Beaches & Cream is an inexpensive table service restaurant themed as an old-fashioned soda shop at Walt Disney World’s Beach Club Resort. This review features some food photos, thoughts on the ambiance, and our take on whether it’s worth a stop here during your Walt Disney World vacation. We’ve long proclaimed the virtues of Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, but we decided to overhaul this review with new info and thoughts as of our latest visit in 2016.
Although it’s technically a table service restaurant in that it has a menu with a number of basic entrees, most of which are solid, the real star of the show is the ice cream. This is why the full name is Beaches & Cream Soda Shop. Much like a classic soda shop, it’s the bubbly charm, jukebox, and dessert menu that puts Beaches & Cream on the map. The dessert menu here is second to none at Walt Disney World, and the restaurant is famous for its behemoth Kitchen Sink dessert, which has garnered mainstream buzz and attention with features on the Travel Channel, among other pop culture sites.
This review could be pretty short and sweet: go to Beaches & Cream. It’s an excellent restaurant with a fun theme and the reasonably prices by Walt Disney World standards. There should really be no question as to whether you should eat here, especially if you are not on the Disney Dining Plan (it’s a poor use of credits on the Dining Plan). Note that Beaches & Cream now accepts Advance Dining Reservations and as a result, it can be difficult to eat here now without an ADR.
That’s our verdict on Beaches & Cream in a nutshell, but really, there’s much more to know…
First up is ambiance. There’s not much to Beaches & Cream on this front. It’s a simple soda shop, styled with pastel tiles, and a vintage look that gives it an old-fashioned charm.
Like all good soda shops, there’s a jukebox with classic tunes that guests can play. The restaurant feels like an old-timey soda shop meets a small beach town meets an ice cream motif. If you could pull a Back to the Future style move and revisit your parents’ (or grandparents, depending upon your age) first date, this is like the place it might’ve been.
It’s the kind of place where the Father in Carousel of Progress would “meet the boys for a cold sarsaparilla.” Very Americana. Much ice cream.
Now let’s turn to the food options…
I recently deviated from my go-to Beaches & Cream entree and ordered the Beaches Seafood Salad Sandwich. The croissant was fresh and buttery, and the avocado vinaigrette gave the seafood salad a nice flavor, but the seafood was not plentiful. It was fine, but far from memorable, and not something I’d order again.
For a while, every visit to Beaches & Cream Soda Shop meant ordering their Angus Beef Burger. The nice toasted and buttery bun, fresh-grilled meat was fantastic.
That has changed as of late for 2 reasons. First, the price of the burger has increased steadily, going from about the price of a counter service meal to a few dollars more. Second, we discovered the nearby Crew’s Cup Lounge, which has the best burger at Walt Disney World. A burger that actually costs less than Beaches & Cream’s burger. Now, we do a progressive meal, visiting Crew’s Cup Lounge for food and Beaches & Cream Soda Shop for desserts.
The Beaches Patty Melt is a different twist on the burger, and definitely a worthwhile option if you want something different. Still, I think the best choice is just going to Crew’s Cup Lounge. It’s a 5-minute walk from Beaches & Cream.
As we turn to the stars of the menu–the desserts–we’ll start with our story of ordering the Kitchen Sink back when we were young and reckless. This was during the “Weekend of Deliciousness” on our “Disneymoon” which also included stops at Victoria & Albert’s and California Grill, among other restaurants. (What a time to be alive!)
While planning, I had mentioned the Kitchen Sink to Sarah on several occasions, but I think she thought I was joking, or maybe she hoped I’d forget. Quite the contrary: I deeply ingrained it in my brain and fixated on it to the point that there was no way around getting the Kitchen Sink. Even if I had to eat it alone. I actually planned on only getting that and nothing else. When we ordered it, our very courteous server seemed as if she was trying to dissuade us from the gargantuan dessert, which is not meant for only 2 people.
When the sirens went off, I knew our time had come to consume one of the greatest desserts known to man. Ladle of Chocolate Fudge, Ladle of Butterscotch, Ladle of Peanut butter, 2 Scoops Vanilla Ice Cream, 2 Scoops Chocolate Ice Cream, 2 Scoops Strawberry Ice Cream, 1 Scoop Coffee Ice Cream, 1 Scoop Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, Pineapple Topping, Strawberry Topping, Entire Banana, Muffin, Entire Can of Whipped Cream, Large Brownie, Angel Food Cake, Entire Milky Way Bar, 4 Oreos, Every single type of sprinkle in the house, Chocolate Syrup, Marshmallow Topping, and topped with a handful of Maraschino Cherries. Oh yeah baby, we were going home full!
As the evidence in the above video should clearly indicate, I contributed a lot more to our Kitchen Sink consumption effort than did Sarah. Not to diminish what she did, as we both ate a lot—way too much, actually. Although we weren’t given any sort of medallions for conquering the epic dessert, we were champions in our own minds. The crowd (in our heads) cheered as we left the restaurant.
For us, with its odd assortment and hodgepodge nature, the Kitchen Sink is a ‘one and done’ dessert. It’s cooler in principle than it is in practice; eating it was a really cool experience, but I’ve had better desserts there. If you’re a family of 4 or so with small kids, the experience of getting the Kitchen Sink is something you cannot pass up (in fact, it made our list of the Top 101 Tips for Walt Disney World!). Your kids will remember the spectacle for years, and even if you don’t eat it all, it will be a great memory that is well worth the price.
We’ve been several times since, and although we (wisely) haven’t done the Kitchen Sink again, we have tried numerous other desserts on the menu, a few of which rate as my favorite desserts at Walt Disney World.
Options like the floats, cones, and cups are good, but we highly recommend getting one of the larger sundaes instead. (Pro tip: don’t share–even if you think you aren’t hungry enough for a sundae.)
Pretty much all of the sundaes–the Milky Way, Fudge Mud Slide, and No Way Jose are incredible.
I think the best of the sundaes is the No Way Jose, which is a giant sundae with chocolate and vanilla ice cream, topped with hot fudge and peanut butter sauces, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, whipped cream, and a cherry. Unlike the Kitchen Sink, this is in no way a hodgepodge, as all of these flavors work together tremendously well.
Continuing on the peanut butter hype train, my new go-to dessert at Beaches & Cream is the Grilled Banana Bread with Peanut Butter. This is basically the peanut butter sandwich of the gods, adding caramelized bananas, whipped cream, and ice cream to the mix. While it’s tough to beat the No Way Jose, I’d say this is the more unique dessert, which gives it the slight edge in my book. Plus, it’s super-healthy given the bananas, peanut butter, and whatnot. Bonus!
This currently ranks as my favorite dessert at Walt Disney World. Please excuse any typos in this post…I’m busy daydreaming about eating the Crew’s Cup Lounge burger and truffle fries, this dessert, and then beaching myself on an inner tube in Stormalong Bay. Best day ever.
Overall, Beaches and Cream is a quaint (as far as Disney goes) little restaurant located in the Beach Club Resort with fine food, and beyond exceptional desserts. Seriously, this is the best ice cream at Walt Disney World, so even if you don’t go for the food, go for the ice cream. Even if you hate ice cream for some reason (do you also hate freedom and bald eagles?), we are certain this ice cream will make a convert out of you. Beyond that, Beaches & Cream Soda Shop’s charming and laid back atmosphere make it a great spot to go after a tough morning of lounging around Stormalong Bay. You cannot go wrong with Beaches & Cream. Pencil it into your plans now.
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Do you think Beaches & Cream lives up to the hype? Is it a “Must Do” for you, and if so, which dessert is your favorite? Planning on going? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments!