Podcast Episode 125: Club Level Overview

Have you been curious about what club level is and what it has to offer?  This week we give you the low down on what you can expect if you stay club level at a Disney resort.  From the rooms, amenities, and food offerings, staying club level offers you a special something extra for your next Disney vacation.

Happy listening!

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Contemporary Resort In Depth

If you’ve been listening to our podcast you’ll know that we’ve been in the process of going in depth with each Walt Disney World resort hotel.  You can listen to our coverage of the Contemporary Resort on Episode 89 available here.

So let’s start with the basics.

The Contemporary is one of the first two resorts on property when WDW opened in 1971. Before the construction of the Grand Floridian, it was considered the flagship resort.

The Contemporary Tower was built as an A-frame with outer walls which slope inwards around an inner atrium. The building was constructed with the steel frames being installed first and then rooms constructed offsite were fit into place by crane. 

The Contemporary is located on Bay Lake, just next door to the Magic Kingdom and is a “monorail resort”.The main draw of this resort is that the monorail runs, literally, right through it.

Onsite Dining

Table service

Chef Mickey’s – One of the most popular character meals. Characters at this meal include Mickey as “Chef Mickey”, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, and Chip and Dale. Breakfast is served buffet-style from 7:00 am to 11:30 am and offers breakfast pastries, bagels, fresh fruit, omelets, Mickey pancakes, and other basic breakfast foods. Dinner hours are 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Dinner buffet features meats like prime rib, chicken, and seafood, as well as pasta dishes and a salad bar.  Advance Dining Reservations are required.

The Wave…of American Flavors

This restaurant is something of a hidden gem in that the food is good and the place is hardly ever crowded. This restaurant focuses on fresh food that is locally grown and sustainable.  

California Grill

This is one of the best places to view the fireworks at Magic Kingdom! If you can get a reservation during the show, the music is piped in, so you can enjoy all aspects of the show.  If you can’t see the show well from your table, you can head outside to the terrace area which is even better. This award-winning restaurant is open from 5:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. and the lounge, where you can find beer, cocktails, an assortment of California wines, is open from 5:30pm – 1am. The restaurant menu offers cuisine with a Californian influence and changes seasonally. The kitchen is open so you can see all the food being prepared. The main focus of the menu is sushi, but they also offer grilled meats, poultry, seafood, and vegetarian selections. Advance Dining Reservations are required.  You’ll need to try for them at 180 days out as time slots run out quickly.

Note about the terrace:  Only restaurant guests may use the terrace.  If your dinner ends before the fireworks begin, bring your dinner receipt back to the restaurant (same day only) and you will be allowed to go to the terrace to watch the show.

Top of the World

At the very top of Bay Lake Tower is the Top of the World Lounge, which is very similar to California Grill in its location. In fact, Top of the World is a former name of California Grill. There is a viewing deck and also an indoor seating area with a full bar. They also offer a limited food menu. Only Disney Vacation Club members may use the lounge. A cast member in the lobby must verify a guest’s Vacation Club credentials before allowing the guest access to the lounge’s elevator. All Bay Lake Tower guests may visit the viewing deck until 4 pm. The lounge features views of the Magic Kingdom theme park and Bay Lake, including its surrounding resorts.

Quick Service

Contempo Cafe – This is the resort food court and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  They offer standard food court fare as well as fritattas, french toast, flatbreads, fresh fruit, and grab -n- go stuff.   Also where you’re going to refill resort refillable mugs.

Outer Rim Lounge – bar with a large selection of wines, beers, ales, and cocktails.

Sand Bar – Poolside bar offering hamburgers, hot dogs, snacks and alcoholic beverages like margaritas, and fruity pool drinks.  Notable one is the Banana Cabana – Cruzan Mango Rum, Coruba Coconut Rum, Bols Crème de Banana, Orange and Pineapple Juice and a float of Grenadine

Cove Pool Bar – Located at Bay Lake Tower- offers light apps and snacks like wraps, sushi, meat and cheese plates, fruit, and even kids meals.  Alcoholic beverages are also available.

Room Types – Main building

Standard rooms as well as suites are offered in the main building, in fact they are some of the largest rooms available on WDW property.  The bathrooms are the split bath formation like in other resorts, however, they are reversed with the shower and sink in one room and the toilet in another.

Standard rooms – 2 queen beds or one king, a daybed.  Tower rooms have a balcony or patio. The patios on the first floor rooms in the Garden wings are not private, meaning that they are basically one long patio.  This can be a problem if you’ve got less than stellar neighbors.

There are 25 suites with either Theme Park or lake views. You can get one and two bedroom suites with two queen size beds and sleeper sofas and there are eleven Club Level suites on floors 12 and 14.

Bay Lake Tower room types

Room types include Studios, One-, Two-, and Three-Bedroom Grand Villas.

Studio – Sleeps up to four.  Features queen size bed, full-size sleeper sofa, TV and DVD player, small cube refrigerator, microwave, toaster, and coffee maker.  Laundry facilities are located on the first floor off the lobby area.

One-Bedroom Villa – Sleeps five. Features Master bedroom suite with king-sized bed, Master bathroom with walk-in shower, whirlpool tub.  There is a second bathroom just off of the living room. The living room has a queen-size sleeper sofa as well as a sleeper chair, You can find a TV and DVD player in living room, and a TV in master bedroom. Full kitchen includes: coffee maker, dinnerware, glassware, silverware, cookware, microwave, toaster, stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Laundry area contains a stacked washer and dryer.

Two-Bedroom Villa – These rooms have an additional bedroom with a private bath, one queen-size bed, and a double sleeper sofa. The 2 Bedroom villas sleep eight adults plus one child under age three in a crib. The Master suite has a king-size bed and private bath with a whirlpool tub. There is a fully equipped kitchen, ceiling fans throughout, stacked washer and dryer, TV with DVD player in living room and TVs in each bedroom, queen-size sleeper sofa in living room and a private balcony or porch.

3-Bedroom Grand Villa – Accommodates up to twelve and are 2 levels. Includes a master bedroom suite with king-size bed, and a master bathroom with whirlpool tub. There are four bathrooms total in this villa. There are two more bedrooms, each with two queen-size beds. You can also find a queen-size sleeper sofa in living room. TV and DVD player in living room, and TV in master bedroom and both additional bedrooms. Full kitchen includes: coffee maker, dinnerware, glassware, silverware, pots and pans, microwave, toaster, stove, refrigerator, dishwasher. There is a dining room with dining table and chairs (seats 10 and can be expanded to 12). Laundry area contains a stacked washer and dryer. There are multiple balconies, one-off the kitchen, and one-off of each of the 3 bedrooms for a total of 4.

Pools

Pools are a bit lacking here at the main building, to be honest.  There is a large main pool with a 17 foot curving slide and some little sand bar type things in the middle.  The secondary pool is round and gets progressively deeper toward the middle.  No real themeing.  It’s just…a pool.

Bay Lake Tower has their own pool only for use by BLT guests.  Their pool has a 20 ft waterslide and a zero entry edge. There is a splash pad for kids.

Poolside activities remain the same as other Disney resorts, including the afternoon Disney Junior Pool Party.

Poolside cabanas are available for rent on a first come, first served basis.

Recreation

Parasailing:

  • Single Flight :
  • Regular – $95+ tax per flight (8-10 minutes at 450 feet)
  • Deluxe – $ 130+ tax per flight (10-12 minutes at 600 feet)
  • Tandem Flight:
  • Regular – $170+ tax per flight (8-10 minutes at 450 feet)
  • Deluxe – $195+ tax per flight (10-12 minutes at 600 feet)

Waterskiing/kneeboarding/wakeboarding/tubing:

  • $85 + tax: 30 minutes
  • $165 + tax: One hour
  • $185 + tax: Premium Trip includes pick up and drop off for Bay Lake Resorts.

Each boat can accommodate up to 5 guests. Children under age 18 must have an adult present to sign waivers.

Personal watercraft/waverunners:

  • $80 + tax: 30 minutes
  • $135 + tax: One hour

Non-guided excursions available from 9:00am year round.

All of the Personal Watercraft can hold up to 3 guests but must not exceed a combined weight of 400 pounds. All drivers must be age 16 or over and must present a valid state issued Driver’s License or Permit with photo ID when they check in. No exceptions. A credit card is required to be used as a damage deposit. Children under age 18 must have an adult present to sign waivers.

Fitness Center 

The Olympiad fitness center is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and is located on the third floor. It includes all the best exercise machines, treadmills, sauna, massages, whirlpool, and tanning booths. Personal training is available by appointment only. The gym is open to all WDW guests. Membership costs are:$12 per person, per day; $20 for the Guest Length of Stay, $40 for Family Length of Stay. The tanning bed is $8 per 20 minutes (with a 20 minute maximum). DVC members can use the gym and services free of charge.

There are limited spa services like massages and facials.  One perk is that they will come and do a massage in your resort room.

There is an onsite arcade that includes video games and billiards pool.

Tennis courts – 6 clay courts with pro shop, tennis lessons are available.

Guided fishing excursions are available via the concierge desk.

Movies Under The Stars is available on select nights in the courtyard on the back side of the main Atrium building.

Transportation

Magic Kingdom: If you’re going to Magic Kingdom Park you have a couple of choices on how you want to get there. You can take the monorail, however, it may not be the quickest option since it makes stops at the Ticket & Transportation Center, the Polynesian Resort, and the Grand Floridian before it eventually gets to the Magic Kingdom. If you don’t mind the walk, you can take the footpath from Contemporary to Magic Kingdom.  It’s a short 10 minute walk.

Epcot: Take the monorail to the Ticket & Transportation Center and transfer to the Epcot monorail.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Take the Hollywood Studios bus.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Take the bus marked Animal Kingdom/Blizzard Beach.

Disney Springs Marketplace, Disney Springs West Side: Before 4 p.m., take the monorail to the Ticket & Transportation Center, and transfer to the bus marked Downtown Disney. After 4 p.m. there will be direct Disney Springs buses from the resort.

Themeing

The theme is very modern and streamlined and not aggressively Disney.  This can be a pro or a con, depending on what you’re looking for in a Disney resort.  The highlight of the resort is the stories tall Mary Blair mural.  It has a Southwestern feel and almost seems like it doesn’t belong in that resort, but it is a thing of beauty if you’re a classic Mary Blair fan.

The rooms have the standard white duvet with furnishings in the brown family, with pops of lime green throughout.

How much does it cost?

As usual, we use a fictional family of four with 2 adults and  2 kids, ages six and nine.  We chose some random dates in August, this case, August 20 through August 26.  We give them five-day base tickets, no dining plan, and no Memory Maker photo package.

Garden wing room with Garden View – $4060.76

Tower  room with Bay Lake View – $5085.70

Tower room with Theme Park View – $5375.88

Club Level room with a Standard view – $6066.64

Club Level room with a Theme Park View – $6452.56

Bay Lake Tower Deluxe Studio room with a Standard view – $4675.04

Bay Lake Tower Deluxe Studio room with a Theme Park View- $5539.04

Bay Lake Tower One Bedroom Villa with a Standard view – $5653.82

Bay Lake Tower Two Bedroom Villa with a Lake view – $7930.80

Bay Lake Tower Two Bedroom Suite with Club Level Access – $15042.96

How does the Contemporary Resort rank on your list of favorite resorts?  Let us know in the comments!

 

Podcast Episode 89: In Depth: Contemporary Resort

We’re continuing our In Depth series of all the Walt Disney World resorts! Por favor mantaganse alejado de las puertas, our next stop is Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  We talk about all aspects of the resort from dining, room types, activities and amenities, and cost.

If you like this series we’ve also covered Animal Kingdom Lodge, Pop Century, and Coronado Springs.  Check those out!

Happy listening!

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Club Level Series: Contemporary Resort

Moving on through the Deluxe resort’s club level in this series and let’s quick recap. So far, we have reviewed Grand Floridian, Poly, Yacht Club and Boardwalk’s Club level. I am personally sold on any or all of them but are any standing out for you? I may have a personal favorite but waiting until later to reveal!

RWV590691Next stop is the Contemporary Resort’s Club Level and lounges named the Atrium Club and the Tower Club.

There are 64 club rooms and suites and they enjoy some of the best views on Disney BA4A4ADE-43A0-4072-91CF-945EB43864E4_zpsuid0o77iproperty. The Atrium Club lounge is found on the 12th floor and has a magnificent view of the Magic Kingdom and is a great place to watch Wishes from every night. The Tower Club lounge is on the 14th floor and again a great view of Magic Kingdom and Wishes! The two club lounges are identical in function and menu they just look a bit different. The 12th floor Atrium club has all standard rooms and the 14th floor with the Tower Club services the suites as well.

On top of watching Wishes from the Club level lounges you can also watch the Electrical Water Pageant. Though some readers might blow this off I have many clients that want a view to specifically see the Electrical Water Pageant and I agree! It is lovely and a must see if only for the nostalgia!

The Club level cast members are available on site between 7am and 10pm and one really cool feature is you can also text with them. So, out at a park and not sure what you should do about not having a dining reservation – the club level staff can help you out right through text!

June 2007 Walt Disney World

June 2007 Walt Disney World

The same amenities as the other club levels exist here (chocolates on your pillow, special check-in, somewhat upgraded rooms (robes and different amenities mainly) and the special lounge with the complimentary drinks and food.

The Atrium Club and Tower Club start with coffee and continental breakfast, then move on to snacks and small munchies for the main part of the day. They then break out the hot apps at dinner time like crab cakes and vegetable spring rolls and late night is cordials and desserts.

Sounds good and yummy to me! I can not wait to check it out.

 

 

 

 

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)