Walt Disney World is predominantly viewed as the ultimate vacation for children… and it certainly is! But there are also so many adult only experiences (i’m looking at you signature dining!) that parents often miss out on because they think they can’t experience them until the kids are all grown up. And let’s face it, after days of very excited children and busy touring schedules a relaxing kid-free night out with your spouse or group of friends is just what you need to keep your cool and make sure vacation in The Happiest Place On Earth still feels like vacation! So here’s a look at Child Care at Walt Disney World Resort specifically Lilo’s Playhouse at Disney’s Polynesian Resort.
So i must admit initially I felt a little bit of guilt taking my child to “daycare” for a night out at Walt Disney World for the first time. After all, this is a kids vacation right? What if he’s missing out? Am i a horrible parent because I want a few hours of grown up time? All these worries were put to rest as soon as we picked our son up- he was beaming!
We have used Simba’s Cubhouse several times at Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinners at Jiko and he really enjoyed it. But this year Walt Disney World started a new child care program at 2 of the deluxe resorts- The Polynesian and Beach Club Resort where, rather than an hourly rate, parents pay a flat rate of $55 per child for the entire evening. Thats right- from 4pm-12pm if you so desire, with dinner and snack included! To me this is a steal of a deal considering in my town for a babysitter to come to my home from 4pm-12pm it would be about $80 and i would be providing the food.
How does it work?
Just like dining at Walt Disney World the Children’s Activity Centers take reservations. We have found making day before or same-day reservations work just fine. They also accept walk-ups according to availability but I’m a planner and don’t like the risk of them being fully booked. To make a reservation for your child call the dining number (407) wdw-dine or talk to your Disney Resort front desk. For Lilo’s Clubhouse and Sandcastle Club the payment of $55 is due at the time of reservation and they take your card information over the phone. The other Child Care activity centers take payment when you pick your child up. It’s worth noting you do not have to be staying at a Disney Resort to use this service. When you arrive at Disney’s Polynesian Resort you will see Lilo’s Playhouse tucked in a quiet corner surrounded by lush tropical landscaping. And of course you need a photo with the lady herself…
Once inside the parent fills out important information about the child as well as contact information. You will also make a dinner selection which includes entree, drink, and 2 sides! All the parents including us were surprised at the 2 sides haha! Dinner is around 6 and a late night snack of milk and cookies is served around 10pm. When we arrived a castmember greeted our son (by name!) and invited him through the children only door where she immediately had him wash his hands- I LOVED this! She showed him around the large space and when the paperwork was all finished and it was time for us adults to head out for the evening he was already having so much fun we barely got a wave out of the little man!
So what will your kids be doing while you’re out?
The new childcare program at Walt Disney World offers so many more activities than the hourly rate childcare offered at some of the resorts. The children of course have the standard room full of toys, video game options, and a dress up area. But this is Disney and standard just isn’t going to cut it! At Lilo’s Playhouse at The Polynesian and Sandcastle Club at The Beach Club Resort children can participate in castmember lead activities and games throughout the night. They make cookies as a group and play a game while they bake in which the children are asked questions about cooking and they earn points, and everyone receives a cookie. They also make an erupting volcano, and take “surf lessons” from a castmember (from the way my son describes this it sounds like a fun dance/game combo), and a character even comes to visit! The day my son visited Lilo’s Playhouse the character visit was from Chip- but I believe this can change depending on availability.
When we picked up our son around 11 after our evening of shenanigans he was so excited and couldn’t wait to tell us all about it! He even had a bag of goodies! All the children receive a lei, any artwork they create, a blowup beach ball, and on this particular day a Lion Guard poster,perfect for our little man!
I highly recommend using the Children’s Activity Centers at Walt Disney World Resort. This is a great activity for a “no park” rest day. Enjoy a night out parents! Your kids will love it- especially if it’s already a designated no park day and they aren’t missing out on rides anyway. Our son even asked if he could go back the next night! So no need to worry about them feeling left out! Our son would much rather take a surf lesson, build a volcano that erupts, and hang out with Chip than sit quietly at a fancy restaurant 🙂 For me it’s a definite win-win.
What did we do?!
We used our evening out and The Polynesians convenient location on the Monorail Loop to try something we’ve never done- a Monorail Pub Crawl! Post coming soon!