The Disney Vacation Club at the Polynesian Resort
By Dave Shute
This is the sixth page of this review of Disney’s Polynesian Resort. For the first page, see this
THE DISNEY VACATION CLUB AT DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN VILLAGE RESORT
In mid-February Disney World began offering the new Disney Vacation Club Studios and Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort to the general public for stays beginning—so far as I can tell—in April 2015.
I’ll have more to say about the Studios after my late April stay in one, but for the moment, some comments on both, based largely on their floor plans.
STUDIOS AT DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN VILLAS & BUNGALOWS
Studios at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows (“PVB”) sleep five in a queen bed, fold-out couch, and fold-down bed. Besides normal deluxe room accouterments, they also—like other DVC studios—include a mini-kitchen, with the same coffee-maker and mini-fridge as in other deluxe rooms, but also a small sink, toaster, microwave, and a few eating utensils.
There’s a couple of distinctive features of these studios compared to other DVC studios.
First, you can book them as connecting rooms—most other DVC Studios only connect to (more expensive) One Bedroom Villas.
Second, their capacity for five is currently rare among studios—but becoming more common. Right now, only Studios at the Villas at the Grand Floridian and Villas at the Wilderness Lodge sleep five. (Refurbs in 2015 are expected to also add capacity for five to Studios at the Beach Club and BoardWalk Villas.)
Third, the baths are distinct. Like the Studios at the Grand Floridian, there’s both a sink and shower space and also a separate tub and toilet space. However, the baths at PVB add a sink to the tub and toilet space, yielding one full bath and a second bath with shower and sink. Add the third sink just outside in the mini-kitchen area, and your family will have every chance to be very clean.
Fourth, at 465 square feet (the size of the rooms they were converted from), these Studios are the largest among the DVC Studio offerings.
This is a mostly a function of extra width—about 14’ 3” compared to, for example, the Studios at Grand Floridian at 12’ 9” wide. About 50 square feet comes from that difference. However, so far as I can tell, much of this extra space is dedicated to the bath and hallway, rather than to the living space, which is wide but apparently short.
It looks like the footprint of the old bath in the rooms these were converted from remains the same as the footprint of the new full bath, the connecting door and closet take up the space that used to be two closets and the coffee service, and the shower-sink bath and mini-kitchen take up space that in the old rooms was part of the bedroom space.
I’ll know better after my visit with my tape measure, as Disney’s floor plan is clearly a bit off in various spots—the queen bed is oversized, width of the hall too narrow, and size of the entry door too large.
So who should stay in these rooms? Well, those renting points should definitely consider them. I’ve already seen PVB point rental offers out there—though I expect it’ll take a bit before there’s much available.
Families staying 7 nights including two weekend nights will find prices in standard view Studios between 98% and 101% of what a standard view room at the Poly those nights would cost, and less on various holiday weekends when the Poly standard rooms get an additional upcharge and the Studios don’t. Those on shorter visits will spend a little more at the Studios on weeknights, and a little less on weekends.
The Studios are in what used to be my most highly recommended longhouses at the Polynesian—Pago Pago (which most recently was Rapa Nui), Moorea (recently Tahiti) and Tokelau (whose name has not changed).
I used to recommend these longhouses for three reasons: balconies or patios in every room (standard second floor rooms at the rest of the Poly are missing balconies), nice positioning between the Magic Kingdom resort monorail and the walkway to the Epcot monorail, and an extra 50 square feet compared to rooms in the rest of the Poly longhouses, which extra space used to be all dedicated to the living area.
The first two reasons still hold. Since most of the extra square footage seems to be dedicated to the bath and mini-kitchen area, the third reason morphs a bit—at the Studios, for about the same amount of money you get a divided bath and the microwave/toaster, and what seems (I’ll know more on this after my April visit) like a smaller overall living space—it looks to me a foot or two smaller than the living space in standard rooms.
Note that half of the rooms in Tokelau face the East Pool, which will be seeing major refurb after the refurb on the main Nanea Pool is completed late this spring. If these rooms with a construction view are closed, I’d still go with Tokelau as the best standard view choice among the Studios at the Polynesian.
BUNGALOWS AT DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN VILLAS & BUNGALOWS
Bungalows in the Polynesian DVC offering are unlike any other accommodations at Disney World. They hold eight people in two bedrooms—like many DVC Two Bedroom Villas. But the differences are so profound that they should be thought of as their own thing, not as an option among the two bedroom choices.
I’m tempted to start with prices, but let’s focus on the positive. Each bungalow is its own little building built on pilings in the Seven Seas Lagoon, just away from the Polynesian beaches, and reached from over-water walkways. There’s twenty in all—collectively, the “Bora Bora” area.
You enter into the bedroom wing (on the right of the floor plan) and at the far end (on the left) is a deck with views of the Magic Kingdom and its fireworks, sunbathing spots, and a little “cold water” pool in which to refresh yourself on hot sunbathing days.
Note on this deck lounge chairs, table and chairs, and smaller set of chairs (bottom center) accessed from the master bedroom. There’s nothing like this outdoor space anywhere else at Disney World.
Just inside, accessed from two sets of sliding glass doors, is a great room with a full kitchen and dining area on one side, and a living room on the other. The dining area seats all eight this room will sleep—something you won’t find at other two bedroom villas—but the living area, as is common, seats fewer. There’s room here to drag some dining room chairs over.
The living room sleeps three—two on a fold-out couch, and one on a fold-down bed.
Back down the entry hall on the right you’ll find the master suite, with a king bed and private bath. It’s similar to what you’ll find in other DVC master rooms.
Across the hall from the master bedroom is the bath for everyone else, which, after the washer/dryer and closet, is divided into two areas—one of which seems perhaps to be missing a door, at least in this floor plan.
Beyond it is the second bedroom, sleeping three on a queen and a fold-down bed. Other second bedrooms at DVC villas are much bigger than this, and typically sleep four on two queens.
So what have we got?
- An astonishing deck, likely pretty darn uncomfortable in the sun and humidity even with the little pool from later May through September, but charming the rest of the year, and in early mornings and evenings all year
- A kitchen/dining/living space that in sum is clearly better than the equivalents elsewhere except perhaps in Old Key West
- A fine master bedroom and bath
- A very small second bedroom
For this you will pay (including tax) between $2400 and $3400 a night.
That number is so big it makes my head hurt. This is around twice what a Two Bedroom Villa at the Villas at the Grand Floridian would cost, and just $200 to $500 a night less than a Grand Villa at the Villas at the Grand Floridian—which sleeps four more in almost twice the space. It’s just around $300 less than the flagship, two story, eight bay King Kamehameha Suite at the Polynesian.
So Disney is clearly attributing a lot of value to that deck…or seeing the Bungalows as an alternative not to Two Bedroom Villas elsewhere, but rather to suites at the Polynesian.
OK, more to come after my April stay!!