Our Christmas-time resort reports continue, this time with the Beach Club Villas. In this Walt Disney World hotel update, we check out the Disney Vacation Club rooms, dining scene, one delicious dessert, Stormalong Bay pool, and more.
As with our recent Villas at Grand Floridian Resort Stay Report, we won’t fixate on health safety protocol, enhanced cleaning, or anything else unique to Walt Disney World’s phased reopening. This is for two reasons: we’ve already done it several times (notably here and here) so it’s redundant.
Plus, by this point, not much feels different from normal on the resort side of things aside from having to wear face masks on the grounds and limited dining options. This latter point has actually been a significant issue for us at the Crescent Lake resorts; although several restaurants have returned, the outdoor dining options are incredibly limited.
Normally, we’d space out these quasi-trip reports a little better, but several of our stays have occurred within the last couple of weeks due to a mix of DVC point charts, Christmas, scheduling, and weather (with one more to come after this). There are also our worries about the Disney Vacation Club Point Pool Problem, which has caused us to burn through more points than normal this year.
Anyway, this is our favorite time of year to spend at the resorts, so hopefully you don’t mind the increased frequency of hotel posts. (On a tangential note, this is why we haven’t been as proactive about responding to questions in the comments–sorry about that!)
Disney’s Beach Club Resort probably isn’t the hotel you think of when it comes to the holiday season at Walt Disney World, but it’s pretty solid if you’re looking for something that balances the vibe of a Florida vacation with Christmas.
As with the Grand Floridian, at some point in the last year or two, the Beach Club Villas received a new decor package. I’m not 100% sure it was this year; I don’t seem to have any photos of the resort from last year at Christmas, but we’d presumably remember the change.
The decor looks nice inside the main lobby of Disney’s Beach Club Resort, but is scaled back as compared to normal.
The big difference is the lack of the gingerbread carousel. Walt Disney World announced before the holiday season that the life-size edible creations would be on hiatus this year due to the crowds that congregate around them. It’s a big, but totally understandable, loss.
To my knowledge, all of the normal Christmas decorations are up at the Beach Club Villas.
There’s even garland and lights out at the pool, which would seem like an obvious thing to cut if going for a lighter look than normal. So that’s nice to see.
Speaking of pools, Stormalong Bay and the Beach Club Villas pool were totally uncrowded throughout our stay.
That was partly to be expected given the weather (below 70 degrees) and also the fact that the hotel side of Beach Club isn’t even open. However, it is Christmas week–normally the busiest stretch of the year.
There were several times when the Beach Club Villas pool had literally no one in it.
Stormalong Bay was about as busy as it was back during our September stay at Yacht Club, with there being plenty of times when lifeguards outnumbered guests.
Normally, Christmas week draws folks like Michiganders and Maineiacs.
The latter quite literally live up to their name, and both are the kinds of guests who wear t-shirts and shorts in any December weather short of a blizzard. These are no-nonsense people who aren’t afraid to swim in temperatures in the 60s or even 50s.
Floridians and other Southerners who make up a disproportionate number of guests right now are a totally different breed–the type that dons a winter coat when it drops below 70.
(I’m “allowed” to make these jokes as a native Michigander who has gone swimming in 60 degree weather and as someone who currently resides in Florida and wore a sweatshirt today.)
Switching gears completely, we saw a bunch of turtles by the quiet pool. Perhaps this was unnecessary to include, but Sarah was pretty excited about them.
Plus, given how much time was spent marveling at these fellas, their inclusion is warranted. If anything, having only one turtle photo under-represents how our time at Beach Club was spent.
Moving along, here’s a look at the bedroom at Beach Club Villas.
I’ve frequently derided these guest rooms, and will briefly reiterate once again how much I dislike them. If you’re a big fan of the HomeGoods store clearance section, perhaps you’ll disagree.
I absolutely love Beach Club. Thematically, the common areas are brilliant and the atmosphere is pitch perfect.
Unfortunately, the last room refurbishment sought to make the design as dull and generic as possible, devoid of theme and personality. The prior look definitely needed a refresh and modernization, but this swung way too far in the other direction.
If it weren’t for these rooms, the Beach Club Villas would be one of my top DVC resorts. (Instead, it ranks #5 in our Disney Vacation Club ResortRankings. That’s still respectable, but the rooms really drag down the property as a whole.) Everything else about the Beach Club Villas is spectacular.
You know the room is weak when the most “interesting” visual element is the Hidden Mickey plates we arranged for the photos.
I really don’t want to fixate on that negative, as there are so many positives about the Beach Club Villas. There’s even more than normal to love about the resort right now.
Not only do the Christmas decorations give the resort a festive spirit, but other guests help do the same with their balconies. More than any other time of year, DVC feels like an actual “club” at Christmas. Big props to these guests and the ones who put up a full-sized Christmas tree in their room.
In other “things to love” news, a colossal improvement to Beach Club was made recently with the Beach Club Marketplace refurbishment.
This has flown under the radar among Walt Disney World fans, but is a huge upgrade that deserves praise. So much so, in fact, that we’ll cover it in a separate post.
Continuing on the dining front, we headed over to Beaches & Cream Soda Shop for the Christmas Cookie Butter Milkshake. We’re still not eating indoors at Walt Disney World, so our plan was to order from the Beaches & Cream To-Go window.
Unfortunately, that’s not open Christmas week (or New Year’s week, presumably) to increase capacity inside the restaurant.
Fortunately, a manager informed us that as a “courtesy to guests” they would be serving the Christmas Cookie Butter Milkshake inside at Martha’s Vineyard (it’s literally right around the corner) this week.
There’s no signage up indicating this, so we’d recommend just walking into Martha’s Vineyard and asking. You can either eat the milkshake there or take it to-go outside.
The milkshake is served in a Mason jar-style plastic souvenir cup, which I’ve learned the hard way is NOT dishwasher safe. The cup is garnished with vanilla frosting and sprinkles, and the inside is swirled with red and green syrups.
It’s all topped with a hefty red velvet cupcake with cream cheese inside and green vanilla frosting plus a golden star and chocolate Mickey ears. Suffice to say, there’s a lot going on here and this Christmas culinary creation is as beautiful as any decoration made by Disney’s Holiday Services team.
Normally we’re skeptical of these over-the-top milkshakes. They’re usually pricey Instagram props, with less attention paid to taste than their photogenic qualities. We’re also usually critical of Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, which serves ordinary Edy’s and is not among Walt Disney World’s top ice cream shops.
We offer those prefaces so you take our review to heart: this milkshake is absolutely fantastic. It’s a total sugar rush, but also a symphony of holiday flavors. The cookie butter flavor is pronounced, the ice cream tastes high quality, and the red velvet cupcake offers a dense filling/topping with great taste. If you’re staying in the Crescent Lake area, or are visiting EPCOT or Disney’s Hollywood Studios the next couple of weeks, it is absolutely worth the side trip (and even that $15 price tag!) to get this. Sarah also loved it. Seriously, it’s amazing.
Next, here’s a look at more Christmas decorations in the lobbies of Disney’s Beach Club Resort and the Villas:
Those photos pretty much speak for themselves, and further reinforce how the decorations nicely reinforce the New England seaside theme. As with Disney’s Beach Club Resort as a whole, Christmas has a fun, laid-back, and aquatic aura.
That positive note seems like as good of a place as any to wrap up this resort report from the Beach Club Villas. Now that I’ve fully recovered from sugar coma from that Christmas Cookie Butter Milkshake, I should probably get up off the couch so we can catch sunset in EPCOT…
Thinking about joining DVC? First be sure to read our Ultimate Guide to Disney Vacation Club. This covers the pros & cons, resale v. direct, how much money you’ll save, and other important things to know before taking the plunge.If you still can’t decide whether membership is right for you, “try before you buy” and rent points from DVC Rental Store. If you are convinced a membership is for you, check out the discounted options at DVC Resale Market. Planning a Walt Disney World trip? For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know.
Have you stayed at the Beach Club Villas at Christmas? Are you a fan of the seaside holiday vibe? What do you think of the resort? Do you like or dislike the guest rooms here? What about the pools, dining, etc? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Other thoughts or concerns? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!