortress, and the children’s play area is a lot of fun. The main pool at Disney’s BoardWalk features a circus theme, although some people do think that the giant clown at the water slide is a little bit creepy. At Disney’s Swan and Dolphin you’ll find waterfalls, lap pools, whirlpools, and fun for the little ones. Possibly the best pool at all of Walt Disney World is shared by Disney’s Beach Club and Yacht Club Resorts. It’s called Stormalong Bay, and it is astonishing. The sand-bottomed pool features a shipwreck water slide, a lazy river, and fun for the kids. Stormalong Bay is the main reason that some families will not stay anywhere except Disney’s Beach or Yacht Club when they’re at Walt Disney World.