By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.



yourfirstvisit.net—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor







Category — d. Where to Stay at Walt Disney World

Review: Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

OVERVIEW: DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

Our most recent stay (our third, in March 2017) confirms that Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, one of the Epcot resorts, is the seventh best deluxe resort at Walt Disney World for first time family visitors.

You can have a wonderful visit at any Walt Disney World resort hotel.

However, this site recommends that first time visitors to Walt Disney World who can afford it should stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, a deluxe resort, and that those who can’t should stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, a value resort.

(It also suggests that first time visitors should avoid the moderate resorts, while noting that these resorts are wonderful for visits after the first. See this for why.)

Compared to other Walt Disney World owned and operated resorts, the deluxe resorts are distinguished by having (on average) the most amenities, nicest views, best dining options, best transport options, largest rooms, best service, and highest prices.

Among the deluxe resorts, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort has a lot of positives.

It stands out for sharing with the Beach Club Resort the best pool among the Disney-owned resorts, sharing with the Beach Club and the BoardWalk Inn convenient access to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and also sharing with these resorts a short walk to dozens of table service dining options located in these resorts, at the Swan and Dolphin, on the BoardWalk, and in Epcot.

(See this for much more on resort distinctions by price class–value, moderate, deluxe, etc.)

One of the principal negatives of the Yacht Club–tired, beat-up rooms–is being fixed by a refurb that is expected to be completed in 2017.

The other principal negatives–inconvenience to the Magic Kingdom, bland theming, and weak counter-service offerings–remain, although when the Yacht Club’s gift shop opens from a refurb this spring, better counter service may be on offer.

This review has 6 pages

ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT


Standard rooms at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort are sized in the middle of the deluxe resorts.

They are larger than those at the Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge, but smaller than those at Disney’s Polynesian Resort and the other monorail resorts.


Most of these rooms sleep five–two each in two queens, and another in convertible sofa. Some rooms have just the two queens, and rooms with one king bed are also available.

You can add to this capacity of five a child younger than three who sleeps in a crib.

After their refurb, I expect these rooms to have the same floor plans and furnishings, but different colors and details, as those in the recently refurbed rooms at sister resort the Beach Club.

For a photo tour of an un-refurbed Yacht Club room, see this, and for more on accommodations at the Yacht Club, see this. Come back in later 2017 for a refurbed room!

DINING AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

The Yacht has two table service restaurants. Yachtsman Steakhouse is a terrific–but expensive–option. The less expensive and simpler Captain’s Grille (below) is dull but with excellent value (for Disney…).

More dining is within walking distance at the Beach Club. There, Beaches and Cream is a wonderful burger and ice cream shop, but far too small for the demand for it. The Cape May Cafe has Minnie and other characters, but not Mickey, at breakfast, and an OK seafood buffet at dinner.

Quick service dining is quite limited, with just small venues at the back of the distant Beach Club gift shop and by the main pool, plus pastries and coffee in the lobby bar in the morning.

However, the preview art for the re-opening soon Yacht Club gift shop suggests it will have more quick service options than has historically been the case.

For more on dining at the Yacht Club, see this.

THE POOLS AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

The Yacht Club and Beach Club share the best pool complex at any Disney-owned resort (the Four Seasons has the best overall pool complex on property).

Hot Tub Disney's Beach Club Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Known as Stormalong Bay, there’s actually three pools in the complex, plus a stunning water slide.

There’s also a smaller pool at the Yacht Club, plus two smaller pools at the Beach Club.

For more on Stormalong Bay, see this.

KID APPEAL AND CONVENIENCE AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

Resorts are ranked on this site for first time visitors based first on their kid appeal, and then on their convenience.

On this basis, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is the seventh-best deluxe resort for first time family visitors to Walt Disney World.

Kid Appeal.

The kid appeal of the Yacht Club Resort, such as it is, comes from its pool and beach, not its design, architecture, or theme.

Stormalong Bay, the pool that the Beach Club and Yacht Club share, is the most fun and kid-appealing pool among the Disney-owned resorts.  

Otherwise, nothing about the design or architecture of the Yacht Club shouts out that it was built for kids, and in fact it feels formal and austere to many of them.

Convenience. Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is the seventh-most convenient of all the Walt Disney World resorts in carrying out the itineraries for first-time family visitors on this site.

All of the Epcot resorts are convenient to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Epcot is a moderate walk from the Yacht Club, and the Studios are a longer walk or a boat ride away.  (Epcot can also be accessed by boat.)

The other two parks are accessed by buses, which are shared with some of the other Epcot resorts.

Map Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts

BEST PLACES TO STAY AT DISNEY’S BEACH CLUB RESORT

This site suggests that first time visitors stay in standard rooms, not preferred rooms.

This is because they won’t be spending much time in their rooms.

The single exception is visitors to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, who should always pay for savanna views.

On the map, the Yacht Club Resort is on the left, the Beach Club is center-right, and the Beach Club Villas are at the top right. The walkway to Epcot is at the far right, and the boat dock shared by the Beach and Yacht Clubs is at the center in the lake.

The room areas of the Yacht Club–at the left on the map–are in a long, narrow building with only two elevator banks, one central, and one on the left side.

As a result, some rooms on the left side of the Yacht Club can be a hike from the main pool and central services and restaurants area–and from Epcot.

So you should ask for a room as close to Epcot as possible. The current room request form won’t allow for that–but you can call and ask!

BEST FOR:

Any first time family visitors who can afford it, but can’t get into or don’t want to stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort or the Beach Club.  Here’s what we say in The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017 about the difference between the sister resorts the Yacht and Beach Club:

Yacht Club vs Beach Club from The easy Guide

WORST FOR:

Families seeking the highest degree of kid appeal. Families too large to fit even its 5 person rooms. See this for more on large families at Walt Disney World.

THEMING AND ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

This review continues here.
The 2017 easy Guide

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook or Google+ or Twitter or Pinterest!!

April 18, 2017   No Comments

Theming and Accommodations at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

(For the first page of this review of Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, see this.)

 Disney's Yacht Club Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

THEMING AND ACCOMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

There are currently 8 official Disney owned and operated deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World. In their recommended order for first time family visitors, they are

  1. Polynesian
  2. Wilderness Lodge
  3. Animal Kingdom Lodge
  4. Contemporary
  5. Beach Club
  6. Yacht Club
  7. BoardWalk Inn

Many of these also offer Disney Vacation Club (“DVC”) studios and villas, all for rent to the general public–see this for more on the Disney Vacation Club resorts. The Yacht Club has no DVC offering, but next door sister resort the Beach Club offers the Beach Club Villas.

THE THEMING OF DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

Disney's Yacht Club Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort opened in November 1990, and in 2009 completed a major renovation. A badly needed refurb is under way, and expected to be completed in 2017.

According to Disney World’s website, the Yacht Club

“…[features] lush landscaping and the formal grace of a grand New England yacht club.

Designed by architect Robert A.M. Stern—known for his East Coast beach houses—this splendid 5-story Resort transports Guests to the summertime Shingle Style hotels of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. (Sister resort Disney’s Beach Club Resort is a more relaxed, pastel-toned edifice next door; the 2 share many amenities.)

Public areas, guest rooms and suites are adorned in dark wood and wicker furniture, portholes and simulated captain’s wheels. Cast Members are decked out in ship’s crew regalia, including navy blazers and captain’s hats.”

Disney's Yacht Club Resort from yourfirstvisit.net
The architect (and former Disney board member) Stern on his own website also talks about the Yacht Club in its context with the Beach Club:

“While both hotels draw their inspiration from America’s architectural past, each has a unique identity.

The Yacht Club is reminiscent of the rambling, shingle-covered seaside resorts that were built toward the end of the last century in New England towns such as Newport, Marblehead, and Bar Harbor.

The Beach Club is lighter, more airy in expression. It is modeled on the many Stick Style cottages and resorts that could be found in towns like Cape May, New Jersey.”

(For more on Stern’s role in Walt Disney World, see this.)

Well, I have a couple of issues with this.

First–and yes, do laugh at me for arguing with Stern, the master, about his signature Shingle Style–vernacular Shingle Style has a few more curves than the Yacht Club. Rounded turrets and eyebrow dormers are common elements missing in the Yacht Club.

But more to the point–these two resorts just aren’t that different.

Yes, the Yacht Club is a tad more formal, and yes, the Beach Club is a hint lighter. …but some of the discussions about these two resorts make it sound as though they were comparing the Grand Floridian and the Wilderness Lodge.

In fact, the Yacht and Beach Clubs are more like one another in theme, style, decor, layout, and rooms than are any other pair of deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World.

And this makes a bit of sense, considering that they are really just one building with mirror-image hotel wings, designed for conventioneers. The similarity of the rooms–which will re-emerge after the Yacht Club comes out of its refurb–makes convention room assignment much simpler.

Map Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts

See the map.

The Yacht Club rooms and lobby are on the left, the Beach Club rooms and lobby on the right, and in between is shared space used for restaurants, kitchens, and other shared support activities.

Above this central shared space on the map is the shared convention center, and below it the shared spectacular pool, Stormalong Bay.

Note that the room wings are essentially mirror images of each other, and of course the room layouts themselves were identical (other than colors and details) until the Beach Club refurb, and will, I expect, become identical again after the Yacht Club refurb is complete.

What’s different between the two resorts in terms of theme is a set of small choices of decoration and decor, which do establish a difference but just don’t add up to much.

Here’s what we say about this in our book:

Yacht Club vs Beach Club from The easy Guide

So yes, the Beach Club is the better choice for most families.  But if you need Stormalong Bay or the easy access to Epcot, but can’t get into the Beach Club, don’t let the talk of formality keep you from bringing your kids to the Yacht Club. Yes, there is a tiny difference, and yes the Beach Club is preferable–but the Yacht Club is just fine for families!

ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

Disney's Yacht Club Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

All Disney deluxe resorts have standard rooms; concierge rooms, which Disney calls “club” rooms; and suites. (See this for more on suites at Walt Disney World.)

At Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, standard and club/concierge rooms sleep either four or five, in two queen beds, or two queens and a day bed.

Standard rooms are well appointed and nicely proportioned, and unlike at the Beach Club, all come with substantial balconies.

The only issue with standard Yacht Club rooms is how beat up they are, which the current refurb will address.

There’s a detailed photo tour of a standard Yacht Club room later in this review.

King bed rooms that sleep two or three (the third on the day bed) are also available.

CONCIERGE ROOMS, DELUXE ROOMS, AND SUITES AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

I generally advise against special room types for first-time visitors, as they won’t be spending much time in their rooms. However, they may be well worth it for families intending to spend more time at the Yacht Club Resort than implied by this site’s itineraries.

TikimanPages.com has a great discussion of the value of concierge rooms here. Though focused on the Polynesian, it applies to any deluxe resort.

Most Yacht Club concierge rooms (Disney calls them “club” rooms) are the same size as the rest of the resort’s rooms.  However, there’s also an option called a “Deluxe” rooms, and several types of two-bedroom suites.

Disney's Yacht Club Deluxe Room

Deluxe rooms don’t offer any more sleeping capacity–they just give you more space, and more separate spaces, for your family to live in. Deluxe rooms (which used to be called junior suites) are about 60% larger than standard rooms, and include two queens and a semi-private sitting area.

Disney's Yacht Club Turret Suite

The two-bedroom Turret Suites have an unusual shape and layout–with one of the bedrooms connecting the other spaces.

Disney's Yacht Club Captain's Deck Suite

There’s also two-bedroom Presidential and Admiral suites, each with ~2000 square feet and the two-bedroom Captain’s Deck Suite, with ~2400 square feet.

For more on suites, see this, and for more on larger families seeking deluxe options, see this.

Note that to all the capacity figures above you can add a child under three in a crib. A crib fits nicely between the dresser/TV and the closet.

PHOTO TOUR OF A STANDARD ROOM AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

This review continues here.
The 2017 easy Guide

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook or Google+ or Twitter or Pinterest!!

April 18, 2017   No Comments

Photo Tour of a Standard Room at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

(For the first page of this review of Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, see this.)

PHOTO TOUR OF A ROOM AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

Standard rooms at the Yacht Club are being refurbed, with the renovation expected to be complete by the end of 2017. This tour is of an un-refurbed room from my March 2017 visit. I’ll have a renovated room to show later this year, but expect it to be near identical to a refurbed Beach Club room, except for colors and details.

Renovated or not, these standard Yacht Club rooms sleep either four on two queens or five on two queens and a sofa that converts to a bed.  These photos (and the floor plan) are of a five-person room.

As is typical, when you enter the room the bath is on one side and the closet on the other.


On the closet side you’ll first find this small set of drawers…

…expanding the storage available in the room and handy to the bath. The coffee maker may be on top of it, or on the desk.

Next comes the large closet.

Here’s one side.

Note the ironing board etc. on the other side of the closet. There’s also a small safe set in the closet–all Disney rooms have small safes, some smaller than others.

On the other side you’ll find the bath, starting with a pair of sinks.

In a separate space you’ll find the toilet and tub.

Deeper in the room you’ll find two queens on one side, and in the rooms with the fifth sleeping spot, the desk is on this side too.

Here’s the beds from the back of the room…

…and a close up of one of the beds.

There’s a small shelf on the bath wall, and this bedside table between the beds…

…with a bit of storage.

Here’s the desk:

Rolly Table Disney's Yacht Club Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

It includes a small rolling table that plays multiple roles: perch the kids on the couch or bed and roll it up to them for dining, or use it as a better-height laptop table.

In Need of Refurb Disney's Yacht Club Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Note the worn edges.  These rooms badly need their current refurb.

On the other side of the room you’ll find the TV and dresser, and in five person rooms a couch–maybe I should call  this a daybed?

The TV side from the back.

The dresser includes a mini-fridge…

…and four smallish drawers–making the extra drawers near the bath that much more valuable.

Here’s the couch.

Take off the throws and it’s a bed. I measured it at 72″ long by 30 inches wide, with a 6 inch cushion.

Day Bed Tight Fit Disney's Yacht Club Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The arms are right on the cushion, so it sleeps shorter than the mattress length implies–but it is comfortable!!

The balcony.

On my latest stay our balcony had distant views of IllumiNations…

View from Balcony Disney's Yacht Club Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

…but other stays here have had less good views–this one was of the roof of the central back-of-the-house kitchens shared by the Yacht and Beach Club.

Wall Art Disney's Yacht Club Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

There’s some nautical theming in the room–e.g. the sailboats on the shower curtain, the wheel in the headboards, and the 12 Meter race above the couch.

Some other nautical and Disney touches:

These rooms are nicely proportioned and have all the right furnishings.  They are tired, though, and need their refurb!

DINING AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

This review continues here!

The 2017 easy Guide

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook or Google+ or Twitter or Pinterest!!

April 18, 2017   No Comments

Photo Tour of a Refurbed Standard Room at the Disney World Dolphin

For the first page of this review of the Disney World Swan and Dolphin, see this.

REFURBED STANDARD ROOMS AT THE DISNEY WORLD DOLPHIN

Rooms at the Dolphin are being refurbed, and this photo tour is of a refurbed room. The main elements of the refurb are a simplified bath, new dresser and table, and different fabrics and finishes. Refurbed rooms have kept the full beds and single sink that make Dolphin rooms less family-friendly.

For a photo tour of an un-refurbed Dolphin room, see this.

The room layout is traditional with a bath on one side of the entry and a closet on the other.

The closet is large but not as engineered for capacity as are those in Swan rooms.

Next to the closet is a small station with a coffee service on top and a shelf below. The mini-fridge that used to be here has shifted into the main room.

The divided bath has a single sink in an outer space…

…with some amenities in shelving between the studs.

Sink Disney World Dolphin from yourfirstvisit.net

This layout adds simplicity and space to what used to be an angled sink and vanity area.

Beyond the sink area you’ll find in their own space a toilet and tub/shower combo.

Deeper in the room the bed side offers two full beds. Note the easy chair beyond them.

Here’s the beds from the back.

Between them is a small bedside table.

The other side of the room has a dresser, TV, and a table and chair.

This side of the room from the back. The table can serve as either a dining or games table, or a desk.

The dresser has four medium-sized drawers.

At one side of the dresser you’ll find this mini-fridge

Dolphin rooms have a variety of views, and most don’t have balconies.

Our room did have a balcony, and from it I could see glimpses of the Hollywood Studios Star Wars fireworks!

AMENITIES AT THE DISNEY WORLD SWAN AND DOLPHIN

This review continues here!
The 2017 easy Guide

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook or Google+ or Twitter or Pinterest!!

April 11, 2017   No Comments

Pop Century Refurb Begins

This morning before I drove to the airport I checked on Pop Century, and discovered its refurb has begun.

Carpets and furniture were being pulled out of the first floor east wing of Building 8, the 90s building.

Somewhat surprisingly, people were staying in rooms just ten yards away, around the corner on the south first floor wing.

I did go by before check out time, so maybe they will be out today. The alternative—that rooms will be pounded on in the same building that people are staying in—would be annoying.

Multiple leaked photos of test rooms have suggested that the refurbed rooms will include a queen bed, a fold-down full bed, and (in a first for standard rooms in the value resorts) a coffee maker.

The refurb schedule includes 20 work days (per room).

Day 16 (click to enlarge, but it’s still not that good a photo) includes “Install…Beverage Center” and Day 17 (and 18) includes “Install Inova Bed.”  So the fold-down bed is real, and the coffee maker may be the “Beverage Center.”

Staging of furnishings, etc., is over in the lot between Building 7 and Cars at Art of Animation, so likely the sequence of refurb will go roughly south to north, or 80s/90s to 50s.

I’ll let you know more once some of these refurbed rooms re-open!

The 2017 easy Guide

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook or Google+ or Twitter or Pinterest!!

March 6, 2017   6 Comments

Wilderness Lodge Refurb Should be Complete by Mid-Summer

WILDERNESS LODGE SHOULD COMPLETE REFURB BY MID-SUMMER 2017

Late last week Disney World announced that the new Disney Vacation Club units at the Wilderness Lodge, known as Copper Creek, would begin booking on March 21, 2017 stays beginning July 21, 2017.

This suggests that the construction walls in the upper lobby will be down, and the refurbed smaller pool and the amenities around the lake will be re-opened by then.

They may be open even well before then—the new pool bar and grill, Geyser Point, is already open.

Geyser Point is also replacing Wilderness Lodge quick service Roaring Forks while it is closed for refurb.

Geyser Point is both a lovely lakeside full service bar—though a bit windy on my visits over the weekend…

…and a seating area for the adjacent quick service venue, which also has a refillable mug station.

The Geyser Point quick service menu, which I had a chance to visit over the weekend.

The lump crab cake sandwich.

Crab cake eggs Benedict. Loved them both.

The marina is ready to go…

…as is the bike and boat rental.

Something called “Reunion Station” is also here, backing up to the quick service—a DVC community room? A childcare center? A new spa? No one knows, though it looks far too small to be a third table service venue.

The re-done second pool is making substantial progress. Here it is in early March:


And here’s how it looked in late January:

The pool besides being its own thing also is part of the construction pathway to the wing of the Wilderness Lodge that’s being converted into Copper Creek. So it likely won’t re-open until these new spaces are largely done.

Based on how Copper Creek looks from the outside…

…some rooms have a way to go.

The 2017 easy Guide

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook or Google+ or Twitter or Pinterest!!

March 5, 2017   3 Comments