by Fancy Free Diva
Arrival day and departure day are my two least favorite days when I travel to WDW. Depending upon what time our flights are, Fancy Free Son (18 months) and Fancy Free Daughter (4) may be entirely off schedule – not to mention Fancy Free Husband or me! Not only that, but sometimes, as on our last trip, there was not really enough time to leave the resort to visit a park and make it back in time for the Magical Express, but there was also too much time to just sit in the lobby after we had checked out.
One answer that I have found to help beat this boredom and kill some time in a way that won’t leave the Fancy Free family ready to kill each other is to visit the Community Hall at our resort. Several resorts have Community Halls, including: Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, Disney’s BoardWalk Villas, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (Kidani Village). We have spent time at both Bay Lake Tower and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (Kidani Village), and we have visited the Community Halls at both resorts.
Diva tip: You have to be a guest of the resort in order to use that resort’s Community Hall.
So what is a Community Hall? It’s like summer camp and a playroom and your living room all in one room. There are games, puzzles, arts, crafts, activities, TVs to watch, and video game systems to play. There is so much to do, and the good news is that a lot of it is FREE! That’s right: much of it is free.
Ok, so not all of the activities are free. Some of the activities do come with small price tags, presumably to cover the cost of the crafting materials.
Diva tip: On our last visit, you could not pay for these activities using your magic band, so be prepared to offer another form of payment just in case.
Diva tip: At the main desk which is always staffed by super friendly cast members, they have HUGE binders of coloring sheets and designs organized by Disney character. If you or your little one has a favorite character, you’ll be able to find him or her in one of those giant binders!
In the time we have spent at the Community Halls, though, we have strung beads to make necklaces, we have colored magnets, we have made our own buttons, we have colored pictures, and we have even created a notebook – all for the price of just a few dollars. But what we have done merely scratches the surface of what’s available.
Diva tip: If you’re a DVC member, you’ll often pay a discounted price for any of the crafts or activities that do charge a fee. Be sure to bring your DVC membership card with you to show at the desk.
You can color your own t-shirts or pillowcases, paint ceramics, sculpt with clay, create wooden birdhouses or other handicrafts, and more. You can “rent” DVDs, check out books, and even play pool or foosball. You can check out sports equipment, like basketballs or tennis equipment, too.
Diva tip: There is never any fee for the “rentals,” unless you forget to return the materials.
In the Community Hall, you can also find a calendar of all of the scheduled events, including special craft activities, like tie-dying, or other recreational events around the resort, like pool parties.
There are activities for children of all ages, from sophisticated crafts and video games for the older tweens and teens to small plastic animals and chunky wooden puzzles for the toddlers.
An adult or older sibling must accompany kids under the age of 12, but kids 12 and older are free to come and go as they please. The Community Hall is usually open from 9am until midnight each day, and it really is a great way to spend a few hours on your arrival or departure day, as we usually do, or even on a rainy day or a lazy resort afternoon. The Community Hall has something fun for everyone!
***Disclaimer – We at Tips from the Disney Divas and Devos hope you enjoy reading our articles, and encourage you to share any you feel may be of interest to someone else. We do ask, however, if you choose to share the photographs attached to our articles, you give credit to the photographer. Thank you for your cooperation and sharing our love of Disney!