The Fancy Donut, aka Club Level at the Disneyland Hotel

When I was a little girl, my family didn’t have a car, so we walked everywhere.  One day, as we walked, we passed by a donut shop.  My mom counted the change she had in her coin purse and told my brother and me that we could each get a regular donut.  When I said that I really wanted a fancy donut, my mom sadly but firmly repeated that she could only afford regulars.  So I declined her offer, saying that if I couldn’t have a fancy donut, then I didn’t want one at all.

Which brings us to the Disneyland Hotel.  For an additional $125/night, you can purchase a room on the Club Level.  We always go for this option, for several reasons.  Here’s why:

  • To me, staying on the Club Level at the Disneyland Hotel strikes just the right balance between five-star and family.
  • For starters, there is a separate check-in desk.  This may seem like a small perk, but if you’ve ever had to wait in a long line of overexcited kids and their frazzled parents, you will understand why this is worth cash money.
  • The Disneyland Hotel is billed as being “right in the middle of the magic,” and they deliver on this; the hotel grounds feel like an extension of the park.  Staying Club Level kicks it up a few notches, simply because it makes the entire experience easier and therefore more seamless.  Again, this is a perk that is very valuable for families.
  • The private E-Ticket lounge is open from 6:30 am to 10 pm.  Complimentary refreshments and drinks are provided at all hours.  This is another awesome perk for families, given that every snack break in the Park costs at least $20 for a family of four.  If you’re staying Club Level, you can enjoy breakfast in the lounge, grab drinks and snacks to enjoy while in the park, return to the lounge for a refreshing recharge in the afternoon, then pop in before bedtime for a special treat.  When my kids were little, sometimes the hors d’oeuvres from the Wine and Cheese reception were enough for them for dinner!
    • Magical Beginnings from 6:30 – 10am (Continental Breakfast)
    • Intermission 11am – 4pm (Light Refreshments and Snacks)
    • Magic Hours 5pm – 7pm (Wine & Cheese Reception)
    • Sweet Dreams 8pm – 10pm (Dessert Bar)
  • The lounge features floor-to-ceiling windows that provide a fantastic view of the parks; it’s a great place to relax with a drink or a dessert as you watch the nighttime fireworks, complete with soundtrack.
  • The “Cast Members” (Disney’s term for employees) in the E-Ticket Lounge have all been hand-picked for their friendliness and great customer service skills.  If and when you have an issue, no matter how slight, they’ve got both the desire and the authority to resolve it quickly.  Many of the Cast Members in the lounge have been at their jobs for years, and it’s evident with their level of professionalism.

To sum up: many people think that the Club Level is an added, over-the-top expense that isn’t worth the money.  However, especially if you’re traveling with kids, I encourage you to take another look at this little oasis.  You might find that it’s actually a Fancy Donut.

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