On Tuesday, September 30th Disney World’s Beach Club opened their new Concierge/Club Lounge on the 5th floor. Our family was selected to cut the grand opening ribbon with several Disney Dignitaries. And, we were the first guests to enter the lounge for breakfast at 7am.
It was a fun experience and we felt very special. We found the lounge to be cheery, inviting and well appointed. Disney did an excellent job in the redesign and expansion. In my conversation with Mim Flynn, General Manager for the Yacht and Beach Club, she told me they truly listened to guest concerns that the lounge was not large enough to accommodate all the club level guests, especially when they were at capacity. In response, they took the space of two guest rooms and expanded the lounge using these two rooms.
What a difference this made. The new lounge has two separate sitting areas for guests to relax and several areas for food and drink. They were very strategic in where they placed these in the lounge. Not only is the lounge more spacious, the open concept and flow of the lounge makes it much more inviting and warm. Prior to the remodel/expansion, it was commonly reported on the web that the lounge was always crowded, even at slower times of the year.
It was also clear to me that Disney paid special attention to little touches. The interior decorating is bright, cheery and definitely inviting. The “serving” platters and the presentation of these on all the counters allows for easy access. The granite counter tops provide a sense of quality and elegance to the overall atmosphere. The new configuration of the lounge allows for a much easier flow and definitely leaves one feeling as if there is lots of space to eat, sit back and relax. And, Disney strategically scattered the beverage stations and food stations throughout the lounge to eliminated the congestion that guests often encountered in these areas, in the past.
The other thing that I found to be very clever was the fact that there are two different “seating” areas. The first seating area is located just inside the door to the left area past the food. Here one finds two small tables for little ones and, of course, Disney cartoons/channel playing on the TV. We found that many of those traveling with younger children would sit in this area.
You have to look closely for the second lounge which is found past the counter with the Espresso/coffee and liquors, at night. It is a little out of the way and provides both tables and a couch/chairs for guests to relax. A large TV can also be found on the wall. For the most part, during our stay, we observed that since this area was away from the children’s tables/TV, families gravitated away from sitting here. I wasn’t quite sure if this was planned or simply a result of the new lounge configuration. I did hear a few guests commenting that they really liked how the lounge was designed.
This new lounge is one of the benefits to staying club/concierge level at the Disney’s Beach Club. It is open daily from 7am to 10pm. In addition to the use of the lounge, while staying at the resort, club level guests have access to two dedicated Disney Cast Members who are also there from 7am to 10pm. These cast members check in guests at their own private area on the 5th floor, make dining reservations, arrange transportation, help with tickets, etc. Access to the 5th floor, which is concierge, is limited to only those guests staying that level.
Kudos to the management team at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club for their responsiveness to guests concerns and their desire to make their guest experience the best it can be. This lounge is a marked improvement over the smaller lounge that has been part of Beach Club history for many years.