The Expensive Disney Hotel I Really Want to Visit

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Thanks to miles, points, and travel deals, we have been fortunate enough to visit Disney World a number of times both before, during, and after we had kids join the crew. All of those trips have been very different, but all have been great. I even found out I was pregnant with my first daughter just days before one of our Disney trips, so even though I was relegated to morning sickness and “exciting” rides like It’s a Small World for that visit, it was still a great time. In other words, Disney is always a good idea for our crew.

Pregnant at Disney….

One of our big summer trips may be crumbling out from under us for reasons totally beyond our control, so of course I am thinking about back-up plans, and Disney bubbled to the top of possible contenders. If we do go to Disney World, it will probably be a short trip and it won’t be one of those go-go-go super planned sun-up to sun-down type of Disney adventures, but instead it will be at the pace of the almost-two-year-old, and we will take in what our resort has to offer as much as the theme parks. I did a similar trip to Disneyland when my first daughter was two years old and it was a bunch of fun.

Little C at Disneyland at two years old

Because of his job schedule, it is also totally possible that Josh won’t be able to go, and it will just be me and the girls. Is this sounding fun yet…two little girls, potentially only one parent, Florida summer heat, no serious advance planning, Disney insanity? There are some pain points in the plan, but honestly, heat aside, I love the idea of kind of taking it relatively easy through Disney, but… there is one very important detail that makes or breaks the plan in my view.

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While I can easily again use points to stay without out of pocket costs at the Walt Disney World Swan or nearby Hyatt Grand Cypress, I have no desire to do that this time around. I either want to stay at a Disney Resort or not go. More specifically, I really, really want to stay at the Polynesian right on the monorail. I have wanted to stay there since my first visit to Disney as a kid, and that desire has not lessened as a points-hardened adult. The Contemporary is also in a premier Magic Kingdom location right on the monorail, but it doesn’t speak to me the way the Polynesian does.

Walt Disney World Polynesian Resort

I love the idea of being in a (Disney version) of the South Pacific for a couple days, eating at favorite ‘Ohanas, playing in their pools with the volcanos and slides, eating Dole Whip, and more. We could take the monorail to the park in the morning, come back for a nap in the afternoon, and then easily take the monorail right back to the Magic Kingdom for evening shows. There won’t be any buses, transfers, parking, etc. to deal with, and that coupled with the ambience and amenities makes staying at the Polynesian almost a deal breaker for me this time.

It goes without saying that the downside to all this Polynesian awesomeness is of course the cost. It is one of the most expensive Disney resorts, and that price is especially painful knowing I could stay elsewhere for far less or even for no out of pocket cost. Then again, since this is a shorter trip, it is a good a time as any to take the leap and experience what it is like to stay right on the monorail with little ones. While availability may very well not be there, maybe it is a good time to explore renting some Disney Vacation Club points to stay at the studio villas at the Polynesian for a little less…

This back-up summer travel plan may or may not come to fruition this time around, but I absolutely do want to stay at The Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World at some point. It is one of those places that may not make sense on paper, but my childish heart has loved this resort for decades, and keeps coming back to the idea of plunking down the cash to stay here at least once.

If you have stayed there or similar, I’d love to know to know your thoughts! Are you still finalizing some of your summer travel plans?

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. The Polynesian is great but we like the Boardwalk even better! Being able to walk to two parks makes the Boardwalk more appealing to us. And renting DVC points can make it MUCH more affordable! We are DVC members, so happy to answer any questions you have!

    • I know exactly what you mean we are platinum with Starrwood and Marriott and have stayed at a wide variety of their Wonderfull resorts…the WDW Dolphin being our ,favorite.,but We gave always wanted to stay at the Contemporary resort,waking up to see the Cinderella castle in the distance not to mention the fireworks has always been a bucket lust for us.Unfortunantly The extravagant price keeps it just out of our Reach for us!So believe me I Know what you mean.Well Maybe One day.Dreams do come true there….don’t They ??

  2. Don’t think twice about it! We rent point to stay at DVC properties. Yes, it’s a splurge but you must consider the fact that by using points for other travel you can do things you otherwose wouldn’t. One of those is staying at special places! Enjoy every minute!!

    • That’s a good option, but she won’t be able to get a DVC room at the Poly at this point for this summer. The only resorts likely to be available (if any) would be Saratoga Springs or Old Key West.

      • Actually, I take that back! I’m a DVC member and I just checked. It looks like there is some availability in the late summer. It’s pretty expensive point wise though…23 for a weeknight and 27 for weekend. It would probably still be $340-400 a night with renting points.

  3. I love Disney too! I have been to DisneyLand and DisneyWorld several times. I agree that staying at the Polynesian would be a dream come true. We are staying at Port Orleans for a second time this summer. We can’t wait to go to Pandora! Disney is the happiest place on Earth!

  4. Might be too late for this option, but I’d try renting DVC points to stay at the Poly. Would be much cheaper than cash rate thru Disney. I’d check out the DVC section of disboards.com. David’s rentals is the big agency, but they are in demand.

    The Polynesian is great and you’ll love it.

  5. I was about to come on here and say you absolutely should look into renting DVC points in the future, but that is far too late to get a summer reservation at the Polynesian, however I just checked DVC availability and it is showing me most nights available in a standard view studio (cheapest!!) July 7-through the first week of September. I dont know if this is an error or what but you should definitely look into it ASAP. It would be very unusual to find that much availability. I would go to mouseowners.com and look for an owner who is renting points. Since its within 7 months you can rent from an owner who owns any DVC resort. The going rate is $14-15 a point, although sometimes you can find $13. you can also use a service which will cost a couple of more dollars per point. If you have any questions about renting feel free to email me, we have done it lots of times to stay at Polynesian and Grand Floridian, places we could NEVER afford at Disney’s regular rates (even with a discount!)

    • Adding… A very nice lady I have rented from in the past I believe has 70 points available at $13 a point. I can send you her contact info if you are interested.

      • Hi. I am interested just in the process of renting the points. How does one do this, and what does a point get you? For $13 per point, how many per night and for what kind of a room? No intention of going right now, just interested in learning more about this. Many thanks!

        • You can rent directly from a person who owns DVC (usually can find them offering points for rent on a fourm such a mouseowners.com or disboards.com) or you from a points rental service (acts as a middle man between you and the individual points owner).

          There is a points chart for each DVC resort that lists how many points each room type costs during what season of the year. For example, a studio (smallest room type) during a weeknight in July at Polynesian would cost the owner 23 points. If the owner rents to you at $13 per point you would effectively be paying $299 per night for that room. Some resorts are cheaper than others, Polynesian is on the high end, Old Key West on the low end. And there are different types of rooms too.
          Here is some more information about renting DVC points: http://mouseowners.com/RentingPoints.html

          It’s definitely an option worth looking into!

  6. Just make it happen. For one of our Disney trips when my kids were young we booked the Polynesian. I’m sure it was on some kind of special at the time. I didn’t think the rooms were outstanding, but my kids loved the atmosphere and the luau, which my daughter participated in. And yes, I do love being on the monorail.
    IIRC, the last time I went to Disney (just a pre-cruise 1-nighter) I bought a bunch of Disney giftcards from one of the office supply stores.

  7. Y’all are great! There is some availability on dvc points the days we are eyeing, but we have to give our original trip a couple more days to live or die before moving on so can’t pull trigger today. Dvc route will come down to price per point…which is a theme in my life. Ha!

  8. I think it is a great plan. We just came back from Animal Kingdom Lodge- used DVD points- and had a great time. I love that hotel and all the animals, so relaxing.
    For you, I think the Polynesian would be a great choice. I met another Mom on a Disney cruise who took her kids solo and worked out great. You check your luggage in at the airport and never touch it again until it gets to your room several hours after check in and that makes it so much easier with kids. No figuring out transportation or carting around all the bags yourself. Just bring swim suits in your carry on and you can swim when you get there while awaiting the bags. Plus, they even have a few store items for sale in gift shops that have DVC which Polynesian now has. Not cheap but nice to be able to buy a package or donuts, loaf of bread or 1/2 gallon of milk and put in your room. Refrigerators in regular rooms are called coolers not refrigerators so need to check if they are cold enough but ours was.
    We do the Disney gift cards at sams club/discover for almost 10 percent off this quarter including the category bonus plus use the DVA account for additional savings.
    It would be a great trip and the cost isn’t so bad if you only do it for a few nights. Give us an update after your trip if you are able to go.

  9. First, let me say that I am not a huge Disney person. Do I enjoy it when I go, yes. Is it my favorite place on earth, no. A vacation of over paying for everything, and waiting in long lines with no other parent to help does not sound like fun to me. I think your older daughter may find this trip a little disappointing compared to her other experiences. Since the ‘baby’ won’t be able to go on everything, you will need to wait with her, and little C will be left to ride on her own or worse, not go on some rides because she isn’t
    tall enough to ride unaccompanied.

    If you want something you can do with just you and the two kids, pick a resort somewhere; the pool can be just as much fun for kids no matter where it is.

    If you really want to go to Disney with the two kids by yourself, I would not splurge on the Polynesian. From you post you seem to be justifying the expense in three ways:
    1) you have always wanted to do it.
    2) it will be easier because it on on the monorail
    3) it has nice resort amenities.

    My thoughts on these:
    1) I cannot speak for you, or fault you on this.
    2) I think this benefit is marginal at best. There is a good transportation system through out Disney. The fact that the monorail is a train vs a bus does not make the schlep any easier.
    3) So do tones of other, cheaper, places in the area.

    If it were me, I would save the Polynesian for a more special occasion.

    Overall, It sounds like you are trying to justify the Polynesian to yourself because you know you won’t be spending a ton of times in the park. A lot of your time will be at the resort because it is just you and the kids. I keep coming back to, is Disney really the right choice for this trip?

    • Maybe, maybe not. This won’t be our “big” Disney trip…if we are lucky enough to do one, I target the big trip when the toddler is 5-ish. But, 2 is really a cool Disney age as long as it isn’t your one and only big trip. Everything is just soooo exciting then. I think C would be totally fine going at a slower pace, but we will see what works out or doesn’t. It’s not a perfect plan, but my plans usually aren’t. We do have resort pool type trips already on the agenda this summer…those are always good ideas.

      • You’re right, there is something about a two year old’s face at Disney. We took our first child at two and he had a great time. He is six now, and doesn’t remember that trip, but we do. My point is, taking your two year old is more about you watching her experience it, than the child having a long term meaningful experience. Having only one parent there may diminish from everyone’s experience.

        You know yourself and your children best. Do whatever you think everyone would enjoy most!

        • I still hope our Plan A someone comes back to life, but it’s fun to think through options. None are perfect, but hopefully we find one that is special in its own way. Fingers crossed…

  10. There is a Disney travel agency that supposedly offers pretty good Polynesian rates, generally around Labor Day. Like ~ $250/nt

      • Their agency exclusives can’t be beat – not only for Labor Day. Worth checking out their yearly exclusives calendar. We’re doing Poly w/club level thru them the end of September, saving about 40% over rack rate. (Which you know you should never pay anyway!)

        • Is there anyway you could send me the name of the agency? We have dreamed about staying at the Poly, but it’s always been out of reach! clsellernt at gmail dot com.

  11. We stayed at the Poly in the Hawaii building (club level) a few years ago when it was under massive construction and the prices were lower. With a family of 5 we always try to stay Club Level at resorts with good lounges – we find that we actually spend less on food than the cost to upgrade to CL. It was still pricy but nothing like it is now! We got lucky and our trip ended 2 days before they shut down the pool for refurb. I really would like to stay again but man those prices now. You probably know this but if you have tons of UR points you can book through the Chase Travel Portal and get the same discounts offered by Disney. Although you can probably get a better value for your points – at least you are not paying OOP. We are staying Hard Rock Hotel at Universal on our UR points in a few weeks. FYI – The Poly is fabulous and I really would love to stay again – once you have watched to nighttime fireworks from the beach you never want to see them in park again :). We always stay on property for Disney even if we have to pay for it – it’s so much easier and relaxing.

  12. We’ll be at Disneyworld next June! I echo what others have said, renting DVC points is definitely the way to go. We’re tentatively planning on staying at the Beach Club Villas next year.

    If you do end up going, please report back on the weather/crowds during the summer months. I haven’t been during June before and I’m a bit nervous that the heat, humidity and crowds may make us regret going. Unfortunately, summer is the only time that works with our work schedules. But, Disney is Disney and we’ve never had a trip that wasn’t the “best one ever!”

    • Bridget – I have been many times in the summer. It is extremely hot and humid (drenched in sweat at 8 am humid) – I am from Houston with the exact same weather and still don’t want to be outside during that time of year! You just have to stay well hydrated and stay in the shade as much as possible or stop into stores for some AC – Beach Club is a great location and the pool is the best on property so afternoon swimming is a good way to get out of the horrible afternoon heat. It is also decently crowded so dealing with crowds of hot anxious people is a little stressful, but the parks are open later in the summer and you can do a lot of touring during the nighttime hours. Just going into it with the right expectations – which it sounds like you have – makes the trip still pretty great. Although I do have to say I much prefer November :).

      • Tana, thanks so much for the suggestions! We definitely plan on taking advantage of afternoon pool time and late night park hours. In terms of weather/crowds, I’m “preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.” 🙂

  13. We stayed at the Polynesian for two nights last year before our Disney Cruise. The only reason we splurged on it was because we were able to get a Cast Member friends and family rate from our friends who work for Disney. The pool area and ambiance were spectacular! We had eaten there on several previous trips, but staying there was really special. My daughter participated in the free hula lesson, and we loved the torch lighting ceremony.

  14. Dvc rental store is reputable and had poly on special a few days ago, maybe still there. Keep checking! Contact them!

    We used them and stayed at Boardwalk Villas for a fraction.

  15. Magical Vacations Travel. Last august, we got a terrific bargain at polynesian.

    Lead Guest: *******
    Resort: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
    Dates: August 16- 20, 2016
    Confirmation # 4*********9
    Total Package Price: $954.00
    $200.00 Deposit

  16. I’m a DVC owner and have been wanting to stay there but I don’t want to spend the points and still love the Boardwalk villas. Would be interested in hearing your review if you do go!

  17. wow, I didn’t think many people knew about renting DVC points – seems like the secret is out! Here’s a guide for those not familiar with renting DVC points but want in on the big savings: http://www.theartoftravelhacking.com/stay-disney-deluxe-resorts-moderate-prices/

    As far as resorts go, I was disappointed with the Grand Floridian for one reason – last stop on monorail before the Magic Kingdom. The monorail is not all it’s cracked up to be – packed with people, slow, and extremely slow at the end of the night when everyone lines up for it even if they aren’t saying on a monorail resort to get out. Much prefer walking to Contemporary or Bay Lake Tower.

    • Take the ferry to the Grand Floridian from the Magic Kingdom at the end of the night – it’s a beautiful boat ride!

    • The past couple of years have rented out my points through one of the well known companies out there, they are in high demand as I usually get emails asking if I have more points willing to rent out!

  18. MVT will have the best deals with flexible dates. That said, I stayed at the Contemporary for spring break and found the monorail to be very unreliable. But I understand the Poly being the dream resort. I always wanted to stay at the Contemporary but found it a little disappointing compared to other Disney resorts including Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge. But sometimes it’s best to get these things out of your system! Oh and the two year old is free for another year right, so it’s not getting any cheaper!

    • We booked through MVT for the Poly last summer. Best deal I’ve ever seen for that resort (better deal than DVC). We were also disappointed with the monorail service. It’s hours were limited and didn’t match the park hours or what was stated on the Disney website.

      • Bummer about the monorail and agree the MVT prices look great! Sadly our school starts so early in August the dates are a bust for us, but otherwise very enticing!

  19. The Poly is the only Disney resort we’ve stayed at (have also stayed at Swan and offsite) and we loved it – definitely a splurge. The convenience of the monorail (or boats) was so great. Plus it was a short walk to the TTC to catch the monorail to EPCOT too.

  20. Our kids are grown now but we have stayed at the Polynesian and the Grand Floridian in the past. Both were worth the expense. We had early entry and perks for the parks, easy access to and from the park and wonderful pools to enjoy. We hit the rides in the morning before the heat and crowds. We lunched at the resort and wore the kids out in the pools. Then a quick nap and back to the park after dinner at the resort. Everyone was rested and ready to enjoy the park in the evening without the heat and the crowds. My husband is a type A guy who felt the convenience far outweighed the cost. The kids still talk about our trips there.

  21. Stayed at the Poly in Jan (thanks mom and dad!) and the grand Cypress in April on anniversary nights and cash. No contest, Poly wins hands down. It might help that my nights there were ‘comped.’ Lol.

    Sounds like you’ve done wdw enough to know your way around so I won’t belabor any of the on- off-site discussions. If you’re doing a ‘Disney trip,’ stay at the Poly.

  22. We’re staying at Bay Lake Tower on rented points this summer, which will be our first time staying at a deluxe resort at Disney. I’m really excited but also worried that we’ll be spoiled and never want to stay at the cheaper hotels again. Although renting points pretty much gets you a deluxe resort for the same price you’d pay for a moderate directly through Disney. I also looked at MVT but they only had Garden Wing rooms at the Contemporary and the price was very similar to renting at BLT.
    I also like to buy Disney gift cards at Target with my RedCard to get 5% off, and use those to pay for all our meals & souvenirs.

  23. I hope you book it for the Polynesian. Kids grow up too fast! Great summer memories of a cool trip with their mom. 🙂

  24. The poly is not what it used to be, especially after the main lodge remodel. I remember what it used to look like with the beautiful indoor atrium. It is so sad what it looks like now – not much atmosphere and it feels like just another Florida resort hotel. I prefer the Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House. You REALLY feel like you are in a far-off exotic land there.

  25. Do it! Stayed at the Poly last year for 3 nights. Fortunately I was able to get a discounted rate of $220 per night in July, so it was a no brainer. My 3 year old and 1 year old absolutely loved it, especially the pool, kids pool/splash pad area and grounds. Like you said, easy to come back and take a nap and go back out. The same way it was for me when I was a kid with my parents, as we used to stay at the monorail resorts all the time. My (now) 2 year old likes staying at the Contemporary better though because of the monorail watching from inside and getting on it from the concourse. 🙂

  26. I had the same exact desire, after staying free at other hotels. We opted to use points for airfare and rent DVC points for a studio at Polynesian. It was AMAZING….basically everything you think it will be, it is. I went for a long weekend over the cheapest DVC season (value, end of January). We rented privately and paid about $1080 for 5 nights!!! Maybe save Poly for a value season trip? I will say, it is going to be very hard to stay somewhere else next time!

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