When you’re choosing a Disney Resort Hotel for your Walt Disney World vacation, how much time do you spend thinking about the location of your Hotel?
With Disney’s complimentary transportation system, it’s easy to take a Monorail, gondola, boat, or bus wherever you need to go, and often factors like cost, availability, and amenities like feature pools take precedence over location.
But, as with real estate, location really is everything – your choice of Disney Resort Hotel could mean the difference between a 5-minute stroll to a Disney theme park and a 20-minute bus ride. Today, we’re looking at the Disney Resorts located in the EPCOT theme park area at Lake Buena Vista.
They’re a perfect home base for anyone planning on spending a lot of time at Disney’s EPCOT or Hollywood Studios Park, and they’re also great for exploring when you’re having a break from a day at the Magic Kingdom Park or Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park.
EPCOT Resort Hotels
There are five Disney Resort Hotels in the EPCOT Resort area, scattered around the beautiful Crescent Lake. They are Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, and Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels.
All of the Resorts in the EPCOT area are a Disney Deluxe Resort, and a couple have Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts on-site (check out Disney’s Beach Club Villas or BoardWalk Villas if you’re a Disney Vacation Club member or looking for a little extra space).
Disney’s Beach and Yacht Club Resorts are sister Hotels, so they share amenities, including the water park like Stormalong Bay, which in itself is worth staying here. The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels are also sister Resorts.
The Hollywood Studios Connection
These five Resort Hotels are typically referred to as EPCOT Resorts, because they’re closest to Disney’s EPCOT theme park, and within easy walking distance of EPCOT’s International Gateway, the entrance to the World Showcase.
Depending on the Resort you’re staying at or visiting, the walk will take between 5 and 10 minutes.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park, however, is also within walking distance of each of these five Resort Hotels, though it’ll take you a little longer – between about 15 and 25 minutes.
Racked up enough steps in your day at the Disney World Resort? Don’t blame you. You can also take a water boat launch to travel between Disney’s EPCOT and Hollywood Studios theme parks and all of these Disney Resort Hotels.
If you’re staying at or visiting an EPCOT-area Resort, you’re within steps of Disney’s Boardwalk, a picturesque promenade featuring shops, dining, and entertainment – similar to Disney Springs.
Order a specialty cocktail at Disney’s sophisticated magic-themed lounge, Abracadabar. Dance the night away at Atlantic Dance Hall, or listen to dueling pianos at Jellyrolls (bonus points if you make a request that stumps the maestros).
Grab a meal at casual Big River Grille & Brewing Works, elegant Flying Fish, or Trattoria al Forno, where you’ll discover feel-good Italian favorites. Boardwalk Bakery, Boardwalk Ice Cream, and Boardwalk Joe’s Marvelous Margaritas have just the treat or drink to hit the spot.
Guests can also rent a Surrey bike to peddle along the Boardwalk promenade with views of Crescent Lake, or simply snag a seat on a bench to enjoy the views.
Perhaps the most popular table service restaurant in the Disney EPCOT Resort area is Yachtsman Steakhouse, at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort.
This iconic steakhouse has a minimum dress code, but the nautical décor gives it a casual vibe, so it’s not so upscale that you’ll feel uncomfortable.
Check out the steaks hanging in the dry-aging room, and watch your meal being prepared in the open kitchen. While most Guests come to Yachtsman for the renowned steaks, which are a contender for the best on Walt Disney World Resort property, don’t be put off if you’re a vegan or vegetarian. There are plenty of masterfully prepared veggiesaurus options here, and Cast Members are happy to work with you to create a custom meal you’ll enjoy, no matter your dietary concerns.
Beaches & Cream Soda Shop
Burgers, sandwiches, and sides are offered at retro-diner-themed Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, but why pretend we’re here for anything but the ice cream? Pick a malt, shake, float, sundae, or cone, it really doesn’t matter – there’s no wrong choice here.
Hard-core ice cream fans will delight in the famed Kitchen Sink (as in, “everything but the”), a behemoth concoction comprised of five types of ice cream and all the toppings on site.
And when they say “it serves four”, they’re not kidding – you will need backup to finish this one!
Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf
When you want to work off some of that amazing food, you can play a friendly game of miniature golf at one of two courses at Walt Disney World Swan Hotel. Both courses are themed on Disney’s classic film Fantasia (1940), complete with Sorcerer Mickey, enchanted brooms, and dancing hippos.
If you’ve never tried your hand at miniature golf or have young ones with you, you may want to opt for the whimsical Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course. A more difficult course awaits at Fantasia Fairways Miniature Golf Course, which is like a mini-version of a traditional golf course and requires more skill.
Alright, it’s not as glamorous as a dessert crawl or a bar crawl, but the lobbies at Walt Disney World’s Resort Hotels are seriously stunning!
And they’re not just for Guests who are staying at the Resort. So, why not embark on a lobby crawl from one EPCOT Resort Hotel to the next? Let your senses be awakened by the magical scents Disney pipes through each Resort, the comfortable seating that beckons you to stay awhile, and the unique décor that defines each Hotel.
You don’t just have to be at a Disney Park at the Disney World Resort to get those magical smells and theming!
Whether you’re staying at an EPCOT-area Resort Hotel like Walt Disney World Dolphin, Disney’s Beach Club or Yacht Club, or just visiting, there’s enough here to keep you entertained, fed, and happy for the duration of an entire Walt Disney World Resort vacation!