June 15, 2024

First Look at Guest Rooms & Opening Date for Island Tower at Polynesian Resort


Walt Disney World shared a sneak peek at the different guest rooms types and announced the opening date of the Island Tower at the Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. This shares a look inside the various

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Walt Disney World shared a sneak peek at the different guest rooms types and announced the opening date of the Island Tower at the Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. This shares a look inside the various villas and other details about the upcoming addition to the Poly–which will open almost exactly 5 years after DVC’s last WDW resort!

Located on the shores of Seven Seas Lagoon and Magic Kingdom monorail line, the Island Tower at the Poly replaces the Spirit of Aloha luau. The new Disney Vacation Club tower is basically between the existing Polynesian Village Resort and Wedding Pavilion, which itself is adjacent to the Grand Floridian.

This high-profile Magic Kingdom resort area has already become overcrowded in recent years with the addition of the Villas at the Grand Floridian. A new tower will only exacerbate that, and could end up putting undue strain on infrastructure such as the monorail. It’ll be interesting to see how the monorail handles the increased traffic (or doesn’t) and whether Walt Disney World needs to put more resort restrictions in place. But that’s another topic for another day.

According to Disney, the new 10-story Island Tower’s architecture pulls inspiration from early concept art of the iconic property by Walt Disney Imagineering, also according to Disney. There will be a ceiling art installation in the tower’s lobby inspired by the South Pacific Islands and showcasing a variety of native wildlife.

Other art will exist in the lobby, from sculptures crafted from recycled fishing nets to chandeliers built of living moss plants. Walt Disney Imagineering has partnered with various artists to create art influenced by the heritage of Polynesia and the spirit of conservation, along with Disney references.

The Island Tower 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.

The Island Tower at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows is projected to open on December 17, 2024, which is 5 years after Disney’s Riviera Resort opened on December 16, 2019. The new Poly tower will offer villas brimming with original artwork inspired by the Polynesian Islands, wayfinding and the natural elements: earth, water, wind and sky. Each guest room will also feature custom pieces inspired by Walt Disney Animation Studios film, “Moana.”

Above is a look at the duo studios, which is a polarizing room type that debuted at Disney’s Riviera Resort and continued with the Villas at Disneyland Hotel. We were big fans of this as a couple, and it worked well for us when visiting with a newborn. Jury’s still out–for us at least–on how it works out with a baby during a longer stay. Guess we’ll find out!

According to Disney: With inspiration from the stars and the sky that the wayfinders used for celestial navigation, the bright and airy duo studios will offer the perfect retreat for two.

Celebrating the lush flora and fauna of the islands, the deluxe studios will sleep up to four and include a first-of-its-kind feature for Disney Vacation Club deluxe studios: a dishwasher! The deluxe studios in the Island Tower will have a new layout, including a cozy seating area across from the kitchenette.

I’m really intrigued by this new layout. The new seating area strikes me as a good thing, but the table there looks rather small and impractical. Definitely will withhold judgment on this, though. Especially since–if I’m being honest–I don’t quite know what our needs look like with regard to seating, storage, and floor space. I was surprised at just how much the extra square footage at the Contemporary came in handy during our first trip with a baby.

I’m sure other DVC members will have some very strong opinions about the changes. Off the top of my head, I guess I do have one–I wish the dishwasher were a washer and dryer (for clothes) instead. Zero desire or need to do dishes–especially with only a kitchenette and paper products stocked–but would love the ability to do laundry in-room. Guessing there’s not quite enough space for that, though. And it’s probably also a distinguishing factor they want to maintain for the 1-BR and larger villas!

Speaking of which, your family and friends will be able to spread out in a one- or two-bedroom villa, sleeping up to five and nine, respectively. Through unique artwork, each villa will showcase a voyager’s journey both on land and under the sea. Embracing the beauty of water or earth, these spaces will feature a kitchen with full-size appliances, a dining area, a washer and dryer, and an outdoor patio area.

It’s difficult to get a good read on these rooms based on the first look images shared by Disney Vacation Club, but the view is certainly impressive! I don’t doubt for a second that the rooms will be well-received by DVC members. Disney has been doing a great job with the new and reimagined rooms at the villas for the last 5 years. There’s no reason to believe that’ll change with the Island Tower at the Poly.

I’m not a fan of the Island Tower, but expectations about the guest rooms are not part of that criticism. Beyond the dishwasher vs. laundry machines quibble above, my only concern at this point is that the rooms like overly beige and ‘earthy.’ Given its mid-century and Polynesian roots, I was hoping for a lot more color. These are a bit on the bland side, which makes sense at Saratoga, but less so at the Poly.

(I really don’t want to beat a dead horse since I’ve already yammered on about the building’s exterior at length in the commentary to our main post about the Poly Tower…and it’s really not relevant here, anyway, since this is a post offering a first look inside.)

Disney Vacation Club will introduce a brand-new type of accommodation in Island Tower: two-bedroom penthouse villas. Themed after the calming balance between water and the islands, the stunning villas will sleep up to eight and boast a spacious living room, and spectacular views of the Seven Seas Lagoon and Magic Kingdom from an expansive patio balcony.

Same story here. I hate how the tower looks from the outside, but just like Riviera and Gran Destino before it, the ugly and undercooked tower should be great once you’re inside and enjoying views from it rather than of it. Except in this case, the Island Tower will offer big views of Magic Kingdom and Seven Seas Lagoon, so it’ll be even better.

I’m a realist. It’s an eyesore and a blight on the monorail loop ‘skyline,’ but people are going to love the Island Tower. I have no doubt about that. It combines two things that score really well with guests–towers and the new styles of rooms. (These two things may not rate highly with you personally, but they do with guests as a whole.)

Here’s a full room tour that Walt Disney World has released:

According to Disney, several features within guest rooms contribute to the Island Tower’s sustainable design, in line with Disney’s 2030 environmental goals. For example, in addition to the convenience that comes with the first-ever dishwashers in the tower’s studios, they also contribute to the goal of minimizing waste by reducing the need for plastic utensils and single-use dishware.

You might also be surprised to know the plush rugs and carpets inside guest rooms are made from mostly recycled plastic bottles woven into fine yarn that feels like silk.

How to Book Your Stay at the Island Tower

  • June 4, 2024: Beginning today, Disney Vacation Club members can make rental reservations 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.
  • June 5, 2024: Walt Disney World Annual Passholders can start booking rental reservations by contacting (407) 934-7639.
  • June 6, 2024: All guests can make reservations online or by contacting (407) 934-7639

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!


What do you think of the various villas in the Island Tower? Do you like or dislike these room styles? Will you be booking the Island Tower via a cash rate 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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