We’ve been lucky enough to stay on the Disney Club Level at a few of the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels and while we really enjoy the additional amenities that come with the Club Level, it is sometimes hard to justify the extra cost. I’ve been asked a few times if I think the Disney Club Level is worth the premium price tag so I thought I’d break it all down here, listing the best amenities on the Club Level that are important when traveling with kids, as well as the obvious downside (that would be the cost!) and whether I do think the price can be justified.
Is Disney Club Level worth the cost when staying at a Walt Disney World Resort with kids?
The best things about the Disney Club Level
The Itinerary Planning Office to help plan your trip
Whether you’re a Walt Disney World newbie or a pro, having help planning your Disney vacation is a HUGE plus! A Disney vacation requires a lot of pre-planning for everything from dining reservations to FastPasses to extra events you might want to book – and the Itinerary Planning Office (IPO) can be a great help. You can use these guys to help you book dining reservations (they can even help you secure those hard to get places like Be Our Guest or Storybook Dining at Artist Point, and we used them to book the super exclusive Chef’s Table at Victoria and Albert’s, something we couldn’t have managed by ourselves), book FastPasses for you, answer questions on everything from Extra Magic Hours to resort amenities, and book additional activities like golf, boat rental, fishing excursions, and more. They can also answer any questions you have on things like dessert parties and seasonal events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party – and they can book those for you too. This is incredibly helpful and really does take a weight off your shoulders when planning.
The option to purchase extra FastPasses
This is a perk that was only introduced last year, but it is probably one of the best. If you book a Disney Club Level room at one of the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels, you have the option to purchase additional FastPasses. This option runs $50 per person for which you get three additional FastPasses, and there’s a three day minimum purchase (so at least $150 per person). These FastPasses can be booked at 90 days out (instead of 60 days out like other onsite guests) so you really do get more choice in what you can book.
Best of all, there are no tier restrictions for these FastPasses, meaning you could book all three of the FastPasses for tier one rides at one of the parks (such as Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania in Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios). This is an amazing benefit since you usually have to pick one of those rides and then come up with a plan B for the rest. While you can’t book any of the rides more than once on these FastPasses, once you come to book your regular FastPasses at 60 days out (because you get those as well!) you can book rides you’ve booked with your purchased ones too – so if you book all of the rides mentioned above at Hollywood Studios at 90 days out, you could still use your regular FastPasses to book another ride on Slinky. During busy times of the year, these additional FastPasses can make the difference between having a frustrating day spending hours standing in line, and having a great day getting to ride everything you want – sometimes twice! So while the cost can be a little hard to swallow to begin with ($600 for three days worth of FastPasses for a family of 4), if you can afford to make the purchase, it really is a game changer, especially when traveling with kids.
Access to the Club Level Lounge
The Disney Club Level Lounges at the Walt Disney Resort differ between hotels, but they generally all offer the same amenities. When traveling with kids, we make the most use of the complimentary food and drinks offered in the lounge; not only does this save some money on food, but it’s convenient when kids want food or something to drink and you don’t want to go all the way down to a gift shop or quick service location.
Drink options usually include water, juice, tea and coffee, soda, and alcoholic beverages in the evening. Breakfast usually offers things like toast, bagels, pastries, fruit, yogurt, and some hot options like scrambled eggs or bacon, and dinner options will include things like fruit and cheese plates, crudites, and some hot and cold appetizers. Throughout the day when food isn’t being served, you can still swing by to get water and a sweet treat.
Being able to eat breakfast in the lounge, grab snacks throughout the day, and even have a light meal there in the evenings can have hundreds of dollars on food. If you add up the savings on food, it might make the cost of a Club Level room a little more palatable, and the convenience is fantastic.
While it is appropriate for adults to be dressed while in the lounge, there have been plenty of times I’ve thrown on clothes and taken the kids down to the lounge in their pajamas to pick up breakfast that we can take back to the room with us; this is a much more relaxed start to the day and avoids having to get to a park and immediately start looking for somewhere to eat. It’s also great for grabbing a glass of wine in the evening to take back to your room! This is a great resource on arrival and departure day as well, when you might be arriving before your room is ready or leaving after check out time, and you need somewhere to relax with a drink and a snack while you wait.
The option for larger rooms and better views
While we usually stay in regular rooms on the Club Level, we have on occasion stayed in a 2-bedroom suite, and having the extra space if you have a large family (or in my case, children who can’t sit still and need some space to move around!) is wonderful. These are obviously going to be more expensive, but they’re nice to splurge on once in a while (and it’s great if you’re traveling with friends or other family members who can split the cost).
Club Level rooms also offer some of the best views since in most of the resorts, you’re on the top floor – many of them even have fireworks views! Being able to watch the fireworks from your balcony is great when traveling with kids; it means they can go to sleep if they need to, or at least get ready for bed, and then watch the fireworks without being surrounded by thousands of people (or having to fight those thousands of people to leave afterwards!)
The downside to staying on the Disney Club Level
The obvious downside is going to be the price. Walt Disney World Resort Hotels are not cheap, and what you’re really paying for is the location rather than the hotel itself. That’s not to say that the resorts aren’t fantastic; some of them are absolutely beautiful, some have truly immersive theming, and some are very unique in what they offer (not many hotels in the US offer a balcony overlooking a savanna!) But if you’re used to staying at a true deluxe resort outside of Disney, then you might find that you’re paying more at Walt Disney World but getting less. The rooms (the ones that aren’t suites) are just regular hotel rooms, and while there are some upgraded items (nicer toiletries and a robe and slippers provided), the other amenities aren’t anything special.
What you’re paying premium price for on the Disney Club Level is convenience; the convenience of being onsite and close to all of the Disney parks, and the convenience when it comes to perks like those additional FastPasses and planning assistance.
So is it worth it? That’s something that ultimately only you can decide – however I will say that if you are can afford to stay on the Disney Club Level without it impacting the rest of your vacation, I would say it is worth the extra cost, especially if this is a once in a lifetime trip where you’re trying to do as much as possible. Outside of the room itself, the additional perks that come with a Disney Club Level reservation are too fantastic to pass up and it really can make a stay more magical.