With all the bells and whistles included, Club Level at Walt Disney World is something several travelers may consider despite not being what the average guest would consider budget-friendly. We often stay club level when visiting the World, and while I can’t say whether or not it’s “worth it” for every family, I can give you some insight into what is included with and what we love about a club level stay so you can make a more informed decision.
According to Walt Disney World, “Club Level Concierge accommodations are available at Disney Deluxe resorts. Benefits for guests staying in these accommodations include personalized front desk services, turndown service, exclusive access to the Club Level Concierge lounges, refreshments throughout the day and personalized itinerary planning for dining, childcare arrangements, recreational activities, tours, transportation plus any other needs the guest may have.”
Upon booking a vacation that includes Club Level (CL) service, guests should be contacted via email by the Itinerary Planning Office (IPO) for their resort. Occasionally this doesn’t happen, and in those cases guests can contact IPO offices directly via email, fax or phone. The office should only be contacted after your booking is confirmed.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Once contact is made, typically the IPO will send a form for you to fill out detailing any reservations you’d like them to make, as well as general information about your reservation (celebrations, etc.). After the information is received by the IPO, they will begin making reservations as soon as each reservation window opens.
Personally, we’ve used IPO to make dining reservations, and that was a big leap for crazy-planner me. Most of the time, they’ve been able to book perfect reservations for us, so I don’t have any issues handing over those reigns. In 2012, they were also able to secure Pirates League and Albatross Treasure Cruise reservations for the kiddos. Those went off without a hitch, too.
Upon arrival, the great service continues. All but once we’ve been greeted by name upon arrival and escorted to the CL floor/building for check-in. At the Polynesian, we’ve always been taken to Hawaii via golf cart, which the little ones LOVE!
Once you arrive, the CL concierge will begin the check-in process, but not before offering a yummy (and always well received after a long drive or flight!) welcome drink. There are also kid-friendly versions available for the littles.
The staff will go over the details of your reservation, answer any questions and get you a welcome packet that includes a welcome letter from the club, a lounge schedule, park times guides and other MyMagic+ and general Walt Disney World information.
The concierge staff has always been an asset during our stays. They are available to answer questions regarding MyMagic+ (which seems to be what I see most these days), provide general Walt Disney World information and suggest and attempt to secure reservations for dining, recreation and more. They provide many of the same services the IPO staff handles prior to your arrival. The staff will also deliver any items you’ve purchased and had delivered to the resort directly to your room. We love this perk, as I’ve been known to forget to stop in at the gift shops for package pick-up on non-club stays. Oops!
While all cast members tend to provide more than adequate service, we’ve had some of the most fun with the CL staff. We love a friendly “Have a great day!” on our way out and a “Welcome back!” when we roll in, but several cast members remember personal details about our plans (“How was breakfast with Minnie?”), as it’s much easier to do when working with a smaller number of guests. Sometimes we just sit and chat when there’s not too much happening at the desks or in the lounge.
There are always those that go above and beyond to make our stays super fun, too! A great extra-miler over at the Stone Harbor Club at Disney’s Beach Club not only made these fantastic birthday buttons for our summer babies back in 2012, but he also alerted Tinker Bell to a lost tooth (she handles all those at Disney World, of course), and she delivered quite the bounty in exchange for the tooth. We were back at the Beach Club in spring 2015, and he was still there making magic!
Club Level Lounge
The lounge is also a great perk! Lounges tend to follow the same schedule, but your welcome packet will have the exact times.
- Coffee Service – 6:30 A.M. – 7:00 A.M.
- Continental Breakfast – 7:00 A.M.- 10:30 A.M.
- Snacks and Refreshments – 11:30 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.
- Wine, Cheese and Hot Appetizers – 5:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M.
- Cordials and Desserts – 8:00 P.M. – 10:00 P.M.
We’re not coffee people, but we’ve made use of all other lounge services. The quick breakfast is a great and “complimentary” (aka included in the cost) way to start the day. The afternoon service often includes cookies, crackers and other small, portable snacks. The early evening service is not meant to serve as a dinner, but we’ve often found that after snacking in the parks all day, the hot appetizers can suffice as an evening meal. Cordials and desserts are a wonderful end to the day, especially at the Polynesian where they coincide with a picture perfect view of the Electric Water Parade and Magic Kingdom fireworks. Bonus!! The music is even piped in for those!!
Bottled and canned beverages are available at any time of day. Simply ask a lounge cast member, and they can retrieve it from the kitchen. At some lounges, items in the cooler, as well as chilled water in a dispenser, are available 24 hours a day. It’s been our experience that if a cast member is present but the lounge is closed, they will more often than not allow you to get a beverage. Also available but not always in the cooler are chocolate milk and apple juice. These were favorites for the kidlets (ok, and me) when they were younger, so the cast members tended to grab them when they saw us coming.
The lounge is also a great place to unwind. If the kids (or grandparents!) are napping, mousekeeping is cleaning or your room is otherwise occupied, you can head to the lounge to grab a drink and just, well, lounge. All lounges we’ve patronized have a television, as well as one just for the kiddos tuned in to the Disney Channel. Restrooms are also available in or near the lounges. This is also a nice place to relax if you’ve checked out of your room already but still have time before your Disney’s Magical Express shuttle arrives. You are considered a CL guest until midnight of your check-out day, so you are free to use club amenities.
In chatting with Walt Disney World travelers, not a lot of guests I’ve come across were aware of the business class option at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. While the services are not as extensive as true club level at the deluxe resorts, Stitchy and I truly enjoyed the convenience of Coconino Cove at Coronado.
That’s the skinny on club level at Walt Disney World. Obviously our crew thinks it’s “worth it,” but only you can decide if it’s worth the extra cost.
Have you stayed club level at Disney World? What did you think? Was it worth the extra cost for your party? What were your pros and cons?