Over the past decade of Walt Disney World visits (hard to believe I moved to Florida TEN years ago!) I’ve had a chance to stay in almost every resort hotel (I am missing Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, the Contemporary Resort, The Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and the new Art of Animation resort). I am thankful for all these trips and opportunities, made possible by great Cast Member discounts, when I worked for the mouse, and later, by joining Disney Vacation Club (DVC).
Hubby and I joined DVC in 2009, while aboard our honeymoon on the Disney Magic. Our home resort? Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, where we have spent a few short vacations in the past (in both Jambo House and Kidani Village), but, until last weekend, never in the highly-coveted club level – a rarity for DVC accommodations – and wow, I have to say, we were, for lack of a better term – wowed!
While the trip did admittedly start out a little bit on the wrong foot (I was so excited that we received a text that told us our room was ready, and so I assumed we could go through the “returning resort guest” gate with our Magic Bands when we arrived – nope – then, thought our Magic Bands would allow us to go up to the 6th floor [club level] on the elevator – nope) but, once it was all sorted out, we were introduced to the club staff, given a tour of the lounge, promptly escorted to our room – and the real fun began!
As our first official Club level experience, I was not sure what to expect (we were upgraded once at the Grand Floridian), other than from what I read from a few reviews online (my favorite was this one), though I always toe the line in reading too much, or not reading at all, as to not sully my expectations. However, within the first few minutes of settling in, I was glad we decided to book this location for three main reasons:
- Immersion – any stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge is awesome, but club level, on the 6th floor, is really incredible! It is so cool to see the savanna out one window, and the gorgeous lobby outside of your door. In a time where many resorts are being refurbished into more contemporary/modern style, it’s great to have a room that’s furnished with refined flair.
- Relaxation – we didn’t even leave the resort that first night. Now, if you’re a family that’s really get up and go/Commando-style, this might not be your place – it’s further away from the parks (except Animal Kingdom) and Disney Springs than many other resorts, but if you are spending a fair amount of time just chilling – this is your place! For dinner that first night, we had a combination of yummy appetizers from the lounge and quick service meals from the Mara downstairs. No fuss, no muss.
- Comfort – along with my sister, we were three adults, and one infant in a 1-bedroom villa – perfect! It was great to have the kitchen area and full-size fridge (storing drinks, pumped milk, etc) and lots of space to spread out with our stroller, the pack and play (we used the one in the room, with our own sheet from home) and all the gear we needed for baby (and Dapper Day! LOL). Plus, the way the 6th floor wraps around, it was about a 30 second walk from our door to the lounge!
Almost all day (7:30 AM to 10 PM), there are refreshments, ranging from the delicious Jungle Juice (OMG I had like three glasses a day), to java from the nespresso machine, adult beverages (beer, wine, cordials) and even tasty foods. Again, for a great review/photos on offerings, I’d recommend the review I referenced above, since I clearly fail as a blogger and did not take photos of all the yummy things I consumed during our two night stay (including, but not limited to: lamb curry, butter croissants, homemade granola bars, and more!)
While we did not utilize the concierge staff, I was glad to notice that they were always friendly and available (no waiting in long lines in the lobby for questions, or assistance).
Since the point value was pretty high (35/nt, as compared to staying in a value studio, ~10/nt), we won’t really be able to make a habit of staying in club level every trip, but it was definitely a great experience that fit our needs (hubby had to do some work/wasn’t dying to visit the Magic Kingdom, lol- so he stayed at the resort for most of the trip – and he was comfortable). I just hope Abby wasn’t too spoiled 😉 Haha!
In the next few years, I hope to complete my full bucket list dream of staying at all WDW Resorts – where should we stay next? What’s your favorite WDW resort?