The Yacht & Beach Club are two separate resorts with distinctively different motifs. Yet, it’s difficult to speak of one without mentioning the other. Much of this has to do with the fact that both hotels are housed within one large building and many of the facilities are shared between the two.
The Yacht & Beach Club resort was designed by Robert A.M. Stern of New York and was built during Michael Eisner’s tenure as CEO. The Yacht Club opened on November 5, 1990 and the Beach Club opened a couple of weeks later on November 19th. The Yacht & Beach Club are considered deluxe resorts.
A casual visitor might not notice the theming differences between the two resorts, but they are clearly evident if you take the time to look. The Yacht Club (painted gray with white trim) has a formal ambiance and was inspired by resorts that might have been found on Martha’s Vineyard during the early 20th century. The Beach Club (painted blue with white trim) is far more playful in style and was inspired by cottages found in Newport Beach. I’m embarrassed to admit, it took me several years before I noticed that the Beach Club sits on a sandy beach while the Yacht Club has a marina. Duh.
I’m going to start this article discussing the Yacht Club.
If you arrive during the morning or afternoon hours, you will be greeted by a cast member decked out in nautical attire. He looks like he just might skipper a yacht of his own. This gentleman is extremely knowledgeable about Walt Disney World and can answer many of your questions regarding restaurants and services. He can also help you find your way around the resort. Research has shown that greeters can positively influence a person’s perception of a business and Disney now uses these amiable cast members at a number of their resorts.
The globe found in the center of the lobby was created by Walt Disney Imagineering and is reminiscent of those of the 19th century. If you look closely, you’ll discover fictitious names and a hidden Mickey. For more information about this globe, just ask the skipper.
The two story lobby of the Yacht Club is formal without being stuffy. As you would expect, a nautical theme is used to help tell the story. Comfortable sofas and chairs have been arranged to create a number of intimate conversation areas and fresh flowers accent many of the tables. Be sure to check out the two model ships. The detailing is exquisite. And kids should be encouraged to find the chest-of-drawers which features name plates for Mickey, Minnie, and other characters.
When entering the resort, the check-in desk is located to the right and the concierge desk is located to the left. There is also a seating area with a TV playing Disney cartoons to keep the little ones entertained while checking in.
The Yacht Club has 630 rooms with an average room size of 380 square feet. Most rooms feature two queen beds and a sofa/daybed that can accommodate an additional person (the room can sleep five). Some rooms have one king bed.
The nautical theme is continued in the rooms but does not overpower. The walls are covered with white wallpaper featuring a small blue design. The headboard, nightstand, and credenza are painted cream. The carpet is blue and brown and the drapes continue this color scheme.
The rooms at the Yacht Club are using a “spa” type treatment when making the beds. Instead of a bedspread, a second top sheet encases the blankets and a decorative blue throw is draped across the foot of the bed.
Please note, the room I stayed in was a corner room. This allowed for two extra windows (and a much brighter room). These extra windows are located to each side of the credenza. Most rooms only have one window/door at the far end of the sleeping area. Keep this in mind when viewing my pictures.
The credenza holds a refrigerator, four drawers, and a number of shelves. In the Club Level rooms, a DVD player can also be found on the credenza. Because this was a corner room with extra windows, the flat screen TV sits on the credenza. In most rooms, the TV is mounted on the wall.
The daybed has so many overstuffed pillows that it’s necessary to remove a few before using this piece of furniture as a sofa.
One feature I really like is the small shelf attached to the wall next to one of the beds. In essence, it’s an extra nightstand. This is a nice touch.
A desk with a pull-out computer table is ample in size and provides easy access to electrical outlets and high-speed internet connections.
Note, Disney is currently testing Wi-Fi in a number of their resorts. The Yacht & Beach are on this list. I used this Wi-Fi service and was very pleased with the ease of connection and the speed. At the moment, this connection is free. However, I have no idea what the future may hold and if charges are on the horizon.
On the desk is a very cute Mickey Mouse lamp. At one time, this lamp could be purchased at the Fittings & Fairing shop found off of the lobby. However, it is no longer for sale. (I’m glad I purchased mine when I did.)
The balcony is decent sized – not huge, but typical for a Disney resort. Two chairs and a table provide a nice place to have a cup of coffee in the morning before you start your day.
In the entry/hallway are a closet and another chest of drawers. A coffee maker and cups are located atop the chest and an iron, ironing board, luggage rack, and small wall safe can be found in the closet. All in all, the Yacht Club rooms offer plenty of storage space.
I burst out laughing when I went to throw away a bit of trash. At the bottom of all the trash receptacles is a small paper insert advertising the Yacht & Beach Club. Talk about an elegant detail.
The bathroom is designed for efficiency. Two basins are nice for parties of four and an extra marble shelf provides plenty of counter space for toiletries. A make-up mirror is attached to the wall (Club Level only) and a hairdryer can be found either on the wall or in a cloth bag on the shelving beneath the sinks. The shower and toilet are located in a separate room. The shower/tub is plenty large enough and the control is easy to use. (Sometime shower fixtures baffle me in their complexity.) There is also a telephone next to the toilet. The room is stocked with five fluffy towels and the toilet paper is of good quality.
Here is a two minute video of a standard Yacht Club room.
The fifth floor of the resort is designated as Club Level and features 20 suites and 71 standard rooms. Access to this level requires a special room key.
If you have booked a Club Level room and are arriving by car, the cast member at the resort’s entrance will notify the appropriate personnel when you check in at the guard shack. Once your reach the porte cochere, a Club Level cast member will greet you by name and escort you to a special check-in desk located on the fifth floor. As is so often the case with Disney, it’s the small details that make things special. Even a dish of salt water taffy, an Atlantic City favorite of the 19th century, is on hand while checking in.
Guests staying on the Club Level are given a yellow room/charge key/card rather than the blue card designated for the rest of the resort. To access the fifth floor, one of these room keys must be inserted into a special slot found above the elevator buttons.
The fifth floor check-in desks offer full concierge services (7am to 10pm). If you need restaurant or show reservations, these cast members will do their utmost to see that you get what you want. If you need directions, transportation, or anything else, just stop by with your request. Chances are good these folks will be able to help you.
Also available to Club Level guests is a lounge, the Regatta Club. This comfortable area features cozy sofas, chairs, and tables, a spacious balcony, newspapers, and a television.
Offered in the Regatta Club are a wide array of complimentary food and drink. A continental breakfast is offered each morning. This includes cereals, assorted breads and pastries, fruit, juices, coffee, and teas. In the afternoon, cookies and other tempting snacks are available. And in the evening, different hot and cold hors d'oeuvres, antipasto, cheese plates, and desserts are rotated throughout the week. A selection of sodas is available all day and wine, beer, and cordials are offered in the evening – all included in your room price. Service is as follows:
Coffee: 6:30am to 7am
Continental Breakfast: 7am to 10:30am
Snacks & Soft Drinks: 11:30am to 3pm
Tea Time: 3pm to 4pm
Hors d’oeuvres & Wine: 5pm to 7pm
Desserts & Cordials: 8pm to 10pm
Children under 10 should be accompanied by an adult when in the Regatta Club.
For the most part, the Regatta Club is a good place to “escape” and enjoy some leisurely down time. However, mornings can be quite hectic and tables difficult to secure. Many folk use the lounge to grab a quick breakfast before heading to the parks.
Club Level rooms also receive nightly turndown service with chocolates on the pillow, bathrobes, and a morning copy of USA Today.
Here is a 1½ minute video showcasing the Yacht Club fifth floor Club Level check-in desks and lounge.
That’s it for Part One of the Yacht Club. Check back tomorrow for Part Two.
The previous post in this blog was Festival of the Masters 2011 (This is NOT about Golf).
The next post in this blog is Yacht Club Resort - Part Two.