While we tend to shy away from hard and fast rules when it comes to visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, some general guidelines seem to apply every time.
First time visits to Walt Disney World almost always center on the Magic Kingdom, as do visits with children of a certain age (under about 10, though it certainly depends on the individual child). After that first visit, or once the kids approach the teenage years, you’ll likely be ready to explore Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
When that time comes, you’ll want to consider a stay Walt Disney World’s Epcot Resort Area.
What is the Epcot Resort Area?
The Epcot Resort Area is a destination in itself. The Area includes a collection of hotels, restaurants, shops, and activities surrounding Crescent Lake, just a short walk from Epcot and a slightly longer but still easy walk from Hollywood Studios.
While almost any Walt Disney World visitor can enjoy some of what the Epcot Resort Area has to offer, guests at the various hotels in the Area will get the most benefit.
Which hotels are located in the Epcot Resort Area?
The Area boasts five hotels, three of which are official Disney Deluxe Resorts, including (drop us a line or give us a call for all the details or follow the links to the resort sites):
The Beach Club, the Yacht Club, and the Boardwalk are all owned by Disney and are considered official Disney Deluxe resorts (remember that one of the main reasons they are declared Deluxe is the resorts’ proximity to the parks, and these are awfully close to Epcot and Hollywood Studios).
The Dolphin and the Swan are owned by Starwood and operated by Sheraton and Westin respectively.
Both the Dolphin and the Swan have distinctive designs and are considered comparable to Disney’s own deluxe resorts.
Both the Boardwalk and the Beach Club also have Disney Vacation Club Villas.
How about restaurants?
The Epcot Resort Area has a dizzying array of eating establishments including (in alphabetical order):
Beach Club Marketplace (Beach Club)
Beaches & Cream Soda Shop (Beach Club)
Big River Grille & Brewing Works (Boardwalk)
Boardwalk Bakery (Boardwalk)
Cape May Cafe (Beach Club)
Captain’s Grille (Yacht Club)
Hurricane Hannah’s (near Stormalong Bay)
ESPN Club (Boardwalk)
Flying Fish Cafe (Boardwalk)
Fresh Mediterranean Market (Dolphin)
Garden Grove (Swan)
Il Mulino NY Trattoria (Swan)
Shula’s Steakhouse (Dolphin)
Todd English’s Bluezoo (Dolphin)
Yachtsman Steakhouse (Yacht Club)
I think we’ve covered them all! Shoot us an email or give us a call with any questions…too much to say in this post!
How about the pools?
If you’re staying at the Beach Club or Yacht Club, the Stormalong Bay pool area is the best at Walt Disney World, and we’ll be writing about it more, soon (because it’s so popular access is limited to guests of the Beach Club or Yacht Club).
What else should you catch in the Area?
Even if you’re not a guest at any of the Epcot Area resorts you can still stroll through the International Gateway and check out the nightly marshmallow roast and movie by the beach near the Beach/Yacht Club pool area.
You can enjoy a stroll around the Lake or the beach in front of the Beach Club, catching the over the top architecture of the Swan and Dolphin.
A walkway extends from the International Gateway into the Epcot Resort Area and all the way to Hollywood Studios. The walk from Epcot to Hollywood Studios through the Area takes about 30 to 45 minutes depending on your speed. The walkway circles Crescent Lake and includes the Boardwalk area, which is a fun spot in the evenings.
Disney also offers boat service from Epcot to Hollywood Studios and back, stopping at each of the hotels along the way, though with the stops, the ride is not much shorter than the walk.
A leisurely stroll around Crescent Lake (in the center of the above shot from Google Maps) is the perfect way to explore the Epcot Resort Area – don’t miss it the next time you visit Epcot.
Our kids are just getting to the age where they really enjoy Epcot and Hollywood Studios, and the Epcot Resort Area has become our home base at Walt Disney World.
We’re making some great family memories, and we know you can, too. Just drop us an email or give us a call to find out how.
And never forget to: