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Disney Beach Club Reviews

On our most recent trip to Disney World we debated between a few on-site resorts including Animal Kingdom and the Polynesian.  After reading about the awesome swimming pools at Disney’s Beach Club Resort plus their close proximity to Epcot we were sold.  We got a great deal through Orbitz (read our post about that here) but in the future I might consider booking directly through Disney to take advantage of their dining program.

I knew that the Beach Club was undergoing some room renovations and I REALLY wanted the opportunity to stay in a newly renovated room so I made a request online as well as over the phone about 10 days before our arrival date.  Unfortunately there wasn’t enough Disney magic to go around that day and we were booked on the second floor in a non-renovated room.

The plus side is that our room, number 2598, was a corner unit in a quiet section of the resort close to Epcot.  It came with a balcony that’s twice the size of the other standard rooms and was a great place for us to hang our wet swimsuits and towels.

Disney Beach Club Reviews
Room 2598 is a big corner room with a large balcony
Disney Beach Club Review
Our HUGE balcony!

The hallway in the room was surprisingly wide with enough space to put Stink’s portable crib and jogging stroller on one side and about a foot of space on the other side for walking around.  There was also a large closet for storing our luggage.

Disney Beach Club Resort
The wide hallway in our room

Our hotel room was bright and spacious and despite not being renovated the decor was still in great shape.  The entire room was huge, including the area around the sink, although the bathroom itself was quite tiny with just a few inches of space between the door and the toilet.

Disney Beach Club reviews
Lots of room around the sink but little room inside the bathroom

The room included a small fridge but no microwave, a complaint I had about the Shades of Green resort as well.  How’s a mom going to heat up water for a bottle with no microwave?  Still, the fridge came in handy for cooling down our bottles of water and if you turn it up on full blast it gets cold enough to freeze ice packs.  Ice packs and an insulated lunch box came in very handy at the parks; we packed juice, fruit and cheese for Stink so she always had a healthy snack.

Disney Beach club reviews
Our bright and spacious room

Disney Beach Club Reviews

Our favorite part of the room, though, was the iPod docking station and speaker.  We grabbed our iPod from the car and played Stink’s lullaby music every night which helped to drown out the boom of the nightly fireworks.  Stink and I are both light sleepers so bringing nighttime music is a must for all of our trips!

It’s often said that Disney’s Beach Club has the best pool of all the Disney resorts and I can see why.  We spent our entire first day at the resort by their pool, Stormalong Bay, which is shared with the Yacht Club Resort next door.  Stink thoroughly enjoyed the sandy bottom of the kiddie pool, making sand castles with her new friends while Brandon and I swapped parent duty so we could each float around in the lazy river.  My only complaints are the lack of shade around the pool and the fact that the lazy river tubes are GIANT and really hard to get into if you’re vertically challenged.  It’s worth noting that the lazy river is also 6 feet deep and not walkable so I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t get a little pool workout.  But, hey, it’s Disney!  Why work out when you don’t have to?

Disney Beach Club reviews
Hanging out at Stormalong Bay

Because I had so much planned for us at the parks I really wanted to make sure our day at the Beach Club Resort was flexible so I didn’t make reservations at their popular Beaches & Cream restaurant, though I did want to eat there for dinner.  While we were at the pool I stopped by to make a reservation and was disappointed to learn that I couldn’t make one at the door, only online through the MyDisneyExperience app or at the concierge desk inside the hotel.  Since I was in my bathing suit I chose the former and found that they were fully booked for dinner that evening.  We decided to take a walk over to the Boardwalk instead and enjoyed a relaxing dinner at the Big River Grille.  I highly recommend a visit to the Boardwalk for shopping or dining.  Grab a pastry or breakfast sandwich at the Boardwalk Bakery on your way to Epcot!

Beach Club’s close proximity to Epcot is really convenient.  It’s one of our favorite parks to visit and we were excited to be going during their International Flower and Garden Festival.  Another perk to our room was a stairwell right outside our door that we could take to a side path on the resort.  This path leads along the side of the hotel, coming out on the main path quite close to the Epcot gate.

Disney Beach club reviews
The view from our balcony. If you head in the other direction of this path it takes you to the “secret gate” close to Epcot

I thought it would take much longer to walk to Epcot so we left about half an hour before the park opened.  It really only took 5 minutes to reach the entrance and we spent the rest of the time waiting in line to get in.  A security officer told us that the side gate to Epcot is opened 5-10 minutes earlier than the main gate to allow guests to have time to get to the front of the park.  LIES. ALL LIES.  If you’re leaving from the side gate of Beach Club then you need only leave about 15 minutes before the park opens.  Allow an extra 5-10 minutes if you’re staying on the Yacht Club side of the resort.

The Verdict: The Beach Club and the Yacht Club share the same pool but the Beach Club is the more child-friendly of the two.  We got a great deal during Spring Break but $350 per night for a hotel is still pretty expensive compared to off-site hotels.  Still, I would definitely stay at Beach Club again, especially because of the great pool and the character dining they offer on-site at Cape May Cafe.

What To Do:  If you stay at the Beach Club Resort you should spend a full day just at the resort, or a few half-days.  You can check out their monthly recreation guide which is chock-full of activities as almost all Disney resorts are.  Stink loved marshmallow roasting but the Movie Under the Stars started right at her bedtime so we skipped that.  She was also too young for the Sandcastle Club but if we stay at the Beach Club in the future then we will definitely check it out.

Disney Beach Club Reviews
Stink LOVED roasting marshmallows. Actually she just loved the marshmallow part
Disney Beach Club Reviews
Most Disney resorts, including Shades of Green, have a TV spot in the lobby for the kids to hang out while the parents check in

Tips and Tricks: I recommend stopping by a grocery store or getting groceries delivered through companies such as Garden Grocer.  Though the Beach Club has a small grocery and gift shop downstairs the prices are astronomical.  A pint of raspberries was $10, a single piece of fruit (banana or apple) was $1.69 and a 1.5L of bottled water was $3.75.  We brought a small supply of snacks and drinks with us but they didn’t last long and we ended up spending a lot more on food that week than we expected.

Child Friendly? Absolutely!  The Stormalong Bay is appropriate for all ages with a 230-foot waterslide and a sandy bottom kiddie pool.  Meeting Goofy, Minnie and Donald at the Cape May character dining is another great experience for all kids.

Pet Friendly? No.

Disney Beach Club Reviews
Image courtesy of Scott Thomas via Flickr Creative Commons

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