Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is a deluxe resort in Walt Disney World. Inspired by New England-style architecture, the Yacht Club sits right along the lake. The resort shares many amenities (including the famed pool, Stormalong Bay) and is connected with Disney’s Beach Club. Both the Yacht and Beach Club, along with the Boardwalk Resort make up the Epcot Area Resorts, as they sit just outside of the park’s World Showcase entrance. The Yacht Club is a DVC Resort but also take guests who are not a part of DVC (like me). We recently stayed in a studio room here, this review will cover that experience.
I’d taken many trips to Walt Disney World without staying at the Yacht or Beach Club. One of my favorite unheralded things to do over the years is taking the boat from Epcot to Hollywood Studios, or vice versa. While on this short (and free!) cruise, the boat stops at different hotels. Along with the beautiful Boardwalk, my eyes would always drift to the large ship that seemed to pop out of the Beach and Yacht Clubs. When I realized that this large ship was home to a pool and, more specifically, water slide it was a matter of when, not if, I was going to stay here.
I may like water slides more than an adult should, but the more I read about the Yacht Club the more interested in the resort I became. Disney World’s greatest hotels are a bit like mini theme parks. They each have a theme, things to do and the best ones have a headliner attraction. The Contemporary’s headliner, for example, is the monorail soaring through A-frame. Animal Kingdom Lodge has a savannah outside the backdoor. All Star Sports has groups of raging cheerleaders and youth football players sprinting around the common areas yelling. Kidding about that last one, sort of. The Yacht and Beach Club have a more stereotypical hotel headliner – the pool.
I won’t bury my opinion any further. Staying at the Yacht or Beach Club probably isn’t a wise choice unless there are is at least an hour or two set aside for Stormalong Bay. The large caveat here is that if you have a trip centered around Epcot then this is also a great place to stay but more on that in a minute. The Yacht Club has a nice enough theme. The lobby is on the smaller side relative to other deluxe resorts. The restaurants get solid reviews.
But there is nothing that will blow you away aside from that pool. Stormalong Bay has the aforementioned water slide that is the longest of any WDW resort pool. The pool’s floor is sand, which is one of those things that I didn’t know I loved until I experienced it. There is a lazy river that is surprisingly deep and relaxing. There’s several large areas for toddlers to splash around in. Along with all of those features is just a sprawling complex that is beautiful to swim around.
Stormalong Bay is everything that it is cracked up to be and if you are looking for a resort day in the middle of your Walt Disney World vacation, there is no better place to spend it in.
Since we started with an amenity instead of the room I’ll finish up with those. The Yacht Club features another quiet pool that is just a standard hotel pool. While it’s nice enough there is no reason to go here unless… I thought I had a reason but there actually isn’t one. Stormalong Bay is large enough that the pool doesn’t even feel very crowded compared to the quiet pool.
The Yacht Club also sits across the walkway from a beach that looks out on to the Boardwalk. Pulling up a chair at night with your sweetheart is a relaxing way to spend an evening. If timed right, guests could watch part of Illuminations from that beach although it doesn’t compare to seeing it in the park.
There’s an arcade in the hotel that was pretty run of the mill. Speaking of run of the mill, the counter-service location in the Yacht Club is more of a grab and go spot then an actual restaurant or food court. The hotel does feature the highly regarded and expensive Yachtsman Steakhouse and is also home to the Crew’s Cup Lounge, which Melissa and I love. The Beach Club houses a few other restaurants, including the famous Beaches and Cream Soda Shop. All in all, the dining at the Yacht Club is pretty good but could use a solid counter-service option. Taking into account the proximity of the Boardwalk and Epcot, I don’t think guests will be disappointed with food options.
All in all, the amenities aside from Stormalong Bay are good but not great. If you’re looking for an all around resort experience there are probably better options, especially once you factor in the theme. But if you like pools then this jumps up the rankings.
Last of all, before I get to the room, the Yacht Club’s proximity to Epcot is fantastic. Without looking it up, this is the closest hotel to a theme park entrance on property (although the Beach Club is technically closer but I’m counting these resorts as one in the same). Bay Lake Tower’s proximity to Magic Kingdom is the only thing that rivals the Yacht and Beach Club (and the Boardwalk) as the walk to Epcot is five minutes at most. If going on a trip that will include lots of Epcot time, this resort is a great option. We stayed here the night before Food & Wine Festival started and greatly enjoyed the convenience of the location.
On to the rooms! We stayed in a studio room with two queen beds. The couch did pull out if you wanted to fit another person in here. With deep navy and a rich wood tone, the room had a very clean look. While there wasn’t much personality throughout, I liked the overall tone.
Here’s the bathroom, which looks like most hotel bathrooms only slightly nicer. I did like the shower design.
Each room had a deck and ours looked out onto the quiet pool. They were well blocked off from other guests felt secluded enough for a pleasant sit on the porch.
Here’s a closer look at the couch and the artwork in the room. All in all, the room used its space well and felt fairly open for being a studio room. While the theme is far from exciting, the rich tones and sharp lines appealed to me. This was a very nice hotel room although I prefer my Disney hotel rooms to have a little more character.
As far as value goes, you can find rooms at the Yacht Club starting at $250/night. During peak seasons, those prices will shoot up. Room-only discounts or Annual Pass discounts help significantly with the price. While we aren’t big spenders, I’m certainly glad that we tried out the Yacht Club. Spending an hour in the pool after dark was one of my favorite memories of the whole trip and made staying there worth it. Perhaps a split stay can make this place more affordable for some? That is what we did to make staying here a reality.
In itself, the Yacht Club is a beautiful resort. Once the elaborate and amazing pool plus the proximity to Epcot is factored in, this becomes one of my favorite places to stay in Walt Disney World. While the theme is lacking compared to some other deluxe resorts, I would still highly recommend staying here even if it’s just a night or two. A day in Epcot combined with a few trips back to the pool make for a great Walt Disney World day.
Overall Rating – 9.5/10
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Categories: Hotel Reviews