Should You Get a Club Level Room on Your Disney Vacation
Membership has its privileges, as the old saying goes. At Walt Disney World, you’ll get more when you pay more. This statement is particularly true at Disney resorts. Staying at official hotels gives you wonderful amenities, and you’ll get even better ones when you vacation at the best resorts at Walt Disney World. Some of these locations have an even higher tier of service, a Club Level with extra benefits. Should you get a Club Level room? Read on…
What Is Club Level?
When you book a Disney hotel stay, you select a room type. At certain resorts, one of the room types is Club Level. These rooms cost a bit more than regular accommodations. In exchange for the higher rates, you’ll receive better amenities. Many of them are free, although one of the most tantalizing options is a relatively new pay-to-play feature.
Club Level rooms are accurately named. Certain hotel floors require exclusive access. Your Magic Band will recognize that you’re staying on the Club Level and grant you access to hotel floors that aren’t otherwise available to regular guests. Since Club Level is a room type, you’ll always know when you’re authorized to stay here. You had to choose Club Level when you booked.
The amenities at Club Level vary by resort. The one standard is a lounge that serves food and drinks. Disney schedules the meals regularly, with coffee and continental breakfast items on display early in the day. Later on, they’re replaced by snacks, afternoon tea, and evening indulgences. The last category means adult beverages and desserts. You can get “free” beer and wine in exchange for paying more for these rooms.
Some resorts even provide specialty items. For example, we were delighted when we stayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Club Level. We discovered that our beloved Jungle Juice from Boma is one of the drinks available in the Club Level Lounge, also known as the Concierge Lounge. Sure, it’s a little thing, but since the juice is so scarcely available, we celebrated the constant access.
What Are Club Level Amenities?
Standard Club Level amenities fall into two categories. One is the club lounge access. The following resorts each have such exclusive clubs, along with distinctive names. Here’s the list:
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kilimanjaro Club
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort – Stone Harbor Club
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn – Innkeeper’s Club
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Atrium Club
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort – Sugar Loaf Club
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort – Royal Palm Club
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – King Kamehameha Club
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – Old Faithful Club
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort – Regatta Club
Some of these locations are more famous than others. For example, King Kamehameha Club has been the primary celebrity hangout lounge at Walt Disney World since opening day in 1971. Park officials always designated this resort as the place to host dignitaries, and the status of Club Level at the Polynesian has persisted for almost 50 years.
Since we’ve already discussed what you’ll find at the lounges, let’s talk about the second kind of amenities, the ones that aren’t hotel-specific. When you stay at Club Level at Disney, you’ll get:
- Cast member assistance
- Deluxe toiletries
- Luxurious hotel robes and slippers
- Special pre-trip itinerary help from a Disney specialist
- Complimentary newspapers
- Turndown service complete with the famous chocolate on the pillow
Most of these amenities are self-explanatory. Let me clarify the one ambiguous one, cast member assistance. The Disney employees who work the Club Level may or may not be technically called concierges. I’ll be honest that I’ve never been clear on this point. They do perform concierge tasks, though.
Since you’re paying more than regular guests, you’ll get better treatment, even relative to the already-amazing customer service at Walt Disney World. Cast members will try to answer all of your questions and even help you with some of your tasks.
Do you need a reservation at Be Our Guest or some other restaurant that’s usually booked? Disney won’t promise anything, of course, but the cast members will employ every trick they know to assist you in your quest. Similarly, they can’t give you a FastPass, but they can give you all the best tips for booking FastPasses on your own. You have all the expertise of Disney’s best employees at your disposal at the Club Level Lounge.
Of course, you can maximize this opportunity by taking advantage of it before your trip. Pre-vacation guidance from a Disney cast member is one of the best benefits of a Club Level stay. With plenty of time to schedule in advance, your trip advisor should deliver most, possibly even all, of your requests for your Disney vacation. That fact alone may sell you on Club Level.
Also, I think it should go without saying that the Club Level rooms are vastly superior to the standard accommodations you’d otherwise book. I’m saying it anyway just in case you weren’t sure. These are generally junior suites or full-fledged suites. You’ll know when you book the room type.
The Pay-to-Play Option
Disney recently introduced a new upsell for guests who book Club Level rooms. At some point, I’ll write a full article about it, but the gist is simple. Club Level rooms include the option to buy Disney Signature Services.
For a cost of $50 per person per day, guests receive an extended FastPass booking window. For guests at official Disney resorts, the standard window is 60 days. Club Level guests can schedule at 90 days. More importantly, they receive six FastPasses rather than the usual three.
Actually, the offer is even better than you think. When you book FastPasses this way, you can choose multiple parks, something unavailable through the standard process. Also, you can book multiple FastPasses from the same tier.
As an example, you could feasibly schedule Avatar Flight of Passage, Na’Vi River Journey, Frozen Ever After, Test Track, Slinky Dog Dash, and Alien Swirling Saucers on the same day! Enterprising Disney fans should already see the opportunity this presents when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens in the fall. You could feasibly beat the system by purchasing Disney Signature Services!
The benefits don’t stop there. As part of Disney Signature Services, guests receive preferred seating at any of Disney’s nighttime fireworks presentations. You’re guaranteed great seats at all of your favorite Disney presentations. Disney Signature Services isn’t cheap, but it’s money well spent for those who can afford it.
Is Club Level Worth the Money?
While reading the article, you’ve likely drawn your own conclusion on this topic. I’m never a fan of telling people how to spend their money, either. What I’ll do instead is provide a relatively neutral evaluation along with a summary of our experiences with Club Level.
Staying on Club Level has a sort of velvet rope vibe. You’ll feel like the Disney elite when you unlock access to a hotel floor that regular guests can’t visit. And the food and snack options are terrific. You’ll actually save a bit of money thanks to these amenities, a way to mitigate some of the cost of Club Level rooms.
The best amenity right now in my opinion is the paid FastPass privilege. It’s on a par with Club 33 membership benefits at the cost of $50 per person per day. With six FastPasses booked, you can do Disney like a celebrity, an intoxicating proposition. Oh, the robe and slippers are lovely extras, too.
To me, the most important aspect is the room rate. In looking at rack rates for the various Disney resorts, Club Level generally costs roughly double a regular room. Obviously, you can and should speak with an experienced agent at MickeyTravels to discover the best possible deal.
I’ve had good luck in finding deals on Club Level rooms; however, a lot of potential guests contemplating Club Level don’t worry as much about budget anyway. As someone who is budget-conscious, I’m kind of on the fence about whether we get our money’s worth on Club Level. I lean toward yes, but the reason is arcane.
During my wife and my tenth anniversary, we were a bit more extravagant on our vacation. We stayed on the Club Level at both Animal Kingdom Lodge and Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Resort Orlando. Between the two resorts, I felt that Club Level was a much bigger and better deal at Disney. It absolutely crushed the amenities at Hard Rock Hotel, something that surprised me.
Before that vacation, I was hesitant to say that Club Level at Disney resorts is good value. Now that I’ve compared it to the competition, however, I know firsthand that it is. My suggestion is that you should try it during a quick weekend getaway or during a resort hopper vacation. You can then decide whether it’s worth the money during a longer trip.