Using Disney’s Kids’ Clubs.

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I’ve written before about planning a special night out for mom and dad when visiting Disney World. There are so many great restaurants and things to do–or if you’re like me, you grab your husband and head to the parks and ride all the rides your kids are too young to enjoy. Today I want to review the Kids’ Clubs on property, which are a great way to get a little bit of free time.

Disney’s Kids Clubs, known as Activity Centers, are located in the Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, the Polynesian, Beach Club, and at the Disney World Dolphin. You don’t need to be a guest staying on Disney property but children need to be between the ages of 3 and 12 (4 and 12 for the Dolphin) and potty trained.  The cost is $11.50 per hour; there is no discount for multiple kids.

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Most of the clubs open at 4:30 and there’s a two hour minimum visit. When you arrive, you’ll do a basic check-in where you’ll discuss your child’s interest. If your child has any special needs or allergies, you’ll want to mention them at this point.  Your child will then be allowed to pick out a meal if he’s staying during dinner time. Dinner is the usual kids’ fare: Macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, hamburgers, and nuggets. Kids will get a drink and two sides, of which there are several healthy options like grapes and raw carrots.

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My kids love the Kids Clubs, where they can do crafts, play games, and watch movies. I was very impressed with how energetic the cast members are and how they get even the most shy children involved, so you don’t have to worry about your kid being left out of the fun.  I think my kids like the clubs so much because it’s different–sure the parks are incredible, but sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the steady parade of fun and do something low-key.

A couple caveats:  The kids’ clubs are expensive.  With a two-hour minimum, you could easily spend $50 on babysitting for just two hours, so if you’re looking at a longer night and you have multiple children, you might want to consider in-room babysitting from an outside source.  The other issue is more unique to each kid. I think a lot of 3-year olds might be too young for these clubs.  Obviously you’ll want to go with your individual child’s needs and circumstances. For example, if they’re there with older siblings, a younger child might do just fine. We waiting until our kids were almost five before we used the clubs but not every child will need to wait that long.

Have you ever used the kids’ clubs? What did you think? Do your kids have a favorite?

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