10 Reasons the Yacht & Beach Club is the Best Disney World Resort
Picking out the perfect Disney World resort is one of my favorite parts of the vacation planning process. There are so many options!
On the other hand, there are so many options! How can you possibly pick the perfect one?
Well look no further folks, I have the answer for you. Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club is, hands down, the best resort at Disney World.
Technically these are two separate resorts. However, they share the same amenities and are right next to each other on Crescent Lake near Epcot. So, I am lumping them together.
The Yacht Club is a deluxe-level resort and has a nautical theme. The Beach Club has a, you guessed it, beachy theme and a deluxe villa resort.
Between the two of them, they have over 1400 guest rooms, 275 villas, and 20 suites.
So, what makes these resorts my favorite? I’m glad you asked!
Here are 10 reasons why Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club is, hands down, the best resort at Disney World.
The Large Size of the Rooms
As a family of 5, hotel room size is important to us. We don’t want to be climbing all over one another all the time.
We don’t have to worry about that here! Even the standard-sized rooms at this resort are large enough for us. A typical standard room is 400 square feet and features either two queen beds and a day bed or a king bed. The day bed is plenty comfortable and can fit a child or average-sized adult.
If you need even more space or would like a kitchen to help cut down on food costs, the Beach Club has you covered. It has 1 or 2-bedroom villas, all with full kitchens, a washer and dryer, and a private porch or balcony.
The 1-bedroom villas are 726 square feet. It features a king-sized bed in the bedroom plus a queen-sized sleeper sofa in the living room. It can accommodate up to 4 guests plus a child under the age of 3 in a crib.
The 2-bedroom villas are 1083 square feet and can accommodate up to 8 guests plus a child under the age of 3 in a crib. There is a king-sized bed in one bedroom, 2 queens in the other, and a queen-sized sleeper sofa in the living room. The best part: It has two bathrooms!
The 2-bedroom Beach Club villas are HUGELY popular and often sell out.
Walking Distance to Epcot and Hollywood Studios
A huge benefit to these resorts is their proximity to not one, but two Disney parks.
It’s a quick 5-minute walk to the International Gateway entrance to Epcot. That puts you close to Frozen Ever After. It will be super easy for you to get there early and in front of the line of that hugely popular attraction.
An easy 20-minute stroll along a nearby waterway gets you to Hollywood Studios. Being able to walk to Hollywood Studios puts you at a HUGE advantage over all other guests.
You can head there before the Disney transportation starts running AND the parking lots open. Time it right and you’ll be towards the front of the line to get in the park. You’ll be walking onto Slinky Dog Dash before the rest are even getting their temperature taken.
Access to the Disney Skyliner
After a fun-filled day at Hollywood Studios, you aren’t going to want to make the 20-minute walk back to the hotel. Hop on the Disney Skyliner instead!
The Disney Skyliner is a new aerial gondolas transportation system that connects Hollywood Studios and Epcot, plus nearby hotels. It has stations at Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Art of Animation, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach Resort, and the new Riviera Resort. The Epcot Skyliner station is at the International Gateway entrance, putting it just an easy 5-minute walk away from Yacht and Beach Club.
The Skyliner is a game-changer. It makes it so easy to get around any of these locations. You can relax and enjoy the amazing views as you sail through the sky to your destination.
It is a smooth ride, easy to board, and you don’t have to fold your stroller to get on.
I don’t do well with heights, but I was able to handle riding the Skyliner. I will admit that I got a little uneasy when we stopped for a bit between Caribbean Beach and the Riviera. But we weren’t swinging around and weren’t stopped long so it won’t stop me from riding again.
Please note that the Skyliner will close for inclement weather.
The Pool is Amazing
The Beach and Yacht Club share the best hotel pool of any Disney property: Stormalong Bay.
It’s a whopping 3-acres and features a sand bottom, lazy river, sandy play area for the kids, and a huge waterslide. The waterslide is 230-feet long -- one of the highest hotel slides at Disney World -- and designed to look like a life-sized shipwreck. There is also a smaller water slide for the younger set at the Shipwreck Pool.
There are also several whirlpools to relax in and Cabana rentals available.
Scroll through all these pictures and look at how HUGE and gorgeous this pool is. The perfect way to spend a rest day in the middle of your vacation.
There are also three other leisure pools at your disposal. One at Yacht Club, one at Beach Club, and another at the Beach Club Villas.
Tons of Activities Nearby
There is a ton of activities at the hotel itself and nearby. All within walking distance.
Keep up your regular fitness routine with the fitness equipment at The Ship Shape Massage Salon Fitness at the hotel. Or get a relaxing massage and facial at the spa. Hairstyling and nail services for men, women, and children are also available.
There are also tennis courts, Disney Movies Under the Stars, and youth activities outside by the pool.
It’s a .8-mile loop around Crescent Lake right in front of the resort if you like to start your day with a jog.
Speaking of Crescent Lake, having it right there by the resort adds even more activities to your disposal. There are watercraft and Surrey Bike rentals available so you can take in all the beauty of the lake and its surroundings at your leisure.
It will be easy to use the free round of mini-golf you get for booking a Disney World Travel vacation package when you stay at Yacht and Beach Club. (My clients qualify for this freebie!) That’s because the Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf Course is just an easy 15–20-minute walk away.
Oh, and that is not all. There is a dance club, dueling piano bar, and carnival-type entertainers on the boardwalk surrounding Crescent Lake at night.
You will not be hard-pressed to find something to do.
COVID update: Many of these activities, such as the piano bar, dance club, and carnival entertainers are not open or happening right now. But there is still plenty of things to do and I can’t wait until they are able to bring the full Boardwalk experience back after the pandemic.
Even More Restaurants
You didn’t think there would be all those entertainment options and no restaurants, right?
I would argue it has the most restaurants within walking distance than any other hotel. (Well, except for the Boardwalk Resort which is on the opposite of Crescent Lake. It has all the same restaurant options within easy access as the Yacht and Beach Club due.)
There are five restaurants at Yacht and Beach Club, including the super-popular Beaches & Cream Soda Shop. If you are looking for something more upscale you can head to the Yachtsman Steakhouse for some surf and turf.
Ale & Compass serves up Yankee comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Right now, you can order food from Ale & Compass for pickup to eat back in your room.
Cape May Café has Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast, a character meal featuring your favorite mouse in polka dots. (Note, this is currently closed due to COVID. Hopefully, it reopens soon!)
Head to the other side of Crescent Lake and you’ll find 10 more restaurants. That includes ESPN Zone, the super delicious Pizza Window, an ice cream shop, bakery, and even a margarita and funnel cake cart. The Big River Grille & Brewing Works offers a handcrafted beer sampler, and the Flying Fish is a sustainable seafood eatery if you are looking for a more upscale fare.
Trattoria al Forno offers delicious Italian food and has my favorite character breakfast of them all: the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast! It features my favorite princess, Ariel, plus Rapunzel, Eric, and Flynn Rider. It is so fun. Plus, the food is delicious.
COVID Note: Many of these restaurants are currently unavailable, including the character breakfasts. I can’t wait till they bring it back. You can find all the latest information on what is and is not open at Disney Know Before You Go website.
Factor in the fact you can hop on the Skyliner and head over to the Riviera, Art of Animation, Pop Century, or Caribbean Beach resorts and you have even MORE restaurants easily accessible from Yacht and Beach Club. Too many to name.
Okay, I’ll name one because it's amazing. Topolino’s Terrace is a brand-new French restaurant at the top of the Riviera Resort. Not only does it offer delicious food, but it also has amazing rooftop views. It’s a great restaurant to sneak away to for a date with your partner one evening.
It also has a character breakfast featuring Mickey and Friends that IS currently open and has gotten rave reviews. It’s a super hard reservation to get!
Phew, so many options!
It’s Posh Theme and Smell of the Lobby
Guys, I love the theming of these resorts. It’s so clean and fresh and makes me feel like I’m part of an exclusive club.
All Disney resorts have their own lobby scent and I LOVE the Yacht Club’s. I love it so much I bought a candle scented like it for at home. The obsession is real.
It’s Dog Friendly
If you need to bring your four-legged best friend, they are welcome to stay with you at the Yacht Club. There are even services available on-site to assist you with care during the day. (Fees apply.)
The Disney Bubble
Some people groan when they see this listed as a reason. But the Disney bubble is a huge perk to many, me included. I would be remiss not to include it.
A Disney vacation is more than the theme parks to me. It’s the hotel, the level of customer service, the pixie dust, and magic at every turn. I want that feeling of Disney magic to stay with me my entire vacation.
Disney Resort Perks
Currently, the perks to staying at a Disney resort include:
The ability to use MagicBands and purchase them at a discount, as low as $5.
MagicBands open your hotel door, serve as your park ticket, and gives you the ability to charge everything back to your room including meals and merchandise.
If you purchase MemoryMaker the PhotoPass photographers will scan your band to link your photos to your account. Certain attractions will also automatically pick up on the RFID tag in your band and send your attraction videos and pictures directly to your account.
While you don’t HAVE to have a MagicBand, I find them to be much more convenient than the Key to the World cards.
For one they fit comfortably on your wrist, so you don’t have to keep digging in your pocket all the time.
Second, you can order them in advance and have them sent to your house. This eliminates the need to head to the front desk of your hotel to pick up the cards when you arrive. If you have an early flight into Orlando and want to head straight to the parks, you’ll have to have a MagicBand.
The ability to make dining reservations at once for your entire length of stay.
Dining reservations open at 60 days out for everyone. However, Disney resort guests can make their dining reservations for their entire vacation (up to 10 days) starting at 60 days out from check-in.
Those staying off property can only make them one day at a time, or 60 days out from each day they’d like to make a reservation for. That means many of those hard-to-get reservations, like Cinderella’s Royal Table and Topolino’s character breakfast, will likely be gone by the time it’s their turn.
Disney’s Magical Express
Disney offers free transportation between the resort and the Orlando airport (MCO). They are discontinuing that service starting with arrivals in 2022. For the remainder of this year, it remains a big and convenient perk.
The free transportation all around Disney World resort itself is never going away. That includes bus transportation, the monorail, boats, and Skyliner. No need to rent a car.
If you do have a car, you will need to pay for parking at your resort. However, Disney Resort guests don’t need to pay for parking again at any of the theme parks. Show your hotel parking receipt and be on your way.
Early Access to FastPass+ Planning
Disney Resort guests can make their FastPass+ reservations for their entire stay starting at 60 days out from check-in. Just like dining.
Those staying off property must wait until 30 days out and can only do them one day at a time.
COVID note: FastPasses are suspended due to the pandemic.
Coming Soon: Early Theme Park Entry
Disney announced in early January 2021 Extra Magic Hours are not coming back. Extra Magic Hours gave extra park time at certain parks on certain days exclusively to Disney resort guests.
Instead, they will open EVERY park EVERY day 30 minutes early to Disney resort hotel guests. No word on the start date for this, but sometime in 2021.
Guys, I am SO EXCITED about this change. It will spread out the crowds to all the parks, making it even easier for Disney resort guests to jump-start their day and ride the most popular attractions with minimal waits.
Generous Cancellation Policy
This perk is more important than ever right now.
Disney’s cancellation policy has always been generous. You can cancel for a full refund up to 30 days prior to check-in. Disney is waiving any Disney-imposed change or cancellation fees up to the date of check-in for arrivals through April 30, 2021.
That means you could wake up the morning you are supposed to check-in to your Disney resort, decide you don’t feel comfortable traveling, cancel, and get all your money back. How great is that!
This generous policy does not apply to ticket-only purchases, which are non-refundable. If you are considering staying elsewhere and must buy your park tickets separately, keep this cancellation policy in mind when making your decision.
Don’t forget Disney resort guests always get Magical Extras. This year includes free luggage tags featuring your favorite Disney characters, a free round of mini-golf, free general admission to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, 10% off at Splitsville Luxury Lanes, 10% Surrey Bike Rentals, and discounts at several restaurants and stores.
Ready to experience the wonderful Yacht and Beach Club yourself?
Now you’ve seen my reasons why the Yacht and Beach Club is the best Disney World resort. But don’t take my word for it. Experience it for yourself!
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