Saratoga, Copper Creek, Poly Bungalow, Old Key West Room/Resort Review (4 resorts 7 nights)**updated 10/7/19**

JenboJambo

We're all just children, reaching for our dreams
Joined
Jul 7, 2019
Why 7 nights with 4 different resorts? Because I’m crazy? I am a bit crazy, but the real reason is that this trip was originally intended to happen August 31st-Sept 8th; however, due to my dad’s illness (pneumonia) and Hurricane Dorian our travel group decided to rebook. The original trip was going to be perfect (yes it was). I had planned a split stay 4 nights at Beach Club and 4 nights at Copper Creek. The trip was booked with (borrowed) DVC points. Can someone explain how I ended up with double the points I originally wanted and am still always borrowing? The last minute cancellation took place on August 30th and I rebooked for the week of Sept 14th-24th (shortening the trip one day out of necessity because there was no availability for the 8th night). With a smile on my face and hope in my heart I stalked the RAT and managed to get some GREAT resorts for this week. It was a crazy split stay (4 resorts) and ended up being pretty amazing and exhausting with only one item lost (which was returned).
Our travel group stayed 1 night at Saratoga Springs Resort (2 bedroom), 2 nights at Copper Creek (2 bedroom), 1 night at Polynesian (Bungalow), and 3 nights at Old Key West (2 bedroom). I was pretty stressed out leading up to the trip about all of the resort hopping because our travel party consisted of 4 adults and two children (ages 10 and 2). I even started a thread about my panic over this 4 resort stay. Thankfully my fellow DVC DISers responded to my panic post and reassured me that I would have a great time. Thank you!

It is my first time attempting any sort of trip report so be gentle with me.
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Here is a visual of the group. From left to right: my dad, Ed; my mom, Rita; my daughter, Lillian (2); me, Jen; my daughter, Claire (10), and my husband, Nathan. This was our 4th stay as DVC members and we were treating my parents to lodging as a thank you for all they do for us. I've really been enjoying trying out every DVC resort (I've stayed at all but Beach Club now). We always stayed in moderates before so I'm kind of obsessed with our new awesome accommodations.
 
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JenboJambo

We're all just children, reaching for our dreams
Joined
Jul 7, 2019
Day 1 Saratoga Springs Standard 2 Bedroom
It is not an exaggeration that I had horrible expectations of Saratoga Springs which is embarrassing to admit considering all DVC resorts are beautiful. After reading about it and researching it I had this negative picture in my mind and had deemed it as bad as the roach infested apartment that I had in college (OK maybe that’s an exaggeration). My husband and I had visited this resort on an “adult only” trip, but we hadn’t seen the rooms. I was very uninterested in the style of this resort. Maybe because I am from the Midwest (Ohio), but it seemed to me like a nice apartment complex in an upscale neighborhood. It was too close to what I might see in Ohio. The theming, or lack of theming, was boring. I get that the theme is New York State in the 19th century and horse racing, but I don’t want to feel like I’m in New York. I want to feel like I’m somewhere tropical, or exotic, or at the very least like I’m in Florida! My favorite resorts are Wilderness lodge and Animal Kingdom so I’m a sucker for theming. It just feels like Disney when it is themed. Now that I’ve criticized the heck out of it, I’m going to walk it all back because I was actually very impressed with the room.

We arrived at the resort via magical express and grabbed our refillable cups (first things first). The store and quick service location are not my favorite. The area seemed very hectic and difficult to navigate. Where does the store end and the quick service begin? It is currently under refurbishment so that may have played a part in feeling chaotic. The drink station does not have a fountain because of the refurbishment but cast members were handing out cans of soda and coffee and tea were available. Side note: The cast members were very generous with handing out cans of soda. On our 1 night there, my husband decided to make the long journey to the lobby before bed and the cast member gave him a few extra cans to quench his thirst from the long weary journey. (I love that cast member).

Our room was ready around 3:00pm (Carousel). We decided to walk it. The walk was long (I would guess around 15 minutes but it felt longer) but the grounds were beautiful. The bridge over the water was beautiful and my daughter insisted that we walk over it. It was a tempting detour but we opted to continue walking the shortest path to our room (thank God). The way the buildings are set up would be great for visitors who have a car because there is parking right outside of each building. The room was on the third floor. The condition and smell of the room was wonderful! The room was very clean. No visible stains on the couch or carpeting. No cob webs or dust. The cabinets and counter did not show wear. I was surprised to see that the room was in such good condition (I had read some horror stories). I liked the touch of Disney with the horse character pillows on the couch. We had Buck (from Home on the Range) and Khan (the horse from Mulan and yes I had to internet search for that horse’s name). The vintage photographs/artwork were charming (this was the bit of theming I really enjoyed). The tile colors in the bathrooms were not my style. They felt very dated (but everything eventually becomes dated). The bathrooms were perfectly clean and functional even though I found them to be ugly. The bed was comfortable and I would have slept through the night if I didn’t have a 2 year old to wake me up multiple times. We were only staying 1 night so we had a decision to make in the morning. Call bell services or walk our luggage. We chose wrong (walk our luggage). It was a long hot exhausting walk but once we got to bell services the luggage transfer was flawless and quick! We thought it would be a great idea to take the boat over to Disney Springs after we dropped our bags off, but the boats don’t run before 10 or 11. I can’t remember because I was too fatigued from the walk (haha). Being glutens for punishment we decided that we would walk to Disney Springs, because the boats weren’t running. I walked away from this 1 night stay feeling like I would be perfectly happy to stay at Saratoga Springs again. That being said, it would still be my last choice.
 
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JenboJambo

We're all just children, reaching for our dreams
Joined
Jul 7, 2019
Day 2 and 3 Copper Creek 2 Bedroom



Wilderness Lodge has been my favorite resort since we stepped foot on the grounds in 2012 to get my daughter a Pocahontas pressed penny (we had a pretty good collection going that trip). We bought BRV points in Jan 2018 and love the Boulder Ridge section of Wilderness Lodge. It’s just so cool to see Walt’s train in the community hall. It never gets old. After the disappointment of cancelling our original trip last minute, I was thrilled when I found 2 nights at Copper Creek on the RAT. My expectations were high and this resort met them. The lobby is incredible. It feels so massive. It really transports you out of the world of theme parks to somewhere calm and relaxed.
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The grounds are really well kept and beautiful. I love walking around the paths near the waterfall that lead to the main pool and to Bay Lake. The quick service, Roaring Fork, is in my opinion one of the best on property. The bacon cheeseburger is so good (for being a Disney quick service burger). The breakfast flatbread is another amazing choice. Snow White Dining at Artists Point has been excellent both times I have eaten there. The character interaction is one of the best!

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Geyser Point is another excellent choice. Though I wasn’t a fan of the crab cakes, I did enjoy the bison burger (I really like burgers!). I have yet to eat at Whispering Canyon. I also particularly enjoy the smell of wilderness lodge. To me, it smells a bit like rustic cologne. I have never had a bad cast member experience at the lodge. They really seem to have it together at that resort. The bus transportation at the lodge has always been excellent during my visits.



Our room was ready around 3:30 and I really needed to go and sleep because I was exhausted and feverish (I was the lucky one who got sick this trip). The room was spotless and smelled new (as it should because it is newer). The kitchen is hallway style which I must admit is my least favorite style in DVC resorts. I just find the other kitchens to be more user friendly. The cabinets and counter were in good condition. The cabinets in our room had some wear (scuffs and scratches) already but that is to be expected with the amount of guests that come through. I love that the floors do not have carpeting. Though I do find carpeting comfortable in a bedroom, I prefer to not have it in a hotel room. Having kids, I know all the spills and yuck that happen on the floor and vinyl or laminate make it so much easier to clean up messes! The room is modern rustic and brighter than the Boulder Ridge rooms, which I like. The lights in the main room above the couch are on a dimmer! Dimmers are the best. You can really set a mood when you can control the brightness of light! The TV’s are huge in the newer resorts and I LOVE the USB outlets! The sliding barn style doors look amazing, but I didn’t find them the most practical for using. They were loud (especially at night) and had caused marks on the wall because they were rubbing up against the walls in certain areas. Other than the doors, the bathrooms were very nice. I really enjoyed the rain shower and for us it was no big deal to not have a tub because we used the Jacuzzi tub in the other bedroom (the soft bottom/side jets are so much better than the older style jets). The balcony runs the entire length of the room and you can enter from both bedrooms and the main room. We overlooked Boulder Ridge pool and could see Bay Lake. It was a very nice view (which matters to me). I didn’t find the bed to be as comfortable as the bed at Saratoga but that could be for a variety of different factors (such as being sick). I had a lot of trouble operating the dishwasher….. It was too high tech for me (hides in shame). Overall I really enjoyed my stay here and I do like the rooms at Copper Creek more than Boulder Ridge (that may change after the 2021 renovation). The rooms are more expensive per point per night than Saratoga, but in my opinion are worth the extra points. The ease of getting around and being so close to the lobby are a huge plus in my opinion. We were off to the Poly Bungalow next and were all extremely excited as this would most likely be a once in a lifetime stay there for our family. Just like Saratoga, the luggage transfer was flawless.
 
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JenboJambo

We're all just children, reaching for our dreams
Joined
Jul 7, 2019
Day 4 Polynesian Bungalow 1 night



Our family was very excited for the opportunity to stay in a Polynesian bungalow, even if it was for just one night. When we changed our vacation, it left me with an overabundance of points. I decided to use them on the bungalow. I would never stay here in any other circumstance but if I didn’t use the points, I’d lose the points. It helped that my daughter is in a Hawaiian phase and had been wanting to stay at the Polynesian for a while.

We didn’t head over to the Polynesian until 4:30 and at that time our room was still not ready. We arrived via the monorail (which is always fun when it’s working), were given leis, and took our family photo with a PhotoPass photographer.
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By this time it was 4:45 and I still hadn’t received a text that our room was ready. I was rather annoyed so I got in line to check in at the lobby. Check in is 4:00pm and at the cost of a bungalow, every hour counts! As I stood in line, the text came through. Our room was ready! Bungalow 7006! We practically ran there.

The Polynesian lobby is in my top five, maybe just for the smell which I can't really describe. The grounds are plentiful with tropical plants and tiki torches lining the walkways. The lava pool is one of the best themed pools on Disney property. I like the vintage look to the buildings. It’s like what suburbanites thought Hawaii looked like in the 70’s (or at least that’s how I like to imagine it).

A magic band was needed to enter the walkway to the bungalows (fancy!). Walking up to the building was surreal. I find the outside of the bungalows beautiful (except when I’m staying at a Poly studio lake view room 1st floor and they block my view to the castle). The inside was breathtaking. I loved the dark woodwork, blues and oranges. The colorful décor of the Polynesian rooms are refreshing compared to the bland light colors of some other resorts. There are two bedrooms and both are considerably nice, but the master bedroom is the showstopper. The bed was enormous. It seemed bigger than a king sized mattress, but I don’t think that’s possible. I could have spent my entire time in the master bathroom in the giant blue tiled rain shower while watching the tiny TV in the mirror (I love those mirrors. How do they do that? And what does that cost?!). As beautiful as it was, one complaint about the bathroom was that it was very dark when trying to get ready in the morning.

The main room, with its vaulted ceiling, felt grand but homey at the same time. I was surprised though, to see that many of the light fixtures and pictures had cob webs and were very dusty. The private deck overlooking Cinderella’s cast was a dream come true. There was enough room and seating for all 6 of us. My 2 year old and mom really enjoyed lounging in the chairs!
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There were speakers on the deck that played Hawaiian music. The view and sunset were just incredible.
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The plunge pool was unique and my kids loved it, but it was kind of useless in my opinion. Not much to do but sit in it. It was missing around 5 pieces of tile and there was one lose piece floating around in it which was a whole big ordeal because my daughter thought it was something disgusting and was afraid to take it out. There is an outdoor shower by the plunge pool as well! Funny side note: We were told to not go in the pool naked (by bell services who brought our luggage). He said that they have had instances where naked guests on the deck are seen by families riding in boats (a very magical surprise) when they pass the bungalows on their way to the Magic Kingdom. It was nice of him to warn us, I guess, but I think by observing our group it was pretty clear none of us were getting naked. At least I got a laugh out of it.

This last mention may sound silly, but one of the best features was the doorbell. You could record your own doorbell ring/message. We had hours of fun with that!

We ordered Ohana room service which was delicious, but it was kind of all just thrown down in front of us and not explained. It took a little while to make sense of it but I’d eaten at Ohana before so that helped. I guess I could have asked, but I would think that it would be pretty standard for the person delivering to explain how it works. It was delicious, and it wasn’t rushed (like actually eating at Ohana) so I can’t complain too much. I mean it was pretty magical eating Ohana dinner as a family around the table in our own private bungalow!

At night we enjoyed the Electric Water Pageant which felt like it was being put on for just us. It was so close! Then we enjoyed the Halloween fireworks (it was a Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party night). I thought it was pretty awesome that the firework music was piped in on the deck. Weird thing is, earlier that day, the front desk told us that the music wouldn’t be piped in. You would think the cast members would know that the bungalows pipe in the music.

Sipping coffee on the deck in the morning with the amazing view of Cinderella’s castle and waving to the boats as they went by was the highlight of the trip. It was so foggy in the morning and being on that deck just gave me such a relaxed feeling.
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Before we checked out a DVC tour rang the doorbell and then apologized for visiting the wrong bungalow. I wasn't annoyed but it did make me feel rushed to leave. It was about 10:00am and we were trying to get the most out of our room. Housekeeping was hanging around outside which also made me feel rushed. I get it though, that bungalow is a lot to clean!

Overall the experience was incredible (even with some flaws). I have a love/hate relationship with the Poly. I love the retro Hawaiian vibes and that it is an original WDW gem, but I’ve been disappointed in the service my last few visits. It just doesn’t feel as polished as some of the other resorts. I was really happy to have given my parents this experience and was feeling very proud to be DVC members. Our next move was Old Key West!
 
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