Pick Your Paradise: Luxurious, Tropical or Beach Vacation – Walt Disney World

Pick Your Disney Paradise

Pick Your Paradise: Luxurious, Tropical or Beach Vacation at Walt Disney World

One of the questions that I get a lot from people is whether there are beaches at Walt Disney World.

The answer to that question has changed over years. The short answer is that there are beaches at many Walt Disney World resort hotels and in the early days we used to swim regularly in Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon. However, that has changed over the years and swimming in the natural bodies of water is no longer allowed. So while there are beaches, they are more for relaxing nowadays then they are for leading into the water.

But what these questions are often all about is whether Walt Disney World is located on the ocean. It’s a fair question for those who simply don’t know. After all, Florida has a lot of prime coastline (and you can get that Disney beach experience at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort).

So while I answer, no, that Walt Disney World is located inland (for several good reasons), I then follow up with an overview of what you do get on a Walt Disney World vacation. Walt Disney, Roy Disney and the Disney Imagineers who worked on Walt Disney World were very aware that they would have to overcome the challenge of not being located oceanside in Florida and so they set about creating several vacation oases when developing and Imagineering the property. Some things — like the ill-fated wave generator in Seven Seas Lagoon — didn’t quite work out, but most things did. The result is some very enviable vacation options and something for just about every traveler type looking for an upscale Disney resort hotel experience.

So in this post I invite you to pick your paradise at Walt Disney World. Are you looking for a luxurious vacation, a tropical vacation or a beach vacation? Let’s explore each option to help you choose the best Walt Disney World resort for you.

A Walt Disney World luxury vacation.

A Walt Disney World luxury vacation at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

The Luxurious Walt Disney World Vacation

If it’s luxury that you seek at Walt Disney World, then head straight to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. This is la creme de la creme of all onsite Disney hotel properties. When it comes to luxury Disney style, you’ll find everything you need right here at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

The moment you enter the property, you’ll know that you’ve arrived. You can tell that this is a top tier property as soon as you set foot in the lobby. Luxury is all around you, from the service you receive to the ambiance and adornments of the lobby area and out into the overall grounds of this well-manicured Victorian-themed deluxe resort.

Amenities abound at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and it has more of everything than any other resort onsite at Walt Disney World. There are multiple restaurants and dining options, several shops and boutiques, two pools and a splash pad, and activities for kids of all ages. The rooms are well appointed and you just feel like you are in a very nice hotel when you stay here. You feel special.

So for anyone looking to stay onsite in the nicest hotel that Disney offers, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is the one for you.

A Walt Disney World tropical vacation.

A Walt Disney World tropical vacation at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

The Tropical Vacation at Walt Disney World

If you prefer a more laid-back, relaxed and island-style vacation, then head over to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

While Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is located only a short walk from Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort (they’re connected by a pathway next to Seven Seas Lagoon and a pristine white sand beach), it’s a world away when it comes to theming and ambiance. These two hotels couldn’t be a more stark contrast and you’ll definitely feel more at home at one or the other.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is the tropical haven for travelers looking for an island vibe with their Disney experience. The property consists of many low-rise longhouses (three stories tall), reminiscent of South Pacific island village structures from days gone by. The grounds are brimming with tropical foliage that spills over into the pathways, adding to the feeling that you are making your way through a path on a dreamy south seas island somewhere far away.

However, this is Walt Disney World, after all, so along with the excellent island Imagineering comes a full range of modern amenities and experiences right at your resort hotel. The rooms are nice but not opulent and there are two pools and as splash pad area for the kids. Dining options onsite are very good and the resort is located in an ideal spot, with easy access to transportation no matter where you want to go at Walt Disney World. There’s even a luau held right onsite to help bring the full island vacation experience right to you in all its glory.

A Walt Disney World beach vacation.

A Walt Disney World beach vacation at Disney’s Beach Club Resort.

The Beach Vacation at Walt Disney World

For travelers who have their hearts set on a beach vacation when they go to Walt Disney World, there’s only one choice that I would recommend: Disney’s Beach Club Resort.

In case you can’t tell from the name, Disney’s Beach Club Resort is all about celebrating a family beach vacation. Since Walt Disney World is not located on a natural ocean, Disney Imagineers went to work and did what they do best: build a close simulation (aka “Disney real”) to an actual beach vacation. At Disney’s Beach Club Resort the central focus is the popular Stormalong Bay pool complex. This massive three-acre pool area comes complete with sandy beaches and a sandy bottom pool. It’s a pretty cool experience that does a very good job of giving you a day at the beach in the heart of Walt Disney World.

And when I say the heart of Walt Disney World, I mean that Disney’s Beach Club Resort is located right in the middle of the action. Even with this waterside oasis at its core, you will be within very close proximity to not just one, but two Walt Disney World theme parks. You can walk to Epcot in 15 minutes and you can take a boat to Disney’s Hollywood Studios on another 15-minute ride. No matter how you slice it, Disney’s Beach Club Resort has just about everything that you could wish for in a Walt Disney World beach vacation. Of course this Deluxe Disney Resort property is well appointed and offers guests an enviable range of dining, amenities and activities, so you won’t be wanting in any way.

Are You Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation?

Be sure to read my Guide to Planning A Walt Disney World Vacation and my post on the Five Golden Rules of Walt Disney World Vacation Planning.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my free Disney travel newsletter for the latest features on Disney travel and curated news gathered just for you.

Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Deluxe Disney Travel Specialist
The Finer Side of Travel™ #LuxuryDisney