We spent the majority of our trip at the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts with four nights at Yacht Club and three nights at the Beach Club Villas. I almost wrote two different posts but it doesn’t make sense, because outside of changing where we slept the amenities that were available to us did not change.
The statement “don’t judge a book by its cover” holds true. I mentioned that I didn’t think I’d like staying at the Grand Floridian and I fell in love with it. I was expecting to be crazy about the Beach Club Villas and wasn’t overly excited about the Yacht Club portion of our stay. My opinions by the end of our trip were actually the reverse. The studio villa was just “eh” after spending five days/four nights in the amazing Yacht Club room.
Yacht Club Room
The rooms at the Yacht Club were renovated in 2017 so I no idea what they used to be like but I found it to be amazing during our stay! The room had tons of storage– a huge closet, drawers, cubbies in the bathroom, and probably most exciting: room to slide large luggage under the beds! Since I had packed our bags in preparation of splitting our days in different hotel rooms I immediately put the bag with clothes for the end of the week under the bed. It was great to have suitcases tucked away. Out of sight and out of mind.
Next on the list of things I loved about the room was the number of USB ports! We travel with a power strip that allows us to plug in the many devices (phones, portable chargers, and tablets) since most hotels don’t have anywhere near enough outlet space, let alone any USB ports. We never got around to counting them. We never ran out so there were more than enough.
I think I was most in enamored with was the curtains. It’s okay if you’re laughing. I laugh every time I tell someone about it. At first, I thought there were just stars and constellations on the curtains. When I started to take a closer look to show Peanut some of the constellations I pulled the curtain closed and found the constellation Mousimus Jovial. It was MICKEY!! There were other characters too including Minnie, Ariel, and Simba. They were absolutely the cutest curtains ever.
Outside of the curtains I didn’t feel there was much of a theme to the room. I’m fine with that. I like the crisp, clean look and feel.
I could have easily spent the whole week in the room. The amount of space, storage, and comfort was perfect.
Beach Club Studio Villa
I was the first one in our room and was able to take a moment to enjoy it in peace and quiet. I was almost immediately underwhelmed though. After spending the first part of our trip in the very spacious room just across the property stepping into our Studio room was a bit of a disappointment. I immediately felt it was smaller and was searching for a place to leave our luggage. The bathroom lacked storage and separate dressing and bathing quarters, though I’m fairly certain this is because we were in a handicap accessible room. Layouts and photos I had reviewed before our stay do show the studios to have separation in the bathroom.
Initially, I was hoping to just make a bed on the sofa without folding it out for one of the kids, but they insisted on opening it fully. It definitely left us with little extra space. The luggage ended up shoved in corners of the room and one piece was next to my side of the bed to act as a “table” for my phone and water each night.
We had the kitchenette Grumpy was so adamant on having this trip. We used the microwave once this time. It’s a nice convenience to have but didn’t work into our needs this time. I may have convinced him to take it off the “must have” list.
The cutest element in this room was the murphy bed! Pictures I have seen online of murphy beds across the property have hidden mini-murals of Disney characters. In person, Donald sleeping in a beach chair is even better. The kids did a little bit of fighting over which one would sleep in this bed. Ultimately Peanut negotiated a deal and got the first night. He almost conned his way into getting the second night too.
We had first floor rooms on both sides of the resort. There was a small patio perfect for the kids to eat breakfast or snacks. We had a view of a “quiet” pool in each room as well. They were always very quiet with a maximum of three families at one time. Generally, it was only one group at the pool, if any. We did swim at the Yacht Club’s quiet pool once, but we preferred Stormalong Bay much more.
It’s 110% worth staying at Yacht Club or Beach Club just to gain access to Stormalong Bay. I knew it was the biggest pool on property. While chatting with a Cast Member who checked our bands to make sure we were actually registered at the resort I learned it’s so big it’s actually considered a water park!
It’s also so big that it never felt crowded. My kids loved the sandy penisula in the zero entry area. Peanut spent quite a bit of time building castles. He even made a buddy with a child from England one day. They were hoping to meet again but we had different schedules.
I also loved the sand. It was not fine beach sand and didn’t follow us back to our room. It also felt like a massage on my feet after walking around the in the parks. It was a comfy place to sit and watch the kids while the played and had amazing views of the resort property.
We made sure to explore all areas of the pool which included a relaxing lazy river, swimming area with a volleyball net, a small cove, small hot tub, and the shipwreck with a kiddie slide and a huge slide. Diva thought about it for a minute then looked across the sidewalk to see how large it actually was and quickly changed her mind. Peanut had no interest in it at all. I’m a little bummed we didn’t get to try it at least once.
I asked the kids what they had to say about the pool when we got back to the room.
Ship Shape Gym
While the kids and I prefer the pool Grumpy wanted to spend his non-park time at the gym instead. Here’s what he has to say about Ship Shape.
After a good workout, I feel a sense of accomplishment and I may not be as grumpy as usual, but no promises there. Nikki was nice enough, or maybe she just wanted to get rid of me for a while, and she scheduled some “gym time” in the itinerary. The Ship Shape fitness center had all the essentials for a great vacation workout.
Honestly, I was impressed by the freezer full of cold, folded towels. I am not used to this luxury at the gym I am a member of. The cold towels alone were enough to bring me back to the gym!
At the center of the room was a universal dual-cable machine. Using the adjustable cables and the attachments at hand I was able to easily complete any workout I desired. There were dumbbells and an adjustable bench in the corner for anyone wishing to use free weights. The heaviest set was only 60lbs. Obviously, no one is going to be powerlifting when on vacation, but with some push-ups added in between sets, I felt it was good enough for being on vacation.
There was plenty of cardio equipment available as if walking 5+ miles a day in the park wasn’t enough for some people.
There were machines available for leg press, shoulder press, and bicep curls. There was also a section for sit-ups, stretching, or any other activity you would prefer on an open floor.
After several buffet meals, I was looking forward to a good workout!
There was plenty of free fruit and ice water available, and the facility was kept clean at all times.
Location, Location, Location!
After our stay I’m completely sold on the convenience of the Epcot area resorts. With multiple modes of transportation (boat, bus, walking) and proximity to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios I think it’s a better choice than the Magic Kingdom area resorts which only provides quick access to the one park. I can’t believe I’m saying that considering how much I love spending time at Magic Kingdom. We couldn’t beat being able to walk to Epcot in 6 or 7 minutes and Hollywood Studios was only 20 minutes away. It was so much easier to walk than fold up the stroller or wait and ride with a crowd. We did use the boat to Hollywood Studios a couple times. It was an easy and quiet ride.
The views around Crescent Lake are beautiful! Whether we were looking at the Boardwalk or from the Boardwalk towards Yacht & Beach Club there was never a bad angle.
The beaches along the lake are a nice place to swing and relax while the kids play in the sand or run around laughing.
And in the evening walk to the right areas and you can watch Epcot’s nightly display of (currently) Illuminations! My guess is you could also see Hollywood Studios display, but we watched those on the Friendship boat one evening and never looked for them while at the resort.
There is no shortage of food in the area. We admittedly did not spend a lot of time eating at the multitude of locations available at our resort and on the Boardwalk. Our nearby dining included Cape May, Beaches & Cream Soda Shop (on more than one occasion), and Trattoria al Forno on the Boardwalk. I wanted to make it Ample Hills Creamery but time didn’t permit. Grumpy did manage to get a picture of me and Diva there after our breakfast at Trattoria al Forno. He laughed because it sums me up perfectly!
The whole resort area is a food lover’s dream. Walking by Yachtsman Steakhouse made my mouth water every single evening!
The problem with all the food is it does make the resort feel crowded at times. Saturday evening, in particular, was rather jammed as we tried to walk around, especially near the pool and outside Beaches and Cream.
I did miss having the food court that Art of Animation and Port Orleans (and all other value and moderates) offered during our stay. The Markets in both sides of the resort served their purposed but limited our selection.
Overall, I loved our stay! I would return any time (for the price is right) preferably to Yacht Club but I wouldn’t turn down Beach Club.