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A part of the Epcot resort area, the Disney Yacht Club is often forgotten as it sits alongside the flashier BoardWalk Inn and Disney Beach Club. However, this gorgeous resort has a lot to offer in terms of overall aesthetic, comfort, and class.
While it may seem to be just an extension of its younger sister, the Beach Club, the Yacht Club is an independent resort with its own fun and amenities. With that in mind, there are plenty of tips that will help you better navigate the Disney Yacht Club!
Table of Contents
Tips for Planning Your Voyage to the Disney Yacht Club
Yacht & Beach Clubs – Sisters, Not Twins
One of the best Disney Yacht Club tips is to know the difference between the two resorts. Even though the Yacht and Beach Clubs share some amenities, like the main pool area and the fitness center, they are two completely different resorts. The theming of the Yacht Club is more mature and adult-focused, while the Beach Club is designed for families. Be sure to check out plenty of photos and guides ahead of time to know which one is best for your party.
If theming is important to you, know that the theme of the Yacht Club fits with its name. It is all about sailing and voyaging on the sea, with deeper color palettes and wood tones. This is a changeup from the brighter, lighter atmosphere of its beachy neighbors. That isn’t a bad thing, the Yacht Club is gorgeous! Many all-adult groups love the lavish feeling of the stately Yacht Club. However, if you’re looking for that beach-vacation vibe, you might want to book next door.
Planning a Wedding? Consider a Yacht!
A Disney wedding is one of the most magical experiences on earth! One of our tips for planning a Disney wedding – check out the Disney Yacht Club.
With the ballrooms connected to this resort via walkway, the Yacht Club is a great place to host a large event like a wedding. Even if you have your wedding elsewhere on the property, the Yacht Club ballrooms are ideal for the reception. At the end of the evening, you can head right back to your room in the Yacht Club, just a quick walk away.
Speaking of weddings, if you’re looking for an outdoor Disney location, you’ll love the Wedding Gazebo. Nestled into the main courtyard, this beautiful space is ideal for a small, intimate ceremony, although it can accommodate up to 120 guests. Even if you don’t want to have the ceremony here, it is a gorgeous spot for pictures.
One of the major wedding tips is to check out the venue ahead of time, so be sure take a peak at the Disney Yacht Club Wedding Gazebo.
Mix Work and Play
Hosting a corporate event or team building retreat? Not only should you consider Disney World, but you should also consider the Yacht Club as your “home base.” Similar to the wedding venue, Disney is set up to help make your work events go smoothly, all while enjoying that touch of magic.
The Disney Yacht Club has a sense of elegance and sophistication about it that will impress right off the bat, making it the perfect place to house corporate guests. Easy proximity and access to the convention center is another perk, as it reduces travel time. This sort of reduction makes for extra time in the day for fun!
Don’t Leave Pluto at Home
If you have dogs, you’re going to love this! The Yacht Club is one of the dog-friendly resorts on property, meaning that you can bring your furry friend with you on your Disney vacation. There are a fee extra fees associated with having this extra member in your group, and you do need to book in advance ((407) 939-7539). You can even have someone come hang out with your pup during the day while you’re at the parks!
Make an Itinerary
Determine what days you will be doing which activities before your trip. Especially with the park pass system, know which days will be park days (and which park you’ll be in) and which days you will do other things. This will help with packing as well, since you’ll know what outfits you need when.
If you know you’re going to get up early for the Magic Kingdom on Tuesday, maybe don’t plan a late night out on Monday. Also, try not to plan too many park days in a row. A day off in between will do you a world of good!
Choose Daily Outfits
Speaking of wardrobe, planning out your outfits for each day is a great idea. This makes packing easier, and also helps to coordinate the family for photo opportunities. I even like to divide particular outfits into bags, labeled for the day I’m going to wear them. I know it seems excessive, but believe me, it helps with organization. These tips are particularly good with kids, as it simplifies packing and getting ready during your stay at the Disney Yacht Club!
Don’t forget to look at the itinerary you made! If you’re having a special dinner or hitting a particular park, that will help remind you of special outfits and items you want to pack.
When you book, be sure to specify if you’re having a celebration during your stay! A birthday, anniversary, honeymoon – any celebration will be marked by special decorations in your room.
Since the celebration styles tend to be themed along with the resort, you’ll end up with your own fun sea décor to go along with whatever you are already celebrating! This is one of those tips that will add memorable magic to your Disney Yacht Club experience.
Pack a Pool Bag
Especially if I’m driving to the resort, I like to pack a separate bag with my pool items. That includes swimsuit, sunscreen, and extra clothes. This is so that, if the room isn’t ready when we arrive, I can head to the bathroom, change into my swim gear, and enjoy the pool while I wait. Especially with such an awesome pool as Stormalong Bay, you don’t waste any of the time you could be poolside!
Pack a Cover-up
Along the same lines, you should plan to bring some sort of swim cover up or “over clothes” to wear back from the pool. After using the resort towels, the expectation is that you will return them before exiting the pool area. Unless you bring your own towel, that means you won’t have one to wrap around yourself for the walk back to your room. That’s where having a cover up, or even just a dedicated pool t-shirt and shorts, can be nice. You won’t feel quite so exposed as you walk back through your resort.
The Disney Yacht Club is a decent size, so this is one of the tips you’ll be glad you remembered!
Know Your Route
For those driving to the resort, make sure you know exactly what route you need to take to get to Disney Yacht Club. While many of us depend on the GPS, occasionally the generated directions take you to the wrong places on Disney property. One of my go-to tips is to check the map ahead of time to be sure you’re headed to the right place, in this case the Disney Yacht Club. You also don’t want to pull into the Beach Club by mistake!
Get the App, Get the Map
The My Disney Experience app has become a crucial component to any Walt Disney World vacation, from purchasing tickets and making dining reservations to obtaining a coveted Rise of the Resistance boarding pass. This app is important at your resort as well, as you can use it for as a map to navigate the resort. Most of the resort amenities are on the backside of the resort, so you wouldn’t necessarily see them as soon as you walk in. Places like restaurants and shopping are also spread out, so it’s good to have that visual to help guide you.
Plan Rainy Day Fun
This resort is a fabulous place to explore, so you should make a few activities for your kiddos in case of rain. Bingo, scavenger hunts, and photo journals are all great options for a day stuck inside. You can find some online, make your own, or ask for a scavenger hunt from the Front Desk. The Disney Yacht Club Cast Members might also have some tips of how to make the most of rainy day!
Rainy days are also perfect opportunities to check out the Beach Club as well, since the resorts are right next to one another!
Setting Sail – Tips for Enjoying the Disney Yacht Club
One of the first things you should do when you arrive is check in. You can actually use the My Disney Experience app to do this weeks ahead of time. However, I suggest waiting until your flight comes in or you’re driving onto Disney property. From there, you can check back periodically to see if you have been assigned your room. Until then, hang at the pool!
Prevent Soda Spending – Get a Refillable Mug
With the creation of the Disney Dining Plan, resort guests can purchase a refillable mug for all self-service beverages at their resort. Whether you have the plan or not, you can buy the mug for $19.99 (sometimes more for specialty mugs). A regular soda at Disney World is $3.99, and if you drink two sodas a day for a five-day vacation, that comes out to $40! With the mug, you can save lot of money on nonalcoholic drinks (soda, juice, coffee, etc.) by refilling instead of buying a new drink.
The free refills are only good for the length of your stay, but as the mugs change in design from time to time, they make great souvenirs. One of my tips is to fill the mug with coffee when you’re leaving the Disney Yacht Club on the way to the park, and then rise it out and use it for water later. The refills don’t work in the parks, but if you bring a soda bottle or another beverage you can use the mug then.
You can often get seasonal refill mugs as well at prime times like Halloween and Christmas or for special anniversaries. A cool insulted Star Wars mug is also available for a bit extra.
Where is the Mug?
Stop in the Market at the Ale & Compass to grab your refill mug…and get it filled while you’re there! If for some reason you can’t find it, Beaches and Cream Soda Shop, Hurricane Hanna’s Waterside Bar & Grill, and the Beach Club Marketplace all have it.
Refill stations are outside Hurricane Hanna’s and at the Beach Club Marketplace, although we recommend the first if you’re at the pool. You can also stop in the Market to get your mug refilled.
Right now, guests are not permitted to fill their own mugs, but a Cast Member will be happy to get it filled for you!
Rent a Boat
Right outside the Yacht Club is the Bayside Marina, where you can rent boats of varying sizes by the half hour. On a day you’re not going to the parks, this is a great family activity! Cruise around Crescent Lake, taking in the sights from a different view, and get some amazing pictures. Your kiddos (12 and older) can even captain the Sea Raycers, my personal favorite growing up.
Walking to Epcot is by far the quickest way to get there, and it is faster than the bus. International Gateway, Epcot’s back entrance, is right next store to the Beach Club. Yes, there is a bus to Epcot, but in the time it would take to walk to the bus stop you would already be in the park!
It’s understandable that you might choose to take other transportation to Hollywood Studios, but you can also walk there. I would recommend it, at least at the beginning of the day, because it is the least busy route. On your way back, you can also take a boat or the Disney’s Skyliner for a leisurely ride.
Bus Stop is out Front
There’s only one Disney transportation bus stop at the Yacht Club, located right out in front of the lobby. Just go to the left of the main entrance, past the car loop, and you’ll find the stop. The only downside is if you’re staying a little ways from the lobby, you’ll need to make time to walk to the bus stop.
The Beach Club has its own stop, so make sure when you’re coming back that you get off at the right one! Both the Yacht & Beach Clubs share a bus to and from the parks, so it’s important that you pay attention to the stop.
Ride the Monorail
Another great transportation alternative is the Epcot monorail. This line runs from Epcot to the Ticket and Transportation Center, and from there you can hop a ride to the Magic Kingdom.
It is about a fifteen-minute monorail ride, but that’s roughly the same as a bus ride. It’s a nice change of pace, and definitely more convenient if you have a stroller or a wheelchair in your group. Besides, who doesn’t love a good monorail ride?
Use Your Own Car
Drove your own car? Use it! Since you have to pay to park at the resorts, you might as well taken advantage of having your own vehicle. As you’re already paying a daily parking fee, you do not have to pay the fee again at the parks!
With this in mind, I always suggest taking your own car. It is the fastest and most dependable way to get anywhere, especially at the end of a park day. You can always use the Disney transportation to take a quick jaunt back to your resort if you don’t want to lose your parking space…just remember where you left your car!
Take a Break
One of the biggest mistake people make on their Disney vacation is pushing too hard. Even adults need to take a breather, so don’t be afraid to take a break. Especially if you’re at Epcot or Hollywood Studios, you are so close that you won’t lost much time travelling. The proximity of the Yacht Club to these parks makes it easy to get back quickly, so you won’t lose time on travel.
In the summer, Florida is hot. Everyone in your group, from toddlers to grown-ups, will be glad for the chance to go for a swim or just be in the AC for a little while. This tip is particularly useful if you’re planning to go to the park in the evening, as you can recharge a bit before a late night.
Explore the Boardwalk
The boardwalk joins all the Epcot resorts in this area, as well as connecting to the walkway over to the Swan and Dolphin. Forming a loop, you can check out all the fun carnival activities over on the BoardWalk side, or just get in some good exercise! It’s an easy way to check out all the different resorts in your area, giving you something to do on your day off from the parks.
There’s also tons of delicious food at the BoardWalk, if you’re looking for something different to try. I know the Yacht & Beach Clubs have amazing food, but if you’re on a ten-day vacation you might want to check out some of the other options.
Use. The. Pool.
Stormalong Bay is, without a doubt, one of the top three pool complexes in Disney World. Much better and you’d have to be at a water park! Heated water, incredible shipwreck slide, sandy bottom, and a lazy river? Come on, it’s amazing! Not only that, but the pool area is huge, spreading between the Yacht and Beach Clubs like a beach paradise.
I recommend spending at least one day at this pool. It may seem like a long time, but trust me, you’ll be glad you did. Between the slide, the whirlpools, lazy river, and amazing dining options, you’ll be amazed at how quickly the time flies.
Keep Your MagicBand with You
Always make sure everyone in your group always wears their MagicBand. You should be doing this anyway, as wearing it is the best way not to lose it, but you definitely want to do it at the Yacht and Beach Clubs. When you go to Stormalong Bay, you’ll need to scan in, and at peak times a Cast Member may check to be sure you’re Yacht Club guests.
As Stormalong Bay is so popular, plenty of other resort guests (and some not resort guests!) try to sneak into this pool area. To prevent this, guests use their MagicBands to prove that they are staying at the Yacht Club. I
f a Cast Member asks to scan your band, please don’t be offended. These procedures are there to make sure the pool you’re paying to use isn’t taken over by outside guests.
Arrive Early, Arrive Together!
Again, this is a popular pool area. If you’re planning to hang out at Stormalong Bay, you and your whole group need to get there in the morning when the pool opens. You could also try to hit the pool at a time when people are leaving in the late afternoon. You can’t save seats at any Disney pool, and that almost goes double for a popular pool like Stormalong Bay. With that in mind, don’t plan to send one person down to hold on to a space for ten.
Also, if you’re using the space consistently, that’s fine, but make sure you’re there. Cast Members will remove resort towels that sit too long on vacant chairs, so just be aware of your space.
Sorry, No Pool Rafts!
This is a rule at all Disney pools with lifeguards, but even more strictly enforced at a popular destination like Stormalong Bay. With so many people in the pool at once, it is important that the lifeguard as an un-obstructed view of all swimmers. Life vests and puddle jumpers are allowed, but any sort of floatation device that isn’t attached the swimmer’s body isn’t permitted. If you’re concerned that your floaty wouldn’t be allowed, just use one of the life vests provided at the pool.
I point this out for two reasons:
One, as beach-like as this pool is, it’s still a pool. Again, the lifeguards have to be able to see everyone, and large floats prevent this.
Two, with the lazy river, guests might be tempted to think that this rule is suspended for that area. That is incorrect. You can borrow a Beach Club pool noodle or clear inner tube for floating along the current, but you need to leave your personal floats in your room.
Need Quiet? Try a Leisure Pool
Both the Yacht Club and Beach Club have their own leisure pools separate from Stormalong Bay. The Beach Club Villas also has a pool for their guests (although any Beach Club guest can use it). If you need a little quiet, or want a change of scenery from Stormalong Bay, the leisure pools can be a great option.
All guests of both resorts can use any of the leisure pools. I suggest finding the leisure pool closest to your room, and use that. Definitely go to Stormalong Bay at least once, but at other resorts I know I’ll forgo the main themed pool for the convenience of a closer leisure pool.
Don’t Worry about a Towel
Disney resorts provide pool towels to their guests, so don’t worry about bringing your own! You can of course, but sometimes it’s nice to have one less item to carry. Even if you do bring your own, grab a resort towel anyway. That way, yours is nice and dry when you want to bundle up for the journey back to your room.
You also can borrow life vests at the Disney pools, so you can save room in the suitcase and leave the puddle jumper at home. Again, if you’re more comfortable with your own, that’s fine. However, as someone who often flies, I appreciate the fact that I don’t need these bulky items!
Lunch at the Pool
Even if you bring your own pool snacks, there are plenty of food and beverage options if you want something more substantial. If you’re hanging out for the whole day, it can be nice to split a hot meal while you take a break from swimming.
The Beaches & Cream quick service window is a great option, as is Hurricane Hanna’s Waterside Bar and Grill. At Hurricane Hanna’s, we recommend the seafood roll with homemade chips, while you can’t go wrong with a burger from Beaches & Cream. Of course, if you want to just have a sundae for lunch, we won’t judge you either!
Keep Off the Beach
There are plenty of signs and fences to remind you, but the beach itself is off limits. You’re in Florida and those gators are not the happy “zipa-dee-do-da” kind. The warning signs are there for a reason, so respect them for your own safety.
It is a bit disappointing, as in years past you could lounge on the beach, but again the rules are there for your protection. You used to be able to swim in the lake too, but that doesn’t mean it was a good idea!
No Towels on the Balcony
In order to preserve the sophisticated look of the Yacht Club, guests cannot hang their towels out on the balconies. This is true at all Disney resorts, but is more strictly enforced at the deluxe resorts in order to preserve the aesthetic. While you don’t have to pack a beach towel, as the resort provides them, if you do bring your own towel plan to hang it up in your room. For the resort towels, you should return them before leaving the pool anyway.
Indulge at the Yachtsman Steakhouse
Fitting with the classy vibe of the resort, the Yachtsman Steakhouse is perfect for a date night or special treat. Decadent New England cuisine brings you mouth-watering steaks and succulent seafood, all perfectly seasoned to bring out the best flavors. Those dining as a pair may enjoy the Chef’s Offerings for two – a prime porterhouse meal or chilled seafood tower. Both are on the expensive side, but are well worth it. The intimacy of sharing your meal is also perfect for a romantic evening!
Dress the Part
When you go to the Yachtsman, make sure you follow the dress code. A few restaurants around Disney World require a certain level of dress to maintain the atmosphere. These dress codes are not suggestions – you could be turned away from the restaurant if you are not dressed appropriately. Don’t risk it, make sure you’re prepared! Besides, if you’re going to a nice place, don’t you want the excuse to get dolled up?
Wonderful World of Wine
The second Wednesday of every month, the Yachtsman hosts a wine club, giving guests the chance to sample wines from California, Italy, France, Chile, Australia and more. Learn about where the wines are made, the climates of the vineyards, and the specialized winemaking processes of each location. Small plates are offered to pair with the wines, bringing out the flavor of both the wine and the food.
Guests must be 21 years or older and provide a valid ID. This is a popular experience, so be sure to call (407) 824-1391 to secure a spot!
Breakfast at the Ale & Compass
While it is open for dinner as well, you have to try the breakfast at the Ale & Compass Restaurant! The other signature restaurant at the Yacht Club, these divine dishes are the perfect way to start your day. While the menu isn’t extensive, it doesn’t need to be. These offerings are rich, delicious, and cover a variety of tastes. Our favorites are the Dark Chocolate Waffle and Salted Caramel-Apple French Toast, both of which come with a side of breakfast meat. You’ll definitely want to take a walk around the boardwalk after this breakfast!
Make it Quick at the Market
The Market at the Ale & Compass is your quick-stop location at the Disney Yacht Club, perfect for a grab-and-go meal or other conveniences. This is a great option for an early morning park day or departure, as you can pick up a meal and be on your way. If you want to sit and eat, there’s a decent amount of seating right next to the Market.
The Market is also where you can find souvenirs and Yacht Club specific swag!
Use Mobile Order
Skip the line and order your counter service meals on your app! Whether you’re in the parks or just picking up pizza on the boardwalk, Mobile Order is an ideal way to get your food without having to wait. You also can find more customizations on the app, which helps you to get the food just the way you want it. If you’re going to the Market to grab a quick meal, particularly if you’re really grabbing and going, Mobile Order is a must.
Light Dinner at the Lounge
When you’re planning to spend an evening at the park, you may not want a heavy meal. It’s also possible to get literally weighed down by all the delicious Disney food. With that in mind, you might want to check out the Ale & Compass Lounge for dinner. Upscale pub food is the perfect quick meal, yet the portions are just right for something a bit lighter. Two different flatbread choices will leave you feeling satisfied without being stuffed, and there’s even a burger available if you’re worried about being hungry later.
Big Breakfasts and Parks Days Don’t Mix
I know it sounds like a great plan to do the character breakfast at Cape May Café before you head to Epcot, but trust me, it isn’t.
First of all, most of the breakfast reservations you’ll be able to get are a good hour or two after you would want to be in the park.
Even with the earliest reservation, you’re likely to get into the parks well after 10:00am, which is a late start.
Second, these wonderful, delicious, sumptuous breakfasts are going to slow you down. You’re much more likely to want to nap than hike around Epcot afterwards.
Finally, if you have somewhere to be after the meal, you’re going to be tempted to rush through it. That’s not fair to you (who’s paying for it!) or your family.
Slow down, enjoy yourself, and don’t plan a park day on a signature breakfast day.
In general, there is a temptation to each waaaaay too much food when you’re in Disney. I get it, there’s amazing food everywhere! When the dining plans return, the need to eat to maximize your investment is even worse. However, you’re going to regret it if you overdo it. Find simple ways to reduce your meals, like choosing a lighter option or eating at a lounge instead of a table service. For the snacks, bring your own, or choose something like an apple or granola bar instead of that massive Mickey rice crispy treat. You’ll enjoy your time so much more if you don’t gorge yourself!
Go to Beaches & Cream!
Beaches & Cream is one of my favorite stops during a Disney trip, and after you go, you’ll understand why! Themed like a 1950s burger and soda shop, Beaches & Cream has plenty of fun nostalgia…with the delicious food to back it up.
Beaches & Cream has amazing sundaes, shakes, and specialty desserts, but the crowning glory is the Kitchen Sink. Served in an actual sink-shaped bowl, eight scoops of ice cream come covered in all the toppings you can imagine, as well as a full can of whipped cream! More recently, there have been variations on the Kitchen Sink, but the original version is certainly a remarkable sight.
Make a reservation for an inside table, or walk up to the window to get something to go. Sweet, savory, or a bit of both, you can’t go wrong with Beaches & Cream.
Sit on Your Balcony
As almost all the rooms have a balcony or patio, you should make good use of it! The views are beautiful, especially looking out over the boardwalk. Garden views are particularly peaceful, getting a little piece of nature in the midst of the resort. Sit out in the morning and enjoy a coffee, or watch the sun set over the lake as the evening begins to cool off.
If you’re traveling with kids and you’re all in one room, the balcony is especially nice. You can have some quiet time in the evening without waking your sleeping kiddos, while enjoying one of the features of your resort.
Homeward Bound – Hope to Sea You Soon!
Pack the Night Before
It may be the last thing you feel like doing, particularly if you spent your last day at the park, but you’ll be glad you did in the morning. Packing ahead of time means less scramble, and you will be less likely to leave anything behind in the room.
Leave out your outfit for the next day and your essentials, but get everything else ready to go. If you have young kids, make sure you know the location of all their items. Your departure will be much smoother, and you will be less stressed, with this one big to-do item checked off your list.
You might think there isn’t enough time for a meal, especially if you have a flight to catch. However, if you plan ahead, there will be enough time for you to eat before you head out, and we suggest that you do. Heading away from Walt Disney World on an empty stomach not only will make your departure harder, but will most likely make your whole party miserable (especially the kids). The Markey opens at 7:00am, but if that isn’t early enough for you, consider getting some snacks the night before to hold you over until you get to the airport.
If you’re driving yourself, at least get a grab-and-go item or snack to tide yourself over.
Check Out is at Eleven, but You Don’t Have to Leave!
Just because the checkout time is at 11:00am, that doesn’t make it your departure time. Even if you have a flight, the front desk will hold your suitcases until you’re ready to leave. If you drove yourself, just take your luggage out to your car. After all, you can leave at your own pace. From there, you can enjoy the amenities of the resort for the rest of the day!
This is nice if you don’t have far to travel or you’re transitioning between phases of your vacation. No need to rush away if you don’t have to do so!
Fabulous Photos – Pictures You Won’t Want to Miss!
Throughout this resort area, there are plenty of gorgeous photo opportunities for you and your family. Whether you want to just take in the scenery or plan your next Christmas card, take advantage of these gorgeous photo spots!
I love this spot at the Yacht Club. Looking out over the lake, the lighthouse is an iconic Yacht Club image, and is especially pretty at night. Take a picture of the whole scene, or have a family photo shoot at its base. This is another one of those photos you might want to get from the lake if you rent a boat!
Even if you’re not at the Yacht Club to get married, the gazebo makes a lovely place for some sweet pictures. It’s a public space, so unless there’s a wedding happening there, you’re free to use it!
While you can’t go out on the beach, there’s still some great spots to get nice pictures. Position yourself to get the shipwreck slide in the background, or the BoardWalk resort. At night when the BoardWalk is all lit up makes for a fantastic scenery shot!
On the Bridge
Over by Epcot, there is a bridge that connects the BoardWalk side to the Yacht & Beach side. You can get fabulous shots of all three resorts from here, not to mention some fun family poses.
Robert Brault once said “life is like sailing – you can use wind to go in any direction.” I hope that one day life’s wind will blow you in the direction of the Yacht Club!
Grace Hoyos, Staff Writer
Grace is a life-long lover of all things Disney, particularly the parks at Walt Disney World. She is also an avid Disney Cruise Line enthusiast who regularly dreams of the white sands of Castaway Cay. Grace loves the fact that her Disney trips give her time to spend with her family, enjoy incredible food, and try new experiences.