Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is a Deluxe Walt Disney World hotel. This review features room photos, thoughts on amenities, and pros & cons of staying to this hotel adjacent to Beach Club and within walking distance of Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (boats are also available to these parks). It is themed to a New England yachting club, and based on Disney’s descriptions it’s an elegant and refined hotel contrasting with its sister resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort.
The relationship between Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Disney’s Beach Club Resort has always been an interesting one. They share facilities and are located right next to one another, but are technically separate resorts. Unlike Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter, however, there is very little to distinguish them from one another, both in terms of distance and theme.
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.
As a result, there’s definitely a difference in atmosphere, especially if you stay at Yacht Club during a large convention. Beyond the more laid-back, family vibe of the Beach Club, the two resorts are similar in style. Both seem to exist as a result of former Disney CEO Michael Eisner’s obsession with his childhood days in New England and both resorts are variations on nautical themes. 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.
Although they are variations of the same idea, each do bring something unique to the table. In Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, this is evident as soon as you walk into the lobby. It feels, for lack of a better term, “stately.” With deep, masculine woods, dark colors, and even 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. Or maybe that’s just what it reminds me of.
Even today, you almost need to be a titan of industry to afford a stay here, as rates range from around $400 to over $600 per night, 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.
In fairness, few hotels anywhere are worth over $400/night for us, but everyone’s perception of ‘value’ differs, and Yacht Club may be well-worth the rack rates for you. The nearby Swan & Dolphin non-Disney hotels are usually significantly cheaper, but don’t offer all of the same perks. For more on what might be right for you, check out our comprehensive On-Site v. Off-Site Hotels at Walt Disney World article.
Let’s check out what the guest rooms offer. We’ll start with how they used to look when we originally published this review…
Our basic take on the old rooms was that they have plenty of color, but without appearing too dated (the wallpaper border and curtains are really the only offenders in our opinion). The carpet is nice, the fixtures are nice, and the bedding is nice.
Now here’s how the newly re-imagined rooms look:
These new rooms have been really divisive with Walt Disney World fans. We are big fans of the new look, but we’re probably in the minority on that, as many people have complained that they look drab and boring.
We can understand why people would think this–given the drab colors now versus the patriotic color explosion of the old rooms–but we would say the Yacht Club rooms are more thematically apt than before. 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. In our Inside the New Yacht Club Rooms Photo Tour, we share more thoughts and images of the new rooms.
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.
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 Storm-Along Bay. This is the crème de la crème of Walt Disney World pools. For those unfamiliar with Storm-Along 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 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.
Add to that the fact that you can start your day at Epcot and park hop to the Magic Kingdom via monorail, and you have three parks that can be reached without using buses. We loathe Walt Disney World bus transportation, so the number of parks we can visit without using a Disney bus is a big deal to us. Your mileage may vary on that!
The problem with bus transportation is actually exacerbated at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, and getting to Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom via bus is a real hassle. There is always at least some sort of shared bus service operating, but exactly how many buses share the service depends upon the season.
Quite often, the Crescent Lake resorts share buses to Magic Kingdom. While it’s now rare for a single bus to make five stops, 2-3 stops are possible if you stay at one of these resorts. When you consider the prices guests are paying to stay at a Walt Disney World resort hotel with “Deluxe” accommodations, this is ridiculous.
The fact that the Value Resort Pop Century has dedicated bus service makes our blood boil when it takes us an hour to get to a park via the bus system at the pricey Epcot-area resorts (although makes us happy when we pay the comparative bargain price to stay at Pop Century!).
If you do take a bus when all five resorts are on the same loop, regardless of which hotel you’re staying at, get off at the first stop and walk. Even if you walk incredibly slowly, this is the fastest option.
There are 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 Storm-Along Bay. It is the ultimate trump card that makes Disney’s Yacht Club and Beach Club Resorts stand out from the other Deluxes.
As is the case with all Walt Disney World on-site hotels, Yacht Club utilizes the MyMagic+ system, which means that guests receive MagicBands and can make FastPass+ reservations.
Overall, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is a solid option, in our opinion, for a Deluxe Resort stay at Walt Disney World. However, we are a bit torn on it. Those considering Yacht Club are probably also considering Beach Club (and maybe Disney’s BoardWalk Inn), and in that regard, we have a difficult time choosing which one we prefer. On the one hand, the overall ambiance and laid back feel of Beach Club screams “vacation” in a way that Yacht Club just doesn’t, and this ambiance really appeals to us. On the other hand, with its refined look, Yacht Club has managed to age better than Beach Club. This is evident both in the common areas and in the rooms, and while it’s not patently obvious, it’s something we have noticed. 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.
Do you agree with us that Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is one of the best Walt Disney World hotels? Do you think Storm-Along 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!