Walt Disney World has reopened all Moderate and Deluxe Resorts, and is now in the process of bringing back Club Level lounges, rooms, and suites. Here are the the concierge lounges that have already reopened, plus what’s on the horizon for Christmas and early 2022. (Updated November 1, 2021.)
As a quick reminder, resort concierge services and lounges were temporarily suspended along with the Disney Dining Plan and so much more when the resorts began to reopen. “When will Club Level return to Walt Disney World?” became one of the most common reader questions in the last few months, so we’re glad to finally have an answer!
Note that this timeline only concerns Club Level lounges and rooms at Walt Disney World. For resorts as a whole, see our 2021 Walt Disney World Hotel Reopening Dates. The good news there is that almost all resorts now have reopening dates between now and December 2021. The bad news is that Club Level lounges and rooms are returning long after their respective resorts, with many still not having reopening dates…
Let’s start with the Club Levels that have already returned to Walt Disney World:
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kilimanjaro Club
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Royal Palm Club
That covers everything different about the concierge lounge and what’s unchanged. It should offer a pretty good idea of what to expect if you’re thinking about booking a Club Level stay at Walt Disney World in the coming months.
Next, the scheduled Club Level reopening dates announced by Walt Disney World:
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge — December 16, 2021
Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort — December 16, 2021
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort – January 20, 2022 (new)
Disney’s Beach Club Resort – January 27, 2022 (new)
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – February 3, 2022 (new)
Reservations for Club Level rooms and suites at the above resorts are now available for booking. Bookings can be made online, or by calling the Disney Reservation Center.
According to Walt Disney World, each Club Level Lounge will follow indoor face mask requirements. Of course, those rules are subject to change, which has already happened since their return was announced. See our FAQ & Guide to Face Masks at Walt Disney World.
Per Walt Disney World: “Our lounges will continue to provide a personalized experience for Guests, including exclusive food & beverage options throughout the day and special Disney touches for all ages.”
In terms of other commentary, we’re first and foremost pleased and excited by this announcement. As longtime readers might know, our perspective on Club Level has “evolved” over the years. That’s been a gradual process, starting with a free upgrade at the Poly a few years back, and culminating in us paying to book several Club Level stays two years ago.
Club Level is now one of our favorite splurges at Walt Disney World. We’re still conflicted about the pricing, and think it’s difficult—if not impossible—to justify Club Level at Walt Disney World from an objective, value-for-money perspective. However, some of our best recent memories at Walt Disney World have been during Club Level “staycations,” so clearly we see a high level of subjective value in the experience.
Beyond that, we’re somewhat surprised it’s taking so long. As we’ve noted in countless other posts, Walt Disney World has a staffing shortage that is precluding many things from returning in line with demand. If there’s a “problem” in the parks right now, it’s more likely than not at least partially attributable to an insufficient number of Cast Members.
This has taken longer than expected for Walt Disney World to fully resolve. While restaurants are now seating more guests, most still aren’t filling all tables. Same goes for resorts and their rooms. This is due to a lack of servers, kitchen staff, housekeepers, and other key positions necessary to operate resorts and restaurants at 100% guest loads.
Nevertheless, it’s somewhat surprising that Walt Disney World hasn’t prioritized staffing its Club Level lounges above other locations.
Given how lucrative Club Level is for Walt Disney World–both via direct revenue and indirectly via the clientele it attracts–we’re somewhat surprised the company isn’t trying to bring back all Club Level lounges before this holiday season.
Back when the first slate of dates was announced, our expectation was that King Kamehameha Club Level at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort would be slotted into the schedule ahead of other lounges. When the hotel side reopened, there was still construction occurring in the Hawaii Longhouse, with the lounge blocked off.
That appears to have finished at least a month ago, with the walls coming down, revealing new Moana-inspired art and other new decor. It’s impossible to say whether back-of-house work is still happening in the kitchen, but if not, it’s surprising that King Kamehameha Club would be the last to return. (It also could very well be a matter of staffing.)
Given all of the above, the supply of Club Level rooms is extremely limited, and these are opening at a time of year when demand is sky-high for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. I probably don’t need to further elaborate on what that means for availability and how quickly it’s likely to go for those few months.
If you don’t want to hassle with it yourself, we’d recommend requesting a free/no obligation quote from an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner and having them deal with the headaches so you don’t have to. The other upsides to using fee-free travel agents is that they can assist with certain planning details and will monitor your reservation for future discounts, applying those as they’re released. However, we would caution against expecting future discounts on Club Level rooms for the immediate future.
If you’re on the fence one way or the other, wondering if a Club Level stay might be a good splurge for your family, check out our Guide to Club Level Lounges at Walt Disney World. That presents what we think is a pretty balanced assessment of the pros & cons. It also offers some ideas and ways to “hack” Club Level to make the high cost a bit more palatable.
While we’ve learned that Club Level is absolutely “for us,” it’s definitely not for everyone. If given the choice between a 1-night Chronos Club Level stay or doing Disney Very Merriest After Hours, I would pick Chronos Club in an instant and without hesitation. Others might choose that pricey hard ticket event or a couple dinners at Signature Restaurants. More practical planners might choose to extend their trip by a day. Then there are those who would go another direction entirely, doing an I-Drive escape room “crawl.” To each their own. Vacation planning, budgeting, and splurging is not one-size-fits-all. Club Level is great for some, and a total non-starter for others.
Excited or indifferent to the return of Club Level Lounges and rooms at Walt Disney World? Surprised it’s taking so long? Will you be booking a Club Level stay in 2021 or 2022? If you’ve stayed Club Level at a Walt Disney World hotel, do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Do you think it is worth the money? Which Club Level Lounge is your favorite? Have you considered staying Club Level? Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!