#31: Disney’s Yacht Club

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The Main Entrance, pulling up may be the only time you see the front. You'll spend most of your time behind the resort, facing Disney's Boardwalk and Crescent Lake
The Main Entrance, pulling up may be the only time you see the front.

Welcome back to Sam’s Disney Diary, Episode #31, a look at another one of my favorite Walt Disney World Resorts…Disney’s Yacht Club!!! For all of my latest blogs, be sure to visit www.samsdisneydiary.com, follow me on twitter @samsdisneydiary, like the show on Facebook at facebook.com/samsdisneydiary, and for all of my videos, including my trips into the WDW Fan Zone subscribe to my Youtube channel www.youtube.com/samsdisneydiary.

I did my best to capture the feel of Disney’s Yacht Club in my latest video.  The Blog continues with more details below the video.

From Disney’s Website:
“Delight in the formal grace of a grand New England-style yacht club at this lakeside hotel. Relax in the inviting elegance of a plush lobby replete with nautical touches, explore the whimsical Stormalong Bay and rent a variety of watercraft from Bayside Marina. Sharing many amenities with its pastel-toned sister, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is walking distance to Epcot and a convenient boat ride to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.“

Yacht Club at Night
Yacht Club at Night

Of course, I’m talking about Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, summarized in three words… Location, Location, Location!!! Located in the “Epcot Resort Area” along with the Swan and Dolphin and Disney’s Boardwalk, the Yacht Club shares many amenities with Disney’s Beach Club. You’ll typically hear them referred to collectively as the Yacht and Beach Club, but they are separate resorts. With separate registration desks and restaurants, they are designed to complement each other as only Disney can. The Yacht Club shares the waterway, Crescent Lake (connecting Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios), thus putting you right in the middle of the action. It’s a short walk to Epcot and a quick boat ride to Hollywood Studios. Location isn’t the only asset: Yachtsman Steakhouse, Stormalong Bay, Bayside Marina, and Beaches and Cream!!! Now

The sand bottom feature pool at stormalong bay. Kids Meals are served in the green buckets. Lots available for use.
The sand bottom feature pool at stormalong bay. Kids Meals are served in the green buckets. Lots available for use.

we’re talking!!! But before we get to the goodies, let’s talk first impressions. The Yacht Club, like all of the Epcot Area Resorts is considered a Deluxe Resort. (The Swan and Dolphin treated differently, as they are the only non-Disney resorts on property (Managed and operated by Starwood – Think Sheraton/Westin). When you arrive, you’ll be greeted as you enter the lobby. If you pre-registered, your check-in process will be expedited…think check-in Fast Pass. A must if you’re staying at any Disney resort.

The lobby itself transports you to the turn of the century summer seaside of late 1800s New England. The Yacht Club architecture is inspired by the seaside mansions of New Port and Bay Head. The lobby and room décor are laced with a nautical theme with dark oak floors and lots of sitting areas. Of course, you’ll find a spot for the kids to watch a Mickey short, and don’t forget to check out that globe. Did you spot the hidden Mickey?

The Yacht and Beach club share many amenities, looking at a map you can see that the main buildings are mirrors of each other, with complementary themes and shared services. The biggest difference? Yacht Club has a Conference Center while Beach Club features the Beach Club Vilias (a DVC Properity)
The Yacht and Beach club share many amenities; including the main building

Looking at a map, the Yacht Club and Beach Club share the same main building, almost a mirror of each other. The biggest difference being the Yacht Club has a convention center, while the Beach Club includes the Beach Club Villas, a DVC (Disney Vacation Club) property. The building provides a central location between both the Yacht and Beach Clubs, making it easy to access the amenities at either location.

The average room is about 380 sq. ft. and most can accommodate 5 people with two queen beds and a day bed. The day bed is fine for a small child, but not very comfortable for a teenager, leading to some arguments

Standard Room. Two Queen Beds and a trundle.
Standard Room. Two Queen Beds and a trundle.

over who was going to use it…nothing a long day in the parks couldn’t fix. There are a variety of room types and options include suites and a club level. Our room was a standard room, ground level facing the marina, great location, very quiet. A water view near Stormalong Bay could be a little noisy during the day. The nautical theme continues into your room, extending the look and feel of the turn of the century seaside yacht club.

If you’re like us, the room is just a place to sleep and not why we are at the Yacht Club. Activities include: a 24 hour playground, The Lafferty Place Arcade, volleyball, tennis, fishing, jogging, bike & boat rentals, “Movies under the Stars”, the nearby Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf, a Pirate Adventure Cruise for kids aged 4 -12,

Stormalong Bay
Stormalong Bay

Sandcastle Club for kids up to 9, 3 quiet pools, and of course… Stormalong Bay– 750,000 gallons of water covering over 3 acres!! The main pool features a sand bottom, and the life size shipwreck hides one of the highest hotel water slides at Walt Disney World plus an elevated tanning deck and 3 whirlpools, and did I mention… a lazy river that reaches over 6 feet deep!!!

All of that within a quick walk to Epcot!!! You could easily work up an appetite and head to your favorite country… or stick right at the Yacht Club. Hurricane Hanna’s Grill offers counter service right at Stormalong Bay, Beaches and Cream Soda Shop ( No Way Jose!), and what many consider the best steak on property at the Yachtsman Steakhouse (The only restaurant on property with an on-site butcher and dry aged specialties). Where do I start??!!!

New day, New Sandcastle
New day, New Sandcastle

Stormalong Bay, an exclusive water recreation center for guests of the Yacht and Beach Club, I stop short of calling it a water park as it only has one slide, but it is a perfect escape from a long day in any park. Easily the most popular resort pool, you will need to show a room key to get a wristband for access. The wristband must be worn while you are in the pool, making it the most guarded resort pool on property. With one of the tallest resort water slides on property, a lazy river and a sand bottom feature pool, the popularity is well deserved. The lazy river is up to 7 feet deep; that’s good, and that’s bad. It’s good if

Stormalong Bay
Stormalong Bay

you are a swimmer, but not so good for little ones who aren’t strong swimmers. There are life vests near the entrance, so be sure to grab one for the kids. The vests can also be used on the water slides. The water slide is a little walk from the pool across the main walk way and onto the ship wreck. The base of the shipwreck is the kids’ slide; you walk past it for the feature slide. The sand bottom feature pool is a great way to spend an afternoon; kids will love building a sand castle or just playing in the sand. It’s not real sand, but it acts like sand and can be molded into castles and sculptures. The island in the middle of the pool offers a great location to just play. The poolside kids’ meals come in a plastic bucket, perfect for immediate use in the pool. In addition to Stormalong Bay, there is also a quiet pool situated in a private garden.

Hurricane Hanna's Waterside Bar & Grill
Hurricane Hanna’s Waterside Bar & Grill

Hurricane Hanna’s Poolside Bar and Grill offers a wide selection of signature cocktails and frozen drinks and the always popular “Hurricane Reef Caribbean Pilsner”. The grill offers the basic selection of burgers and bar food, and you’ll also find the kids meals served in a bucket. You can sit near the bar or have a server bring your items to you.

A Kitchen Sink under construction... Right before the "Whole Can of Whipped Cream"
A Kitchen Sink under construction… Right before the “Whole Can of Whipped Cream”

Nearby, you’ll find the Lafferty Place Arcade and Beaches and Cream. The arcade offers a wide selection of the latest video games and price redemption games. Typically we visit the arcade while we wait for a table at nearby Beaches and Cream. Beaches and Cream Soda Shop is a destination in itself. Featuring both counter service and sit down accommodations, Beaches & Cream is a nostalgic look at Atlantic seashore style ice cream shops. I’ve been told Beaches & Cream offers the best burgers on property. I’ve been there many times, and every time end up with dessert 😉 My favorites: If it’s a small group, or just

Beaches & Cream: The Kitchen Sink!!!
Beaches & Cream: The Kitchen Sink!!!

me, a No Way Jose! Chocolate and Vanilla Ice Cream, Peanut Butter and Hot Fudge topped with whipped cream chocolate and peanut butter chips and a cherry!! WOW! If I’m with a group, then it’s a Kitchen Sink!! Served in a “kitchen sink”, it features 8 scoops of ice cream and every topping in the house! What’s in a Kitchen Sink? Disney Parks Blog recently posted the ingredients here, What’s not in it? Love the ½ cup of drained maraschino

Beaches & Cream: No Way Jose!!
Beaches & Cream: No Way Jose!!

cherries on top!! The downside, Beaches & Cream is SMALL!! They have a takeout window, but you can’t get the signature items to go, only dishes/cones and sundaes. No “No Way Jose” or “Kitchen Sink” to go. The wait can get long, especially if you’re trying to grab a Kitchen Sink after Illuminations. You’re much better off skipping out of Epcot during the day. Your entire party will need to be present to get a seat. The arcade is right next door, and the pagers work in the arcade. It’s worth the wait, just plan accordingly. You could spend an evening with a dish of ice cream then catch a Movie under the Stars and camp fire on the beach near the shipwreck. Check the activity schedule for movie listings and other poolside activities.

Bay Side Marina, features boat and Bicycle rentals. This is also the start of the Pirate Adventure Cruise and Illuminationis Fireworks Cruise.
Bay Side Marina, features boat and Bicycle rentals. This is also the start of the Pirate Adventure Cruise and Illuminationis Fireworks Cruise.

Over at Bayside Marina, you can rent a bike or motorized boat. From a two person Sea Raycer to a 6 person Boston Whaler, you’ll have access to Crescent Lake. Crescent Lake connects Epcot to Hollywood Studios so there’s lots of area to explore. Bayside Marina is also where kids 4-12 can start the Pirate Adventure Cruise, and where you can charter an Illuminations Fireworks Cruise. Ever watch the fireworks from under the bridge between United Kingdom and France?

All this fun is making me hungry. The Captains Grill offers a variety of American seafood classics in a traditional New England yacht club setting. Captains Grill is open for

Yachtsman Steakhouse: Best Steakhouse on Property! Featuring the only Butcher on Property, steaks are aged at least 7 days.
Yachtsman Steakhouse: Best Steakhouse on Property! Featuring the only Butcher on Property, steaks are aged at least 7 days.

breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dinner includes New England style seafood and steaks; but, if you’re looking for a steak, you need to visit the Yachtsman Steakhouse. This signature dining experience is highlighted with the only on-site butcher on Disney property. Steaks are dry aged and are incredible!!! It is a signature experience which means there is a dress code, and it’s more expensive than other options. They do have a kids’ menu or you may consider the Sand Castle Club, keeping the kids entertained for a few hours while mom and dad enjoy a wonderful steak. Of all the steakhouses on property, Le Cellier in Canada and Shula’s in the Dolphin, Yachtsman is my favorite.

Bottom Line: You really can’t go wrong with an Epcot Area

Beaches & Cream: Kids Mickey Mouse
Beaches & Cream: Kids Mickey Mouse

Resort. Spend the day at Epcot, leave via the International Gateway and be minutes from your room. Yacht Club offers access to Stormalong Bay and a boat stop that’s central to both Epcot and Studios (you should consider walking to Epcot). They are all deluxe resorts, the top tier from a pricing point of view. If you can afford it, go for it. If not, there are many other options including Port Orleans Riverside, offering activities you don’t usually find in a moderate price resort. I reviewed Port Orleans Riverside a few episodes ago here: SamsDisneyDiary Episode #28 – Port Orleans Riverside: Losing
yourself on a trip down the Mississippi Bayou, right in Walt Disney World

For all of my latest blogs, be sure to visit http://www.samsdisneydiary.com, follow me on twitter @samsdisneydiary, like the show on Facebook at facebook.com/samsdisneydiary and for all of my videos, including my trips into the WDW Fan Zone subscribe to my YouTube channel www.youtube.com/samsdisneydiary.

Lots of Pictures from my trip to Disney’s Yacht Club Below! Thanks for reading, tell a friend!!

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