Following its latest refurbishment, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort has redesigned rooms, which are one component of a resort-wide re-imagining of this Walt Disney World hotel. In this post, we’ll review the new rooms, share some photos, and thoughts on the changes at Yacht Club.
While other changes are still underway throughout the resort, it’s worth noting that the room refurbishment at Yacht Club is now entirely finished. I suppose this is good or bad news depending upon your opinion of the new rooms. Either way, there’s no need to request an old or new room. They’re all new.
This was yet another stop on our recent Walt Disney World “vacation” during which we stayed in 6 different new or newly-refurbished rooms. Given that the room refurbishment coincides with a convention center expansion, I was not exactly optimistic about what we’d find at Yacht Club…
This is because the changes at Yacht Club are, in large part, aimed at making it more appealing to the convention-going demographic. Elsewhere at Walt Disney World where the goal has been making rooms more appealing to non-families or non-fans, the result has left something to be desired.
We’ve harped on this in the past, so I won’t rehash it all here. Basically, the more ‘mainstream’ Walt Disney World makes a hotel room, the less-themed the result. There have been some exceptions to this, and these room designs have been a bit hit or miss. At least, from my fan perspective. Conventioneers and others might (and do) disagree.
Anyway, let’s take a look at the old rooms before we offer further commentary:
Fairly bright and airy, albeit having a 1990s quality to them. Personally, I liked these rooms, but I wouldn’t say they fit well with the Yacht Club’s aesthetic in common areas, which is generally more stately and sophisticated.
Now, let’s take a look at the new rooms:
Perhaps it was because my expectations were low going in, but I loved this room. If anything, I would say it is more themed than before, with excellent use of navy blue and beige contrasted against white, which really looks sharp in the context. The color palette alone reinforces the nautical theme.
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.
Most notably, there are small rivets or other ship fastenings throughout, including on the dresser and other furniture. Then you have the headboards, mirror, and desk. Some of the nice features of the room now include a built-in ironing board, wood floors, abundance of storage (including under-the-bed room for luggage), and Keurig coffee makers.
The attention to detail in the new Yacht Club rooms is incredible, and all of it works to cement the theme. If your idea of a good Walt Disney World room includes an infusion of characters, you will be disappointed. Aside from a couple of them hidden in constellations on the curtain (a really cool curtain, by the way), the room is devoid of Disney IP. Fine with me, as I regularly stress that Disney characters are not “theme.” Really, the only thing I dislike is the framed pictures on the walls (too modern and ‘artsy’), but the rest works well.
One thing that I think most definitely was a mistake was not putting a runner on the bed. As mentioned in our Pop Century New Rooms post, I think the beds look naked without this, and it’s an industry-wide trend I hope stops. Imagine how much better this room could look with the simple addition of a runner that looks like the throw pillows on the couch.
During our visit, we spoke with a higher-level Cast Member at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort who indicated that they had solicited a lot of feedback, particularly from conventioneers, prior to making the updates to the room.
Generally speaking, this is not particularly noteworthy. Disney regularly prefaces whatever decision is being made with, “Due to feedback from our guests…” Often, it’s used as cover to justify decisions that are going to be unpopular with fans.
What’s interesting here is that the Cast Member was clear that this feedback was actively sought from convention attendees, as opposed to families or other demographics. Supposedly, Disney created multiple different test rooms to aid in the redesign, too.
While we absolutely love the new style, I can envision a couple of complaints. The new style is a bit dark and drab; I think this is appropriate, as that’s the visual style of the resort as a whole, and if you want to brighten it up, opening the curtains fixes that.
I think this will also lead to people finding the rooms stuffier or less inviting. The older rooms were no doubt lighter and had more of a quintessential ‘fun’ Disney vibe to them, but I still think these rooms are nicer and more appropriate thematically.
Moreover, I think most business and convention-going guests, these new rooms will be a very welcome improvement, even if they don’t win over some Disney fans. Among hardcore fans and repeat families, Yacht Club is not a particularly popular resort. Like any resort, it has its fans, but many people regard it as stuffy and less kid-friendly.
I don’t see these changes moving the needle one way or the other for families. On the other hand, I think the changes make Yacht Club much more compelling for conventioneers, adults without kids, and those looking for a room that’s more understated.
While I liked the old room at Yacht Club, it look was starting to feel a bit tired and some of the rooms were worse for wear. The changes are nice upgrades, and make it feel more commensurate in quality with the high nightly price being charged.
(Note: If you’re wondering why the sheets aren’t discolored, the furniture is not trashed, and there’s not feces spread over every inch of the walls, it’s because we were here before Yacht Club became a post-apocalyptic canine wasteland. Now that Yacht Club is dog-friendly, we can only assume it looks like a worse version of Parkside Hotel & Suites now. Walt is rolling in his grave. Smh.)
Beyond the room changes, the hallways and some common areas have also been refurbished and look great. Some areas of Yacht Club were looking a bit worse for wear, so these refurbishments are very welcome.
As noted, Walt Disney World is currently expanding the Yacht Club convention center facility to nearly 100,000 square feet. Speaking of which, this DisneyMeetings.com press release details the other upgrades being made to improve the convention experience at Yacht Club. (It’s also an interesting read to see how Walt Disney World markets itself to conventioneers, I think.)
The dining scene at Yacht Club is also in the process of changing. The Market at Ale & Compass has already opened, with the next steps being a re-imagined lobby lounge and new concept for the former Captain’s Grille, which will become Ale & Compass Restaurant. Too bad none of these changes entail a fully-fledged counter service restaurant or food court. (Yacht Club is admittedly not the best spot for that, but one of the Crescent Lake resorts could use one!)
Overall, the Yacht Club room refurbishment seems like one of those rare times a change has been made in a Walt Disney World hotel that will please both the fan and non-fan constituencies. Conventioneers will appreciate the modern and fresh-looking rooms that are well-appointed and classy. Disney fans who were likely to book Yacht Club before will appreciate that there’s still a lot to the themed design. I’m sure there are still legitimate quibbles to be made with these new rooms, but frankly, I didn’t spot anything that I’d consider even remotely major. From my perspective, this is a job exceptionally well done by Walt Disney World.
Do you agree or disagree with our take on the new Yacht Club rooms? Would you stay here, or is this resort off of your radar due to the refurbishment? 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!