The Yacht Club Resort: A Photo Tourby Donald and Bonnie Fink, contributing writer
Bonnie celebrated her birthday not long ago, and as you might imagine, special day, special hotel. Seems like solid logic to us. We chose the Yacht Club Resort, one of Disney's Epcot Area hotels.
This hotel is located just outside Epcot, within walking distance of the park, along the shores of Crescent Lake. The walk to Epcot is about five minutes, or you can take a Friendship boat if you prefer. Both methods place you at Epcot's International Gateway, near the United Kingdom.
Hollywood Studios is also accessible by walking or Friendship boat. The walk will take closer to thirty minutes, but it's an easy stroll along a picturesque canal, passing the Swan, The Dolphin, and The Boardwalk hotels along the way.
The globe in the lobby of the Yacht Club is a reproduction of a rendering from knowledge of the world in 1651. This is an interesting map and certainly worth some time to look it over. The original is in a museum in Italy. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
This map—also in the lobby—depicts the eastern coast of the Americas. It was produced by Dutch Cartographer Jan Jansson (Jan Janssonius) in Amsterdam. The label below it indicates that it was drawn around 1716, but our brief research points to the middle of the 17th century. In any case, this map appears to be the real deal. Photo by Donald Fink.
Shopping and Dining
Since the Yacht Club Resort is a Deluxe Hotel, it does not have a food court, and shopping for general merchandise is more limited than the offerings in value and moderate hotels on Disney property. This doesn't mean that you'll go hungry, or in need of a new Disney t-shirt. There are a few options.
If you're looking for snacks or merchandise at the Yacht Club, The Market at Ale & Compass is your go-to place. Here you'll find general merchandise and some quick service foods, including pastries and sandwiches, coffee, and soft drinks. Photo by Donald Fink.
At the Ale & Compass restaurant, we had breakfast. Bonnie tried an American Breakfast, which was Two Eggs, Sausage or Bacon, and served with Potatoes or fresh fruit. Don had a Cornbread Waffle with Strawberry-Orange Compote, Lemon Ricotta, and Basil Sugar. Both were every bit as we expected from this kind of restaurant and worth doing again.
Our schedules didn't allow for lunch of dinner here, but the dinner menu looks interesting. We could try the roasted Buffalo-style cauliflower to start, then warm up to their smoked short ribs with roasted vegetable mash and barbecue demi, or maybe a smoked barbecue pork chop with sorghum, Swiss chard, and house bacon. To round it off, an apple tart with blackberry sauce and apple cider sorbet looks interesting. And of course, there's a complete list of wines, beers, and cocktails. You can see their complete menu here.
Time and budget didn't allow us a visit to the Yachtsman Steakhouse. There you can find an open-air kitchen with a spacious rotunda style main dining room. There's also a private room available with seating for 12. Like many of the finer restaurants on Disney property, there's a dress code at the Yachtsman Steakhouse. You can see more about it on their reservations site here. They're only open for dinner. Here's their menu.
One of our contributing writers, Roan Poulter, visited the Yachtsman Steakhouse in 2016, and had some favorable things to say about it. You can see his MousePlanet article here.
The Yacht Club Resort is a deluxe-category Disney hotel inspired by turn-of-the-century summer homes found at Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. The hotel, designed by noted architect Robert A.M. Stern, takes you back to the 1890s, with fancy-cut shingles and French doors.
Our room, on the first floor, was equipped with a king bed and a patio with a view of the lagoon.
Here's a standard room at the Yacht Club Resort with a lagoon or pool view. We opted for a room with a view of the Lagoon. It turned out that it also had an excellent view of the fireworks at Epcot. Photo by Donald Fink.
The Yacht and Beach club has a nice gym called “Ship-Shape Salon–Massage–Fitness” in case you need a workout. It's located mid-way between The Yacht Club Resort and the Beach Club Resort. And of course, as the name implies, there's more to this facility besides a row of treadmills. You can get a full-service spa treatment as well as salon services and a massage. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
If you have the urge for some video games, Lafferty Place is the place to go. Like Ship-Shape Salon–Massage–Fitness, this facility is shared between The Yacht Club and its neighbor, The Beach Club. Photo by Donald Fink.
Beaches and Cream is technically at the Beach Club, but it's worth stopping by for ice cream. This restaurant also has one of the best hamburgers on Disney property. They're so popular that reservations are a must to eat in, but they also have a take-out window. We've been here several times in the past for special occasions, or when friends or family are in town. If you like a 1950s era diner with current-day gourmet hamburgers, malts, and sundaes, this place will not disappoint. Photo by Donald Fink.
One of the most important parts of a hotel stay for some folks is the quality and theming of the hotel's pool. For families, especially those with youngsters, a pool offers a place to unwind and relax in the afternoons. Around the time when most kids' attitudes head south from too much excitement at the parks, a great pool offers a chance to unwind and re-charge.
The pool at the Yacht Club Resort is shared with the Beach Club Resort. Stormalong Bay is multifaceted, containing a general swimming pool as well as sandy beaches and three separate lagoon areas. One area is specifically for kids with depths of two to three feet. There's also a separate, smaller, and more secluded pool guests can use away from the main activities.
If you're into running, there's a New Balance running trail around the Boardwalk. It's 0.8 miles around Crescent Lake, and you can extend your run by heading over to Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Donald Fink.
You can pick your own pearl and have it mounted at the Pearl Factory, which is a jewelry company from Hawaii. They have many locations around the country including Hawaii, California, Nevada, and Florida. Two Florida locations are on Disney property. One is at Disney Springs in the Marketplace, and the other is right here at The Yacht Club resort. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
Friendship boats take depart for Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and the other resorts on Crescent Lake from the Yacht Club dock. We prefer to walk, but the Friendship boats are a great way to get around if walking doesn't interest you. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
At the Bayside Marina you can rent a Sea Raycer, Boston Whaler, or a Sun Tracker Pontoon Boat. You can also charter a pontoon boat, complete with a captain, that takes you into Epcot to view the fireworks, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. The boat can accommodate up to ten people. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
We can't always stay at a deluxe hotel when we spend time on property, but when we can, we have a list of our all-time favorites. This was our first stay at The Yacht Club Resort. Because of the quality of this hotel and its close proximity to Epcot and Hollywood Studios—our two favorite parks on property—we're certain this won't be our last visit.