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Dining Out and About: Yacht Club Galley
By Jack Spence, All Ears® Columnist
This article appeared in the March 20, 2007 Issue #391 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)
I have wanted to write a review about the Yacht Club Galley for some time, but I kept procrastinating -- and I didn't know why. Finally, after a lot of thought, I realized that I was putting it off because I didn't know how to begin my review. You see, the Yacht Club Galley is someplace that I eat at often, but it doesn't have anything truly unique about it. It doesn't have a monorail passing overhead like the Concourse Steakhouse. It doesn't overlook the 18th holes of two golf courses like the Sand Trap Bar and Grill. And it doesn't have multiple televisions positioned overhead like the All Star Cafe. You see, in many ways it's just an ordinary restaurant -- a restaurant that you might find in any nice hotel -- and I think that's exactly what I like about it.
The Yacht Club Galley is located off the lobby of the Yacht Club Resort. As you might expect from the name, the atmosphere is nautical. Some of the walls are made up of white lattice while others are painted pastel pink with blue wallpaper inserts. Along the back of the restaurant is a quasi three-dimensional diorama of a New England seacoast. Here you can see model sailboats sail back and forth between the moving waves. Also scattered around the restaurant are various nautically themed artifacts. For instance, in one picture frame you might find a collection of knots while in another, navigation tools like a sextant and compass.
There are no booths in this restaurant, only tables of light wood with signal flags emblazoned around their perimeter. The chairs are upholstered with brightly colored stripes.
About half of the tables are located in the middle of the restaurant under a high ceiling. The rest of the tables complete a ring around the outside perimeter. For me, the best place to sit is in this outside section, furthest from the entrance. These tables overlook an indoor walkway that hotel guests use to access the pool and other facilities of the resort. Since these tables are elevated above the walkway and the walkway is seldom busy, it is a pleasant place to sit and people-watch. From these tables you can also look out through the curtained windows to the outside.
The walls and partitions that create this inner and outer ring of tables allow the seating to be arranged in several sections. Instead of feeling like you're dining in a large cavern, an intimate atmosphere is created. In addition, the carpeted floor and use of wood give relief from the noise that can overwhelm other establishments.
Located close to the entrance of the restaurant is a somewhat private room. One large table occupies this space and could easily seat 10. This would be a wonderful place to celebrate a special occasion.
As I mentioned earlier, the tables all display nautical signal flags. Having looked up their meaning, I couldn't make out any words. I think I was hoping for something like "Bon Appetit" or "Grog and Grub." But alas, they're simply decoration and spell nothing. The menu also displays signal flags and in this case, they spell out YACHT CLUB. But a curious oddity can be found behind the check-in podium. Here you'll find more signal flags, but in this case, the flags are not real symbols, but rather a collection of close approximations of actual flags. Go figure.
In my opinion, the Yacht Club Galley is a great choice for breakfast. That's because they offer both a complete menu and a full buffet -- the best of both worlds.
The breakfast buffet is typical. The hot items include scrambled eggs, an egg casserole, bacon and sausage, pancakes, potatoes, bread pudding, and other rotating choices. There are also hot and cold cereal, a fruit selection and three types of pastry -- of which I really like the cinnamon roll. And for those of you who like lox, you won't be disappointed. Bagels and all of the accoutrements are available.
The buffet also comes with your choice of coffee, tea, soft drinks, and juice. I usually order orange juice and I'm still amazed when they bring me such a large glass. It's three times the amount you'd get anywhere else. When I ask for seconds, I request half a glass because I simply can't drink another full glass and I don't want to be wasteful.
The regular breakfast menu is a cut above other Disney establishments. Besides Eggs Benedict (one of my favorites), you can find Crab Cakes Benedict, Steak and Eggs, and Cinnamon Raisin French Toast. Also available are standard egg and omelet dishes along with fruit and pastry offerings.
I eat lunch here more than any other meal. This restaurant is seldom busy at this time of day and it can be a welcome getaway from the bustle you encounter elsewhere. I have never needed a reservation for lunch. Although children are of course welcome here, lunches tend to be child-free, adding to the peaceful atmosphere.
If you've read some of my other reviews, you know that I have my favorite server at many of the Disney restaurants, and the Yacht Club Galley is no exception. Here I request Valerie. She's always friendly and seems to genuinely enjoy serving you. She's also good at taking a cue from her guests. She seems to know when you're in the mood to make idle conversation and when to leave you alone. I like that.
At lunch I almost always order the New England Clam Chowder. It is by far the best chowder on Disney property. It's thick and creamy and tasty. It's a must. Last week, Valerie talked me into trying their soup-of-the-day, Cream of Mushroom with gruyere cheese. It was excellent, and under normal circumstances I would recommend it in a heartbeat. However, I was still disappointed that I didn't stick with my regular clam chowder.
The Galley Steak Salad is also a good choice for lunch. Bibb lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, red onions, and crumbled blue cheese are topped with several slices of beef. The beef is very tender and served medium-rare. The dressing is a roasted red pepper ranch. It's a nice change from the Caesar Salad that is served at so many other restaurants.
I also often order the Soup and Sandwich Combo. That way I can still get my Clam Chowder plus a croissant with either tuna or shrimp. Both choices are first-rate. The Yacht Club Sandwich is basic, but good. It's also big. If it's just two of you dining, you might want to each order a bowl of soup and split the sandwich. You'll be full. The other lunch item I order on occasion is the Fish and Chips. Once again, there is nothing out of the ordinary here, but it's quite tasty and you won't be disappointed.
I've only eaten dinner here a couple of times -- and not recently. However, I can tell you that the Herb-Roasted Half Chicken is quite good and the meat falls off the bone.
I have also enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner here twice and I couldn't have been more pleased. It is strictly buffet at this holiday -- no menu -- and the food is traditional. First, the turkey is real. You won't find a processed turkey breast like I did at Thanksgiving at Cinderella's Royal Table two years ago. Yuck. Here you get a choice of white and dark meat, and it's obvious that the birds were prepared here. Sliced pork and ham are also available. The stuffing is sage. No oysters or other exotic meats that my mother never used. Just plain ol' dressing and gravy. Other items include mashed potatoes with skins, sweet potatoes (or yams, I can never keep them straight), fresh green beans cooked al dente, carrots, fruit, cheese, and salad makings. A dessert table features individual pumpkin and pecan pies and assorted cakes.
The restaurant doesn't have its own restroom. The closest ones are either down the hall near the Yachtsman Steakhouse or next to the Fittings & Fairings gift shop off of the far side of the lobby. Either way, it's a bit of a walk to get there.
As with all Disney restaurants, reservations are an absolute must on holidays. I would also suggest making reservations if you're eating breakfast or dinner here. At lunch you're probably safe without them.
Reservations can be made by calling 407-WDW-DINE (939-3463).
Breakfast: 7:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Lunch: 11:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Dinner: 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Breakfast Menu: http://allears.net/menu/menu_ygb.htm
Kid's Breakfast Menu: http://allears.net/menu/menu_ygkb.htm
Lunch Menu: http://allears.net/menu/menu_ygl.htm
Dinner Menu: http://allears.net/menu/menu_ygd.htm
Kid's Lunch and Dinner Menu: http://allears.net/menu/menu_ygk.htm
Photos: http://allears.net/din/gall_res2.htm (Scroll down the page to see new photos of the Yacht Club Galley.)
Other reviews by Jack Spence: http://allears.net/btp/jacks.htm
Post your own dining reviews, or read others' ratings, in our Rate and Review section: http://land.allears.net/reviewpost/showcat.php?cat=54
Debra Martin Koma's February 2006 review: http://allears.net/din/rev_mid.htm
Editor's Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.