A recent question in the Owning Your Magic forum on the PassPorter message boards asked about whether it was worth staying concierge at Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas.
So what are the benefits of staying concierge?
The first benefit you get is before you even arrive at Walt Disney World. A concierge planner will get in touch with you to offer their services, if there’s anything they can do to help you beforehand. For me, I was fine with arranging my own dining plans, but you may want to ask them to do this on your behalf.
One thing I did ask them to do was to book us on to the Sunrise Safari, which is only available to concierge guests at Animal Kingdom Lodge, including cash guests. It takes place twice a week on Sunday, and Thursday, and I made sure that our stay included one of those dates. It’s $65/adults, and $32.50/children, and while it’s not cheap, it’s the most amazing experience. It’s an early start, as you’re out on safari before Animal Kingdom opens to the public, but you get your own private, in-depth tour around the safari, before a lovely breakfast rounds your morning off. Definitely something well worth doing, if you get the chance.
Then there’s the food, and drink on offer in the concierge lounge all day long. At breakfast, you get a variety of juices, pastries, muffins, bagels, and cereal. Then this gives way to snacks throughout the day, which includes crackers, fresh fruit, chips, and nuts. Early evening brings a selection of cheeses, while later on you can sample some of the desserts from Boma, which were wonderful. Add to that, there’s wine, and beer on offer throughout the evening, with drinks available all day.
Of course, you will have to pay extra for this, but to be honest, the number of additional Disney Vacation Club points required isn’t that much. If you want to stay in a studio during Adventure Season, you’re looking at 23 more points, 125 as opposed to 102. If you need a one-bedroom villa during the more expensive Dream season, it’s another 50 points, 292 versus 242. Move up to a two-bedroom villa in the even more expensive Magic season, and we’re talking another 71 points to take you from 372 points to 443 points.
It sounds too good to be true…
If you’re thinking that, then yes, you may be right. Of course, the biggest downside is that you have no guarantee in what view you get. The wonderful DVC news website (if you haven’t checked it out, you really should!) sets out how many rooms are available. For concierge at Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas, you’re looking at a total of just 10 rooms, just five studios, and five one-bedroom villas. But even then, the numbers can get even lower, as people can also book a two-bedroom villa, made up of a studio, and a one-bedroom villa. If you can get a concierge room, you’re doing pretty well!
That’s not the only downside. If you don’t own points at Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas, you may struggle you get in here at the seven month mark. As you’ve already seen, there aren’t many villas available, so they may all have already gone to those who own points at this resort.
Although the food, and drink are very nice perks, from our stay in concierge, it’s not going to be enough to satisfy you for a meal, unless you’re very light eaters. As we only tend to snack at breakfast time, we found that we could get by on the breakfast offerings we grazed on. One day, we had a late lunch booked, so we were able to eat something to keep us going until we had that. But would it substitute an entire meal? In all honesty, probably not. Sure, it’s a nice perk to have, but in harsh terms, it’s not going to save you any money on food costs during your Disney stay….
All in all, should we go for concierge if we’re able to?
Like just about every other experience at Walt Disney World, my answer has to be yes. Well, you’ve got to try everything at least once to see if you like it or not, right? I’d stay concierge at Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas again in a heartbeat, if only to do the Sunrise Safari again. To me, that was worth it on its own. Of course, all the other perks you get are nice little extras as well. For the few additional points it takes, it’s worth it in my eyes…
How about you? Have you stayed concierge at Animal Kingdom Lodge? If so, what did you make of it?