The Beaches of Disney World

  • 01 of 07

    The Beaches of Disney World

    The beach at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
    Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    Some families may find it difficult to plan a vacation to Florida because of differing interests. Spending relaxing days at the beach is a dream vacation for some, but others would rather spend their time being entertained at one of Central Florida's major theme parks. If you find yourself in that dilemma when planning your next vacation, why not plan to do both? You may already know that  Disney World Resort is Florida's number one vacation destination, but did you know that Disney World also has beaches? It sure does!

    Although Disney World is located in the middle of the state instead of on the coast, you can still get sand between your toes. In fact, tucked away in some of Disney World's finest resorts are beautiful white-sand, lakeside beaches. Alright, so there isn't salt air and surf; and, due to new swimming restrictions you have to get in the pool to cool off... but, the beaches are still great places to relax and catch some rays.

    A stay at any of the following resorts will give you the best of both worlds — access to Disney's four theme parks and wonderful beaches too.

    Editor's Note: Unfortunately, in June 2016, tragedy struck on the beach at the Grand Floridian Resort when a small boy was attacked by an alligator while wading in shallow water.
    Disney World immediately installed fences and rocks at the water's edge at their resorts as a barrier, along with warning signs that state, "Danger, Alligators and Snakes in Area. Stay away from the water. Do not feed the Wildlife."

    While the beaches are again open during the day, as a result of this incident, all the beaches close one hour before sunset until one hour after sunrise as a safety precaution. Guests are allowed to watch the nighttime lighted parade and the fireworks from the beaches, but must leave the area immediately afterwards.

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  • 02 of 07

    Beach and Yacht Club Resorts

    Disney's Beach Club Resort
    Garth Vaughan/The Walt Disney Company

    The sandy beach at ​Disney's Beach Club Resort appears to be underutilized by guests who seem to opt instead for Storm Along Bay and other resort pools. Of course, there isn't any choice if they want to cool off in the water, as there are "no swimming" signs posted along the shoreline. It wouldn't be too safe anyway, due to the presence of rental watercraft. Not only that, its location feels a bit crowded with shore-to-shore resorts and Disney's BoardWalk lining tiny Crescent Lake, so there wouldn't much privacy for the bikini-clad sunbather.

    Don't blink or you might just miss the small patch of sandy beach allotted to the adjacent Yacht Club Resort. No wonder most can't resist Storm Along Bay shared by the resorts. Storm Along Bay features a life-size replica of a wrecked ship with amazingly fun water slides, a slow river to float along on inner tubes and a sand-bottom pool. In the case of these two resorts, it's better than the beach.

    Head to Hurricane Hanna's if you're looking for a quick lunch or afternoon snack. Located at Storm Along Bay, it's a great place to grab a bite without lunch taking a bite out of your wallet.

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  • 03 of 07

    Caribbean Beach Resort

    Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort beach
    Bryan Urben/Flickr/CC 2.0

    Welcome to the Caribbean... ​Caribbean Beach Resort, that is. This sprawling resort is divided into six colorful villages — Jamaica, Aruba, Barbados, Martinique, Trinidad North and Trinidad South — each with its own sandy beach. Some of the resort's beaches are larger than others, but all are stocked with plenty of lounge chairs and a few colorful umbrellas. In addition to the ample number and size of these beaches, small sandy hideaways with welcoming hammocks are scattered throughout the resort.

    The recently renovated resort rooms are small but well-appointed and one village holds a surprise for guests... pirate-themed rooms! Young swashbucklers are sure to let imaginations soar into dreams of high sea adventures when they are tucked into their pirate ship beds each evening.

    It is at this resort's gift shop at the Old Town Royale location that you will find a great selection of beach-related gear — sunscreen, goggles, flip flops, beach towels, sand toys and more. 

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  • 04 of 07

    Disney's Contemporary Resort

    Disney's Contemporary Resort
    Sam Howzit/Flickr/CC 2.0

    Want a little sand between your toes? One of Disney World's first beaches is still around, but you won't be allowed to go in the Seven Seas Lagoon. ​Disney's Contemporary Resort beach stretches inland to the stones of the resort's pool deck. While not very long, the space is large enough for volleyball players to share the sand with sunbathers. Again, with no swimming allowed from the beach, guests seem to shun the sand, preferring to splash in the pool or sun themselves poolside. A private secondary pool area with luxury-appointed cabanas that fronts the Seven Seas Lagoon seems to be favored by many guests as well.

    The conveniently located Sand Bar concession is perfectly situated to grab a bite to go or for a poolside lunch. Surprisingly, combo meals are easy on the pocketbook at this deluxe Disney resort.

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  • 05 of 07

    Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort

    Clementine Beach in Disney's Fort Wilderness
    Scott Smith/Flickr/CC 2.0

    Clementine's Beach at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort is possibly the largest and widest of all of Disney World's beaches — large enough for a rousing game of volleyball, while not disturbing those catching rays or seeking a few moments of quiet. Its casual atmosphere reflects that of the resort, so you'll feel right at home. Possibly its best feature though may be its shade. Shade is something that usually isn't found on a beach, but is welcome to those seeking a bit of relief from Florida's heat.

    Located adjacent to the Fort Wilderness Landing, where guests may catch a skiff to neighboring resorts, the Magic Kingdom theme park or rent a boat to explore Bay Lake, Clementine Beach and the adjacent Fort Wilderness Landing deck is also a great vantage point to watch the musical electrical pageant that floats along Bay Lake each evening.

    If you've had a rough day visiting the theme parks and laying in the sun, on your way back to your RV, you'll want to grab a very tasty and satisfying to-go pizza from Crockett's Tavern.

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  • 06 of 07

    Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

    Grand Floridian Resort in Disney World
    Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    When it comes to beaches, Disney World's most upscale resort — Grand Floridian Resort & Spa — doesn't disappoint... at least in size. While it is more narrow in many places than other Disney World resort beaches, it is longer, stretching along the winding shoreline from the heart of the resort to the beautiful white wedding chapel.

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  • 07 of 07

    Polynesian Resort

    Polynesian Resort beach
    Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    If you're dreaming of South Sea islands, Disney's Polynesian Resort is the closest you can get without actually being there. Swaying palms and lush tropical foliage surround the Tahitian-style longhouse buildings, offering a cool and relaxing atmosphere.

    The beach beckons guests to its shores with welcoming hammocks, swings, and lounge chairs — all are great vantage points to admire the nearby Contemporary and Grand Floridian Resorts, as well as catch a glimpse of the maritime activity on the Seven Seas Lagoon.