Podcast Episode 261: More Would You Rather?

We had so much fun coming up with impossible Disney choices that we’re at it again!  Join us as we make some really tough decisions between one Disney related choice and another, including where to stay, deluxe dining, and choosing between Walt Disney World and Disneyland!

Happy listening!

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Club Level Series: Animal Kingdom Lodge

Sanaa View

We are nearing the end of the Club Level Series with two deluxe resorts left to cover and so I decided Animal Kingdom would be next! We at DoleWhipped have two Dole Whippies that LOVE Animal Kingdom Lodge. It is one of my favorite resorts and so much to do. It is the best themed resort, in my opinion, and who does not love a glass of wine in the evening and hanging out with a friendly giraffe on your balcony? If you have not tried it yet go for it! It is heaven. If you need even more luxury at Animal Kingdom then go ahead and splurge and go Club Level.

Animal Kingdom Lodge’s club lounge is aptly named the Kilimanjaro Club and is located on the 6th Floor of Jambo House. The lobby is a huge atrium and it is located on a landing on the 6th floor and overlooks the lobby and it is only accessible by club level and suite guests. The Kilimanjaro Club literally just finished refurbishment and was done in May 2016 so best time to visit is now.

There are about 70 Club rooms and there are also suites available. The club level rooms are very similar to the standard rooms at Animal Kingdom and located on the Fourth Floor.

One thing special and unique is if you are a Disney Vacation Club member you can trade in your points and upgrade to a Club Level Room at Animal Kingdom Lodge. This is the only resort that has this as an option.

There previously were a few different special things that Club Level at Animal Kingdom or even just staying at Animal Kingdom afforded you. Certain things like the Night-time safari and Wanyama Safari but all of these have recently changed to be open to any Walt Disney World guest.

The lounge food – it in itself is a HUGE bonus at the Kilimanjaro Club because when it gets down to the good food for evening hours they bring it in from Boma and Jiko so you are in for a huge treat. The morning offerings and afternoon snacks are a bit of the usual club level offerings but the lunch, dinner and evening desserts are where it is at! Yes, even zebra domes make it to the dessert table at the Kilimanjaro lounge! The amazing part of all of the food is it is, as always, complimentary to Club Guest. If you are someone not sure about trying these restaurants – this is a great way to get a taste and realize these are amazing places with some of the best food on property!


Disney Club Level: What is it and why do I want it?

Disney has a category of rooms that are called “Club Level” or “Concierge Level” and though not a secret they are sometimes considered a “hidden gem”. I thought I would help share what it is and you can decide for yourself if it is something that would benefit or enhance your next Disney trip enough to make it worth the extra pennies (okay maybe not pennies!) that it will cost you!

This week will be an overview of Club Level and then the series will continue with an in-depth look at the different resorts club level benefits and extras so if you DO decide that you want to try out club level you will know which resort’s club level offerings are right for you. Club level does have many similarities throughout the different resorts but they as well have been customized for each resort.

Thanks Disneyworld.Disney.Go.com for the photo of Club Level Lounge

Thanks Disneyworld.Disney.Go.com for the photo of Club Level Lounge

First, not all resorts offer club levels and only Deluxe resorts have true club level rooms. One moderate has an option that resembles club level and that is Coronado Springs Business Class rooms. It is not called club level but has some of the same benefits such as a lounge only accessed by Business Class guests but it does not have the full offering that the deluxe true Club Level rooms offer. As we go through the series we will have a specific article on Business Class at Coronado Springs where we compare it to the full Club Level and tell you more about it.  All of the deluxe resorts now offer Club Level category so that list is Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Boardwalk and Animal Kingdom Lodge. Disney Vacation Club villa resorts that are deluxe villas category do not offer club level rooms. So, for example Bay Lake Tower or the Boardwalk Villas do not have this option.

Some people get confused and think Club Level has something to do with the concierge desk at the resort’s front desk. It does not and is separate so anyone staying at that resort can utilize the concierge desk in the resort’s lobby. Only Club Level can work with the concierge that is Club Level only and has a separate desk.

One of the best services that Club Level offers is the Itinerary Planning Office. Prior to your visit your TA and the IPO will work together to get your schedule set. While on your vacation they are a valuable resource when needing to move reservations around or if something comes up and you need to cancel reservations or fastpasses, etc.

AKLOne of the favorite services that Club Level offers is the lounge. Usually club level rooms are on the same floor or at least in the same area. Each of the resorts have a Club Lounge that offers complimentary food and drinks throughout the day and night.The lounges offer comfortable seating and TV’s (one is just for the kids with Disney cartoons playing). You can definitely eat a great breakfast here and heavy snacks throughout the day. I know many Club Level guests that even will eat dinner here in the evening. Though it is not a traditional restaurant or somewhere that has a menu that you order from their snacks are filling enough that you can definitely get full. There are a variety of hot and cold appetizers from the resort restaurants and wine and beer; along with soda and juice to fill you up. In the later eveningPoly CL2 they will have desserts and cordials out to indulge in. They do print menus of that week’s food and you will get that from your Club Level concierge or pick up at the lounge. The lounge is open from 7am to 10pm.

Club level rooms typically offer additional amenities as well. You will find luxurious robes in your room, spa-quality toiletries and DVD players, along with sometimes slightly larger rooms. For example, a Club Level room at Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of the deluxe category rooms (unless you have a suite). You also can request nightly turn-down service if you wish while you are staying Club Level.

Poly CLAnother benefit of Club Level is you will have your own check-in area that will make waiting in line to check-in a thing of the past. Club level access is secure and is restricted to club level guests only. In the past, a special Gold colored Keys to the Kingdom card would allow you access but now it is stored on your magic bands.

Each resort has unique reasons why Club Level is special and as we go through this series you will find that it might be the special, Club Level only Sunrise Safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge that appeals to you or that the Sushi during the dinner hours at the Poly Club Level steals your heart. There are so many appealing reasons to think about staying Club Level at Disney and I guarantee you there is one that is practically perfect for you!

Have you stayed Club Level at Disney before? What was your favorite part?

Disney's Club Level- (1)