Having discussed Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge last week, I thought that this week, in light of the current Summer Room Discount promotion, that I would share my thoughts about some other Deluxe/Villa resorts: the Epcot resorts of the Boardwalk, Yacht and Beach Club, and Disney’s Swan and Dolphin.
It may seem odd to talk about all 5 of these resorts in one post, but I do so for one reason…and the one that makes any/all of these resorts appealing to my family: location!
While each of them have their own unique theme, décor, and charm, they all share one really awesome benefit: situated along Crescent Lake near both Hollywood Studios and Epcot, they are within an easy walk or boatride to both of these parks, and as such, offer the very attractive ability to visit these Epcot or Hollywood Studios in a less-stressful, less-crowded…and in some cases much-quicker way.photo via http://www.flickr.com/photos/pahudson/2217581994/
Let’s take a look at how easy it is to visit these two theme parks from any of the Epcot resorts.
Get to the Parks by Foot…
One of the things that I love about this area is the ability to get up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee and/or muffin (LOVE Boardwalk Bakery!) and stroll….yes STROLL….over to Epcot. Guests from this area can enter Epcot through World Showcase’s International Gateway, and let me tell you that this is such a great way to start your day! Virtually no lines, bag check is quick and you’re in and on your way! And the walk is delightful: it’s peaceful and lovely, and as you get closer to Epcot, you hear the wonderful Disney background music from World Showcase that just gets you in the mood to have a wonderful day!photo via http://www.flickr.com/photos/kathika/3155518920/
It is also possible to walk to Hollywood Studios from the Boardwalk, and it’s a bit longer of a walk, perhaps 10 minutes or so, but it’s still great to again stroll along the waterway to head over to DHS. Or run: this entire loop in fact is quite popular with folks who like to take their morning jog before heading out to the parks each day.
Connecting Epcot, Boardwalk, Yacht and Beach Club, the Swan and Dolphin, and Hollywood Studios, the Friendship boats provide a continuous loop of transporting park guests to each of these areas. Convenient, relaxing, and again rarely as crowded as you would experience on the buses or monorails, the Friendship boats are a great way to get around.
The most important thing to make note of when using the boats is to read the signs CAREFULLY before you get on, to make sure you are headed in the direction you want to go…and when in doubt, ask the Captain before you get on.
Also consider how much time you have…because while traveling by Friendship boat is many things, it is not fast. Of course, it’s not meant to be: it’s supposed to be relaxing…and at the end of a long day, believe me it’s a lot nicer to just hop on the boat and glide down to your resort, than sit (or stand) on the bus. Just be sure to allow yourself enough time, especially if you are using one of the boats to get to an Advanced Dining Reservation.
What Else There is to Love
Each of these resorts is unique and has their own special touches that make folks just love staying there. A few of our favorites:http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesprescott/5259896554/
- Stormalong Bay at Yacht and Beach Club: Probably every kid’s idea of what the perfect pool and water play area should be, this mini-water park is extremely popular. With a sandy bottom, several hot tubs and an awesome “shipwreck” slide, this pool area is over 3 acres large. It’s awesome fun!
- The Boardwalk at the Boardwalk: Think Cape May, think Coney Island, think Jersey Shore (when that was actually a compliment)…in fact think every beach resort town you have ever been to. Yes there is a boardwalk! And Yes, it has food and games, and entertainment. Try renting bikes or one of the surreys and travel around the lake for some great affordable, old-fashioned fun.
- The Heavenly Beds at the Swan and Dolphin: I don’t know if I have ever found anything that is more appropriately named than these Heavenly Beds. After a long, exhausting day at the parks, sinking into this cushioned bliss is…..heavenly.
- ESPN Zone: OK, we truly appreciated this during last year’s football playoffs, when we were able to stop in for a few hours to watch our game. We had a blast: we got a seat, ordered some food, made new friends, and had a truly fantastic afternoon. (Yes, our team won, so that helped….but still….)
And you will also find some of the best food on Disney propertyhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/kungaloosh/4438280817/
- Flying Fish
- Cape May
- Captain’s Grill
- Beaches and Cream
- Todd English’s bluezoo
- Boardwalk Bakery
- And lots more!
Making the Epcot Resorts Affordable
So as I mentioned last week when talking about the Animal Kingdom Lodge, while these resorts are not cheap, they *can* be affordable for you, if you want to experience them. Consider:
- Promotions like the current Summer Savings can provide you a significant discount: you may find that booking a Deluxe with a good discount code ends up being comparable to a Moderate. If you book your trip with a travel agent, the agent will notify you if new discounts come out, even after you book, and can then re-book your trip: if you get a good discount, consider trading up!
- Think about splitting your stay so that you can stay just one or two nights. Disney makes it so easy to change resorts, and many folks find this to be a way to experience Deluxe at a more affordable price: start in a Value or Moderate and end in a Deluxe for a special ending to your trip.
- Think carefully about the time of year: Deluxe resorts have Value seasons that may make the cost work for your budget in a way that the more expensive times of year wouldn’t.
- Affordable Disney vacations require you to balance wants and needs. Many vacationers plan shorter trips periodically so that they can have a Deluxe experience every so often.
- The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin often offer some excellent promotions for teachers, government employees and just regular seasonal discounts. Although not owned by Disney, they are on Disney property and affiliated with Disney: so these “deluxe” hotels offer a number of Disney benefits, but at a more affordable cost.
- Spend an evening here. It’s lovely, the food is delicious, and there’s great entertainment. And you can see Illuminations from the bridge…..no crowds necessary.
In real estate, they say location is everything. If you love Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios…you will love the location of the Epcot resorts!