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DVC Rentals - Contemporary vs. Poly vs. Grand Floridian

If I was going to have a quick trip to WDW and stay at an MK area DVC resort, I would stay at....

  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort

    Votes: 19 38.8%
  • The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian

    Votes: 6 12.2%
  • Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows

    Votes: 24 49.0%

  • Total voters
    49

Schneewittchen

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Have some background...

I have an RV, we used to just take that to Fort Wilderness every year in the winter or spring. I love the MK resort area. But then we started taking additional quick trips to WDW or DL in November and February. For these quick trips, we'd stay at All Star Movies. All Star Movies is okay, but I want more..... better bed, better transportation, better restaurants, better pools. I was always satisfied with Fort Wilderness' amenities, but now my RV is dying and it may be a year or two until we buy a new one.

So....

My family is taking a 10 day trip to WDW in April around Easter week with another family, we're staying at Caribbean Beach. The other family loves CBR and I'm flexible... The pictures of the pools look nice. And I hope the mattresses are comfy. I was curious about Coronado Springs or the Port Orleans resorts. They look nice too, but I don't have any strong feelings here - mostly I wanted to stay under $300/night for this big trip.

But another friend has been telling me for years that I should rent someone else's DVC points. He and his wife love Wilderness Lodge and Yacht Club, so I'm willing to take their advice. I'm using David's Vacation Club Rentals to rent someone else's points for Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge for my upcoming November 2019 trip. So exciting.

Now this large number of park days in the next 12 months has made me realize I need to buy Annual Passes when we arrive in April. And it's encouraging me to book even more WDW trips...

So beyond my booked April 2019 10 day and November 2019 4 day trips, I need to book a February 2020 trip using someone's DVC points. We will have already stayed at Wilderness Lodge, so that's out. And I really want to be in the MK resort area. Staying at the Contemporary is a bucket list thing for me (and the husband). But I have to be realistic that we may not be able to get that resort. The Poly has always seemed really cool to me, but the husband thinks it seems a bit dingy these days, so he'd rather stay at the Grand Floridian.

So, vote for me and tell us where to stay. And then tell me why in the comments. Which has the better pool? Better casual or quick restaurants? Do any of them have the super plush mattresses????

And then in about 2 months we can start chatting about April 2020 - I probably won't rent DVC points for that one. We can discuss CBR vs. the other moderates.....
 

nickys

Well-Known Member
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What sort of room do you want? Poly only has Studios, apart from the bungalows. Bay Lake studios are the smallest.

But with a 1-bed, Bay Lake has a sleeper chair and an extra bathroom. The 2-bed also has an extra bathroom (so 3 in total). Plus walking to MK of course.
 

Schneewittchen

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Since it's only a few days, studios are fine. There's just 4 of us and the kids are used to sharing a bed when we travel.

Though, we went to Hawaii this past summer and only stayed in one bedroom timeshares/condo resorts. It was amazing. Full kitchens, private laundry, extra bathrooms.....

At WDW, we'll really only be in the room to sleep, bathe and eat a quick breakfast. If we are at the resort, we'll be in the shops, at a restaurant or (most likely) at the pool.

Good to know the Bay Lake rooms are smallest, didn't realize this. Though it looks like they're a good bit larger than the value rooms, which is my only point of reference.
 

Jdn0018

New Member
Depending on your park choices, the DVC buildings at the Polynesian are a short walk from the TTC where you can take a direct monorail to Epcot... this is, of course, in addition to the Magic Kingdom monorail options.

Poly studios also have the split bathroom, which is nice with four folks to get ready in the morning.
 

Schneewittchen

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Depending on your park choices, the DVC buildings at the Polynesian are a short walk from the TTC where you can take a direct monorail to Epcot... this is, of course, in addition to the Magic Kingdom monorail options.

Poly studios also have the split bathroom, which is nice with four folks to get ready in the morning.
That's a good point, I didn't think about the walking option for the Poly.

From the floorplans, it looks like Grand Floridian also has split bathrooms.
 

helenabear

Well-Known Member
Since it's only a few days, studios are fine. There's just 4 of us and the kids are used to sharing a bed when we travel.

Though, we went to Hawaii this past summer and only stayed in one bedroom timeshares/condo resorts. It was amazing. Full kitchens, private laundry, extra bathrooms.....

At WDW, we'll really only be in the room to sleep, bathe and eat a quick breakfast. If we are at the resort, we'll be in the shops, at a restaurant or (most likely) at the pool.

Good to know the Bay Lake rooms are smallest, didn't realize this. Though it looks like they're a good bit larger than the value rooms, which is my only point of reference.
Based on this I chose Polynesian. Really it is between PVB and VGF as BLT is out. They have the smallest studios I've been in. I mean awfully small with 2 people it was a bit tight feeling. PVB wins for the stand alone shower (yes, it is that good of a shower) and transportation wise I prefer it to VGF. Both of those (VGF and PVB) are great resorts and if one appeals go for it. They are walkable to each other which is a nice thing to have.

Good luck deciding :)
 

LAKid53

The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter.
Premium Member
Since it's only a few days, studios are fine. There's just 4 of us and the kids are used to sharing a bed when we travel.

Though, we went to Hawaii this past summer and only stayed in one bedroom timeshares/condo resorts. It was amazing. Full kitchens, private laundry, extra bathrooms.....

At WDW, we'll really only be in the room to sleep, bathe and eat a quick breakfast. If we are at the resort, we'll be in the shops, at a restaurant or (most likely) at the pool.

Good to know the Bay Lake rooms are smallest, didn't realize this. Though it looks like they're a good bit larger than the value rooms, which is my only point of reference.
Then go with a studio at Poly. They are the largest DVC studio and have both a pullout sofa and the Murphy bed in the TV stand thing. But no dresser - two big drawers under the bed and drawers in the bathroom vanities. Also has a split bath - tub/shower, sink, toilet on one side, amazing shower, sink on the other. As DVC converted three longhouses to Studios, plenty of them.
 

LAKid53

The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter.
Premium Member
That's a good point, I didn't think about the walking option for the Poly.

From the floorplans, it looks like Grand Floridian also has split bathrooms.
It's a shower on one side and a tub/shower combo and toilet on the other with a vanity in the middle. Poly is almost 2 bathrooms.
 

Schneewittchen

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
In case you care, or not. We ended up with a standard view studio in Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary.

The kids are thrilled. I'm over the moon. DH can't get excited about a trip that's almost a year away.

As an aside, yes I am going to buy APs in April, so then of course I had to book a summer trip too....

So now when I look in MDE, I have 4 trips booked:

10 days at Caribbean Beach in April
5 days at BoardWalk Inn in July
5 days at Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge in November
5 days at Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary in February

Hmmm, I wonder where we should stay next April.... Port Orleans French Quarter or Riverside, Coronado Springs, Old Key West..... I'm thinking to do 3 days at St. Pete's Beach and then 6 days at WDW.
 

Schneewittchen

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
You'll have a great time. I would personally rate those DVC resorts in this order, Bay Lake Tower, Grand Floridian, and the Poly (our least favorite of the three).
I hope so.

As you may be able to tell from my avatar, staying at the Contemporary is a bucket list item for me.
 

slappy magoo

Well-Known Member
The BLT rooms are the smallest of the three DVC resorts - bigger than any value resort but even smaller than any mod. I'd feel like the resort amenities and walking distance to MK makes up for it, especially on a 5 night trip, I'm assuming you won't spend much time in the room.

If you're used to the cramped quarters of an RV or an all-star, you won't complain.

I consider the Wave to be an undervalued, great restaurant. To stay at BLT and not have at least one meal there would be a shame.
 

LAKid53

The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter.
Premium Member
In case you care, or not. We ended up with a standard view studio in Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary.

The kids are thrilled. I'm over the moon. DH can't get excited about a trip that's almost a year away.

As an aside, yes I am going to buy APs in April, so then of course I had to book a summer trip too....

So now when I look in MDE, I have 4 trips booked:

10 days at Caribbean Beach in April
5 days at BoardWalk Inn in July
5 days at Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge in November
5 days at Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary in February

Hmmm, I wonder where we should stay next April.... Port Orleans French Quarter or Riverside, Coronado Springs, Old Key West..... I'm thinking to do 3 days at St. Pete's Beach and then 6 days at WDW.
Studios at BR are small, if you went with one. The table disappears to become the pull down bed.
 

Schneewittchen

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The BLT rooms are the smallest of the three DVC resorts - bigger than any value resort but even smaller than any mod. I'd feel like the resort amenities and walking distance to MK makes up for it, especially on a 5 night trip, I'm assuming you won't spend much time in the room.

If you're used to the cramped quarters of an RV or an all-star, you won't complain.
That's good to hear. I don't go on vacation to hang out in my room either.

Mostly I'm hoping the beds are as good as what I get a luxury resort. Plush mattresses with feather beds and soft cotton sheets.... A good pool with a spa, nice gift shops and sit down dining options are helpful too.
 

LAKid53

The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter.
Premium Member
That's good to hear. I don't go on vacation to hang out in my room either.

Mostly I'm hoping the beds are as good as what I get a luxury resort. Plush mattresses with feather beds and soft cotton sheets.... A good pool with a spa, nice gift shops and sit down dining options are helpful too.
You won't get beds like that, not even at the Grand Floridian. Pools are nicer at the Deluxes and those resorts also have a hot tub. Only the GF has swanky gift shops, 4 in total. GF and CR have the best selection of table service dining options.
 
Poly is our favorite... I think the theming and vibes you get from the resort (hawaiian music pumped in, torches at night, vegetation) really make the resort feel like a "vacation within vacation". Also, Boutiki has some awesome themed merchandise.. You don't get quite the same spread of restaurants as you do at the other resorts on the loop, but thats what the monorail is for!
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
Since it's only a few days, studios are fine. There's just 4 of us and the kids are used to sharing a bed when we travel.

Though, we went to Hawaii this past summer and only stayed in one bedroom timeshares/condo resorts. It was amazing. Full kitchens, private laundry, extra bathrooms.....

At WDW, we'll really only be in the room to sleep, bathe and eat a quick breakfast. If we are at the resort, we'll be in the shops, at a restaurant or (most likely) at the pool.

Good to know the Bay Lake rooms are smallest, didn't realize this. Though it looks like they're a good bit larger than the value rooms, which is my only point of reference.
We've stayed with four in DVC studios (2 adults, 2 kids) in the Beach Club Villas (very small, but still larger than the Bay Lake Tower studios) and Polynesian Villas. Given that experience, I'd say Polynesian, 100x over! Even if you're used to close quarters and don't mind stepping all over each other, the huge amount of extra breathing room (not to mention the extra 3/4 bath) in the Polynesian studio was, in our opinion, more than worth the additional cost, even though like you we were mostly in the room for sleeping and breakfast.

In the Polynesian studio, we had room to put away all of our things, fold out the sofa (we didn't use the Murphy bed, but we could have, and still walked easily between it and the queen bed), place the coffee table at the end of the folded-out-sofa or next to it, and still have ample room to move around and use the space, access the storage in the coffee table and under the bed, have breakfast at the round table, enjoy coffee on the balcony, etc. None of those things were possible in the smaller Beach Club studio (which, again, is actually a few feet larger than a BLT studio): once you folded out the sofa and moved the coffee table and sofa cushions out of the way, your floor space in the sleeping area was gone, and you couldn't get to the balcony. Also, having 2 baths at the Polynesian -- 2 places to brush teeth, do hair, grab a shower, etc., -- made our morning routines go much more smoothly than at the Beach Club, where there was just one full bath (plus the kitchenette sink). I remember the Beach Club as cluttered and stressful, whereas our Polynesian studio stay was beautiful and relaxing.

*Note: OP, you mentioned comparing the BLT studio with the value resorts in size. I did want to mention that per the "yourfirstvisit" website, if you make an apples-to-apples comparison between them, the sleeping space (the bedroom area) in a 340 square foot BLT studio is only 185 square feet -- less than at the value resorts (where about 200 of the 260 square feet of floor space is "bedroom area" space) -- because so much of the BLT studio's square footage is given to the bathroom/kitchen. In contrast, a Polynesian studio is about 465 square feet in total, with about half of that (~230 square feet) devoted to the sleeping area. So for space in and around the beds and breakfast table, where you're going to want it most, the Polynesian will give you a little more floor space than you're used to in a value room, while BLT is going to give you 15 square feet less -- and given that you're going to have to find space for the sofa cushions (which can be stored under the queen bed in a Polynesian studio, but not at BLT, where the bed is on a platform) and coffee table after you fold down the sofa bed, it's a 15 square feet I believe you'll miss.
 
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