Picking a hotel at Disney World can be difficult - with over 25 resort hotels, in addition to a number of large chain hotels nearby - how do you know which is right for you?
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If you're considering staying "on-property," I'd highly recommend Disney's Beach Club, for a number of reasons - I hope you'll agree! (Though, let's be honest - you'll have an amazing time no matter where you stay!!) For us, on-property is definitely the way to go, and we like to go "whole hog" - dining plan and all!
The Beach Club's location...absolutely cannot be topped. It's the #1 reason to pick the Beach Club as your home-away-from-home on your next trip to Disney. Surrounding a large lagoon, you can perfectly easily walk to the (connected) Yacht Club - its sister hotel, including its restaurants and lounge (Disney speak for bar), an array of dining, drinking, and dancing venues on Disney's Boardwalk and, best of all, Epcot.
A hop, skip, and a jump from the Beach Club is Disney's Boardwalk, which is chalk full of non-resort/park restaurants and bars for your delectation. Remember - unless you have a park hopper pass or tickets for that day, you cannot go to Epcot for meals. However, you can stop by the Boardwalk whenever! And, many of these restaurants take the Disney Dining Plan, though you should always confirm in advance, just to be sure.
For one recommendation, we had a fun meal at Trattoria al Forno, offering classic Italian fare with a lively, open kitchen full of energy. It costs just one table-service dining credit, so it's a nice way to spend an evening fairly close to home.
And, to top it all off with one of my favorite bits, after (or before!) dinner, you can buy to-go alcoholic drinks and take a walk around the Boardwalk!
For the days when you do have tickets to Epcot (or, if you do have the park hopper), it is not possible to be closer than the Beach Club. Walk down the well-lit, wide boulevard-style walkway to enter Epcot through its back entrance - you'll come out at the bridge that leads to the Country Showcase (between England and France). The walk could not possibly take more than 5 minutes, and as it's packed with fellow tourists and well-lit, it makes for a comfortable walk home after a long day at the park!
If you are hopping over just for a meal at Epcot, remember that you'll still have to go through the park entrance and security, so allow plenty of time. But, the walk is short and quick! You'll enter through the "back entrance" to the park which is significantly less crowded, but remember - that'll likely change soon, as the new Skyliner gondola finally opens. It will drop off at this back entrance and likely cause crowd levels back there to skyrocket.
The Beach and Yacht Club are home to one of the most renowned pools in Disney World, Stormalong Bay, complete with a lazy river, in addition to the Beach Club's own pool (pictured below). Remember - only Beach and Yacht Club guests can use what is widely regarded as the most desirable pool in Disney World, so this is a definitely perk for my sun-worshipping friends! Crowds fluctuate throughout the year - during our time in February, neither pool was very crowded, but hit this place at Spring Break and you'll definitely want to reserve a deck chair!
Though it was fairly stressful, and thus not pictured, the Beach Club does have a great amenity - the Marketplace. A convenience store/quick mart restaurant, you can get everything from Mickey-shaped waffles to all the best souvenirs. You can refill your resort mugs and buy sunscreen to prevent those surprise sunburns! Crowded and a bit overwhelming, I can't underestimate how nice it was to be able to grab a quick and easy breakfast before hitting the parks!
Finally, the Beach Club is easily accessible, with a parking lot and well-managed pick-up/drop-off area right out front - we took a few Ubers and they had no problem finding us. The Disney buses also pick up and drop off just to the left of the snap below - a very quick walk from the hotel's main entrance, accessible down a nice, flowered walkway.
Rooms at the Beach Club are fairly standard, nice hotel fare. They are not "over-the-top" themed, but also aren't particularly unique. But comfortable beds, plenty of space, a small balcony, and nice-smelling bath amenities are about all I can ask for! The rooms have been recently spruced up, though they clearly get very heavy wear.
Our room featured two Queen-sized beds, and sofa bed (though, in fairness, I'm not sure how the sofa bed could have actually pulled out and not hit the beds, but I didn't try it).
Not pictured, but the room does feature a coffee/tea machine and a fridge (not a minibar, but good for holding any doggie bags or wine for in-room consumption, which they do sell in the Marketplace!).
Off-Property Recommendation: Hilton, Bonnet Creek
While we're at it, I've been thinking a bit about our first trip to Disney - If you're looking to stay off-property, the neighboring Hilton Bonnet Creek complex, including the Waldorf, is a great fit. They have free buses to Disney, a number of restaurants (there is both a Hilton and a Waldorf, both with several restaurants), and large pools. Personally, I'm an on-property person forever, going forward, but to each her own!
Thanks so much for stopping by - tell me about your most recent trip to Disney in the comments! Where do you stay??
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