Having Fun at the Beach at Disney World
When I was growing up, every summer my entire family would (overly) load a giant Dodge van and drive down to the shore. By the time we spent 3+ hours in the car fighting the driving-impaired city dwellers, unpacking, and arguing over who got the biggest room in the house, I can understand why the adults were exhausted! When you’re 12 years old though, that long journey had an end goal, and I knew the faster I went to sleep, the faster I’d be able to wake up. At daybreak everyday, my cousins and I would slip into our bathing suits before anyone else had opened their eyes and would stand by the door until someone finally said the words we’d been waiting all year to hear: “let’s go to the beach!”
On the years we traveled to the beach for vacation, I would miss the magic and unparalleled atmosphere of being at Walt Disney World. Naturally, when we vacationed at Walt Disney World, I would beg my parents to spend a one day driving to Cocoa Beach so I could have the best of both worlds. With pre-purchased tickets being a daunting reality, I knew the beach would have to wait until next year…but you can experience both a Walt Disney World trip and a beach vacation all rolled into one! Don your sun hats and bathing suits, because you’re going to the beach at Disney!
Bringing the Beach Inland
By the fourth, fifth, and sixth straight day spent in a theme park, even I sometimes wish for a tranquil beach day to rejuvenate me. Take a day off from the parks and surprise your family with a ‘beach day’ all without ever having to leave the comforts of Walt Disney World Resort. The best way to enjoy these ‘beaches’ don’t involve an itinerary, so kick back, relax, and just go with the flow. Enjoy your time at the beach at Disney!
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
One of the reasons I love the Boardwalk so much is because it gets its themeing straight from that same Jersey Shore where I spent my childhood summers. The Luna Park Pool even pays homage to Coney Island! It doesn’t take any imagination to get yourself into the beach-y state of mind once you step onto the boardwalk that is filled with performers, an ice cream shop, and a few iconic boardwalk-style kiosk venders to grab a quick bite! If you stick around past nightfall, you can catch a Disney movie on the expansive adjacent lawn. Watching a movie on the boardwalk is the best way I know to get into an island state of mind.
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Disney’s Polynesian boasts the beach with the best sightline on property- a straight shot view of Cinderella Castle makes this the perfect place to visit on your beach day! Grab a cool, refreshing pineapple Dole Whip from the nearby window and borrow a pool towel or two to spread on the sand. Plan ahead and bring along a football or frisbee for a game of toss, or see how many boats you can count crossing the lake for a fun game! I like to arrive at the Polynesian beach a few hours before sunset so I can soak up a few rays before watching the fireworks over Cinderella Castle from the best seat in the house- my towel!
Disney’s Yacht and Beach Clubs
You can’t have a beach day at Walt Disney World without visiting the Resort that gets its name from the sand and surf we’re looking for! When the afternoon Florida heat is at its most brutal, jump into the pool at Yacht and Beach Club for a much needed cool down! In the shadows of a pirate shipwreck sits the expansive pool flanked by real sand dunes, and a quick look past the fence will meet your eye with views of the beach and far-off Boardwalk Resort. Oh, I almost forgot the coolest part: the bottom of this pool is covered with real sand…sink your toes into that!
Beaches and Cream
Anyone who has ever traveled to an old beach town will remember the retro diner-style eateries that make their years’ profit between the months of June and September. I remember eating plenty of breakfasts and lunches at old soda shops, and a meal at Beaches and Cream always brings back fond memories of sunkissed skin and family bonding. The restaurant serves classic All-American food like grilled cheese and burgers…but the real winner here is the ice cream! If you’re lucky enough to have snagged a reservation, you have to order the Kitchen Sink! If not though, you can walk up to the to-go counter and order from a list of hand scooped cups, cones, and sundaes. Yum!
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
You’ve seen it in the movies countless times and may have experienced it yourself if you travel to the right beach! How many times have you watched characters in a film tear up the town on a summer beach vacation only to end the trip by lighting a big, blazing bonfire on the beach? While you can’t light your own fire on a Disney beach, the cast members will do the work for you at the Grand Floridian! Taking place nightly, guests of any resort are welcome to stop by the fire pit in the middle of the sandy beach and try their hand at toasting a perfect marshmallow! The experience is complimentary and the marshmallows are unlimited, so make sure to bring your appetites!
Planning a beach day into your Walt Disney World Resort is a fantastic way to take a day off from the parks without missing out on a moments’ worth of fun! With so many options, you can mix, match, and customize your plans to suit your family’s interests. Have breakfast at the Boardwalk Bakery and take in the sights before heading to Beaches and Cream for lunch. Or, get to the Polynesian early and spend the day in the sand before hopping on a monorail for the Grand Floridian’s nightly marshmallow roast. No matter how you choose to plan it, there are endless beaches waiting for you, and we want to know which you’ll choose! Let us know in the comments below.
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Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer/musician thrilled to be bringing you all things Disney! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!