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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.