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Polynesian v. Caribbean Beach Resort

Polynesian v. Caribbean Beach Resort

Now that Caribbean Beach’s re-imagining is completed, we thought it’d be an excellent time to revisit this comparability of those two Walt Disney World inns. It was an fascinating comparability earlier than, however following our Christmas 2018 visits, we expect it’s a good nearer name. (Final up to date November 23, 2018.)

This submit gives our head-to-head smackdown between the 2 to reply the query of whether or not Average-tier Caribbean Beach Resort is sweet sufficient, or if they need to splurge on the Deluxe-tier Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The decision may shock you…or not.

Truly, a whole lot of Walt Disney World followers could possibly be considering that this isn’t a good comparability. In any case, if our Polynesian v. Grand Floridian publish was any indication, the Poly is best than the flagship resort of Walt Disney World. Nevertheless, we have been already calling the rooms at Caribbean Beach “Poly-lite” and now that Caribbean Beach Resort’s re-imagining of its widespread areas and eating is full, the resort makes a robust case…

What this publish will search to deal with is whether or not the hole in high quality between the 2 resorts is sufficient to justify the enormous chasm between the 2 in worth. With that in thoughts, our first comparability right here will probably be value, with every thing else following from there. Whereas we gained’t grade on a curve within the subsequent classes, you must mentally be doing that your self, contemplating your personal price range, how a lot time you’ll be spending on the resort, and different pertinent (to you) elements.

Now, it’s time to see whether or not Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort can pull off a Rudy towards the heavy favourite…


Value: Caribbean Beach Resort – On common, Disney’s Polynesian Resort prices someplace between double and triple what Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort prices. Even with reductions factored in, the Poly continues to be a minimum of double the price of Caribbean Beach each single night time of the yr. (In some instances, reminiscent of throughout Free Eating, Caribbean Beach is a fair higher worth.)

That is the backdrop towards which the remainder of this comparability is about. Now, we’re not saying the Poly must be twice (or extra) nearly as good than Caribbean Beach to be the last word victor. As talked about, we’re not grading the whole lot else on a curve. The reason is is straightforward: whereas value is goal, its relative weight is subjective. For some individuals, it issues lots. For others, cash is not any object, and very best continues to be very best. In different phrases, you may need to make a psychological word of that massive worth distinction as you learn the remainder of this. Or, you won’t…

Theme: Polynesian – Technically, we’re evaluating Polynesia to the Caribbean, that are separated by huge expanses of ocean, however are nonetheless pretty just like informal visitors. Each “feel like the islands.” Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has a number of the nicest grounds of any lodge at Walt Disney World, and is actually transportive. From the vegetation to the carved indicators to the longhouses, theme right here is absolutely efficient.

Against this, Caribbean Beach Resort looks like a lodge masquerading as one other place. The small print and structure are usually not as convincing, so it falls in need of being an entirely immersive themed surroundings. That’s the draw back. The upside is that it does a very good job capturing and conveying a few of the essence of vacationing at a tropical resort. (The opposite draw back, of late, has been all the development, which stays ongoing on the Skyliner and Riviera Resort.)

Whereas it’s not nearly as good from top-to-bottom, the grounds are lush and supply a soothing morning stroll, the brand new Centertown space is outstanding, from the inside of the brand new foyer to Centertown Market, Banana Cabana, and Sebastian’s Bistro. Even the outlying room buildings look lots like Jamaica or Cayman when partially-obscured by palms or when you squint good. There’s a ton to discover at Caribbean Beach, and I really like wandering this resort late at night time or within the early morning.


Rooms: Polynesian – Though Caribbean Beach Resort’s redone rooms are shockingly good, they nonetheless fall in need of the Poly’s rooms by each goal measure. The Polynesian’s rooms are bigger, showcase higher consideration to element, have much better loos, and do a superb job of balancing theme and luxurious.

Caribbean Beach Resort’s new rooms not make it really feel like price range motel lodging, and now function plenty of good particulars befitting of a better caliber resort. That’s nonetheless not sufficient to raise it to the identical league because the Poly. Measurement is basically the large factor, however there are undoubtedly nicer finishings within the Poly’s rooms, too. If room measurement doesn’t matter to you, the 2 visitor rooms are so much nearer in high quality than you may anticipate.

Eating: Polynesian – As a Deluxe Resort, it ought to come as no shock that the eating scene is strong on the Poly. Captain Prepare dinner’s is one among Walt Disney World’s higher counter service eating places, and the tandem of Kona Cafe and ‘Ohana are great casual table service options. With Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, the Poly has the most effective lounges at Walt Disney World.

With that stated, this isn’t as a lot of a runaway victory as you may anticipate. The duo of latest counter service eating choices, Centertown Market and Spyglass Grill, is definitely higher than Captain Prepare dinner’s. Then there’s the brand new Sebastian’s Bistro desk service restaurant, which has a menu much more formidable than ‘Ohana or Kona Cafe. Add to that Banana Cabana, which is now arguably the best pool bar at any Walt Disney World resort, and you’ve acquired fairly the formidable lineup.

Nevertheless, it’s nonetheless actually robust to measure as much as the tandem of ‘Ohana and Kona Cafe. Even though the food is better at Sebastian’s, that’s only one restaurant, and few issues compete with ‘Ohana in terms of fun. Same goes for Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. This one is means nearer of a name than it ought to be, however we’re nonetheless giving the sting to the Poly.


Swimming pools: Polynesian – If there was one battle the place Caribbean Beach Resort might’ve pulled off an upset with out grading on a curve, it’s right here. On our record of the Prime 10 Swimming pools at Walt Disney World, Fuentes del Morro Pool (aka “Pirate Pool) at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort ranked #3 and Lava Pool at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort ranked #2.

In those rankings, we gave a slight edge to the Poly because it’s totally new pool area has a slightly nicer and more diverse feature set, we could just as easily flip those rankings and call Caribbean Beach #2 because pirates. We were tempted to do exactly that for this post, but integrity won out over making this more competitive. We really do think the Poly presents the ever-so-slightly better option here–but keep in mind, the advantage is slight.

polynesian-bungalows-clouds-blue-sky-aerial copy

Transportation: Polynesian – No contest. The Polynesian has some of the best transportation at Walt Disney World, with direct monorails to both Magic Kingdom and (if you take the peaceful walk to the TTC) Epcot. From Epcot, you can walk or take a bus to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (how we get to that park 95% of the time). This means you only need bus transportation to Animal Kingdom.

For us, this is the biggest difference between the resorts. Not the rooms, not the theme, dining, etc. Transportation to Magic Kingdom and Epcot from the Poly is not only easier, but there’s a certain cohesion to the experience. When gliding in the sky on monorail or taking a tranquil boat ride, it’s like a continuation of the in-park experience. I guess you could say it’s part of the magic.

That themed experience then continues at the resort–you never leave the so-called Disney bubble. By contrast, there is absolutely nothing magical about riding a bus. Beyond being inconvenient and a hassle, it’s a bit of a jolt back to reality that we’d prefer to avoid at Walt Disney World.

By contrast, Caribbean Beach requires bus transportation to every park, and thanks to the internal loop, it’s among the least-pleasant bus experience in all of Walt Disney World. To its credit, Caribbean Beach has improved its transportation experience by eliminating the Customs House for check-in and Disney’s Magical Experience departures, but that’s just a small part of the transportation experience.

Once the Disney Skyliner opens in Fall 2019, we’ll revisit this question once again. Those gondolas will transport Caribbean Beach Resort guests to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and should definitely further narrow the gap here.

Verdict: Polynesian – The Poly is one of Walt Disney World’s most iconic resorts, and it beats Caribbean Beach Resort in most regards. Still, the gap between the two has closed–and will continue to get closer as other improvements are made. The debut of the Skyliner and opening of the adjacent Disney’s Riviera Resort in Fall 2019 will both help.

This story of this battle should be viewed like that of Rocky. Even though Creed wins in the end, no one cares because Rocky put up such a valiant effort as the underdog. The story of Caribbean Beach Resort here is similar: it put up a commendable effort, and the Poly’s victories were not nearly as decisive as you might’ve expected.

On a personal note, if we were ‘forced’ to choose between paying rack rate at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, without question, we’d choose the latter. Every. Single. Time.

Even with normal discounts, the price difference is not proportionate to the quality difference for us. We can have a perfectly nice time at Caribbean Beach Resort, and know how to leverage its amenities. Plus, traveling without kids negates the size difference between the rooms and we routinely resort-hop for table service dinner, anyway. The biggest downside for us is location and transportation, but it’s not enough to overcome that glaring price difference. (Again, for us.) We do use DVC points to stay at the Poly, but I can’t imagine ever paying out of pocket to stay there again. We’re just too frugal.

That’s just us, though and your mileage may vary on the question of value for money. That’s really what we’re most curious as to what everyone else thinks with this one. Obviously, in a strict question of which is best, the Poly wins. However, when you factor in cost, which is the relative champion for you? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, and also this poll:

Considering theme, rooms, pools, dining, *VALUE FOR MONEY* & other factors, which of these two Walt Disney World hotels gets your vote:

— Disney Tourist Blog (@DisTouristBlog) January 23, 2017

(Note: Keep in mind that the results of this poll pre-date Caribbean Beach Resort’s re-imagining. If we ran the same poll today, and again once the Skyliner debuts, we’d expect very different results.)

When comparing any two resorts, other factors will obviously come into play. Important amenities, location, recreation, and other variables are going to matter and weigh differently for different parties. Our goal is for this post to be helpful in offering a head-to-head comparison of the most crucial elements of each Walt Disney World resort experience, but we suggest supplementing this with our full review of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort (if you haven’t seen the new rooms, it’s definitely worth checking out just for that) and our Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Review. With that said, what do you think…did we choose the correct hotel here?

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

We’d really love to hear your rationale for your pick in the comments. I think other readers would like to hear too, so please make your case in the comments. Deciding whether Caribbean Beach Resort is “good enough” or if it’s “worth it” to splurge for the Poly is a troublesome choice, and a number of views past ours will assist others when making that huge (costly!) choice. Listening to your suggestions—even if you disagree with us—is each fascinating to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas under within the feedback!