by Jackie Perrin
Settle in to the waterfront life for a spell — by the shores of theme park magic — at Disney’s Beach Club Villas, a seaside-themed Disney Vacation Club property that offers expanded space to stretch out along with exclusive access to Stormalong Bay — the most popular pool complex in all of Walt Disney World Resort.
Opened in July, 2002 and modeled after the Stick Style cottages common in Mid-Atlantic waterfront towns at the turn of the century, the 177-unit, Robert A.M. Stern-designed timeshare resort was the fourth to debut among Walt Disney World’s Deluxe Villa properties, offering studio, one- and two-bedroom accommodations for nightly rental.
In addition to an ultra-cool sandy bottom pool, a daily character breakfast and a 50’s-themed soda shop dishing out gargantuan kitchen sink sundaes, guests can enjoy an onsite arcade, a marina with daily bike and boat rentals, nightly campfire sing-alongs and convenient access to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios via boat or walkway.
While furnishings and decor aren’t as deluxe as those found in the recently updated accommodations at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club hotels (Disney’s Beach Club Villas’ sister properties), kid-friendly luxuries, like a prime location and full kitchens and washers and dryers in villas, help keep this home-away-from-home resort a favorite among vacationing families.
Our Editor Loves
- Accommodations with comforts of home
- Onsite Childcare center
- Easy access to Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios
- Theme Park
- Water Parks
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Updated in 2009 and scheduled for another update in 2014, accommodations at Disney's Beach Club Villas are light, breezy and comfortably casual -- and come with a number of conveniences that make an extended stay easy on families.
Located adjacent to the Beach Club Resort hotel near the walkway to Epcot, the pastel-hued, five-story Disney Vacation Club property offers studios and one- and two-bedroom villas, featuring cottage-casual furnishings and linens, prints and wall decor in a seashore theme.
One- and two-bedroom villas (726 and 1,083 square feet) sleep four and eight persons respectively, plus a crib sleeper for guests under the age of 3, and contain a king bed and a TV in the master bedroom, plus a Jacuzzi tub in the master bath, connected to the bedroom by a set of shutters. In a separate living area, there's a queen-sized sofabed, as well as a second TV and a DVD player. Both types of accommodations feature a washer and dryer and a fully equipped kitchen. A rectangular dining table offers booth-style seating on one side, and a low-to-the-ground breakfast bar provides additional elbow room for diners.
Two-bedroom, two-bath villas are available in a choice of two configurations. One layout features two queen beds in the second bedroom, while the other is a studio lockout with a sofabed and a queen bed as the second room option. Note that the latter features an outside entrance -- something to consider if you're traveling with little ones.
Approximately 25 square feet smaller and averaging $10 more per night than a standard view Beach Club hotel room, Deluxe Studio Villa accommodations (356 square feet) sleep four (versus up to five in a Beach Club hotel room) and feature a queen bed and a double-sized sofabed, a bathroom, a table with two chairs, as well as a coffee table, and a kitchenette with a sink, a microwave and a mini-fridge. For some families, the kitchenette is a selling point when choosing between a Deluxe Studio Villa and a standard hotel room, since the hotel room lacks a dedicated area (and a separate sink) for food preparation. In the trade-off, guests lose a second queen bed (available at the resort hotel) and gain a Vacation Club-furnished double-sized sofabed. For Villa guests, a free laundry room (key card access; fee for detergent) is located on the fourth floor.
All rooms feature either a balcony (upper level) or a patio (ground level), as well as a Pack 'N Play and complimentary Wi-fi. Bedrails and high chairs are available upon request.
With regard to location, Beach Club Villa accommodations are a little less convenient to Stormalong Bay and poolside activities than Beach Club hotel lodgings, but are quieter and more private (no bathing suit hotel treks necessary due to a separate courtyard entry) and are closer to self-parking and the walkway to Epcot. Views aren't as choice as those available at the Beach Club hotel. For an opportunity to see the nightly Illuminations fireworks show, request an upper-floor lodging.
Stormalong Bay Pool
Considered to be the best in all of Walt Disney World, this three-acre water park pool sits on the shores of Crescent Lake and features a sandy bottom, a 230-foot shipwreck waterslide and three separate lagoons with whirlpools, waterspouts and a circular lazy river. Good luck trying to peel your party away from the splash-happy action -- and honestly, how could you blame them for protesting? Kids big and small can play for hours in the shallow sand lagoon, and there are two separate kiddie pools -- one with its own pint-sized waterslide.
Organized activities for kids and families begin around 1 p.m., with the majority occurring poolside and in the water. Daily itineraries range from rubber duck races and bucket relays to Disney family trivia contests and karaoke dance parties.
A resort keycard or Magic Band is necessary for entrance, and ports of entry are closely monitored. Swim vests are available for free at Poolside Gifts, where you can also rent inner tubes or buy pool noodles, sunscreen and swim diapers (required for non-potty-trained children). An army of lifeguards staffs the pool, but given its size and design, families with multiple children might find it difficult (and unsettling) keeping tabs. For those seeking calm and a clean set of clothes, the Tidal "Quiet Pool" is located on the Epcot side of the resort, close to two coin-operated laundry facilities.
On the Yacht Club side of the pool, there's a shaded playground (recommended for ages 3 to 12) and near the beachfront promenade, a Hair Wrap Station (open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; $2 per inch, plus beads) and the Pearl Factory (9 a.m. to 11 p.m.) -- a design-your-own pearl jewelry kiosk -- give guests more opportunities to shell out their Disney dollars.
Beach Club Solarium and Villa Sitting Rooms
In the light-filled Beach Club Solarium, not far from the Beach Club Marketplace, you can curl up with a good book in a comfortable chair, or play board or Wii games (scheduled activity) with the kids. Additional book nooks with seating include the Breezeway (open room with high ceilings) and the Drawing Room (more private area with a TV) -- both located in the Villas section.
Lafferty Place Arcade
Offering around 60 games, the pool-area fun spot is open from 6 or 7 a.m. to midnight (hours vary).
Rent bikes and take a trip along the BoardWalk, or borrow a boat and cruise Crescent Lake. Half-hour boat rental options range from Sea Raycers ($32) to Sun Trackers and Boston Whalers ($45 each), and bike rentals are $9 per hour or $18 per day. Training wheels and baby seats are also available (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
Albatross Treasure Cruise
Recommended for ages 3 to 12, but probably most appreciated by kids 5 to 10, the two-hour nautical scavenger hunt departs 9:30 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with stops at "Ports of Call" along Crescent Lake and Epcot. The $36 per child fee includes a snack and some loot. Call 407-939-7529 for reservations.
Crescent Lake Beach
Here, you'll find a sand volleyball court, lounge chairs for sunning and a nightly campfire sing-along (free) with S'mores (fee), followed by complimentary star-lit showings of popular Disney movies. Swimming is prohibited.
Located off the main lobby, the onsite childcare center for kids ages 3 to 12 offers a number of activities for older children, too, like Wii, PlayStation, board games and puzzles, as well as plenty of playthings for little ones, like a dress-up corner, a kitchen center and lots of vehicles to rev and race. You can check out the staff and the facilities -- and bring kids of all ages along for the fun -- when the club hosts complimentary Craft Time from 1 to 3 p.m. daily. Club hours are 4:30 p.m. to midnight. Cost is $11.50 per hour, per child; 24-hour advance reservations are (407-939-3463) requested.
Cape May Cafe
One of four onsite dining spots, this must for families is more "buffet" than "cafe." The venue hosts a daily character breakfast (7:30 to 11 a.m.) with Admiral Goofy and the gang, as well as a nightly buffet (5:30 to 9:30 p.m.) with clambake fixins' and more.
Beaches & Cream Soda Shop
Famous for its gargantuan Kitchen Sink Sundae (yes, it's really served in a "kitchen sink"), this 50's-style diner has a reconditioned Wurlitzer jukebox and a soda fountain and serves burgers, sandwiches and crave-worthy Milky Way sundaes. It's small and popular, and lines can linger -- visit at an off-time, if you can. Lunch and dinner are served 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Beach Club Marketplace
The only resort location offering quick-service breakfast, this bustling shop sells limited groceries, as well as breakfast croissants, salads, hot and cold wrap and roll sandwiches and homemade gelato. It features a Grab and Go section, as well. By far, the best breakfast deal -- both size and nutrition wise -- is the made to order yogurt parfait with granola and berries. The staff is super-friendly. Beach Club Marketplace is open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., with limited seating available.
Hurricane Hanna's Grill
This casual spot by Stormalong Bay Pool serves kids meals in a sand pail, along with a shovel. Kids' choices include a cheeseburger, grilled cheese, grilled chicken sandwich and chicken nuggets, and all come with a choice of 1 percent milk or water, as well as carrots and watermelon. Whole fruit, hummus with veggies, chocolate chip cookies, frozen lemonade and gelato are on the snack menu. Hurrican Hanna's Grill is open for lunch and snacks, with seasonal hours.
Disney's Yacht Club
At the Beach Club's next-door neighbor, you can stretch your palate and your pocketbook at four additional drink and dine venues. Options include Captains Grille (7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.), Yachtsman Steakhouse (dinner, 5:30 to 10 p.m.), Ale & Compass Lounge (breakfast, 6:30 to 10:30 a.m.) and Crew's Cup Lounge (noon to midnight).
Purchase a refillable mug and receive unlimited hot and cold (non-alcoholic) drink refills at Beach Club Marketplace, Beaches & Cream and Hurricane Hanna's Grill.
Kids can enjoy Mickey waffles or cookies and milk in their pajamas, or choose from a selection of the usual favorites, like hot dogs and chicken nuggets. Whole pizzas are available from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and for around $55, you can order up an in-room "Pizza Party" for four.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
From white-gloved lobby greeters who hand out stickers welcome guests, to pool staff who supply blocks and building toys for toddlers, to friendly Marketplace employees that make a habit of admiring families' newest additions, cast members at this resort really go out of their way to make kids and parents feel appreciated.
Overnight guests enjoy a number of special perks, like early-entry and late-stay theme park privileges (Extra Magic Hours), free onsite transportation, free theme park parking, the ability to make FASTPASS+ reservations 60 days in advance, and the opportunity to participate in a Disney Dining Plan with a Magic Your Way Package. Additional family-friendly privileges include online room check-in (up to 10 days in advance), resort airline check-in and airport transportation service via Disney's Magical Express.
Stormalong Pool Area Services
Ship Shape Health Club offers some of the latest in exercise equipment, as well as massages (by appointment). An attendant is on duty 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and access is available 24 hours with a venue activated resort key card. Next door, you can get a quick haircut or a pedicure at the tiny, but welcoming Periwig Beauty & Barber Shop (open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.).
Kids Nite Out, an independent agency, provides in-room resort childcare. Rates are $16 per hour for the first child, with a four-hour minimum and a $10 caregiver transportation fee.
Beach Club Marketplace
You can buy limited groceries, as well as logo resort wear, souvenirs and baby and toddler supplies at this shop, located next to the Sandcastle Club.
The Art of Smart Timing
When traveling to Walt Disney World Resort, it's best to avoid peak travel periods. Generally, these times include holidays and the summer months -- in other words, any time schools are out of session. If you do opt to visit in summertime, pack sunscreen, hydrate frequently and, unless you want to squander your souvenir money on ponchos at the parks, don't forget your raingear.
Fortunately for travelers on a budget, the least expensive times to visit Walt Disney World theme parks tend to coordinate with dates when crowds are the lightest. If your kids aren't in school yet, September is a great time to visit. Another prime time is after Thanksgiving through early December, when parks and resorts are decked out in holiday splendor. A visit to the life-sized edible carousel at Disney's Beach Club Resort is a decade-long guest tradition. Take-home gingerbread treats are available for purchase.
From Orlando International Airport (MCO): Free roundtrip airport transportation via motorcoach is available to guests (advance reservation required; limited hours) via Disney's Magical Express. To reach the resort by car, take the South Exit Road from Orlando International Airport to SR 417 Toll Road (GreeneWay) West and follow signs to Walt Disney World/Disney's Beach Club Resort.
You can reach Epcot (five to 10 minutes) and Disney's Hollywood Studios (20 minutes) via walkway, and complimentary daily boat service is provided to and from these parks. Free transportation to and from the Magic Kingdom Park and Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney water parks and Downtown Disney is provided by bus.
For Mom and Dad
If you're celebrating a special occasion, like a birthday or an anniversary, consider a splurge-worthy Evening Fireworks Specialty Cruise on Crescent Lake (call 407-939-7529 for reservations). Alternatively, at no cost whatsoever, you can view Epcot's Illuminations show -- as well as the brightly lit BoardWalk Resort -- from a swing on the sandy beach or from a bench along the beachfront promenade.