Epcot resorts for a Walt Disney World family vacation, including the Yacht and Beach Clubs, the Swan and Dolphin, and the Boardwalk.
I am a former member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel and have been on some complimentary press trips at Walt Disney World, but all opinions are my own.
Epcot Resorts at Walt Disney World
When visiting Walt Disney World, you’ll be faced with many different hotel options. Choosing the best Disney resort hotel for your family can definitely be difficult, because there are so many themes, amenities, restaurants, and activities to consider. All of the resorts are convenient to any of the theme parks, but you may want to stay in one particular area of the resort.
Here are the Epcot resorts within Walt Disney World to consider. Have you stayed at any of these hotels? Which is your favorite?
See information about the Magic Kingdom hotels here.
Why stay at an Epcot resort?
Because all guests to any Disney resort hotel has access to Disney transportation, all of the parks are easily accessible from any resort. However, I especially love to stay in the Epcot Resort area because we love dining in Epcot’s World Showcase in the evenings. Staying in that area lets us easily return to our hotel room when we are done for the night.
When staying at Disney’s Boardwalk, the Yacht and Beach Club, and the Swan and Dolphin, you’ll also be able to easily walk to the Boardwalk restaurants and entertainment area. Between that and Epcot, as well as the resort restaurants, your family will have lots of easy dining options.
Walt Disney World Boardwalk Inn
The Boardwalk Inn is a deluxe Disney resort and DVC property offering several rooms types. You’ll find standard view, water view, garden view, and club level rooms. Rooms at the Boardwalk offer comfortable beds, a coffee maker, a refrigerator, a hairdryer, and complimentary WiFi. Many also have a pull out bed that can be used for a fifth person in the room.
At the Boardwalk Inn, you’ll be able to take advantage of similar amenities that you’ll find at the other deluxe resorts, including a pool with waterslide, surrey bike rentals, tennis courts, an arcade, a self-service laundry room, valet parking, and a fitness center. Disney’s Fantasia Gardens mini golf course is within walking distance.
At the Boardwalk Inn, you’ll find a number of restaurants. These include the following:
The Flying Fish: A recently-renovated restaurant that offers seafood and steak. It’s within the signature restaurant category, so there is a minimum dress code.
AbracadaBar: a magic themed lounge with a fun cocktail menu.
Trattoria al Forno: Offering authentic Italian cuisine. There’s also a character breakfast, called the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast, with characters from Tangled and The Little Mermaid like Ariel, Prince Eric, Rapunzel, and Flynn Rider. Characters are only at the breakfast.
Big River Grille & Brewing Works: a kid-friendly microbrewery and restaurant.
The ESPN Club: A table service restaurant that is popular with sports fans.
There are also several different Boardwalk quick service locations. These include the Boardwalk Bakery, Boardwalk Joe’s Magnificent Margaritas, Ample Hills Creamery, a Funnel Cake cart, and a pizza window. These are great for a quick snack or drink while exploring the Boardwalk area.
When staying at the Boardwalk Inn, you’ll be within walking distance of both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Friendship boats are also available to take you to both parks. To get to the Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom, you can take one of the resort buses.
Walt Disney World Beach and Yacht Club
Disney’s Beach Club and Yacht Club are adjacent to each other and share amenities. Rooms at the resorts have a different decor, but are similar in terms of layout. Of all of the Epcot Resorts, we prefer to stay at the Beach Club because we love the amenities and the proximity to Epcot’s World Showcase (through the International Gateway entrance).
Of all of the resorts amenities, our favorite is the shared 3-acre pool area – Stormalong Bay water park. It offers a sandy-bottom pool, a regular pool, a lazy river, three jacuzzis, and a 230-foot water slide. There are activities and games run by the pool each day – you can get a daily schedule from the resort.
Other amenities include the Ship Shape Health Club, offering fitness equipment, spa services, and salon services, merchandise shops (in each resort), concierge, a business center (in the Yacht Club), complimentary WiFi, tennis courts, volleyball, jogging trails, campfire activities, movies under the stars, and more.
Restaurants at the Yacht Club include:
The Ale & Compress Restaurant and Lounge: Offering traditional New England Cuisine
The Crew’s Cup Lounge: offering appetizers, entrees, and drinks
The Market at Ale & Compass: quick service grab and go food and counter service
The Yachtsman Steakhouse: a signature steakhouse
Restaurants at the Beach Club include:
Cafe May Cafe: Offers a character breakfast each morning featuring Minnie and Friends, and a seafood buffet each evening (no characters attend the dinner)
Beaches & Cream Soda Shop: an old-fashioned ice cream and soda shop offering burgers, grilled cheese, soup, sandwiches, and ice cream.
Beach Club Marketplace: located at the back of the Beach Club gift shop with grab and go food and prepared foods.
Hurricane Hanna’s Waterside Bar and Grill: A poolside bar and grill at Stormalong Bay with light lunch, drinks, and cocktails.
Martha’s Vineyard: A small bar offering light bites, appetizers, and drinks.
Guests at the Disney Yacht and Beach Club Resorts can walk to both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you’d prefer not to walk, Friendship Boats travel between Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Bus transportation is available to Animal Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom.
Disney Swan and Dolphin Resorts
Disney’s Swan and Dolphin properties are a bit different from the other Disney resorts. They aren’t owned and operated by Disney, but do offer some benefits. You may also find that you can get or use hotel rewards points when staying at one of these two resorts.
Here are some of the benefits that guests of the Swan and Dolphin can take advantage of:
- Complimentary transportation to the parks and Disney Springs with Disney’s Transportation (Friendship boats and buses), but not the Magical Express
- Extra Magic Hours (extra hours at the parks just for on-site guests)
- The ability to schedule FastPass+ 60 days in advance rather than 30 days
- Free parking at the Disney theme parks if you bring along a vehicle and want to drive to the parks
- Package delivery where your purchases made at the theme parks can be delivered to your resort
Note that since Disney’s Magical Express isn’t included, you’ll need to make alternate arrangements if you are flying in but aren’t renting a car.
Other amenities at the resort include a huge grotto pool area with waterfalls and water slide, two lap pools, a kiddie pool, a spring pool, four whirlpools, a white sand beach, watercraft rentals, water volleyball, sand volleyball courts, an arcade, basketball, ping pong, tennis courts, a Mandara spa, two health clubs, and a playground.
The resort also offers Camp Dolphin. If you are dining at Shula’s, Todd English’s bluezoo or Il Mulino New York Trattoria, your children can get two complimentary hours at the camp while you dine (one kid per adult entree purchased).
There are seventeen restaurants between the Swan and Dolphin.
The signature restaurants on property are:
- Shula’s Steak House
- Il Mulino (delicious Italian food)
- Kimonos (Japanese food)
- Todd English’s Bluezoo
Casual restaurants are:
- The Garden Grove (offering a Disney character breakfast)
- Fresh – Mediterranean Market (offering a breakfast buffet)
- The Fountain (an ice cream counter)
- The Cabana Bar and Beach Club (open seasonally)
- Splash Pool Bar and Grill (open seasonally by the beach)
The resort also offers three quick serve spots:
- Picabu (open 24/7)
- Fuel (with grab and go items)
- Java Bar (coffee and pastries)
These two resorts are extremely comfortable, with nice rooms and good views. However, they are a bit more “corporate” than the other Disney hotels. So you may prefer a more “magical” theme for younger kids.
Caribbean Beach Resort
The Caribbean Beach Resort is the lone Disney moderate resort on this list. It’s not in the Boardwalk area, and you’ll need to take a bus to the four theme parks and Disney Springs. As a moderate resort, however, it’s usually less expensive so it can be a great way to save money.
When booking a room at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, you’ll have several different room options. There are standard rooms, water/pool view rooms, preferred rooms, and rooms that accommodate a fifth guests. Pirate-themed rooms are also available. These rooms have two double beds. The resort offers five different villages based on Caribbean islands – Jamaica, Aruba, Trinidad, Barbados, and Martinique.
Amenities at the resort include free WiFi, the pirate-themed Fuentes del Morro Pool and five leisure pools. There’s also a self-laundry facility.
There are a few restaurants located on property. These include the following:
Sebastian’s Bistro: This table service restaurant offers casual Caribbean-themed food.
Centertown Market: Looking for a quick bite? Stop in for a casual quick service entree. Grab and go items are also available.
Banana Cabana Pool Bar: Get drinks (including signature cocktails) and light meals at this pool bar.
Spyglass Grill: Located in the Trinidad village, this grill offers casual food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.