One of the Epcot resorts (though also close to Hollywood Studios), the Yacht & Beach Club (Y&B) sits across a 25-acre lake from Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. The non-Disney Swan and Dolphin sit off to the side.
Y&B appeals to guests seeking Grand Floridian style and service with a vacation atmosphere. Northeasterners will enjoy the Atlantic shore décor, circa 1900. (Circa 1970 in Atlantic City.) The Yacht Club half has tons of wood, brass, and nautical stuff, as if guests with yachts brought ashore items no longer needed or found on a beach and stuck them on the walls. Colors are deep blues, gold, and light gray for a seaworthy, earthy atmosphere. Disney treats the two as separate resorts, but from a pragmatic tourist standpoint, it makes more sense to consider them a single resort with somewhat different (though very similar) styles.
The Beach Club recreates family-owned, multi-story houses found within a few blocks of the Atlantic coast that offered room and board to weekly guests before the take-over of mega-hotel chains. Furniture, while plush and elegant, doesn’t always match, as if the rich New York folks furnished the hotel with five-year-old furniture – the stuff they replaced in April. The wave/sand/sun theme is incorporated into everything, with light blue furnishings.
Key reasons to stay at Y&B: The pool and the location. The Epcot area gives guests easy access to two parks without the sometimes-heavy flow of tourists at the Magic Kingdom’s monorail hotels.
The Yacht & Beach Club has a killer pool – Disney’s best outside the water parks. Part of the pool has a sand bottom, imitating a beach. Part winds under bridges and around turns – too big to get the entire thing in single photo. Most Disney resorts have a fake mountain pool slide, but Y&B Club guests enter a shipwreck, climb to the top, and slide a long way.
The Beach Club also has over 200 villas with kitchen facilities and more, part of the Disney Vacation Club. When not booked by DVC guests, they’re offered to other visitors.
Who should stay here
Kids from age three to 15 generally consider a good swimming pool the hallmark of a great hotel. People used to top-notch service should at least consider Y&B.
Who shouldn’t stay here
Saying “I stayed at the Yacht & Beach Club” doesn’t have the same panache back home as “I stayed at The Grand Floridian.” While arguably equal in service and amenities, the latter has a classier reputation.
Boats ferry guests to either Epcot or Hollywood Studios; both parks are also in not-so-easy walking distance. Hearty guests may walk in the morning; few choose the option after a day in the parks. All other points reached by bus.
Questions to ask when booking
Generally, Yacht Club guests have quicker access to the pool and theme park boats, though Beach Club guests on the Yacht Club side don’t have much of a walk. The resort also has a few very quiet, secluded pools without all the bells and whistles. A room at the far end of the Beach Club offers a lot of tranquility for Type A guests trying to lower their blood pressure. Not all rooms have pool or lake views, so ask if that’s important – but expect to pay a bit more for scenery.
Yacht Club: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/yacht-club-resort
Beach Club: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/beach-club-resort