Disney's Club Level (CL) Information and Questions

GADisneyDad14

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Going through my AKL CL photos from a few weeks ago. Pulled the ones I felt were thread-worthy to prep a review. Don't worry, it's only 215 photos! :scared1::scared1::scared1:

I always have Disney withdrawal when we stay Poly - the "I want to go back" feeling is usually strong. I think AKL has joined the ranks in creating that same vibe.

Now to work on decreasing the photo count.... :littleangel:
 

PPFlight75

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 22, 2015
Going through my AKL CL photos from a few weeks ago. Pulled the ones I felt were thread-worthy to prep a review. Don't worry, it's only 215 photos! :scared1::scared1::scared1:

I always have Disney withdrawal when we stay Poly - the "I want to go back" feeling is usually strong. I think AKL has joined the ranks in creating that same vibe.

Now to work on decreasing the photo count.... :littleangel:
I look forward to reading it! We really can’t stay there bc there are 5 of us but we will eventually when we can do an adult only trip! It seems so peaceful and relaxing!!
 
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GADisneyDad14

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Has the CLFP program led to increased demand for club level? I'm having serious trouble finding a CL room (admittedly, I do need a specific long weekend in October and yeah, October is always crazy busy). But all I can find is rack rate GF RPC. Which is OK -- I have wanted to stay there. But I really wanted BWI CL... next time, I suppose.

We went a bunch in 2017 and I don't recall availability ever like I am seeing. So does it have to do with the new CLFPs?

I miss the days of the kids in preschool. Now that the oldest is in kindergarten, it's harder to plan trips far in advance because I don't always have access to the next year academic calendar. Such is life, I'm excited to try out GF RPC.
I think it's probably that particular weekend vs CL being more in demand due to that program. October had brutal availability last year up and down the resort / room type spectrum. Also, that Gartner IT convention is Columbus Day week this year, which I always see people reference as bringing in major convention crowds to WDW. May be playing a role as well.

I think perhaps the FP trial has created more demand on the fringes, but since Disney is hardly even advertising it I doubt it's a major needle mover (just guessing at that obviously). There's also no guaranty how long it'll even be around, so sort of hard to bank on it too far out for some folks.

I liked it when we weren't tied to the school calendar as well. Now we're tied to school holidays, which usually = more costly and crowded times to go. :-)
 
  • GADisneyDad14

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    Not directly CL related, but wanted to thank @psac for the recent posts here about the Wanyama Safari at AKL. That of course inspired me to book it, and I'm so glad we did. @psac, you should get a commission. :-)

    It was definitely one of the best experiences we've done around WDW in awhile. We learned a ton about the overall resort and the different savannas. At first I didn't understand how the safari could possibly last 90 minutes - but it could have gone on for another hour. We had the most passionate CMs who totally made the experience. It really enhanced our appreciation of AKL as a resort.

    Plus dinner at Jiko was fantastic.

    Definitely two thumbs up as a date night. We did this mid-week and it was the perfect evening out sans kids.

    IMG_7416.jpg
     

    GADisneyDad14

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    This looks amazing! the disney site is lacking details. What was the cost? What time did you guys finish up? Looks like it start at 3:30?
    Yes, it started at 3:30 with a "pre-safari" reception at Jiko. Think light snacks. No wine at this point.

    4-5:30 was a ride through the savannas. They start over at the ones at Kidani and make their way to Jambo House. Up to this point, I had no real appreciation for the other savannas besides Arusha (since that was outside out room). It was awesome to see the other savannas, other animals, etc.

    You're in an open-air (but covered) truck bed. One CM is driving, one is in the back with you. These guys were straight up "zoo nerds" (for lack of a better word, and I mean it as a compliment)... so many interesting facts about each animal, how they eat, what they are fed, etc. Both CMs had been with Disney at AKL for a long time, one I believe had been there since AKL opened in 2001.

    They then drop you off back at Jambo and walk you down to Jiko, where the restaurant takes over. They serve family style... several courses of apps, drinks, wines, entrees, desserts, etc.

    On our night, it was me and DW as well as a family of 8. You all sit together at dinner. At first it was slightly awkward since they were one large group and it was just us - but it turned out to be loads of fun.

    I'm really not sure what time we walked out of there (like I said, several rounds of wine)... maybe 7-7:30ish?

    Hope that helps!
     

    Surgie2

    DIS Veteran
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    Sep 19, 2016
    @GADisneyDad14
    This looks awesome! Beautiful giraffe photo! As PP said, WDW site is lacking info. I see it can be booked at 180 days but is it offered every day? year round? Might be something for January when we're back without the grandkids.
     
  • psac

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 2, 2009
    Not directly CL related, but wanted to thank @psac for the recent posts here about the Wanyama Safari at AKL. That of course inspired me to book it, and I'm so glad we did. @psac, you should get a commission. :-)

    It was definitely one of the best experiences we've done around WDW in awhile. We learned a ton about the overall resort and the different savannas. At first I didn't understand how the safari could possibly last 90 minutes - but it could have gone on for another hour. We had the most passionate CMs who totally made the experience. It really enhanced our appreciation of AKL as a resort.

    Plus dinner at Jiko was fantastic.

    Definitely two thumbs up as a date night. We did this mid-week and it was the perfect evening out sans kids.

    View attachment 316716
    So glad you liked it!!! Absolutely love that picture. I totally agree it was one of the best experiences in WDW in a long while. I would again recommend it to everyone, no finder’s fee required! :rotfl2::thumbsup2
     

    GADisneyDad14

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    @GADisneyDad14
    This looks awesome! Beautiful giraffe photo! As PP said, WDW site is lacking info. I see it can be booked at 180 days but is it offered every day? year round? Might be something for January when we're back without the grandkids.
    Thanks! I'm not sure if it's offered every day - I don't this so, but not sure. (edit, looks like it is offered every day) I booked via DSS and it was very easy.

    I will say, the weather the first week of April was fantastic. Warm, but not hot. Wonderful breeze that afternoon during the safari. I'm not sure what this would have been like in the dead of summer. So yes, I vote for Jan! :-)
     

    psac

    DIS Veteran
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    Jan 2, 2009
    @GADisneyDad14
    This looks awesome! Beautiful giraffe photo! As PP said, WDW site is lacking info. I see it can be booked at 180 days but is it offered every day? year round? Might be something for January when we're back without the grandkids.
    Yes, every day year around, though I imagine they could cancel in cases of extreme weather. We were in a group of six, us and two other couples who were really nice (it’s up to 12), and one of the couples had done it MANY times before, and they said they’ve had every range from just them two (personal tour!) to the full 12.
     

    GADisneyDad14

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    Forgive me, very pic heavy posts coming up.

    I'll let the pics do the talking for most of this review. Suffice it to say, I was incredibly impressed with AKL and AKL CL. And not only me, the whole family loved it. It was an all around great week and I really have no complaints whatsoever.

    So the room....

    Aside from the few DVC eligible rooms, all CL rooms are on the 4th floor and face the Arusha Savanna only. The CL lounge is on the 6th floor and overlooks the main lobby.

    Unlike other resorts, CL and regular resort rooms are mixed together. Not all 4th floor rooms are CL rooms.

    I had requested "Zebra Trail, proximate to the pool elevators" as my room request in advance. I decided on Zebra Trail due to proximity to the pool. My room was 4505, which is the red arrow. The star closest to it is an elevator that goes down to the pool. The other star is the elevator you walk to to get to the 6th floor lounge. No complaints with the room location.

    Yes, everything is pretty far from the lounge here. Our room was 3-4 minutes each way. That's my worst nightmare at other resorts, but I really didn't mind it here at all. There are so many things to look at all around the resort - overlooks, artifacts, etc - I really looked forward to the walk.

    4505 Location.png

    Here's a zoomed in map of the Zebra Trail wing. Quick access down to the pool was a huge benefit to my particular room location.
    4505 Location - Zoomed In.png

    I had not requested bunk beds, but in talking to Sue during check-in, she asked if we wanted one and we said sure. In retrospect, I wish we hadn't. DS7 needed our help getting down in the middle of the night when he'd need to "go" - so that kind of became annoying pretty quick. :-)
    IMG_6700.jpg

    I've stayed at WL so was prepared for the small rooms. Definitely tight for four of us. It became more livable as the week went on, but it's a bit smaller than one might otherwise like.

    That TV chest is like an ancient relic. Compared to the mega TVs on the wall at other resorts, that thing is bulky and takes up so much space. I'd love to see them re-do that piece of furniture - put the TV on the wall. Create more storage and table space.
    IMG_6716.jpg

    We don't watch TV at Disney, but this thing is tiny. And so much wasted space behind there!
    IMG_8362.jpg

    Loved the bathroom.
    IMG_6705.jpg

    Toiletries...
    IMG_6703.jpg

    Don't bring anything big you might need to put in the safe!
    IMG_8377.jpg

    And if you do, be prepared to lug around a key. Old school.
    IMG_8375.jpg
     
  • Gryhndmom

    Can't I just live at Disney ?
    Joined
    May 21, 2012
    Yes, it started at 3:30 with a "pre-safari" reception at Jiko. Think light snacks. No wine at this point.

    4-5:30 was a ride through the savannas. They start over at the ones at Kidani and make their way to Jambo House. Up to this point, I had no real appreciation for the other savannas besides Arusha (since that was outside out room). It was awesome to see the other savannas, other animals, etc.

    You're in an open-air (but covered) truck bed. One CM is driving, one is in the back with you. These guys were straight up "zoo nerds" (for lack of a better word, and I mean it as a compliment)... so many interesting facts about each animal, how they eat, what they are fed, etc. Both CMs had been with Disney at AKL for a long time, one I believe had been there since AKL opened in 2001.

    They then drop you off back at Jambo and walk you down to Jiko, where the restaurant takes over. They serve family style... several courses of apps, drinks, wines, entrees, desserts, etc.

    On our night, it was me and DW as well as a family of 8. You all sit together at dinner. At first it was slightly awkward since they were one large group and it was just us - but it turned out to be loads of fun.

    I'm really not sure what time we walked out of there (like I said, several rounds of wine)... maybe 7-7:30ish?

    Hope that helps!
    DH and I loved this when we did it a couple years ago. We both laughed when the CM talked about the animals “dating” as we were pretty sure everybody on board(all adults) knew exactly what he meant! :rotfl2:
     

    GADisneyDad14

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    But what you give up in a small room, you get back 10x in views.

    I really didn't know what to expect with the views. I sort of figured it'd get old. But it never did - we could sit out on the balcony for hours if we didn't have the kiddos, even if nothing was going on.

    Looking left towards the lobby and Arusha Rock.
    IMG_6776.jpg

    Looking right.
    IMG_6780.jpg

    IMG_7102.jpg

    The sky is always changing here. Never looks the same twice.
    IMG_7257.jpg

    Took a few days, but finally spotted a giraffe up close.
    IMG_7235.jpg

    He had an itch...
    IMG_7243.jpg

    IMG_7117.jpg

    Even a view of HEA! :goodvibes:goodvibes:goodvibes
    IMG_7613.jpg
     

    GADisneyDad14

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    Some misc pics of the lounge...

    This lounge is one of the bigger CL lounges you'll see, perhaps maybe the biggest. I think I counted 53 chairs/places to sit. While it was crowded during peak times as you might expect, we never had a problem finding a place to sit (can't say the same for some of my other CL travels).

    That's the lounge on the top floor in the distance. Wide open to the lobby below. Amazing location. Think RPC or WL for the same "connection" to the lobby buzz that you get at those places.
    IMG_6801.jpg

    Here's a view looking back from the lounge towards the lobby. This is at like 6:30AM so it's dark. Normally would be much brighter.
    IMG_7550.jpg

    Like this...
    IMG_6744.jpg

    Massive TV in the main lounge area. Nice big serving bar to the right.
    IMG_6747.jpg

    Kids nook.
    IMG_6763.jpg

    Another comfy nook...
    IMG_6764.jpg

    Another little side area.
    IMG_6743.jpg

    Elevator area on the sixth floor.
    IMG_6848.jpg
     
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    GADisneyDad14

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    Fridge offerings during the day/evening.
    IMG_6731.jpg


    Water, Jungle Juice (same as Poly's POG juice), Lemonade, and Tea. They had OJ out in the AMs. Had a few Jungle Juice mimosas a few mornings. Staff was more than happy to accommodate. IMG_6733.jpg

    Standard issue Nescafe machine and standard issue 8 out of 10 people who can't figure out how it works.
    IMG_6736.jpg

    To go cups and trays were available upon request.
     

    GADisneyDad14

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    Breakfast featured what I'd say are quite abundant offerings. CL's are sort of the same across the board in terms of breakfast, but AKL CL had some really neat, unique offerings. Plus they do the standard items incredibly well. By far my favorite CL breakfast in recent memory.

    Muffins, bagels, croissants, oh my...
    IMG_6854.jpg


    Lots of fresh fruit. And not just cheap melons (ahem, Poly...)... real fruit...
    IMG_6855.jpg


    Plain yogurt (thank you Disney!), honey, berries, granola, hard-boiiled egg,s meats.... tons of options!
    IMG_6856.jpg


    Oatmeal and toppings. I never knew "Toasted Quinoa with Brown Sugar" was a thing but IT IS AWESOME!
    IMG_6867.jpg


    Morning fridge offerings.
    IMG_6868.jpg


    Jellies, jams, preserves, butter, cream cheese.... and cute kissing giraffes.
    IMG_7272.jpg


    Sliced grapefruit...yes please...
    IMG_7274.jpg


    Turkey Bobotie. Can't really explain it, but it's good!
    IMG_7275.jpg


    This was another morning - African Inspired Corn Beef Hash.
    IMG_7655.jpg
     
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    GADisneyDad14

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    Breakfast continued...

    Raisin Bran, Fruit Loops, and either Special K or Frosted Flakes (no time for cereal when everything else was sooo good).
    IMG_7658.jpg


    And just when you think "wow, these options are sort of healthy" - they roll out the biscuits and gravy!
    IMG_8008.jpg


    I didn't know that Pastrami Salmon was a thing either, but I want more of it.
    IMG_8372.jpg
     

    GADisneyDad14

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    Afternoon snacks....

    Unfortunately only had these 1-2 days (too busy at the pool and all the other activities around AK)...

    Fruit...
    IMG_6741.jpg

    They were doing work underneath the main serving bar this day, so they had the spread set up on tables to the side.

    Had never had Watermelon and Tomato together and it frankly looks/sounds gross. But WOW, so refreshing.
    IMG_7355.jpg


    Make your own snacks...
    IMG_7357.jpg


    The "Afritude Spice Nuts" were my personal favorite. Would love more info about the recipe if anyone knows anything about these.
    IMG_7358.jpg

    IMG_7359.jpg


    Again, totally impressed with the variety, the display, the prep, and the quality. Can't say enough good things.
    IMG_7360.jpg
     
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