DECIDING WHERE TO STAY
Deciding where to stay at Disneyworld, Orlando, Florida can be a challenge. Onsite or offsite, hotel or villa, Disney hotel or non Disney hotel the list goes on. The Dibb is a great source of information if you are making this choice I recommend you hop on over! We chose to stay at the Beach Club Resort because:
-It was our first visit to Orlando and we wanted to make it as easy as possible by staying onsite.
-We would only be visiting Disney and not Universal or any of the other theme parks, then heading to Kennedy Space Centre and then Sanibel Island. Access to Universal wouldn’t be an issue for us.
-We wanted to be in the ‘Disney bubble’ and have the onsite benefits such as Early Magic Hours and the Disney dining plan.
-We have previously stayed onsite at both the Newport Bay Hotel and the Disneyland Hotel at Disneyland Paris and this worked best for us. You can read my tips for DLP and the Disneyland Hotel here.
-We wanted a deluxe hotel
-Easy access by foot or boat to Epcot, Hollywood Studios and the Boardwalk.
-The swimming pool! It has a 3 acre swimming pool /water park Stormalong Bay including a shipwreck themed waterslide. This looked fantastic and we wanted to make sure we had some downtime at the hotel as well as the parks.
We loved the hotel and having stayed there for 9 nights we were really glad we chose it. We also considered the Grand Floridian but having gone there for dinner a couple of times we preferred the Beach Club because of the fabulous pool area. The advantage the Grand Floridan does have though is the direct monorail to Magic Kingdom. The Animal Kingdom Hotel would have been another option but again the pool at Beach Club Resort tipped the scales for us.
The lobby at the hotel is beautiful. When you step in out of the heat it is a pleasure to arrive. The marble floors, beautiful flower arrangements, lovely furnishings and décor welcome you to the Disney bubble. Check in is quick and your all important magic band acts as your room key. One thing I would say is that for a deluxe hotel the little extras that you normally get in a top class hotel are missing. There is no welcome drink and nobody shows you to your room for example. This hotel has high turnover and it shows in the welcome and check in compared to other similarly classed hotels outside of Disney.
We shared a room with our kids figuring we wouldn’t be in the room much which was indeed the case. The room décor was classy and tranquil. The bathroom basin area was open plan which I am not a fan of. I wish hotels would give you privacy in the bathroom. Am I terribly old fashioned?!
Wow! We booked the Beach Club because of the pool and 100% made the right decision. Stormalong Bay has a variety of different pools linked together, a shipwreck themed water slide, whirpools and sandy beach area all connected via waterways and bridges. The pool is accessible to guests of both Yacht Club and Beach Club Resorts.
Beach Club is on the edge of a large lake with Epcot in one direction, Hollywood Studios in the other and Disney’s Boadwalk opposite. You can get the boat to Studios or Epcot it takes a few minutes and the boat ride is very pleasant and free. (Fact: Disney has the largest inland boat network in the USA). You can also walk to Studios and Epcot in a few minutes but the boat is a nice breezy opportunity to take a rest from all the Disney walking. The lake is edged with a sandy beach. Do not swim in the lake or paddle in it due to alligator risk. They show movies on the beach in the evening.
The Boardwalk is 2 mins walk away and is really pretty with restaurants, bars, ice cream parlours and boardwalk entertainment. Coney Island Chris was my daughters favourite! I would have loved to try the piano bar Jelly Rolls but unfortunately children aren’t allowed.
We had the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan and we dined at these Beach Club and Yacht Club restaurants. I’ll be doing a separate post on everywhere we ate in Disneyworld and will link here when its done! I’ll also update on my thoughts about the Deluxe dining plan – despite best eating efforts we had 67 snack credits left at the end so I wouldn’t be doing the deluxe plan again.
We did book our ADRS (advance dining reservations) in advance before we went but changed a couple of times when we were there.
Cape May Café – Minnie’s Beach Bash character breakfast.
The breakfast was delicious we loved the asparagus and crispy bacon in particular. The characters were Minnie, Goofy and Donald but not Mickey. Characters do change but Mickey is apparently never there which does seem kinda weird as he is the main mouse after all. The character interaction I didn’t think was as good as character meals we have had at Disneyland Paris. Its one TS credit on the dining plan but check here in case its changed. Book in advance for this one and take advantage of the jetlag by being in early. We had 7.30am breakfast here on our first day.
1 x Table service credit per person (check in advance). No character meals. We had dinner here on the first evening. The restaurant itself was a little dark and lacking in atmosphere as it a very quiet but the food was excellent with my dd the seafood fan polishing off a plate of scallops in 3 seconds flat.
We also had breakfast here a few times. You can order a la carte or help yourself from the buffet. Service was friendly and attentive and the bananas in caramel sauce were a big hit. The Yacht Club Resort is next door to the Beach Club its 2 mins walk through the hotel to get there.
Yachtsman Steakhouse (Disney’s Yacht Club Resort)
2 x Table Service credit per person as this is a Signature Restaurant. No character meals. Fine steaks and seafood make this a popular choice restaurant and we dined here twice once having lobster and once having steak. You can choose your own cut of steak. The famous Mickey Puzzle dessert is a big hit with the kids.
This snack bar is surprisingly classy by the pool at the Beach Club hotel. We had a meal here right at the end of the holiday when we were all dined out. Kids meals come in a cute bucket. There is a bar as well and its a pleasant spot for a relaxed meal. Burgers are good.
We ate here the first evening when we had just arrived. They do quick service meals and I couldn’t fathom out at the time what credits I was using off the dining plan. Arrival fog! This is also where you fill up your resort drinks mugs, can buy snacks and gifts. We also had breakfast here one day.
We hired a car and never had any problem parking it at the hotel we always got a space near the entrance. We got the bus to Disney springs one evening. The buses are free.
DID WE LOVE IT?
Yes. The location being so near 2 of the parks and the Boardwalk, the beautiful beach and lake area, catching the boats, the amazing swimming pool and the deluxe feel of the hotel made it a wonderful place to stay.
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