Is Splurging For Club Level At Walt Disney World Resorts A Good Value For Food And Beverages?

I am lucky enough to be a local in Central Florida, so we spend a lot of time at Walt Disney World. It's one of the primary reasons we moved to our chosen town. You may wonder why we decide to stay on property when we live such a short distance away. The answer is simple. The immersion into the Disney ambiance, the convenience of close proximity to the parks, and the unique amenities make staying on the property a magical experience distinct from just a day visit. For a recent vacation, we decided to take that magical experience to new heights and stay in a club level room in the Grand Destino Tower at the Coronado Springs Resort.

This beautiful hotel is considered a moderately priced hotel in the Disney pricing terminology, but when you walk in, it seems like a luxurious, deluxe hotel. The decoration and styling of the tower are modeled after Walt Disney's collaboration with Salvador Dali and their work on a short animated piece called "Destino." Even still, there are little touches of Mickey throughout the resort.

When you stay in a room on the club level, you get access to perks that guests throughout the rest of the resort don't have access to, including a lounge. Here, you can enjoy breakfast, appetizers, desserts, beer, and wine, all for free. Plus, you get some incredible views. In fact, one of our favorite Orlando restaurants with a spectacular view is just one floor up.

Which resorts offer club level?

Coronado Springs is one of many Disney resorts offering club level. However, it is the only moderately priced resort to have this perk. The rest of the resorts at club level are in the deluxe category, surrounding Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, and Epcot.

The Animal Kingdom Lodge has a club level in both the main building and the Jambo House. For Magic Kingdom, you will find club level at the Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Wilderness Lodge. Epcot club level resorts include the Beach Club, Yacht Club, and Boardwalk.

When it comes to staying on property, most guests get to enjoy the Disney transportation. And honestly, to my family, no Disney trip is complete without taking full advantage of the boats, monorails, Skyliners, and buses to get from place to place. While Coronado Springs offers only buses as transportation, the resorts around Magic Kingdom and Epcot offer several more options, making your journey to the park just as magical as your stay in the park.

Disney Resorts are like a vacation all in themselves, and we've been known to book a room and stay exclusively at the resort rather than visiting a park. The only trouble is they aren't all-inclusive, so if you are used to staying in that environment, a Disney Resort might not seem ideal. However, with club level includes a lot of perks and it feels much more all-inclusive than non-club level rooms.

Enjoy a filling breakfast before hitting the parks

Each morning of our stay, after waking up and getting dressed for the day, we would head on up to the lounge for a delectable continental breakfast that included crunchy cereals, freshly baked breakfast pastries, aromatic coffee, and an array of other delightful items. Happy and eager cast members greeted us every single time. The setup also typically had an egg dish and a breakfast meat of some kind. These options rotate throughout the week, so even if you were staying for a more extended trip, you would probably experience a few different types of main offerings. One of my particular favorites was a piece of toast covered in goat cheese and topped with tomato.

Though I am a little persnickety when it comes to coffee, my husband took full advantage of the coffee machine, which offered cappuccinos and other coffee drinks at the touch of a button. For my drink, I typically went down to the coffee shop in the lower lobby of the hotel and bought my favorite Spanish coffee, a cafe Bombón.

Our four-year-old can be a little bit of a picky eater like most kids his age, so we were a little nervous about whether there would be offerings he would like, but he fell in love with the Fruit Loops, which a cast member remembered, and even brought him out a bowl of, even though they weren't on the spread.

Save a load of cash on dinner

The lounges offer appetizers at lunchtime but more substantial offerings when it comes to dinner. If you happen to find yourself back around the resort at this time, we found the dinner dishes to be pretty good. There was a steak and peppers hot main that we both enjoyed and on one night, the lounge even had corn dog nuggets just like the ones you can pick up from Casey's at one of my favorite quick service restaurants in Magic Kingdom. I went back a few times for these, and although they were missing cheese sauce, the bites were still pretty tasty.

If you tend to be a snacker around dinner time or just want something to tide you over for a later meal at a different location, the offerings here are perfect. We also really liked the charcuterie assortment, and it even had accompaniments like fig jam to enjoy alongside the cheeses and meats. One option typically available at both lunch and dinner was cut vegetables and dips. I fell in love with the lounge's homemade ranch offering. It was so bright and refreshing, and along with those cucumbers, it was the perfect light snack after lunchtime and dinner.

Club level offers lots of free sips

One of the very best parts about club level is the free drinks. When we first arrived at Coronado Springs and were brought to the club, cast members were eager to prepare a mimosa for me and offered my husband a beer. For our son, they prepared a specialty lemonade that was bright green and they called it Alien Lemonade. He eagerly accepted it, and we enjoyed our drinks as well.

I got a mimosa a few more times while we were at the lounge, and it was always a POG mimosa. POG stands for passion fruit, orange, and guava, and the juice is pretty popular around the Disney resort. You can find it at many breakfast locations, and I was really excited that our lounge was able to mix it with bubbly for a mimosa.

Though drinks were not out on the bar throughout the day, there was a whole wine, beer, and cocktail setup at dinner time. There were options to suit any taste, and if there wasn't something to your liking, cast members would have been more than willing to go look for something in the restaurant on the floor above. We could have also ordered cocktails here, provided that they were a little on the simpler side — think screwdriver, not Moscow mule. The beer selection was pretty good here, too, and we enjoyed a few Lagunitas throughout our stay.

How does the price compare?

We had a wonderful stay in Grand Destino Tower, but it is quite a bit more expensive than a regular room. In comparing prices, you can expect to spend between $900 and $1,000 on a room with club access if you do not have any discounts. The types of rooms vary significantly, but that tended to be the price for a room that would sleep four adults, whether it be two queens, a king, and a pull-out, or some other variation. To put that into perspective, the same types of rooms in the same tower that slept the same number of people would be less than half that cost. So, for somewhere around $400 more a night, you could have access to the club level. For a family of four, that breaks down to about $100 for club level access per person, per night.

You may wonder how that compares since you have access to free food, and this is where it varies wildly depending on your family preferences. If you plan on eating exclusively from the club and not from the parks or other restaurants on the property, and you have a family the size of four with two adults and two children, you can expect to save at least $240 per day on food alone. That's assuming that your family would purchase mostly quick-service options. If you were to typically dine at sit-down dinners or even some character meals, the savings would be higher.

Verdict: Is it worth it?

For us, club level was worth it. We have a son who still takes naps midday, so we typically try to return to the resort for those nap times and could enjoy the free mid-day snacks, and we loved the easy access to breakfast right upstairs. Plus, grabbing a Pellegrino as we head out to the parks in the morning was super handy, especially for my husband, who loves sparkling water. 

Cast members on the club level do an incredible job making sure your stay is excellent. In addition to offering great food, they also have the ability to make dining reservations, park reservations, and pretty much anything else you could need them to do. They are truly there to make sure that your stay is absolutely unforgettable. If you like that white-glove treatment, the club level is going to be totally worthwhile. If you plan on taking advantage of the free alcoholic drinks, club level will be even more beneficial.

On the other hand, if your family enjoys meals out and is looking forward to a few character dining experiences during your trip, financially, staying at the club level probably isn't going to be the best choice when it comes down to it. For this, though, you just have to weigh what is most important to you. I'll say one thing: I can't wait to return to Coronado Springs and wake up to the Disney magic right outside of my window.