Beaches & Cream Review
Beaches & Cream is a budget table service restaurant and ice cream dining spot themed as an old-fashioned soda shop at Walt Disney World’s Beach Club Resort. This review features some food & sundae photos, thoughts on the ambiance, and our take on whether it’s worth a stop here. (Updated October 3, 2019.)
We’ve long proclaimed the virtues of Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, and have visited countless times enjoying a range of menu options–both food and ice cream. Before we delve into that, it’s worth noting that Beaches & Cream Soda Shop is now closed until (at least) December 2019 for expansion.
We cover the details in our Beaches & Cream Refurbishment: Temporary Location & Ice Cream Alternatives. In that, we suggest three ice cream options within a 10 minute walk of Yacht & Beach Club that are worth your time over the temporary Beaches & Cream shop. You should stop reading this review and instead check that out if you’re visiting Walt Disney World before early 2020…
Although Beaches & Cream is 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.
In terms of ambiance, Beaches & Cream is a deceptively 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 Walt Disney World honeymoon 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. Well…that was true for us until we learned about the Chocolate Lover’s Kitchen Sink, which we also just had to try to conquer. But now that we’ve done that Kitchen Sink, we swear we’re done. (Probably. Until Disney comes up with another.)
The Kitchen Sink is cooler in principle than it is in practice; eating it was a really cool experience, but I’ve had better desserts at Beaches & Cream. Nevertheless, it made our list of the Top 101 Tips for Walt Disney World simply for the novelty of the experience.
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. 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? Any questions about Beaches & Cream? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments!
What other alternatives do you recommend now that ample hill has closed?
I am confused. This article raved about beaches and cream. But I also read something by you that said the Ice cream place across the way at the Boardwalk had better ice cream. So, which is actually better in your opinion?
Did we get a confirmation of when exactly this is closing for remodelling?
Sorry I resubmitted this. The first reply wasn’t showing up on my end.
Have you heard a definite date for this to close yet?
Is it going to be impossible to get ADR for 8 people for Beaches and Cream? I was able to get to reservations for 4 within 10 minutes of each other. Will we be able to sit together, or only 2 booths? We’re just going to have the ice cream honestly.
The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street in Magic Kingdom has a Mickey’s Kitchen Sink sundae (it looks like Mickey’s pants and you get to keep the sink/pants), not nearly as big as the kitchen sink at Beaches and Cream (you can’t keep the sink that the ice cream comes in from there).
Shattered 🙁 we are coming over from Australia in October for our honeymoon and had my heart set on getting the Kitchen Sink. Is there anything similar anywhere else I could get as an alternative?
The Earthquake at Ghirardelli is probably the closest thing.
There are also some great options at Ample Hills Creamery (the ice cream there is much better, IMO).
Alternatively, if you’re looking for something that’s a bit of a “challenge” (but more delicious), the S’mores Baked Alaska at Boathouse is tough to beat.
I’m gutted we are booked into the beach club in November and were looking forward to the arcade and Beaches and Cream! I’m hoping there won’t be too much disturbance while we are there.
We feel the same way. We’ll be there for a week in November and was using it as an excuse to visit Beaches and Cream more often. We had intended to make a number of reservations and use it as essentially as a quick service seeing as there isn’t much else in the area.
I may be the only one sad about the arcade closing. But I have childhood memories of going there and to beaches and cream. Nothing can replace those two places, but it does need an expansion. They better not mess with the grilled cheese and tomatoe soup! Seriously epic. And I’m a little salty about it getting the trendy milkshakes. They’re neat but beaches and cream has its own unique thing, it doesn’t need to be trendy.
For what it’s worth, the arcade permanently closing is not a sure thing–just my prediction.
This one ranks (for us) as one of the worst Disney restaurants we’ve been to. It joins Mama Rose and Via Napoli as “never again!” places. But it’s even worse because of the location. At least Mama Rose (Hollywood Studios) and Via Napoli (Epcot) are in parks so they’re easier to get to.
The restaurant is really small. I mean REALLY small. That’s why it’s so difficult to get an ADR there. It’s got 3 booths, not that many more small tables, and seating for 8 at the counter. That’s it.
But that’s not why it’s a “never again.” The food and the service! It’s really bad. We waited forever for our food. When we got it, my granddaughter’s food was cold. We had to then wait again for our server to reappear to send it back for some hot food.
I got the turkey club. I don’t think I even ate half of it. The turkey was suspiciously chewy in some places and hard in others.
Total waste of money and a mistake I won’t repeat.
This is totally not a typical experience for Beaches and Cream. Getting reservations ahead of time can be very difficult, and sometimes, you have to wait a little long for the food. I’ll give you that, but we have never (in 20+ times visiting) had any of the other problems that you describe. How unfortunate! Maybe you’ll try one more time, and they can redeem themselves.
Would you need a reservation to just get ice cream? Do they have anything ‘to go ‘?
They have a to-go order line in the restaurant, but through a separate door.
We r head to the Beach Club in 2 weeks. What is your recommendation on best time to get a seat at Beaches& Cream without an ADR?
We love Beaches & Cream and like to make it our first-night meal — a practical choice since it doesn’t require theme park admission.
Our best memory is our first trip: I excused myself from the table and quietly ordered one — my husband and I had agreed upon this ahead of time, but the kids had no idea such a thing existed. A few minutes later the waitress flicked the lights on and off and announced that SOMEONE had just ordered this holy grail of all ice cream sundaes. She walked around the small restaurants letting everyone have a look at the giant dish while loudly announcing all the ingredients. My girls were drooling but had no idea that the ice cream was FOR THEM, and when she plopped it down on OUR TABLE … well, I think it was one of the best moments of their childhoods. The whole restaurant was looking at us, and several tables immediately ordered Kitchen Sinks of their own. The kids talked about that sundae for a solid year, and even today — a dozen years later? — they still remember that day.
Two practical comments on the Kitchen Sink:
– One kitchen sink is cheaper than individual sundaes for a family of four.
– Note that they make three different versions: The Original, Chocolate Lovers, and Neopolitan.
Do you need to make an ADR to go just for dessert ?
very good info. thanks Tom. do you know B&C ice cream vendor? I have read it is either Edy’s, Haagen Daaz or maybe neither. My family are 20+ years fans of WDW and have never tried B&C because every post I have read indicate how difficult is to book time or certainly to walk-in without reservation.
Thanks for the reminder about needing ADRs for Beaches & Cream. We have a trip coming up and I’d forgotten all about it. Like you said, their Angus burger is great. However, the quality seems to vary. I ordered it in August and October of 2014, and the patty in the second burger had that noticeably strong taste you often get in lower quality beef, making it worse than the burger I had from Landscape of Flavors. Next reservation, I’m taking your suggestion and heading to Crew’s Cup then Beaches & Cream only for dessert.