When people ask me for some of my favorite “Disney secrets,” I tend to think of food first. I know, I know! But Disney theme park food is such a crazy, trend-hopping experience, and everyone seems to have their own very serious opinions on churros and Dole Whips and popcorn.
But come on, those are fun snacks and all… but if you’re serious about your Disney food, you want to know where the real flavors are hiding. So here is where you’ll find of some of my favorite Disney secrets: Crew’s Cup at Disney’s Yacht Club.
Where is Crew’s Cup?
First off, let’s talk for a moment about Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. These sister resorts are located just past Epcot’s International Gateway — that’s the World Showcase entrance to Epcot — and overlook Crescent Lake. Across the water from them, you’ll find Disney’s Boardwalk, plus the pathways to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin.
These are all awesome resorts to visit in their own right, and Boardwalk gets most of the attention because it has so many eateries, shops, and entertainment options placed right out on the waterfront boardwalk. By comparison, Yacht and Beach Club hide their dining options within the resort, behind the sprawling pool complex called Stormalong Bay. It’s easy to walk right past Yacht and Beach without ever seeing what’s hidden within, even if you decide to poke your head inside their (beautiful) lobby areas.
But head inside Yacht Club’s lobby, turn right and follow the winding passage to the right of Ale & Compass Lounge. After a few turns around the restaurant here, you’ll find a small boat guarding a small doorway with an even smaller sign, reading “Crew’s Cup.” You’re here.
Crew’s Cup theming probably won’t blow your mind, unless you really love rowing. There are some rowing trophies scattered around, and a boat suspended from the low ceiling. The dark, cozy atmosphere of the lounge is unfortunately at odds with the three large televisions tuned to ESPN, but at least they’re on mute. That’s okay. The star here is the food (and drink, especially if you love a good wine list).
What to Order at Crew’s Cup
Technically, Crew’s Cup is the lounge for the signature restaurant Yachtsman Steakhouse, meaning they share a kitchen and, when Yachtsman isn’t too busy, you may be able to order off that venerable restaurant’s menu. Yachtsman specializes in premium steaks, and if you enjoy watching a master butcher cutting steaks, look for the table on the right that looks into the meat locker. You’ll get a master class in chopping up beef.
Even if you’re there on a busy Saturday night and the Yachtsman menu is off-limits, you’re in luck. Because the lounge menu is where my Disney secrets reside!
Lounge menus are an opportunity for chefs to play with concepts, so you’ll find the menu’s entrees and appetizers are subject to change throughout the year. However, these three items tend to be the constants:
Yachtsman Signature Bread: sourdough baguette, pull-apart onion rolls, roasted garlic, butter ($7 at time of publication)
Baked Cheese Dip: manchego and gouda, house-made chorizo, peppers, artichoke hearts, and pretzel bread ($13 at time of publication)
Classic Crew Burger: Mr. Tractor Honey Mustard, miso bacon, house-made ketchup, mayo, lettuce, tomato, bread and butter pickles, onions, cheddar cheese, and hand-cut fries ($20 at time of publication)
Of these three items, the ones I vouch for as my favorite Disney secrets are the bread, and the baked cheese dip. (The Crew Burger is good but not as good as it used to be, I’ll explain later).
If you love cheese, the baked cheese dip will make your heart sing. The manchego and gouda blend is served hot, with a sprinkling of green scallions and sliced olives on top, and a few juicy artichoke hearts swimming within. The fluffy cheese spreads beautifully on the sliced pretzel bread roll served with it.
Make it last longer by adding the Yachtsman signature bread to your order. The pull-apart onion rolls do pair perfectly with the head of roasted garlic and salted butter served alongside, but those sourdough rolls can go straight into the cheese dip as far as I’m concerned! Delicious.
As for the Classic Crew Burger, this used to be Disney’s best burger, and you’ll still see reviews calling it as such. Your mileage may vary. The last time I ordered it, it had gone from one thick patty to two thin, diner-style patties. They still use premium meat from Yachtsman’s butcher to make the burger, and the generous toppings and fries served alongside are all top quality, but I do question the $20 price now. If you’re happy to drop the money, it’s still great to split alongside the baked cheese dip — you can dip the fries in the cheese too, yummm!
Drinks at Crew’s Cup
With the New England yachting theme of the resort, you can expect some dark liquids stored in dusty bottles on the shelves, and I did hear a bartender saying something about a port flight. Still, the bar menu is the standard Disney bar menu. However, they do have an extensive wine list, courtesy of the signature restaurant next door of course.
As of this writing, they’d added a 22 oz. stein of draft beer to their Florida craft beers on tap for much less than buying two regular beers, which is a really nice option when you’re stopping in for a leisurely drink and some salty cheese! The options were Cigar City Jai Alai IPA (a standard local IPA offering around Walt Disney World, with a really nice caramel-touched bitter flavor), a Crooked Can kolsch from nearby Winter Garden, and another pale beer which escapes me now.
If you’re looking for an escape from a busy afternoon or evening at Epcot, Crew’s Cup is a fantastic option. Seating can be limited, so you might have to borrow chairs or wait a few minutes to make it work, but I think you’ll find it’s worth your time.
Crew’s Cup: definitely one of my favorite Disney secrets!