A family vacation in Walt Disney World is the perfect opportunity to slow things down and take a break from everyone’s hectic lives to spend some quality time together. But no matter how much fun you’re having with your little ones in the parks, you may find yourself craving some alone time, even if it’s just long enough to enjoy an adults-only dinner, or maybe a massage! Well, WDW has you covered. There are numerous ways for your children to enjoy their own special time with a qualified caregiver while you take a bit of a break.
1. Closed: Resort Kids Clubs
Not so long ago, you could take your kids to a Children’s Activity Center at one of Disney’s deluxe resorts, where they could play under supervision for a few hours, allowing their caregivers a bit of alone time. However, due to decreasing demand, these centers have stopped providing childcare services. You may be able to enjoy some family time playing games or doing crafts together at some locations, but any kids aged 12 or younger will need to be accompanied by an adult.
2. Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew
Does your family include a budding pirate (or two, or three…)? If so, the best childcare option for your little ones may be joining Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew! They’ll meet Captain Hook and his crew, and set sail around Crescent Lake to enjoy an evening of pirate fun they’ll never forget. Dinner is included; the menu of course subject to change, but in the past has featured different entrée options with appropriately pirate themes like Cannon Meatballs with Marinara, or Macaroni and Gold Sauce. Desert is also offered, including fruit or sweets.
Each child will receive his or her own pirate name, and will learn a variety of indispensable skills for any pirate (think: swabbing the deck, learning sea chanties, and pirate speak!). But the highlight of joining Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew is, of course, the treasure hunt! Your kids will be able to work together to find clues and solve puzzles leading them to the cursed treasure.
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The price – which is also subject to change; check Disney’s website for the most up-to-date pricing – is $55 for each child, not including tax, and the adventure lasts from 5:00 pm until 8:30 pm (you can drop your kids off starting at 4:30 at Disney’s Beach Club Resort). Disney strongly recommends making reservations in advance, as places are limited. Note that your child must be completely potty-trained to join Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew.
3. Kid’s Nite Out
If you’re looking for childcare right in the comfort of your own resort room, then the services of Kid’s Nite Out may be more your style. This is an independent provider of childcare services, and kids aged 6 months to 12 years are eligible for care. Think of it as hiring a babysitter to come to your home – but these childcare providers aren’t exactly the 15-year-old down the street. They’re all at least 18 years old, and are fully bonded and insured, with practical childcare experience – and they all know CPR and first aid. Plus, they’re available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, with a 4 hour minimum. So no matter what length of time you need care, or what time of day, there’s a qualified provider ready to care for your kids.
What kinds of activities will your kids enjoy during their time with a Kid’s Nite Out caregiver? They might include reading, arts and crafts, and games, all provided by the caregiver and designed to keep your kids entertained and happy – after all, they’re on vacation!
You’ll want to make reservations if you’re planning to use the services of Kid’s Nite Out. Costs (while subject to change) vary depending on the number of children and the time of day. You’ll pay $18 an hour for the first child, $21 an hour for 2 kids, $24 an hour for 3 kids, and $26 an hour for 4 kids. If you require a caregiver after 9:00 pm, expect an additional charge of $2 per hour. There’s also a $10 flat fee charged for transportation.
If you need some extra assistance in the parks, you’re in luck – you can even hire a Kid’s Nite Out childcare provider to join you and assist as needed throughout the day. This is especially helpful for families with special needs kids, who could use an extra helping hand in the parks.
4. Camp Dolphin
The single childcare center that has remained open in Walt Disney World is Camp Dolphin, on the first level of Disney’s Dolphin Hotel. You can take your kids here for some supervised fun if they’re between the ages of 4 and 12, and are completely potty-trained. There’s a 2 hour minimum, and a reservation is a good idea. The center is open from 5:00 pm until midnight, daily.
Camp Dolphin specializes in all things fun. Your little ones will have a great time creating arts and crafts projects, playing video games and board games, reading books, and of course, making new friends along the way. There are even themed activities each night, with prizes – not to mention a (Disney) movie during dinner and souvenirs to take home.
Childcare at Camp Dolphin will run you $12 an hour for each child (again, subject to change). If you want your little one to be fed, you’ll need to pay an additional $10 for a kids’ meal. If you’re dining at certain restaurants or receiving spa treatments at Mandara Spa, you may qualify for up to 2 free hours at Camp Dolphin, so it’s worth inquiring – and make sure you keep those receipts!