Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Polynesian vs. Caribbean Seashore Resort

Caribbean Seashore and the Polynesian are Walt Disney World’s tropical-themed inns, and each have acquired reimaginings and added facilities in the previous few years. It might look like a ridiculous resort face-off, however due to improved transportation and eating, it’s a surprisingly shut name. (Updated July 20, 2023.)

Basically, this submit head-to-head smackdown solutions whether or not Average-tier Caribbean Seashore Resort is adequate, or if they need to splurge on the Deluxe-tier Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. In different phrases, the comparability not being extremely lopsided relies upon closely on pricing, since Caribbean Seashore is far inexpensive. When bearing in mind the price differential, the decision may shock you…or not.

That is mirrored in our Rankings of ALL Walt Disney World Lodges from Worst to Greatest, which does take worth and a wide range of different variables into consideration. In case you’d want to learn that for a rundown of how all resorts rank, have at it. However, spoiler alert, each Disney’s Polynesian Village and Caribbean Seashore Resorts are within the prime 10!

Setting apart the value, this one is totally no contest. If our Polynesian vs. Grand Floridian submit 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 Seashore “Poly-lite” and now that Caribbean Seashore Resort’s re-imagining of its frequent areas and eating is full, the resort makes a powerful case…

What this submit will search to deal with is whether or not the hole in high quality between the 2 resorts is sufficient to justify the large chasm between the 2 in worth. With that in thoughts, our first comparability right here can be price, with all the pieces else following from there. Whereas we gained’t grade on a curve within the subsequent classes, it is best to mentally be doing that your self, contemplating your personal funds, 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 Seashore Resort can pull off a Rudy in opposition to the heavy favourite…

Price: Caribbean Seashore Resort – On common, Disney’s Polynesian Resort prices virtually triple what Disney’s Caribbean Seashore Resort prices. Even with reductions factored in, the Poly remains to be a minimum of double the price of Caribbean Seashore each single evening of the 12 months. (In some instances, Caribbean Seashore is a fair higher worth.)

That is the backdrop in opposition to 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 Seashore to be the last word victor. As talked about, we’re not grading all the pieces else on a curve. The reason is is straightforward: whereas price is goal, its relative weight is subjective. For some folks, it issues quite a bit. For others, cash isn’t any object, and very best remains to be very best. In different phrases, you may need to make a psychological word of that vast worth distinction as you learn the remainder of this. Or, you won’t…

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

Against this, Caribbean Seashore Resort appears like a resort masquerading as one other place. The main points and structure will not be as convincing, so it falls in need of being a completely immersive themed atmosphere. That’s the draw back. The upside is that it does a extremely good job capturing and conveying among the essence of vacationing at a tropical resort. Furthermore, as a result of means the Skyliner and Riviera have been constructed, it doesn’t have the identical serene ambiance that it as soon as had, and easily doesn’t compete with the Poly when it comes to ambiance.

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

Rooms: Polynesian – Caribbean Seashore Resort’s redone rooms are good, and are why we dubbed the resort “Poly-lite” within the first place a a number of years in the past. These rooms don’t appear like funds motel lodging, and have loads of particulars. Thematically, Caribbean Seashore Resort has one of the best rooms of any Average.

Nevertheless, the rooms at Caribbean Seashore are beginning to present their age each stylistically and when it comes to put on and tear. These have been among the many earliest of Walt Disney World’s “new” rooms, and so they’re darker and drearier than more moderen counterparts. In addition they lack the purposeful enhancements and space-saving design options which were included into newer remodels.

Along with the Poly-lite fashion rooms, Caribbean Seashore additionally has two new room kinds as of 2023. First is the New ‘Underneath the Sea’ fifth Sleeper Rooms Impressed by The Little Mermaid, which exchange the notorious pirate rooms and might solely be present in Trinidad. These Underneath the Sea rooms are nice for households who need more room whereas they’re not sleeping, because the pull-down beds make the principle dwelling space far much less cramped in the course of the day. These are incredible–much better than the usual rooms.

Lastly, there are lately redone rooms that refresh the 9 12 months previous fashion. These are a delicate items refurbishment that removes the carpet, installs platform beds for baggage storage, replaces some fixtures and furnishings, and brings a recent coat of cooler paint to interchange the nice and cozy colours. All of that may sound good, nevertheless it’s higher on paper than in individual. These rooms are bland, boring, and sterile to a fault, with not almost sufficient theme and means an excessive amount of white. They’re undoubtedly more energizing, however are devoid of persona, which is mostly a disgrace.

Then there’s the “Moana Makeover” at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. (See our Evaluation, Pictures & Video: New Moana Rooms at Polynesian Village Resort for a tour and ideas on the modifications from our most up-to-date resort keep.) The room is filled with custom-made fixtures, furnishings, and Moana decor. The furnishings is heavy and substantial, feeling prime quality and sturdy. These little upgrades imbue the room with a better sense of luxurious, and the Moana styling supplies enjoyable Disney touches.

Dimension is absolutely the massive factor, because the Poly’s rooms are considerably bigger than these at Caribbean Seashore. This may be critically vital for households, as making an attempt to suit 4 folks right into a Average Resort room isn’t all the time simple or comfy. The bigger rooms of the Poly give adults and children more room to unfold out, and the addition of the balcony for some separate out of doors house additionally is big.

If room dimension doesn’t matter to you, the 2 visitor rooms are quite a bit nearer in high quality than you may count on–however the Poly nonetheless has an excellent edge. Total, the Polynesian’s rooms are bigger, showcase higher consideration to element, have much better loos, and do an excellent job of balancing theme and luxurious.

Eating: Toss Up – As a Deluxe Resort, it ought to come as no shock that the eating scene is stable on the Poly. Captain Cook dinner’s is one in all Walt Disney World’s higher counter service eating places, and the tandem of Kona Cafe and ‘Ohana are nice informal desk service choices. With Dealer Sam’s Grog Grotto, the Poly has among the finest lounges at Walt Disney World.

With that stated, this isn’t as a lot of a runaway victory as you may count on. The duo of counter service eating choices, Centertown Market and Spyglass Grill, is definitely higher than Captain Cook dinner’s. Then there’s Sebastian’s Bistro’s new family-style meal that’s the finest dinner deal in all of Walt Disney World. (I’d take that over ‘Ohana or Kona Cafe.) Add to that Banana Cabana, which is now arguably one of the best pool bar at any Walt Disney World resort, and also you’ve acquired fairly the formidable lineup.

If we added the eating slate at Disney’s Riviera Resort, which is a brief stroll from Caribbean Seashore, that might simply tip the scales in favor of the Average Resort. Topolino’s Terrace has a ton of vary, with an incredible character breakfast and romantic dinner. On prime of that, Riviera has a stable slate of counter service, lounge, and snack choices. Nevertheless, if we embrace Riviera then we’d additionally most likely have to incorporate Grand Floridian because it’s likewise walkable from the Poly.

This eating comparability is means nearer of a name than it needs to be, and we’re going to name it a toss up. Regardless that the eating places are “much less iconic” at Caribbean Seashore, they’re larger high quality. Dealer Sam’s is nice, nevertheless it’s additionally a little bit of a problem. Personally, if I might solely dine at one resort or the opposite, I’d choose Caribbean Seashore. A primary-timer is likely to be higher suited by the Poly’s eating places, although.


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

In these rankings, we gave a slight edge to the Poly as a result of it’s completely new pool space has a barely nicer and extra numerous characteristic set, we might simply as simply flip these rankings and name Caribbean Seashore #2 as a result of pirates. We have been tempted to do precisely that for this submit, however integrity gained out over making this extra aggressive. We actually do assume the Poly presents the ever-so-slightly higher choice right here–however remember, the benefit is slight.

Transportation: Tie – You is likely to be questioning: how can this be a tie? The Polynesian has among the finest transportation at Walt Disney World, with direct monorails to each Magic Kingdom and (if you happen to take the peaceable stroll to the TTC) Epcot. This implies you will have simple non-bus transportation to 2 theme parks.

Nevertheless, now that the Disney Skyliner is open, Caribbean Seashore gives one thing just like each Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Because of having the hub Skyliner station and a second station, Caribbean Seashore has direct entry to each parks, with much less general transit time than the monorails from the Poly.

Granted, Magic Kingdom is the flagship park at Walt Disney World, however Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the massive ‘up-and-coming’ park due to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land, and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Having the ability to (simply) get to DHS earlier than Early Entry begins is big, and makes doing Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance with minimal wait a lot simpler.

Likewise, the Skyliner gondola station drops Caribbean Seashore Resort company off on the Worldwide Gateway entrance to Epcot, which makes it simpler to knock out each Remy’s Ratatouille Journey and Frozen Ever After throughout Early Entry. The equation will change a bit with Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind being on the entrance of the park, however there’s nonetheless quite a bit to be stated for aerial entry to Epcot and DHS.

Then there’s bus transportation, which leaves one thing to be desired at each resorts. Caribbean Seashore has an inside bus loop, and whereas that’s not as unhealthy because it was once, it’s nonetheless not preferrred. Equally, the Polynesian ceaselessly shares buses with Grand Floridian, so it’s no quicker than Caribbean Seashore. Actually, it is a toss-up.

Verdict: It Relies upon – The Poly is one in all Walt Disney World’s most iconic resorts, and it beats Caribbean Seashore Resort handily in general high quality. Nonetheless, the hole between the 2 has closed significantly when it comes to rooms, facilities, eating, and transportation. The resort’s reimagining and Disney Skyliner gondolas have been instrumental in turning Caribbean Seashore right into a resort with near-Deluxe choices.

This story of this battle needs to be considered like that of Rocky. Regardless that Creed wins in the long run, nobody cares as a result of Rocky put up such a valiant effort because the underdog. The story of Caribbean Seashore Resort right here is analogous: it put up a commendable effort, and the Poly’s victories weren’t almost as decisive as you may’ve anticipated.

On the contrary, probably the most decisive victory of all right here is Caribbean Seashore on the pricing entrance. It wins that one by a large margin, and is the principle cause that is now a toss up. With that stated, if cash isn’t any challenge to you, select the Polynesian–it’s the objectively higher of the 2 resorts when worth is taken out of the equation. Not by an enormous margin, however by a sufficiently big one to make that our advice.

Two different wildcards that don’t actually match into any of the above classes are crowds and development. The Poly is a ‘vacation spot’ resort, and its foyer will be filled with folks every night ready for dinner at ‘Ohana, drinks at one of many lounges, or simply trying out the ambiance. Likewise, the seaside has grow to be unbearably busy round fireworks time, as there’s much less house as a result of bungalows and extra demand from guests.

There’s additionally the matter of the New DVC Tower at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, which is at the moment beneath development and is at the moment slated to open in late 2024 at Walt Disney World. This tower is adjoining to the present longhouses on the sting of the resort, so it solely actually impacts the Fiji, Tuvalu, and Aotearoa Longhouses. But it surely impacts these in a colossal means!

On a private word, if we have been ‘pressured’ to decide on between paying rack price at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Caribbean Seashore Resort, with out query, we’d select the latter. Each. Single. Time. Even with regular reductions, the value distinction is just not proportionate to the standard distinction for us. We are able to have a superbly good time at Caribbean Seashore Resort, know how one can leverage its facilities, and like the Skyliner to the monorail.

Plus, touring with out children negates the dimensions distinction between the rooms and we routinely resort-hop for desk service dinner, anyway. For us, many of the downsides of Caribbean Seashore are negligible, and undoubtedly not sufficient to beat that obtrusive worth distinction. (Once more, for us.) We do use DVC factors to remain on the Poly, nevertheless it’s simply actually laborious to justify paying rack charges and it’s fairly uncommon for first rate reductions at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

That’s simply us, although and your mileage could differ on the query of worth for cash. That’s actually what we’re most curious as to what everybody else thinks with this one. Clearly, in a strict query of which is finest, the Poly wins. Nevertheless, once you think about price, a extremely sturdy argument will be made for Disney’s Caribbean Seashore Resort.

When evaluating any two resorts, different elements will clearly come into play. Essential facilities, location, recreation, and different variables are going to matter and weigh in another way for various events. Our aim is for this submit to be useful in providing a head-to-head comparability of probably the most essential components of every Walt Disney World resort expertise, however we recommend supplementing this with our full overview of Disney’s Caribbean Seashore Resort (if you happen to haven’t seen the brand new rooms, it’s undoubtedly price trying out only for that) and our Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Evaluation.

Planning a Walt Disney World journey? Find out about inns on our Walt Disney World Lodges Critiques web page. For the place to eat, learn our Walt Disney World Restaurant Critiques. To save cash on tickets or decide which kind to purchase, learn our Suggestions for Saving Cash on Walt Disney World Tickets submit. Our What to Pack for Disney Journeys submit takes a singular have a look at intelligent gadgets to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Trip Guides will assist. For complete recommendation, one of the best place to start out is our Walt Disney World Journey Planning Information for all the pieces it’s worthwhile to know!

Your Ideas

We’d actually love to listen to your rationale in your choose within the feedback. I believe different readers wish to hear too, so please make your case within the feedback. Deciding whether or not Caribbean Seashore Resort is “adequate” or if it’s “price it” to splurge for the Poly is a tricky determination, and a number of views past ours will assist others when making that large (costly!) determination. Listening to your suggestions–even once you disagree with us–is each attention-grabbing to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas under within the feedback!

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