The kids clubs at Walt Disney World are a great way to give yourself a little bit of grown up time during a busy vacation. Maybe you want a quiet dinner at a more upscale restaurant or just want to go on some rides the kids are too young for? Whatever the reason, Disney’s kids’ clubs are a great way to carve out a little bit of time for yourself.
We’ve used the Neverland Club before and it was a huge hit, but in December we were staying at Boardwalk and planning on eating at Yacht Club, so we wanted something a little closer, so chose the Sandcastle Club in the Yacht and Beach Club Resort. Beach Club was a quick fifteen minute walk (or you can take one of the Friend Ships) from our resort. To get to the Sandcastle Club, just go into the main lobby of Beach Club and go down the long hallway to your right; it’s on your right, just past the shops.
Children ages three to twelve are welcome in the clubs (the sign above is an older sign). Operating hours are 4:30 to midnight. You’ll need to pay for a two-hour minimum stay, but you can pick your child up earlier if you wish. You do not need to be a guest of the resort or even a guest of Disney World property to use the clubs. There is an $11.50 per hour fee per child which includes dinner if the child will be staying during that time period. Unfortunately, there is no discount for multiple children.
We dropped our children off and they immediately started playing with all the games and toys. There’s a big main room with tables, games, and activity centers. There’s also a small room off to the side (well within view of the main desk) set up like a small house. The kids were able to choose their meals from a list containing kid-friendly food: pizza, macaroni and cheese, nuggets. They always enjoy picking items from their own “menu” and always report back that they enjoyed the food. After they ordered their meal, they went off to play and we headed over to Yachtsman Steakhouse.
Besides games and toys, cast members conduct organized activities such as arts and crafts: Our daughter presented us with several sparkly drawings when we picked her up. Cast members are trained to make sure that all children are included in the fun and games and that no one feels left out. If you have a shy child or a child with special needs, make sure you inform the cast members when you drop your son or daughter off. The rooms are clean, the equipment is new, and the staff is friendly. I’m a worrier by nature, but I felt comfortable leaving the kids there.
To me, the only downside is the cost. With three kids, I paid $34.50 an hour. Times that by 2.5 hours and for that amount, I could have hired a babysitting service like Kids Nite Out
for four hours. A sitter service would have come to the resort room and when I got back (if history is any indication) they would have been snug in their beds asleep. But with the kids clubs, I have the satisfaction of knowing that they’re being entertained without watching television, that there are multiple adults watching them, and they’re being given dinner. So, it’s definitely a trade off between cost and peace of mind. I still like using a sitter service and will continue to do so, but now that my kids are older and can stay out a little later, the kids clubs are a treat.
Our kids love going to the kids clubs and they always ask if they’re going each trip. They get to play with new toys, eat fun food, and meet other kids, but they also get a break from the hubbub of the parks. Yes, we’re all there for a family vacation and the parks are our focus, but it’s nice for the kids to get a break from the parks one night and enjoy the more quiet atmosphere. And let’s not forget, parents deserve a quiet date night once in a while.