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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The junior slide is completely contained in the shipwreck zone…
But to get to the main slide exit point, you have to cross back to the main pool area.
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.
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.