Ahoy Yacht Club!

On my last trip I got the opportunity to try a new resort.  Since it is my goal to stay at every resort on

Photo by Megan Annunziata

property I leapt at the chance to stay at the Yacht Club when I received a 40% off pin code from Disney when planning my October trip with some friends.  As an added bonus to my wallet, three adults can easily be accommodated so my friends Kim and Caroline and I decided to bunk together on this adventure.  These lovely ladies made wonderful roommates and I’m excited to experience another deluxe resort with them in the future.

My Disney’s Magical Express bus pulled up to the front courtyard of the resort where guests can easily walk to the convention center or head inside to the lobby.  The exterior of the building is painted a soft gray color with white trim as you might imagine homes in Cape Cod to be decorated.  I always felt the color scheme was a bit drab especially since the Yacht Club sits so closely to the Beach Club which is painted a more pleasing (at least to me) blue.  However, I do really enjoy the New England Coast architecture of the resort.

Photo by Megan Annunziata

I had met my friend and roommate, Kim, at the airport and rode the DME with her to the Yacht Club.  We headed inside to the lovely lobby which greets guest with a cozy atmosphere featuring boat models and wood tones inspired by the cabins on a ship.  Several seating areas allow folks waiting for their friends or family with comfortable places to sit and chat.  Some of my friends enjoyed playing checkers here while they waited for us to come down from our room.  The lobby is lovely and feels warm and inviting.  I feel at home in a nautical setting so I really enjoyed this setting.

Once we got inside things got off to a rocky start for Kim and I when we checked in at the Yacht Club.  We were staying on the concierge level on this trip and we were expecting to have a check in area strictly for concierge guests.  However, when we inquired about where to find out where to go for this service, we were directed to the regular check in desk.  Then, we were told our balance was significantly higher than we had anticipated.  We had to fight to get the right rate when (after several minutes in a back room) the cast member helping us finally explained there had been a computer issue.  We had been given a free room upgrade, but it had not been marked as complimentary in the computer system.  Eventually, we got the situation taken care of and were on our way to our room.

We were already less than impressed with the service at the resort when we arrived to our room to find out housekeeping had not been to our room yet.  The beds were unmade, beer bottles were on the tables, and to top it all off a container for disposing needles was on our bathroom vanity.  The less than stellar service continued when a manager came to help us with the dirty room situation.  We were not unreasonable to let them know we were no happy about the situation.  We did not make crazy demands or yell and scream, but we were disappointed and wanted to be treated properly.  Apparently, this manager did not have the same sentiment.  Finally, we were compensated for our trouble after being treated like we were asking to stay for free for a month.

After our initial rocky start at the resort, service improved.  A different manager called us the second day to make sure our stay was going better.  He even offered to call us every day to check on us which I told him wouldn’t be necessary.  I wound up enjoying my stay in the following days.  Stay tuned next week when I’ll talk more specifically about the service in the concierge level at the Yacht Club.  Did I mention we had gotten a free room upgrade?  Our view was amazing from our now clean room!  I’ve never wanted to spend the money on an improved view, but looking out on the lighthouse and across to the Boardwalk couldn’t be beat.

Now that you’ve read about my room’s view, let’s discuss what it looked like once it got inside once it got cleaned up.  The standard furniture in rooms at the Yacht Club includes two queen beds with very cozy bedding, a desk with an internet connection, day bed, two dressers, a mini refrigerator, and a flat screen tv.  The furniture obviously has a nautical theme which to me is relaxing and pleasing to the eye.  I happen to be a big fan of anything having to do with boats and the water so this theme suits me very well.  The bathroom is divided into two areas which is really great when you have three women staying together.  The outer area has two sinks with a marble countertop and several storage shelves.  A separate room has the toilet and shower so one person can shower while another brushes their teeth.  The room is pretty typical for a deluxe resort, but the layout always works out for my roommates and I so it was great for us.

So what else does the Yacht Club offer?  One of the biggest draws to this resort is Stormalong Bay, the pool shared by the Yacht Club and Beach Club.  It is a huge complex with plenty of lounge chairs, several pools, and a great feature slide.  This complex is so popular cast members are posted at the entrances to ensure only guests staying at these resorts may enter the area.  Guests must show their room key and then they are given a bracelet to wear before making their way inside.  I was more impressed by the service of the cast member (CM) who took orders for the pool side grill than I was with the service when my friends and I got a cabana at Typhoon Lagoon.  This CM couldn’t have been nicer and more attentive to all of the folks lounging around in my area.  I only got to spend a little bit of time here, but I can’t wait to lay by this pool again.

Photo by Betsy Bates

The Yacht Club also offers several restaurants.  Yachtsman Steakhouse offers a signature dining experience for guests who want more than the standard theme park fare.  The Captain’s Grill is a more casual atmosphere where breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served.  The Crew Cup Lounge is a cozy bar and lounge area where folks can watch the big game and order typical bar munchies with their beer or cocktail.  It looks like a place I will be heading in the future for a post parks drink with friends.  Even if you are not staying at the Yacht Club these dining facilities are just a short walk or boat ride from Epcot’s International Gateway or DHS.  However, if you are staying at this resort and none of these excite your taste buds you can easily head over to the Beach Club next door, to Epcot’s World Showcase, or over to the Boardwalk to find something yummy.

Photo by Betsy Bates

The transportation options at the Yacht Club are the same as its neighboring Epcot area resorts.  Friendship boats are available to bring guests to the other nearby hotels as well as Epcot, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  You can pick up the boat from the dock near the iconic lighthouse at the rear of the resort.  The boat ride can be a relaxing way to get from place to place, but keep in mind that walking is often the faster option.  Although I did not venture to DHS on this trip, I probably would have taken the boat there since it is a bit of a hike from the Yacht Club.  However, when I made my way to Epcot, the Swan and Dolphin, or the Boardwalk I opted to walk.  Buses also service the Yacht Club for guests wanting to get to the water parks, Down Town Disney, Magic Kingdom, or Animal Kingdom.  The bus stop is located to the side of the lobby’s front entrance.  The buses often make stops at the Beach Club as well, so keep that in mind at park closing.

Here at the Unofficial Guide and Touring Plans when we survey our readers on their resort stay we ask if they would stay at their resort again. I think I would stay here again if I got a good rate.  I really enjoy the Epcot resort area and liked having access to the coveted Stormalong Bay.  While the Yacht Club is not on my list of top Disney resorts, it was an enjoyable experience.  Once we got past our initial bumpy start my stay was lovely and I had no complaints.  It wasn’t the greatest Disney experience ever, but it was certainly enjoyable.

Photo by Betsy Bates

What about you?  Is the Yacht Club your favorite resort or maybe you hated your stay there?  Let me know what you think about this deluxe resort!

Next week I’ll take a closer look at the Yacht Club’s concierge level service!

Kristen Helmstetter

Kristen Helmstetter is an Unofficial Guide researcher who will share her 20-something perspective of all things Walt Disney World with blog readers. Kristen’s email address is khelmstetter05@yahoo.com. You can also follow her on Twitter: @khelmstetter.

18 thoughts on “Ahoy Yacht Club!

  • October 27, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Nice writeup Kristen! I’ll be staying at Yacht Club for the first time in about a month, so this post is perfect timing. I’m really looking forward to staying there, with the easy access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, but I hope I have nowhere near the mousekeeping disaster that you faced — beer bottles and needle disposals, wow!

    • October 27, 2010 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks, Keith! I hope you enjoy your upcoming stay at the Yacht Club! I really think the Epcot resort area is at the top of my list because of the access to Epcot (my favorite park) and DHS. Sure being on the monorail is nice, but for me the Epcot area is better. The Yacht Club features a lovely edible display at Christmas time if you will be there for that! If you are going to there during the holiday season I highly, highly recommend taking a walk around the other surrounding resorts to check out their decorations. Have fun!

  • October 27, 2010 at 9:50 am

    We stayed there the first week in December of ’99. There were four of us and we had connecting rooms. Absolutely loved it. We, like you had a wonderful view of Boardwalk from our balconies. Our french doors stayed open all night so each morning we awoke to the music of Epcot wafting through our doors. It was some really cool song they used for their parades (I think it was the Tapestry of Nations parade). What a way to wake up each day.
    We had character breakfasts at Cape May Cafe, an excellent dinner at the Yachtsmen Steakhouse and absolutely enjoyed the pools. This resort has an excellent fitness center as well to work all this off (or attempt).
    I love this resort and would give anything to stay there again. I’ll put it to you like this: If I had problems like you had at another resort I would kick, scream, throw myself on the floor until they upgraded me to a room at the Yacht or Beach club.

    • October 27, 2010 at 1:32 pm

      I’m so glad you had a great stay! I’ve never sprung for the upgraded view before so this was a nice added bonus. Having coffee on my balcony in the morning was a nice change of pace. I hope you get to stay there again!!

  • October 27, 2010 at 11:16 am

    We have been staying at the Yacht Club since I was little so for about 15 years! I love this resort and the pool area. We have recently been staying at the Beach Club villas to have more room with our larger family though. I still like taking a quick walk over to the Yacht Club though and remembering all my great times there with my parents. I’ve never had an experience like you did with the housekeeping though or charging the wrong rate. We usually pay the full amount for the room ahead though. You forgot to mention the Beaches and Cream restaurant though. We usually visit that multiple times during our visit for a meal and for their ice cream.

    • October 27, 2010 at 1:34 pm

      Thanks for the input, Jenny! I’m glad you like the Yacht Club so much and it has such fond memories of your family. I’m saving my mention of the Beaches and Cream (and other Beach Club eateries) for when I discuss the Beach Club resort. I’ll be staying there for a quick trip in February and I’m really looking forward to it. Thanks for reading!

  • October 27, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Interesting write-up. But I have to say, it would never occur to me to ask for some sort of compensation just because the room wasn’t actually ready when the people at the front desk believed it was. Particularly if I had gotten a complimentary upgrade to concierge. (Now, if I had entered my room and found beer bottles etc. there AFTER housekeeping had been there, that would be a different story!)

    • October 27, 2010 at 1:38 pm

      Thanks for reading and commenting. The unmade room was not the only issue we had at the start of our trip. Our request for something to be done about the situation was not unreasonable plus we were treated badly by the manager. Please also note that we were paying for the concierge service, but we were given a complimentary view upgrade. I’m generally pretty easy to please, but our first few hours at the resort were a real disappointment.

  • October 27, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Wow….how’d you get the PIN code? Would love to stay at the Yacht Club. Stayed at the Beach Club twice and it’s my fave. The fact that they had the wrong rate would have set me off a little too (hate to start a vacation with a disagreement)…plus the unmade room. We had a similar issue at Old Key West earlier this month. Looking forward to your post next week on concierge level service….would love to try that some time too…if it’s worth it! Thanks Kristen! 🙂

    • October 27, 2010 at 1:42 pm

      Thanks for reading, Karen! From what I gather pin codes are given out randomly, but I think if do things like request the free informational dvd from disneyworld.com and such you increase your odds. Don’t quote me on that, it’s just a hunch. If you like the Beach Club you should give the Yacht Club a chance. I haven’t stayed at Beach yet so I can’t compare, but I’ll have my first stay there in February. I have to say that Boardwalk is my favorite resort on property so far. I hope next week I can give you some insight on concierge level!

  • October 27, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Just curious… you mention that the YC isn’t at the top of your resort list – which are your favorite resorts? Of the deluxe options, do you have a favorite? Just interested for comparison purposes. Thanks!

    • October 27, 2010 at 2:43 pm

      Out of the resorts I’ve stayed in the Boardwalk is my favorite followed by the Polynesian. I’m far from having stayed in every resort though so that could change. I like the Yacht Club and I would stay there again, but its definitely not as good as the Boardwalk or Poly in my opinion. Thanks for reading!

  • October 27, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Wow, I was really surprised by your experience. I am a DVC member since 2008 so I have stayed at a few Deluxe Resorts. I stayed at Saratoga Sprs,Animal Kingdom, Boardwalk and Beach Club. I had a great time and experience at all of them. My favorite so far is between Boardwalk and Beach Club. Love that whole area around the lake. Also they are closet to mt 2 fav parks:-) I especially love the scent of the Beach Club lobby(Green clover and Aloe). It smells just like the beach. Also when me and my girlfriend got of the bus they welcomed us home by name:-)

    • November 3, 2010 at 10:55 am

      I’ve really had no other problems at Deluxe resorts (except WL) before either so I was a bit surprised myself. I love the Boardwalk/Epcot area too! Boardwalk is my favorite so far and I’m looking forward to trying the Beach Club this winter. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed your stays so far! Thanks for reading!

  • October 28, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    came across your post since I’ll be staying at the resort for a company trip. Wouldnt pick a place like this for my personal holiday really but always open to try new places obviously. Read a few reviews on TripAdvisor and getting worried about the cleansiness and the quality of food available there. Been travelling loads all over the world and I do expect a certain standard – meaning: clean hotel, good food & attentive service. Also worried about Disney being too much in my face and kids running around… (yes, correct, I don’t have children myself 😉

    • November 3, 2010 at 10:57 am

      Once my room actually got cleaned it was just fine so you don’t have to worry. There are not a lot of food options at the Yacht Club itself but there are a ton of options within walking distance at neighboring resorts or even Epcot. I don’t have kids either so I don’t mind when I can get away from noise, etc. too. There were kids around at the Yacht Club, but for the most part they were just fine. The resorts generally aren’t too in your face with Mickey and such if you want to avoid it. If you seek it out, it’s certainly available though. I hope you have a pleasant stay!

  • October 29, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Hi Kristen,
    We will be staying concierge at the Yacht Club in December. We were there in February and had the opposite experience of you with concierge. We were quickly whisked away to the 5th floor for our “private” check-in experience. Our room was always clean and I found the lounge staff to be exceptional. We’ve also stayed concierge at the Boardwalk and liked it tremendously. Especially the food offerings. We weren’t impressed with the YC selection of eats. However, the service and atmosphere had greater appeal to us than that of BWI.
    Looking forward to what more you have to tell us about your YC concierge experience!

    • November 3, 2010 at 10:59 am

      Hi Mitzi! I’m glad you had a better time than I did. I don’t mean to be nit-picky but sometimes things just can’t be overlooked. I’m looking forward to trying the Boardwalk concierge some time since I love the resort so much. Enjoy your future trips!

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