Yacht Club Resort is a luxury hotel at Walt Disney World within walking and boat distance of Epcot and Hollywood Studios. This Deluxe Resort review features reimagined room photos, pool info, restaurant details, transportation benefits, other amenities, and pros & cons of these accommodations. (Updated August 21, 2020.)
During Walt Disney World’s phased reopening, Yacht Club Resort will be the first Crescent Lake area hotel to reopen. In fact, it’s nearby counterparts–Beach Club and BoardWalk Inn–don’t even have reopening dates set and may not reopen until sometime in 2021. (However, the Disney Vacation Club wings of each are already operating.)
After being one of the host resorts for the NBA’s bubble site, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort will reopen on August 24, 2020. When it does, some restaurants (including two favorites, Yachtsman Steakhouse and Crew’s Cup Lounge) will not reopen right away. Fortunately, most of the hotel will be operational, including Ale & Compass Restaurant and the Stormalong Bay pool complex. For a look at what’ll be different, see our Photos & Review of Walt Disney World Hotel Health Safety Modifications.
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is themed to a New England yachting club. It’s an elegant and refined hotel contrasting with its more airy and lighthearted sister resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort. The relationship between Yacht and Beach Club Resorts is an interesting one. They share facilities and are located next to one another, and are basically one giant resort complex.
However, despite their numerous similarities and shared features, Yacht & Beach Club are technically separate hotels. On the outside, the main noticeable differences for most guests will simply be color choices: Beach Club is light blue and Yacht Club is grey. It’s also abundantly clear when stepping into each lobby.
Yacht Club feels stately. With deep, masculine woods, dark colors, leather furniture, and an antique-looking globe, it reminds you of someplace that you’d imagine senators and titans of industry might have puffed on cigars and made power plays in the early 1900s.
By contrast, Beach Club is geared towards party-people who shout “I’M ON A BOAT!” from the bow of a ship. Okay, maybe not to those extremes, but the idea is that Yacht Club feels a bit more stuffy and refined in terms of theming, whereas Beach Club feels more relaxed and lighthearted.
Most people informally lump them together as one resort: Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club and overlook the thematic differences. We think this is a mistake. As we discuss in our Yacht Club v. Beach Club comparison, the differences in atmosphere are fairly pronounced, and this is likely driven in part by Yacht Club being one of Walt Disney World’s main convention hotels.
Let’s check out what the guest rooms offer…
These new rooms have been really divisive with Walt Disney World fans. Unpopular opinion, but we are big fans of the new look. Many fans have complained that they look drab and boring, but these are pretty consistent with the common areas of Yacht Club and there are a ton of subtle details and thematic touches.
We can understand why some people don’t like the new rooms given the colors now versus the patriotic color explosion of the old rooms (the old style was more cheery and lighthearted, but also off kilter with the resort’s otherwise stately appearance). The new Yacht Club rooms use of navy blue and beige contrasted against white, is really sharp in the context.
Beyond that, there’s an extensive use of dark woods, which really give the room an air of sophistication. It reminded me of the interior of a Brooks Brothers, oddly enough.
There’s also a variety of textures, the extent of which might be tough to ascertain from the photos. Our New Yacht Club Rooms Photo Tour shares more thoughts and images of the new rooms (including a different room style with a couch).
Much like BoardWalk Inn, Yacht Club is also great for the dashes of Disney presented in a restrained manner. The only Disney characters in the entire room appear in star constellations hidden on the curtain.
There are numerous other thematic flourishes reinforcing the nautical style, but many people want something overtly Disney in their hotel room. If that’s what you’re looking for, Yacht Club is not the resort for you.
The restrooms are divided, with double sinks outside of the shower and toilet area. Pretty standard–no complaints or praise here.
In terms of amenities, there is a nice benefit in their proximity of the Crescent Lake resorts to one another: better and more amenities as a result of sharing.
Between the Yacht Club and Beach Club, there are some seriously excellent dining options, including Beaches & Cream, Cape May Cafe, and Yachtsman Steakhouse, putting them, collectively, right up there with the best of the Deluxes in terms of quality restaurants.
We’ve also slowly become big fans of Ale & Compass Restaurant, which is a newer addition to Yacht Club. This is home to the Best Value Breakfast at Walt Disney World, and we highly recommend it.
Add to that the nearby Swan & Dolphin Resorts and Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, none of which technically share amenities but are so close that they might as well, and you have more high-quality restaurants within walking distance when staying at any of these resorts than at any other Walt Disney World hotel.
If dining is going to be a highlight of a trip, staying at one of the Crescent Lake resorts is the best option as there are numerous excellent dining options all within walking distance. This is especially true during Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, when you can graze and drink in World Showcase and then stumble back to your hotel!
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort has a ton of amenities, but it’s biggest selling point is Stormalong Bay. This is the crème de la crème of Walt Disney World pools. For those unfamiliar with Stormalong Bay, it is a sprawling 3 acre pool complex with sand at the bottom. That’s right, it’s a hotel pool with sand at the bottom!
Not only that, but it also has a lazy river, an excellent ‘shipwrecked’ water slide, tons of places for lounging, and an excellent poolside bar. While many Walt Disney World resort hotels now no longer allow “pool hopping,” this was the first that introduced the concept, and the pool that most vigorously enforces the no-hopping rule. The excellence of this pool really cannot be understated. It’s basically a mini water park. (For everything you need to know about Stormalong Bay and its policies, see our Guide to Pools at Walt Disney World: Rules, Info & FAQ.)
The close proximity to both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (we consider both walking distance, but most guests opt to take a boat to Disney’s Hollywood Studios instead of the 15 minute walking path–even if the path is usually faster) is another huge benefit. Boat service is also available to both parks, and it’s a certifiable fact that boat transportation at Walt Disney World is awesome.
Additionally, there’s now a Skyliner station at Epcot’s International Gateway, which means guests staying at Yacht Club can walk there and take the gondolas to Hollywood Studios, Caribbean Beach, Pop Century, Art of Animation, and Riviera Resorts. That can be useful in opening up other dining options. (Plus, the Skyliner is just plain fun.)
On the other hand, bus transportation is decidedly un-fun. Getting to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom via bus can be a hassle. There’s always some sort of shared bus service operating, but exactly how many buses share the service depends upon the season.
When you consider the prices guests are paying to stay at a Walt Disney World resort hotel with “Deluxe” accommodations, it’s ridiculous that the buses make stops at multiple resorts. It’s frustrating that Pop Century, a budget hotel, has dedicated and efficient bus service but it can take an hour to get to Magic Kingdom via buses from the pricey Epcot-area resorts. (Although makes us happy when we pay the comparative bargain price to stay at Pop Century!)
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort offers other amenities, including a health club, volleyball court, arcade, marina, business center, babysitting, tennis courts, and other recreational facilities, but none of these measure up to Stormalong Bay. This pool complex is the ultimate trump card that makes Disney’s Yacht Club and Beach Club Resorts stand out from the other Deluxes.
All of this comes at a cost, as rates at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort start at around $400 per night and go up from there depending upon the season and room category. This puts it among Walt Disney World’s most expensive hotels, but still not as expensive as the Magic Kingdom area hotels. While we love the Yacht Club, we would not stay here without a 30% off room-only Walt Disney World resort discount or the Free Disney Dining Plan promotion.
Overall, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is a solid option for a Deluxe Resort stay at Walt Disney World. The pool is great, the restaurants are solid, and location is great for visiting Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Yacht Club is especially appealing if you’re a New Englander from Nantucket who wears an ascot aboard your vessels.
Joking aside, Yacht Club’s theme is a bit more taste-specific and adult. Those considering Yacht Club are probably also considering Beach Club. For us, the overall ambiance and laid back vibe of Beach Club screams “vacation” in a way that Yacht Club just doesn’t, and this ambiance appeals to us. Still, both resorts are great options–two of our favorites at Walt Disney World–and whether you should choose Beach Club or Yacht Club if considering the two should really only be a question of whether you prefer the elegant nautical look or the relaxed beach look.
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Do you agree with us that Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is one of the best Walt Disney World hotels? Do you think Stormalong Bay lives up to the hype? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!