This post reviews Stone Harbor Club, the concierge level at Beach Club in Walt Disney World. We detail our experience here, with photos and thoughts on the lounge food, amenities, and our patented (not really) Stormalong-Stone Harbor Beach Club Strategy.
In terms of the core value of staying in the Stone Harbor Club Level, you’ve got 24 hour access to the lounge, which means food during meal hours plus unlimited drinks, including alcohol and espresso. In addition, access to the concierge staff for trip planning and Advance Dining Reservations. We don’t take advantage of planning or ADR-making services, so Club Level for us is all about the lounge–we think that’ll hold true for others, as well.
Moving on, Stone Harbor Club has one of the larger lounges at Walt Disney World, with two adjoining rooms plus a serving area. All told, there’s seating for about 50 people inside, although we never once saw even half that number in the lounge at any given time.
The biggest downside of Stone Harbor Club is the lounge itself. As compared with other concierge level lounges at Walt Disney World, this is the dullest we’ve experienced thus far.
The lounge offers an okay courtyard view (see top photo), but the design here is bland and the decor feels like it could’ve been sourced from the clearance section of Homegoods. This wasn’t a huge deal for me, as I spent most of my time down by Stormalong Bay, popping into the lounge pretty much only for meals.
Stone Harbor Club Lounge itself is open 24 hours and staffed from 7:00 a.m. through 10:00 p.m. Worth emphasizing is that this lounge is well staffed, and the Cast Members are perfectly attentive.
At other lounges, service is spottier with fewer Cast Members available to assist with drinks or table clean-up. The Cast Member to guest ratio here is far better, and we found the service to be superlative.
There are 5 different dining offerings throughout the day, which is standard for Club Level at Walt Disney World.
The day begins with coffee hour from 6:30 a.m. to 7 a.m., followed by continental breakfast from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., light snacks from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., tea and drinks from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., hors d’oeuvres from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and desserts & cordials from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Beer and wine are available by request, which we’re told is a permanent change at all Club Level lounges throughout Walt Disney World. This means you can no longer grab a few beers out of the fridge and carry them off to the pool or your room.
Food and drink menus rotate on a daily basis so week-long guests don’t tire of a particular offering. As such, our food photos are best viewed as examples, rather than specific things you can expect to eat.
Breakfast consists of fruits, cheese, meats, and other light options. There are also a couple of rotating hot items, which is actually better than we’ve found at other Club Level lounges around Walt Disney World.
This is the meal most guests will be able to take advantage of the lounge, and even here it’s weak as compared to comparably-priced concierge lounges at non-Disney hotels.
“Light snacks” is the lunch offering, but Disney presumably doesn’t call it lunch because they don’t want guests making a meal of it…and you couldn’t even if you wanted to do so.
Beach Club was a disappointment on this front after a very positive experience with Kilimanjaro Club at Animal Kingdom Lodge, but the Stone Harbor Lounge is more par for the course. On the second day, I ended up making a sandwich at breakfast and stashing it in our fridge for lunch.
The hors d’oeuvres service at Beach Club is the star of the show. In the words of Joey, here’s where you win all your money back!
While Walt Disney World won’t call it dinner because (again) they don’t want guests turning it into a full meal, it unquestionably can serve that role.
Alternatively, you could do that night in the middle of a three-resort trip, with a couple of relaxed resort days to decompress amidst your vacation.
In general, Beach Club is the perfect option for a relaxing resort experience, and that’s mostly due to Stormalong Bay.
This pool is the undisputed champ of Walt Disney World hotel pools, with 3 acres including a lazy river, long water slide, and sand-bottom shallow lounging areas. Perfect after eating a ton of build your own mac & cheese! 😉
What’s nice about staying Club Level here is that you can basically split your time between Stormalong Bay and Stone Harbor Club. For a couple days, you don’t even need to step foot in a Walt Disney World theme park to have a great time, and barely even need to visit your hotel room!
We’ve dubbed our approach the Stormalong-Stone Harbor Beach Club strategy, or SS Harbor Beach Club, for short.
By doing Stone Harbor Club as part of a 1-night stay at Beach Club, you have access to the lounge for the duration of both your arrival and departure days, and also access to the pools on both days.
This means you can arrive early for check-in, head to the lounge for a light meal, and then spend most of the day at Stormalong Bay.
Visit your room when it’s ready, shower, make a quick trip to the lounge for more food, and then enjoy a relaxed evening in the pool (when it’s least crowded because everyone else is at dinner) before late-night desserts.
On check-out day, have a big breakfast, take your bags to Bell Services for storage or transfer, and then spend the rest of the day at Stormalong Bay before returning to the Stone Harbor Club Lounge for food in the evening.
This flawless execution of the SS Harbor Beach Club Strategy is advantageous from a couple of perspectives.
First, running back to the Stone Harbor Club Lounge for food and alcohol is easy–we made it from the pool to the lounge in a matter of minutes, which is less time than it would’ve taken to do a counter service meal.
Second, it’s a great option for lack of better alternatives. We often lament the poor counter service lineup in the entire Crescent Lake area, which is a real problem if you’re not doing exclusively table service meals at the hotel.
Stone Harbor Club Lounge’s offerings are unquestionably superior to everything offered by the area’s quick service options. Basically, for decent food, it’s either Club Level, taking the time to do a table service meal, or walking to Epcot. Not exactly ideal.
During our Club Level stay at Beach Club, our time was split between the Stone Harbor Lounge and Stormalong Bay. We were pretty much only in the room when it was time to sleep, and didn’t spend any time in the parks.
The SS Harbor Beach Club Strategy worked out perfectly for us.
In addition to being able to split time between the pool and lounge, we each could do our own thing to a degree. I’m obsessed with lazy rivers, whereas Sarah isn’t as big of a fan.
I spent a ton of time floating around while Sarah stayed in the Stone Harbor Club Lounge reading and relaxing. If your party includes some who aren’t “pool people” the SS Harbor Beach Club Strategy could likewise be perfect for you.
Methods like the SS Harbor Beach Club are great for getting more bang for your buck, because staying Club Level at Walt Disney World is not cheap.
Rack rates at Beach Club are all over the place, but during ‘regular’ season, a standard room will cost you $575/night. The surcharge for Club Level is ~$125-$200/night extra, depending upon the season.
We strategically booked our stay in the “heart” of off-season, when discounts were at their peak. Even then, we paid over $400/night. This is something I’ve really wanted to do for a while, and Sarah surprised me with it…but I about had a heart attack when she told me the price. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to justify Club Level in terms of value for money; you either do it as a fun splurge or because cost is no issue.
With all of that said, we absolutely loved our Club Level stay at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Leveraging the SS Harbor Beach Club Strategy was perfect for getting a ton of bang for our buck out of the stay. We’ve been critical of the value proposition that Club Level offers at Walt Disney World, but our recommended approach here allows you to take advantage of the food, convenience, atmosphere, and amazing pool.
The lounge itself is the dullest we’ve experienced thus far at Walt Disney World, but this wasn’t a huge deal at Beach Club because we spent most of our time poolside. For us, it was worth the cost premium for a 1-night splurge. For a family of 4 utilizing the same strategy, it’d be even more valuable. We still have a few Club Levels at Walt Disney World to experience and review, but for us, Beach Club ranks pretty highly thanks to our SS Harbor Beach Club strategy!
Have you stayed Club Level at this Walt Disney World resort? Did you utilize a similar SS Harbor Beach Club strategy? Do you agree or disagree with our take on Stone Harbor Club? 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!