Beach Club Villas are a Deluxe Villa Resort and one of the earlier Disney Vacation Club additions at Walt Disney World. In this review, we’ll share photos from a newly-refurbished Studio Villa, which is quite similar to a standard hotel room inside the Beach Club. In addition to room pictures and thoughts on the amenities of the resort at large, we’ll also cover how it compared to other DVC properties around Walt Disney World.
While there are a lot of similarities among the Crescent Lake (Epcot) results, Beach Club–whether it be the villas or regular hotel–reigns supreme for us. We cover this at length in our Beach Club v. BoardWalk post. Suffice to say, some of the reasons are entirely personal, whereas others are grounded in the resort’s atmosphere and Stormalong Bay, which is far and away the best pool at Walt Disney World.
Even though we think some missteps were made during the huge room refurbishment, we still love the Beach Club Villas. The resort has a wealth of amenities, and a wonderfully laid-back atmosphere that is perfect for vacation. We just wish scoring a DVC reservation were a bit more of a ‘laid-back’ process at the Beach Club Villas…
Beach Club Villas are located in a tortoise green (versus the taffy blue of Beach Club’s main building) Y-shaped building behind the main, taffy blue building of Beach Club.
While this could make for a longer walk to Epcot’s International Gateway, there’s a walkway on the far side of the building that provides quick and convenient access to Epcot.
Personally, we are big fans of the location of the Beach Club Villas. The lobby access is pretty convenient, and you walk through the Solarium (one of the most underrated quiet spots in all of Walt Disney World) to get there.
This means quick access to the Beach Club Marketplace if you need supplies…or want to make a huge mistake in having a crumby meal there.
We also appreciate that the Beach Club Villas have plenty of their own amenities. Just past the lobby of the Beach Club Villas, you’ll find two of my other favorite quiet areas in Walt Disney World: the Drawing Room and the Breezeway. The Drawing Room is like a mini-Community Hall, with a billiards table, television, and other things in it. I’ve spent two-plus hours in here working, and never had anyone else walk in.
The Breezeway is far nicer; it’s a beautiful and airy space, with some cool artwork and thematic touches. I also like it for reading or working on my laptop, but it does get a decent amount of foot traffic, as it’s the main path guests of the Beach Club Villas take to access the Dunes Cove Pool.
Speaking of which, the Dunes Cove Pool is a nice quiet pool that we enjoy using. That might come as a surprise given all the fanfare over Stormalong Bay. While we love Stormalong Bay, and view it as a major selling point for booking at the Beach Club Villas, there are times when it’s just too crowded and raucous.
If you want a more relaxed atmosphere, the secluded Dunes Cove Pool at the Beach Club Villas can be a nice reprieve from the crowds. It pales in comparison to Stormalong Bay, but as far as quiet pools go, it’s quite nice. We especially like it in the evenings, when the backside of the Beach Club Villas is illuminated by the street lights and popcorn lights strung overhead.
As with many Disney Vacation Club resorts, the Beach Club Villas has no restaurant options exclusive to it. Instead, it shares facilities with Yacht & Beach Club, all of which are easily accessible, and within a 5-minute or so walk from the DVC building.
These include Beaches & Cream, Cape May Cafe, Hurricane Hanna’s, and Yachtsman Steakhouse. There’s also the new Market at Ale & Compass, and fan-favorite Crew’s Cup Lounge, which we consider a great counter service meal alternative. Much better food at a comparable price! (Intentionally omitted: Beach Club Marketplace, which serves “food” unfit for human consumption–see below.)
Counter service dining is a weak point of all of the Crescent Lake resorts, meaning you’re pretty much “stuck” walking into Epcot if you want good options on that front. As mentioned, that walk is only about 10 minutes, but you’ll still have to go through park security, and have tickets (obviously).
Speaking of access to the parks, walking to Disney’s Hollywood Studios only takes around 15 minutes. Boat service is also available to both, and is shared with the other Crescent Lake resorts. It’s faster to walk to Epcot than take the boat, and generally about the same amount of time to go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Disney bus transportation is unpredictable and often inefficient, so being able to avoid buses for two parks is a huge benefit. If you want to get to Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom, the bus is your best bet from the Beach Club Villas. As with boat service, buses are frequently shared. At least between Yacht and Beach Club, and sometimes also with BoardWalk, Swan, and Dolphin, too.
In terms of other amenities, you’re also looking at what’s located in the Yacht & Beach Club. Ship Shape Health Club is Beach Club’s fitness center and spa. It is open 24 hours a day, and is one of the best fitness centers at Walt Disney World, with views from the treadmills looking out onto Stormalong Bay.
Boat are available out by the lighthouse during normal business hours. Rentals include various types of watercraft. There are also things like Lafferty Place Arcade and Sandlecastle Club Childcare.
Yacht & Beach Club also have some of the best recreational activities, including tennis (with free equipment rental) and volleyball. The Crescent Lake area has (in my opinion) the best jogging path at Walt Disney World, too.
On the fourth floor of the Beach Club Villas, you’ll find complimentary guest laundry. As with all Disney Vacation Club properties, these machines are free of charge (you’ll need your MagicBand for access).
Villa accommodations at the Beach Club Villas are similar to what you’d find elsewhere at Walt Disney World in terms of layout and features. Studios offer kitchenettes while one and 2-bedroom villas feature full kitchens, plus in-room laundry facilities.
As with all Disney Vacation Club resorts, a set portion of the resort is set aside for the general public to book, hence the categorization of the Beach Club Villas as a “Deluxe Villa” resort. Alternatively, guests can rent DVC points from members who won’t use theirs. This is what we recommend doing, and is a great way of saving money on a stay at the Beach Club Villas.
Our cost in points (converted to dollars) for one of those Deluxe Studios is ~$275/night, an amount that varies significantly by night and price season. Still pricey, but not as bad as it could be–and significantly less than if you booked directly via Disney. Read our Tips for Renting Disney Vacation Club Points post if you’re thinking of doing a stay here.
As DVC owners with Saratoga Springs as our home resort, we try to stay at Beach Club Villas as often as possible. Unfortunately, this is the single-most difficult DVC resort to book in all of Walt Disney World, so “as often as possible” still is not very often (and is usually just for a single night at a time).
If you’re thinking of buying into DVC rather than renting, we have comprehensive advice about everything you need to know in our Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide.
Thematically, the Beach Club Villas purport to be modeled after Atlantic seaside homes of the early 20th century. At least, that was their original inspiration.
We previously commented that these rooms reminded us of something inspired out of the Golden Girls; just take a look at a Beach Club Villas Studio, pre-refurbishment in all their 1990s pastel glory:
Whether this looks woefully out of date or like something you might find at a seaside summer house is a matter of personal opinion. We’d come down somewhere in the middle. There are definitely aspects that could’ve used a refresh (to put it mildly), but there was a certain charm and lightheartedness that reminded us of grandma’s beach cottage.
This is further reinforced by the new rooms, seen below:
Now, the Beach Club Villas guest rooms are fairly nondescript, having lost a lot of their charm and warmth. There’s a loose beach vibe and color palette in what’s an otherwise modern room.
Ultimately, these new rooms are not all that different from the newly-redesigned BoardWalk Villas. Just swap out some color choices and the painting on the wall, and you basically have the same thing. Neither have themes; at best, they have visual motifs (and even that’s a stretch).
In other words, we thought the old rooms had too much going on, and were like a mid-1990s take on the early 20th century. By contrast, we think the new rooms are a bit on the generic side. Still better than the BoardWalk Villas, but leaving some thematic flourishes to be desired.
There’s really no pleasing us, is there?
We would’ve loved to see a compromise somewhere between the two styles. It’s as if Walt Disney World received complaints about the datedness of the old rooms (and they probably did), and rather than deftly updating while retaining the thematic touches, they overcorrected; modernizing completely with a basic ocean motif.
The current style is not that far off the mark–a few more little details would really go a long way in giving the room more character. DVC has gotten this right recently: Wilderness Lodge, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian Village all feature new or newly-refurbished rooms that do a solid job of balancing theme and luxury.
This is not to say that the new room design at the Beach Club Villas is bad. In fact, if it were a standard hotel room over in the main Beach Club building, we’d understand the decision a bit more. The general public seems less concerned with theme, and more demanding of luxury commensurate with the price points Beach Club now charges.
However, Disney Vacation Club consists of diehard Disney fans, most of whom visit annually or biennially. These are the types who (by and large) love immersive theme, and would appreciate more of that in their guest rooms.
One touch about the new rooms that we do love is the Donald Duck Beach Club art inside the pull-down bed under the television. People love these splashes of Disney in the rooms, and for a bed that’s likely going to be slept in by kids, this is a great touch.
This bed was added during the refurbishment, which shifted storage space from the dresser below the old CRT television to a dresser adjacent to the wall-mounted flat screen television. We view this change as an unequivocal upgrade to the room.
These Studios now sleep up to 5 people thanks to that pull-out bed, plus the main queen-size bed and the double sleeper sofa.
The total size of these Studio Villas is 365 square feet, which is almost identical to the 359 square feet size of the BoardWalk Villas Studios. You can see how this compares to other resorts in our Hotel Room Sizes at Walt Disney World post.
Quibbles about the scaled-back theme aside, we love the Beach Club Villas. The resort itself is still beautifully-themed and a pleasure to wander around, which goes a long way in compensating for bland guest rooms. Between the grounds, the quiet spaces, and the pools, there are a lot of compelling areas to spend time at the Beach Club. These places are the perfect spots to soak up the resort’s rich theme and relax, and really give the resort its heart.
Overall, this is why we’re big fans of the Beach Club Villas. For us, it’s right up there with Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge as a resort at which we enjoy spending the most time. For anyone primarily concerned with pools, recreation, a laid-back seaside theme, or proximity to Epcot, there’s a ton to be said for the Beach Club Villas–enough to put it in the running as the best Disney Vacation Club resort at Walt Disney World. The counter service dining, price/difficulty in booking via points, and transportation to Magic Kingdom & Animal Kingdom are the biggest downsides. If you’re a DVC member who is able to score a night (or a few) here, you should absolutely give it a try. All things considered, it’s a resort at which we’d love to stay with more regularity!
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. If you’re considering joining DVC, first be sure to read our Ultimate Guide to Disney Vacation Club. 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.
Do you agree or disagree with our take on the Beach Club Villas? Where do these rank for you in terms of Disney Vacation Club resorts? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!