Quick Trip Report (Yacht Club, OOP dining vs. dining plan, scooter) Jan 4-12/16

Lollipop's Mom

<font color=teal>Special trip with your little one
Joined
Feb 26, 2004
I am not one for long trip reports (nor do I have the time) but had some good stuff to share with you all so thought I would do a short and sweet report. PHOTOS IN FOLLOWING POSTS.

Myself (43) and my DD (19).
Yacht Club Jan 4-12/16 (booked on Orbitz)
OOP dining
Tickets from Undercover Tourist.

Quick backstory - when I go to WDW I like to book a package - room/dining/tickets and no fuss/stress - show up and have a vacation. Last time we were there was at CBR in Aug 2014 on free dining.

We opted to stay at a deluxe resort and use our vacation money more towards that than $50 buffets since it was OOP. We were not overly impressed with food at many places in August 2014 and were glad it was free, and are quite happy to use quick service for a trip. We also are not the get up and go for rope drop type - we sleep until 10 ish and go from there, so it works well for us. Also my daughter's appetite can change pretty quick and sometimes a banana will leave her full for hours.

I have been quite ill this past summer/fall and my daughter is suffering from chronic pain and other health issues, but doing pretty good right now (awaiting her surgery). We wanted a nice quiet trip, do the parks a bit, relax a lot - so we also rented a scooter, which we shared as needed, and this helped both of us a lot.

Flights were on time, everything smooth. Took ME to Yacht Club (work on the main front area is complete and we were left off right by the lobby!). We were informed our room was ready and UPGRADED to water view from standard!!! We had a great deal on orbitz with the $150 off, so I split our reservation into 2 to get $300 total off, and paid $302 a night taxes in for a standard view.
I had faxed and asked for something close to the lobby on the ground floor and oh boy did they deliver! We had room 1157 which is 30 seconds from the lobby, looking directly at the marina at the front. Gorgeous view! We spent a lot of time out there relaxing with a cup of tea and watching people, watching the marathoners, etc... LOVED the location. We were able to stay in this room for all 8 nights!

Room condition I would give a 3.5/5 - it is showing some wear and tear - Mickey's nose is broken off on the lamp, a few carpet stains, furniture a bit rubbed and I found housekeeping to be less than stellar. She often forgot to leave fresh towels (had to call), or left a dirty blue rubber glove in our sink, forgot to refill coffee stuff or clean out the old filters. (hint: To get decent enough coffee to drink, fill the water to top of your cup, put in and use TWO of the coffee pods - this makes it strong enough to drink and not taste like dishwater).

Scooter rental was from Walkers. They were incredible. On time, friendly and even answered the phone at 11pm when we had a scooter issue. Amazing!

Dislikes about the Yacht Club -
Ok first - NONE of this ruined my trip - we had an amazing time. I take things in stride, but will point out things that I didn't like so you can make a decision on the hotel based on these things for yourself.

No proper quick service after 5-6pm at Hurricane Hannahs. This also meant no where to refill your mug without going a LONG way to the other end of the beach club. They will only refill your mug at yacht club by the lobby until about 11am. After that you have to to to Hannahs, and it closes really early. My problem with this is we often would get up around 10, be out of the room by 11 at the latest. Usually got to a park, got something to eat when we arrived and then did rides, etc.... We would have a snack or 2 (popcorn/donut) until later and usually got back to the resort around 7-8pm, and there was no where to eat other than room service (which can get pricey) or going to the beach club, which had very limited sandwich/flatbread options, and is quite far away. At the end of the day, it would have been nice to have a few more options and a food court like other resorts have. You can also go to the boardwalk (took about 10 mins on the scooter) and buy food there, but I didn't know I couldn't use my magic band at those locations and went all the way there one night only to have to turn back around and come back because I didn't bring any cash/credit card - so we ended up ordering room service.
Quick food options really lack here a lot.

So basically if having an option of somewhere to eat around 8-11pm is important to you, Yacht Club is not a good option. For this reason, we wouldn't stay there again, as we like to eat around noon and then snack a bit on fave park snacks, then eat later, and go to bed around midnight.
For some this is a non-issue, as you are eating at dining plan restaurants and stuff, but didnt work well for us.

LOVED THE LOCATION!
Especially with a scooter. I hated bringing the scooter on a bus - i always felt like we were being 'those' people and having eyes rolled at us because people had to wait. It was a very uncomfortable feeling. We are really epcot people, so being able to walk to epcot (or sometimes I would scoot over and my daughter would catch the boat) and taking the boat to the Studios made life so much easier! We also used the monorail a lot - we would plan our day to go do some epcot stuff and end up taking monorail to MK. Anything to avoid the buses!

Other Stuff We did...

Tea at the GF -
loved it! So much fun - food was yummy - definitely a must do from now on! Cost was about $75 for 2 with tip, which is average for a good high tea. It was a very relaxed atmosphere, we didn't feel rushed. I had a hard time getting a reservation, which was odd, because the place was only half full. I think unless you are at WDW in prime time, you could pretty much get a same day reservation walking up.

Garden Grill - this was a last minute add on as we have wanted to try it. I have read mixed reviews, but we really enjoyed it. We especially loved the dessert (berries on a pound type cake). Cost with tip was about $100, which is overpriced but its Disney. Good character interaction, but honestly Pluto needs a good dry cleaning... LOL. I enjoyed it but still have trouble believing I spent $100 on that! Being from Canada, that is about $145 - I could go out for a steak dinner with a nice wine for 2 people for that. If I had free dining I would eat here again.

Shopping at I-Drive Outlet - This is the first time we have ventured off Disney property, as we usually don't have any desire or reason to leave, but my daughter caught wind of the Victoria Secret Outlet and it became a reason to leave. LOL. We decided to make a bit of a day of it. We took a taxi that took the scooter to the mall. We hit bad traffic. $55 cab ride (yes I know a rental car would have been cheaper, but we needed the scooter as I was having a lot of back pain that day). We shopped at the mall for about 3 hours, with at least 1.5 of that spent in VS. I am not kidding. Thank goodness for the scooter because I was able to just sit there and wait - and wait.... and wait......
Went to Disney Character Warehouse - some great deals in there. They have some of the animators dolls for 14.99. HUGE Olaf (about 3.5"??) for 39.99, lots of little things like keychains for 99 cents. Polynesian dinnerware marked down I would say about 30% lower. Tons of kids clothes quite reasonable. Tons of 2015 merchandise. They had vinylmations for 3.99 as well.
We bought a few things, mainly gifts to bring back for friends. Didn't spend much as this was our 'we don't need to bring back a ton of disney stuff trip'. I tend to overspend at WDW :)

From there, we took the i-ride trolley up to stop 7, where all the tacky tourist stuff starts. We went into the tacky stores and bought a few fun things to bring home to Meg's boyfriend and got a kick out of seeing all of it. We walked/scooted up and checked out some arcade place that also has one of those slingshot rides. It was a pretty dirty/dingy place. We just kept going until we were tired - we ended up at a Walgreens about 4 blocks from the Orlando Eye and it was starting to rain. We called the cab to come get us.

One thing for sure - I would never stay in this area if going to WDW, too far away - actually I wouldn't ever stay off site anyway, but just saying... :) Its a good area for Sea World/Universal and you can use the trolley to get there.

Beaches & Cream Sundaes - We couldn't get a reservation unless we wanted to eat there at 10:45pm. I didn't make prior ressies as this was a 'winging it' type of trip. We got sundaes at the take out there. I got the milky way, DD got the brownie one - OMG this was sooooooooo delicious!!!! We took them to our room and this was our dinner one night! We sat and watched Illuminations from our patio and had sundaes! Best ever!

Crowds/Xmas Decorations/Last night of Osborne- Crowds were a LOT crazier than I expected. I knew we had the marathon in the middle, but had heard many just came in Thurs and left Sunday -this was the biggest amount of time blocked at the resorts.
Let me start by saying, my DD's first trip to WDW was EXACTLY 16 years ago to the day - we arrived jan 4th, 2000 when she was 3 years old. We stayed on DVC points at the BWV. One thing I remember from that trip was we NEVER waited for a ride. It was a 10 day vacation of walking up to, and onto a ride. If we waited, it was 5 minutes. Even Peter Pan! We loved the trade off of cooler weather and a few rides closed for the ease of seeing/doing everything.

Now, 16 years later, and the marketing genius of putting a huge marathon that same slow week, it felt like we were there in spring break. Our first day on Jan 5th we spent at MK and could barely move. It looked like those photos you see of Xmas day where it is shoulder to shoulder. We used our fastpasses and that is all we rode, as lines were insane. We are the type of people that will not stand in a 90 min line for a ride. We'd rather spend our time in a better way. We actually just left MK that day and went back to the resort and had a swim. It was cool out, so we had the pool to ourselves for quite a while.

I figured that maybe it was the very end of the Xmas crowds, as Osborne had been extended to the 6th. We did brave the crowds for Hollywood Studios on the 6th, to see the lights. It was well worth it. We spent a lot of time in there, and then all of a sudden it all went quiet and the Star Wars fireworks went off, so we had a great unexpected view of those!

One thing I found odd is that by the time we left, Jan 12th, none of the xmas decs were down anywhere. Even by Jan 6th I was surprised. The resort's gingerbread merry go round and train were taken away on the 11th, but that is all I noticed. I think its good that people can see the decorations a bit longer, but personally I was sick of Xmas by the 5th and ready to start my New Year! haha.

We used to always say January is dead in WDW, but can't say that anymore. It was always a good trade off to give up a couple fave rides to refurb, one water park to refurb and iffy weather for low crowds and cheaper resort prices - but I don't see 'as' much value in that now when the crowds are so huge anyway. With fastpass, we were able to do everything we wanted, just not multiple times.
One thing I said to DD is "You know its busy when the people mover is lined up almost to buzz". That was on Jan 11th!

Wishes Dessert Party - This was a bucket list item I could NEVER get a reservation for. Well let me tell you a little secret.... When I tried and tried to get a reservation right at the mark we could, I couldn't get one. Not for any day we were going to be there. I really wanted it on Jan 11, our last night. I kept the page open and tried 4-6 times a day, hoping. Well for the heck of it, I put in 3 people instead of 2 - and it came up available! I booked it for 3 people. I then went and looked and nearly every day, at less than 40 days out, I could get a ressie for 3 people. It wouldn't give me one for 2 people, only 3, or 5. I booked it and then called WDW and said I only needed 2 people, and they took one off and refunded the 3rd. So try this trick!
It was so worth it! So many fun desserts, cheese and crackers and fruit. Ice cream sundae station. Drink station with about 6 different cold drinks, coffee, tea. They also had 'sipping chocolate'. Beside this were tiny tea cups. We didn't see these and filled big mugs, expecting it to be a richer hot chocolate - but when they say 'sipping' they mean it - take just the small cup! This stuff is rich - and gooooooooooood, but a tiny cup is all most people could handle! I think we tried nearly one of every dessert between us. Only a couple things we didn't like. We were stuffed when we left!!!! We didn't eat any dinner that night! hahaha.
Leaving the park after wishes was horrific. It took about 45 mins from the party to the bus. It was super crowded!

OOP Dining - My daughter has problems with her kidneys and awaiting surgery. This can cause her some big bouts of being nauseous and unable to eat much of anything. She also has pills she has to take with food. We never know if she is going to have a good 'eating' day or a bad one. Dining plan seemed like a waste this trip, as I knew she would barely finish a kids QS meal at times.
We tended to buy a pastry or muffin in the evening and keep it in the room for breakfast, so she had something right away to take a pill with. We usually got to parks around noon and would be hungry around 2pm. We got a quick service meal somewhere, usually a kids one for DD and an adult for me. We would then get a snack or 2 - like a school bread, popcorn, donut type thing - and then would eat later again for about 8-9pm. This is where we had issues with the resort not having a food court. I wish I had researched this one a bit more, but was under the impression that hurricane hannah's was open until late like the pool. I also didn't realize just how far away the beach club marketplace was and the limited offerings. My DD can't eat tomato sauce so the flat breads were out. She also can't eat beef very often, as it makes her sick, so she was stuck with a turkey sandwich a lot. Or sometimes she wasn't hungry really at all and would just get a muffin and some milk. We made it work. I also treated us to room service 2 times, and they had no problem letting her have kids meals. Overall, with our refill mugs I spent $134 on snacks (including sundaes at Beaches and Cream), $288 on quick service meals (I put room service in there, as if we had had a food court, we would have had that instead), $175 on garden grill and tea at the GF, and $34 on mugs. Total was about $630. If I had done the QS meal plan it would have been $685, so this turned out to be better to do OOP for us, as if you take the tea and garden grill off, we only spent about $455 on that type of dining. We didn't spend much on our international drive day, just lunch at a food court - about $20 and then we had room service that night I believe. We never went hungry and had plenty of fave disney treats, and too many croissant donuts in Epcot! hahaha.

Overall we had a super fun time, but feel a bit 'done' with parks right now and need to head back on a cruise for next vacation. I was hoping for lighter crowds. Some of the cast members seemed 'off' - very few lacked a genuine smile. Even at check in for the resort, the lady never smiled. It was all business. "Welcome to the yacht club, welcome aboard" said with no smile and just robotic. No cast members seemed to be 'enjoying themselves'. Everyone felt robotic. I actually can't blame them, as working at WDW would not be at the top of my idea of fun -saying the same things every day, dealing with some of 'those' guests every day, for very little pay. Its a tough job for them. I just find this really shows on this past trip. In the past 16 years I think we have made about 6 (?) trips to WDW and a few cruises, and find the cast members on the cruises to be way happier and fun than the ones at WDW. Big decline in attitudes over the past 16 years for me. I am not one of those people who let this make or break my trip - we just make our own fun - this is simply an observation. If a cast member isn't jumping with joy to greet me, I really don't care - just making an observation. I don't believe cast members are there to make everything magical for you - if you want magic, you have to find it yourself. Disney is a business. Simple as that :)

If you have questions let me know, I will see if I can answer them!
 
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Stini228

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 1, 2004
That is a great room, wow! Thanks for sharing. For future reference, the Crews cup lounge next to the Yachtsman Steakhouse serves an affordable full menu from noon through midnight each night :)
 

rachelrapunzel

Earning My Ears
Joined
Dec 13, 2015
Awesome reviews! I stayed at the yacht club and I definitely agree with you about the lack of quick service options, it was quite annoying, even though usually we eat in the parks, but I remember one night, it was absolutely pouring with rain and my dad went round the the boardwalk pizza window because that was the only decent thing really. Other than that, the resort is stunning and Id say it's my favourite along with the beach club!
I also dud the tea at the grand on my last trip and it was so fun and relaxing! Glad you guys got to do it! Oh and beaches and cream is amazing! Love the stuff there! Next time when I'm at the poly I'll have to come and visit just for an ice cream! So yummy!
 

SarahSnow

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Awesome review! Our first full Disney Trip is in September and we're staying at the Yacht Club. Now I want to do the tea too!
 

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