After our Disney cruise, the idea for a Disney park visit started creeping into my mind. David had proclaimed to be a one-and-done kind of park dad and wanted to wait until the kids were older. But I got bit by the Disney bug and any other fellow Disney lovers understand that. After a few conversations, David got on board and we started researching places to stay.
Things important to us were:
- On property: because I really wanted to get the whole Disney experience for our first trip.
- On the monorail: for ease of transportation with a double stroller (no folding it up!)
- A fun vibe with a great pool: because we hoped we would have time to play in it.
- Somewhat reasonably priced: because I knew we’d be spending a fortune no matter what we chose.
I had heard the most popular resorts were The Floridian and The Polynesian, but after looking online at their prices, I mentally ruled them out.
Then, my engineer husband got on the case and found us a pretty awesome solution.
We ended up booking through David’s Vacation Club Rentals. When (my) David first told me about it I was super skeptical so I started researching.
According to their site, David’s Vacation Club Rentals is the largest and most trusted source of Disney Vacation Club Rentals. What does that mean? Disney has something called the Disney Vacation Club (DVC). Members buy points to use for vacations, but if the members can’t or don’t want to use those points, they give them to David to resell (yes it’s legal- I checked!) at a huge discount.
How big of a discount? Booking our vacation via David’s Vacation Rentals saved us 40% on the cost of our stay. Forty percent.
I was unsure at first but now that we’ve booked through it and experienced it first hand, I’m a believer. We got to experience the same Polynesian as anyone else at a fraction of the cost. When we got home I was impressed enough by this “secret deal” David found that I signed up as an affiliate, so if you have any questions, ask away or see their FAQ page.
Things to know:
- DVC renters get all the same treatment, benefits, experience as other guests.
- You can get a meal plan, discounted tickets, strollers, etc through them as well.
- You won’t have any guidance of what to book or when (fast passes/restaurants/etc), so if you want someone to do everything for you, then you may still want to find a Disney agent (it’s my understanding that some agents also book through DVC points).
- You can book Walt Disney World resorts and Disney some other Disney properties like Hilton Head or Oahu Hawaii through David’s Vacation Rentals.
- Book early or go during the slower time if possible because of availability. We ranked our top 3 resorts we would like (Polynesian was #1) and got our first choice.
- We encountered one hiccup of adding my mom to our room last minute. It was literally the week before (and your are supposed to add anyone to your room at least 30 days in advance) and since they had to contact the owner of the points to add my mom, it took 24 hours to get it approved.
- I was really pleased with their customer service, as I contacted them with several questions throughout the process.
- It was a bit much for me at first to research this new way of booking instead of going through Disney directly, but the 40% savings was more than worth it to us.
DVC vacation goers have their own buildings at the resort. At the Polynesian they are two buildings near the outskirts of the property, which I was ‘eh’ about until I realized how close they are to the Ticket and Transportation Center. This means we could choose the Polynesian monorail or the TTC monorail (for Epcot),or the ferry boat at our leisure because we could walk to either in the same amount of time. The convenience worked out great for us!
So how about the accommodations?
You can read all about it here, but I’ll take you on a tour of our room too!
I love Disney because they break up the bathrooms (well at least in my experience of the cruises and the Polynesian DVC rooms), which is always more helpful than I give it credit for. Upon walking in, this first bathroom was on our left. It had the potty (I’m a mom and call it a potty), a shower/tub, and a sink area. It was super spacious.
Next on the short hallway is the other bathroom, which featured a stand up shower and another sink area.
Having two bathrooms (even if it’s only one potty) is SO helpful. For one, we fit the pack in play in the second bathroom for Kaitlyn and it worked flawlessly.
Opposite of the second bathroom is a small kitchenette featuring a sink, mini fridge, toaster, microwave, and coffee maker.
It’s nothing glamorous but allowed us to make coffee, keep yogurts (and beer) cold, and heat up breakfasts in the morning.
Gotta save those $$$ where you can.
Ok, into the main room!
We were on the ground floor, which worked out well for the girls to step outside and run around. As for the sleeping, it worked out better than I anticipated. (Low expectations FTW). When it was the four of us, Kaitlyn slept in the bathroom, David and I on the bed, and Hailey on this hidden jem:
Cool, right? Hailey loved her pull down bed! When my mom joined us, we pulled the couch out into the bed and it fit all of us snuggly, but comfortably, for those two nights.
They have hidden drawers under the beds and one of the best things I did was unpack all our stuff into them and hide our suitcases in the table and closet because I really can’t handle a super cluttered room.
Ok, let me tie things up. Overall, we loved staying at the Polynesian. We could watch the fireworks at night from the beach (and they played the music that went with it too)!
The pool has water slides, a separate kids splash fort area that is SUPER cool, and a zero depth entry.
We also opted to go to the Spirit of Aloha dinner (extra cost).
The food (and beer and wine) at the dinner was all you can eat/drink and again, I found it “good enough.”
I had heard mixed reviews of the experience, but our girls were mesmerized by all the different dances even if the cheesy story line did go over their heads.
We are really glad we did it and found it to be a really fun welcome dinner experience.
I’ve really loved reading all the comments on these posts because some of you are super Disney experts! And for those that are newer to the chaos, like me, I’m going to answer all your questions on Friday’s post- you have some great questions that I would have really liked to know myself before going.
If you have any DVC or Polynesian questions specifically, leave them on this post and I’ll be sure to answer.
So tell me, have any of you booked through DVC points or members of DVC yourself?
If you’ve been to Disney, where did you stay?
What did you like or not like about it? Would you stay there again?
The Animal Kingdom Lodge (with the savanna view and if you can swing it concierge level) is by far our favorite! We also really enjoy the Beach Club because it’s so close to Epcot, and have tried several others, but the AKL is the one we love the most! Just wanted to throw this thought in…as far as transportation, after quite a few trips, we have found renting a car to be the easiest thing. Parking is free and you can come and go as you please which makes park hopping so easy!
I’m loving reading your series about your trip!
Brittany Dixon says
Great tips!! Animal Kingdom is high on our list too. If we go back, I’d love to stay there or maybe even venture into the camp grounds 🙂 Thanks for the input!
Wow! What an awesome tip! We go in a month and are staying at Art of Animation. We booked a Disney cruise initially, but I found out I’m pregnant with a surprise baby #3 so we had to cancel (Zika). 🙁 I so wanted to stay on the monorail, but my husband didn’t want to break the bank with a new baby coming and we know we will do a big trip when our kids get older. I’m nervous bc we are going for my daughter’s 4th birthday and my son will be 15 mos. I hope he does okay! my BFF and her family are going too-but her girls are 5 & 6! I love reading your blog and thanks for all the Disney tips!
Brittany Dixon says
Congratulations on baby #3!! That’s so exciting! I’ve heard good things about the Art of Animation and I’ll bet a 15 month old will love all the visual stimulation. Keep those expectations low and have a wonderful time!! 🙂
I am having way too much fun reading these posts 🙂 I love Disney. I can’t believe you saved so much with the DVC thing! I am definitely going to look into that for our potential trip next December. I’ve stayed at one of the All Star hotels when I was a little kid and then at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which is awesome. The Boma restaurant there is really good too.
I have a general question – how did you handle naps while you were there? Did you go back to the hotel or did Kaitlyn just nap on the go in the stroller? Thanks!!
Hi!! I grew up practically at Disney. For the times when we stay at a resort, finding the time to nap can be difficult. When you go for such amounts of time, it’s best to rest the whole family on at least one day. Head to a park like Animal Kingdom in the morning since it’s a small park, then nap around lunchtime. Then head back to the parks and finish up a park you may not have finished earlier in the trip. As with the little kids, napping in the stroller is best if the adults or teenagers are still energised. Napping for the family during lunch time may even save you money if you pack food at the hotel and eat then. That’ll save you from over spending on a hungry tummy at the parks.
Sarah Simon says
We are looking at doing Disney with my in laws in the next year or so and I’m loving these posts!! I have felt so overwhelmed looking at all the places to stay on property and I’m really glad to read your review on the polynesian!
Loving all these posts! We tried David’s Rental before but were not happy with the service. First the foreign transaction fee (and we have a CC that has zero foreign fees but even they said they could not get around it). Paying for them to look to see if there is a room available. I know it goes towards the room but other sites do not require that. Once our 4 choices were not available, we felt pressured into choosing what was available and we did not want those and it was a hassle to get a refund, we ended up having to go a charge back. Then we had friends use it and as soon as they booked, within 2 hours, she realized her dates were off by a date so she wanted to edit it and they could not, so she was out a nights amount ($240). Then the ‘no cancelation policy’ bothers me as well. I always like to have the available option to cancel if needed. We both then used ‘DVC Rentals’ and had no issues with that group (no fees, no upfront payments, easy changes/cancelations). Glad you had a good experience, we have read others that have has well. Wish we had. But glad it worked out, that is all that matters 🙂
Brittany Dixon says
Always good to hear others’ prospectives; thanks for weighing in! What a bummer about your experience. I do think booking early helped us (all our options were available and we got our first choice) but I totally remember feeling super nervous about pushing “commit” knowing we couldn’t change it. Luckily for us it worked smoothly and the 40% off made it worth it but I totally see where you are coming from. I’m so glad you found a system that worked better for you! Who needs extra stress when planning vacay?!:)
My husband wants to find an AirBnB for our trip next year, but my mother-in-law may be able to use her Marriott timeshare that she banked towards it. If both of those fall through, I love this additional way to save at Disney!
Brittany Dixon says
My friend just stayed at a Marriott that was about a 10 minute drive to Disney and had wonderful things to say! I hope you have a wonderful trip next year 🙂
Elizabeth Evans says
I’m going to look into that site for the cruise options! I think a cruise may be better for us. Looking at your pictures, I think that my parents took us to the Polynesian when I was a kid 🙂
You can’t rent points for cruises through it. And actually many times (being a DVC member) it cost more to use DVC points for a cruise than paying out of pocket.
Brittany Dixon says
You’re right! I was mistaken when I read about the other Disney properties (Hilton, Head, Vero Beach, etc). Edited- thanks!!
Liz T says
Wonderful insider tip – thank you!
Tarayn comer says
We almost booked through David’s for our next trip and I backed out. 🤦🏻♀️😬 we were booking a 2 bedroom and it was going to be around 8k with no dining or tickets for GF. Ouch! We opted to do two standard rooms at contemporary and bought season passes with our extra money! Soooo I have another trip to book when we get back in April! 🤣🤣🤦🏻♀️ SO glad you are sharing!!!! Thank you
My husband and I went to Disney together for the first time when I was in college and he got hooked on the “Disney nostalgia”. I tease him because while I can still have fun, I took courses on this stuff. My senior seminar in English was called Disney Discourse.
We have been several times since and twice with our son (at 7 and 20 mos). We had such great times.
We have stayed on property all but one time, when he was a baby we rented a house with extended family, aside from having our own pool, I found that to be a pain! Although we do prefer having a car. Waiting for transportation, especially during peak times, can be a pain and rentals in florida are pretty reasonable IMO.
We have always stayed at the Pop Century Resort and have enjoyed it. It’s motel-esque, but I find the moderate and value resorts close enough that I wouldn’t bother with moderate, but the decor/themes are really fun at Pop Century. Like you said, the food is ok, what you would expect. Most times of the year it is a really good value, which is why we choose it, since we don’t spend a ton of time at the resort anyway. We try to take a day to just hang out by the pool and visit downtown and slow down a little.
My husband has been trying to entice me to go back by suggesting the Princess Half Marathon next year. I ran it in 2012 and had a blast. We’re looking into the All Star Movies Resort, because they have some Toy Story themed rooms and our son is obsessed with Toy Story.
Melissa Kazen says
We have been going to Disney for years, and have it down to a science. We bought into DVC a few years ago, and it’s really awesome. I have to say, for first timers, you guys did a lot right and really did your research! I’ve enjoyed reading your posts and find myself agreeing with all of your tips!
If you go for a longer trip, try renting enough DVC points for a one bedroom villa (Polynesian sadly doesn’t have those). You’ll get a full kitchen (we order breakfast groceries and snacks and save a fortune eating one meal in the room each day) and washer/dryer in the room. Game changers when you have kids. You also get the master bedroom and bathroom to yourself while the kids sleep on the pull our chair and couch in the living room!
Brittany Dixon says
Full kitchen would definitely be a game changer- great tip!! A washer and dryer would be great too. Luckily our place had free laundry just a few doors down, but in room would be really nice too! Thanks 🙂
Considering I run a points/travel blog I am so in support of this – and had no idea this existed! So you taught me something about travel today :). There are so many cool travel hacks out there to make vacations super cheap if you look around.
Emily K says
Were you able to link your David’s Vacation confirmation with your tickets on the disney vacation website?
Brittany Dixon says
Yes, we could link everything with Disney like normal to connect out tickets, fast passes, dining reservations, etc.
That hotel looks amazing! Being a family of 7 having 2 bathrooms is such a big deal at a hotel. I’ve never been to Disney World but hopefully one day!
We are planning on taking our family to Disney next Fall for the 10th anniversary of our honeymoon to Disney (our wedding was 3 months earlier). I was telling my husband that ever since I was a little girl I have wanted to stay at the Polynesian but how it was just never going to happen because it’s way out of our price range. Then I just came across your post and I am giddy at the thought that we might just be able to make it happen. Thanks so much for sharing! I don’t get over to your blog (or many blogs) lately but I loved following your instagram stories from your trip and day to day life!
Looks like you got a great deal! I always loved Polynesian resort because of the dole whips and the view of the fireworks. Because let’s be honest, what’s better than watching fireworks on the beach!
I might have missed it, but was your room a standard studio? Would you recommend booking my husband, then 4 year old and 6 month old into the same size room? Thank you!
Brittany Dixon says
We stayed in a Polynesian Villas Deluxe Studio DVC room. You can check out the pictures above to see if you think it will work for you, but it worked for us putting a pack n play in one of the bathrooms and having our 5 year old in the pull down bed. Hope you have a wonderful time wherever you stay!!