Just back from the Yacht Club Concierge 05/13 – 05/18 – The best yet! (LONG)

CaipiraBob

"Perfectly content to be an absolute caveman"
Joined
May 5, 2002
Just back from the Yacht Club Concierge 05/13 – 05/18 – The best yet! (LONG)


We’ve just returned from an excellent trip to the Yacht Club Concierge. In truth I’m a little bewildered. Usually I have some pet peeve or other that I can harp on after visiting a Disney Resort. This time I’m at a loss. I can’t think of anything wrong about the Yacht Club to complain about. It was the best resort I’ve been to yet!


We’ve done concierge at AKL, Polynesian, The Boardwalk with the latter being among the best experiences we’ve had. Each resort offered something special that we loved. It’s just that the Yacht Club had EVERYTHING and all of it was great.


In fact, we spent more time at the Yacht Club having fun on the grounds of the resort than in any other Disney resort we’ve stayed at. We spent an average of 6 hours a day at the pool. We drank enough drinks poolside that the courteous waitress knew our drinks by the second day. We floated around the lazy river enough that the LGs were tempted to poke us to make sure we were still alive. We used the “big slide” enough that we began to learn the CM shifts at the top of the mast. Yeah, we liked it plenty…


I’ll give a quick summary of the trip and try to detail what I thought was significant.


Off we go


Thursday I bolted from work and picked up the family. This consisted of my beautiful wife, our two children (7 and 5) and my mother, whom we had wanted to bring to celebrate her surviving cancer and other good reasons. We drove up to Orlando in only a few hours. We stayed at a resort called “Seralago” which featured “family suites” with a separate kid’s area for sleeping. The rooms had a small section that was noise proofed where the kids could play video games, play at two desks and sleep in 3 beds including 1 bunk bed. The themes were a castle, a frontier fort and a frontier jail. We put our kids in jail for the evening.


The room was only $80 a night and I felt it was a good move since we wouldn’t really be using the grounds for anything arriving late in the evening. The big set back was that the beds were very uncomfortable! My wife swore that she’d have a spring mark on her back if I checked. The beds may suffice for someone else, but I’d recommend extra padding or a few heavy sheets on top. It was that uncomfortable, you really could feel the springs.


We decided to return to “Boston Lobster Feast” all you can eat Lobster Buffet that evening. This was something my wife was really looking forward to. She LOVES lobster and I’ve never seen her turn it down when it’s on the menu. She was never like this when we were dating, but she asks for so little that I encouraged her to enjoy this sort of thing once in a while, much to the chagrin of the resident lobster population.


So she made it through about two lobsters and a bowl of bisque. We dropped the family off at the hotel and went to “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” museum. I had been wanting to hit this place for years and finally got my chance. What did I think? It was interesting, but not enough to justify the expense of nearly $20 PP. Don’t go out of your way for it unless you’re a fan. Wasn’t all that bad or anything, just expensive for the content.


Friday arrived and we picked up some breakfast in the commissary. We packed quickly and headed over to Disney. You know that feeling when you cross that big “Welcome” sign! This time the kids were old enough to really appreciate it. Well, now the magic gets started in full gear…


Finally we arrive


We arrived around 10:30AM and the valet attendants were there like lightening. It was awesome, as I count valet service highly toward my perception of overall service. We like to jaunt here and there with our own vehicle, visiting other resorts as well as driving to the parks on our own. We just enjoy it that way. So the folks jump out and pull me out of my vehicle. After shoving me to the ground and taking off with my car… I’m just kidding. The gentleman waiting by my door proceeded to ask me where I was heading and if I needed any assistance. He got my luggage out and escorted me directly to the Concierge desk on the 5th floor.


The staff that day were Becky and Betty and they greeted us with a friendly “Hello”. I sat down and checked into room 5149. We strolled over and checked out the lounge and then went to the room.


* Magic Moment *


The room was beautiful, the décor was a conservative nautical design yet felt very “homey”. My big moment of shock occurred when I walked out on to the balcony. We had booked garden view, and I was trying to figure out what that shipwreck was along with the pool… DOH! Water view! They had upgraded us to the most wonderful view you could hope for at the Yacht Club. WOW! You could see the pool, parts of Epcot, and later we found that we had a perfect view of the fireworks each night! Unbelievable…and it just got better from there.


We decided to relax and unwind this afternoon because we slept so poorly the previous night. We had all of our swimming stuff packed in a backpack and got ready for the pool. Well, if you’ve never seen Stormalong Bay before, it’s amazing! It’s several smaller swimming areas joined together by winding paths and bridges. It’s made up of two great slides (adults and children), a sandy beach-like area for children, a lazy river which is paradise for adults looking to imitate flotsam, a large “whirlpool” area – not a spa, I mean a spinning vortex of water (lots of fun), several open swimming areas and some hot tubs here and there. You can really make a day of this place. We made several days of it!


So we unwound all afternoon and then got ready for our dinner at Chef Mickey. We did this right, even if it was by accident. Having the kids sit down to a character meal and getting the “quality time with Mickey” out of the way immediately put everyone in a great mood for the continuing magic. We decided to drive, because it gave us the flexibility of following our own time schedule and not the bus schedule. We dialed up valet parking and our car was waiting for us as we stepped out the front door. The Contemporary valet service was on top of their game and we were inside in no time.


The Contemporary always brings back good memories for me from childhood. We always managed to end up there instead of the Polynesian, which has previously been my own family’s choice due to the location and view. We got upstairs and were seated in about 10-15 minutes. The hostess said they were running a minimum of 1,400 seatings that evening. Wow…The food was decent and plentiful. We had a blast along with some great shots of the characters. As a side note this made two buffets in two days. Yikes, but pass the gravy if you please…


So while the children were winding down after the fun, we decided to treat them to a trip to the huge arcade downstairs. We hung out for a while and then headed home. We zipped upstairs and checked out some of the lounge offerings more so out of morbid curiosity than out of hunger. We were already stuffed! So we got back to the room and to our delight, we noticed fireworks off our full patio! We had perfect seats for the “Illuminations” show at Epcot! We really enjoyed the awesome view. So following that I invited my lovely wife out for a walk along the boardwalk. We had a blast sharing memories of past trips together and the promise of this one. That was our first day at YC.


We hit the Magic Kingdom!


Saturday arrived and we got up early. We like to hit the parks in the early, early AM upon opening. We’re just not “long line” people and since we live here we can always make a return trip. Usually you have about an hour and a half on a “medium” capacity day before lines become undesirable. We hit about 5 rides in Fantasy Land in that time before the crowds started to arrive and wait time jumped to 30-40 minutes. Then we used fastpass and hit lower capacity attractions like Tom Sawyer’s Island, Small World and POTC. We had a blast and decided to return another day rather than fight the building Saturday crowd. We stopped at the Polynesian to “say Hello” and drop by Kona Café. We had Hamburgers and BBQ sandwiches. It was more than we could eat, and good, but expensive if you don’t want to pay $10 for a sandwich.


So we hit the pool again. I’m not kidding when I tell you my son and I rode the slide 35 times together. Heck, it was justified by all the buffets we had already hit to climb those stairs again and again. Well, we did that, played in the kiddie pool with the sand and my wife and I spent hours (not kidding) on the lazy river. My favorite drink was “Jack Daniels Lemonade” for those looking for a particular beverage recommendation. The margaritas weren’t too bad, either. This was a 5-6 hour pool day.


Later my wife and I had planned to go to Epcot for the evening and stroll. My mother volunteered to bring the children by the lounge where they were serving Fish~n~chips. My wife had thought that we’d be too full to have three meals a day and I deferred to her wisdom. We figured we’d hit Epcot for a drink here and there. And there and there, and so on…eventually we ended up in Japan where we stopped by the Sushi bar. We were seated immediately even without reservations and enjoy several bottles of Sake while munching on CA rolls. Great meal, but bigger than the “small bite” we initially anticipated. We were finished after that and it was all we could do to stagger back to the hotel. That was pretty much it for that evening.


Shopping is good…


Sunday we decided to be lazy (what a surprise…) My mother said she’d take the kids down to the pool while we hit Downtown Disney for shopping. My wife and I actually bought a bunch of stuff this trip stopping at the Crystal store, picking up some clothes and some additional books for by the pool as that was becoming our main family “hang out” area. We returned to the hotel and immediately hit the pool again. By now the waitress already knew my drinks and brought us a few more rounds of JD lemonades.

We stayed there until about 5:00PM and then started to get ready for dinner at Boma, my favorite restaurant that we missed in December. We had scheduled the “Sand Castle” club for the children this evening and they were very excited about it. I dropped them off there and they immediately searched out their favorite activities and started to play. I knew I was being ignored at that point and returned to the Yacht Club (SC Club is in the BC section of the hotels.) I joined my wife and mother who had learned that the lounge was serving BBQ ribs that evening. Guess we were stopping, buffet for dinner or not…I didn’t try them but the ladies said they were delicious.


So we hit Boma. Returning to the AKL is always a treat! It’s just an amazing resort that always manages to impress me no matter how many times I return. We decided to hit the restaurant being close to our reservation time. We got in after about a 10-15 minute wait. This evening I had been touting the Curried Seafood Soup so we all headed over to the soup station to quaff it all down (evil laugh.) We had about 3 bowls. The thing was that each bowl was slightly different, with the second bowl being very sweet with coconut milk and the last being too spicy…for everyone else, it was perfect for me. : ) We toured the resort and visited old haunts like Arusha Rock. I had a good laugh when my wife asked about the large yellow “thing” exhibited in the lobby. I explained it was a “sheath” instead of a ceremonial mask. She responded, falling completely into her Spanish accent; “Now that’s just bragging!” LOL!….


Epcot World Tour


Monday we decided it was time to hit Epcot and attempt to ride “Soaring”. Unsurprisingly many, many other people had the same idea, but we got in with only a 10 minute wait. We hit several other rides with the children for the first time, with wait times of around 10 minutes or walk ons, with exception of test track.


While in test track, I could only take my two children as my wife cannot ride “bumpy” rides due to an injury. Here’s a story I think most people can relate to: When we went through the video session prior to the ride itself, there was a woman who seemed devoted to working her way from the opposite side where the door was to the ride despite people on either side of her who might have been in a safer or closer position to walk through. Her actions triggered a “herding” response. My reaction was “hey, if it means that much to you” and held my small children back so she didn’t trample them. As it worked out in the line, she ended up being seated just in back up me on the cart. She really seemed upset about it, too, I mean upset at me! I simply considered her part of the entertainment.


On the other hand, just about EVERYONE else we encountered was WONDERFUL! I was very pleased on this trip, the crowds and the CMs were really great this time. Maybe it was just infectious, but the magic just kept coming.


We made our way out of Epcot to the Yacht Club galley where we had a couple of sandwiches. They were very good. I had the club sandwich and my wife had a hamburger along with the kids. The service was great and as quick as you could hope for. The restaurant was nearly empty at lunch.


So later, it was POOL TIME again. Again we hit the slides with both our children. My wife got some really great shots of my son and daughter coming down from the slides. My daughter is too small to be able to swim out of the slide where it exits. I was able to wait by the side of the exit for the large slide and wait for her. When she came down the slide, I would grab her and swing her off the slide, around a few times and then over to the side. She thought that part was just a fun as the slide part – lol!


That night we hung around the resort and boardwalk area. We ended up stopping by the lounge briefly, where they had served “Creamy Spinach Dip” as an appetizer. Later I ordered Chocolate covered strawberries for my wife and a couple of bowls of Lobster Bisque for her and my mother later. We enjoyed some of the deserts in the lounge as well. These consisted of small, cream filled pastries and liquors. Later that evening we enjoyed our view of the Epcot fireworks again. This was really a wonderful finale to each day. We missed the castle view from the Polynesian, but the Yacht Club resort was so beautiful and fun it just wasn’t a factor!


Back to the Magic Kingdom!


Tuesday morning we hit it early and got to the MK on opening. Again, if you want to avoid the crowds, this is your time to arrive. All of the rides were walk ons for the first two hours or so. This time we started with Buzz Light Year. We rode it twice since there was no line both times. We made our way to Space Mountain and as it turned out, my daughter had grown tall enough to ride since our December visit! She got to ride it for the first time at 5. She was whooping it up, but one times was enough for her. She’s a “big girl” now, she announced. We made our way to Fantasy Land and hit the rides with the lowest lines. That included the Phil-Harmagic, Snow White and Winnie the Pooh. We walked over to Frontier Land and worked our way back to Fantasy Land for a final ride on “Small World” for my daughter, who loves it. This was around 11:30AM and by then the line was 20 minutes. Not huge for any other ride, but to wait for that one is an act of love.


OK, so you know where we went next, right? The pool of course. We did the pool only for about two hours today. This was enough time for several more trips down the slide and around the lazy river. We really feel we got a lot out of the time we spent at the resort. When you’re paying those rates, you might question them if you spend so much time at the park. Our ratio of daytime hours worked out to probably 5 to 1 in favor of time at the resort versus the park. We never spent that kind of time at the Polynesian. This was truly worth the expense and Yacht Club is now our primary destination at WDW now.


That evening we had booked the children at the “Sand Castle Club” again since they had begged us to. We were going to eat at Boma again and hit the soup station. The meal was delicious as always and afterwards my mother took the children around to the arcade, explore the resort and to QA the evening lounge offerings. My wife and I toured the grounds again and said our “Goodbyes”. The next morning we’d be packing and leaving. However the thought of going was offset by the fact that we’d had such a wonderful time. It was really time and money well spent. We never made it to the lounge for appetizers, so I don’t know what they were. The deserts were the usual assortments of pastries and other goodies. That pretty much wrapped up our evening.


Home Again


Well, you know how leaving is. I won’t dwell on it.


I’d rather touch base on my final thoughts of the Yacht Club. To summarize it, I’d say it was the best resort on Disney grounds.


The service was simply outstanding, and I mean general staff and cleaning staff as well.


In all my trips to Disney, we had never gotten towel animals. We got them from the first day at the Yacht Club. My mother stayed in the room frequently to rest. She never went to the parks with us. As a result, she met a few members of the cleaning staff who were delightful to her and very gracious over the tips they received.


And the biggest thing, the upgrade to a water view that caught me completely off guard was absolute MAGIC for all of us! My thanks to the wonderful CMs who worked that out for my family and I!


Alana, Becky, Betty and all the others on the concierge staff were fantastic. All of the CMs we encountered contributed their own bit of magic to our trip.


The valets, luggage handlers and other staff were all excellent as well.


This trip overall was the best to WDW yet. While we love the other resorts, Yacht Club is now the top of our list for a WDW destination. Heck, we could have just stayed there and never hit the parks and had a good time. There isn’t enough good to say about it.


Irrational Coffee Rant (sort of)


We brought our own mix and percolator again, obtaining filtered water from the concierge as needed. They have a machine for espresso in the lounge, but it doesn’t compare to our regular brew. I should add that it’s a nice machine, though. However considering my relationships with Colombians, Brasilians and Sicilians here in SoFlo, suffice to say my expectations for the quality of my java are extreme. Most people will love the machine, so you’re covered in this area. AKL Concierge still tops them all as far as Coffee, as they have a true professional espresso machine. If it came with the IV attachment I might never leave the next time I visit.
 

goodferry

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 21, 2004
Thanks so much for your review, it sounds like you had a great trip! We stayed in the Poly concierge last June and loved it so much we are afraid to stay anywhere else! :flower: We are trying the BWI concierge in August, but we may have to add a few days at the YC to our December trip. Welcome home! :teeth:
 

Lives4Disney

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 25, 2004
I loved reading your trip report! It is the next best thing to being there.

Glad you had a great trip!!

Lives4Disney :earsgirl:
 

scoutsmom99

<b><font color=f95602>Member of the 'Jambo! WildBu
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Sounds like you had a wonderful trip :) Thanks for sharing your report!
 

CaipiraBob

"Perfectly content to be an absolute caveman"
Joined
May 5, 2002
Thanks everyone!

It's great to share the experience. I plan to mail the review to the Yacht Club later so they know how happy we were with them.

I also like to document these for the memories, if nothing else.

It's a sure thing we will include the Yacht Club on our next visit. Maybe a couple of days at the Polynesian and then the YC. OK, so now I'm already planning the next trip...
 
M

Martha7

Guest
Thanks for posting, Caipira, we also love the YC! We're actually heading down to Brazil for two weeks on the 14th of June, so I'll drink plenty of coffee for you to make up for the lack of it in the world! It sounds like your excellent planning made a big difference in your trip, and how nice of your Mom to stay with the kids a bit too! :flower:
 

disneybound05

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 21, 2005
awesome review. love the details of the trip. i'm actually thinking of trying the YC next year. my kids were so spoiled by the GF (lagoon/castle view) earlier this month, that they are not happy with the thought of trying someplace new. i, however, would like to try another deluxe resort. i'd like to see what views/pools/restaurants they have to offer. i don't want to become a regular at GF, if you know what i mean. i would feel as though i were missing out on something new.

how would you compare the YC to the GF? both atmosphere and rooms. unfortunately, we would not be able to stay concierge. lagoon view if we're lucky.

thanks.
 

CaipiraBob

"Perfectly content to be an absolute caveman"
Joined
May 5, 2002
Martha7 said:
We're actually heading down to Brazil for two weeks on the 14th of June, so I'll drink plenty of coffee for you to make up for the lack of it in the world!

Lol! Thanks! Tenho muito saudade por meu Brasil (Even though I'm from TN)! Now I'm jealous...

My old haunts were Rio and Praia Grande, just dead East of Sao Paulo. My last time down there was during Carnaval in '99. The defining moment of that trip was just after the school Vai-Vai performed. We were dancing with about 500,000 other people and the area across the stadium started to look red. It turned out it was the sun coming back up again! No need to relate the state of mind we were in. Everyone was like "Oh, it's the sun..." Gaviois Do Fiel won that year.

My friend Donna Maria makes a pot of coffee that's worth the trip alone. :goodvibes
 

D&R love Disney

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 12, 2003
I love your trip report. For some reason we just can't get to the YC. Last year it was hurricane Frances that cancelled our YC lagoon concierge trip. This year it was the availability of 14th floor at the Contemporary. I swear, next trip we will try the concierge at the Yacht Club!
 

Patio

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 27, 2001
This was the best trip report I've read in a long time. I truly felt like I was there too. I am so happy that you had such a magical time. I love the YC/BC grounds too. :sunny:
 

CaipiraBob

"Perfectly content to be an absolute caveman"
Joined
May 5, 2002
disneybound05 said:
how would you compare the YC to the GF? both atmosphere and rooms.

Hi, I've stayed at the Polynesian, AKL, Boardwalk and now the Yacht Club, but I've only visited the GF. I think the rooms are the same, but I think you can view photos at www.wdwig.com .

GF has the obvious advantage of the monorail, but from what I've heard, the YC outdoes the GF in terms of service. I don't know personally. The YC has the amazing pool and for adults it's right next to Epcot. It's really a tough call. If you plan to spend most of your time at the MK, I suppose the GF is the choice. If you don't care and want to hang out, YC hands down IMHO.

Now I thought that the YC might seem formal for a casual vacation, but we thought it was simply tasteful yet beautiful. It's all the people there on business conventions that may throw some people off.

Didn't bother me at all. :banana:
 
M

Martha7

Guest
Excellent command of Portuguese, Caipira! My DH graduated high school at the Escola Americana do Rio de Janeiro in 1976, when his Dad worked for IBM, Latin America. As a family, we lived outside of SP, (Alphaville) from 1988-1991, so we have some very good friends there. We're going to attend our friends' son's wedding and to matar os saudades! I guess the weather may be a bit cool on this trip. We'll be in SP, Curitiba and Florianopolis. I'm not exactly sure what to pack, but I guess we'll be OK with jeans, shirts, maybe a light jacket as well, (besides our dressy stuff for the wedding, of course!). I've mastered packing for WDW, but I become completely befuddled when I need to go anywhere else! :flower:
 

CaipiraBob

"Perfectly content to be an absolute caveman"
Joined
May 5, 2002
Martha7 said:
Excellent command of Portuguese, Caipira! My DH graduated high school at the Escola Americana do Rio de Janeiro in 1976, when his Dad worked for IBM, Latin America. As a family, we lived outside of SP, (Alphaville) from 1988-1991, so we have some very good friends there. We're going to attend our friends' son's wedding and to matar os saudades! I guess the weather may be a bit cool on this trip. We'll be in SP, Curitiba and Florianopolis. I'm not exactly sure what to pack, but I guess we'll be OK with jeans, shirts, maybe a light jacket as well, (besides our dressy stuff for the wedding, of course!). I've mastered packing for WDW, but I become completely befuddled when I need to go anywhere else! :flower:

Oh wow! that sounds great! It's so beautiful down there. I've met some wonderful people down there including a gentleman I refer to as my "Brasilian Father". They live in Praia Grande. I picked up my Portuguese because the first group of people I met when I moved to SoFlo were from Rio. There isn't a day that goes by down here that I don't use either Portuguese or Spanish here. My wife is from Bogota so I've got the best of both worlds covered. Living down here with so many different people has enriched my life beyond measure.

My experience in May in Rio was a lot of rain. It was pleasant otherwise. The Caipirinhas kept us warm on the cool days. There's a bar on the beach just West of the outcrop between Copa Cabana and Ipanema, I don't remember the name, just the beautiful dark wood they used to design the interior. As I recall after two rounds I didn't mind the rain so much. :rolleyes: I think you have the right idea for clothes, I found that there were a few days in Rio where a jacket came in handy when it was raining.

Have the best time and BE SAFE!
 
M

Martha7

Guest
Caipira! You're married to a Colombian woman? My DH says that they're the most beautiful women in the world! (I'm from Southern California, so I guess i should be offended!) I loved speaking Spanish and Portuguese while we lived in So FL, but now we're up in the Ann Arbor area, and there's no one to converse with! I think a few caipirinhas during the trip will loosen my tongue up, though! Thanks for the packing tips! :flower:
 









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