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Whenever you travel to a new Walt Disney World resort, it’s important to know all the quirks and perks that resort has to offer!
Even if you’re a returning guest, you might find that you didn’t learn everything the first time around. Disney also constantly looks for ways to update and enhance the guest experience, so taking a minute to look into your resort can let you know exactly what to expect for your trip.
Disney’s Beach Club Resort is one of those unique stays that occasionally can be difficult to navigate, but just a bit of reading ahead of time will help you to be in the know!
Use these Disney Beach Club tips to plan ahead, rock your itinerary, and have an incredible time!
Planning Your Disney Beach Club Vacation
#1 Plan Ahead
There’s a misconception that every second of a Disney vacation needs to be planned. While that is not true, you should be sure to know what you do have to take care of ahead of time. Make your dining reservations 180 days ahead of your stay (60 days for the time being), get your park passes and tickets, and of course learn more about your resort!
#2 Set up Your Week
In the same frame of mind, determine what days you will be doing which activities before your trip. Especially with the park pass system, know which days will be park days (and which park you’ll be in) and which days will be off days. If you know you’re going to get up early for the Magic Kingdom on Tuesday, maybe don’t plan a late night out on Monday.
#3 Choose Daily Outfits
Planning out your outfits for each day will make packing easier, and also helps to coordinate the family for photo opportunities. This tip is particularly good with kids, as it simplifies packing and getting ready while on your trip!
Since you’re going to the Beach Club, you might want to toss in your tropical gear as well. There are awesome photo opps along the beach or at Cape May Café.
#4 Special Celebrations
Make sure you indicate if you’re having a celebration during your stay! A birthday, anniversary, honeymoon, or really any celebration will be marked by special decorations in your room.
Since the celebration styles tend to be themed along with the resort, you’ll end up with your own beach gear and nautical décor to go along with whatever you are already celebrating!
#5 Yacht or Beach? Know the Difference.
While there isn’t a massive amount of difference between these two sister resorts, the Beach Club has a more family friendly atmosphere. The Yacht Club is perfect for couples or a party of adults, and has an upscale feel. Meanwhile, if you have kids in your party, you’ll probably feel more at home at the Beach Club.
However, if you’re trying to book the Beach Club and can’t for some reason, the Yacht Club is an ideal alternative!
#6 Consider a Villa
Like several other Disney resorts, you can find Disney Vacation Club (DVC) accommodations at the Beach Club Villas. The DVC studios and villas offer more space, storage, and home amenities. Particularly in the villas, as they are equipped with a full kitchen and laundry units. As a consistent renter of DVC points, I personally would go for a studio or villa.
While these units are designed for families or bigger parties, I’ve certainly enjoyed the luxury of a getaway with my husband in a one bedroom villa!
#7 Rent DVC Points
Speaking of DVC, if you would rather stay on the Villas side of the resort, often it is more cost effective to use DVC points. For those that don’t have DVC points of their own, or know someone who will let you borrow, it is easy to rent DVC points through a third party service. The point value per night is less than the “face value” of the resort, so I almost always go for this option!
#8 Room Requests
If you want to have a particular view, or want to be on a specific floor, you can make room requests when booking. To make room requests over the phone, call 407-939-7630. You can also make your room requests through the app, but those options might be a bit more limited than taking the time to make a phone call.
#9 Plan Your Parks.
If you’re staying at the Beach Club, it is almost a waste not to hit Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Just a short walk, and you’re right at the International Gateway entrance to Epcot. At the same location, you can hop onto Disney’s Skyliner to get to the Studios. You can also walk or take the boat, but the Skyliner is the most direct route.
I get it, the Magic Kingdom might be your first priority, but don’t count out the proximity of these other parks. With the new attractions coming to Epcot and the addition of Galaxy’s Edge at the Studios, these are experiences you won’t want to miss!
#10 Pack Snacks
Growing up, my family always brought our own snacks. Whether you take them into the park or have them for the pool, this is an easy way to save money. Additionally, if you have picky eaters in your group, bringing your own snacks will prevent tantrums or hungry kiddos!
This tip is particularly useful for those with dietary restrictions, as you can be sure to have the food you need while you’re on your trip. Even if you’re flying, there’s plenty of food that you can check in your bag.
#11 Disney’s Magical Express
If you’re flying into Orlando, you’re going to want to take advantage of this free service to get you to your resort!
Disney’s Magical Express takes the stress out of getting to and from Disney property, insuring that you arrive at the correct location without any extra cost. If you checked any luggage, you will need to collect it before heading to the bus, but the driver will stow it for you and retrieve it when you get to your resort.
I am obsessed with this service and its convenience. If I know I’m not going to be leaving Disney property, this is a great way to avoid the expense of renting a car while putting the responsibility of travel on someone else.
#12 Know Your Route
For those driving to the resort, make sure you know exactly what route you need to take to get to Disney’s Beach Club Resort. While many of us depend on the GPS, it’s important to check the map ahead of time to be sure you’re headed to the right place. There are quite a few resorts in the Epcot area, and you don’t want to get yourself lost.
#13 Arrive Early.
Often what I like to do is plan my arrival so I can get to the resort in the morning to take advantage of the pool and other amenities. This goes double for the Beach Club!
Stormalong Bay is one of the best pools in all of Disney World, and the more use you can get out of it, the happier you’ll be. Timing your arrival to the resort will get you started with your vacation that much sooner!
#14 Get the App, Get the Map
The My Disney Experience app has become a crucial component to any Walt Disney World vacation! From purchasing tickets and making dining reservations, to obtaining a coveted Rise of the Resistance boarding pass, the app is essential.
My Disney Experience is important at your resort as well, as you can use it for Online Check-in and even as your room key. For the Beach Club, you’re going to want to take advantage of the map features on the app. Not only can you navigate your resort, but it will help you as you transition into the parks.
#15 Holiday Magic
There’s no place more magical than Disney World at Christmastime! All of the resorts look amazing, decked out for Christmas, but the Beach Club has just that little bit of something extra.
Every year, there’s an incredible gingerbread carousel display that you’ve just got to see! If you’re planning to go at Christmas, even if you aren’t staying at the resort, make plans to stop by.
Beach, Love, and Mickey Mouse – Let’s Get this Vacation Started!
Once you’re at the Disney Beach Club, we have several tips to help you enjoy your stay! Whether you’re spending a ton of time at the resort or rocking the parks, there’s plenty you can do to make sure you have an awesome time.
#16 Online Check-in
One of the first things you should do when you arrive is check in. You can actually use the My Disney Experience app to do this weeks ahead of time. However, I suggest waiting until your flight comes in or you’re driving onto Disney property. From there, you can check back periodically to see if you have been assigned your room.
This is great, because you can skip the front desk and head straight to the pool or the parks. You can even leave your luggage at the concierge if your room isn’t ready and you have places to go!
#17 Take a Picture of the Room
It will never look this nice again, so you should take a picture of your room before you settle in. The theming in the room is awesome, with the vintage beach look and classic color palette. Light, airy, and refreshing, you’ll definitely want to remember this space.
Take time to look for some special Disney features and hidden Mickeys as well!
#18 Get Unpacked
Once you’re in your room, get unpacked and settled right away. This will make the rest of your trip run more smoothly, especially if you have kids. Also, if you’re waking up early for a park, you don’t want to risk tripping over a suitcase or not knowing where important items are located. Get unpacked, put everything in a place, and there will be one less potential stressor!
#19 High Beverage Spending? You want the Mug.
Since the invention of the Disney Dining Plan, resort guests have been able to purchase a refillable mug for all self-service beverages. Whether you have the plan or not, you can buy the mug for $19.99 at several places throughout the resort. If you tend to spend a lot of money on nonalcoholic drinks (soda, juice, coffee, etc.), the mug can save you quite a bit!
The free refills are only good for the length of your stay, but as the mugs change in design from time to time, they make great souvenirs. I particularly like to fill mine with coffee on the way to the park, and then rise it out and use it for water later. The refills don’t work in the parks, but if you bring a soda bottle or another beverage you can use the mug then.
You can often get seasonal refill mugs as well at prime times like Halloween and Christmas or for special anniversaries.
#20 Where is the Mug?
Trying to find your refillable mug? Beaches and Cream Soda Shop, Hurricane Hanna’s Waterside Bar & Grill, Beach Club Marketplace, all have it. You can also check out Market at Ale and Compass over at the Yacht Club.
Refill stations are outside Hurricane Hanna’s and at the Beach Club Marketplace, although we recommend the first if you’re at the pool.
#21 Sit on Your Balcony
As almost all the rooms have a balcony or patio, you should make good use of it! Sit out in the morning and enjoy a coffee, or watch the sun set as the evening begins to cool off. You might even catch some of the neighboring fireworks shows at night!
If you’re traveling with kids and you’re all in one room, the balcony is especially nice. You can have some quiet time in the evening without waking your sleeping kiddos, while enjoying one of the features of your resort.
#22 Use. The. Pool.
I’m not over exaggerating when I tell you how awesome Stormalong Bay is. Heated water, incredible shipwreck slide, sandy bottom, and a lazy river? Come on, it’s amazing! Not only that, but the pool area is huge, spreading between the Yacht and Beach Clubs like an oasis.
You definitely want to plan to spend a day at this pool, and I suggest your first day. It’s a great way to ease into your vacation, and take advantage of the resort amenities at the same time. Not only that, it’s just a great place to hang out!
#23 Keep Off the Beach
There are plenty of signs and fences to remind you, but the beach itself is off limits. You’re in Florida after all, and not all of the wildlife is animatronic. Those sign posts are there for a reason, so respect them for your own safety.
It is a bit disappointing, as in years past you could lounge on the beach, but again the rules are there for your protection.
#24 Keep Your MagicBand with You
You should be doing this anyway, but especially at the Beach Club you should make sure everyone always wears their MagicBand. When you go the pool, you’ll need to scan in, and at peak times a Cast Member may check to be sure you’re Beach Club guests.
As Stormalong Bay is so popular, plenty of other resort guests try to use this pool area. To prevent this, guests use their MagicBands to prove that they are staying at the Beach Club. Please don’t be offended by this, these procedures make sure you’re not going to be overrun!
#25 Get to the Pool Early
Again, this is a popular area. If you want to spend the day at Stormalong Bay, you and your whole group need to get there in the morning when the pool opens. You can’t save seats at any Disney pool, and that almost goes double for a popular pool like Stormalong Bay.
If you’re using the space consistently, that’s fine, but make sure you’re there. Cast Members will remove resort towels that sit too long on vacant chairs, so just be aware of your space.
#26 Sorry, No Pool Rafts at Stormalong Bay.
This is a rule at all guarded Disney pools, but even more strictly enforced at a popular destination like Stormalong Bay. Life vests and puddle jumpers are allowed, but any sort of floatation device that isn’t attached the swimmer’s body isn’t permitted.
I point this out for two reasons: One, as beach-like as this pool is, it’s still a pool. The lifeguards have to be able to see everyone, and large floats prevent this. Two, with the lazy river, guests might be tempted to think that this rule is suspended. That is incorrect. You can borrow a Beach Club pool noodle or clear inner tube for floating along the current, but you need to leave your personal floats in your room.
#27 Pool Day? Pack a Charger.
If you’re going to spend the day at the pool, you’ll want to throw a charger (preferably of the portable variety) in your pool bag. With the layout of the resort, some of the rooms can be far away from the pool area. If you don’t want to hike back to your room and then be without your phone while it charges, you’ll take advantage of this tip.
#28 Don’t Worry about a Towel!
Disney resorts provide pool towels to their guests, so don’t worry about bringing your own! You can of course, but sometimes it’s nice to have one less item to carry.
You also can borrow life vests at the Disney pools, so you can save room in the suitcase and leave the puddle jumper at home. Again, if you’re more comfortable with your own, that’s fine. However, as someone who often flies, I appreciate the fact that I don’t need these bulky items!
#29 Lunch at the Pool!
Even if you bring your own pool snacks, there are plenty of food and beverage options if you want something more substantial.
The Beaches & Cream quick service window is a great option, as is Hurricane Hanna’s Waterside Bar and Grill. At Hurricane Hanna’s, we recommend the seafood roll with homemade chips, while you can’t go wrong with a burger from Beaches & Cream.
#30 No Towels on the Balcony
In order to preserve the classic look of the Beach Club, Disney does not allow guests to hang their towels out on the balconies. While you don’t have to pack a beach towel, as the resort provides them, if you do bring your own towel plan to hang it up in your room. If you have a villa, just pop your towels in the dryer instead.
#31 Need Quiet? Try a Leisure Pool
Both the Yacht Club and Beach Club have their own leisure pools separate from Stormalong Bay. The Beach Club Villas also has a pool for their guests (although any Beach Club guest can use it). If you need a little quiet, or want a change of scenery from Stormalong Bay, the leisure pools can be a great option.
#32 Use the Retractable Line in Your Shower
The balcony rule goes for bathing suits too, but Disney has got you covered! In each shower at the Beach Club, you’ll find a retractable drying line so you can hang up your wet things there to dry. If you’re worried about air circulation, leave the fan on to help assist with the drying.
Again, if you’re in the Beach Club Villas, just use the dryer!
#33 Beach Club Marketplace
I love this cute little store, particularly because all the Beach Club merchandise is so perfectly themed. Get an adorable beach bag, towel, or cover-up sporting the Beach Club logo. You can also grab any pool essentials you might have forgotten while getting a souvenir at the same time!
The Marketplace also has a small snack food selection, as well as delicious fresh-made gelato. Definitely worth stopping in for a visit!
#34 Cape May Café
If you love seafood, you have to check out Cape May Café! At breakfast time, join your favorite Disney characters in their seaside best for a delicious breakfast buffet. For lunch and dinner, you can get a wide selection of seafood, including snow crab legs, and fresh carved meats.
For those not into seafood, don’t worry, there’s plenty of incredible pasta dishes and other hot offerings that feature other meats and vegetables.
#35 Ask About Discounts
DVC members, annual pass holders, and Disney Visa card members all have varying discounts throughout Walt Disney World. Beaches & Cream and Cape May Café both offer discounts in all these categories. If you’re not sure what discounts are available to you, you can look it up ahead of time, or just ask! As someone with the Disney Visa, I always ask when we’re shopping or dining. The worst thing that happens is the Cast Member tells you no!
I’m not kidding when I say you can literally see Canada from your window (depending on where you are in the resort). Walking to Epcot is by far the quickest way to get there, and it is faster than the bus. Yes, there is a bus to Epcot, but in the time it would take to walk to the bus stop you would already be in the park!
It’s understandable that you might choose to take other transportation to Hollywood Studios, but you can also walk there. I would recommend it, at least at the beginning of the day, because it is the least busy route.
#37 Bus Stop is out Front
There’s only one Disney transportation bus stop at the Beach Club, located right out in front of the lobby. Just go to the right of the main entrance, and you’ll find the stop. The only downside is if you’re staying a little ways from the lobby, you’ll need to make time to walk to the bus stop.
The Yacht Club has its own stop, so make sure when you’re coming back that you get off at the right one!
#38 Ride the Monorail
Another great transportation alternative is the Epcot monorail. This line runs from Epcot to the Ticket and Transportation Center, and from there you can hop a ride to the Magic Kingdom.
It is about a fifteen-minute monorail ride, but that’s roughly the same as a bus ride. It’s a nice change of pace, and definitely more convenient if you have a stroller or a wheelchair in your group. Besides, who doesn’t love a good monorail ride?
#39 Use Your Own Car
All of this is moot if you have your own vehicle! Unless you’re DVC, you have to pay to park at the resorts. However, if you pay to park at the resort, you don’t have to pay the parking fee at the theme parks! With this in mind, I always suggest taking your own car. It is the fastest and most dependable way to get anywhere, especially at the end of a park day.
#40 Explore the Boardwalk
The boardwalk joins all the Epcot resorts in this area. Forming a loop, you can check out all the fun carnival activities over on the BoardWalk side, or just get in some good exercise! It’s an easy way to check out all the different resorts in your area, giving you something to do on your day off from the parks.
#41 Use Mobile Order
Skip the line and order your counter service meals on your app! Whether you’re in the parks or just picking up pizza on the boardwalk, Mobile Order is an ideal way to get your food without having to wait. You also can find more customizations on the app, which helps you to get the food just the way you want it.
This is a great chance to plan ahead, especially if you have small children you need to wrangle, so you can quickly grab your food and be off on your day. Fast, convenient, and easy!
#42 Breakfast? Get in, Get out.
Beach Club Marketplace is where you want to head if you’re planning to breakfast at the resort before you head out. However, you may want to get there early or take your food back to your room to eat. Since this is the main counter service location, you’re going to find lots of other families with the same idea!
You can also check out The Market at Ale & Compass at the Yacht Club if that’s a bit closer to your room, just remember you’ll be competing with Yacht Club guests.
This is where mobile order really comes in handy!
#43 Go to Beaches & Cream!
Ice-cream lovers will flip for Beaches & Cream Soda Shop! Make a reservation for an inside table, or walk up to the window to get something to go.
Enjoy classic 1950s burger joint cuisine, or go straight for dessert. Beaches & Cream has amazing sundaes, shakes, and specialty desserts, but the crowning glory is the Kitchen Sink. Served in an actual sink bowl, eight scoops of ice cream come covered in all the toppings you can imagine, as well as a full can of whipped cream! More recently, there have been variations on the Kitchen Sink, but the original version is certainly a remarkable sight.
#44 Take a Break
Especially if you’re at Epcot or Hollywood Studios, don’t be afraid to take a break in the middle of your park day. The proximity of the Beach Club to these parks makes it easy to get back quickly, so you won’t lose time on travel.
In the summer, saying Florida is hot is an understatement. Everyone in your group, from little ones to grown-ups, will be glad for the chance to take a dip during the day. This tip is particularly useful if you’re planning to go to the park in the evening, as you can recharge a bit before a late night.
#45 Beachside Campout
Disney’s Beach Club is one of the many resorts that has outdoor evening activities for families, such as roasting marshmallows over a campfire and a family-friendly Disney movie out under the stars. Having the chance to watch the movie out on the beach (even if it’s just the volleyball court) while you enjoy your snack heightens the magic.
The full schedule of these activities is available at the Front Desk, so be sure to check them out!
#46 Watch Epcot’s Fireworks
In the evening, if you walk over to the bridge that connects the boardwalk to the Yacht and Beach Club, you’ll have a decent view of the Epcot fireworks in the World Showcase Lagoon. For those that are staying in rooms that face the park or if you’re in the Villas, you might even be able to see the fireworks from your balcony! It’s a great way to end a non-park day, with a little extra magic.
Until Next Time!
#47 Pack the Night Before
It may be the last thing you feel like doing, particularly if you spent your last day at the park, but you’ll be glad you did in the morning. Leave out your outfit for the next day and your essentials, but get everything else ready to go. Your departure will be much smoother, and you will be less stressed, with this one big to-do item checked off your list.
#48 Have Breakfast Before You Leave
You might think it’s better to get up and moving on your departure day, especially if you have a flight to catch. However, if you plan ahead, there will be enough time for you to have a meal before you head out, and we suggest that you do. Heading away from Walt Disney World on an empty stomach not only will make your departure harder, but will most likely make your whole party miserable (especially the kids). Beach Club Marketplace opens at 7:00am, but if that isn’t early enough for you, consider getting some snacks the night before to hold you over until you get to the airport.
#49 Be Ready for the Bus
If you used Disney’s Magical Express, you’ll be catching their bus back to the airport. However, it is important to watch for that paperwork the night before you leave. It will indicate your departure time from the resort, which is likely a few hours before your flight. This time is determined for you, so plan accordingly for your morning.
#50 Check Out is at Eleven, but You Don’t Have to Leave!
Just because the checkout time is at 11:00am, that doesn’t make it your departure time. Feel free to stick your luggage in your car or ask for it to be held at the front desk. From there, you can enjoy the amenities of the resort for the rest of the day!
This is nice if you don’t have far to travel or you’re transitioning between phases of your vacation. No need to rush away if you don’t have to do so!
Navigate the Disney Beach Club like a pro with these tips! Now go relax and enjoy your vacation.
Grace Hoyos, Staff Writer
Grace is a life-long lover of all things Disney, particularly the parks at Walt Disney World. She is also an avid Disney Cruise Line enthusiast who regularly dreams of the white sands of Castaway Cay. Grace loves the fact that her Disney trips give her time to spend with her family, enjoy incredible food, and try new experiences.