When my husband and I realized that my aching back was more than just an aching back on our last trip to Walt Disney World, it became clear that a trip to the ER was in order. But what to do with the kiddos? Luckily for us, we were staying at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort where they have a childcare program – the Cub’s Den.
The Cub’s Den is one of several very popular childcare programs available at the Walt Disney World. Resort hotels It is, essentially, a daycare center for kids ages 5 to 11 years old. The centers are open from 4:30 to midnight daily, and the cost is $13 per hour per child, with a minimum of a two hour stay. We had discussed trying one of these centers out in order to enjoy a Signature Dining experience sans children. Unfortunately, we found ourselves in a very different situation for our test run. Normally, you’d want to make advanced reservations to put your kid in the Cub’s Den for the evening. But, in this case, it was a quiet week in Walt Disney World and ours were two of only three children signed up for the program that evening.
The kids were thrilled about the idea of a night away from Mom and Dad and in a club for kids only in fact! We were greeted by a very nice cast member, who introduced herself as Katie, and the kids were off and running. The Daughter ran for the table in the center of the room where a craft project has been set up. The Son ran for the action figures set out on another table. There was also a play kitchen area, a computer lab, and a bunch of bean bag chairs laid out in front of a giant screen playing Tarzan where one other child sat quietly watching.
The room, like the resort, had a log cabin feel with murals of mountains and teepees on the walls and a rug on the floor depicting a woodland scene. There was also a small outdoor deck where, I assume, on nice nights the kids can also play. All very colorful and cozy.
As we left, cast member Katie was fully engaged with The Daughter while another cast member (whose name escapes me – sorry!) was introducing herself to The Son. We said goodbye and the kids distractedly waved. I’ll spare you the details of our hospital visit.
Upon returning, we found both kids decorating masks with Katie at the craft table. The kitchen area had been played in and they had clearly been through the dress-up area – The Son was in full pirate regalia – eye patch and bandana, The Daughter was blinged out in costume jewelry. The one other child in the room was still in his beanbag staring at the huge screen which was now playing A Goofy Movie. According to our kids, he had not moved nor spoken the entire night. As we left, the cast members informed us that the fees had been waived, as our reason for using the service has not been particularly magical. This was a very welcome relief, as we had just shelled out a large copay at the hospital. On our way back to our room, the kids sifted through the goody bags they received as we exited and excitedly told us stories of the evening’s events. They had a blast and asked if they could please return to the Cub’s Den the next night.
All in all, we were pretty pleased with our Cubs Den experience. The staff was very sweet and engaging, the kids clearly loved it, and the whole thing was very convenient. The only hold-up I has was the fact that the giant movie screen had been playing the entire five hours we were gone. Three movies in total, the kids told us. Although it seems our kids utilized every opportunity the Cub’s Den had to offer, the third child in the group had simply sat and watched the screen for five hours straight. That would not be worth the $13 an hour, in my opinion. But, in summation, if you’d like to take a night off from the kids and do something more adult while staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, I would definitely recommend utilizing this service.
Lang Mastro is an avid Walt Disney fan and enjoys helping others plan their Disney Vacations. She is a Vacation Planner with Mickey Adventures. Feel free to contact Lang for a no-obligation, free quote for any Disney Destination vacation!