Disney Yacht Club Deluxe Resort Hotel Review and Information

by josh on April 11, 2010

Wondering how the Yacht Club stacks up against the other Disney World Deluxe Resorts? Check out The Best Disney World Deluxe Resorts for a comparison of the eight Deluxes in a variety of categories including Best Layout, Best Dining, Best Transportation, Best Location, Best Rooms, Best Pool, and Best Overall Deluxe Resort.

Address:

1700 Epcot Resorts Boulevard
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-1000

Direct Phone: 1- 407-934-7000, Fax: 1-407-934-3450, General Reservations: 1-407-WDISNEY (1-407-934-7639)

Note, this overview is similar to the Beach Club because they are sister resorts that are fairly similar.  The main differences are in the theme, best room, and dining sections.

Resort Class: The Yacht Club is a Deluxe resort, the most expensive resort type.  There are 11 different room, concierge, suite, and view configurations with prices ranging from $340 for a Standard Room with a Standard View during Value Season all the way up to $2,790 per night for the two-bedroom Captain’s Deck Suite during Holiday Season.  There are two available views for Standard Rooms.  Standard View rooms have a view of the parking lot, roof, or garden and cost $340 in Value Season and go up to $520 during Holiday Season.  “Water or Pool View” rooms have a view of Crescent Lake or the resort’s quiet pool and cost between $420 and $585 per night.  Club Level with Concierge Service starts at $470.

Location: The Yacht Club is to Epcot what the Contemporary Resort is to the Magic Kingdom.  In other words, the Yacht Club is within an easy five-ten minute walk of Epcot’s World Showcase entrance (also known as the International Gateway).  In addition, the Yacht Club is just a quick boat ride away from the Hollywood Studios, within walking distance of the Swan and Dolphin Resorts, within walking distance of the Boardwalk with its restaurants and activities, and within walking distance of its sister resort, the Beach Club.  The Yacht Club sits on the man-made Crescent Lake and offers a variety of water recreation activities and beach areas.

Size:  With only 630 rooms, the Yacht Club is one of the smallest resorts at Disney World.  All Yacht Club rooms are located inside one 5-story building.  The walk to the lobby or bus stop should not exceed ten minutes from even the most remote rooms and the hallways are nicely air-conditioned which makes walks within the resort more pleasant.

Room Amenities and Quality: Most of the Standard rooms are about 380 square feet and can accommodate up to five people.  This is about 70 feet larger than Moderate rooms and 40-60 feet smaller than Standard rooms at the Monorail Deluxes.  Rooms come with all of the Deluxe amenities including: small table, two chairs, ceiling fan, internet access ($10 per 24 hours), 32” LCD television, small safe, telephone, hairdryer, iron, ironing board, alarm clock, coffeemaker, refrigerator, bathroom with double sinks, shower/bathtub combo, toilet, and mirror.  There are a number of possible bed configurations.  Your room will either have one queen bed and one day bed, two queen beds and no day bed, two queen beds and one day bed, one king bed and no day bed, or one king bed and one day bed.   I would note your preference when you make your reservation and follow up with the resort by phone or fax about three days before your stay.  All rooms have balconies or patios.

The Yacht Club completed a room refurbishment project at the end of 2009.  All rooms were upgraded with new beds, linens, televisions, and furnishings.  The rooms are tastefully decorated in blue and white with a nautical themed bedspread, headboard, and decent wooden furniture.  The rooms are not as elegantly themed as the Grand Floridian or as modern as the Contemporary, but they are relatively large and laid out well.  Housekeeping is also excellent at both the Yacht Club and Beach club, which is even more important than fancy furniture or artwork.

Theme and Layout: The Yacht Club, as you might expect, has a nautical theme.  According to Disney, the Yacht Club “transports Guests to the summertime Shingle Style hotels of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.”  The staff is dressed like they’re the crew of a ship and it seems like the goal of the resort is to make you feel like you’re actually on a boat rather than inside of a swanky clubhouse.  Either way, the resort features an elegant main building with expansive wood flooring, ship memorabilia, dark wood furniture, and simulated captain’s wheels.  The main building isn’t as amazing as the ones found at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Grand Floridian, or Polynesian, but the building is tastefully decorated and I don’t think anyone will leave feeling underwhelmed.

Unlike most other Disney resorts, all of the guestrooms are located in one building.  The advantage is that the walk from your room to the main building or bus stop will be primarily inside and air-conditioned.  The downside is that rooms near the end of either wing are about 10 minutes away from the bus stop, which is above average for a Deluxe.  In addition, the guestrooms are down halls that are somewhat maze-like in nature.  It’s not just a single hallway with rooms on either side.  All of the twists and turns can be confusing, but it shouldn’t be too difficult for most guests to find their way.  The resort shares many of its amenities with the Beach Club, including its feature pool, counter service restaurant, and marina.  There is no counter service at the Yacht Club, only a self-service area.  This means that you will have to walk to the Beach Club or Hurricane Hannah’s at the feature pool if you want to refill your refillable mug.  Although it’s usually a pleasant trip, it’s not always convenient, especially in poor weather.

Like the Grand Floridian, the Yacht Club is thought of by some to be a “stuffy resort” that is less kid-friendly than other Deluxes like the Beach Club or Polynesian.  While I don’t agree with this assessment, it’s true that families with children tend to stay at the Yacht Club’s sister resort, the Beach Club. Some guests prefer the casual atmosphere of the Beach Club while others enjoy the refined elegance of the Yacht Club.  Either resort is perfectly kid-friendly.  The fact that fewer children will likely be present may also make the resort more appealing to couples or families with older children.  When it comes to the Beach Club and the Yacht Club there really isn’t a wrong choice, especially because they share so many amenities and are so close to each other.

Pool: Stormalong Bay, the feature pool complex that the Yacht Club shares with the Beach Club, is far and away the best pool area of any resort at Disney World.  Stormalong is a three acre, 750,000+ gallon water park, complete with an authentic sand bottom pool, several water slides, a lazy river for tubing, kiddie pools, and a life-size pirate shipwreck.   Guests are required to show their resort key card to gain entry, so there are no “pool hoppers” from other resorts.  If you’ve ever been to the Polynesian then you know how crowded the Volcano Pool can get when people who don’t belong fill it up.  In addition, there is a quiet pool on the other side of the resort that’s available for swimmers who would rather enjoy a more relaxing swim.

Transportation: Arguably, the Yacht Club has the best location of any resort at Disney World (along with the Beach Club and BoardWalk Inn).  While it’s difficult to rate it above the Monorail Resorts, it’s true that the Yacht Club is less than a ten minute walk to Epcot, less than a ten minute boat ride away from the Hollywood Studios, and within walking distance of the Swan resort, Dolphin resort, Beach Club resort, Boardwalk, and Boardwalk Inn resort.  It’s the perfect location for anyone planning several meals at Epcot or those who enjoy the Hollywood Studios.  It’s not particularly far from the Animal Kingdom or Magic Kingdom either.  The downside is that there is no bus transportation to the front entrance of Epcot so guests will need to enter from the International Gateway, nearest to the World Showcase.

The times below are calculated after the bus or boat leaves for its final destination.

Hollywood Studios by Boat: about 15 minutes (including the wait for Swan and Dolphin guests to board)    Hollywood Studios by Walkway: about 25 minutes
Epcot by Foot: about 10 minutes
Epcot by Boat: about 15 minutes (including additional stops)
Animal Kingdom: about 15 minutes
Magic Kingdom: about 15 minutes

Best Rooms: As you are probably aware, Disney charges more for “view upgrades,” like a lake or garden view instead of a parking lot view.  The problem is that their definition of a “water view” is a view of any body of water, including a swimming pool or hot tub.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t consider my condo in Las Vegas to have a “beautiful view of the water” because there’s a community swimming pool in the middle of it.  Water View rooms can cost as much as $100 more per night.  Since you won’t be able to guarantee what room you will be assigned until you check in at the resort, Water Views are in essence a $100+ per night gamble that you won’t be stuck on the second floor of the resort looking out at a kiddie pool.  This is the primary reason why I rarely recommend paying to upgrade to a better view.  You just don’t know what you’re going to get.

I bring this up now because the Yacht Club offers a surprisingly few number of rooms with a fantastic water view.  You would think that a resort built right in front of a 25 acre lake would have a lot of rooms with beautiful views, but that just isn’t the case.  Most of the “Pool or Water View” rooms overlook the quiet pool or look out at an angle where you would have to crane your neck to see the Lake.  For that reason I will have to get a little more specific than usual on my room recommendations.  Remember, although you can request a particular room, there’s no guarantee you’ll get it.

The best rooms at the Yacht Club are 5201, 5203, 5205, 5207, and 5209 followed by 5163, 5161, 5081, 5079, 5077, 5075, 5073, 5071, 5069, and 5067.  These rooms are all Concierge level and cost extra.  Of the Standard rooms, 4209, 4207, 4205, 4203, 4201, 4163, 4161, 4081, 4079, 4077, 4075, 4073, 4071, 4069, 4067, 4065, 4063, 4061, 4059, 4057, 3209, 3207, 3205, 3203, 3201, 3163, 3161, 3081, 3079, 3077, 3075, 3073, 3071, 3069, 3067, 3065, 3063, 3061, 3059, 3057, 3025, 2023, 30121, 3019, 3017, 3015, 3013, 3011, 3009, 3007, 3005, 3003, 2081, 2079, 2077, 2075, 2073, 2071, 2069, 2067, 2025, 2023, 2021, 2019, 2017, 2015, 2013, 2011, 2009, 2007, 2005, 2003 all have full balconies and look out over Crescent Bay directly.  The first number is the floor number and the second three digit number is the room number.  Higher three digit numbers are closer to the main building, restaurants, and Stormalong Bay.  For example, room 4209 is room 209 on floor four and is closer to Stormalong Bay than room 3061, which is on floor three, room 061.  Rooms on higher floors are usually quieter and have a slightly more panoramic view than those on lower levels.    When requesting a room, it’s always better to do it at the time of reservation and then follow up directly with the resort about three days before you’re set to arrive.  Instead of listing the room numbers above on your request, it’s more helpful to tell the resort why you’re making the request.  Instead of requesting room 4209, request a room with a full balcony and a direct view of Crescent Bay.  The resort will then have a better understanding of where you want to be placed and you will be more likely to have your requests granted.

On-Site Dining Options: Although the Yacht Club is close to the many excellent restaurants at Epcot, the Swan, Dolphin, Beach Club, and Boardwalk, it only has two restaurants of its own.  The Yachtsman Steakhouse is the resort’s Signature Restaurant and costs two table service credits on the Dining Plan.  The Captain’s Grille is also a sit-down restaurant that costs one table service credit on the Dining Plan.  There is no counter service location at the Yacht Club, which means you will have to go to Hurricane Hannah’s or the Beach Club to refill your mug or order a hamburger.

The Captain’s Grille is primarily a seafood/steak restaurant that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  The food and service are both above average and it’s rarely busy.  The décor is nothing special, but it’s a nice alternative to the more expensive Yachtsman, especially if you find yourself back at the resort during meal time with little energy to travel elsewhere.  Breakfast offers egg and pancake fare, along with more interesting options like the Crab Cake Benedict or Steak and Eggs.  There’s also an all-you-care-to-eat breakfast that costs $15.99 per person and features the usual suspects – fruit, yogurt, pastries, pancakes, smoked salmon, cereal, bacon, sausage, eggs, and potatoes.  Lunch features several inexpensive sandwich and hamburger options, along with seafood-inspired dishes like Classic New England Lobster Roll and Grilled Ahi Tuna.  As usual, dinner is the most expensive meal, and includes options like the Snow Crab Legs, Lump Crab Cakes, and Grilled NY Strip.  For breakfast most entrées are in the $10-$15 range, lunch entrées are in the $13-$20 range and dinner entrées are in the $20-$30 range.  I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat a meal here, but it’s a relaxing and convenient option if you’re staying at the Yacht Club.

The Yachtsman Steakhouse is only open for dinner and features a menu rich in expensive cuts of meat.  There is a 20 ounce bone-in rib eye, 8 ounce fillet mignon, as well as a chicken, tuna, and lamb entrée.  Entrées are expensive, with most on the upper end of the $30-$50 spectrum.  The restaurant is themed like an elegant New England steakhouse with hardwood floors, leather cushions, and an open kitchen where you can view the chefs cutting the meat and preparing the meals.  The beef is better here than most restaurants at Disney World, including more popular choices Le Cellier, Brown Derby, and Kona Café.  The cost is also higher, both on and off the Dining Plan.  If you’re looking for an excellent steak in a slightly more upscale atmosphere then I would strongly recommend the Yachtsman.  It’s also much easier to get a reservation than most Epcot restaurants.  Since the Yacht Club is so close to Epcot, anyone visiting Epcot can easily leave through the International Gateway and walk the ten or so minutes to the Yachtsman as well.  If a steak is on your mind and everything at Epcot is full, then this might be your best bet.

Full reviews coming soon.

Best For: Those who plan to spend considerable time at the resort enjoying Stormalong Bay, the beaches, and watercraft rentals.  People who want to take advantage of the Yacht Club’s location within walking distance of Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Beach Club, Swan, Dolphin, and Boardwalk.  Adults looking for more elegant surroundings with a chance of fewer children around.

Worst For: Those on a budget.  People who don’t swim, don’t plan to take advantage of the location and dining options, or have children that will not appreciate the theme.

Summary of Key Points: The Yacht Club is a classy Deluxe resort along the lines of the Grand Floridian.  Its location is one of the most convenient at Disney World, which is a key advantage if you plan to spend a lot of time enjoying what Epcot has to offer.  The rooms have been recently renovated, and while not particularly eye-popping, are themed tastefully and housekeeping is usually excellent.  All of the guestrooms are in one building, which makes walks through the resort more pleasant when the weather is poor outside.  The downside is that rooms at the end of the wings are relatively far away from the restaurants and main lobby.  Also, rooms sometimes have an odd bed configuration.  Some rooms have daybeds while others do not.  It’s best to request a daybed if it’s a feature you want or need at the time of reservation and follow up with the resort directly via phone or fax three or so days before you’re scheduled to check in.  Finally, many of the “Water or Pool” view rooms do not have a view that justifies the increased cost.  See above for rooms with the best view, but since it isn’t possible to guarantee the room you will be staying in until you arrive, paying for the upgrade is a gamble.  You might want to hold off until you check in and see what rooms are available before you commit to the costly upgrade.

Other than its location, the resort’s key asset is its feature pool complex, Stormalong Bay.  Stormalong is like no other resort pool area at Disney World and probably one of the best resort pool complexes in the United States.  Spanning three acres and filled with over 750,000 gallons of water, Stormalong offers several pools, water slides, Jacuzzis, kiddie pools, and a lazy river for inner tubing.  On top of that, the pool has a sand bottom and there is a life-size replica of a ship wreck with a kiddie pool inside of it and a giant waterslide that feeds back into the main pool.  Since guests are required to show their room key to gain admittance, there are also no “pool hoppers” from other resorts unfairly hogging space like there is at the Polynesian or other popular pool areas.

The Yacht Club isn’t a well known resort, both due to its small size and the fact that it isn’t new or visible from the Magic Kingdom.  If you were to ask a casual Disney vacationer if they’ve even heard of it, chances are most people would look at you funny and ask if you’re mistaking it for “that white resort with the red roofs.”  Luckily, if you’ve made it this far then you’re well versed in its many advantages.  I would recommend the Yacht Club to any couple or group of adults who are looking for a relaxing, elegant atmosphere in close proximity to Epcot and the Hollywood Studios.  The resort is also fine with children, just be sure that they won’t be too disappointed when they find out there’s no 40 foot tall Mickey Mouse standing outside.

Overall Rank on The Best Disney World Deluxe Resorts: 6th out of 8

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Alan September 13, 2010 at 7:43 am

For all the reasons you mention this is the resort we have kind of settled into at WDW. As we are older and travel without kids/grandkids, it is perfect. We were impressed this year with the renovations that had taken place since our last visit. We requested a specific room and after staying in another room next door the first night were moved with ease to our requested room. We love staying on the second floor, just up a few steps and no elevator. We usually do the adult food and wine component of the Disney experience so a short walk to the Flying Fish on the Boardwalk and basically no walk to Yachtsman’s is great. The stroll back to the resort from EPCOT is the perfect way to walk off that stuffy feeling too.

All the physical attributes of the Yacht Club are well documented by your site and others. What impresses us every year is the people who work there. We didn’t run into any employee who was not expert in their job. The housekeeping staff is exemplary, front desk and concierge service the ultimate in professionalism, and all of the many other staff members just amazingly outgoing and friendly.

My tip for this resort…the quiet pool. I know we are usually there during a slow time of the year, but at most there were 5-7 people in the quiet pool every time we were there, which was every day. A nice to place to cool down, relax and read a book after a day at the busy parks.

Melissa February 5, 2011 at 8:00 pm

We love Yacht Club! We have a tween age daughter that loves Storm ALong Bay but we find Beach Club too noisy and full of kids. For our family YC is the perfect solution. Rooms are beautiful. We have stayed the club level floor and love the private keyed elevator access and the club floor is actually quite small. Beautiful lounge. SMall number of rooms and the staff is ever so friendly. We have stayed at Boardwalk Inn Club level and loved it as well but YC Club Level is our new home away from home. We go back in a few months and can’t wait. We love it so much we are only going to the disney parks 1 day this trip and spending the remaining 6 days simply enjoying the pool, shopping and amenities this resort offers. It is wonderful!

Anna March 11, 2012 at 8:02 am

Does anyone know how many rooms are on the Club Level?

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