Beach Club Villas review
Disney’s Beach Club resort opened in November of 1990 alongside the Yacht Club resort, its sister resort. It’s one of Walt Disney World’s older resorts, but despite that, it manages to consistently draw in a lot of guests, due to the great location and amenities it has.
One key difference in the Yacht Club and Beach Club resorts is that Disney’s Beach Club also has the villas, which are a part of the Disney Vacation Club. They are a more recent addition, opening up in July of 2002.
As a Walt Disney World resort, there are a few things that it’s guaranteed to have. The Magical Express will take you straight from the airport to your resort, and if you checked luggage, it will be brought to your room for you. You also have Disney’s Transportation Service to use throughout your stay. It conveniently connects you to all of the parks, and if you want to, you can travel to any other resort by hopping on another bus from there.
When I stayed recently, the resort wasn’t very busy at all, which was great for booking reservations at the restaurants and spending time at the pool without it feeling overcrowded. As for cost, it’s hard to compare pricing for the Beach Club villas since it’s on the Disney Vacation Club points system.
In comparison to the other DVC resorts, the villas’ point value is somewhere in the middle. They are pretty popular, but the newer facilities, like the Animal Kingdom villas, are in higher demand, so they cost more points.
Beach Club Villas review
Let’s begin this review by talking about Disney’s Vacation Club, and how it ties to the Beach Club Villas resort.
Disney Vacation Club
Disney Vacation Club is a great option for people who are planning on coming to Walt Disney World, or other Disney resort locations, often throughout the years. It also allows you to stay at places like the Beach Club Villas, that are a little different than your regular resort, and offer more space and extra features you wouldn’t find in a normal hotel room.
A few membership benefits you would have access to are an Annual Pass discount, along with some discounts on tickets and merchandise, and you can book your reservation earlier in advance.
There are also more resorts, and rooms available that go far beyond a simple hotel room, with full kitchens and a washer and dryer in the unit. The DIS has a lot of great info about how the system works on their website, so if you’d like to look further into it, this is a great place to start.
A Traditional Decor for a Classic Resort
Like all other Disney resorts, Beach Club has a key theme that runs throughout the whole property. The design and decor is modeled after early nineteenth century beach cottages in Newport, Rhode Island. The resort definitely succeeds in creating this atmosphere, especially through the outside design of the buildings.
The white lining featured, with the light blue color, is welcoming and bright. That same design continues inside, with bright white fencing lining the hallways, and nineteenth century-style beach furniture everywhere, making it feel upscale, yet inviting.
It can feel old-fashioned, given it’s not a modern theme, and it’s definitely not as ambitious as the decor at Animal Kingdom Lodge or the Polynesian Resort. That could be something you want to take into account if you are looking for a different Disney resort experience.
The Beach Club villas are one of the best Disney resorts, but it comes with a price. As a Deluxe Villa resort, Beach Club runs on the higher end of the price range, with a price tag similar to that of the Animal Kingdom Villas, which are also a part of DVC.
Types of Rooms and Availability
With the Beach Club villas, you have a few great options of types of rooms to book. The first and simplest option is a Deluxe Studio. Bigger than a normal studio room, it can sleep up to 5. There is 1 Queen bed, 1 Double-sized sleeper sofa, and 1 Single pull-down bed. The pull-down bed is hidden in what looks like a large cabinet under the television.
The Beach Club villas have recently undergone a bit of a renovation, with a more modern design, yet still in line with the theme. The pull-down bed design is a part of the new renovations of all the Disney resorts. The rooms have a small table with two chairs, where you can sit and relax, maybe have your morning coffee made with the in-room coffee maker. Also, there’s free wifi, and the room has plenty of outlets for charging phones or other electronics.
In the small kitchenette there is a microwave, mini-refrigerator, toaster, and sink. Good if you go out to eat and have some leftovers! Other features included in the room are a telephone, safe, iron and ironing board, hair dryer, DVD player, and a high-chair if you have a young child with you. The bathroom is just enough space, with a big counter and mirror, a toilet, and a bathtub and shower combo.
If you need more space, the next option is a 1 Bedroom Villa. There’s a living room and a full kitchen, with a bedroom and bathroom off to the side, though this room does not include an extra Single pull-out bed. It has 1 Queen-sized bed that pulls out of the couch, and 1 King bed in the bedroom, so it sleeps 4.
With a separate room, there’s great privacy when needed, as it’s not as cramped as the Deluxe Studio. This is great if you are traveling with kids, so they can have the living room space, and parents have their own room! This can also work for a group of friends.
The full kitchen definitely expands on the possibilities for your vacation dining. When I stayed in one of these rooms, we took a trip to the grocery store early on, buying cereal, bread, and eggs, so we would have breakfast before we went to the parks for the day, saving both time and money.
Another time when I visited with a close friend, she even went so far as to get potatoes to chop up and make home fries every morning. These conveniences are things you might not consider when you first begin to look at options, but they can really help out.
Another benefit of the 1 Bedroom Villa that is not in the Deluxe Studio is the washer and dryer. This is such a nice thing to have, especially on a trip that’s longer than a few days. It makes packing light so easy, because you can just wash a re-wear your outfits. This is also very helpful for families with small children, as I’m sure they can make quite the mess.
The third option for you is a 2 Bedroom Villa. These rooms have the same living room and kitchen space, as well as the bedroom with the 1 King-sized bed. Along with that, there is a second bedroom off to the other side of the living room. Inside, there are 2 Queen-sized beds, with a bathroom off to the side, much like in the first bedroom.
Depending on what exact room you get, the pull-out bed in the living room will either be a Double or a Queen, as it varies. The 2 Bedroom Villa is basically a 1 Bedroom Villa and a Deluxe Studio next to each other, with the connecting door open. So there will be two possible entrances to the room, and a separating door that can add another layer of privacy for everyone staying there between the two rooms.
The Amazing Amenities
As a Walt Disney World resort, Beach Club has a lot of great amenities, but one of the best things it has to offer is it’s pool. Honestly, calling it just a pool doesn’t give it enough credit. It’s basically a mini waterpark, good for both families and those looking to just relax in the sun and water. It’s called Stormalong Bay, and is a three-acre complex open to guests of both the resort and the villas.
The area has a lazy river, an open swimming pool, two hot tubs, and a zero-entry shallow pool, very appropriate for the little ones. All of these pools (not the saunas) have sand on the bottom, making it feel even more like you are swimming in a more natural body of water. Personally, my favorite thing to do was go to the pool when it was less busy, get a tube, and float around and around the lazy river.
Stormalong Bay features two slides, with the only requirement for riders that they can ride alone. The bigger slide is designed to look like part of a shipwreck. The entrance to the slide is away from the main pool area, closer to the beach that leads to the boardwalk.
Disney’s Beach Club Resort has, in my opinion, the best pool area across all of the Walt Disney World resorts, though there are a few that come close. It’s just that nothing can beat the sandy bottom pools or the lazy river. What more could you ask for? The Kingdom Insider has a great, more in depth review of Stormalong Bay if you are interested. Spoilers: they love it as much as I do.
Because of these water amenities, the Beach Club Villa is an amazing option if you are planning on spending a day or two just at the resort. Whether it’s just adults staying, or you have a couple of kids you’ll need to watch, there’s plenty to do. Right in the same area, there are ping pong tables, and nearby there are beach volleyball courts you can use. The pool is also completely exclusive to resort guests, as you have to use your magic band to get inside the area.
With its direct connection to Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, you can easily access the Ship Shape Health Club. It has plenty of fitness equipment you can use, and when you need a well-deserved break from the chaos, it also offers spa and salon services like facials, massages, and manicures, to name a few. If you are considering places to stay in terms of Disney World for adults, this is a great bonus for the resort.
In the main building connected to the villas, the resort has a well-stocked marketplace and shop. Here you can get anything from candy and snacks to footwear. This is also where you would purchase one of the refillable mugs that you can buy for the length of your stay. I always get one of these, and strongly believe they are worth the money. It’s also a great and useful souvenir to bring home with you!
Location, Location, Location…
Another huge draw is the location. The Beach Club Villas are considered an Epcot resort. They are about a five minute walk to the International Gateway entrance to the park, between the France and United Kingdom pavilions. It’s a very nice and convenient feature, especially if you plan to spend more time on that side of Epcot (this is super advantageous if you are there during the Food & Wine Festival, or the newer Flower & Garden Festival).
If you are standing by the pool of the Beach Club resort, and look across the water, you can see Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. And on either side of that resort are a handful of great restaurants and stores to stop in during your stay. A favorite of mine is Ample Hills Creamery, which has amazing ice cream sandwiches.
Other highlights on the boardwalk are Flying Fish, a wonderful sit down restaurant, and Jellyrolls, a popular nightlife piano bar where you can sing and dance the night away. If you want to explore during the day, there are great little shops, like Thimbles & Threads, or you can do an activity, like renting a two- or four-person Surrey Bike to ride around in.
While the Beach Club Villas are extremely close to Epcot, they are also about a fifteen minute walk to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You can either take a pathway to the entrance, or you can hop on one of the boats and take a quick ride over. There’s a stop just a short walk away in front of Disney’s Yacht Club Resort.
This could be a great benefit if you plan to Park Hop. You could go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the morning, hitting all the big rides before the lines get too long, head back to the resort for lunch or a nap, then go to Epcot in the afternoon for some nice food and drinks! Your park itinerary is something to really take into consideration as you pick your resort.
Food and Drink
As with all the other Disney resorts, there are multiple dining options at Disney’s Beach Club Resort that you will have access to while staying in a villa room.
Because of the direct connection to Disney’s Yacht Club resort, you can easily eat at the restaurants there as well. Their signature/fine dining option is Yachtsman Steakhouse, where the decor definitely makes you feel like you are on a classic yacht. Dinners range from around $30 to $60 per person, subject to change, so it’s on the higher end in terms of cost. But that means the service is up to par.
Whenever we ate here, we had a great time, though it’s very traditional. And like I said earlier, the decor is as you’d expect with the whole hotel’s theme, but that means it feels a little old-fashioned as well. Sometimes you want a more modern, innovative dining experience, and that’s okay too.
Because it’s a fine dining style restaurant, there is a dress code, so prepare for this if you decide to make a reservation, which I recommend for any restaurant at Walt Disney World that isn’t quick service. You can make one on the site or in the My Disney Experience app up to 180 days before you visit Walt Disney World.
The dress code, available on their site for any of their Signature Dining restaurants, says that the minimum dress code requires that men wear collared shirts and nice paints. Dress shorts are allowed, and it says that jeans can be worn if they are nice enough, but to make it easier, I’d just plan to wear other bottoms. Also, you do not need a sports coat.
For women it’s along the same lines, with skirts and dresses, khaki capris or dress shorts, with the same rule for jeans. Some of the things they say are not permitted are hats for men, torn clothing, or anything you’d think of wearing for a day at the pool. It seems like a pretty easy code to follow, and you can dress fancier if you want to.
A great thing about Disney’s Beach Club is that it offers a Character Dining Experience at the Cape May Cafe! I personally have not eaten there and experienced this, but it seems pretty great from what I’ve seen.
Also, a lot of people know about the more popular Character Dining Experiences, like at The Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom. Because this is lesser known, and a smaller location, it might be an easier way to get the Character Dining Experience without as much hassle.
Disney’s Beach Club holds another big draw for guests, and that’s the famous Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, located right near the pool area. It is a great casual dining option, but the main reason to visit is the ice cream. While you can grab a variety of milkshakes or sundaes, the restaurant is famous for its “Kitchen Sink”, a huge sundae that serves four.
It has scoops of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream, and mint chocolate chip ice cream, with all of the toppings they offer piled on top. Of course, you can order a couple other variations of it if you don’t like the normal ice cream flavors offered.
A few of the best restaurants within walking distance of the Beach Club villas:
- Flying Fish on the BoardWalk
- Le Cellier Steakhouse at the Canada Pavilion at Epcot
- Monsieur Paul above Les Chefs de France in the France Pavilion at Epcot
- Il Mulino New York Trattoria at the Walt Disney World Swan Resort
- Restaurant Marrakesh in the Morocco Pavilion at Epcot
What it Offers for the Kids
I’m sure for many of you, a big question in your mind is where to stay in Disney World with kids? You need to find a resort that has stuff to offer both parents and kids, but if the kids aren’t happy, then it probably won’t be a very fun vacation for anyone.
Of course for Disney’s Beach Club, as I talked about above, there’s the wonderful and expansive pool complex and all the activities to do within that area. With the sandy area, it might be a good idea to buy or bring sand pails and rakes for them to play with while you lounge poolside.
It’s important to keep an eye on the resort’s schedule throughout your stay, because they tend to have activities like movies outside and campfires at night for guests. Also, you can have your child (ages 4-12) join Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew, a nightly experience with fun games and food, so that you can possibly have some adult time doing something else (maybe go to a nice restaurant?).
It’s hard to tell if there would be enough activities for children during a longer stay, as the schedules are tentative, and usually details are only available closer to your stay.
Is it Worth it?
I always recommend Disney’s Beach Club villas. The resort facilities might not be as new or as themed as other places, but with Stormalong Bay and the supreme location, it doesn’t need to be. The villa rooms are beautiful and spacious, but compared to villas at any other DVC resort, there’s nothing really that makes them stand out as exceptional. The resort is close to two of the four parks, and gives you easy access to the BoardWalk.
As a rating, I give Disney’s Beach Club villas four out of five stars (or, as you can see below, a 90% overall rating). While the resort has almost everything you could want or need during your stay, it’s one downfall is it’s older theming, which may be a draw for some, but doesn’t really keep up with the great design of the newer resorts.
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