Resort Review: Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Enjoy the grandeur of a New England-style lakeside hotel at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort! Bask in the views of Crescent Lake and the Boardwalk at this Epcot resort.

Disney's Yacht Club Resort

Located in between Epcot and Hollywood Studios, this resort is just a walk (or boat ride) away from either park. Bus transportation is available to Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Downtown Disney.

In terms of room types, the Yacht Club offers standard, garden or woods and lagoon or pool views. All rooms come with 2 queen beds and a day bed, 1 queen bed and a twin-size sleeper chair or 1 king bed and a day bed. Concierge level rooms offer the same room types, along with a larger deluxe room or various suite options. If possible, ask for a room closer to the lobby as the hallways can be quite long!

Disney's Yacht Club Resort

Connected to the Beach Club, your family can enjoy the amenities both resorts have to offer. The biggest draw is Stormalong Bay! This pool area is almost a mini-water park with a sand-bottomed pool, lazy river, whirlpool spas and water slide. You can also enjoy boat rentals, fishing, tennis, volleyball, a playground and a fantastic running trail around the Epcot resort area. For unique experiences, watch a movie under the stars on the beach or even set sail on a Pirate Adventure Cruise.

Disney's Yacht Club Resort

When it comes to dining, there are many options to enjoy. Yachtsman Steakhouse is a great signature meal. Cape May Cafe offers a character breakfast and a clam bake for dinner. For a fun time, head to Beaches and Cream for the infamous Kitchen Sink! There are also plenty of additional dining options at the nearby Boardwalk.

During a runDisney race weekend, the Yacht Club is a great resort during the Walt Disney World Marathon and Wine & Dine Half Marathon. Both of these courses pass right by the Yacht Club, which is great for spectators! (Note: This location is too close to also see your runner finish.) The Yacht Club is also within walking distance after the Wine & Dine Finish Line Party at Epcot. Bus transportation is available to and from all races, as long as it is a host resort.

 

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How to Approach a runDisney Health & Fitness Expo

The official start to any runDisney event is the Health & Fitness Expo! This is where you pick up your race bib, race shirts, listen to speakers and do a little shopping.

How to Approach a runDisney Expo

We have compiled tips on how to navigate the expo, but another question may remain – how should you approach it? Here are two ways that we have experienced.

Get In and Get Out

Whether you are short on time or just want to head to the parks instead, this is the option for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time at the expo. Our first recommendation is to drive or even take a taxi, if possible. While the host resorts do offer transportation, it may include multiple stops.

Once you arrive at the Wide World of Sports Complex, head straight for the HP Field House. Inside is where you will pick up your bib (don’t forget your ID and waiver!). Here is where you need to do a little research. Each event houses the race shirts in different locations. You may be lucky enough to get your race shirt at the Field House, which makes for your expo trip to be even quicker. However, many times you need to go to the Jostens Center to get your shirt. The shirts are located on the far side, so anticipate extra time to pick it up.

If you plan to do a little shopping or listen to a speaker series, try to map it out ahead of time. That being said, if your plan is to get in and out quickly – bypass both of these and just grab your bib and shirt and go! After all, with the expo occurring on multiple days – you can always head back if you wish.

Take a Leisurely Stroll

If you have the time or it’s your first expo experience, taking the leisurely approach may be just what you need! Set aside a few hours (or even more) and head to the expo. This is where you can just take it all as it comes!

Depending on how many times you want to go back and forth between the Field House and Jostens Center, decide if you want to get your race bib first or shop first. If your plan is to get some of the coveted runDisney merchandise, heading to the Jostens Center first is a must.

While in the Jostens Center, you can explore the vendors row by row. If you have made an appointment for the New Balance shoes, keep an eye on the time so you can be nearby if needed. The vendors offer many deals and some even include fun extras like photo booths, samples and more.

Be sure to take a look at the speaker series schedule as well. These are great opportunities to get information from people like Jeff Galloway, Tara Gidus and even a few celebrities. Not only is it informational, but it also offers a way to rest your legs during your time at the expo. After all, you still have some running ahead of you!

Health & Fitness Expo

No matter your approach, the expo is a must during a runDisney race. We definitely encourage you to take it all in – it is part of your runDisney experience!

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Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

From mid-September to early November, there is a party that you won’t want to miss at Walt Disney World! Mickey has invited his friends, and maybe even a few villains to his not-so-scary Halloween party!

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

This ticketed event occurs multiple evenings each week. Officially beginning at 7 pm, Magic Kingdom is closed to everyone but those attending this party. Tickets begin at $68 each (plus tax) for adults and $63 each (plus tax) for children ages 3-9.

The party encourages everyone to wear their favorite costume as you can trick-or-treat in the park! (And we know runDisney runners have some pretty awesome costumes!) That’s right, your family can trick-or-treat in the park, and those bags often are filled with a great selection of candy. (If you have dietary restrictions, be sure to visit City Hall and ask for specific dietary candy or options.)

Yet there is more in store. The party also includes a special parade and fireworks show! Be sure to check out the Boo To You Parade as the headless horseman makes a very special appearance. The villains also take over the stage in front of Cinderella Castle for a great show. And, of course, additional Disney magic appears throughout the park!

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

To fully enjoy this party, here are a few tips:

  • Even though the party officially begins at 7 pm, in the past you been able to arrive to the park beginning at 4 pm.
  • Be sure to pick up a party-exclusive map. This will show you where you can trick-or-treat, along with the times of the special events and shows.
  • Dress up! This truly is a Halloween party, so get the whole family in their favorite costumes!
  • In the past, this party has been a great addition to the Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend. If that race (or something similar) returns, be sure to secure tickets early.

 

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A Pampering runDisney Celebration

After months of training, race day is here. You line up, run through the parks and cross that finish line! While there are many celebration options, one of the best is one that includes relaxing. That’s right – a pampering celebration may be just what your runner body needs!

Pampering runDisney Celebration at the Spa

Throughout Walt Disney World property are various spas that you can enjoy. Each deluxe resort offers a spa, some smaller than others. However, for a truly immersive experience – head to the Senses Spa, located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and also at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa.

In terms of relaxation options, the sky is the limit! A very popular option is one of the many massages. (It may be wise to wait a day or two after your race, especially if your muscles are sensitive after a run.) If a massage isn’t your thing, try a facial, manicure or even a pedicure to sooth those aching feet. Or for a truly luxurious experience, combine a few!

Pampering runDisney Celebration at the Spa

If you can’t make it to one of the Senses Spas, the deluxe resorts offer more limited options. The basic treatments are available – massages, facials, manicures and pedicures. With deluxe resorts close to the parks, you can send your family to the attractions while you relax!

It is highly recommended that you make reservations for your spa treatment ahead of time. This is one of our favorite ways to celebrate and may become one of yours as well!

 

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Enter into Victorian elegance at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa! This flagship resort offers the feel of the golden era along with beautiful sophistication. With white sand beaches and views of Magic Kingdom, this deluxe resort is a stay you are sure to remember.

Resort Review: Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Located along the Seven Seas Lagoon, Magic Kingdom is just a monorail ride away. You can also switch monorails at the Ticket & Transportation Center to head to Epcot. Bus transportation is available for Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Downtown Disney.

This resort is quite compact, which is nice after a day of walking in the parks. The main building offers suites and club level rooms, while the outer buildings house the majority of the rooms. Room options include: garden, lagoon or theme park views. Each room includes 2 queen beds or 1 king bed, and some rooms include a day bed or sleeper sofa.  Concierge level rooms include the same room types, along with various suites. (Note: the main building rooms are much more expensive, but include the added benefit of a lounge that overlooks the main lobby and sounds of the jazz band and pianist in the evening.) And new in 2014 is a separate building (near the wedding pavilion) that includes deluxe villas!

Resort Review: Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

For those that want to stay active, there are great recreational options at this resort! Enjoy a swim at one of the pools, take a trip down the waterslide, relax in one of the poolside cabanas or even have a little fun in the new Mad Hatter themed water play area. Boats are also available for rent for those who want to explore Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake, or take in a little fishing. At night, watch a movie under the stars or enjoy campfire activities.

If you need to get in a little training, there is a jogging path that goes around the resort and connects to the Polynesian Village resort. The fitness center and Senses Spa is also located near the deluxe villas and wedding pavilion.

When it comes to restaurants, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa offers options that are very unique. Narcoossee’s is located near the waterfront and Citricos is located in the main building. Both of these restaurants are signature dining. 1900 Park Fare is a character meal for the family, including Cinderella, Prince Charming, Anastasia, Drizella and Lady Tremaine for dinner. For a quick meal, head to Gasparilla Grill. For a truly luxurious experience, celebrate at the award-winning Victoria & Albert’s.

Resort Review: Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

During a runDisney race weekend, the Grand Floridian is an excellent resort during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Princess Half Marathon Weekend. The half marathon and marathon event courses go right behind this resort, offering a great spectator location! For the runners, the monorail offers transportation to Epcot before (and after) the race.

 

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A Look at the Final Expedition Everest Challenge

In early May, runDisney hosted the final Expedition Everest Challenge. This 5K scavenger hunt wasn’t the biggest event, however it was another nighttime race that entire families enjoyed together.

Amanda from Dixie Delights was able to experience this final expedition with her husband and graciously offered to recap their race! Take a look!

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We caught the last race bus over to Animal Kingdom at 9PM.  After a few pics, team FORTY yEARS was off to the corral!!!!!!  As usual, the race entertainment / dance party was super fun.  I may or may not have embarrassed Honey with my smooth moves.

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

Before too long, we were off!

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

We hit the first obstacle about .7 miles in.  Hay bales…

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

… we stopped for a pic with Chip & Dale just inside the park entrance mostly because they are the baby’s favorite.

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

…and then we met Timon just because we never have.

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

The next two obstacles were in the back lot of the park – crawling under a net and running through tires.

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

We finished the 5k in under 40 minutes, which was great considering our photo stops and bathroom breaks.  At this point we got our first of five clues and were off on the scavenger hunt!

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

The hunt led us all the way back through the park, and when we crossed the finish line we’d added at least another 2 miles to our tally!  It was SO.MUCH.FUN!!

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

At the after party, we headed straight to Expedition Everest.  I cannot say how much fun it was to ride at night … and on a full moon too.  I swear it went faster and was way better than usual :-)

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

We ate a 1 AM meal in DinoLand, grabbed a few beers and enjoyed the sights and scenes of Animal Kingdom at night.  It was a magical and FUN evening!!  I really hope they bring this race back after all the park construction is complete.

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

 

 

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