Disney's Yacht Club Resort: Review
If you were to ask me, “If money were no object, where would you most like to stay at Walt Disney World?” The answer would be easy: Disney’s Yacht Club Resort or it’s sister resort, Beach Club. These beautifully elegant properties have amenities that makes it a special stay which, in our opinion, is worth the splurge. The Yacht Club in particular is themed after a plush, turn of the century New England yacht club, this resort truly has something for everyone to enjoy and will provide refined relaxation to your stay.
Here at Magical Adventure Co., picking out where to stay is part of the fun of planning a Walt Disney World adventure! Though every explorer has different needs when booking their stay, it’s best to weigh a few options: Theming, Price, Food and Drink, Transportation, and Pool.
When you first set foot inside the lobby you are met with the feeling of stately elegance. The subdued colors and lighting contribute to the feeling that you have just entered a grand New England hotel. The little nautical touches, such as the model three-masted schooners behind the check in desk, add to the yachting theme. As you walk through the lobby and out the doors at the back, you are met with the spectacular view of Crescent Lake, the lighthouse, and the Boardwalk across the lake.
Stretched out on Crescent Lake, the pier beckons you to come out for a stroll with huge, gorgeous, flower pots overflowing with perfectly manicured flowers lining the walkway. Once out on the pier, you will enjoy the cute shuttle boats buzzing around to and from the Boardwalk and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and if you look back at this grand hotel, you will notice the striped awnings that lend to the charm. The utmost attention has been paid to every last little detail.
When booking hotel accommodations, WDW divides its properties based on price range. Yacht Club is considered a Deluxe Resort Hotel. What that means is it is about $400+/night to stay at one of these high level hotels. Additionally, this means the amenities (size of room, service, etc.) are about on par with a Hilton or Marriott.
Let’s face it, staying at a Deluxe resort is a splurge. But there are deals to be had (up to 30% off) and times when a Yacht Club room can even save you money! One of the big advantages of this Deluxe resort is that it has a comfy daybed couch that ups the capacity to sleep 5 people. This is a great cost savings when getting two rooms at a Moderate resort would be more. We recommend not paying extra for a water view, as some water views are now obstructed by grown up trees.
Another way to be able to experience this phenomenal resort is to split your trip between two hotels. Stay the first few nights at a Value or Moderate resort and switch halfway to the Yacht Club for your final days. Disney World will even send your luggage over for free! One lesson learned is to stay at the more budget friendly hotel first. You will definitely want to end your trip with this special and luxurious resort.
Food and Drink
Because of the Yacht Club’s connection to the Beach Club and to its neighbor across the lake, Boardwalk Inn, there are quite a few options to try when adventuring here! But today, we’ll cover the options that are directly connected to the Yacht and Beach Club resorts.
The Yachtsman is the signature dining directly connected to the Yacht Club. This fantastic steakhouse is known for its dry aged butcher cut steaks steaks and delicious seafood accoutrements, including the Oscar style or lobster tail options. Aside from the food, the service is of course fantastic, as you would find with any signature Disney dining option, and the ambiance is what you would expect with a New England style steakhouse.
Also located in the Yacht Club is the Ale & Compass Restaurant and adjacent lounge. And we’ll get straight to the point: it wasn’t worth the price we paid for the food. We know, we know. It’s a spicy take. But for what you pay, it’s not memorable. The dining experience is fantastic thanks to a recently refurbished dining room, the service is impeccable, but it’s just not as good as other signature dining experiences elsewhere. It would be a fantastic experience for drinks and appetizers (the breads are delicious!), or drinks and dessert. But the main courses were not as delicious as we were hoping for considering the price point. If you’re looking for a non-buffet option near this resort during your next stay, feel free to reach out and ask! There are lots of fantastic dining options near this opulent resort.
Cape May Cafe is the sit down seafood dinner buffet at Beach Club, which is adjoining the Yacht Club. We know what you’re thinking: seafood and buffet doesn’t really spell an appetizing experience. Outside of Disney World, you would be completely right. But remember, Disney takes an otherwise unappealing experience, sprinkles pixie dust, and voila - you find yourself enjoying a seafood buffet #thingsIneverthoughtIwouldsay
This is a very popular dinner spot, due to the food (gimme those snow crab legs!), and proximity to EPCOT for a post-dinner fireworks viewing. Making dinner reservations as far out as you can is highly recommended. We’ve occasionally been able to snag a reservation the day or week prior, but otherwise it is very hard to come by. Additionally, we suggest making sure that you’re sitting in the main dining area (it’s where the beach umbrellas are). There is a dining area off to the side that is a bit further away from the main area, and to be honest: it’s a depressing room. Our Chief Magical Officer and Chief Adventure Officer speak from first hand experience!
Cape May Cafe has a breakfast buffet in the morning, however it is a character dining experience. Unless you have little explorers in your travel party, we suggest skipping it.
Beaches & Cream Soda Shop is an adorable burger and ice cream stop that is next to the Stormalong Bay pool. This recently renovated boardwalk-style casual dining experience is well-themed to match its neighbors. This is also a very popular stop, so reservations are highly encouraged. However, if you’d rather get an ice cream and sit by the pool or take a stroll around the boardwalk, there is a to-go window with limited dessert options, such as ice cream, shakes, malts, etc. If you have a group of 4 or more in your party, we highly recommend getting a Kitchen Sink. This famed dessert is, you guessed it: everything and the kitchen sink! Served in a mini kitchen sink, this dessert comes out with fanfare to alert the whole restaurant that you are about to enjoy something special. While the Kitchen Sink and dessert menu are the most popular portions of the menu, the burgers and sandwiches are delicious, making it a great lunch or dinner spot.
As in real estate, one huge benefit of the Yacht Club resort is location, location, location. Yacht Club’s beneficial proximity to EPCOT’s back entrance into International Gateway/World Showcase really adds something special to your stay. Being able to walk directly to the gates rather than wait for a bus or a boat is an incredible value add and can help you have more time at EPCOT. It’s also incredibly convenient to get over to see the fireworks after dinner at Cape May Café. In that same vein, it’s a tremendous value add to be able to head out of this back gate for a short walk back to your room while others are shuffling toward the main gate and busses.
In addition to your proximity to EPCOT, Yacht Club offers two transportation options for Hollywood Studios, the new Disney Skyliner and the Crescent Lake boats. You can board the skyliner from the EPCOT International Gateway entrance. However, you will have to change lines at the Carribean Beach hub and transfer to the Hollywood Studios line. Meaning that this route may take a little longer during busy times. It’s a fun birds eye view ride to take when you’re not in a hurry or the lines aren’t long.
The adorable Crescent Lake shuttle boats that can take you to nearby Hollywood Studios or you across the lake to the Boardwalk, which adds even more to the charm of Yacht Club (who knew that was possible?!). These boats can also take you to EPCOT, but we recommend taking the walk to the World Showcase entrance as it’s much faster. Boats depart from the Yacht Club lighthouse and make for a pleasant trip on a picturesque evening.
As with all Disney resorts, complimentary bus transportation is provided between the resorts and theme parks at WDW. Busses are required to get to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, but even the bus experience is elevated at this resort. While most other resorts share busses with several others or have a multitude of stops at each resort, Yacht Club usually only shares a bus with its close neighbor Beach Club and there is only one stop at each. The time to and from the parks is shortened, and there is rarely a wait for a bus at the park at the end of the day.
Don't forget, Disney's Magical Express is complimentary and your best option for getting to and from Orlando International Airport when staying in any Disney hotel. While it may take a little longer, the convenience of checked bag delivery all the way to your room and always friendly Disney service is well worth your time.
The Stormalong Bay pool is what gives this Deluxe resort the extra edge over even the Grand Floridian or Polynesian for us. The three-acre water park is awesome with its 280 foot slide, lazy river, whirlpool, sandy bottom and beach area, and lots of waterfalls and bridges mingled in amongst the trees. The well themed pool creates the story of a vessel shipwrecked on the shore. You climb up the mast of the ship to find the slide that winds you through the foliage and drops you into the pool below. There are also two hot tubs tucked into quiet hidden locations poolside. If you stay here, be sure to set aside plenty of time to enjoy this wonderful amenity.
The biggest draw back of this resort is how expensive it is. You can occasionally find deals or discounts for this resort, so keep a weather eye out! However, if your budget allows you to stay multiple days at Yacht Club the perks are a valuable add to any stay.
This is one of Magical Adventure Co.’s favorite places to stay. The theming, proximity to parks, ease of transportation, and relaxing amenities have added to our previous stays. Most important of all is that some of our most beloved memories have come from stays at the Yacht Club. As previously mentioned, if your budget won’t allow a full stay at the Yacht Club add a couple of nights stay at the end of your next adventure to Walt Disney World. You can begin to relax and wind down from a great trip to the most magical place on earth, while enjoying the elegant ease of this wonderful resort.