Good afternoon everyone, after recently completing our 2022 trip to Disney it is on potentially to our 2023 trip! Traveling would be me and my wife (40 years old) and our two kids (would be 9 and 6 at time of travel). We have stayed twice at the Wilderness Lodge and we absolutely love it and would be fine staying there every trip we made to Disney. Some of the things that we like about the WL are its proximity to MK (we loved being on the bus at 7:25 and being through security by 7:45), the calm feel of the resort, the compactness of it (most everything is all under one roof, not spread out), and the pools. But the flip side is that we want to make sure we aren’t missing out on something that we might like just as much. Looking at other resorts the Beach club seems to check a lot of the boxes that we would want, especially the pool. I would welcome any thoughts comparing the two. How is travel to MK from Beach Club? That is the park we frequent most and would like to continue to have convenient access to it.
The bus from Beach Club to MK is fine, but it will be nowhere as quick as the Wilderness Lodge option and you don’t have the boat to/from MK option either.
Stay at Beach Club if you want to take advantage of the pool (best in WDW), being able to walk to Epcot - great for park hopping for meals at Epcot or an easy trip to Hollywood Studios (Skyliner or boat - although walkable as well). Personally I like switching up the hotels and doing one stay near MK and then another near Epcot to take advantage of different things on different trips.
But if you’re going to MK all the time, then staying WL (or a monorail hotel) is likely the best choice for you…
I believe the bus is the only way to get to MK from Beach club, unless you use the Minnie vans, when they come back. Not sure where they would drop you off though. Minnie vans were awesome and worth every penny. If MK is a priority, I’d choose GF or Poly, but lean towards GF for food choices and being able to walk into MK, and to view fireworks from hotel, AND the electric light boat parade, but maybe Poly will have a few deals with construction of new DVC building. For what its worth, the beach club pool was nice, but other than the water slide being a bit longer, I don’t rate it that much better than GF or Poly pool. Enjoy!
No bad choices there!
If your family favorite park is MK, I would resist the FOMO and not feel guilty about sticking with WL.
I love that place and would stay there more but my kids have been more into Epcot lately so my last 3 stays have been YC, BC and BWV since we have been doing multiple shorter trips and convenience means a lot to me. The pool is great but I also shrug a bit at the ‘hands down best’ designation it’s been given since that is so subjective (especially with kids’ tastes).
My opinion is also probably colored by the fact that I have personally bungled the morning bus from BC to MK on multiple occasions so ymmv there.
We don’t mind the bus. So Beach Club is ok for us in that regard. So much so, I have no idea if it’s a long ride.
Beach Club is I think all under one roof, as Wilderness Lodge is.
Stormalong Bay is incredible.
You get Yacht Club restaurant access as well as Beach Club restaurant access.
We’re usually Epcot every evening folk, and an after park ice cream from Beaches and Cream is a great finish to a good day.
We just got back from a lovely stay at the Beach Club, and the easy access to Epcot and DHS was so great. We took the bus to MK a couple of times and it’s maybe a 10-12 minute ride tops, so not a big deal (of course you do have to wait for the bus.)
But if the main reason you would be switching is for the fancy pool, I might think twice. Yes the sandy bottom is very cool and it is huge. But I was glad I wasn’t trying to keep track of kids there because the nooks and crannies would make it hard to watch them. It was HOT the whole time we were there so it was wall to wall people both in and out of the pool; we had trouble finding seats together. The lazy river was a step past lazy so it barely moved, plus there was fierce competition for tubes, and having to walk across a busy walkway in your bathing suit for the slide felt weird. So, maybe our expectations were just too high since we had heard great things, but all in all we ended up using the very simple “quiet pool” by the Villas more, because it was closer to our room and so much less crowded. I know most people love Stormalong Bay so this is clearly a minority opinion, but all four in my family felt like it didn’t live up to the hype. Still a wonderful stay at the Beach Club overall, though!
I don’t think of WL as being all under one roof, not when I count Boulder Ridge and Geyser Point as parts of WL worth going to. Boulder Ridge has the Carolwood Pacific Room (the train room) to enjoy quiet time in, looking at the various exhibits or napping. Geyser Point’s open-air bar/restaurant on the lake is soooo peaceful.
Curse my inexpert paraphrasing of OP’s WL positives - “most everything is all under one roof, not spread out,”
I love Beach Club! WL is great too for completely different reasons. Obviously the big plus for BC is walking to Epcot and HS, plus skyliner access. Stormalong Bay is an epic pool that is hard to beat. The resort is very relaxed and homey.
The buses to MK take you right up to the entrance, so you don’t have to worry about TTC, and they come fairly frequently so you’ll never wait more than 25 min, but usually less (watch the app).
Overall I would branch out and try something new! You won’t be disappointed by BC.
There are a few here that have gotten lost in the maze of BC hallways so it may not feel as condensed as WL. The location is nice if Epcot and HS are a focus for your trip. Maybe in a few years when the kids are older, they will be.
I haven’t been to BC pool but it has underwhelmed 2 families that I know. Maybe give Poly a try if you want something new. Also, you can walk to the TCC and take monorail to Epcot.
I can maybe imagine certain ages of kids not being fully entertained. But between the sand bottom pool, the lazy river, and the shipwreck slide, it’s definitely one of the best. I don’t know what they were expecting.
The keeping an eye on kids issues are the only true downsides for me and only at a super specific window when you don’t have to go in the water with them but like to be able to track them a bit.
I didn’t love my 5-6yo having to go across the public walkway to get to the slide alone but also didn’t want to get up to chaperone them every time and it was also hard to confidently pawn the responsibility off on my older child because it was hard for them to keep track of each other.
I mean I DID and we always found the younger one EVENTUALLY but not a gold-star parenting job by me
I only mention it because the op’s kids are this age but don’t mean to knock the pool itself.
You just reminded me that my DD2 had a close call in the sand-bottom pool. She tripped and her life preserver was actually keeping her head under the water. I was right next to her and thankfully noticed pretty quickly what happened. But it scared me because if I hadn’t noticed, it would have been easy for her to have drowned.
Of course, this has nothing to do with Disney pools in particular (I’m sure a lifeguard would have noticed pretty quickly). And it wasn’t necessarily a faulty life preserver. It’s just a reminder that nothing is foolproof and you always have to watch young kids like a hawk in a pool.
I think it may have been the crowds but I didn’t get into long conversations about it.
Ah yes. My #1 advice for SAB (and any Disney pool, really) is to go at night! The pools are much less crowded, you don’t need sunscreen, and the temperatures are pretty nice, even in the fall and spring (winter obviously is a wild card).
It’s tempting to go to the pool in the afternoon with the rest of humanity, but do something in the A/C instead.
I’m not particularly a public pool person. I’ll do the occasional hot tub but not if other people are in it. It feels gross. But I can see going to one of the most coveted pools at Disney at peak pool time isn’t the best strategy, lol.
I haven’t stayed at the WL, but it is basically on our bucket list for the same reason you are considering BC. We’ve stayed at BC/YC for the last 3 trips (and are there this coming August) with kids the same age. We LOVE the location. We love the Boardwalk & Epcot for dinner and walking to HS. We still love MK, but we’re not as focused on that park now that our kids are a little older.
They may have received glowing reports and had built up expectations.
Our first time at Storm along Bay was nearly without expectation. We’d seen the shipwreck slide in pictures but no info as to details of the pool - or even the slide. I think Disney was still shipping printed media at the time of our first visit. As opposed to VHS or dvd.
So there was a lot of surprise and joy of exploration. This pool may benefit from no spoilers.
What’s the sweet spot age for kids at Stormalong Bay? Our next trip they will likely be 17/16/11. Seems like they may be too old for it by then. Eh? (I’m not Canadian but I sure love eh)
Definitely depends on kids. Some 11 yos may not like the slide as being too much.
Some 17/16 may enjoy the slide. Especially if others of the same age group are. Then the lazy river might be a whole lot interesting.
The slide was my first time on a water slide - did not grow up with water parks. That slide was soo much fun. We then started making time for a water park on subsequent trips. Next trip actually got to experience River Country.
eta: meaning to say, the slide is long and fun while mild.