Beaches & Cream Soda Shop: A Tasty Treat from Disney's Yacht and Beach Clubby Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 11/20/2008
Let's be honest -- we all know that there's much more to Disney dining than just burgers and fries, but it's sometimes that's exactly what you want. And when you do, there's a perfect place to head for. It's not in any of the parks, but it is within walking distance of Epcot and a quick boat ride away from Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Beaches and Cream is a 1950s style ice cream parlour located at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club resort. It's not the easiest of places to find and perhaps that's just as well, as it's a fairly small place and exceptionally popular, meaning it's often packed, with long waits to get in.
One of the wonderful burgers available at Beaches and Cream
From the Beach Club lobby, walk past Cape May Cafe and keep following the corridor, past Martha's Vineyard and Ariel's and you'll come to doors leading outside. Just a few steps further on to your right is Beaches and Cream. It's a similar story from the Yacht Club lobby. Head towards the Captain's Grille and keep going past the Yachtsman Steakhouse and follow the corridor. Beaches and Cream is on your left, just past Periwig's Beauty and Barber Shop and the arcade.
Now that you've found it, your next challenge may be getting a table. We find the best tactic is to arrive at more unusual times - perhaps 11am, when it opens for an early lunch or mid afternoon in between the lunch and dinner rush. Another good time to visit is late at night, as Beaches and Cream is open until 11pm daily. Beware though of the rush after IllumiNations finishes, as many people tend to head straight there once Epcot closes for the night.
If there are no openings when you get there, you'll be given a pager and usually some idea of how long the wait will be. One way to speed up the process is to explain that you'll happily take a seat at the counter, as there are bar stools all around the cooking area. We've done this on plenty of occasions and its great fun to watch the chefs and servers at work and you can often strike up a good conversation with them.
So what's so special about Beaches and Cream? The second you walk in, you'll feel as if you've stepped back in time, with a jukebox in the corner and colorful booths to sit in. I can't help but think of Grease every time I see this place -- Danny, Sandy, and their Rydell High classmates would be completely at home here. But theming is only half the story. The other half is the superb food here.
It's rare to find what is essentially a burger bar that caters so well to both vegetarians and meat eaters. All too often when we go to a burger place, there are plenty of choices for my husband, but if I'm lucky, I might find a spicy bean burger on the menu -- not something that usually inspires. Beaches and Cream is very different. A veggie burger is featured and more than that, it's the best veggie burger I've ever tasted in all my many years of not eating meat. Unlike many veggie burgers, the ones here are never dry and tasteless -- quite the opposite. The first time we ate here, I actually had to double check with our server than she hadn't got our orders mixed up, as mine was so good, I suddenly had a thought that maybe it was meat!
The feedback I get from my carnivorous husband is that the burgers are just as good. There are certainly never any complaints and the plate is always cleaned remarkably quickly, which can only be a positive sign.
However, let's be clear, the real reason you come to Beaches and Cream isn't for the burgers, no matter how good they are. The strongest attraction here is their mouth-watering selection of ice cream sundaes, so be sure to leave room to sample one! In fact, sometimes I have been known to ensure I do have room for a sundae by simply forgetting any of the other courses and just ordering dessert! Chocoholics and ice cream lovers will not be disappointed here.
If you haven't left much room, then you just go for individual or double scoops of ice cream. Sundaes give you the chance to add whipped cream, toasted almond and a cherry, with a choice of extra toppings for a small charge, including things like strawberry, pineapple, hot fudge, marshmallows and even peanut butter.
It's a fair bet that most of those items find their way into the Kitchen Sink -- an appropriate name for the ultimate sinful dessert, as it really does contain everything INCLUDING a miniature Kitchen Sink that the dessert is served in. We've had the pleasure of watching them construct this monstrosity when sitting at the counter (another good reason to get a seat there!) and it takes a whole can of whipped cream, three bananas, endless scoops of ice cream and just about every other sweet item in the kitchen that you can imagine. If you order this, be sure that you've not eaten anything else all day - and be sure to have a few friends around to help you out with it! We've yet to see one finished in its entirety, despite there often being up to eight people to dig into one. Other dessert favorites include the classic banana split, milkshakes and malts, a Coke or Root Beer float and there are also some devilishly bad-for-you sundaes. My favorite has to be the Fudge Mud Slide, featuring a brownie, hot fudge and lots of vanilla ice cream, although a number of my friends have tried to persuade me that the No Way Jose with its peanut butter, hot fudge, and vanilla ice cream is superior. I am yet to be convinced.
Perhaps best of all are the prices here. You can easily enjoy a really good -- and exceptionally filling -- meal here for less than $30 each, with burgers priced between $7.99 to $11.49 and desserts between $2.69 and $7.99, although the Kitchen Sink will set you back $21.99.
With everything on offer, perhaps it's just as well that the parks are a walk away, as it gives you a chance to work off some of those calories you've just piled on here! It's worth discovering and I'm willing to bet you'll be just like us and returning as often as you can.
Cheryl enjoys an old fashioned milkshake at Beaches and Cream
About the Author: Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!
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