The resorts are very different than the Lodge. I don't think it much matters which resort you are at. There are some minor differences (balconies are a major one, I don't stay there often and don't remember which one tends towards the tiny balconies). They are great for location, as is the Swan and Dolphin and Boardwalk.
I do think the WL is one of the best themed resorts at WDW, and it has a very different (warm) feel to it.
One of the things that my husband and I love the most about Beach Club is that Epcot is so easy to walk to from this resort with a separate entrance gate that is rarely ever crowded. If this is one of your favorite parks, you can't go wrong staying there. We have stayed at both WL and BC twice each. For us, it depends on the time of year we are going. BC has an open, clean, bright, breezy feel to it whereas WL is darker wood and warmer feeling, more of a fall and winter feel resort. We have never stayed at YC but it can't be much different from BC. Since we have stayed at BC we honestly have never felt the need to stay at YC.
The Swan and Dolphin are better choices than the Beach and Yacht Club resorts, which suffer from chronic poor maintainance ... if you must be in that area and stay in a Disney-owned resort the Boardwalk is a better choice.
WDW1974, what do you think of the pools at swan and dolphin? May I ask what you saw or heard that showed poor maintenance? That pool looks so great that if it is not really severe maintenance problems, I wonder if it would be worth it.
I've never had the pleasure (or the $$) of staying at YC or BC but I do love the feel of the resorts. They have a great pool too. I think I might lean towards YC because they seem to have fewer families. I have no problem with kids of course but it does make things a little quieter at YC.
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I have always loved the Yacht Club just for the main reason of it is in walking distance of Epcot and you can take a boat to MGM. It is also right in the middle of disney world. Now I have stayed at board walk too but always come back to the yacht club.
Ment to add one time I was there I waiting for the boat to go to MGM and saw 2 fighter jets buzz the light house there. The CM told me ohh boy they are in deep trouble. Disney is a NO FLY ZONE. So I never knew what they did to the people but just thought you might like that story.
I treated myself to a few days at the Beach Club a few years ago. My grandson loved the pool. I loved the restaurants, and the proximity to Epcot, and MGM. We actually stayed in the villas, which are part of the DVC. One morning, I walked over to the Swan and the Dolphin. Those hotels were nice, and they aren't owned by Disney. They had a nice pool area also. I walked over to the boardwalk one night. If I remember correctly, I took a boat back. That entire area is very nice.
However, I prefer to stay close to Magic Kingdom. I like the Monorail resorts. My favorite - I don't have one out of the 3. I have never stayed at the Wilderness Lodge.
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It will be two adults traveling and we've never stayed here. Is this as nice as Wilderness Lodge? We stayed there and really loved it.
All of the hotels you have mentioned are Epcot Resorts. They are within walking distances (some more than others) of Epcot's International Gateway enterance, or backdoor. You can also catch one of the Friendship boats to the Disney-MGM Studios, to the hotels, and to Epcot's International Gateway.
These resorts also offer access to the night life activities that the Boardwalk has to offer. (ESPN Club, Jellyrolls deuling piano bar, Atlantic Dance Club, and other dining locations.) You also have the option of taking Disney transportation to Downtown Disney for more nightlife options as well. The night life options at Disney could be another perk of staying at these locations, since this is a trip for adults.
The pool area at the Swan and Dolphin is very nice as well, and you can walk to Fantasia Gardens from there very quickly (5 minutes or so). I did an online photo walk, and walking from MGM, to the Boardwalk, around the Boardwalk, and to Fantasia Gardens was 35 minutes total. MGM to Epcot is about a 20 minute walk, and I pretty much always beat the boats either way (because they make 3 stops). I have to be injured to take a friendship boat, they are soooo slow, and the last time I rode one (last December, because I'd had a calf strain), it was very warm as well. Plus I like to stop along the way - pop in a shop, watch the wildlife, etc.
The beds at the Swan and Dolphin are WONDERFUL. Some people say that the S/D doesn't feel Disney - but I'm really not sure what that means. There may be no Mickeys in the bedspread, but the employees have been great when I've gone, the resort always seems clean, and the rooms are lovely with great beds. Plus you are in a terrific location - about a 10-12 minute walk to either Epcot/MGM, and loads of dining choices.
my favorite resort on property is the beach club but then I love the peaches and cream theme in the rooms very beachy feel. and I love the pool complex too. I only stayed there once a very long time ago though but have also stayed at yacht resort as well. I want to stay at the boardwalk but was concerned about the noice of the boardwalk area at night.
We were facing this decision and ultimately chose Contemporary, but if we couldn't I would have gone Yacht Club. But it fit our interests and needs better.
I've heard some people say Beach Club is cleaner than Yacht Club, but I'm pretty sure they share the same staffs and it largely depends on your opinion of the decor. Look up the room pictures online and choose which one you'd rather spend time in for a week.
Beach Club is a closer walk to the Epcot International gate. Yacht Club is closer to the boat which goes to Epcot, but also must stop first at Boardwalk and Swan/Dolphin on the way to Studios.
The Yacht Club is a bit more formal and elegant in decor, with antique chandeliers, hardwood floors, brass fixtures, etc. The lighting is a bit darker as well, and the atmosphere definitely is not as relaxed as that of the Beach Club's. Oh, and the Yacht Club has larger balconies as well. Many of the Beach Club's balconies are very tiny (those step-out only ones), but some rooms (on the lowest floor, I believe) do have porches.