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.



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Category — q. Reviews

Perspectives on the Caribbean Beach Construction

THE BASICS OF THE REFURB AT DISNEY’S CARIBBEAN BEACH RESORT

Disney’s Caribbean Beach resort is undergoing a major redo.

Nine accommodations buildings have closed and are surrounded by construction fences.

Closed are all six buildings of Barbados, and the three northern buildings in Martinique. The other three buildings in Martinique used to be priced as “preferred,” but are not anymore.

All rooms at Caribbean Beach were refurbed recently, and many had a fifth sleeping spot added. The furniture for this fifth spot is being taken out of the rooms in the closed nine buildings and added to the 18 remaining queen bed buildings.

What this means is that in the remaining queen rooms (that is, in all villages except Trinidad South), it will be much easier to get a five person/three bed room.

The nine closed buildings are gone from the map, and are expected to be demolished and be replaced by a new DVC resort–although as usual, this has not been announced. The absence of these ~562 rooms—more than 25% of Caribbean Beach’s pre-construction capacity—has already reduced crowds on the buses and at the main pool.

Construction is also happening at the Custom House area, including the addition of a large temporary building (the image shows its short side). This building has not been widely discussed, but while it could be the office for the new construction, it seems poorly located for that and to be too large to be anything but a temporary replacement for the Custom House…

The shops, concierge services, table service restaurant, quick service restaurant, and other amenities at Old Port Royale are closed. They will be rebuilt near the same area but along the water. What this means is that the remaining buildings in Martinique will have demolition and construction at both their northern and southern ends, and should be avoided.

The bar was also expected to be closed and replaced, but at least as of my mid-May visit, it was still open, accessible through the pool.

Temporary replacement for the gift shops comes from a shopping truck near the main pool…

…and also from small “Island Markets” in converted rooms in Martinique (2509), Jamaica (4308), and Aruba (5524). (The first two digits of the room number indicate the building number.)

Concierge services are still available in the Custom House, and also in a converted room in Trinidad North, room 3109.

There’s a couple of replacements for the closed dining—current dining options at Caribbean Beach are covered in great detail here.

  • The Island Markets have a narrow selection of breakfast supplies, cold sandwiches/wraps/salads, and snacks
  • A food truck by the main pool offers breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • An air-conditioned tent offers breakfast and dinner buffets with somewhat limited menus
  • A second food truck may be outside the quiet pool at Trinidad South
  • Pizza delivery to the rooms is also available

See this for much more on the dining options during the refurb at Caribbean Beach.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE REFURB AT DISNEY’S CARIBBEAN BEACH RESORT

There’s three major issues that come with this refurb:

  • Visual blight from construction
  • Noise from construction, once demolition kicks off
  • Limited dining options until the new venues are built and running

The visual blight is inescapable, as it is present along the bus routes and, if you have a car, at the main entry. That said, this sort of thing happens at Disney World all the time and doesn’t matter a lot unless you are staying in Martinique.

Construction noise during demolition, and to a lesser extent construction, will be particularly a problem in Martinique, quite minor in the distant Pirate rooms in Trinidad South, and present elsewhere. Noise will be limited to the day, but may interfere with afternoon naps, or otherwise intrude into an otherwise peaceful afternoon in the main pool.

The limited dining is probably the most acute issue. While it could be made a little better with more options at the buffets, and the expansion of the breakfast and dinner buffet offerings to include a lunch buffet as well, unless that happens Caribbean Beach will not be a great choice for those planning more than one or two lunches or dinners at the resort.

To be clear, dining at Caribbean Beach is NOT a disaster—it’s not a lot worse than that at Port Orleans French Quarter, there’s still more counter service than at the Epcot resorts, and one no more should pick a Disney moderate based on dining than one should pick a spouse based on sock color…

…but the current state of dining, when combined with the noise and visual blight, makes it hard to recommend Caribbean Beach when for just a little more money one could book one of the other Disney World moderates—especially Port Orleans French Quarter and Port Orleans Riverside (Coronado Springs is also seeing construction, though with no dining implications).

My advice? Well, unless you have a pin code, effective prices go down, or dining options are strengthened

  • If you have any qualms, change your resort. The potential for you to second-guess yourself is too high.
  • If you are one of the seven people worldwide who chose Caribbean Beach specifically for Shutters or the food court, change your resort.
  • If you never felt strongly about staying at Caribbean Beach anyway, change your resort.
  • If you picked Caribbean Beach for its tranquility, consider how construction noise might affect that.
  • If you plan more than one or two lunches or dinners at the resort, consider changing your resort

WHAT MIGHT BE NEXT AFTER THE REFURB AT DISNEY’S CARIBBEAN BEACH RESORT

The traditional issues with Caribbean Beach have been the number of bus stops, the distance of most of the resort from the check-in area at the Custom House, the distance of two villages—Barbados and especially Trinidad South—from the central services and pool, and the somewhat awkward layout of the quick service dining here.

This refurb holds the promise to fix almost all of this—particularly so if the a. the main lobby is moved to join the other central services in Centertown and b. in addition to the elimination of the Barbados (and Custom House) bus stops, the three stops serving what are now six accommodations buildings at Martinique, Centertown, and Trinidad North are combined into one.

Note that there is also much rumor of a gondola system that, among other things, might connect Caribbean Beach with Epcot and Hollywood Studios via a station between Jamaica and Trinidad South.

While this would require another bus stop (or maybe moving south both Jamaica’s and Aruba’s bus stops), the combination of Caribbean Beach’s current loveliness and playfulness and its great main pool with a gondola, new waterfront dining, fewer rooms, and a net smaller number of bus stops, would really make Caribbean Beach stand out among the moderates.

I have invented the material on the map below to show the potential here:

Even if there’s no gondola, there’s great promise here. But at least until dining options—or effective room prices–improve, I would advise most who plan more than a lunch or dinner or two at Caribbean Beach to stay elsewhere.

Have you stayed here since the refurb started?  Let me know what you think in the comment form below!

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May 23, 2017   5 Comments

Dining Options at Caribbean Beach During Its Refurb

The counter service area and Shutters table service venue in Centertown at Caribbean Beach closed earlier in May for replacement.

I’ll have more to say about the dining alternatives after my multi-night stay at Caribbean Beach in early June, but during an unexpected trip in mid-May I checked most of them out, including three meals—although not any breakfasts.

Here’s the initial version of the scoop with more to come after my June visit. I’ve also supplemented my own experience with info from a ton of helpful posts on the disboards.com Caribbean Beach thread.

THE CENTERTOWN FOOD TRUCK

The principal substitute venues are temporary fixtures just south of the main pool, between the pool and Trinidad North.

All day dining is available from a food truck. You order from the kiosk on the right above…

…and pick your food up at the truck itself. You can then eat outside, bring it to your room, or enter the air-conditioned buffet tent and eat there.

The menu is limited (click it to enlarge it)…

…but the burger was much better than most Disney food court burgers. The sliders and fish tacos look good, too.

I have no image of the breakfast menu, but you can find it here.

The food truck serves breakfast from 7-11.30a, and lunch and dinner (same menu) from 11.30a to 9p.

THE CENTERTOWN BUFFET

The main option, however, is the buffet. It’s open for breakfast and dinner. The breakfast menu is here.

Here’s the dinner menu. Frankly, there’s a little less here than meets the eye, so I strongly suggest that early on a stay at Caribbean Beach you go inside and inspect the actual offerings, so that if you later decide to have dinner here there’s no surprises.

You pay for the buffet at the same area where you pay for the food truck. Prices are $20.99 for those ten and up, and $11.99 for those 3-9 years old, or one quick service credit.

You then get an wrist band, which is what allows you into the buffet line—and allows the buffet tent to also serve double duty as an air-conditioned area for eating off the food truck, and/or filling your refillable mugs.

Here’s a couple of views of the buffet tent, which seats on the order of 250-300 people.

The buffet is all-you-can-eat if you dine in, and you can dine in or do it as a takeaway. However, you can’t both do a sit-down all-you-can-eat buffet meal and then also fill up a to-go plate. One or the other, bucko.

My main issue with the buffet is how limited the options are. Frankly, for a quick service credit, it’s nicely priced if you can find meal items you are in the mood for, but the adult cash price is high for the range of options available.

The first station combines some kids offerings with what the menu calls the “Pasta with a Selection of Sauces.” You’ll find here chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, meatballs, sausage, pasta alfredo, and pasta marinara.

Next are a couple of soups—on my visit, tomato and Island Conch Chowder. I had the chowder—it was very mild.

The salad section has precisely one greens option—mixed lettuce, mostly garden variety—well you know what I mean, it’s exactly the opposite of the variety of greens in our salad garden—six dressings, mixed fruit, and a couple of slaw-style options.

The entrée station includes the carving station—at my dinner, it was carved turkey. Other options include roast pork, jerk chicken, and shrimp curry. No beef—even though beef is common at carving stations at moderate and value food courts. If you want beef, get a burger at the food truck.

The turkey and the pork were dry—though the turkey gravy helped with that. However, I had some of the first turkey and pork of the evening—I arrived just after opening—and logistics needs may have meant that these were “older” and thus drier than what would be served later. I’ll check that out in June.

The image is of my second run through the buffet—my first plate was turkey, pork, jerk chicken, mashed potatoes, a roll, and salad. My second run included the chowder, shrimp curry, rice, and collard greens. All these were delightful, expect for the greens, which were far too sweet.

Vegetables available my visit included broccoli, mixed vegetables, mashed potatoes, rice, and collard greens.

There’s also a bread service area that I did not photograph adequately even by my low standards, and a dessert selection.

Off to the side is the beverage station, which is also accessible to those with refillable mugs. (You can get the mugs in the Island Markets, covered next.)

Service is incredibly attentive—I must have had three cast members ask me how the food was, and two others ask if they could get me a drink. Others have commented on nightly live music here as well—such was not playing during my early dinner, but I’ll keep my eye out for music on my June trip, likely to avoid it.

An expansion in offerings would make me not hesitate to recommend this buffet. Another pasta, another soup, one or two more leaf salad leaf options, some salad toppings, a beef entrée and one or two more “casserole” or sauced entrees, and a couple more vegetable options would round it out nicely.

But without that, unless what’s on offer works exactly for your group, it’s more of an emergency option than something I’d count on for a nice dinner at Caribbean Beach.

The buffet is open for dinner from 5-10p, and for breakfast from 6.30-11.30a.

THE ISLAND MARKETS

“Island Markets” are in three converted rooms—one each in Martinique (2509), Jamaica (4308), and Aruba (5524). (The first two digits of the room number indicate the building number.)

They offer

… ice cream (above, in the box at left), pastries, coffee and tea, cereals and pop tarts (with a microwave above)…

… drinks, yogurt, fruit, salads, sandwiches and wraps…

… and refillable mugs, bananas, and snacks.

The wraps/sandwich/fruit/salad choices are thin, and have sold out at times by early evening. I expect that problem to be largely fixed shortly as Disney learns more about patterns of demand.

Regardless, the offerings of these spaces work better for snacks and for breakfast supplies than they do as a place to grab lunch or a light dinner—unless you are thinking very light.

The Island Markets are open from 7a-10p.

THE FREESTYLE COKE MACHINES

Refillable mugs can be refilled in freestyle coke machines—where you get to design your own drink, like my favorite, peach Sprite.

These machines are available in one or two buildings in each village, replacing in those buildings the old-style Coke machines—which remain in the rest of the buildings. Find the right building, then follow the signs for Ice and Vending.

Buildings with the freestyle machines are marked on the resort map–note what I’ve circled in red.

THE TRINIDAD SOUTH FOOD TRUCK

The overview of dining at Caribbean Beach Disney provides does not include a food truck at Trinidad South.

But on my mid-May visit, one was there, on the parking lot side of the quiet pool…

…specializing in gyro and pita sandwiches (click the image to enlarge it).

I quite enjoyed my lamb and beef gyro. Lots of sauce…

I imagine that the absence of it being listed means you can’t count on it being there.  But if it is, it’s a handy option for those staying in the otherwise distant-from-food Pirate Rooms in Trinidad South.

IN-ROOM PIZZA

Another option is ordering off of the limited delivery menu, which features, pizza, wings and such. I’ve never had delivery pizza at Disney World, but will try it on my June visit and report out then.

THE VENDING MACHINE IN THE QUIET POOL LAUNDRIES

Finally, a post on the disboards thread noted above reminded me that there’s a vending snack machine in the quiet pool laundry rooms!

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May 22, 2017   4 Comments

Fireworks and Evening Shows at Walt Disney World

(This page is one of a series explicating Walt Disney World lingo, abbreviations, and FAQ for first time family visitors to Walt Disney World.)

FIREWORKS AND EVENING SHOWS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

There are currently five routinely-scheduled fireworks or special evening shows at Walt Disney World:

Happily Ever After at the Magic Kingdom, which shows at varying evening times, from a few times a week in the slower seasons to every night during the most crowded times of the year.

IllumiNations at Epcot, which shows every night, most of the time at 9p.

Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which shows almost always every night.

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which shows almost always every night, but may be off the schedule over the holidays, as it was in 2016

Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which–so far–has been showing nightly during the busier parts of the year, and four nights a week during the slower parts.

Each of these is a great show, and a don’t miss.

Some of these theme parks also commonly have additional fireworks during the two nights of the year where fireworks are an essential part of American life–New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July!

To check what days and times these shows are scheduled during your trip, check the Disney World calendars:

(Note that it’s common for Disney not to release the schedules for these shows until just a few months out–especially the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios shows.)

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May 21, 2017   No Comments

Review: Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom

HAPPILY EVER AFTER: OVERVIEW

Happily Ever After is the evening show at the Magic Kingdom, and is the best of Disney World’s evening shows.

Debuting in May 2017, it is dominated by fireworks, song and projections, and also features lasers and other pyrotechnics.

It shows almost every night—at a time varying with sunset and park hours—from late December into August, and then several times a week during the Mickey’s party season from September into mid-December.

(During the party season, on the three to four nights a week* when Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are on, no evening show is available to those without party tickets.)

Happily Ever After is themed to the concept of “unlocking the magic within” to achieve dreams

Dreams are grouped into themes: Wishes, Adventure, Friendship, Love, [Overcoming] Adversity, and Triumph.

Each theme vignette presents Castle projections and songs from Disney and Pixar films—mostly from the Little Mermaid and later releases—supporting the theme.

Astonishingly effective, and with the latest generation of firework shapes and colors, projection technology, and lasers, Happily Ever After is also sweet and charming, and a tremendous crowd-pleaser—spontaneous applause followed most of the vignettes the nights I saw it.

Happily Ever After is a wonderful capstone to a Magic Kingdom day. Don’t miss it.

*Except the first week of November and Thanksgiving week.

HAPPILY EVER AFTER: WHERE TO SEE IT

Happily Ever After is designed to be seen with the Main Street railroad station at your back and Cinderella Castle in front of you.

Because of the projections on the Castle—and how fleeting, small and/or subtle many of the images that make them up are—the best results will come from being closer to the Castle.

The ideal position is in the circular hub right on front of the Castle.

(The projections are not shown on the back or side of the Castle).

Positions further back on Main Street towards the station will yield less impact, as the effect of the projections will be reduced.

And positions elsewhere in the park, although they will yield views of the higher fireworks and include the music, will lose most of the impact of the show.
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May 21, 2017   No Comments

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.
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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

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April 18, 2017   No Comments