We stayed at the Yacht Club for our birthday/anniversary trip earlier this month and I’m excited to write a review of one of my favorite hotels! However, as much as I enjoy this resort there are definitely ways to do it better so I’ll let you in on some ideas for making the absolute most of your time and money at this Deluxe Disney resort!
So there are three parts to this review. First, just my general impression of the resort, rooms, and amenities. Second, our thoughts on the Beach or Yacht debate. And finally, my top 3 tips for making the most of your stay! Enjoy!
Disney’s Yacht Club is a Deluxe tier resort in the Epcot resort area. It’s sister resort is the Beach Club and the two are usually lumped together. The resorts share all amenities and follow similar themes but each has a very distinct feel. The buildings are even color coded! Generally, we think of the Beach Club as the more family oriented side because it is more whimsical, casual feeling, and brightly colored both inside and out. The Yacht Club, as the name suggests, tends to be more stately with high end nautical touches everywhere and a darker color palette which sometimes gives it a more serious feel. This and the Yacht Club Conference Center together tend to give the resort a more adult feel.
The resort is in the process of being upgraded, we were happy at the idea of staying in one of the new rooms though but it was a SHOCK walking in. Like all other Deluxe tier hotels, it was a fantastic room, but we didn’t actually love it. The bed was SUPER comfy, really, puts my bed at home to shame level comfy. The amenities were great, the room was tastefully decorated and spacious. The new beds also allowed for under-bed suitcase storage which was fantastic. In rooms with a King Bed you do not get a couch, just a chair seating area but in rooms with two queens you do also get the couch. However, while this redesign followed the recent trend of sort of “toning down” the Mickey, we strongly felt it went too far and there was a significant lack of “Disney Magic” in the room. We did really appreciate how incredible the curtains were (seriously, check these out!). But that seemed to be the only bit of Disney in the room. There was nothing wrong and in a major city this would have been a gorgeous and unique room. However, we just didn’t feel like this was Disney, there were no hidden mickeys, no Disney inspired art, nothing. We stay on property for the “Disney Magic” feel and we just didn’t get it in this room. We also didn’t like some of the specific design choices like hardwood floors without even an area carpet and only a stand up shower with no bath tub (it was a fantastic shower and the overall aesthetic was luxurious but not family friendly and definitely not cozy or inviting). It was disappointing and I hope the next refurbishment brings that magic back.
Of course a review of this hotel has to talk about the amenities. The resort common areas are absolutely beautiful. The enormous wrap around porch style walkway between the resort building and the pool, the gazebo, the boardwalk benches, there is no shortage of absolutely gorgeous places to sit and relax at this resort! The pool is, of course, legendary. We don’t do much swimming on our stays but we really enjoyed just sitting out by the pool with the atmosphere, it was fun but still relaxing. We do have to say we love this slide too (not as much as we love the Poly slide). It can be a bit crowded out by the pool and there is a LOT of towel-claiming a bunch of chairs so it can be hard to find a spot but we’ve always found one eventually haha! Overall this is one of our favorite places on property to bring a book or even our work and just sit and enjoy.
Finally we have to mention the location. It’s incredible. Especially during Epcot festivals, this is a truly great place to stay because you can so easily just walk over to Epcot or even Hollywood Studios. From the Yacht Club, Epcot is probably a 10 minute walk, Hollywood Studios maybe 15. We really enjoy the ease of not needing to think about transportation. There is boat service to both hotels but we pretty much always beat the boat considering time waiting for it, loading/unloading, and the stops the boat needs to make. If you’re planning lots of Epcot/ HS time this location is really worth it.
The Eternal Question: Yacht or Beach?
Since both resorts share the remarkable pool and other fantastic amenities, we think it depends a lot on what exactly matters most to you. The Yacht Club is usually $30-$50 cheaper per night so if you’re budget conscious that might be enough of a deciding factor. However, the more serious tone of the Yacht Club may not be what you’re looking for in your trip in which case the lighter atmosphere of the Beach Club would be the right choice. Yacht Club, on the other hand, generally tends to have the best views, we’ll talk more about that next but if spending time relaxing in your room is important we vote Yacht Club. The Beach Club is a few minutes walking time closer to Epcot so if you plan on spending a lot of time there that might be a better call but the Yacht Club is closer to both the walkway to Hollywood Studios and the boat stop to HS as well. So in conclusion… we love both resorts and both have advantages, for us when we tend to stay at the Yacht Club more for the room perks but then hang around the Beach Club lobby and common areas because we like the feel of those more. It really depends on how you vacation though!
Tip 1: Hello Upgrade!
So those views we mentioned? Here’s our number 1 tip for the Yacht Club resort. Get the room upgrade. Seriously, we actually had some issues on our most recent stay because the standard views are, to be blunt, atrocious. Paying $350+ a night to look out on a semi-dirty rooftop or in the best case scenario parking lot? It’s just not worth that money to us. Our feeling is if you’re already paying a very significant sum for such an expensive room, it’s worth (comparatively) a bit more to get a good view. And let me tell you, the views you get at the Water View level at Yacht Club are STUNNING. No really, they are probably some of the most beautiful views absolutely anywhere in Disney. You look out on the Boardwalk, the lake, we even watched Illuminations from our balcony! Trust me, this is an upgrade worth getting and to be honest, in my opinion it’s not even worth staying at the Yacht Club unless you’re upgrading. The way I think about it, you’re already crossing a price threshold, it’s a LOT of money, and nice as the amenities and location are, it’s just not worth it without the view.
Tip 2: Down Time
That brings me to tip number 2. Stay at the Yacht Club on trips where you plan more resort time and less park time. Trips when you want to spend sun up to sun down and then the night too out in the parks or Disney Springs are, for me, just not the time to drop this much money on a hotel room. We only stay at Deluxe resorts when we want to have a more laid back, enjoying the hotel trip. This is especially true of the Yacht Club. Since we only stay with the room upgrade of course we want to spend time enjoying that upgrade and since it has, by most accounts, the best Disney pool, we also want to spend time enjoying that!
Tip 3: Explore!
One of the perks of staying at the Yacht Club is not only the Yacht Club itself but also the Beach Club and the hotel’s proximity to Epcot, HS, and the Boardwalk. There are some fabulous, relaxing, fun nooks around the hotel as well as great hotel activities, nightly movies, a beach volleyball court, gardens and so much more. Dining at the resort, like Beaches and Cream and Cape May Cafe, are so fun and delicious, and a few minutes walk away you have the Boardwalk which is just such a fun place to wander and enjoy. (We loved watching the fireworks then walking over to Ample Hills for late night ice cream). We also love the sunroom over at the Beach Club side, it has plenty of light and seating, it’s one of our go to recharge (both us and our devices) spots in the Epcot area and the Crew Cup Lounge next to Yachtsman is so fun too! Take some time to go beyond the usual Disney vacation staples like swimming or park hopping to take advantage of all the other great places and experiences at and around this hotel!
I love this hotel, I do, but we almost never stay here. It’s great for special occasions when you can really empty your wallet, we stayed on our Honeymoon and it was fantastic. However, we rarely find it’s worth the money. During Food and Wine festival or Flower Garden it becomes a much bigger contender but generally if we’re shelling out the big bucks for a hotel room, we gravitate towards the Grand or renting DVC points. We always spend time on every single trip hanging out at this resort either in the lobby, enjoying the rocking chairs, or other public areas but unless it’s truly an Epcot heavy trip it doesn’t tend to be worth the money to us. Even when we are doing Epcot heavy trips, we really usually prefer doing DVC points at the Beach Club Villas (which we prefer to Boardwalk villas but that’s another post).
What do you think?
Do you love the Yacht Club? What parts of it do you enjoy? Do you think it’s worth the price tag?