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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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

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

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Dining at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

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

DINING AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

Yacht Club dining is all at the side towards the Beach Club (part of the same massive interconnected building).  You’ll find here the great (but expensive) Yachtsman Steakhouse.

yachtsman-steakhouse-review-from-the-easy-guide

The review from The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017 .

Captain's Grille Disney's Yacht Club Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Also in this area is the simpler, less expensive, and more family- (and wallet-) friendly Captain’s Grille.

captains-grille-review-from-the-easy-guideThe review from The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017.

The Beach Club has two more table-service options, the fun Beaches and Cream and the Cape May Cafe with a character breakfast and dinner seafood buffet..

Lobby Bar Disney's Yacht Club Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

There’s a couple of bars at the Yacht Club as well. One right off the lobby also serves coffee, pastries and such in the morning, convenient for conventioneers heading to or returning from the shared Yacht Club/Beach Club convention center.  This little offering is a godsend given that traditionally there’s been no counter service at the Yacht Club, and hardly any counter service in the Beach Club.

However, the gift shop at the Yacht Club will be out of a refurb shortly, and the artists conception suggests some counter service will  be added as part of this:

The washing-machine-looking object on the right is a soda mixer; note also the tables in the background.

Detail Lobby bar Disney's Yacht Club Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The lobby bar has some nice nautical details.

Crew's Cup Bar Disney's Yacht Club Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The larger bar is down the hall closer to the Yachtsman Steakhouse.

More dining and bars are available at the Beach Club, on the BoardWalk, and–a little more distant–at the Swan and Dolphin.

AMENITIES AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

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April 18, 2017   No Comments

A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: Casey’s Corner

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians and author of Jim’s Gems in The easy Guide, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on yourfirstvisit.net.

CASEY’S CORNER AT THE MAGIC KINGDOM

By Jim Korkis

When Disneyland opened in July 1955, at the end of Main Street just at the beginning of the Hub was a quick service food and beverage restaurant called the Refreshment Corner, sponsored by Coca-Cola. It was so popular and beloved that when the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, a similar shop was put in the same location on the end of Main Street, also sponsored by Coke.

Originally, both Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola were served at both Disney theme parks, but in 1982, Coke made arrangements to become the sole provider and has remained so for over the last thirty-five years.

When Disneyland Paris opened in 1992, the traditional shop was instead dubbed Casey’s Corner, referencing the 1888 poem “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Thayer about the fictional over-confident ballplayer for the Mudville team who famously struck out. Disney even made an animated cartoon based on the poem as part of the compilation feature Make Mine Music (1946).

(c) Disney

The Casey’s Corner concept for the venue that sold soda and hot dogs was brought to Florida with the renovation of the northwest block of Main Street and the opening of the revised shop on May 27, 1995. The outdoor sign even incorporated the 1888 date of the Thayer poem in the baseball since it also aligned with the turn-of-the-century theme to Main Street.

Every detail in the newly rehabbed restaurant was to help reinforce the connection, from the Cast Member vintage baseball player costumes (with umpire style aprons) to the “Enter” and “Exit” signs made to look like baseballs and the vintage baseball and Coca-Cola memorabilia displayed throughout the space. Classic Coke light fixture chandeliers decorate the interior.

Many of the props on display, including jugs of Coca-Cola syrup and baseball team mugs, trading cards and pennants, are authentic antiques from around the turn of the 20th century.

One of the framed photos on the wall depicts a team wearing jerseys representing more than one team and even women players poorly disguised as men. These people are the Imagineering team who worked on the Casey’s Corner (and Main Street Athletic Club) project in 1995.

In addition to Coca-Cola products, the location also serves traditional hot dogs (a popular treat at baseball games) and gourmet designer dogs like chili dogs, Chicago-style dogs, and BBQ pork slaw dogs at a premium price. Also available are corn dog nuggets, French fries, cotton candy, ballpark nachos and Cracker Jacks, just as someone might find at a ball game concession stand.

Originally, there was a big screen running a loop of excerpts from Disney animated cartoons that were sports oriented and with bleacher seating for people to watch and eat.

In 2014, that screen and bleachers were eliminated in order to expand the indoor eating area with more traditional seating. At the same time, the outdoor eating area doubled its size, with new walkways and red and white umbrellas representing the colors of Coke.

Outside, two fiberglass lifesize statues of old-time baseball players provide a photo opportunity. Also outside, just like at Disneyland, is a piano where a performer occasionally tickles the ivory keys and entertains the guests with ragtime music and familiar Disney tunes.

*  *  *  *  *

Thanks, Jim! And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest, Gremlin Trouble! The Cursed Roald Dahl Film Disney Never MadeSecret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never You Never Knew, which reprints much material first written for this site, and his contributions to The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit, all published by Theme Park Press.
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April 14, 2017   1 Comment

Next Week (April 15 through April 23, 2017) at Walt Disney World

DISNEY WORLD NEXT WEEK: APRIL 15 TO APRIL 23, 2017

The material below details next week’s Disney World operating hours, Extra Magic Hours, parades, and fireworks.

For more on April 2017 at Disney World, see this.

OPERATING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 4/15/-4/23/17

The Magic Kingdom will be open from 8a-12MN 4/15, 8a-11p 4/16 and 4/17, 8a-12MN 4/18 and 4/19, 8a-11p 4/20, 9a-11p 4/21, and 9a-10p 4/22 and 4/32

Epcot will be open from 9a-9p every day

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be open 9a-9p every day

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be open 9a-9.30p every day

EXTRA MAGIC HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 4/15-4/23/17

Saturday 4/15 Morning:  Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom Evening: none

Sunday 4/16  Morning:  Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom Evening: none

Monday 4/17 Morning: Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom  Evening: none

Tuesday 4/18 Morning: Magic Kingdom Evening:  Epcot

Wednesday 4/19 Morning: Magic Kingdom  Evening:  Magic Kingdom

Thursday 4/20 Morning: Epcot, Magic Kingdom Evening: none

Friday 4/21 Morning:  Magic Kingdom Evening: none

Saturday 4/22 Morning: Animal Kingdom Evening: none

Sunday 4/23  Morning: Hollywood Studios Evening: none

Mickey and Minnie Festival of Fantasy Afternoon Parade from yourfirstvisit.netPARADES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 4/15-4/23/17

The Magic Kingdom: Afternoon Festival of Fantasy Parade: noon and 3.30p 4/15  through 4/20; 3p 4/21 through 4/23

FIREWORKS AND EVENING SHOWS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 4/15-4/23/17

Wishes at the Magic Kingdom: 10p 4/15 through 4/20; 9p 4/21 through 4/23

IllumiNations at Epcot: 9p every night

Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 8.30p every night

Star Wars Show and Fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 9p every night

Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom 8.30 and 9.45p 4/15 through 4/22; 8.45p 4/23

SHOW SCHEDULES FOR WALT DISNEY WORLD 4/15-4/23/17

See Steve Soares’ site here. Click the park names at its top for show schedules.

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April 13, 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

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April 11, 2017   No Comments