HairyChest

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
I just got back from a 2 week trip as a first time DVC owner and I had an AMAZING time! 3 adults traveling and we wanted to try the different resorts to see what we liked.
We took a flight from California and it was lovely having the middle rows blocked off with extra room to stretch our legs.
We took the magical express and it was just us on the bus (8am). I was happy to see we were seated on a normal magical express bus and not a little mears van that I heard some people got. We missed having our luggage show up in our room without us waiting for it but it is what it is.

We stayed 3 nights at Wilderness Lodge copper creek studio with walk in shower. we got the 5th floor like I requested because I wanted to see the lake but didnt want an enclosed balcony on the very top floors, and it was an amazing view!! What a wonderful resort. The only downside was that the room was small but still we HAVE to visit on our future trips if we dont stay there which, I would still love to stay there. Im a big fan of the lodge theme/frontier land/ trains so this really spoke to me.
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1 night at Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo in a Value studio. This was our least favorite. On a side note, Disney still moved our luggage from resort to resort as normal which was great as always. We had a pool view which was nice. The lobby was quiet (no music) and only the pool was open. If we wanted food or shopping we had to go to kidani which we knew in advance so Im not holding that against it, however coming from copper creek with so much to explore and views of the lake, and lobbies (boulder ridge and copper creek) with geyser point, AKL paled in comparison. It seemed small and didn't offer as much exploration. The savannah was nice and so was the pool area but it didn't wow us like Wilderness Lodge did.
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1 night at Grand Floridian Villas- Lake View...or so we thought. When we got to the room we were upgraded to a 1 bedroom lagoon view!!! It was so beautiful and amazing! I also used the tub (it cleans itself!) and we never left the room. I will say that our family likes bieng together in a hotel room and not in different rooms, but it was nice to have extra space. I also didn't like the fact that the boat launch, narcoosees, and the quiet pool was blocked off for the NBA. Also the main resort lobby was dead, no piano, etc. I personally wouldn't stay there until the actual hotel opens to give it some life. But wow that 1 bedroom is something special.
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The rest of our stay was at the polynesian-lake view studio. Now THIS is where its at. The room was the best (colors, magical feeling, roominess) and just walking into the resort you feel vacation/relaxed and really happy with the tropical vibe/beach/tiki torches. We could see the castle and lake from our room and that hands down beat the view we got in the Grand of the poly (and the bright mk parking lights at night). Even though the actual hotel rooms aren't open, this resort felt alive, normal, people around and we felt that we are staying in the main resort rather then separate from the main resort like the Grand Floridian villas gave us a feeling of. This is where Id like to stay on every trip. Also that pull down bed was a nice option to have.
(First night we were on the first floor then moved to the second floor for better views)
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The masks weren't as bad as I thought they would be. After an hour we didn't think about it being on our face. The heat on our body was felt more then the heat on our face from the mask so it wasn't a big deal. We also took advantage of going in shops/food areas which helped with cooling us down with the A/C.

*AKL didn't have music in the lobby, the Grand had very low music playing in the lobby, but both wilderness lodge and poly had normal level music in the lobby and the grounds which was perfect*

We did tour the Riviera Resort for the first time and it was...meh. It couldnt compare to the other Disney Deluxe resorts. My family's remark was it didn't seem like a Disney resort, more like a hilton vibe. The lobby was small, not much to explore as far as the grounds are concerned. What we did like was the marbel floor and walls and the skyliner but not really planning on staying there.

The only things we missed is seeing the parks at night with all the pretty lights and eating late in restaurants (most restaurants we wanted to eat in closed at 8. We are late risers and like to eat dinner at epcot or disney springs at 9-11pm.

If you arent an at risk individual, I wouldn't hesitate to go. Unless this is your once a few years trip.
 
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wishicouldgomoreofte

Mouseketeer
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
Thank you for your report. I had no idea the lobbies were not playing music and it seemed so dead. That is too bad. It is great you tried 4 different resorts and found a favorite. In a couple years, when the pandemic is past and the economy recovers, I think you will really enjoy the others as well. AKL Jambo is so special, although I know it was not for you this trip. It is authentic, and relaxing, and a vacation different from almost anything else you will find in USA. I also really enjoy Poly, for the same reasons you described. If you are a park commando, you may never really like AKL. It is so great to get away from the whole WDW noise and stress and be calm at AKL. You didn't mention planning your next trip. Enjoy your membership.
Which is your home resort?
 
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HairyChest

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
Thank you for your report. I had no idea the lobbies were not playing music and it seemed so dead. That is too bad. It is great you tried 4 different resorts and found a favorite. In a couple years, when the pandemic is past and the economy recovers, I think you will really enjoy the others as well. AKL Jambo is so special, although I know it was not for you this trip. It is authentic, and relaxing, and a vacation different from almost anything else you will find in USA. I also really enjoy Poly, for the same reasons you described. If you are a park commando, you may never really like AKL. It is so great to get away from the whole WDW noise and stress and be calm at AKL. You didn't mention planning your next trip. Enjoy your membership.
Which is your home resort?
Thank you! AKL didn't have music in the lobby, the Grand had very low music in the lobby, both wilderness lodge and poly had normal music in the lobby and the grounds so they were the best as far as background music goes. I bought Saratoga because that's what I could afford at the moment even though I don't really have the intention of staying there. I booked all Poly for my next trip this december :)
 

juju

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 19, 1999
See you came from California. Did you by any chance fly Alaska? We have a reservation end of October and the flight is what is most concerning to me.
 

EPCOT-O.G.

Earning My Ears
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Wonderful report! Just curious, what is the status of the pool situations at the Polynesian and Grand Floridian? We're debating a trip next week and anticipating a day or two just hanging around the resorts. Would like the one with the best pool options. Reading that Polynesian may have a 24 hour hotel? But that one of the pools at GF may be closed...
 

HairyChest

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
Wonderful report! Just curious, what is the status of the pool situations at the Polynesian and Grand Floridian? We're debating a trip next week and anticipating a day or two just hanging around the resorts. Would like the one with the best pool options. Reading that Polynesian may have a 24 hour hotel? But that one of the pools at GF may be closed...
The main pools at all the resorts were open until 9. Specifically at the Grand, thats the only pool you can use since NBA blocked off the quiet pool. The quiet pools are officially open until 11pm however if you are in the gates you can stay in the pool as long as you want. After 11, the magicbands wont unlock the gates to the quiet pools.
 

amyjeanbeck

Earning My Ears
Joined
Aug 16, 2020
Thanks for sharing your experience! We've been debating AKL and Poly for a trip at the end of Oct. Hadn't considered doing a split stay until I read your comments, so I'm glad you gave a report. :)
 

OhanaWoman

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 11, 2020
See you came from California. Did you by any chance fly Alaska? We have a reservation end of October and the flight is what is most concerning to me.
Im from california and i flew frontier and southwest. And to be honest i was pleasantly suprised by frontier because they are one of the few airlines that had the middle seats blocked off. Not all the rows though so i paid extra to pick a seat on a middle blocked row. Southwest had all the middle seats blocked. And both ways the airports weee empty so I felt pretty safe flying.
 

HairyChest

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
See you came from California. Did you by any chance fly Alaska? We have a reservation end of October and the flight is what is most concerning to me.
No we flew delta. They were very clean, gave purell out when you enter the plane and in alittle pack during the flight. The actual airport was pretty empty as well. None of the flights I went on were full either.
 

mfortis

Earned My Ears
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
How about the food (specifically Poly)? What restaurant and bars where available, did you have trouble finding a good meal?
 

HairyChest

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
Kona cafe, pineapple lanai, and captain cooks were open. Captain cooks and pinapple lanai were open until 10pm and still had the usual items except for the nachos. I heard the tambu lounge recently opened as well. Kona island, ohana, and trader sams are closed.
 

HairyChest

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
FOOD!
we tried some places that we havnt been to before that most people in the reviews say they werent that good but it turns out those places became our favorites!

san angel inn at epcot
We had 3 dishes here.

fish tacos-meh
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chicken taquitos - ok
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grilled chicken breast - OMG so amazing we went there again to order that dish. It had a creamy corn chowder type sauce on top, juicy chicken breast and really tasty garlic potatoes beneath the chicken.
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Of course the ambiance cant be beat watching the grand fiesta tour go by. This will be a must do on following trips. More food to come...
 

mfortis

Earned My Ears
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
It sucks that park hopping isn’t allowed. In previous stays, I have stayed at the boardwalk just to have dinner at Epcot.
 

HairyChest

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
It sucks that park hopping isn’t allowed. In previous stays, I have stayed at the boardwalk just to have dinner at Epcot.
Yea. We adjusted though because it forced us to enjoy the resort more. Lord knows we are go go go fit every moment you can in. So especially if you are staying at a deluxe resort It was nice. If i was staying at a budget hotel it would be more difficult to go back to the hotel and not have anywhere nice to go at night.
 

Erica Ladd

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
I agree on the park hopping even if just to Epcot. Thanks for the report! I like hearing about different resorts as we have only stayed at BWI which I highly recommend when you do another split stay!! I think my dream split would be Poly/BWI!!!
 

RoseGold

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
I also didn't like the fact that the boat launch, narcoosees, and the quiet pool was blocked off for the NBA.
THAT's the fancy restaurant that keeps popping up in all the NBA stuff! Makes sense. I've never been there, so I didn't recognize it. I thought maybe they were at the Four Seasons or something, but Narcoosee's makes more sense.
 

mfortis

Earned My Ears
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
I agree on the park hopping even if just to Epcot. Thanks for the report! I like hearing about different resorts as we have only stayed at BWI which I highly recommend when you do another split stay!! I think my dream split would be Poly/BWI!!!
Epcot for me has never been a one park ( except for drinking around the world 😂 ). It was always a park the piggy backed on another. New WDW suggestion, let people park hop to EPCOT and Epcot only.
 
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HairyChest

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
sci fi dine in

My Goodness!!! what a surprise. THE BEST BURGER I'VE HAD AT DISNEY-THE VEGAN IMPOSSIBLE BURGER! (and I eat meat)
I've also tried actual burgers at boathouse and the bison burger at geyser point (which was a complete letdown, didnt like the taste at all even the sauces), the impossible burgers at grand floridian cafe and gasparilla island grill and both werent that great. This came with steak fries, juicy portabello mushrooms and more. Im usually a well-done or medium well burger eater and this was "medium-rare" but i was ok with it because its plant based and was DELICIOUS!
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grand floridian cafe

some of my family doesnt eat meat or chicken so we get alot of salmon. This was a really good salmon dish with a sweet coating and a hint of lemon on the rice. Ive had this in the past and didnt like it much but they mustve changed something because it tasted really good this time.
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snacks/food & wine

twix cakepop was very good and a great value. The inside is a cake consistency not a moist brownie consistency which I prefer but the outside coating made up for it. Id get it again.
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This is the brazilian cheesy bread. I wanted to show the insides consistancy which is almost like a mochi, almost like uncooked dough, not a gooey cheese. This was OK. Wouldnt get it again.
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This was a blueberry ginger lemon tea. Very refreshing. Tasted like lemonade with hints of ginger and blueberry. Would get again.
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The night blossom. Love it and a must get for me
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The corn on the cobb with indian spices and butter at animal kingdom. SO GOOD! got it twice. Made fresh.
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Starbucks smore frapuccino. Im not a coffee fan, this doesnt have coffee. It was sooo good and creamy! highly recommend
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The gourmet mac n cheese. huge dissapointment, would not get again. And I love mac n cheese. The cheese they were using didn't taste good, was just salty.
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I also had the filet mignon from canada which was very good BUT my favorite was the crispy chicken with an orange sauce on top from orang blossom booth! That was my favorite item from the food and wine festival, got it twice. Unfortunately didnt get pictures of those. More to come...
 

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