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Thursday, September 23, 2021

A long-rumored timeshare addition might be coming to Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

Posted By on Thu, Sep 23, 2021 at 2:19 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA RYAN WENDLER/WDW
  • Photo via Ryan Wendler/WDW
By 2014, when Disney announced the conversion of multiple buildings with the Polynesian Village Resort into timeshare units, many fans had already been discussing the project for years. As early as 2011, there had been strong rumors of Disney Vacation Club, the Mouse’s timeshare division, heading to the resort.

The move to convert existing hotel rooms to timeshare units proved beneficial when the year after opening, Disney confirmed it faced a drop in attendance at its US parks. A similar dip last year resulted in Disney indefinitely postponing the Reflections DVC resort. With that resort all but dead, it looks like Disney has dusted off their older plans for the Polynesian.



click to enlarge The new Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Resort DVC resort that will be located where River Country was. - IMAGE VIA DISNEY PARKS BLOG
  • Image via Disney Parks Blog
  • The new Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Resort DVC resort that will be located where River Country was.
Multiple insiders have pointed to rumors of a timeshare tower inside the Polynesian resort, saying the project was possible. Touring Plans founder Len Testa then restated the location and details of the new tower on a recent episode of his weekly podcast with Disney insider Jim Hill. On the podcast episode, the two discussed a potential future DVC tower at the resort in detail, but neither would go so far as to state the expansion was a done deal. Testa said a four-story building would help with sightlines that may be difficult to address with a larger tower, such as the DVC one added to the Grand Floridian in 2013.

The footprint for the new four-story tower aligns with one of the two rumored towers from when Disney was first looking to add timeshares to the resort. At that time, it was thought Disney would be adding two T-shaped DVC towers to bookend the resort. The northern tower would fill a roughly two-and-a-half-acre plot in Luau Cove, replacing the open-air theater.

Seven Seas Lagoon and its views of the Magic Kingdom remain in demand even as other parts of the resort may not have returned to pre-pandemic rates. At the beginning of this summer, Disney announced it would be shifting one building of the existing Grand Floridian hotel to become DVC units. That move was widely viewed as a reaction to the indefinite delay of the Reflections resort, but with just 200 units, there still does little to fill the void created by the pause of the 900-unit Reflections project.

There were once far larger plans for the Polynesian Resort with two large towers, similar to Disney’s Hawaiian timeshare resort, Aulani. As is typical with any project before groundbreaking, Disney never confirmed that the project was in the works, but supposed artwork of it was shared online. Those towers looked to be closer in size to Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary and required significant reworking of the nearby golf courses and Floridian Way.

click to enlarge The reworked 14-17 holes of the Magnolia course can be seen on the left side of the image with the Right-of-Way for the future World Drive in the middle of the image. The hexagon-style section in the middle is thought to be a new entrance intersection for the Grand Floridian. - IMAGE VIA THE SOUTH FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT | PERMIT#: 48-105440-P | KPM FRANKLIN ENGINEERING
  • Image via the South Florida Water Management District | Permit#: 48-105440-P | KPM Franklin Engineering
  • The reworked 14-17 holes of the Magnolia course can be seen on the left side of the image with the Right-of-Way for the future World Drive in the middle of the image. The hexagon-style section in the middle is thought to be a new entrance intersection for the Grand Floridian.

Permits filed with the South Florida Water Management District earlier this year show the intention to rework three holes of the Magnolia Golf Course, located directly across from the rumored site of the new Polynesian tower. According to public permits, the moving and redevelopment of the three holes are part of a large project to rework Floridian Way to be a four-lane divided median style roadway. Ultimately this will result in Floridian Way in this area and Floridian Place all becoming World Drive. These documents show the Luau building, but these two projects seem unrelated despite being adjacent to one another and their connection to previous unrealized projects.

So far, there have been no public documents showing major new construction planned for the Polynesian. Still, with multiple insiders unwilling to deny the project, there seems to be something to these rumors. As with anything at Disney, it’s not official until they announce it, and even then, it can be canceled. No timeline or other details on the rumored project have so far been shared.

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