These pale-turquoise-and-white waterfront villas next to the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts have lots of space, including a separate living room, full kitchen, and one or two bedrooms, offering families plenty of room, along with easy access to Disney's Boardwalk and boats to Epcot. Private balconies on the upper levels or porches at street level ensure that morning coffee comes with a view of the lake. The villas are marketed as time-share properties for Disney Vacation Club members, but available villas are also rented on a per-night basis. You'll have access to all the facilities of the adjacent Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, including Stormalong Bay water park.
The conservative decor befits a resort built to mimic classic New England shore resorts, all done in soft, neutral tones. Villas have a variety of floor plans, from a studio that sleeps five in close quarters, to a two bedroom villa for up to nine. All rooms have queen or king beds, sleeper sofas and/or single pull-down beds, large flat-panel TVs, Wi-Fi, kitchens (kitchenette in the studio), washer, dryer, and dishwasher (not in the studio).
YOU SHOULD KNOW The studio, while described as deluxe, is quite small, and the kitchen comes with paper plates and plastic utensils.
The villas all have full bathrooms, with a shower/bath combo in the studios, and separate showers and generous soaking baths in the one and two bedroom villas. All come with plenty of towels.
Queen Ann wing chairs and floral rugs on polished wood floors decorate the lobby at the Beach Club Resort, where Villa guests check in. The seating arrangements make it a comfortable place to wait for your party to gather, or to rest while checking in.
The three-acre water park, Stormalong Bay, has a large main pool with a sloping entry and two kiddie pools. A huge pirate shipwreck houses a water slide, and the lazy river beckons you to flop into an inner tube and float away your cares. Villa guests are also welcome at the three quiet pools at the Yacht and Beach Club. The waterfront resort sits on the edge of Crescent Lake, with a broad, welcoming beach, where kids can roast marshmallows at the campfire.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Crescent Lake and its beach are lovely to look at, and the water is cool to float over in the launches on their way to and from Epcot and Hollywood Studios, but guests should keep in mind that this is Florida. The lake is connected to canals and waterways that run through forested areas of Disney property. Despite the best efforts of Disney officials, wild things live in this water, so it should be treated with caution.
The Ship Shape massage salon offers a menu of massages and facials. The salon will shampoo, cut and style your hair, and do your nails, too.
The Ship Shape health club features high-tech fitness equipment, including cardio and weight training.
Restaurants at the Yacht and Beach Clubs next door include the Yachtsman Steakhouse, reminiscent of a conservative gentleman's club in the last century; the Cape May Cafe, where breakfast may be taken in the company of Minnie Mouse and her pals, and dinner is a seafood buffet; and the Crew's Cup Lounge where you can get a great lobster roll, for that real New England vibe.
The Ale & Compass Lounge at the Beach Club Resort serves beer, wine and cocktails. The Crew's Cup Lounge pours craft beers and cocktails, and Martha's Vineyard offers wine in a casual, beach house atmosphere.
If your destination is Epcot or the Star Wars attractions at Hollywood Studios, each park is only minutes away by foot or by boat, as is Disney's Boardwalk, a dining and entertainment complex. To get to the other Disney parks, or Disney Springs, you can board a bus, or contact a ride-sharing service or the Disney Minnie Vans service, which began in late 2017. If you wish to visit Universal or SeaWorld, a car, ride-share or taxi would be ideal.
Disney's Boardwalk (just across Crescent Lake) is an easy walk or boat ride away. Options at this curving walkway that harks back to Atlantic City, include Flying Fish, a fine dining seafood restaurant; Trattoria al Forno, a casual Italian style eatery; Big River Grill & Brewing Works, a brew-pub; and the ESPN Club, a sports themed hamburger and chips spot with more TVs per square foot than a network control room.
The Boardwalk's Big River Grill & Brewing Works serves up a mean craft beer, along with views of the brewing process through huge windows. Abracadabar serves up cocktails amid magical props, and Jellyrolls piano bar encourages audiences to sing along.
WHY WE LIKE IT
This villa resort offers up roomy accommodations, a great location if you are an Epcot or Hollywood Studios fan, enough variety in the pool offerings to spend a day between the water and the tanning deck, and sufficient choices of food and drink nearby to satisfy even the pickiest gourmet. Plus, it's in the heart of Disney property, meaning no park is more than 10 to 15 minutes away by car or bus.