Ah, family vacations. That wonderful time of special togetherness when the kids tease each other incessantly, nobody wants to do the same thing and everyone wants a break. Well, if you happen to be in Walt Disney World and find yourself looking for a little peace and quiet, consider giving the kids a treat. Take them to one of the Kids Clubs and enjoy! My daughter loves visiting these. On more than one occasion, she has asked to go here instead of going to the Magic Kingdom or any of the other parks with us. What’s not to love? There are toys, snacks, costumes, games, movies, activities, crafts, fun adults, kids to play with and so much more! In fact, when we go to pick her up, my daughter always begs for more time. “Please, mommy, not yet. I just got here!”
So, what’s the deal with these kids clubs? These are Disney child care centers. They are typically open only in the evening, most usually from 4pm to midnight. They are located in a few of the deluxe resorts. There is Simba’s Cubhouse at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Lilo’s Playhouse is at the Polynesian. The Cub’s Den is at Wilderness Lodge. The Sandcastle Club is at the Beach Club. The Swan and Dolphin resorts, which are located on Disney property but not run by Disney, also have a child care facility. It is called Camp Dolphin and is located between Hollywood Studios and Epcot at the BoardWalk. Our daughter has spent time in each of the kids clubs except Camp Dolphin. Each of these child care centers accept children ages 3 to 12. All include dinner for the kids as part of the child care cost. And all include various activities, games and play for the children.
The Cast Members who staff these clubs have been outstanding in our experience. They are through, enjoy interacting with the kids and provide a safe, happy atmosphere for children to run and play. When dropping your child off, you will be required to complete paperwork, including medical disclosures and any allergy information. Only the adult dropping the child off and those listed on the paperwork may pick the child up and only with the appropriate ID. The Cast Members are very serious about enforcing this rule and the rules around privacy in the kids clubs. On a very few rare occasions when my daughter has been the only child in the club, I have been allowed to take a photo of her. That is the only time cameras of any kind are allowed. The attention to these rules, which focus on providing a safe place for the children, is very reassuring to me as a mom.
We have dropped our daughter off for as little as two hours while we unpack to as long as six hours on one memorable occasion when she just kept asking for more time every time we went to check on her. During this child free time, we sometimes have a nice dinner. Sometimes we go do a ride she does not like to do. And sometimes, we just wonder the grounds of the resort, holding hands and enjoying some adult time at Disney World. Before too long, though, we start to miss our little girl. Then it is time to pick her up and enjoy the magic and the wonder of the parks through her eyes again!
Pricing, hours and dinner options vary among the different kids clubs. A new program includes more structured activities at Lilo’s Playhouse and the Sandcastle Club, resulting in a single price of around $60 for the entire evening. The others are, as of January 2016, still using a pay-by-the-hour approach of $15 per child per hour. DVC members are eligible for a discount under both pricing plans. To learn more or book a reservation for your child at one of these clubs, call (407) 939-3463.
Here are rare, totally unedited peeks inside of two of the Kids Clubs: