Saturday, July 27, 2013

Disney's Yacht Club - A Short Review

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a 4 day conference to learn about using Alice, software that teaches about computer programming in a 3D environment, in the classroom. I won't bore you here with details of what I learned (I'll write a recap on my professional blog though), even though trust me- it was far from boring!

Not only was I excited to be attending the conference, but I was also excited because of where the conference was held! The conference was at Disney's Yacht Club, which meant that's also where attendees stayed! An added bonus was that I convinced my mom to join me and add an extra night to the conference covered nights so we could have a bit of a mother-daughter trip.

In our past Disney trips, we've stayed at one of Disney's moderate resorts, Coronado Springs Resort, which we absolutely adored. While I've always wanted to stay at the Yacht or Beach club, mainly because of the walking proximity to Epcot, I've never wanted to pay the price difference to stay at a deluxe. Thanks to conference rates, the price point was just right for us to stay at the Yacht Club for this trip. I mean look at how beautiful this is.

Disney's Yacht Club as viewed from the Boardwalk
Our experience at the resort was pretty great! Here are a couple of highlights.

Disney's Magical Express

If you're flying to Disney, take advantage of this service! This was the third time we used it, and you just can't beat the convenience of dropping your luggage at the airport for departure and having it arrive in your rooms after check-in. We were off the plane and on the Magical Express within about 15 minutes (including a pit stop at the restroom). Before stopping at the Yacht Club, our bus dropped guests at Caribbean Beach Resort and then Boardwalk. It still made the trip from the airport under an hour, cheaper than renting a car we wouldn't otherwise need, and most importantly- stress free! Perfection!


I did online check in 60 days before our check-in date, and made no special requests at that time. I did add my credit card to be used for room charges, and set up a 4 digit pin to verify charges at that time. We were greeted by name as soon as we stepped off the Magical Express and ushered to the Online Check-In area. Within just a few minutes, we had added another credit card so that my mom's Key to the World Card would charge to her card and were pointed in the direction of our room, which was ready when we checked in (around 1:30 pm).

Our Room

Daybed in Yacht Club Room 1079
Yacht Club Room
As part of the conference rate, we booked a Standard Room. I was surprised that when I did online check-in, we saw that we were assigned a Pool/Lagoon View room. Sure enough, once we got to our room, we saw that we had a perfect side-view of the lighthouse right on the lagoon. We also had a daybed, which we were shocked to have since it wasn't a request and there were just 2 of us. The room was clean and smelled fresh, stocked with plenty of towels and toiletries. I wasn't sure if I would like having a first floor room, which meant a patio instead of a balcony, but it was nice to walk to the sliding door to get in when I ran to refill our mugs each night! Housekeeping was great, with the exception of one day when our room didn't get cleaned at all. We never called because we thought maybe they were just running behind, but even when we returned from the parks that night no one had been in. I wouldn't say this is necessarily a negative at the Yacht Club, because I know that this could happen at any resort. I will say, that after staying at Coronado, we really missed the doors that can pulled-out to partition off the bathroom/sink area. These would have been a nice touch to have on this trip especially since I was getting up each morning to get ready for a conference and mom was sleeping in (and I was staying out at parks later than she stayed up also). I think these were an addition to CSR after the last refurbishment, and I think it would be great to see this at the Yacht Club too! If I'm being completely honest though, our rooms at Coronado have been just as nice (albeit a little smaller) and included the same H20 products as amenities, same queen beds, etc. If we were simply comparing rooms, I don't know that I would pay deluxe prices to stay at the Yacht Club over Coronado.
Yacht Club Room

Resort Area

This is where you can't really compare the two! I can't explain how amazing the location of this resort is. Within 5-7 minutes of leaving our room (and we weren't speed walking) we were at the bag check area of Epcot. Since Epcot is our favorite park, this really is great, and I can only imagine would come even more in handy during the Food and Wine Festival. Another convenience was being able to either walk or hop on the boat to Hollywood Studios. We also took advantage of being able to walk over to
Boardwalk Bakery for dinner one night! This is where the prices of the Deluxe Epcot Resorts start to make more sense to me. We always get park hoppers (I know actually have an annual pass) because we always end up at Epcot at some point each day. Even on this trip, where we only had evenings in the parks, we still saw Epcot daily- and the convenience alone of walking to or from the park means a lot!
The parks we rode buses to and from were Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. I never waited for more than about 10 minutes for a bus to a park, and never more than 5 on one to take back to the resort. Even with stopping at the Beach Club before heading into the parks, we thought the bus service was great. We don't have kids, and although I always consult crowd calendars and suggested park days, this location was perfect for our touring style of going with the flow and park hopping. We also really liked the added benefit of the basically having access to 2 resorts at the same time, as the Yacht and Beach Club are right beside each other. 
Yacht Club Lobby entrance from back

Yacht Club view from lighthouse/boat dock

Resort Eats

Bacon Angus Burger from Beaches & Cream
Served with smoked bacon, barbecue sauce,
blue cheese, onion rings, and lettuce and tomato
On our arrival day, we visited the Beach Club Marketplace to purchase refillable mugs and shared a pepperoni flatbread. This was the only thing I had here, and I liked that it was prepared fresh and in front of us. We had reservations one night for dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse- and it was fabulous! It has become our must do every trip, and they definitely did not disappoint. Since I actually have pictures of that meal, I'll do a separate review of that. We also ate once at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop. Mom and I split the Bacon Angus Burger and it was delicious! The burger The server was nice enough to bring it out on two plates with a serving of fries on each. The burger was great- but the fries are my new standard to compare all fries to! They were that good! I also found out that my mom had lunch here while I was in my last conference session on our departure day. She had the Beaches Hot dog and while I don't have pictures, she said it was the best hot dog she's had in years. There are several other dining options at both the Yacht and the Beach Club, but those are the ones that we tried ourselves.

Storm Along Bay

So this is the part I'm embarrassed to write. We stayed for 5 nights at the resort with what is arguably the best pool on property...and I spent a combined 15 minutes at it (not in it!). In my defense, since my days were taken up by a conference, I didn't want to waste a minute of park time each night! My mom did hang out at the pool for a bit each day, and I did walk out to say hello to her during my lunch breaks, and the whole area looks great! I will be staying at the Beach Club in October, so I'm already planning to set aside time just to hang out at the pool for a while! Since I can't say a whole lot about it, here are a few pictures!
Storm Along Bay


Yacht/Beach Club Beach

Storm Along Bay 3

Slide at Storm Along Bay

So in conclusion, I think the Yacht Club is pretty amazing! While I don't know if I could ever justify paying rack rate for a room there on my budget, I'm very thankful that I had the chance to stay here! I'm looking forward to comparing it to the Beach Club in October (booked with the runDisney discount for the Tower or Terror 10 Miler).

Which Disney resort is your favorite?


  1. Beaches & Cream's fries were amazing! I also stayed @ YC for the first time last week (different conference) with my DD. We ate at B&C and her eyes were way bigger than her stomach, so she couldn't eat all her fries & also leave room for ice cream. (Tip: you can get a single scoop there, even though it is not on the menu.) I started nibbling on her leftover fries and just couldn't stop. Those must have been the best fries I've ever tried!

  2. Yes- they don't look all that special, but they were absolutely the best! Thanks for the tip about the single scoop- I'll have to remember that in October!


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