The Yacht Club Resort
The Yacht & Beach Club Resorts are "Siamese Twin" resorts, built right next to each other. Designed by Robert A.M. Stern, the two resorts hearken back to turn-of- the-century New England and it's seaside and nautical heritage.
Newport and other upper-crust seaside towns is the atmosphere that is captured here. The Yacht Club is a bit more formal, with darker hardwood floors and lots of brass. The Beach Club is a tad less pretentious, but is far from casual. Still, the resorts are very beautiful, and packed with restaurants and amenities.
Both resorts have lovely drives with valet parking, but self-parking (with a short walk up to the lobby) is available for us frugel types.
The Beach Club Resort
The Lobby of the Beach Club Resort is spectacular. It's a tall space, but decorated in light pastel colors. The detail work is lovely (check out the trusses and wall trim in the picture). Clearly, though, the wicker furniture, light wood floors, bright colors, and so on, give this resort a classy, but not overly-formal feel.
The Beach Club Resort's lobby.
Not so at the Yacht Club, in my opinion. The lobby here has a much lower ceiling. The wood floors are more highly polished and are made of darker woods. The chandeliers provide direct light (unlike the softer indirect lighting at the Beach Club). And the lobby is furnished with formal upholstered chairs and area rugs. It's a very nice resort, but much more prim and stiff than the Beach club. You might also note that the shared convention center is available to guests staying at either resort, but most of the business guests stay on the Yacht Club side.
The Yacht Club lobby.
I'll close with a few shots of the resorts taken from the Boardwalk across Crescent Lake.
As you look at them from across the way, the Yacht Club is to the left, the Beach Club to the right, and Storm Along Bay is front and center. (By the way, the walk way to Epcot's International Gateway is to the right, so if you're planning to spend a great deal of time in that park, you might prefer a room at the Beach Club that is much closer to that park.
The Yacht Club viewed from across Crescent Lake.
Stormalong Bay viewed from across Crescent Lake.
The Beach Club viewed from across Crescent Lake.
Storm Along Bay is a great pool. To call it a pool, though, is a great indignity. Storm Along Bay is actually so large that -- as defined by Florida law -- it's really a water park. The pool and slide and kiddie pool areas all have a sandy bottom, not the typical plaster or concrete surfaces. It's a great touch and makes this "pool" very special.
The picture here was taken one evening from right in front of Beaches & Cream as we waited for a table. Obviously, this is a much more crowded, busy area during the afternoon hours when resort guests are sunbathing and splashing that water all over the place.
Stormalong Bay, viewed from Beaches & Cream at night.
Unlike the vast array of shopping options at the Grand Floridian and the Contemporary Resort, the shops at the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts are fairly typical of most of the Disney resort hotels. Fittings and Fairings, at the Yacht Club and Atlantic Wear and Wardrobe at the Beach Club both sell typical resort items including snacks, Disney souvenirs, and so on. They are nice shops, nicely themed and decorated, but their merchandise is not extraordinary.
Fittings and Fairings, at the Yacht Club
Mickey and Donald are on display as the central display of the two shops. Mickey in a small wooden speedboat over at the Yacht Club's emporium, Donald handling the lifeguard duties at the Beach Club's shop.
Atlantic Wear and Wardrobe at the Beach Club
Another view of Atlantic Wear and Wardrobe at the Beach Club
Snowglobes for sale during the 2000-01 Millennium Celebration at Atlantic Wear and Wardrobe
One last thing that I should point out is Periwig's Beauty and Barber shop which is available to guests.
Periwig's Beauty and Barber Shop
Off of each lobby, a rather small lounge and bar are provided. At the Yacht Club, the Ale and Compass (top) serves up the libations. Over at the Beach Club, the Rip Tide Lounge (bottom) can quench your thirst.
Ale & Compass Lounge
Frankly, though, the two resorts make for a great combination. They each have their own unique flavors, but the two mesh well together, and the shared facilities (like Storm Along Bay, the huge pool complex, and the restaurants, which are within walking distance of any room at either resort) have more than enough capacity to keep all guests happily satisfied.
Which takes us to the least formal restaurant at either the Yacht or Beach Club Resorts. Beaches & Cream, themed as a turn-of- the-century ice cream parlor (with plenty of references to Boston's Fenway Park). This is a very small restaurant (you are looking at almost all of the available seating in the picture here). Also, the resort arcade is right next door (and accessible through an open archway in the door) so this tends to be a noisy place. There is a carry-out service, if you'd like to eat outside. You can see the carry-out line at the far right of the picture.
Beaches & Cream
In any case, Beaches & Cream serves up great burgers and fries (and onion rings). It's got a limited menu, but everything is excellent! The ice cream sundaes, especially, are spectacular. You just have to see one to believe it!
So, here is a picture. The mud slide sundae is rich in chocolate, fudge, and brownie. As if there isn't enough sweet there already, they stick those Oreos in the whipped cream. This is definitely a desert to be shared.
Beaches & Cream's famous Mudslide sundae
The other main restaurant at the Beach Club is the Cape May Cafe. Cape May serves up a great seafood buffet each and every night. Character breakfasts are held here, too, if you want to meet up with Chip & Dale, Goofy, and Pluto.
Cape May Cafe's buffet line
There are two restaurant options over at the Yacht Club. The Yacht Club Galley, is the more family- style restaurant of the two, although the meals are top-notch.
The Yacht Club Galley
Yachtsman Steakhouse is the resort's premier restaurant serving prime cuts of beef. The main distinction in the pictures is the white table clothes that grace the Steakhouse tables. Both restaurants provide great service, though, and excellent food.
When we had a dinner at Yacht Club Galley recently, the informal, unpretentious atmosphere was very relaxing. Of course, we had a four-year-old with us too. You're much more likely to run into kids at the Galley than at the Steakhouse. So if you want a quieter, more romantic meal, you might want to choose the Steakhouse.
In any case, there is a decent selection of restaurants between the two resorts. If you really want more options, Epcot is just a stone's throw away, the Boardwalk is directly across Crescent lake, and the Swan and Dolphin are within walking distance.
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