Come with us as we share a pictorial tour of the (much coveted) over-the-water Bora Bora Bungalows of Disney’s Polynesian resort.
Disney’s Polynesian Hotel has been a premiere property at the Disney World resort since it opened. Located on the monorail track of the Magic Kingdom, it is a touch of the exotic wrapped in luxury at the Walt Disney World resort.
Disney Vacation Club (DVC) added Villas and the Bora Bora Bungalows this year, making the Polynesian one of the hottest properties at Disney World.
There are twenty Bungalows, built over the waters of the Seven Seas Lagoon. They are accessed by specially-keyed, gated boardwalks on the northeast side of the resort property.
Each bungalow has two bedrooms (but the equivalent DVC points cost is equivalent to a 3-bedroom unit).
Here is a map layout of the Bungalows by room number, and the Polynesian Resort buildings (click to enlarge).
Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows are a touch of the exotic wrapped in luxury at the Walt Disney World resort. Disney Vacation Club added Villas and the over-the-water bungalows this year, making the Polynesian one of the hottest properties at Disney World.
We had the chance to stay in a studio villa at the Polynesian in June, and wanted to share our impressions. There are four Disney Vacation Club (DVC) buildings at the Polynesian: Moorea (waterfront), Pago Pago, the newly-opened Tokelau, and of course, the Bora Bora over-the-water Bungalows.
All the main buildings have only studios (as opposed to other DVC accommodations that have studio, 1-, 2-, and even 3-bedroom configurations). These were converted over from previous Polynesian hotel rooms.
We did not discover the Wilderness Lodge at Disney World until the last few years. We are not strangers to the Disney World parks and resorts, but had somehow overlooked this less-talked-about hotel.
Wilderness Lodge is now one of our favorites, even though it is not on the monorail track. It is a serene getaway in the heart of the Magic Kingdom area, and a place that feels most like home at Disney World.
The Wilderness Lodge is not one of the highest-tier hotels on the monorail track of the Magic Kingdom. Those honors belong to the Grand Floridian, Contemporary, and Polynesian resorts.
It is not a budget hotel, like the All-Star hotels. It is not coveted like the Beach Club (and Boardwalk) hotels with their walking proximity to EPCOT. It does not have animal safari savannah views, as does Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Instead, the Wilderness Lodge Hotel and Villas (Disney Vacation Club — DVC) offer the convenience of a Magic Kingdom resort (just a short bus or boat ride away), with the feeling that you’ve escaped from all the hectic theme park pace…into a relaxing wilderness haven.
Disney’s Grand Floridian hotel balances classic beauty and elegance with exceptional service in the heart of Disney World. Being a top-priced Disney hotel, there is always high demand for this property. We have found the service to be exceptional here, even by Disney standards.
We stayed in a studio Lake view Villa (DVC, Disney Vacation Club) at the Grand Floridian, and were again very satisfied with the location and overall service.
It is worth the premium to reserve a Lake view Villa here. You’re already paying for the Grand Floridian… it’s just a few more points for an exceptional view.
The Avalon Impression (2014) is a beautiful new ship in the Avalon fleet. I am reviewing this as a ‘hotel’ because it is your floating hotel along the rivers of Europe. Our cruise sailed from Budapest, Hungary to Amsterdam (14 days) in August 2015, and was filled with many surprising ups and downs.
The Small Ship Difference
This was our first river cruise. We had been on many ocean cruises, ranging from 3600 passengers to ‘small ships’ of about 650 passengers. This was much smaller.
The Avalon Impression holds about 166 passengers — there were 150 passengers on our sailing. The Impression has 67 Suites, and 16 outside staterooms with windows (lower, Indigo deck)
The front desk reception (also your Security team), knows each passenger by name and stateroom number. There is a lost and found, where things that are lost might actually get found!
You get to know your fellow passengers with only 150 people on board. River cruise passengers tend to be friendly, social people who want to get to know you. If you don’t enjoy meeting new people, then river cruising will be more challenging for you than ocean cruising.
Part of traveling means staying at various hotels around the world. There have been some fantastic, above-all-expectations, amazing hotels. Then there have been some misses, some of them quite notable.
I would like to share my impressions of these hotels, hopefully to guide travelers in their choice of hotel.
These are real experiences that I have had with these hotels. We pay our own way 99% of the time, and are not sponsored by any hotels to write good reviews.
(The one exception was the Sofitel San Francisco Bay) in which I won a one-night stay.
I rate the hotels on a five point scale, with an occasional “6” for a truly exceptional impression. These are rare, but I did want to note some extraordinary properties.
Hope these series of hotel reviews are helpful to you!