As part of a list of the “24 Oooh-Worthy Things at Disney Experiences in 2024,” the company has revealed that a new Disney Vacation Club Member Lounge coming to Walt Disney World in 2024. This post shares details of the announcement, along with basic background info and our speculation about a potential location.
For starters, exclusive DVC Member spaces have long been part of what Disney Vacation Club calls “Membership Magic.” From the Top of the World Lounge, which reopened with villainous new offerings atop Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, to the colorful Member Lounge perfectly perched in the iconic glass pyramid of the Imagination! pavilion at EPCOT, these exclusive enclaves are among Disney Vacation Club Members’ favorite places at Walt Disney World Resort.
Last year, Disney Vacation Club opened its very first Member Lounge at Disneyland Resort in California. Called Star View Station, the new lounge is located in the heart of Tomorrowland at Disneyland in the space on the second floor of the Star Wars: Launch Bay (formerly Innoventions) building. The sleekly designed “space” is home to a dedicated Disney Vacation Club Member Services team, plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, complimentary Wi-Fi, device-charging stations, and self-service beverage station.
According to the company, construction on a brand-new Disney Vacation Club Member Lounge will begin in 2024 at Walt Disney World. This will be a great place for members to relax and recharge during their day of fun! More details will be shared in the future. That’s literally all they teased.
Unless I missed something, this was the only announcement on the entire list of 24 things.
This doesn’t come as a complete surprise, as DVC leadership indicated that they were working to bring new “community spaces” to Members during the annual Condo Association meeting last month. But that could have meant any number of things, including community halls at the new resorts being built or random rooms converted into such spaces. Honestly, it could still mean that.
I’m a bit more optimistic, though. The first thing that came to my mind when hearing this announcement is how awesome it would be to have a lounge in Magic Kingdom. And I still really hope that’s what it is.
Having a spot to stop for a quick break and free Coke Freestyle or coffee is huge. I would hazard a guess that our #1 “attraction” at both EPCOT and Disneyland last year was the respective DVC lounges.
I didn’t get around to doing a photo tour of Star View Station at Disneyland, but it’s awesome. Lots of cool mid-century modern decor and nods to Disneyland history inside, plus Coke Freestyle machines and fancy coffee machines. Granted, one of those coffee makers is seemingly perpetually broken, but when it’s working, the espresso is surprisingly good.
On top of that, there’s a ton of outdoor seating that no one seems to know about (95% of the time, we’re the only ones out there) with great views of Tomorrowland. I would love something like that in Magic Kingdom.
But then I think about where it could conceivably go. I know there’s a laundry list of restaurants that are no longer in use or underutilized, but most of those don’t make a ton of sense. Tomorrowland Terrace is used for dessert parties, and it has a traffic flow corridor. That just seems unworkable. Aunt Polly’s is unworkable for a number of reasons, from being inconveniently located to being a walk-up window. So it’s safe to say that’s out, too.
The most likely candidate in Magic Kingdom is probably Tortuga Tavern. Even though that still gets some use, it strikes me as most plausible especially if Pecos Bill gets converted into Tiana’s Palace. The entire building could go down at once, and Tiana’s Palace could expand into Tortuga Tavern, while still leaving some space for a DVC lounge. But if that we’re going to happen, it seems like it would’ve started almost a year ago. The clock is ticking, and it doesn’t seem like there’s enough time to convert those spaces before Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens.
As a final wildcard, I’ll throw out Stitch’s Great Escape. There’s no reason the lounge needs to be a former food & beverage location–the other ones weren’t. It just needs a hook-up for Coke Freestyle and coffee machines (hopefully). Stitch’s Great Escape is simply a storage room now, and could probably be converted into a lounge. Doesn’t seem like there are any other plans for that location.
Logically, this might be another lounge in EPCOT. As the number of Disney Vacation Club members increases every year–and will be growing significantly again in 2024–demand for the current Imagination Lounge increases. I often ‘rope drop’ the current lounge when it opens (or do it late in the afternoon) to avoid the walk-up waitlist, but I’ve had 30+ waits on several occasions during the midday rush.
A lounge in any other park wouldn’t address demand for the existing DVC lounge in EPCOT. But another one in World Showcase would! And it helps that there are like a half-dozen unused lounges there. Not to mention Restaurant Marrakesh, which is currently used as the Florida Blue Lounge during the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival, but sits empty the rest of the year.
Converting one of those spaces wouldn’t require much construction, and would make sense from an operational perspective.
However, given that these lounges also serve as marketing for Disney Vacation Club, I’m skeptical they’d add another lounge in EPCOT. It’s not something prospective or current members would get excited about given that there’s already one lounge in EPCOT. Most people aren’t going to say, “yes! shorter wait times for the current lounge.”
From a marketing and sales perspective, the most valuable location for a lounge is Magic Kingdom. If you polled DVC members, I’d bet that over 80% would want one there over anywhere else. Disney’s Hollywood Studios would probably be a distant second. Honestly, DHS might be a better pick for a location. Magic Kingdom has tons of places to relax, whereas DHS is stressful and doesn’t have options for easy decompressing unless you commit to a lengthy stage show on an uncomfortable bench.
Finally, there’s the worst (IMO) option of all, which is a lounge in the new Polynesian tower. Top of the World started out as being an exceptional offering, but it has become a hassle over the years. Maybe other members feel differently about it, but I don’t want a second version of that. Maybe if this were ~2017, I’d feel differently, but we haven’t done Top of the World in a while and have little desire to return. Of course, maybe that would change if there were another comparable space to soak up demand and ease the current restrictions.
What do you think about the tease of a new member lounge being built at Walt Disney World? Any hope or speculation as to its location? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? If you’re an existing Member, what do you think? Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!