Guest Post by Leigh Caldwell of ThemeParkMom.
New Englanders may experience a sense of déjà vu upon checking into Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. After a long flight (or waayyyy longer drive), you arrive at the gates of your hotel at Mickey’s house and it’s a … Martha’s Vineyard seaside home! In Florida! At Walt Disney World!
Once you get over the initial feeling that the Yacht Club may be out of place, though, you start to notice just how well Disney has replicated the “summer in New England” feel. This luxury hotel was designed by architect Robert A.M. Stern, who is best known for – you guessed it – East Coast seaside homes.
The spacious lobby is your first experience with the hotel’s nautical theme, with wooden floors, lots of brass fixtures and staff members in navy blue blazers. The whole thing has such a relaxing feel that I think I let out an audible sigh or two at the front desk.
The Guest Rooms at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
That nautical theme carries through to the guest rooms, which have nautical themed bedding and fixtures. A mirror with a carved “rope” border is finished at the top with a sailor’s knot in the shape of Mickey’s famous ears.
Rooms at Disney’s Yacht Club are equipped with dorm-size refrigerators, desks and lots of drawer space. Disney clearly thought through the idea that a family of four might need to unpack a week’s worth of clothes in a guest room.
I was particularly impressed with the double sinks and mirror area of the guest rooms. Double sinks are wonderful for families trying to get up and out early to go to the Walt Disney World theme parks.
One of my biggest complaints with hotels in general is the precious little space allotted to spread out your makeup and other necessities on hotel bathroom vanities, but that’s not the case here. There is a wide ledge and shelves under the sinks to store toiletries.
Of course, there are 34 resort hotels at Walt Disney World. Why choose a stay at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort?
In my opinion, there are two major things that distinguish the Yacht Club from other resorts on Disney property.
Location, Location, Location
First, is the hotel’s location. The Yacht Club and its siamese twin, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, sit on the shores of Crescent Lake. That means EPCOT’s International Gateway Entrance – the one nearest the “World Showcase” area of the theme park – is just a walk or short boat ride away. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is also accessible by boat, and Disney’s Boardwalk, with restaurants, carnival games and nightclubs, is directly across the lake, just a short walk or boat ride away.
Buses will take you to other Walt Disney World recreation areas, but this proximity to two of Disney’s theme parks and the many choices for food outside of the park at the Boardwalk make Disney’s Yacht Club one of the most convenient places to stay at Walt Disney World.
Taking A Dip
But the best part of this hotel? The pool. Well, it’s more than a pool, really. Stormalong Bay has three lagoon areas, including one for younger kids. There’s a life-sized shipwreck there, with water slides built into it. The bottom of the pool is covered in sand, which makes it completely unique in my book. I’ve never seen anything like it.
There is a full slate of activities planned each day at Stormalong Bay, including sand-castle building contests, dance parties, karaoke and kid’s crafts. On the “beach” built on the shore of Crescent Lake, there is a campfire every night, followed by a movie shown on a large, outdoor screen. If you choose to stay at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort on your next Walt Disney World vacation, be sure to schedule a day to stay at the resort and play in this amazing recreation area.
The biggest drawback I saw at the Yacht Club is one that carries through nearly every Walt Disney World hotel: These places are sprawling, and that means there could be a lot of walking between your room and the lobby. Be sure to look for alternate paths. While I had to snake through four hallways to get to my room from the hotel lobby, my walk was significantly shorter when I went down the nearest stairwell and cut across the pool area to get there.
The Yacht Club hotel is considered a “deluxe resort” at Walt Disney World. It offers a health club, spa and restaurant choices from a quick bite to a formal steakhouse. Prices start at $335 per night.