Beaches and Cream Review
Everyone has a favorite hidden gem among Walt Disney World restaurants. Sure, everyone knows about the best ones like Boma, ‘Ohana, and Sci-Fi Dine-In, but there are plenty of other outstanding eateries in the area. One of the best is tucked away beside a pool at a Disney resort. Here, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the age of burgers and milkshakes, and you’ll love every second of it. Here’s what you need to know about Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, the best small restaurant on the Disney campus.
Did you know that there are two entrances to Epcot? MickeyBlog has mentioned this several times, but it still seems to surprise some guests. The back entrance is near the France and England Pavilions at the World Showcase. This area is called the International Gateway. When you walk here, you’ll find a path that leads to two Disney resorts and a wonderful strip of thematic shops.
The shopping spot is Disney’s BoardWalk, a place with several great restaurants and stores themed to 1920s Coney Island shops. Right behind the walkway is Disney’s BoardWalk Resort. This area also has a lovely view of Crescent Lake. From here, you can look across the water to Disney’s Beach Club Resort, home to Beaches & Cream.
To reach this restaurant from Epcot, you simply walk out the back exit. Then, you follow the pathway until you see a shipwrecked boat on one side. This vessel indicates that you’re near the entrance to Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Go inside and ask for directions to the restaurant. I’d provide them here, but this particular property is notoriously confusing to walk around. It’s wonderful, and I stay there virtually every year, but I’ve both received and provided directions here. Everyone seems to get lost at some point.
What you’ll discover is that Beaches & Cream is right beside the hotel’s best amenity: Stormalong Bay. It’s basically a mini-water park located in the middle of the resort. Stormalong Bay is such a draw that only guests of Disney’s Beach Club Resort can use the pool. Cast members check Magic Bands to verify permissions before allowing access.
When you eat at the restaurant, you don’t have to worry about pool admission, though. You’ll walk right next to the entry gate to Stormalong Bay to reach the check-in stand for Beaches & Cream. That’s part of the reason why it’s such a hidden gem. It’s outshined by the pool sitting right beside it.
Are you old enough to have watched Happy Days episodes? If so, this place is basically Arnold’s Diner. If you’re too young, just think about any cinematic representation of a 1950s restaurant. And yes, this is also true of ‘50s Prime Time Café at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, at least to a degree. The difference is in core concept. ‘50s Prime Time Café is intended to reflect the American home of the era.
Beaches & Cream is the restaurant and teen hangout spot of the time, as demonstrated by its historically accurate jukebox complete with classic songs. Peggy Lee, Patsy Cline, and The Archies all have music on the jukebox, sanctifying this place as Happy Days-era appropriate. Unlike Arnold’s Diner, however, this place is small.
Disney intentionally prioritized intimacy, perhaps due to a limited amount of space in the area. Beaches & Cream is one of the smallest Table Service restaurants at Walt Disney World…possibly THE smallest. For that reason, it books quickly. This is definitely a place where you’ll need to make an Advanced Dining Reservation, preferably the moment that your 180-day window opens.
Please take me seriously on this point. I suspect that the restaurant seats somewhere between 50 and 60 guests. There are three booths capable of hosting a party of six. Then, there are six round tables that seat four each. And then a “bar” area has 10 individual seats. In other words, occupancy is likely less than 50 most of the time. Even as a hidden gem, Beaches & Cream books fast simply due to the spacing limitations.
Beaches & Cream is worth the aggravation, though. You’ll feel as comfortable at this restaurant as anywhere on the Disney campus. It’s an inviting burger joint with a joyous atmosphere. Due to the proximity to the pool, everyone’s in a great mood when they eat here. You can’t see much of the Stormalong Bay fun from inside the restaurant, but you’ll sit outside while you wait to be seated. It sets the tone for the entire experience. Also, I can’t quite quantify the why of it, but the service at this restaurant is exceptional, even by Disney’s high standards.
Generally, when I write food reviews, I spend a great deal of time detailing the cuisine. With Beaches & Cream, that’s not necessary. The menu here is basic. In fact, some Quick Service restaurants offer a deeper selection of entrees. The expectation when you eat at this place is that you’re going to have a burger, a sandwich, or a patty melt. Due to the modest size of the kitchen, they can’t do anything complex. What they do instead is maximize the flavor of the few dishes they serve.
And they sell ice cream.
Oh my, does Beaches & Cream ever sell ice cream. For my money, it’s the best at Walt Disney World, even over the Dole Whip. At its core, this place is a soda shop, meaning that milkshakes and ice cream floats are the true appeal. Don’t get me wrong. I love the burgers here. They pale in comparison to Frozen Sunshine, though. That’s a rainbow sherbet dish that blends vanilla ice cream and seltzer for a dazzling flavor profile.
Of course, the regular ice cream treats aren’t the most ambitious option at Beaches & Cream. As you may or may not know, this restaurant serves the most decadent dessert at any Disney theme park. It’s called the Kitchen Sink, and it’s such a big deal that when you order it, lights and sirens will go off in the restaurant.
Why does the Kitchen Sink get such a big fuss? It’s a $32 dessert that allegedly serves four. I don’t think that four offensive linemen from the Green Bay Packers could eat the whole thing, though. This thing is so massive it needs its own zip code. Disney once posted the ingredients of the Kitchen Sink. It looks like this:
- ½ cup fudge topping, warmed
- ½ cup butterscotch topping, warmed
- ½ cup peanut butter topping, warmed
- 1 medium banana, sliced in 1/2 –inch slices
- 1 cinnamon spice cupcake (2 ½ x 1 ¼-inch), quartered
- 1 angel food cupcake (3 x 1 ½-inch), quartered
- 2 4-oz. scoops vanilla ice cream
- 2 4-oz. scoops chocolate ice cream
- 2 4-oz. scoops strawberry ice cream
- 1 4-oz. scoop mint chocolate chip ice cream
- 1 4-oz. scoop coffee ice cream
- 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup
- ¼ cup marshmallow crème
- ¼ cup strawberry topping
- ¼ cup pineapple topping
- 1 14-oz can dairy whipped topping
- 1 brownie (6-inch x 6-inch), quartered
- 1 regular-sized (2 ounce) candy bar, quartered
- 4 chocolate cookies with cream filling
- 1 tablespoon sliced toasted almonds
- 1 tablespoon dark and white chocolate shavings
- 1 tablespoon chocolate cookies with cream filling, crushed
- 1 tablespoon chopped jellied orange slices (approximately 2 large slices)
- 1 tablespoon milk chocolate chip morsels
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter chip morsels
- 1 tablespoon chocolate sprinkles
- 1 tablespoon rainbow sprinkles
- ½ cup drained maraschino cherries
What more do I need to say? Ordering the Kitchen Sink is a group project that unites you and your loved ones in an ill-fated attempt to prove your overeating abilities. Even when you don’t feel up to the task, you’ll still get to see someone else dare to dream. It’s pretty rare when we sit through a Beaches & Cream meal where someone does NOT order the Kitchen Sink. Trying this dessert has to be on your Disney bucket list.
Getting a reservation for Beaches & Cream is tricky. That’s not just because of the quality of the place. The small number of tables creates scarcity issues. When you eat here, however, you’ll forget the aggravation in booking the meal, though. All you’ll think about while you’re here is how great a time you’re having with your loved ones.
The burgers and other comfort entrees are delicious, the ambience is jubilant, and the ice cream is arguably the best at Walt Disney World. Everything here is wonderful, but you’ll also want to pick that perfect moment to order the Kitchen Sink, thereby making your party the center of attention at the restaurant. You won’t be able to eat it all, of course, but you can proudly make a huge dent in the most gluttonous dessert you’ll ever order.
Beaches & Cream is off the beaten path. Disney veterans understand why it’s worth the extra effort, though. It’s a staple of our regular Disney vacation plans, and I heartily recommend that you make it a part of your family’s Disney itinerary, too.
In fact, you should perfect the experience by staying at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. That way, you can spend the late afternoon swimming or enjoying the sun at Stormalong Bay, shower, grab a great meal at Beaches & Cream and then head back to Epcot for the evening. Ask an agent at Mickey Travels for the latest prices on Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Disney frequently discounts their Deluxe Resorts, making them surprisingly affordable.