Wondering if Old Faithful Club Level at Wilderness Lodge is worth the money? Our review of this concierge hotel floor at Walt Disney World covers our experience with this lounge, with photos and thoughts on the food, resort amenities, service and our strategy for taking advantage of Club Level at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
After being anti-Club Level for years, we’re starting to warm up to it and now hope to review all of the Club Levels eventually. It’s definitely a splurge, but we get as much bang for our buck as possible by doing short Club Level stays and using them as non-park days for relaxing at the resort. For more general thoughts on concierge level at WDW, check out our Is Club Level at Walt Disney World Worth It? post.
Consult our separate Ultimate Guide to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge for everything else you could conceivably want to know about this hotel. Wilderness Lodge is my favorite resort at Walt Disney World, and I’ve written a ton of posts about it, as doing this very necessary and important research gives me exactly the excuse I need to book us stays here. We booked Old Faithful Club after our great experience at the Stone Harbor Club Level at Beach Club, partly because I was eager to explore an area of Wilderness Lodge I had never seen. That was a mistake…
Okay, calling it a mistake is being overly dramatic. Nevertheless, I think this is worth explaining because, judging by the comments, many of you are like me. After loving our stays at both Kilimanjaro Club at Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Stone Harbor Club, we decided to do Wilderness Lodge.
My initial choice for this Old Faithful Club stay would’ve been Christmas-time, as Wilderness Lodge is even better than normal during the holidays. However, discounts were not yet available when we wanted to book, room inventory was already low for Wilderness Lodge during the holidays, and I feared we’d either end up paying full price (not likely) or put it off for another year-plus (more likely).
This line of thinking was vindicated, as there was next to no availability from mid-November through mid-December when room-only discounts were released. Even then, prices were significantly higher than what we paid. My searches haven’t been exhaustive, but on the few Christmas-time dates when Club Level is available, the cheapest (AP discounted) rate is $576 per night.
While our Old Faithful Club Level stay was incredible, my internal dialogue was a near-steady stream of, “I really wish it were Christmas. How many days until Christmas? Can you imagine how great it would be to sit here at Christmas? I’d sit here for the entire day at Christmas and do nothing but eat and stare at the tree. Dang, we should really book a return stay for Christmas.”
So, on the one hand we made a mistake in not waiting until Christmas to do this stay, and now I really want to revisit it then. On the other hand, the rate is too expensive during the holiday season for us to justify–at least, during this holiday season–so we wouldn’t have actually booked it then.
I guess we made the right call after all, and thus the only “mistake” here was not doing this several years ago when early December discounts were more abundant and we would’ve paid “only” $300 or so per night. The main takeaway for those of you Walt Disney World regulars who are trying to choose the perfect time for a Club Level stay at Wilderness Lodge, Christmas is undoubtedly the best choice. It’s arguably worth paying a premium for the holidays if you can justify that.
As for the Old Faithful Club review, I think it’s worth mentioning here that this is the best concierge level service we’ve received at Walt Disney World. Normally, we don’t fixate on service too much because it’s spotty and inconsistent. Walt Disney World Cast Members are generally great, but Disney is pretty far from a hospitality industry leader when it comes to hotel operations.
However, I get the feeling that service at Old Faithful Club is consistently good. We interacted with several great Cast Members, including a few who had been at the resort for a decade or longer. Many of them seemed to consider the lodge a second home, and took great pride in it. I’m guessing here, but I suspect it’s a coveted role and one in which long-tenured Cast Members take great pride. (Who wouldn’t?! Wilderness Lodge is the GOAT.)
Our welcome packet included a business card with a phone number for a direct line to the concierge desk, a letter introducing us to Old Faithful Club and advising of menus and hours the hors d’oeuvres serving, plus a box of Wilderness Lodge chocolate bars from the Ganachery.
These chocolate gold bars are a really nice touch…but we still haven’t eaten them. I’m sure they’re delicious, but I just can’t bring myself to consume such a priceless collectible.
There are 5 different dining offerings throughout the day, which is standard for Club Level at Walt Disney World.
The day begins with coffee hour from 6:30 a.m. to 7 a.m., followed by continental breakfast from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., light snacks from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., tea and drinks from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., hors d’oeuvres from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and desserts & cordials from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Here’s a look at my breakfast. Naturally, I started my day out on a healthy foot with oatmeal and fruit.
Just kidding–that’s Sarah’s. I got a bunch of salami and cheeses, piling it all high into a colossal “breakfast” sandwich.
As is par for the course at these Club Level lounges, lunch was underwhelming.
Making a sandwich at breakfast and stashing it in your fridge for lunch is a good course of action, or dining downstairs at Whispering Canyon Cafe or Roaring Fork.
The hors d’oeuvres service, on the other hand, is exceptional.
The offerings change daily, but you can expect a variety of vegetables, meats, and side dishes.
There are a lot of individual serving dishes like this that, presumably, are to encourage portion control and discourage guests from turning it into a full meal.
However, just out of the frame to the left above is a big dish of chicken. Our second night, this was a glorious brisket (pictured below a bit further).
A variety of options are available for dessert, with the most notable being cobbler.
There was a different flavor of cobbler each night of our stay, and it was the stuff of legends. (It’s safe to say this fruit-heavy dish is healthy, right?!)
Wilderness Lodge has the best desserts of any Club Level lounge we’ve done thus far.
Other options, like this Chocolate Whiskey Cake, were also really good. However, they were all ‘one and done’ for me, as I focused all of my attention on that glorious, healthy cobbler.
Old Faithful Club is the only lounge with beer on tap, offering Elysian IPA and Kona Big Wave.
We wouldn’t be surprised if this changes at some point. Club Level lounges at Walt Disney World are moving away from self-service alcohol and towards it being offered ‘upon request.’
Cordials are also out in the evening.
Unlike the beer on tap, this area is watched over by a Cast Member.
The seating area of Old Faithful Club is open 24/7, while the food serving area is only open during the hours listed above.
The concierge desk is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The entire food serving area being closed is new to me, and meant it’s not possible to get coffee or drinks between meal services. This isn’t a huge problem, but it was a tad annoying.
The best seating at Old Faithful Club is along a rail that overlooks the lobby, pictured above. Here’s roughly what that looks like from these seats:
There are also two outdoor balconies at Old Faithful Club. These face Magic Kingdom, although you won’t be able to see Cinderella Castle or anything other than the Contemporary due to trees.
It’s possible to watch Happily Ever After from these balconies, and many guests do that, but we’d recommend going down the hall for a perfect view of Cinderella Castle, instead.
During our stay at Old Faithful Club, I spent approximately 90% of my time in the above-mentioned chairs overlooking the lobby. There’s no shortage of wonderful seating nestled throughout Wilderness Lodge, but this might just be the best seat in the house.
The only downside is no fireplace. Of course, the upside is access to unlimited food, alcohol, and coffee.
Can you imagine sitting here with a cold beer and plate piled high with brisket during the holidays while gazing down at the Christmas tree and hearing the soft holiday background music?
That seems like the perfect place to wrap up this review of Old Faithful Club Level at Wilderness Lodge.
Overall, we loved Old Faithful Club. It’s my favorite Club Level experience to date, but I also realize I’m biased by my affinity for Wilderness Lodge in general. It’s tough to set aside the normal ambiance of this resort, but if I did, Old Faithful Club would still rate highly for the quality of its dishes at dinner (especially the brisket!), that superlative cobbler, and the excellent service of experienced and attentive Cast Members.
With that said, I really think setting aside the ambiance of Wilderness Lodge is silly. Sure, the resort’s atmosphere is not necessarily “part” of Old Faithful Club since you can experience it outside of the lounge. However, at Old Faithful Club, the lounge’s atmosphere is an extension of the lobby’s atmosphere.
We’re approaching these Club Level stays from the perspective of getting the most bang for your buck by spending more time in the lounge, enjoying the food and atmosphere. Having access to the Club Level lounge provides a reason/excuse to spend more time relaxing at the resort, thus enjoying more of that atmosphere. In this regard, Club Level at resorts like Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge are tough to beat. Suffice to say, Old Faithful Club at Christmas is now on my Walt Disney World bucket list–I’d love yet another excuse to spend more time lounging at Wilderness Lodge during the holidays!
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Have you stayed Club Level at Wilderness Lodge? Did you spend a lot of time overlooking the cavernous lobby, appreciating the laid back atmosphere? Do you agree or disagree that Wilderness Lodge’s normal ambiance is an asset of this lounge? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!