Disney’s Yacht Club First Impressions: 3.5 Star Hotel Posing as Disney’s Best?

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Disney's Yacht Club Mixed Feelings

Disney’s Yacht Club Mixed Feelings – Value Isn’t There

It’s finally here! My stay at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort has finally come. Yacht Club is not technically considered a luxury hotel, but it is a top tier Disney Deluxe hotel like the Grand Floridian, Polynesian and Contemporary for example. For the nights of our stay the rates are around $500 (or at least they were when I booked), however I paid $0 plus some Delta miles as part of the amazing Delta Vacations deal.

Overview

Disney’s Yacht Club (and its connected sister Beach Club) are among the most popular resorts at Walt Disney World. They have an amazing location nestled between EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios plus the Boardwalk Resort and its restaurants are across the water, the brand new Skyliner is nearby and finally the hotels have what is widely considered to be Disney’s best pool in Stormalong Bay

To say I was excited is an understatement, but yet again I quickly realized that Disney simply doesn’t compare to other hotel operators when it comes to refinement. A statement that may surprise some, but one that has proven true on stay after stay. Heck, even Disney fans who praise Disney at every corner will admit this fact if you question them long enough.

Disney's Yacht Club Mixed Feelings
Disney’s Yacht Club lobby.

The Good & Bad of Disney’s Yacht Club

While I’ll have a full review soon, I did want to lay out my initial impressions good, bad and surprising. Here we go in no particular order:

The Room – Decent room. Decor is clean and modern. Fits the theme. Bathroom is very small for a hotel of this price. Overall I am happy with the room, but it isn’t significantly nicer than my renovated room at the Value All Star Movies Resort.

The View – I booked and paid for a standard room which entitles me to views of some trees or an a/c unit if I am lucky, however I requested a specific room that is in the base category, but also has a view. And I got it! A win for me and a great view considering I didn’t pay Disney’s insane upgrade prices for better views.

Disney's Yacht Club Mixed Feelings
View from our room. It is hard to see but we have a nice view of the lake as well just beyond the water park.

Worn Hotel – The hotel feels very worn in some places, especially on the guest floors. Walls are scraped, dinged and otherwise dirty all over the place. It reminds me of an old Hilton, Marriott or Hyatt which hasn’t been renovated for 15-20 years. I should say the lobby is quite attractive and in very good shape.

Trash Everywhere – One of the biggest shocks for us was the insane system the maids seemingly have here. We arrived around 11am and luckily were able to go straight to our room since it was ready early. On the trek to our room we saw dozens of bags of trash lining the hallways along with temporary maid carts, beds and tons of room service from the night before. Shocking.

 

No Housekeeping Services Areas – I’m not 100% sure if there are backstage housekeeping service areas, but during the day the housekeepers roll out giant housekeeping service bins that they use to service all of the rooms. These giant bins take up half of the hallway and are responsible for a lot of the marks on the walls. Combined with the trash that is thrown everywhere, it is jarring and unpleasant. We also saw maids store a rollaway bed in the hallway outside of our room for the better part of the first day.

Great Location – I really love the location. Most everything is nearby and it gives you the best chances of avoiding bus transportation around property. Yes, you’ll still need a bus for some places, but with 2 of the 4 parks nearby you can get around easily.

Yacht Club’s Terrible Value

Finally, let’s talk about value. I stayed on property at WDW earlier this year twice in Value Resorts through Priceline for about $75 per night. That was a great deal. The rooms were modern and comfortable and I was on property. Most important, the price paid wasn’t significantly more than I would pay for a room at a comparable off-property hotel. I have also stayed off property a few times this year and many times in the past. Orlando has some amazing hotels.

Disney's Yacht Club Mixed Feelings
Yacht Club standard 2 queen room.

What it comes down to is the Yacht Club is 4-5X the prices of nicer 4 star hotels off property for the dates of my stay. For example, The Grand Cypress could have been booked for $120 a night when I locked this all in. Even without my Hyatt Globalist benefits that is a nicer hotel. Yes, it takes a bit longer to get to the parks, but not too long since it is right next to Disney Springs.

Bottom Line

I am enjoying my stay here at Yacht Club. I would classify it as a nice 3-3.5 star property with some pockets of 4 star service and some practices that wouldn’t fly at an old airport Holiday Inn in Wichita. Pretty damning words I admit, but it is the truth. I have spent 100+ nights in hotels this year and Yacht Club BY FAR has the biggest disconnect between rates and what you get. Location doesn’t justify 4-5X prices, even at Walt Disney World. 

With all of that said, I can’t wait to try out the amazing looking pool, much of the staff has been incredibly friendly and while somewhat average, I do enjoy the room, with the exception of the small bathroom. So, my initial impressions are mixed, but we are having a great time and I’m so glad the amazing Delta Vacations deal allowed us this experience. #NoRegrets

Have you stayed at the Yacht Club before? What do you think?

7 COMMENTS

  1. Yes! Haven’t stayed at Yacht Club but agree with the central premise as we had our first stay at Grand Californian early this month and were extremely underwhelmed. Our stay was highlighted by finding a previously used robe hanging as fresh in the closet and a maintenance issue that kept us up much of the first night. For the price point and their reputation I expected much more. We are treated much better at any of the Hyatts just down the block! Thanks for your honest review!

  2. Thanks for this review. Haven’t been in 10 years. Our favorite resort is AKL. Hope it’s still intact as we plan to go 2021.

  3. I felt really sorry for the guests of the Yacht Club when they were heading over to the water parks, draping hotel towels over their shoulders. The pool towels were the same towels at the value resorts! They were so tiny. I can easily stay at Ritz Carlton, Waldorf Astoria, or Grand Cypress (back then) for cheaper (at the time of year we were there…not always) and have gotten plush towels that nearly fit the length of my body. We decided to never again stay at a Disney hotel.

  4. It’s WDW, clearly there is a huge disconnect between price and star rating. I grew up in Orlando and have spent too much time at WDW (even after moving farther and farther away from Orlando). Even the Grand Floridian is quite disappointing compared with most luxury hotels around the world. For me, it’s more about being able to take the monorail or bus, enjoy the pool, spend time with my family, and have quick close access to the parks. I agree with most of your points; however, I’d gladly pay $500 a night for a “4 star” hotel at Disney.

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