In our last post, we reviewed the luxury one bedroom villa accommodations of the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. In today’s post, we discuss the reasons why we had mixed feelings about staying in a lakeview studio villa at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows (DVC PVB). The answers may surprise you!
Why stay in a Studio Villa at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows (DVC PVB)?
One of the primary reasons to stay at the DVC PVB is due to the location on the monorail. The “monorail resorts” — including the Contemporary and the Grand Floridian — have very easy access to the Magic Kingdom.
From the Disney Vacation Club website:
Escape to an enchanting oasis that evokes the spirit of the South Pacific—located just steps from the monorail, taking you to the ultimate in fun at Magic Kingdom park! Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows boasts the first-ever Disney accommodations to sit atop the water as well as the largest Deluxe Studios at any Walt Disney World Resort.
From the YourFirstVisit website:
…for those who can afford it, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, a monorail resort, is the best place for first time family visitors to stay.
Anyone can book a DVC villa — you don’t have to be a DVC member to book. One way to save, is to rent points — either directly, from a DVC member — or via an established broker, such as David’s Rentals.
DVC PVB check-in experience
As mentioned in the previous post, we tend to rent a car whenever we travel to Walt Disney World, preferring the ease of transportation to the parks, and the ability of grocery shopping at the local Target or Publix. As we were staying for one night, prior to a cruise, we skipped the grocery run for this trip
While parking is fairly easy at the Polynesian Villas (PVB), the walk is quite a bit longer — and therefore, a bit less convenient — than at the Grand Floridian Villas (GFV). Still the walkways and elevators made moving the luggage from the rental car to the villa, fairly easy.
Instead of one central building with check-in/concierge desks, guests (that do not avail themselves to online check-in) need to go to the Great Ceremonial House, in order to fine-tune any check-in requests.
As mentioned in the previous post, all resort guests can avail themselves to the online check-in process, thereby skipping any potential lines at the check-in desk, upon arrival.
Guests receive a text with the room number when the room is ready. A new (and much appreciated) feature includes directions to the room! There are no room keys, as the magic bands that were shipped prior to the trip provide access to villas. We appreciate the convenience of skipping the check-in desk, and going directly to our villa, upon arrival to the resort.
Location of DVC PVB Studio Villas
The Polynesian Studio Villas are located in three separate longhouses (Pago Pago, Moorea, and Tokelau).
Each of these longhouses are positioned nicely between the Magic Kingdom monorail and the walkway to the Epcot monorail.
Studio villas at the Polynesian can be booked as connecting rooms, which is a unique feature to this DVC resort. In the other DVC resorts, studios only connect to one-bedroom villas (forming what is termed a two-bedroom “lock-off” villa).
Studio (and bungalow) DVC PVB floor plans
At ~465 square feet, the Polynesian Studio Villas are the largest of all DVC studios, and sleep up to five people. However, a good portion of the square footage has been proportioned to the split bathroom design. More on that feature, later.
Here are the floor plans for the Polynesian studio villas and bungalows (taken from the DVC website):
Although the bungalows look very appealing, we would not consider these accommodations, due to the very high use of DVC points. Forget about the cash rates. Then again, that’s just us…
The Studio Villa at DVC’s Polynesian
The studio villa offers the following amenities:
- Private porch or balcony
- Portable crib
- In-room safe
- Wireless Internet access
- Flat screen television
- Blu-ray™ player
- Access to laundry facilities
All studios in these converted DVC longhouses have either patios or balconies — unlike the standard Polynesian resort rooms, where the second floor rooms do not have balconies.
DVC PVB Studio kitchenette
The studio kitchenette has the following amenities:
- Counter-height refrigerator
- Small sink (and dish soap)
- Coffee maker
- Paper plates, plastic cups, plastic utensils
- Limited utensils
Many people prefer not to cook while on vacation. However, I enjoy the ease and convenience of having a full-sized kitchen for having a relaxed breakfast in the morning; preparing lunches to take to the parks; and re-heating the many left-overs that we collect, from restaurant meals.
Even with the ability have two kitchenettes (by booking two connecting studios) does not replace a full kitchen, with full-sized appliances (including a dishwasher). But (again), that’s just me…
While laundry rooms (that are free of charge for DVC members, or guests staying on DVC points), we prefer the washer and dryer in the one-bedroom villas.
Combined living & sleeping areas
The studio villa has a queen-size bed, a queen-sized sleeper sofa, and a a single pull-down bed (29″ x 67″), sleeping a total of five (four adults and one child).
There is a small table and chairs, and a large flat-screen television over the pull-down bed (not shown — why did I ] not take that photo?). But the studio does not have a separate dresser. Instead, there are pull-out drawers under the queen bed, and storage in the coffee table.
We loved the playful, post-modern decor and satruated color scheme of the Studios. Simply entering the rooms brought smiles to our faces, and that’s saying something, right?
The split bathroom
Similiar to the Villas at the Grand Floridian, the studio villas at the Polynesian utilize a split bathroom design. There is a sink with vanity, tub, and toilet in one bathroom, and a (gorgeous!) walk-in shower with a separate sink with vanity in a separate bathroom.
Oh my heavenly showering goodness — the waterfall rain shower was truly divine.
Standard versus lake view at the Polynesian villas
Just like DVC-GFV, the studio villas at the Polynesian have two view classifications: Standard and Lake View.
Standard views may be facing the Oasis pool (and may suffer from noise), or the gardens, or the parking lot.
Lake views face the Seven Seas Lagoon.
We booked a Lakeview Studio, intrigued by the romance of overlooking the Seven Seas Lagoon.
Here is the view from our second floor studio in the Moorea longhouse:
While the lake view offered a serene view from our balcony, we did not appreciate the incessant boat horn…. All. night. long.
No no no no no no NO!
We tried to disguise the sound, by cranking our sound machine (yes, we always travel, prepared). And, we tried to muffle the noise, by wearing earplugs (again – prepared!)
Despite our best efforts, nothing abated the piercing sound of that horn blasting, throughout the night, seemingly all night long.
We decided that we would stick with a Standard View, for any future stays at the Polynesian.
Of course, your mileage may vary…
Dining at Polynesian’s Kona Cafe
Kona Cafe is a table service restaurant located in the Great Ceremonial House in Walt Disney World’s Polynesian Village Resort. While most guests seem to favor the ever-popular ‘Ohana restaurant, we selected Kona Cafe for a quick and light meal on the evening of our arrival. After all, we were scheduled to embark upon a Disney cruise the following morning. Enough said.
Rather than table service, we elected the seats at the “sushi bar.”
It’s always a treat, to watch sushi chefs prepare our sushi rolls.
My son ordered a simple roll, and just wanted water:
I ordered a vegan sushi roll, and “adult” beverage. Because… you know… vacation.
The rolls were freshly prepared, and thus fresh and light. Just perfect. We loved the “open air” ambience of Kona Cafe. Our seats at the sushi bar shielded us from some of the activity in the main Great Ceremonial House. We tend to skip dessert, but I’ve read that Kona Cafe offers some interesting dessert options.
SEE ALSO: Lessons learned from severe sunburn
DVC PVB: Final thoughts
We loved so much about the studio villas at the Polynesian — the lush grounds, South Pacific “vibe,” charming and whimsical decor, large studio accommodation, and delicious food choices.
Nevertheless, we remain partial to the one-bedroom villa accommodations offered by all of the other DVC resorts, and consider the lack of one-bedroom villas at the Polynesian as an epic fail, on the part of DVC.
Yes, there is an option to book two connecting studio villas, providing extra sleeping spaces and an extra full bathroom. However, the lack of a king bed in a master bathroom, no dresser storage, and lack of full-size kitchen, represents major downsides, in our opinion.
While the Lake View offers serene daytime vistas, the repeated blasts from the boat horns, all night long, will prevent us from selecting that room option, for any future visits.
While fine for pre-cruise or short weekend visits, we would only consider staying in a studio villa for a short weekend of 2 (or 3) nights.
That’s all, dear blog readers. I hope that you enjoyed this blog post!
Have you stayed at Disney’s Polynesian Resort — either in the main resort, or the DVC studio villas or bungalows?
Please feel free to send me an email with your experience!
Denise Dixon, PhD
Dr Dixon is a licensed psychologist practicing in New York State. Her contagious enthusiasm for sharing the science of health & behavior has earned her the nickname of “Dr. Smiles.” Dr Dixon also finds joy in motherhood; travel; outdoor sports; singing; piano; and cooking delicious (vegan) meals.
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