Today I want to give you our perspective of Disney’s Beach Club Villas. We stayed there for a few nights in September of 2014. Our opinion of the resort is a bit of a mixed bag. We would definitely stay there again, but you have to understand what you are getting yourself into.
The grounds are breathtaking as you can see in the few images I’ve included here. As usual with Disney, the attention to detail is great. When we arrived, our checkin was expedient and we were in our one bedroom villa within about 30 minutes.
The rooms at Disney’s Beach Club Villas are smaller than what we were used to at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, but they were comfortable and large enough that we did not feel crowded. The decor was something like what you would expect from a beach cottage. The colors were a mixture of pastel and warm hue.
The kitchen was fully furnished. There was enough flatware and plates that our entire family of five could eat in the room. It was also equipped with a dishwasher and other necessities (such as wine glasses!!!).
There were several reasons we were excited to stay here and here are just a few of them.
Cape May Cafe
For starters, one our favorite restaurants for dinner is at the Beach Club Villas resort, Cape May Cafe. This restaurant is a buffet that is supposed to resemble a New England clam bake. Now, I’m from New England, and they missed the mark by a long shot on that, but the food is good.
The buffet consists of snow crab legs, steamed clams, steamed muscles, peal and eat shrimp and a carving station with beef sirloin (the only cut you call “sir”) and pork loin. There is also a full salad bar and some other more ethnic seafood staples such as paella which I would not consider an authentic Spanish paella but is tasty, non the less.
On the salad bar they always have either New England clam chowder or a fish chowder. I prefer the fish chowder but they are both very good. I do not recall ever seeing a Manhattan clam chowder there, but it is supposed to be a New England clam bake so one would not expect a Manhattan chowder. Then again I would not expect a carving station or peal and eat shrimp either. But I digress.
There are sides such as mashed potatoes, green beans, steamed new (red) potatoes, steamed corn and a great selection of bread. The steamed potatoes and corn are a nod to a traditional clam bake. I cannot give you a very good review of most of the side items because I rarely waste precious stomach real estate when there are crabs and clams on the table.
There is also a kid’s section with pizza, chicken nuggets and other kid’s staples as well as a desert section that has a great variety of deserts. Most of the deserts are what I would call “bites”. They are small but that just gives you opportunity to try more.
The quality of the food is usually really good, but keep in mind this is a buffet. Keep an eye out for when they are putting fresh crab legs out. The muscles and clams don’t seem to matter much but it is very easy to overcook crab legs and they will continue to cook under the warming lights and get soggy or harder to shuck and eat.
While I do love crab legs, I love clams and muscles more. They are both very good at this restaurant.
We really love Cape May Cafe. Our entire family loves seafood so we always eat here when we are at Disney World. One drawback that I would illustrate is that it is a very popular restaurant. We have never had a problem getting in but we have had to stay flexible with our time on a few occasions. One time we took one of the last seating’s and towards the end of the meal we felt like the staff was ready for us to leave. Grant it, when I go to a buffet like this I plan on at least an hour or more of eating so maybe their snide looks were somewhat justified, but they still were not appreciated.
Other Dining Options
In addition to Cape May Cafe there are a ton of other great places to eat. The options in the resort in addition to Cape May are Yachtsman’s Steakhouse, Beaches and Cream, Captain’s Grill and Hurricane Hanna’s. Hurricane Hanna’s is a counter service by the pool. There are also sandwiches and other food items available from the Beach Club Market Place and there are three cocktail lounges where you can usually get hors d’oeuvresand and/or finger foods.
In addition to the dining on the resort, Disney’s Boardwalk Resort is a very short (and pretty) walk around Crescent Lake. There are a few table and counter service restaurants there, one of which is Big River Grill and Brewing Works that has a very good steak, is moderately priced and has a decent selection of beer.
Also you are another very short walk to Epcot, which, in my humble opinion, has the best dining options in all of Walt Disney World. More on that below.
One of the best features of Disney’s Beach Club Villas is the pool. This thing rivals small water parks. It has its own lazy river and parts of the pool have a sandy bottom. There is even a place on “shore” to build a sand castle. There is also music piped into the pool that you can hear under water.
The resort provides tubes for use at the lazy river. We have heard that they can run out of tubes and I’ve read several reviews that state that they found it impossible to get one. That was not our experience. While it was busy, we did not have an issue getting one at all.
There is a slide that my youngest daughter, Iris, loved going down. It starts from the mast of a ship wreck on Crescent Lake (the body of water the resort is on).
The pool at this resort is exempt from DVC’s pool hopping policy. That means that only guests staying at Disney’s Beach Club Resort or Disney’s Yacht Club Resort are eligible to use this pool. I believe this is the only resort pool that has cast members manning the gate to enforce this policy.
Please note that you cannot pool hop at all if you are not a DVC member. Pool hopping is only eligible for DVC members.
Probably the best thing about Disney’s Beach Club Villas is the proximity. You are a short walk from the back entrance to Epcot which is located between France and England pavilions on the World Showcase. April and I plan on staying here again for the Food and Wine Festival in the near future because of the fact that it is so close to the Epcot entrance.
It’s a bit longer of a walk but you can also walk to Hollywood Studios. Most people recommend taking the boat there but if you stay for Fantasmic (my favorite Disney World night time spectacle) having the option to walk is nice versus waiting in line for transportation.
One Major Detractor
If there is a detractor for Disney’s Beach Club Resort, it would be that it is incredibly busy. Even staying here in off season the lobby and pool are going to be very crowded. This was a bit of a contrast for us.
We usually go to Disney World in the lower seasons. On our stay at the Beach Club we arrived in mid-September which is usually pretty light on the crowd scale. Other resorts such as Animal Kingdom Lodge and Old Key West are much quieter this time of year.
We requested a specific room towards the back of the resort which is closer to Epcot. We had a slight view of the Eiffel Tower in the France pavilion. As a result we could hear the bands play at Epcot from inside the room. This is not the case for all rooms, but you may want to take that into consideration if this is something that would bother you.
I would still highly recommend this resort.
- Great exclusive pool (no pool hopping allowed)
- Great dining options
- Spacious enough room for a family of five with two teens
- Well appointed kitchen
- Location – walking distance to two parks and two resorts
- Busy lobby
- Busy pool
- Can be a bit on the loud side