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Resort questions- need some help!

eb3257

Active Member
Original Poster
Hi!

I am thinking about possibly renting points for late Sept/early Oct of 2019. We are a family of 4 (two adults, two kids) and I am interested in booking a studio. The only DVC we've stayed at is Bay Lake Tower and we had a great stay and loved the proximity to the monorail and walking to the Magic Kingdom. (All of my other trips have been off site).

I would love to stay at Bay Lake Tower again but at the same time it would be great to experience another resort. The ones I've narrowed it down to are Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge Boulder Ridge, Animal Kingdom Lodge and Boardwalk. If you have stayed at any of these could you let me know your thoughts? I know it's all subjective but the feedback is appreciated and if you have suggestions for any other resorts please send them my way!

Out of the resorts that I listed which would be the toughest to reserve at this time of year? Would I have to book 11 months out to even have a shot? Thank you for any feedback you can offer!! :)
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
We stayed in a studio at the Polynesian on our last WDW trip (part of a split stay with a Beach Club studio). It was expensive even on our rented points, but for good reason -- so spacious and beautiful! We loved the proximity to transportation (monorail to MK, 5-minute walk to TTC, etc.) and got great use out of the extra 3/4 bath and the huge balcony (with sufficient space for all four of us to sit and enjoy a beverage along with the tranquil view). We were glad that we saved it until last, because it was such a huge step up from the studio at Beach Club (which was nice, but suffered from poor design that failed to overcome the small room size -- e.g., if you actually fold out the Murphy Bed and foldout sofa in a Beach Club Studio, you'll be unable to pull out any of the room's storage drawers and have nowhere to put the sofa cushions or coffee table, and the balcony is so tiny and loud that it's useless...) At the Polynesian, we had more space and storage than we knew what to do with! Plus, the resort itself was absolutely beautiful.

As for booking, we were staying at the end of April into early May, and we made our reservation requests at both resorts at 11 months out. David's didn't have immediate availability (meaning, the rooms were available for booking, but David's didn't have members at those resorts with the number of points we were looking for) for either one, but we asked to be put on the "wait list" and they scored both reservations for us within a week or two, as more members listed points. Had we not had our hearts set on those two particular resorts, we might have waited until the 7 month mark, but we didn't want to gamble.

The "yourfirstvisit" website has detailed photo tours and analysis of each studio at every resort, and David's Vacation Rentals has video walking tours of them on Youtube as well -- you might want to check those out as you compare.

Good luck!
 
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eb3257

Active Member
Original Poster
We stayed in a studio at the Polynesian on our last WDW trip (part of a split stay with a Beach Club studio). It was expensive even on our rented points, but for good reason -- so spacious and beautiful! We loved the proximity to transportation (monorail to MK, 5-minute walk to TTC, etc.) and got great use out of the extra 3/4 bath and the huge balcony (with sufficient space for all four of us to sit and enjoy a beverage along with the tranquil view). We were glad that we saved it until last, because it was such a huge step up from the studio at Beach Club (which was nice, but suffered from poor design that failed to overcome the small room size -- e.g., if you actually fold out the Murphy Bed and foldout sofa in a Beach Club Studio, you'll be unable to pull out any of the room's storage drawers and have nowhere to put the sofa cushions or coffee table, and the balcony is so tiny and loud that it's useless...) At the Polynesian, we had more space and storage than we knew what to do with! Plus, the resort itself was absolutely beautiful.

As for booking, we were staying at the end of April into early May, and we made our reservation requests at both resorts at 11 months out. David's didn't have immediate availability (meaning, the rooms were available for booking, but David's didn't have members at those resorts with the number of points we were looking for) for either one, but we asked to be put on the "wait list" and they scored both reservations for us within a week or two, as more members listed points. Had we not had our hearts set on those two particular resorts, we might have waited until the 7 month mark, but we didn't want to gamble.

The "yourfirstvisit" website has detailed photo tours and analysis of each studio at every resort, and David's Vacation Rentals has video walking tours of them on Youtube as well -- you might want to check those out as you compare.

Good luck!
Thank you- this is so helpful. Have you rented at any of the other resorts? I checked out the photo tours on yourfirstvisit like you suggested and it gave me a better overview of each resort. Did you experience any negatives at the Polynesian? I've read a few reviews that said it's noisy since it is one of the most visited resorts but I have no idea if this is true! I would love to stay here and eat Dole Whips whenever the mood strikes;)
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
Thank you- this is so helpful. Have you rented at any of the other resorts? I checked out the photo tours on yourfirstvisit like you suggested and it gave me a better overview of each resort. Did you experience any negatives at the Polynesian? I've read a few reviews that said it's noisy since it is one of the most visited resorts but I have no idea if this is true! I would love to stay here and eat Dole Whips whenever the mood strikes;)

We've only rented points at Wilderness Lodge (2-BR villa for a multi-generational family trip, pre-Copper Ridge expansion), Beach Club (studio) and Polynesian (studio). We liked them all, but they do all have their own pluses and minuses. (The Beach Club was by far our least favorite, despite the wonderful proximity to Epcot and HS: too noisy outdoors, too strangely-configured, room too small, CS venues limited and crowded, pool inconvenient to access, with poor sightlines if you're trying to supervise kids and the slides in an entirely different fenced-in area across a walkway).

We did not have any "negatives" at the Polynesian, unless you count the high price point. We were in an upper-floor room in Moorea with a beautiful courtyard view, and had no issues with noise whatsoever. The Grand Ceremonial House does get noisy inside, since the shops and restaurants are all open to the central lobby area, but otherwise it was all very serene and tranquil. It gets especially so at night, when they light tiki torches all over the property...
 

helenabear

Well-Known Member
Hi!

I am thinking about possibly renting points for late Sept/early Oct of 2019. We are a family of 4 (two adults, two kids) and I am interested in booking a studio. The only DVC we've stayed at is Bay Lake Tower and we had a great stay and loved the proximity to the monorail and walking to the Magic Kingdom. (All of my other trips have been off site).

I would love to stay at Bay Lake Tower again but at the same time it would be great to experience another resort. The ones I've narrowed it down to are Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge Boulder Ridge, Animal Kingdom Lodge and Boardwalk. If you have stayed at any of these could you let me know your thoughts? I know it's all subjective but the feedback is appreciated and if you have suggestions for any other resorts please send them my way!

Out of the resorts that I listed which would be the toughest to reserve at this time of year? Would I have to book 11 months out to even have a shot? Thank you for any feedback you can offer!! :)
Well you have started off in the smallest studio, so if you liked BLT, the size of the others will be great.

For four PVB gets my vote for the bathroom layout and the size as well as transportation options. Walking to the TTC is a bonus. Being able to walk to GF is a nice thing as well as it totally opens the food options. I will say that if you want Epcot area, you need to book at 11 months on the dot. PVB & BRV are probably okay between 7 and 11 months. AKL would be the easiest to book of them all.

There is nothing wrong with any of the others. We just had a splendid stay at Wilderness Lodge. AKL is one of our faovorites and Boardwalk would be easy for F&WF. It is why it will be the hardest to book though.
 

slappy magoo

Well-Known Member
I don't know which of those resorts will be the toughest to book but I think (I could be wrong) Boulder Ridge has the fewest studio rooms so just by virtue of math, that might be difficult. The Villas At Animal Kingdom will probably be easiest to book, both because of the amount of inventory, AND because of its remote location, a lot of people don't seem to prefer it (their loss, IMO).

I only spent one night in a studio at PVB but I didn't notice any particular noise issues. One plus about the Poly is that ALL of the studios are dedicated studios, as there are no 1BR Villas they can combine with to make a lock-off 2BR.

If you're planning for Sept/Oct, that's during Epcot's Food and Wine Festival, popular amongst a lot of DVC members so the Epcot resorts in particular can book pretty early. If you DO decide on Boardwalk, I'd suggest going for it at the 11 month mark. But considering how close the Poly is to the monorail to Epcot, that's not a bad "substitute" by any stretch.
 

eb3257

Active Member
Original Poster
Well you have started off in the smallest studio, so if you liked BLT, the size of the others will be great.

For four PVB gets my vote for the bathroom layout and the size as well as transportation options. Walking to the TTC is a bonus. Being able to walk to GF is a nice thing as well as it totally opens the food options. I will say that if you want Epcot area, you need to book at 11 months on the dot. PVB & BRV are probably okay between 7 and 11 months. AKL would be the easiest to book of them all.

There is nothing wrong with any of the others. We just had a splendid stay at Wilderness Lodge. AKL is one of our faovorites and Boardwalk would be easy for F&WF. It is why it will be the hardest to book though.
Thank you! This is very helpful! Yes the studio at Bay Lake Tower was tiny so that is my main reason for wanting to try someplace new but we did love it there. Do you have a preference between Jambo or Kidani? Approximately how long is the walk from the Polynesian to the TTC? Thank you again!
 

eb3257

Active Member
Original Poster
I don't know which of those resorts will be the toughest to book but I think (I could be wrong) Boulder Ridge has the fewest studio rooms so just by virtue of math, that might be difficult. The Villas At Animal Kingdom will probably be easiest to book, both because of the amount of inventory, AND because of its remote location, a lot of people don't seem to prefer it (their loss, IMO).

I only spent one night in a studio at PVB but I didn't notice any particular noise issues. One plus about the Poly is that ALL of the studios are dedicated studios, as there are no 1BR Villas they can combine with to make a lock-off 2BR.

If you're planning for Sept/Oct, that's during Epcot's Food and Wine Festival, popular amongst a lot of DVC members so the Epcot resorts in particular can book pretty early. If you DO decide on Boardwalk, I'd suggest going for it at the 11 month mark. But considering how close the Poly is to the monorail to Epcot, that's not a bad "substitute" by any stretch.
These are great points- thank you!
 

helenabear

Well-Known Member
Thank you! This is very helpful! Yes the studio at Bay Lake Tower was tiny so that is my main reason for wanting to try someplace new but we did love it there. Do you have a preference between Jambo or Kidani? Approximately how long is the walk from the Polynesian to the TTC? Thank you again!

My family likes it more quiet, so Kidani was our pick. Jambo is lovely but I do like Kidani's pool and activities just a little more. Community Hall is at Kidani as well. Really though both are great. It can be highly debated which is better, and honestly the end is that they are both good.

The walk to the TTC is a couple of minutes no joke. We're talking like 1/5 of a mile at most to the main part of the TTC. That gives you options for getting to Epcot or even MK. We personally never took the monorail to MK because of the easy walk to the ferry. Though the small boat launch is great too.
 

Phonedave

Well-Known Member
I would love to stay at Bay Lake Tower again but at the same time it would be great to experience another resort. The ones I've narrowed it down to are Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge Boulder Ridge, Animal Kingdom Lodge and Boardwalk.

I have never stayed at the Poly, so I can't help you there.

I have never stayed at Boulder Ridge, but DVC at Wilderness Lodge is one of my favorites. The transportation to MK is very easy. Artist Point is one of my favorite restaurants on property. I love the pool there, and the theme is also wonderful. I don't know how old your kids are, but Fort Wilderness Campground are also a boat ride away - there are a bunch of things that you can do over there that appeal to kids as well.

Animal Kingdom Lodge - I really have a hard time liking this resort. I know I many be in the minority, but I really don't like this resort (either Kidani Village or Jambo house). It's too out of the way, I don't like the pool, and don't like the quick service, and there is something about the resort I just don't like. I love the idea of the Savannah and animals, but it does not offset the rest of the resort. Don\t get me wrong, I don't hate it, and if somebody told me I had the option to go the AKL next week for vacation, I would take it, but it's really not my resort of choice.

Boardwalk - Is in a tie with WL as my favorite. In fact it may edge out WL. I love the proximity to EPOCT. Jellyrolls is great (but nobody under 21 allowed - so if you have kids, you need a babysitter, or they need to be old enough to be on their own), the restaurants in the area (and in EPCOT), the easy transportation to EPCOT and DHS, plus you can walk to mini golf if that's your cup of tea.
 

eb3257

Active Member
Original Poster
I have never stayed at the Poly, so I can't help you there.

I have never stayed at Boulder Ridge, but DVC at Wilderness Lodge is one of my favorites. The transportation to MK is very easy. Artist Point is one of my favorite restaurants on property. I love the pool there, and the theme is also wonderful. I don't know how old your kids are, but Fort Wilderness Campground are also a boat ride away - there are a bunch of things that you can do over there that appeal to kids as well.

Animal Kingdom Lodge - I really have a hard time liking this resort. I know I many be in the minority, but I really don't like this resort (either Kidani Village or Jambo house). It's too out of the way, I don't like the pool, and don't like the quick service, and there is something about the resort I just don't like. I love the idea of the Savannah and animals, but it does not offset the rest of the resort. Don\t get me wrong, I don't hate it, and if somebody told me I had the option to go the AKL next week for vacation, I would take it, but it's really not my resort of choice.

Boardwalk - Is in a tie with WL as my favorite. In fact it may edge out WL. I love the proximity to EPOCT. Jellyrolls is great (but nobody under 21 allowed - so if you have kids, you need a babysitter, or they need to be old enough to be on their own), the restaurants in the area (and in EPCOT), the easy transportation to EPCOT and DHS, plus you can walk to mini golf if that's your cup of tea.
My kids would be either 6 or 7 depending on when we take this trip and they would be happy staying anywhere! How long of a walk is it from Boardwalk to Epcot and HS? I didn't think of being only a boat ride away from Wilderness Lodge to Fort Wilderness either and that could be lot of fun if we ended up staying there. Thanks for your feedback!!
 

helenabear

Well-Known Member
My kids would be either 6 or 7 depending on when we take this trip and they would be happy staying anywhere! How long of a walk is it from Boardwalk to Epcot and HS? I didn't think of being only a boat ride away from Wilderness Lodge to Fort Wilderness either and that could be lot of fun if we ended up staying there. Thanks for your feedback!!

I will admit the pool at Boardwalk wasn't our favorite for younger ones that age. Just tossing that out there as it is something I forgot earlier. At WL, the quiet pool for BRV was our favorite over the main pool as well. Main pool got crowded quickly.

Depends on your room with the timing to everything. It can take an extra minute or two to walk if your room isn't close to certain areas. From the lobby to Epcot it's about 7-10 minutes to the IG (.3 mile) To DHS from the lobby it's about 15-20 minutes (.8 mile). As strange as it sounds, it was always faster to walk than to ever take the boat unless you catch the boat just as it goes to leave. If you just miss the boat to DHS and want to take it, walk to the Swan and Dolphin to get it. If coming back we would also get off at Swan/Dolphin. Also remember Boardwalk will be the hardest to book and you will have to do it at 11 months or you likely will miss a good chance of getting it.
 

Phonedave

Well-Known Member
My kids would be either 6 or 7 depending on when we take this trip and they would be happy staying anywhere! How long of a walk is it from Boardwalk to Epcot and HS? I didn't think of being only a boat ride away from Wilderness Lodge to Fort Wilderness either and that could be lot of fun if we ended up staying there. Thanks for your feedback!!


I asked about ages because there are "kinds" thinks to do at Fort Wilderness such as horseback riding. Yes, horseback riding is an adult thing to do, and you can ride at WDW as an adult, but it all flat, wide, trails at a walk. Kids like it, but any adult who has done any sort of trail rides will most likely find it tame. There is (or at least was) a Segway tour there as well (but your kids would be too young for it). You can actually walk from VWL to FW, there is a trail.

Helenabear gave you the distances from BWV to EPCOT and DHS. She is right about the boat too. Walking is faster, but maybe not with a tired 7 y/o in tow. You will enter EPCOT via the International Gateway, which is MUCH nicer. Never really a line, and you enter between the UK and the bridge to France.

I liek the BW pool (and so do my kids, even when they were smaller) Some people do not like the lack of a QSFB, but there are so many options right on the Boardwalk, plus you can hit up YC/BC if you want.
 

helenabear

Well-Known Member
I asked about ages because there are "kinds" thinks to do at Fort Wilderness such as horseback riding. Yes, horseback riding is an adult thing to do, and you can ride at WDW as an adult, but it all flat, wide, trails at a walk. Kids like it, but any adult who has done any sort of trail rides will most likely find it tame. There is (or at least was) a Segway tour there as well (but your kids would be too young for it). You can actually walk from VWL to FW, there is a trail.

Helenabear gave you the distances from BWV to EPCOT and DHS. She is right about the boat too. Walking is faster, but maybe not with a tired 7 y/o in tow. You will enter EPCOT via the International Gateway, which is MUCH nicer. Never really a line, and you enter between the UK and the bridge to France.

I liek the BW pool (and so do my kids, even when they were smaller) Some people do not like the lack of a QSFB, but there are so many options right on the Boardwalk, plus you can hit up YC/BC if you want.

That trail is a lovely walk or bike ride (you can rent bikes from WL). We took the walk and saw a lot of people on bikes. Carriage rides too. The horseback riding is tame, but I do enjoy looking at the stables.

Don't forget the Swan and Dolphin for food too. The Fountain (better than Beaches & Cream IMO), Fresh, and Picabu are great for families. Plus easy walks to Epcot for more options if you can hop.
 

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