A Not-So-Stellar Yacht Club Update

We usually aren’t big fans of posting about experiences we flat-out didn’t like. Yes, this is *technically* a review blog, but when thinking of topics to cover about Disney World, there are so many wonderful (or at least relatively enjoyable) things we could talk about that it seems silly to take the time to write about something overwhelmingly negative. But since the bulk of our blog visitors over the past several months have found us because of our Yacht Club renovated room stay last year, we think it’s important to post this follow-up based on our most recent stay.

Summary: it didn’t go well.

What the heck are you talking about, you ask in disbelief? This blog raved about how amazing and spectacular and life-changing your first stay at Yacht Club was, how great the rooms were, how above-and-beyond the Club Level staff went to make everything perfect. Why the change of heart?

Let me start by reiterating that yes, the rooms are still some of the very best on Disney property. We had a double queen room this time, and it was just as nice as the king room we had the first time. Overall we prefer having a king room since the double queen rooms tend to have less available space due to the two beds and pull-out couch, but kings aren’t always an option at WDW resorts. The rooms have been kept up quite well. The shower is fabulous, and the beds are insanely comfy.

That, unfortunately, is where the list of “good things at Yacht Club” ends for us.

We booked only a few weeks in advance for this particular trip. We felt unbelievably fortunate to luck into a Club Level room at Yacht Club on such short notice, since we went during peak convention season and conventions are that resort’s bread-and-butter. Disney Signature Services contacted us within a day or two of booking, as they tend to do nowadays, and we chatted with them briefly. We asked if they could put in a request for a king room, knowing good and well that the likelihood of this being fulfilled on such short notice was probably impossible. We figured it was worth a shot. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Fast-forward to the day we check in.

We got to the resort right at check-in time. To our surprise, the resorts seem to have reinstituted the Club Level cast member who greets you in the lobby and whisks you away to the lounge to check in there, which is a nice touch we think. We got to the 5th floor, were seated in front of a concierge to begin checking in, and the cast member who brought us up there offered us a welcome drink. So far, so good.

The concierge staff on the 5th floor we encountered from then on were almost all, with very little exception, either abrupt, somewhat rude, or just downright dismissive. This was over a three-day period, so unfortunately we can’t assume the best and chock it up to everyone simultaneously having a really bad day.  We asked while we were waiting to finalize our check-in if they’d seen our request for a king room. The concierge replied with something along the lines of, “Nope, no requests on your account. Typical Signature Services.” OK, I guess?

We got to our room and had our bags delivered. The bellman was super nice and seemed extremely proud of the resort. This was fantastic. After we unpacked, we headed to the lounge to check out the offerings. We noticed as we made the trek down the hallways that, while the lobby and the rooms themselves were pristine, the hallways looked tired and dated. There were lots of scuffs on the walls, there was a constant stream of construction people doing random projects, and the housekeeping staff left room service trays, plates from the lounge, and piles of dirty towels from rooms in the halls for a decent chunk of the day. It looked unsightly, and kind of took you out of the pleasant and clean feeling you got when you were in your pretty new room.

Now, about the lounge itself. It’s still very nice. But the food offerings were mediocre at best, especially compared to the kinds of stuff they offered a year ago when we first visited. Food wasn’t replenished very quickly, and on more than one occasion I had a concierge huffing behind me waiting for me to get out of the way so they could either clean the espresso machine or get something out of the cabinets which, inconveniently, always managed to be the cabinets near the coffee and tea service area (you know, the busiest area of the whole lounge?). None of them ever said “excuse me,” none of them smiled or acted friendly, nothing. We both felt like nuisances every time we entered the lounge. For the money you pay to stay there, you should at least feel comfortable making a cup of tea without fear of crossing an angry cast member the wrong way.

We had the best luck with the evening staff. Several of them were more friendly, and one or two were really great. I don’t know if the morning staff is just overworked?

Breakfast was the same each day, with only one item changing out. That’s not atypical for Club Levels, however. Evening appetizers were also almost entirely the same, though, which is out of the ordinary. We got tired of the food within two days.

What really soured our opinions the most was the fact that the most basic services the concierge staff do each day, such as making or canceling reservations and Fast Passes or giving you information about something specific you might need to know during your stay, were either not provided or, if they were, made to seem like they were a major, laborious task that we ought not to have asked for in the first place.

For example: when you check in, they give you a phone number on your welcome letter. That phone number rings directly to the concierge desk on the 5th floor. They tell you if you need anything while you’re in the parks (an extra Fast Pass, to rearrange your dining reservations, etc.), just give them a call. So we did. We called from EPCOT one day, wanting to cancel a dining reservation for later that afternoon and replace it with another at a different restaurant. We’d already done the hard part, which was getting the new reservation via the My Disney Experience app. So we ask the concierge who answered the phone if she could please cancel the first reservation. Now we’ve stayed at every Club Level on WDW property with the exception of Beach Club, and never once during any of our stays anywhere was this ever a problem. We weren’t asking for a table at Be Our Guest for right then, for a party of 8, and a private audience with the Beast afterward or anything. Just a cancellation of a reservation at an EPCOT restaurant that is never booked up anyway. The concierge says, “You’ll have to call the reservation line. And it’ll be $10.” End of conversation. Great, thanks! You only told us to call you for this. exact. reason.

We soon learned that it was worth the effort to go downstairs and talk to the concierge staff at the front desk when we needed to ask about something. The cast members down there were, without fail, all exceptional. We rarely ask for much when we stay at WDW, so I can only imagine what guests with more needs or requests might have to deal with.

Suffice it to say, we did not have the same stellar experience we had a year ago at Yacht Club. The resort itself is still very good. The Club Level is not. It was such a disappointment.

Would we stay there again? No. Do we still recommend everyone give it a try? The resort itself, perhaps, but the Club Level gets a big fat no from us. There are far better Club Level options at WDW.

Hopefully it’ll get better again. But for now, we’re going to steer clear.

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