Get to Know Stormalong Bay: The Yacht & Beach Club Pool Area

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In my personal tally of how many times I’ve stayed at each Disney World resort, the clear winner, with more than 15 stays, is the Beach Club and Beach Club Villas. There are many hotels we love, but we continue to circle back to the Beach Club for two reasons: the proximity to Epcot and the rockin’ awesome pool situation. Stormalong Bay, the pool complex shared by the Yacht & Beach Club, is 3+ areas of fun, nearly a waterpark unto itself. If you’ve got water lovers in your party, Stormalong Bay may be reason enough to make the Yacht or Beach Club your Disney resort of choice. Here’s a tour.

As a first step, take a look at our general guide to the Disney World pools. This covers things like lifeguards (there are lots), floatation vests (they’re free), towels (take as many as you need), and water temperature (warm)!

Moving on to Stormalong Bay specifics, this is the map you’ll receive during check-in. You can see that Stormalong Bay (those amorphous blobs in the center) is neatly centered between the Yacht & Beach Clubs. All guests of those resorts are entitled to Stormalong Bay access, even those staying at the Beach Club Villas. It’s worth noting that Stormalong Bay access is strictly limited to use by Yacht & Beach guests, you will need to show a valid room key or have your MagicBand scanned for access. They’re quite strict about checking.

stormalong map

Now let’s zoom in a bit and take a look at an aerial view from Google Maps. I’ve added some labels so you can get oriented. All those red dots are lifeguard station umbrellas.

stormalongair

On the left of the aerial view, you’ll see a huge shallow sand area. The maximum depth here is about two feet, but most of the area is more shallow than that, making it the perfect place for younger kids to hang out. The bottom of the sand zone is, you guessed, sand. You’re not going to feel any hard cement under your feet. There are also sand “dunes” in places, mounds where you can sit and build sand castles. This is my perfect version of the beach for little ones, all the fun stuff, but none of the worries that they’ll get knocked over by a wave, complain about sticky seaweed, or cut their foot on a sharp shell. From ages two to ten, I would have to literally drag my daughters out of the sand area at the end of the day.

Sand zone looking toward the Yacht Club

Sand zone looking toward the Yacht Club

Sand area looking toward Hurricane Hanna's

Sand area looking toward Hurricane Hanna’s

Chillin' in the sand. The beach-like construction effectively makes this a zero-entry pool.

Chillin’ in the sand. The beach-like construction effectively makes this a zero-entry pool.

Hurricane Hanna's Grill seating. You can watch the shallow sand area from here.

Hurricane Hanna’s Grill seating. You can watch the shallow sand area from here.

 

You’ll notice that many of the guests in the sand are using green buckets for their castle building. The buckets (new ones of course) are used as a serving container at the nearby Hurricane Hanna’s Grill. Rather than taking sandy buckets home, many choose to leave their buckets at Stormalong Bay, so there’s usually a supply available for anyone to use. If you want to add a bit more oomph to your structure, you can often find more elaborate sand toys available for sale in the gift shops at the Yacht & Beach Clubs.

Moving left across the map, you’ll see the “Lazy River.” This is a deep water zone (8+ feet) with an slow speed artificial current. If you wanted a heavy duty workout, you could try to swim against this current, but most guests grab a noodle or tube and drift along for a few laps. This is the very definition of relaxation.

 

Panorama look at the lazy river

Panorama look at the lazy river

Perfect for gentle floating

Perfect for gentle floating

Grab a tube

Grab a tube

Or a noodle.

Or a noodle.

 

Along the path of the lazy river, you’ll see an information booth. This used to be a merchandise sales location, but now it’s just a friendly cast member there to answer questions, tell you about the day’s activities, and lend out sports equipment.

 

Information booth. Restrooms are next door.

Information booth. Restrooms are next door.

Typical poolside activity schedule

Typical poolside activity schedule

 

Above the Lazy River is an open swim zone. There are waterfalls and two hot tubs (spas) in this area. Generally, this open swim zone is a bit more quiet than the shallow sand. This is where you’ll find many adults that want to cool off.

 

General swim area.

General swim area.

More general swim. Note the waterfall on the right.

More open swim. Note the waterfall on the right.

Just keep swimming.

Just keep swimming.

There are multiple spas at Stormalong Bay

There are multiple spas at Stormalong Bay

 

Just past the spas, you’ll find another set of restrooms, the Lafferty Place Arcade, the Ship Shape Health Club, and the Americana classic Beaches & Cream Soda Shop – home of the famous Kitchen Sink Sundae.

 

If you need a break from swimming, dive into the Kitchen Sink at Beaches and Cream.

If you need a break from swimming, dive into the Kitchen Sink at Beaches and Cream.

 

To burn off some calories, you may want to do some watersliding. There are two slides at Stormalong Bay. There are no particular age or height requirements for either slide, but riders do have to be able to go down on their own. No lap sitting is allow. Most guests on the junior slide will be about ages 2-9 and most guests on the large slide will be about 6-adult.

To access either slide, exit the main pool area and head toward the massive shipwreck – the area at the bottom of the Google map above. Along the way you’ll see a hair wrap stand and a pick-a-pearl kiosk. Both have limited hours but are generally open throughout the afternoon.

 

You enter the slide access area behind the shipwreck, near the beach.

You enter the slide access area behind the shipwreck, near the beach.

You access the slides from the rear of the shipwreck, near the beach. The spiral staircase along the mast gets to to the main slide. The junior slide is below.

You access the slides from the rear of the shipwreck, near the beach. The spiral staircase along the mast gets to to the main slide. The junior slide is below.

 

The junior slide is completely contained in the shipwreck zone…

Coming down the junior slide.

Coming down the junior slide.

 

But to get to the main slide exit point, you have to cross back to the main pool area.

 

Main slide exit point, center.

Main slide exit point, center.

 

In the same sub-pool as the slide exit, you’ll also find the whirlpool zone. This area has an artificial current turned up much stronger than the lazy river. You can do some quick spinning on your noodle here. It’s a particularly popular spot for middle grade boys.

In the area with the slide exit, you'll also find the active whirlpool area.

In the area with the slide exit, you’ll also find the active whirlpool area.

 

I’ve given you a taste of Stormalong Bay, but even the photos don’t really do it justice. This is the perfect place to spend a non-park day, or days, during your vacation. And if you’ve got kids that love the water, it’s likely that they’ll remember Stormalong Bay as much, if not more, than any of the other attractions at Walt Disney World.

Have you stayed at the Yacht or Beach Club and enjoyed Stormalong Bay? What was your favorite part? Is staying at these resorts on your bucket list? Let us know in the comments below.

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Posted on November 27, 2013

5 Responses to “Get to Know Stormalong Bay: The Yacht & Beach Club Pool Area”

  • One of my favorite parts of Stormalong Bay is the “sinking sands” feature- spots where the filtration system pulls the sandy bottom of the pool area (near the whirlpool) down through grates below. It’s a very unique quicksand feeling, which feels incredible on park-tired feet!

  • Stormalong Bay always tempts me to consider a Disney Resort booking more than any of the WDW locations. Normally we prefer to stay off property, mostly in villas, but, the whole boardwalk thing is pure Disney Magic at its very best.
    Setting aside the beauty and charm of the boardwalk’s entertainment, shops and restaurants, the mini water parks here are amazing.
    Sure, a stay here is pricier than many of the resorts, but guests in large groups can save on park tickets by spending a day or two ‘pool side’ at the Yacht & Beach Club.
    One of the hottest vacation planning questions on forums is about ‘how many parks can we visit in a week etc’. The answer of course is ‘not as many as you might think!’
    The Disney Resort water parks are undoubtedly the perfect way to spend time away from the parks, recharge energy levels, save on tickets, without feeling as though you’ve wasted valuable vacation time.

    Lovely article and much appreciated!!
    (We so much miss Brian Staron though) :-(

  • I LOVE BCV & it has been a dream of mine to stay there. Most times when we go to WDW, we rent DVC points. I made the mistake of not booking 11 months out & tried to book 7 months out. Unfortunately, there was no availability so we will be staying elsewhere. So, until next time… Thanks for the review – just makes me want to make sure that we book earlier next time :)

  • Thanks for the info, I haven’t been to this resort in years. With all resort guest given magic bands at this time, do they no longer give paper wristbands for the pool? I would think you would not want to swim with your magic band ha ha.

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