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.



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.




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.

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21 Replies to “Yacht Club Resort – Part Two”

  1. How does a group become “Family of the Day” at Y&BCR?

    Jack’s Answer:

    Unfortunately, I have no idea. Disney tries to keep information like this under wraps. Otherwise, everyone would be trying to be the family of the day at many locations.

  2. Yet another amazing blog!! Yours are always my favorite to read. I had NO idea that the Mickey in the ship was retired from Fittings and Fairings! The Yacht Club was our resort of choice for our frequent visits in the 90’s and I have many fond memories of that Mickey. I’m so glad I have a picture of myself with it to remember it by. Very sad that mgmt didn’t feel it was worth the $15K, when it brought so much character and uniqueness to the resort and gift shop.

  3. We just returned from a trip to the Yacht Club and had a fabulous time. Can you tell me who performs the song on the Christmas play reel that is maybe called “Let it Snow”? You often hear it as you are in the area just outside the backdoor and around the pool.

    Jack’s Answer:

    Just like with the standard music heard at the theme parks and in the hotels, Disney tries to theme the music at Christmas time. For example, you might hear Christmas songs with a Jamaican flavor at Old Key West or jazzy music at Port Orleans French Quarter. Disney uses literally thousands of pieces of music all over property. Unless I actually went to the Yacht Club and listened for the particular piece you speak of, I would have no idea who the artist is.

  4. Hi Jack,

    Thanks for the wonderful review as always. We have some great pictures of our younger daughter with the boat in the Yacht Club store – that’s too bad it’s gone.

    I look forward to your Beach Club review.


  5. Hi Jack,
    Thank you for the great blog on this very fine resort. I have stayed at both the YC and the BC but the YC is my favorite.
    The Yachtsman Steakhouse is always a must do and I agree that the Captain’s Grill does have a nice breakfast variety.
    When we stayed there it was my birthday and when the door greeter saw my birthday pin he began singing to me. He was the replacement for Art the friendly greeter that retired.
    I liked staying here because you can walk to Epcot and Disney Studios and the Boardwalk plus walk over to the Swan and Dolphin.

  6. Thanks for covering our favorite Resort. It’s great to see the Resort specific merchandise behind you in the vintage photo. I was told last October that they would be reintroducing limited Yacht tshirts, hats, and towels. Hope it comes true. Did you see anything while you were there?

    Jack’s Answer:

    You know, I didn’t look specifically for resort specific merchandise, but I believe they had a few clothing items with the Yacht logo. But I don’t recall seeing anything else. I know at one time, all of the resorts had an array of items you could buy. For example, I have license plates for all the Walt Disney World resort, but alas, these are no longer available.

  7. Do you happen to know how the Yacht Club compares to Disney’s Newport Bay Club in Paris? They were both designed by Stern for Eisner at around the same time, and the theming seems very similar.

    Jack’s Answer:

    I have stayed at both the Yacht and the Newport Bay so I can answer your question. You are correct, the hotels were both designed by Stern and they are VERY similar in concept. A nautical theme is everywhere. The Yacht is a deluxe resort while the Newport Bay is a moderate. Because of this, everything at the Yacht is a little more ornate. The hotels are laid out nothing alike. The floor plans are not similar at all. Just because you’ve been to one doesn’t mean you would know where everything is at the other. The lobby is bigger and more impressive at the Yacht, however, they both have a large globe that greets you when you enter the hotel. The rooms are slightly bigger at the Yacht, however, they use identical headboards. And the last time I stayed at the Newport Bay, they offered a free, continental breakfast to hotel guests. It was quite elaborate and very nice. I’d like to see that happen in Florida.

  8. Great review. I enjoyed reading about the Yacht Club and look forward to your review of the Beach Club. We just stayed in the Beach Club Villas at the end of September and this makes us “homesick” for this wonderful resort! Thank you so much for your efforts and attention to the small details in your blogs!

  9. Wonderful blog Jack! Staying true to your Disney training and background your attention to detail is impeccable! Now I am in a dilemma for planning my summer trip. I thought that my family and I were going to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Now I want to stay at the Yacht Club! Thanks for givning me such a wonderful puzzle to solve! (lol) Also, I am still patiently waiting for a Jack Spence Disney fact book.

    “THE Disney Fanatic”

  10. Thanks for your insight into the Yacht Club resort, while we’ve had dinner at the Steakhouse and lunch at the Captain’s Grille, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever stay at the Yacht Club because we’re DVC members. It was nice to see the rooms and the resort areas that we won’t visit any time soon. The Yacht Club always looks so fancy to me–perhaps fancier than the GF. Perhaps it is the environment I grew up in, but it always seems to me that the GF is more accessible than the Yacht Club.

  11. Thanks for the thorough review of the Yacht Club. We stayed at the Beach Club last August but wandered through the Yacht Club several times. The Yacht Club can be serene compared to Beach Club especially in the morning when the Cape May character breakfast is in full force. We totally agree with your opinion of the Captain’s Grille restaurant. I usually eat a light breakfast, but my family enjoys buffets. We were able to do both at the Captain’s Grille. My muffin was great and my family thought the buffet was amazing.
    When choosing a Disney resort it is hard to overlook the fact that Beach Club and Yacht Club are within walking distance to Epcot and a short boat ride to Hollywood Studios.
    Thanks again, it was great to relive our visit through your blog and accompanying pictures.

  12. Hi Jack,

    We stayed at the Yacht Club several years ago now and we enjoyed it thoroughly. The one thing my father loves about that resort are a pair of leather chairs on the mezzanine level, right near where you took a picture from your Part 1 blog. He loved those chairs, very comfortable. Last year we had dinner at the Steakhouse and he insisted going back to see if the chairs were still there, and they were!!

    Just booked our first stay at Bay Lake Towers for March, can’t wait! Thanks for the Disney fix of the day. As usual, impeccably researched and photographed. Always appreciated.


  13. Hi Jack,
    Again a great blog. Looking forward to next weeks Beach Club and more resorts to come.

    In the older pictures I just love your moustache. Too bad you don’t have it in the contemporary pictures. 🙂

    Jack’s Comment:

    I day I quit Disneyland in February 1980, I started growing my mustache. Mustaches were prohibited at Disney in those days. I cut it off last year as I finally reached the point of it becoming more effort than I wanted to expend. I’ve had both positive and negative reactions. 🙂

  14. Jack-
    Great blog so far! I notice all the intricate detail you describe about the exterior of the building as I am on my way to EPCOT. You have really opened my eyes to the little details that Disney includes for our enjoyment. I good you have an excellent thanksgiving.

  15. Just want to let you know your excellent blog posts are appreciated & enjoyed. I really enjoy the detailed info, pictures and video. Thanks!

  16. We saw the boat in the store in early December 2010, so they only removed it in the last year. I’m glad we saw it before it’s demise. Also, during the holidays, the globe is moved to the hall in front of the store entrance.

  17. hey jack
    it certinly looks like there is a lot to keep oneself occupied at the yacht club resort when not visiting the parks. it is also nice to be that close to Epcot and not need to wait for a bus. can’t wait for your next blog and as always keep up the great work.

  18. Jack, these were amazing blogs (like usual). We are staying at Beach Club in late May and we planned on stopping into the Yacht Club to see what its all about. I look forward to next week and the Beach Club highlights as this will be our first visit there and we’re very excited!!!

    Thanks for the great blogs!

  19. Can you refill your refillable mug at the Ale and Compass lounge or is that only available at the Beach Club Marketplace?

    Jack’s Answer:

    No. Beaches & Cream and Hurricane Hanna’s are the only other spots at the resort to refill mugs.

  20. Thanks, Jack, for continuing your blogs!
    Really look forward to them.
    (And miss the Chris Craft Mickey boat!)

    An addition:
    The beautiful porches with rocking chairs around the Yacht Club overlooking Stormalong Bay are ALSO the locations for several of the designated smoking areas.
    If walking outside, we have to hold our breath to get to Yachtsman Steakhouse, as there is no other way around.

  21. Hi Jack! Let me say that I really enjoyed Part 2. I remember the boat replica, and it’s a shame it wasn’t refurbished and put back on display. It certainly was an iconic piece, and added a lot of character to the store.

    My husband and I had the pleasure of enjoying cocktails at the Crew’s Cup Lounge back in 2010. They serve up a wicked dirty martini.

    After that, we had a wonderful steak dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse. If I remember correctly, they also serve up a delicious mac and cheese. I still think Le Cellier is the best place at WDW for steaks, but Yachtsman is a close second.

    Thanks again for a great read. I am sooooo having Disney withdrawl…