On my last trip to Walt Disney World I stayed at the Yacht Club. You can read all about most aspects of my stay here, but there was something special about this trip. It was my first time trying Disney’s concierge service. I was very excited to give this a shot since my both of my friends and traveling companions, Caroline and Kim, are seasoned veterans of concierge level experiences at WDW. They raved about how well taken care of they have felt during concierge stays and I couldn’t wait for a girls’ weekend of pampering. So did the Yacht Club’s concierge service live up to the hype? Well… yes and no.
First of all, let’s covers some basics of staying concierge before I tell you about my time there. The concierge level of a deluxe resort can also be referred to as club level. Each one throughout the property has a name for their concierge level. At the Yacht Club it is called the Regatta Club and it’s located on the fifth floor. Here guests willing to pay a premium are treated to special services including a lounge, complimentary food and drink, and personalized service. There are about 70 Regatta Club rooms most of which are similar to regular rooms throughout the resort, but there are also suites available.
That personalized service started off badly for Kim and I when we checked in. I wrote last week about how our check in started badly and only got worse. You see, when guests opt to stay on the club level, they are supposed to be taken right to their exclusive area to be checked in and taken care of. This did not happen when we arrived that morning. We were asked to check in at the regular desk where we also ran into problems. Eventually they were resolved and a representative from the club level was sent to escort us to the fifth floor. If I was not paying a premium for special service I would not have been upset about this situation. However, if I am shelling over extra money I would like to be treated accordingly.
Once guests are brought to the club level at the Yacht Club they will be introduced to the cast members (CMs) on hand at two desks set up to be the resource for any special services they may need. These CMs are there to help folks with whatever they might need including ADRs, park tickets, and transportation options. Unfortunately, every time I asked for help from one of the people behind the desk I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the result.
I’m sure most hardcore Disney fans have fun into a cast member or two who was not as knew less about WDW than the fan. It can be frustrating to feel like you know more about Disney than someone who represents the company, but in some roles it is understandable. That being said club level concierge desk cast members should be up on what’s going on around the property. It annoyed me to no end when I had to explain things to these folks and they looked at me with blank stares. I am a reasonable person, I don’t have a lot of demands of hotel staff, but knowing your own product when you work face to face with guests is a pretty basic request.
Another special service provided to concierge level guests is a nightly turn down. Housekeeping cast members come to your room in the evening to prepare your bed for you to fall into it after a long day in the parks and leave chocolates. Who doesn’t like chocolate? It was nice to have this perk, but it was not a make or break part of the experience for me. It certainly was not something that would persuade me to stay on the club level again.
A more exciting benefit to staying in the Regatta Club was access to free food for most of the day. It was lovely to be able to stroll down the hall to grab a bit of breakfast food and a coffee before heading out for a big day at Disney. Bringing a cup of coffee back to my room while getting ready or lounging on my balcony was also fantastic. The breakfast offerings are relatively light so don’t expect to fuel up for a full day here. Later in the day snacks are available along with an assortment of drinks including soda, hot drinks like coffee, and beer (much to my enjoyment). The home made potato chips which are out in the afternoon are all kinds of awesome! In the late afternoon/early evening the menu changes but appetizers are put out for guests to enjoy before they begin their evening. Wine and liqueurs along with desserts area served throughout the evening as well.
The selection of food and drink is laid out in the lounge only accessible to club level guests. There are several tables and chairs set up for folks to you use throughout the day. The area is busy a breakfast time, but can be a quiet place to relax and maybe even get some work done if guests happen to be business travelers. There are also a few couches in the mix where friends can gather to chat. Kids have their own area here with child sized table and chairs and a TV running cartoons and other Disney favorites. Something about the lounge I really appreciated was that I was able to use it all day on my day of check out. I was able to head up to the lounge to hang out with friends and have a snack before I headed to the Magical Express.
How do concierge guests gain access to the lounge while keeping other people from enjoying things like free food? These guests get a special “Key to the World” card. For folks who may not be familiar, a Key to the World card is your room key at Disney World. Guests can also opt to have their park ticket information put on this card. Since I have an annual pass I have only used that option once. Likewise, you may put charging privileges on your card so you can buy food, souvenirs, or several drinks around World Showcase (who would do that?) and pay for them upon checking out on one bill. So what is so special about the Key to the World cards for concierge tickets? Well, to start they are different color. I nick named mine the golden ticket so you might be able to guess what color it is! This key card also gains you access to the concierge club level. You may have noticed in the elevators of deluxe resorts there are key slots on the button panel. These are for the concierge guests to use in order to get to their floor. The concierge floors are closed off to other guests, making it an exclusive experience.
Would I stay concierge again? I’ve heard the Club Level at the Yacht Club is among the weakest offerings in that department so while I would not pay for her here again, I would try it at another resort. It was nice to have food and drink available to us at almost any time, but I’m not sure that alone was worth the cost. The food selection was just ok, but I’ve heard it’s much better at other locations. Also, like I’ve already mentioned, the cast members assigned to helping Regatta Club guests were not actually all that helpful. Since this was my first stab at staying on concierge level I don’t want to say it would never be worth it again, but I doubt I’ll give the Regatta Club another shot.
Have you stayed at the Yacht Club’s Regatta Club? What did you think? Let me know if you loved concierge at this resort or maybe you can suggest what club I try out next!
Next week I’ll discuss a recent character dining experience without kids!