Are Disney club-level rooms worth the extra cost?
If you've shopped online for Disney resort hotel reservations, you may have seen the words "Disney Club Level" on some booking options and wondered what exactly they mean.
You can probably quickly tell that these accommodations are more expensive than non-club options, but it isn't immediately obvious what that extra cash gets you ... and whether it is worth it.
Fortunately, I've been lucky enough to try out a number of Disney club-level rooms at a few different Disney resorts over the years. Here's all you need to know about these pricier rooms so you can decide if they're worth the splurge.
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What is the club level at Disney resorts?
Paying extra for a club-level room at a Disney resort entitles you to some extra perks and services beyond that of a standard Disney room reservation, largely in the form of food and drinks served in a club lounge.
The club level is not available at every Disney resort, but you will find it at these Deluxe and Moderate Disney properties:
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn.
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort.
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort.
- Gran Destino Tower at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort (the only Moderate resort that currently has a club level).
With a club-level room at Walt Disney World, you are not only assigned a specific type of room, but you also have access to a club lounge and the hosts within that lounge. These hosts can help you fix your park reservations, troubleshoot basic tech support issues with the app, give advice on planning your day and generally make your stay more personalized and, dare we say, magical.
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What are Disney club-level benefits?
When you arrive to check into your Disney club-level room, you'll likely be personally escorted up to the club lounge to complete your check-in and orientation, which covers all you can expect from the lounge and your various club benefits.
The club rooms are often centrally located, so you won't have to worry about being at the far end of a spread-out resort. For the Contemporary, that means you'll be in the atrium, close to the restaurants, monorail and, of course, the club lounge itself.
The most tangible benefit of Disney's club level is the club lounge itself, where you'll have access to food, drinks and snacks from morning to night.
Of the options available, breakfast and evening appetizers are the most substantial offerings. In fact, those are the two meals you could make out of your lounge access if you were so inclined. Be sure to leave room for dessert, though, as the options are consistently tasty.
Years ago, when I first booked the club level at the Contemporary, the agent on the phone told me I was in for a treat and that I had to make myself a plate of dessert, grab some wine from the club and retreat to my theme park-facing room for my own personal fireworks viewing party.
He was right. Having the show's music playing in the background via my TV while enjoying my selection of snacks was every bit as much of a treat as he said it would be.
What can you expect from Disney club-level lounges?
While I've briefly touched on the food and beverage options available in Disney's lounges, let's break it down further, so you know exactly what to expect.
On my most recent visits, breakfast was available from 7 to 10:30 a.m. daily, with coffee starting at 6:30 a.m. Morning options typically include a mix of hot and cold items, such as comforting bites like fried chicken on top of biscuits and creamy grits, plus healthier offerings like avocado toast, fruit and yogurt. Cold cuts and a selection of pastries are available as well.
In the afternoon, the offerings thin out a bit. However, the fridge remains stocked, which is quite handy for grabbing a drink between treks to the parks. We've also been known to toss an Uncrustable or two, along with packaged grapes and maybe a wrapped-up cookie, into our backpacks to enjoy in the parks when we don't want to stop and eat a real meal.
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Around 5 p.m. is when the "good" stuff comes out until 7 p.m. Whether you want a snack to tide you over before heading back to the parks or are aiming to put together a "dinner" on the cheap, you can accomplish either goal at the lounge, so long as your crew isn't too picky. There are a handful of hot options each evening, usually from the hotel's restaurant kitchen.
It's common to find some kid-pleasers such as nuggets, tater tots and rolls next to more adult-oriented favorites like short ribs, soy-glazed salmon and serrano-wrapped melon.
Fair warning, though, if do want to turn the evening club options into dinner, you won't want to wait to arrive until just before they're cleared at 7 p.m., as you may find the scene looking a bit messy with options lacking.
After the evening snacks (or dinner, as the case may be) are finished, the lounge shifts its focus to desserts and drinks, which are available from about 8 to 10 p.m.
These options are the perfect way to unwind after a busy day at the theme parks, especially if you time your snack consumption just right to coincide with watching the fireworks from the lounge or your room (if you have a theme park view).
The desserts may consist of cookies, cupcakes, tarts and cakes, among other sweet treats.
Adult beverages are included, too. Expect a selection of a few different wines in the evening, along with a variety of bottled beers and/or a beer or two on tap. Grand Marnier, Baileys, Kahlua and Frangelico are some of the common cordials I've seen on offer.
How much does Disney's club level cost?
Depending on the resort and time of year, expect Disney club-level rooms to cost somewhere between $400 and $1,000 per night. The Gran Destino rooms are often the least expensive thanks to being the only Moderate resort option, while the Grand Floridian, the Contemporary and the Polynesian club-level rooms are typically the most expensive.
I've seen Disney club-level rooms start at about a $150 to $200 upcharge over non-club rooms. However, I've also seen the price difference between the entry-level room and the club-level room be roughly $300 to $400 per night, especially in cases such as the Grand Floridian and the Contemporary, where the main building's rooms are just inherently pricier than the outer buildings.
When you layer club-level service on top of the rooms, the spread for nightly rates at resorts with club levels widens in a hurry. To be sure you're getting the most bang for your buck, I highly recommend using a free Disney vacation planner (such as TPG's booking partner Mouse Counselors) since they can get you additional discounts and assist with planning other parts of your trip.
Is Disney's club level worth it?
Now that you know what it is and what it generally costs, it's time to determine if the Disney Club Level is worth it.
If you want as much convenience, service and magic as possible while at Disney World, it may very well be worth paying up for a club-level room (if you can fit it into your budget). This is much like the equation with the concierge-level service on a Disney cruise.
However, if "worth it" means you’re spending more in one area to save in another (aka on food and drinks), then the answer is: It depends. You're unlikely to ever truly save money by booking a club-level room, but there are situations where you can trim expenses here and there.
For example, if you're a family that's going to make good use of the food and drinks in the lounge, then it's not unreasonable to make up a large portion of that room price difference by dining in the lounge instead of at the theme parks, where food and beverage prices are notoriously high.
Of course, ordering essentials and having them directly delivered to Disney via a grocery service is probably cheaper, but that doesn't mean you still can't save some money by staying in a club-level room.
As with all Disney resort rooms, there's another way you can shave a little more off the out-of-pocket cost: credit card rewards.
For example, with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, the miles you accrue can be used to offset any travel charge on the card or any Disney booking made within Capital One's travel site. The Bilt Mastercard® (see rates and fees) also has a travel portal that lets you use rewards for Disney resorts.
You likely won't want to book a Disney club-level room for a weeklong Disney World vacation (unless you have an unlimited budget).
However, choosing this type of accommodation for a few days of a trip is worth it, especially if you plan on limiting your off-site meals and aren't set on spending every waking moment in the parks.
Just be sure to be smart about when you reserve this kind of room. Aim to lock it in when the nightly price differential is no more than $200 above the room you would otherwise book so you can get more value out of the experience.
To help your family maximize time at Disney World, here are some articles to get you on your way:
- How to use points to buy Disney tickets
- Magic at every budget: These are the best hotels at Walt Disney World
- How to save a lot of money by renting Disney Vacation Club points
- Everything you need to know about visiting Walt Disney World Resort
See Bilt Mastercard rates and fees here.
See Bilt Mastercard rewards and benefits here.