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November 22, 2011

Yacht Club Resort - Part Two

Yesterday I introduced you to the Yacht Club and talked about the standard rooms and Club Level. Today I'll discuss some of the facilities found at the Yacht Club.

Fittings & Fairings Clothes & Notions is the resort's shop and carries the standard supply of Disney souvenirs. In addition, some higher-end clothing is available here. For example, in the men's section, Polo and Tommy Bahama apparel can be found. A limited selection of food items is also offered.


Fittings & Fairings Clothes & Notions

Fittings & Fairings Clothes & Notions


Sadly, this shop's icon showpiece has been retired. Up until recently, when entering the store, guests were greeted by Mickey piloting a replica of a 1930's style Chris Craft Runabout. This piece added a lot of atmosphere to the store and was a great photo op. When I asked a cast member what happened to Mickey and the boat, I was told it needed $15K in refurbishments and management felt this was too much to spend. Sigh. Here is a picture of me taken with Mickey and the boat in the early '90's.


Mickey and Chris Craft Runabout


At the far end of the Yacht Club is the Admiral Pool (quiet pool) and self-service laundry facility. Even though children are welcome to use this pool, it is intended for a more sedate experience. The resort's tennis court can also be found in this area.


Admiral Pool

Laundry Facility

Tennis Court


Directly off of the lobby is the Ale and Compass Lounge. This is a great spot to grab coffee, pastries, and fruit in the morning if you don't want to hassle with a full service restaurant. In the evening, this establishment offers a comfy atmosphere for cocktails with friends.


Compass Lounge

Compass Lounge


Next to Ale and Compass Lounge is the Captain's Grill (formerly the Yacht Club Galley). I eat here often as I have always been pleased with the food and service and I like the atmosphere. Deep colors and the nautical theming create a comfortable spot to enjoy a meal.


Captain's Grill

Captain's Grill


Something I really like about the Captain's Grill is breakfast. At this meal, guests have the choice of ordering off of the menu or enjoying an all-you-can-eat buffet. This is really nice when you're traveling with lite and big eaters. It always bothers me when I have to pay for a full buffet when all I want is a bagel and fruit. At Captain's Grille, everyone can be happy.


Captain's Grill Buffet


Meals at lunch include sandwiches and salads and dinner offers beef, pork, chicken, and pasta. The style of preparation is decidedly American. And be sure to try the New England clam chowder. It's very good.

If you have to use the restrooms while dining at the Captain's Grill, ask your server where they are located. You'll never find them otherwise.

Reservations for breakfast and dinner are suggested. They are rarely needed at lunch.

One of my favorite spots for cocktails and light snacks can be found at the Crew's Cup Lounge. Located next to the Yachtsman Steakhouse, this is the perfect spot to escape the hustle and bustle of Walt Disney World. Although this lounge can get busy when the Yachtsman Steakhouse is open, during the afternoon it is almost forgotten and a great place for a quiet conversation. I wrote a blog about the Crew's Cup Lounge last year. If you'd like to read it, click here.


Crew's Cup Lounge

Crew's Cup Lounge


Yachtsman Steakhouse has a New England theme. At this upscale restaurant, rustic meets refinement to create a stylish atmosphere. Plank flooring, lightwood chairs, tablecloth covered tables, heavy beams, and white wall paneling combine beautifully to create a welcoming environment.

As the restaurant's name implies, beef is the signature offering. In the butchering room (located near the entrance and open for all to see), chefs hand cut each steak. In the open kitchen, the best quality meats are prepared over an oak grill. A wide array of side dishes is available and the wine list features vintages from around the world. For those of you not enamored with beef, the menu also includes seafood, poultry and pork. Yachtsman Steakhouse is one of Disney's signature restaurants and requires two Dining Plan credits for those of you using this package. Yachtsman Steakhouse is only open for dinner and reservations are highly recommended.


Yachtsman Steakhouse

Yachtsman Steakhouse Open Kitchen

Yachtsman Steakhouse Cutting Room


For those of you who want to work off some of those extra calories you've been enjoying, Ship Shape Health Club offers a wide variety of the latest cardiovascular and weight-training equipment.


Ship Shape Health Club

Ship Shape Health Club


The exterior of the Yacht Club is elegant. Recalling bygone days along the Eastern Seaboard, this structure instills a sense of satisfaction and wellbeing as you stroll the manicured grounds. Painted gray with white trim, the many wings and angles of the building disguise the structure's enormity. It's interesting to note, the clapboard exterior is a man-made concoction of sawdust and glue that is resistant to the humidity of Florida.


Yacht Club Exterior

Yacht Club Exterior


A lovely covered walkway skirts sections of the Yacht Club. At several locations along the way, white rocking chairs line the railing. The setting is worthy of a postcard - and the best part is, you can sit in these rocking chairs and become part of the magical setting.


Porch and Rocking Chairs


Set between two of the resort's wings is a lovely gazebo. If you notice, the weathervane atop the structure features cupid. If you're planning a Disney wedding but the wedding chapel is already booked to capacity, this spot offers a beautiful alternative. This gazebo could also be used for one of the many pre or post wedding activities.


Gazebo

Cupid


At Bayside Marina, a large selection of boats is on hand for the novice and expert yachtsman. You can rent a pontoon boat for a leisurely afternoon on the water or mini-speed boats for zippy trip over the waves. Guests can traverse Crescent Lake and the adjoining waterway that leads to Disney's Hollywood Studios. In addition, two-hour guided fishing trips, complete with driver and gear, can be secured at the marina.


Bayside Marina

Bayside Marina


One of the best features of the Yacht Club is its proximity to Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios. If I'm staying at the Yacht, I'm always in a quandary as to whether I should walk or take one of the Friendship boats to Epcot's International Gateway. However, I have no indecision at all when I'm going to the Studio. Even though there is a pathway that leads from the resort to the park, it is a long walk and hot in the summertime. The Friendship boats win out every time.

The Friendship boats depart from the end of the long pier that lines up directly with the Yacht Club entrance. You can't miss it. Just look for the lighthouse. Boats heading for Epcot load on the left side of the pier and make a stop at the Boardwalk Resort before heading for International Gateway. Boats traveling to the Studio board from the right side of the pier and stop at the Swan and Dolphin before heading for Disney's version of Tinseltown.


Yacht Club Pier

Yacht Club Pier

Yacht Club Pier


Just so you know, International Gateway is open the same hours as Epcot's main entrance. Even on days when Extra Magic Hours are available at Epcot, International Gateway opens early and remains open late to accommodate guests staying here.

Guests traveling to the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Downtown Disney or waterparks should catch a bus which stops at a station located a short walk from the resort's main entrance. Note, the Yacht and Beach share buses. After dropping off and picking up guests at the Yacht Club, the bus heads over to the Beach Club before proceeding to its ultimate destination. For those of you with a car, you are granted free parking at the theme parks during your stay.


Bus Transportation


Stormalong Bay, the resort's main swimming pool, is shared by both the Yacht and Beach Club. This pool is hands down the best resort swimming pool at Walt Disney World. It is huge! It is imaginative! It is fantastic! If your kids like to swim, Stormalong Bay is reason enough to stay at the Yacht & Beach Club. Stormalong Bay is Disney magic personified!

Legend has it that some time ago, a fierce nor'easter hit these parts. During the tempest, Captain Stormalong of the Albatross lost control of his ship and it plowed into the beach. The vessel hit the shore with such force that it churned up the sand and carved out the land. In the wake of this disaster, three acres of meandering pools and waterways were created that pass by grottos and waterfalls, under bridges, and beside a moving windmill. One section of the pool even has a sandy bottom where kids can wiggle their toes in the sand and build castles on its banks. The main lagoon area contains a total of 750,000 gallons of water broken down as follows:

Active Lagoon: 13,300 sq. ft. and 500,000 gallons
Snorkel Lagoon: 6,500 sq. ft. and 200,000 gallons
Quiet Lagoon: 2,000 sq. ft. and 50,000 gallons

The sand at the bottom of the lagoons is imported from Arizona and is an essential part of the filtering system.


Stormalong Bay

YaStormalong Bay

Stormalong Bay

Stormalong Bay

Stormalong Bay


The wreck of the Albatross can still be found where the storm deposited her. But her usefulness has not been lost to the calamity. Now-a-days, kids (and adults) can climb her mast and find a waterslide that whisks them to the nearby pool. The water slide is 230 feet long with 110 feet enclosed in tubing.


Albatross

Albatross

Albatross

Water Slide


Surrounding the pool are hundreds of tables, chairs, and lounges. There is even an elevated cabana and seating area in the center of Stormalong Bay that affords great views of the pool and a getaway from the activities below. One lucky group is awarded the "Family of the Day" award and provided with their own personal lounge chairs in a prime location. And when thirst and hunger sets in, Hurricane Hanna's Grill is nearby offering sandwiches, salads, hamburgers, and other treats.


Tables and Chairs

Upper Level

Family of the Day

Hurricane Hanna's Grill


All Disney resort pools are restricted to the guests of that particular hotel. However, after seeing Stormalong Bay, people are often tempted to try and sneak into this water wonderland. But don't even think about it. Disney is well aware of this pool's popularity and has designed the area with limited access which is monitored by cast members. Before entrance is granted, guests must provide a valid room key for either the Yacht or Beach Club. Then they are given a waterproof wristband to wear while in this area.

That's all I have for the Yacht Club. Check back next week when I discuss the Beach Club and the Beach Club Villas.



November 21, 2011

Yacht Club Resort - Part One

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.


Yacht Club Logo

Yacht Club Entrance

Yacht Club Exterior


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.


Yacht Club Greeter


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.


Globe


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.


Yacht Lobby

Yacht Lobby

Yacht Lobby

Yacht Lobby

Model Ship

Character Chest


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.


Check-in Desk

Concierge Desk

Children's Waiting Area


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.


Standard Yacht Room

Standard Yacht Room


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.


Credenza

Daybed


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.


Nightstand Shelf


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.


Desk


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.)


Mickey Mouse Lamp


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.


Yacht Balcony

Yacht Balcony


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.


Chest of Drawers

Closet


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.


Trash Can Insert


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.


Sink and Vanity

Sink and Vanity

Sink and Vanity

Toilet and Shower


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.


Yacht Club Main Entrance

Club Level Cast Member

Club Level Concierge Desks


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.


Club Level Room Key


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.


Club Level Lounge

Club Level Lounge

Club Level Lounge Balcony


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.


Club Level Food Counter

Free Sodas

Appitizers

Appitizers

Cordials


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.



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About Yacht Club Resort

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to The “World” According to Jack in the Yacht Club Resort category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Wilderness Lodge Villas is the previous category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.