Main

Beach Club Resort Archives

November 29, 2011

Beach Club Resort - Part Two of Two

Yesterday I began my review of the Beach Club with an overview and a description of a standard "king" room. Today I'll talk about Club Level amenities and the various shops and restaurants found around the resort.

I like the Stone Harbor Club Lounge facilities at the Beach Club better than those at the Regatta Club at the Yacht Club. At the Yacht Club, the check-in area and lounge seem like they were added as an afterthought. I had the impression that Disney had knocked a wall out between two guest rooms to create the lounge. But at the Beach Club I didn't get this feeling. Both the check-in area and the Stone Harbor Club felt like they had been part of the initial design.

When exiting the elevators on the fifth floor of the Beach Club, guests are greeted by cast members at two concierge desks. These cast members will get you settled into your room and help you with restaurant and show reservations. Their services are available from 7am to 10pm.


Club Level Concierge Desk


The Stone Harbor Club Lounge is decent sized with a number of tables, chairs, and sofas arranged around the room. There are two televisions - one tuned to cartoons for children and another featuring news and sports for adults. The sets are far enough from one another as to not interfere with each other. The Beach Club lounge does have a balcony, but unfortunately it is so narrow that it cannot accommodate any tables or chairs.


Beach Club Level Lounge

Beach Club Level Lounge

Beach Club Level Lounge

Beach Club Level Lounge


The food serving counter is "U" shaped and is brightly lit. Breakfast offerings feature bagels, pastries, fruit, cold cereals, hardboiled eggs, and other continental selections. Cookies and other snacks are available at lunch. And a rotating menu of cold and hot hors d'oeuvres is served each evening. Canned sodas are available all day long and wine and cordials are served in the evening. All of this is included in the Club Level price. Service is as follows:

Coffee: 6:30am to 7am
Continental Breakfast: 7am to 10:30am
Snacks & Soft Drinks: 11:30am to 3pm
Tea Time: 3pm to 4pm
Hors d'oeuvres & Wine: 5pm to 7pm
Desserts & Cordials: 8pm to 10pm

Children under 10 should be accompanied by an adult when in the Stone Harbor Club Lounge.


Club Level Food Bar

Club Level Free Drinks


Here is a 1½ minute video of the Club Level facilities.



Now let's take a look at some of the facilities of the Beach Club.

The Tidal Pool (quiet pool) can be found at the far end of the resort (closest to Epcot). This is a good spot for sunning and relaxing without all the hubbub of Stormalong Bay. Laundry facilities can be found in a building next to the pool so you can spend some quality time while washing your clothes.


Tidal Pool

Hot Tub

Laundry Facility


Beach Club Marketplace is the resort's shop and carries the typical array of Disney souvenirs. When the Beach Club Villas were built in 2002, this shop was remodeled and a "mini-market" added which carries a reasonable selection of food stuffs intended to be taken back to your Villa room for preparation and consumption. In addition, a quick service food counter was added where you can purchase made-to-order omelets and French toast in the morning and flatbreads, salads, and sandwiches for lunch and dinner. I have tried this spot a couple of times and feel that Disney is trying (and succeeding) at serving above par dishes. This facility is open from 7am to 11pm.


Beach Club Marketplace

Beach Club Marketplace

Beach Club Marketplace


Down the hall from Beach Club Marketplace is the Solarium. This window-lined sunny room is a great place to gather with friends and perhaps enjoy one of those delicious flatbreads you just purchased at the nearby food counter.


Solarium

Solarium


One of the most popular buffets at Walt Disney World is Cape May Café. Located just off of the main lobby, this restaurant has a "fun in the sun" atmosphere. Giant, colorful umbrellas line one side of the restaurant and croquet mallets and beach chairs adorn the walls. The buffet is four-sided, sits in the middle of the restaurant, and is surrounded by tables. Breakfast features Goofy and friends and serves standard American fare. Dinner recreates a clambake atmosphere and offers crab legs, mussels, and freshly steamed clams. For those of you desiring more traditional selections, carved meats, ribs, chicken, seasonal seafood salads, and pastas are also served. You will not leave this buffet hungry. Advanced reservations are extremely important here.


Cape May Café

Cape May Café

Cape May Café

Cape May Café

BeaCape May Café

Cape May Café

Cape May Café


If you're in the mood for an evening cocktail and some tasty appetizers, check out Martha's Vineyard located just around the corner from Cape May Café. Open nightly from 5pm to 11:30pm, this watering hole serves New England clam chowder, peel-and-eat shrimp, teriyaki BBQ ribs, and Buffalo chicken nuggets.


Martha's Vineyard


Next to Martha's Vineyard is Ariel's. When the Yacht and Beach Club first opened, the designers felt a deluxe steakhouse should be built at the Yacht Club (Yachtsman Steakhouse) and an upscale seafood restaurant should be located at the Beach Club (Ariel's). However, it was discovered that the resort did not need two fine-dining establishments and Ariel's was closed. Today this space is used for banquets and other group functions.


Ariel's


On the premises of the Beach Club is possibly one of the most fantastic eateries at Walt Disney World, Beaches & Cream. This restaurant recreates a seaside soda shop complete with a marble counter, wrought iron tables and chairs, and jukebox. Fantastic ice cream concoctions and great hamburgers can be ordered here. The place is small and does not accept reservations. Expect a wait if you decide to eat here - but it's worth it. A walk-up counter is available for ordering ice cream. I wrote a complete blog about this establishment last year. To read it, click here.


Beaches & Cream

Beaches & Cream


Next to Beaches & Cream is Lafferty Place Arcade. As the name implies, this is the spot to challenge your hand-eye coordination with electronic wizardry.


Lafferty Place Arcade


Out on the lawn of the Beach Club is a sand volleyball court. Equipment is complimentary and available at the Ship Shape Health Club located on the Yacht Club side of the resort.


Volleyball Court


The beach at the Beach Club is pristine. This is a great place for kids to run in the sand and adults to bask in the sun. However, Crescent Lake is off limits for swimming. In the evening, a campfire and sing-a-long is held around a fire pit located near the shipwreck Albatross and Disney movies are shown under the stars afterwards.


Beach

Camp Fire


Stormalong Bay, the fantastic swimming pool of the resort, straddles the Yacht Club and Beach Club. For more information about this delightful water wonderland, see Part Two of my Yacht Club blog posted last week.

When I stay at the Yacht Club, I'm always in a quandary whether I should take a Friendship boat to Epcot or walk. When I stay at the Beach Club, I have no decision to make. I always walk. Close proximity to Epcot is one of the great things about this resort. For transportation to Disney's Hollywood Studios, catch the boat at the Yacht Club pier. For transportation to other locales, catch a bus located a short distance from the hotel's main entrance. Note, the Yacht and Beach share one bus. Since the bus stops first at the Yacht Club, seating can be difficult to secure when loading at the Beach Club during the morning hours.

That's it for The Beach Club. Check back tomorrow when I will discuss the Beach Club Villas.



November 28, 2011

Beach Club Resort - Part One of Two

Last week I discussed the Yacht Club. If you missed it, click here for PART ONE and PART TWO.

Today I'll be examining they Yacht Club's sister resort, the Beach Club.


Beach Club Logo


The Beach Club opened on November 19, 1990. This deluxe resort features 583 guest rooms with an average room size of 380 square feet. The exterior of the hotel is painted blue with white trim and uses stick style architecture. Stick style architecture was popular in America in the late 19th century and was the predecessor to the Queen Anne style.


Beach Club Exterior

Beach Club Exterior


Whereas the Yacht Club has a formal atmosphere, the Beach Club is more casual. The Beach Club is the type of resort that wealthy families of the mid to late 1900's might have visited for playful days at the seashore and clambakes at night. This carefree atmosphere is evident from the moment you enter the lobby. Take a look at some of the furnishings and the chandelier. In addition, a very mild "Little Mermaid" theme has been incorporated into the resort's design. This is most evident in the carpeting.


Beach Club Lobby

Beach Club Lobby

Lobby Chandelier

Beach Club Carpet


Like the Yacht Club, the Beach Club also employs a nautically clad cast member to greet you, answer questions, and direct you to the proper destination. As you enter the resort, the check-in desk is to your right and the concierge desk is to your left. A children's waiting area, complete with TV, can be found near the windows.


Beach Club Greeter

Beach Club Check-in Desk

Beach Club Concierge Desk


Most standard rooms have two queen beds and a sofa/daybed (see the pictures for the Yacht Club in last week's article). However, some rooms feature one king bed. In many cases, these "king" rooms do not conform to the standard room shape and have been "fitted in" to unusual spaces. This was the type of room I occupied during my last visit.

My room featured a longer and wider than normal hallway to reach the sleeping area. Off of this hallway is a standard closet containing a small safe, extra pillows, hangers, iron and board, and a luggage rack.


King Room Hallway

King Room Hallway

King Room Closet

King Room Closet


Also off of the hallway is the bathroom. Since this room only has one king bed, the vanity only has one sink. However, storage space for toiletries is ample with the addition of a marble shelf above the basin. A hairdryer can be found attached to the wall or in a bag on one of the shelves beneath the sink. H20+ body wash, shampoo, and conditioner are supplied. For those of you who find it next to impossible to remove the plastic wrap from the soap, try this trick. Take a set of car keys and puncture the wrap. This works well for me.


Vanity Area

Vanity Area

Vanity Area


The wallpaper in the bathroom features sailboats with a hidden Mickey.


Bathroom Wallpaper

Bathroom Wallpaper


The toilet and shower are in a separate room. Marble flooring and marble shower tiles add a bit of elegance to this small space. There is a phone next to the toilet and two toilet paper dispensers inserted into the wall. Even though this "king" room is intended for two, there were five fluffy towels.


Toilet and Tub


Being an "irregular" room, the sleeping area was more square than rectangular in shape. Combine this with only one bed and the room seemed quite large. The walls are covered in a non-intrusive cream paper and the furnishings continue this color scheme. The carpet is made up of brown and beige stripes. The draperies feature stripes of blues and browns.


King Room

King Room


The room had a standalone chest of drawers. It's interesting to note, at the Yacht Club, the coffee maker sat atop a similar chest. But at the Beach Club, the coffee maker can be found on the desk. I think I prefer the coffee maker on the chest of drawers as I want as much space as possible when I'm working with my laptop at the desk.


Chest of Drawers


The desk is decent sized and contains electrical and internet connections built into its back panel. A second, "computer" desk nests underneath the main desk.


Desk


On the desk is a very cute Mickey Mouse lamp. At one time, this lamp was sold at the Beach Club Marketplace, but alas, no more.


Mickey Mouse Lamp


Disney is currently testing Wi-Fi in a number of their resorts. The Yacht & Beach are on this list. I used this Wi-Fi service and was very pleased with the ease of connection and the speed. At the moment, this connection is free. However, I have no idea what the future may hold and if charges are on the horizon.

The credenza contains a refrigerator, several shelves, and four drawers.


Credenza


The bed is comfortable and forgoes a bedspread in favor of a second top sheet to cover the blankets. There is a nightstand on each side of the bed and individual dimmer controls work the two bed lamps. A phone can be found on one nightstand and a clock-radio that can accommodate iPhone type devices is positioned on the other.


Bed and Nightstands

Clock Radio


Because of the unusual shape of my room, I had a double balcony. Please note, not all of the rooms at the Beach Club have balconies. If this is important to you, make sure the reservationist knows this when booking your room.


Double Balcony

Double Balcony


Here is a 2½ minute video of a "King" Beach Club room.



Any of you who have read my column for more than a few months know that I'm pretty easy going when I'm reviewing Disney. Not that they need it, but I usually cut them a lot of slack. However, I did have two issues with my room at the Beach Club - one minor, and one, not so minor. I'll start with the less significant.

I was staying in a Club Level room (more expensive than a standard room). One of the perks of staying in these better appointed rooms is a DVD player. Disney is known for their attention to detail, yet they completely forgot to plan for DVD players when outfitting these rooms with wall-mounted flat-screen TVs. Rather than hiding the DVD cables, they simply plugged them into the side of the TV and let them run down to the player in plain sight. In addition, other cables were protruding from behind the TV. Disney can do better than this. This was tacky.


DVD Wires


I want to discuss my more significant issue with you so you may learn from my disappointment.

I booked my room online - without the aid of a Disney reservationist. I was willing to pay extra for a better view so I booked a Lagoon View (one of the options given to me on their website). The Disney webpage clearly states, "Lagoon Room Views are located on the fifth floor and offer views of Crescent Lake." No other possible views were mentioned with this choice.

When I arrived at my room at 10am, I found my view looked out onto a courtyard. Only if I walked out onto my balcony, leaned over the railing, and looked hard left could I see a portion of Crescent Lake. I returned to the concierge desk and questioned my room location. I was given no explanation, but was offered another room if I was willing to wait until after 3pm and forgo two queen beds for one king. I agreed.

When I arrived at the second room, I had a beautiful view of Stormalong Bay, but once again, the only way to see Crescent Lake was to stand on my balcony and lean over the railing. So I returned to the concierge desk where I was fortunate enough to find a supervisor. After explaining the situation, I was told that the Beach Club offers three views, Standard, Garden, and Water - and a Water View can be of Crescent Lake OR of the swimming pools.

When I showed the supervisor my reservation which clearly stated Lagoon View (not Water View) and that the Disney website clearly states that a Lagoon View equates to a view of Crescent Lake, she was perplexed and had no explanation. As no other room was available, I had no choice but to accept the second room.

While at the Beach Club I ended up speaking with two supervisors and let them know their website is presenting false information and setting up expectations that cannot be met. Both of these supervisors assured me that they would bring this information to the attention of the appropriate people. When I returned home, I wrote Disney a letter informing them of their webpage error. I also did more research and found that the Room View descriptions are not consistent between the Yacht and the Beach.

I later spoke with a reservation supervisor who informed me that I would not have had this problem if I had booked through a cast member over the phone as they are very well versed on this subject matter.

Bottom line" Disney only recognizes the term "water view" and this can be of a lake, pool, or river. They cannot guarantee which view you will get.

Since it's not my desire to be negative, I would also like to share a very positive story about the Beach Club. About a week and a half before my visit, I stayed one night at the Beach Club Villas. After I checked out and returned home, I realized that I had left my charger-cord to my iPhone in the room. Since this wire only costs a few dollars, I just chalked it up as lost.

When I checked into the Beach Club for this visit, I stored my luggage with Bell Services until my room was ready. When my bags were delivered to the room, they also included my charger cord. I NEVER mentioned to anyone that I had left this cord in my room on my previous stay, yet they returned it to me. This was truly Disney magic.

That's it for Part One of the Beach Club. Check back tomorrow for Part Two.



November 8, 2010

Beaches & Cream

Unless you've stayed at the Yacht or Beach Club Resorts, you may not be aware of one of the most wonderful spots at Walt Disney World. Tucked away near Stormalong Bay, the main swimming pool, is Beaches & Cream, the quintessential 1950's malt shop. This spot is charming, captivating, and once you've dined here, irresistible.


Beaches & Cream Exterior

Beaches & Cream Exterior


The first thing you'll notice upon entering Beaches & Cream is its small size. And that's what gives this place its charm. There are only three booths, seven small tables, and a counter with seating for ten.


Beaches & Cream Interior

Beaches & Cream Interior

Beaches & Cream Interior

Beaches & Cream Interior


The interior is decorated in pastel pinks and blues. The floor is covered in old-fashioned hexagon tiles and the ceiling is tin with ornate designs. The walls are adorned with mirrors, tiles, and glass artwork. Be sure to notice the ice cream cone wall sconces.


Beaches & Cream Floor Tiles

Beaches & Cream Ceiling

Beaches & Cream Mirror and Artwork

Ice Cream Cone Wall Sconce


The kitchen is located behind the counter, just like in the good old days. Everything is prepared in plain sight. In fact, I sometimes prefer to sit at the counter because it is so entertaining to watch the talented chefs keep up with the orders.


Beaches & Cream Grill

Beaches & Cream Chef cooking Burgers


Beaches & Cream has a jukebox that plays such favorites as "Rum and Coca Cola," "Jailhouse Rock," and "Earth Angel." The selections are random, but if you have a favorite, you can browse through the directory and pick your own song - at no charge. At one time, you could also make selections from the auxiliary jukeboxes found at the booths, but alas, no more.


Jukebox

Music Directory

Auxiliary Jukebox


As you would guess, ice cream is what this restaurant specializes in - and it's fantastic. Here is a picture of a hot-fudge sundae I had recently.


Hot Fudge Sundae


And if you like malts (I'm not talking milkshakes here, I'm talking good ol' fashioned malts), Beaches & Cream delivers. Topped with real whipped cream and a cherry, the chocolate malt is dusted with chocolate shavings and the vanilla malt is sprinkled with white chocolate. Plus, you're served the "extra" in the metal cup used to mix the concoction.


Malts


For a group, you might want to indulge your sweet tooth and order a Kitchen Sink. Here you get eight scoops of ice cream, all the toppings, and an entire can of whipped cream.

The food menu is limited, but excellent. In fact, the hamburgers are so good that Hurricane Hanna's Grill out by the pool recently had to change their recipe to match Beaches & Cream. My picture of the burger is a little out of focus, but trust me, it was outstanding. The onion rings are an up-charge. The second picture is of the turkey sandwich which my server suggested I have grilled. This was a wonderful recommendation. Although I've never had the Caesar salad, my neighbor tells me it's delicious.


Hamburger and Onion Rings

Turkey Sandwich and French Fries


Beaches and Cream is open daily from 11am to 11pm. If you're the first party of the day, you're group is escorted into the restaurant while everyone else waits outside. The lights are dimmed and flashing beacons are activated. All of the servers make a big ta-do about your arrival and you're seated at a booth, complete with a tablecloth and cloth napkins - accoutrements not normally used during the day. You're made to feel quite special.


First Table of the Day


Your charming server is responsible for making your ice cream delights, not the chef. Remember this when it comes time to add the gratuity.


Server


There is also a walk-up window for take-out orders. Sundaes, cones, malts, shakes and Coke products can be ordered here. Food items are only available in the restaurant.


Take-out Counter

Take-out Counter


There are a number of tables outside. Especially cute are these ice cream cone models.


Ice Cream Cone Table


Beaches & Cream is on the Disney Dining Plan. Malts and milkshakes count as a dessert, not a beverage. Tables in Wonderland is also honored here.

Okay, now for the bad news. Beaches & Cream does not take reservations. Add to this that the restaurant is VERY small and VERY popular. If you show up anytime between noon and 8pm, expect a 30-60 minute wait if you want to be seated at an indoor table. However, if you're willing to sit at the counter, this can sometimes be more expedient. If all you want is a basic ice cream dessert, consider the walk-up counter.

I cannot recommend Beaches & Cream enough. I often say that Disney should expand this establishment to increase capacity. But in reality, this is a bad idea. Part of what makes this spot so special is its intimate atmosphere. If they enlarged it, something would be lost.

Beaches & Cream is good enough that I would recommend that guests staying at resorts other than the Yacht and Beach consider making a trip over here just to sample the goodies. But be prepared for a wait. Also, in case you think you can kill some time in the nearby pool, think again. Stormalong Bay is open to Yacht and Beach Club guests only and cast members check for proper identification before granting admittance. While waiting for a table, you will be given a pager with limited range. Beaches & Cream is located next to an arcade so your kids can be entertained while you enjoy the company of your party at one of the outside tables.

As I said at the beginning of this article, Beaches & Cream is charming, captivating, and once you've dined here, irresistible.

Menu: http://allears.net/menu/menu_bc.htm

Visit our Rate and Review Area - Share your experience with others - read what others have to say about Beaches and Cream!


Return to Blog Central

About Beach Club Resort

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to The “World” According to Jack in the Beach Club Resort category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Bay Lake Tower is the previous category.

Beach Club Villas is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.