The South Pacific is known for its breathtaking overwater bungalows, and now you don’t need to travel halfway around the world to stay in one.
Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, has opened 20 gorgeous overwater bungalows just minutes from the Magic Kingdom. They’re part of the redo of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, which has been renamed the Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. They’re also part of the Disney Vacation Club.
One of the overwater bungalows. (Photo: Laura Begley Bloom)
These villas start at a mind-boggling $2,137 a night (though the sting won’t be as bad if you’re a member of the Disney Vacation Club). So just what do you get for that kind of money?
I was the first person to spend the night in one of the bungalows. I also brought along my daughter Lucy, to get a toddler’s point of view.
Another view of the bungalows. (Photo: Laura Begley Bloom)
The 20 overwater bungalows are set right in the middle of the Seven Seas Lagoon, with views across the water of Cinderella Castle. These sprawling bungalows are bigger than most people’s homes. They have two bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, and even a washer and dryer.
On the deck is a plunge pool where you can splash around and watch the boats go by. I loved all the touches: like vintage tiki-style posters and a headboard made of surfboards. When my daughter Lucy saw the hanging basket chairs on the deck, she yelled out “exciting.” I have to agree.
Lucy checking out one of the hanging chairs. (Photo: Laura Begley Bloom)
Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows originally opened in 1971. With its tropical-getaway vibe and its easy monorail access to the Magic Kingdom, the Polynesian is one of Disney’s most iconic resorts. I remember visiting the hotel when I was younger. It was loaded with Hawaiian kitsch — fire dancers and tiki statues everywhere. The hotel hasn’t abandoned its roots, though the design is now sleek and modern. And Disney is clearly kicking things up a notch to appeal to luxury travelers and anyone looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Lucy with one of the Polynesian’s luau dancers. (Photo: Laura Begley Bloom)
The resort itself is pretty fabulous. There are waterfalls, lush tropical plants, and tiki statues everywhere. There’s a nightly luau show. And a great character breakfast with Lilo and Stitch and friends. Lucy loved exploring in the expansive lobby. And — for mom and dad — there’s the new Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, with wild tiki cocktails and special effects.
But you just can’t deny the best part of the Polynesian: being able to watch the fireworks from the private deck of your overwater bungalow. Now that’s magical.
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