June 18, 2024

Island Tower at Polynesian Resort Booking Dates & Details

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Disney Vacation Club unveiled details for the Island Tower coming to Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows at Walt Disney World Resort. The tower is under construction and projected to open in December 2024, although no




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Disney Vacation Club unveiled details for the Island Tower coming to Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows at Walt Disney World Resort. The tower is under construction and projected to open in December 2024, although no exact opening date has been announced. This shares the booking dates as well as fresh concept art and renderings of the upcoming addition to the Poly.

In keeping with the existing theme of the resort (according to Disney–definitely not to me), the waterfront retreat will immerse guests in the charm of the South Pacific islands, the thrill of exploration, and the beauty of the natural world. The Island Tower at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows will feature a variety of room types that will sleep from two to nine guests, such as duo studios, spacious one and two-bedroom villas, and brand-new two-bedroom penthouse villas. The tower will also include deluxe studio rooms, adding to the deluxe studio rooms already available at the Poly Villas.

“With stunning views of Magic Kingdom Park and beautiful interiors that bring you into the storytelling of the South Pacific Islands, the Island Tower at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows will be a spectacular addition to Walt Disney World Resort right in the heart of the magic,” said Bill Diercksen, senior vice president and general manager of Disney Vacation Club.

The new 10-story Island Tower’s architecture will pull inspiration from early concept art of the iconic property by Walt Disney Imagineering, also according to Disney. This expansion will unlock a new experience at the resort, beginning with an exquisite ceiling art installation in the tower’s lobby inspired by the South Pacific Islands and showcasing a variety of native wildlife. Each animal holds a strong connection to the islands and symbolizes values important to the people of the region.

The journey will continue through the lobby as larger-than-life artwork will bring the spirit of the islands to life. From sculptures crafted from recycled fishing nets to chandeliers built of living moss plants, Walt Disney Imagineering has partnered with various artists to create stunning works of art influenced by the heritage of Polynesia and the spirit of conservation, with sprinkles of Disney magic woven throughout.

“Our main story narrative focuses on celebrating Polynesian wayfinding and the natural elements of water, earth, wind and fire. During the artwork development, we focused on three guiding principles: Polynesian stories, sustainability stories and Disney stories. This new tower features works created by contemporary Polynesian artists as well as artwork featuring subtle nods to ‘Moana’ and Disney Legend Mary Blair,” said Walt Disney Imagineer Madeline Day.

The Island Tower at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows aligns with Disney’s 2030 environmental goals while providing guests with the experience and features they expect from Disney Vacation Club. The tower is projected to use approximately 30 percent less energy than a typical resort of a similar size through a variety of measures, including optimized heating and cooling systems, energy-efficient lighting, and the first all-electric kitchen on Walt Disney World Resort property within the tower’s restaurant.

The majority of the Island Tower was constructed off-site using pre-fabrication techniques that help minimize construction waste. Like Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, the tower will be a part of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Lodging program, which recognizes lodging facilities that make a commitment to conserve and protect Florida’s natural resources.

Disney Vacation Club Members will have access to hotel reservations for Island Tower at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows beginning on June 4 by contacting Member Services at (800) 800-9800.

Note that this is for bookings with cash, meaning that members will pay the regular rack rate for the Deluxe Villas, which will undoubtedly be astronomical. Disney Vacation Club members will be able to make points-based reservations at a later date.

Likewise, Walt Disney World Annual Passholders will be able to book beginning June 5, 2024 by contacting (407) 934-7639.

All guests can book online or by contacting (407) 934-7639 beginning on June 6, 2024. Both APs and the general public will also, obviously, be booking cash rates at the Island Tower.

Turning to commentary, I’m not a fan of the Island Tower. Nothing about the new concept art or renderings changes anything for me, and I really don’t want to beat a dead horse since I’ve already yammered on about this at length in the commentary to our main post about the Poly Tower.

The inside does nothing for me. I guess I appreciate the use of textures and patterns, but that’s about the only positive I can muster. Otherwise, it’s overly beige and boring, almost the antithesis of the vibrancy of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. It reminds me a lot of Gran Destino Tower–a hotel I’ve admittedly come to appreciate from a practical perspective–but one key difference is the purported themes of the respective resorts.

What I will add is that it bugs me more than a little that Disney is evoking plans that never made it off the drawing board to argue that this completes the original vision for the Polynesian Resort, as if everything from the past is automatically good. (Meanwhile, every change away from Disney’s past that actually was realized is justified with a Walt quote about forward momentum. Ironic.) For me, this type of defense is counterproductive, revealing that the substance of the thing cannot speak for itself. If it could, why not just let its merits make the argument?

Beyond that, this is very different than that concept that had a tower at the heart of the Polynesian. It would be one thing to have a quasi-tower with bungalows radiating out from it. That’s not what this is. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort was already built one way, with a purposeful design and layout–and no tower. Now it’s getting a tower at the periphery, and in a different style. Is it not obvious how that’s different?

If the Island Tower weren’t being wedged in between the Grand Floridian and Polynesian, forever altering the ‘skyline’ of the monorail loop, I wouldn’t have nearly as much issue with it. If this exact same design were being built out on Western Way near Coronado or the All Stars, it would be fine. Still not my favorite style, but I’d be willing to give it the benefit of the doubt after being pleasantly surprised by Gran Destino Tower. From the outside, this looks better than that! The issue here is all about where it’s going–what’s around and “connected” to it.

Along similar lines, it should be obvious how this differs from Aulani, which is also a tower resort, but was master-planned and has visual cohesion as a result. This is more like the ex post facto additions of Gran Destino and Riviera Resorts. Even though I don’t love the exterior appearance of Gran Destino, at least it has become the focal point of Coronado Springs. It’s not perfect, but Imagineering really made lemonade out of lemons there. (The stakes were also lower–Coronado Springs was not beloved nor is it park-adjacent.) I don’t see how that’ll conceivably be possible here.

It’s also amusing to me the number of Walt Disney World fans who are advocating for a “wait and see” approach with the Island Tower at the Poly. As if it’s going to become…less tall? More centralized? Somehow a longhouse? In keeping with the visual identity of the Poly, despite all signs to the contrary in the concept art?

Obviously, I don’t think the construction we’re seeing right now is the finished product. This Island Tower is not going to be a plain concrete big box. I assume it’ll resemble the concept art, and I’m making my critiques on that basis, not that of unfinished construction.

At the end of the day, none of this matters. The Island Tower at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows could be themed to a Home Depot or prison and it’d still sell like hotcakes. Obviously, it’ll be better than that, and I say that even as a critic of the cash-grab project. The rooms will undoubtedly be nice, marrying form and function just like all of the other recent DVC rooms–which are excellent. The location near Magic Kingdom, connection to the beloved Poly, and modern rooms and amenities will all make the Island Tower an easy sell.

Heck, I’m looking forward to staying at the Island Tower. Maybe that makes me a hypocrite, but me “protesting” by staying away isn’t going to get the tower unbuilt. Not only that, but it being a compelling resort from a usability perspective does not mean it’s well-themed or appropriately-placed, nor does that invalidate critique of the same. Both can be true! Things can be wildly successful and even fantastic in some regards, but still not up to Imagineering’s high standards for themed design. To each their own, though, so if you’re excited for this and think it’s a great addition to the Magic Kingdom ‘skyline,’ then more power to you.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

YOUR THOUGHTS

Will you be booking the Island Tower via a cash rate as soon as reservations open, or will you wait for availability with points? Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the Island Tower being added to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!




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