Disney’s Beach Club Resort is my favorite on-property resort for quite a few reasons, all of which I’m ecstatic to share with you today. It’s no easy task to pick a favorite Disney anything, but this one is a hands-down winner for me.
The kids, our nanny, and I had the chance to head to our favorite standing vacation spot last week for a quick spring break getaway. The inspiration for my trip (like I needed one!) was that I wanted to take Nico back to Disney one more time before he turned 3 and I had to start paying for his park ticket! But really, we’ll take any excuse to head to our home away from home!
We arrived to Orlando International Airport via Southwest Airlines straight from Pittsburgh. We took at 5:20am flight, which was really fun with two littles. Fortunately, my kids are great travelers these days, so it wasn’t too bad. It was especially fun for Nico to finally connect that fact that we were in the airplane while it was in the sky. After landing at MCO, we hopped aboard our Magical Express (the free Disney transportation that picks up your luggage from Baggage Claim, delivers it to your room, and delivers you to your resort — so long as you are staying on property!) and were Beach Club Bound. We were greeted at the entrance of the resort by cast members who made us feel right at home.
Our long day included a first stop at Minnie’s Beach Bash at Cape May Cafe inside Beach Club. It’s a character breakfast that is the perfect way to kick off any Disney vacation! Particularly when you’re starving! The kids were treated to breakfast visits from Minnie Mouse, Donald and Daisy Duck, and Goofy while enjoying a delicious breakfast that went a long way to recharge our batteries.
Before breakfast was over we got an alert via text message that our room was already ready! It wasn’t even 11am. Needless to say, when you’re traveling with young children, having a room ready early get the resort major bonus points. Our room came fitted with a pack n play, as requested, and two queen beds. We quickly unpacked, got our pool clothes on, and took off for the most magical of Disney pools- Stormalong Bay!
Stormalong Bay is easily on every “Top Disney Resort Pools” list. In fact, if it wasn’t on a list you read, I’d seriously have to question the author. It is an attraction in and of itself. If your eyes didn’t give it away, you would know this is among the best of the best that Disney hast offer from the security alone. Getting into Stormalong Bay takes some work! Yes, you always are supposed to be a guest to use a Disney Resort pool; however, it’s not strictly enforced. At Stormalong Bay, you have to show and scan a valid room key or Magic Band in order to gain access. You also get a wristband (colors change every day) as an additional measure of security. It’s just that great!
This is a family friendly pool for guests of all ages. And by pool- there are several. Three in fact. The first is the “shallow sand” pool, where the maximum depth is somewhere from 18-30″ depending on where you’re standing or sitting. This is the perfect place for the youngest of visitors to hang out! This is the area where the afternoon games and activities are also conducted.
This part of the pool is sand lined, with several man-made sand islands as well. Everyone knows that you have a good hour drive to get any beach time in out of your Central Florida vacation, but at Disney’s Beach Club, the beach comes to you. All the perks of a beach without having to travel to the beach AND you don’t have to worry about sea creatures (sharks, jellyfish, etc!), seaweed, red tide, big waves, or sharp objects in the water. It doesn’t matter how long we spend here, I have to literally drag my kids out when we’re finished. Even when they’re half sleeping!
The next pool is the Lazy River, which is a deep water lazy river (6-8 feet) with an artificial current. This is where you find many adults that are visiting the resort. Tubes and noodles are provided as a courtesy from Disney.
The last pool is the open swim zone, most akin to your “normal” pool. There are waterfalls adding to the already stunning aesthetics, two hot tubs, and beautiful sights of the resort. There are also two water slides in the area of the resort called “Shipwreck,” complete with a giant pirates ship! The first slide is for kids of all ages which is self-contained in the Shipwreck area, and the second is a bigger one for the more adventurous of heart that dumps into the normal pool. No specific height requirements, but you do have to be able to go down on your own without an adult.
Last special pool area, which is technically part of the regular pool, is the whirlpool area. It’s a small area that has a stronger current slushing around; much stronger than the lazy river! It’s a fun alternative and reminds me of my days trying to make currents in above ground pools as a child.
Speaking of – one thing I didn’t mention is that Beach Club is actually a sister hotel of Disney’s Yacht Club. Together, the resorts are called Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts. Each has a different variation of the theme- Yacht Club looking a little more upscale and well, yachty, with Beach Club representing more of your east coast beach. When staying at either resort, you get the benefit of the amenities of both resorts. This leads to my second favorite thing about Beach Club- double the amenities!
That’s right! Double the restaurants, double the marketplace stores, double the size, double the rooms, double the busses for transportation, double the bars, everything! It’s such a great perk to get the benefit of two different (although similar) resorts during one trip without having to change rooms!
Running alongside the pools are a few of these amenities- the Lafferty Place Arcade, the Ship Shape Health Club and Spa, and the favorite ice cream shop of just about every Disney regular- Beaches & Cream Cream Soda Shop.
If you wonder past Stormalong Bay and head towards Shipwreck, you’ll stumble upon Hurricane Hannas. This restaurant and full service bar is accessible to resort guests and others that are in the Disney’s Boardwalk area. It is always busy! Here you can find popular and healthy lunch and dinner options, with fun drinks themed in line with the resort. They also have Yeungling beer on tap here- which is always fun for me because it is a beer brewed in Pennsylvania (and happens to be one of my favorites!).
Walking out of Hurricane Hannas, you are greeted by Disney’s Crescent Lake and gorgeous views of Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, along with affiliated properties, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. You can walk around the lake and enjoy the amenities of three additional resorts- full of all their own amazing Disney touches and signature items! One of my favorite things to do is rent a surrey and bike around the lake. The views are just stunning.
You can also board ferry boats here for transportation to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT, as well as a ride between the five linked resorts themselves. If you’re staying at Yacht or Beach Club, there’s really no reason whatsoever to ride the ferry, as your own backdoor entrance to World Showcase (between France and the UK) is waiting for you just a few steps away.
As EPCOT has long been my favorite park, this is hands down my favorite reason to stay at Beach Club. From the time you step off of Beach Club, you are about 300-350 feet from the ticket booth and security line at the back entrance of EPCOT. When you’re traveling with young kids, this is just an absolutely amazing feature. Further adding to its awesomeness- because most guests entering EPCOT enter on the complete opposite end of the park, a good 15 minute walk if you hustle, if you go in at opening, it’s almost as if you have the entire park to yourself, as there are never more than 30-40 guests waiting to enter through the back, even at the busiest times.
For me, not having to pack up a stroller just to break it down to get on a bus is a MAJOR perk. To be able to do that for two parks via walking or ferry or even a third (Magic Kingdom) by walking around to the front of EPCOT and taking the monorail, is the most convenient thing ever! The ferries also let you hop on without breaking down the strollers (for the time being at least, I always feel like that can change at any minute), and I’m all about that!
If you have any affinity for eating and drinking your way around the world, to me the obvious place to stay is at any of the Boardwalk Area resorts (Yacht, Beach, Boardwalk, Swan, Dolphin). But Beach Club will always be my favorite, and now you know why!