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Polynesian Resort Pago Pago Room Tour – Daffy Does Disney

Thanks to my brother’s family who are Disney Vacation Club members, i got the chance to spend a couple of nights at the Polynesian resort at Walt Disney World this past Labor Day weekend. This video is mostly what it says it is: a tour of the very nice DVC room we stayed in in the Pago Pago building. But if you take a look you’ll also catch a few glimpses of other parts of the resort, including our dinner at ‘Ohana on Saturday night. This really is a true vacation spot all on its own.

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Posted on September 25, 2017, in travel, Trip Report, Walt Disney World and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. I have been waiting semi-patiently to hear how you liked the Poly. Ever since I was interested enough in WDW to have a “dream resort”, the Poly was it for me. I sometimes kicked myself for not staying there a long time ago when it was still reasonably priced. Eventually, as you know, I came to the conclusion that Disney had priced its deluxe hotels beyond what I could justify paying for them. This summer, we stayed at Loews Royal Pacific which I considered to be a substitute for the real thing. After watching your video, I am thinking the two hotels are more evenly paired than I had originally thought. The interior of the rooms is very similar. The Poly plays up the kitsch whereas Royal Pacific is a bit more modern, but the layouts and amenities are very similar.

    I decided to look at the current prices for rooms at these two hotels. Currently, the cheapest room at the Poly is $493/night. At Royal Pacific they have rooms available for $289/night. Both hotels offer some in-park benefits like early admission. RP includes Express Pass to Universal which is one heck of a benefit for a family of four. Of course, that’s only useful if you plan to go to Universal. The reason Disney can charge nearly twice as much for a similar hotel room is location. If you plan to spend most of your time at Disney World, that room at Royal Pacific isn’t much of a bargain anymore.

    Will there be any more footage of the Poly forthcoming? I’m living out my Disney Dream Vacation through these videos!

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    • There might be a little more video related to the Poly, but this is the primary video that will cover it directly. We were only there for two nights, but I came away feeling like it was still my ideal Walt Disney World resort if price was no issue. Other places like the Boardwalk and Animal Kingdom Lodge are tempting, but this is the one that still epitomizes that moniker of “Vacation Kingdom.” I do wish I’d had a couple more days to film during daylight hours. Unfortunately, I was carrying around a serious cold for the first half of this trip, and I kind of crashed on Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t until that night that I really started feeling better.

      I don’t really know what the amenities are like at the Royal Pacific, but the Poly is the kind of place that I could see some people spending a long weekend at without ever hitting the parks at all. With its fancy pools, its own luau, campfire and movies under the stars, fun themed restaurants and bars, and other leisure activities like boat rentals and volleyball right there on the lagoon, it is kind of its own self-contained getaway.

      Of course I’d never stayed at a deluxe resort at Disney before, so the actuality of these things maybe made more of an impression when I saw them than they otherwise would. It is this sense of a separate experience that makes Animal Kingdom and the Boardwalk also very appealing to me if I had the opportunity to stay there. Does that make up the difference in the per-night rate? I really doubt it. But I do think that for me, at least, Walt Disney World has a higher level of repeatability than Universal does,,,and I really do like Universal and look forward to seeing what else they have in the works. You are right that the cult of Disney is what drives the prices so high. People seem willing to pay them.

      Long term, I can’t imagine paying 3-4 times per night at a deluxe versus what a place like Pop Century costs. That’s a 2-night stay where you really only get to taste a little of the resort anyway vs a 6-7 day stay with all of the advantages that are obvious. It’s a no-brainer for me. But I certainly understand the appeal for those with the money to throw around.

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      • I wouldn’t argue against the notion that Disney World is more repeatable than Universal. Given its size advantage and the fact that they have had a couple extra decades to add to their line-up of attractions, Disney has a greater variety of things to see and do. Universal does rely too heavily on motion simulators. I would expect a hotel room at Disney to cost more than a similar room at Universal. I just think the amounts are off.

        The amenities stack up pretty evenly. It has a zero-entry pools with a kids play area shaped like a cruise ship, a luau, campfire and movies under the stars, fun themed restaurants and bars, and other leisure activities like volleyball right there on the sand beaches. RP doesn’t have boat rentals, but they do have a fitness center and spa. The differences between the two were largely stylistic with the Poly playing up the “tiki” culture and RP going for more of a modern Asian feel. My personal preferences lean more towards the Poly’s aesthetic even if the RP feels more classy.

        I have stayed at a Disney Deluxe Resort once. We stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge on our honeymoon in 2003. It has a similarly relaxing feel to the Poly. The big disadvantage (and the reason it’s a bit cheaper) is that it is fairly remote. I don’t remember how the prices ran back then, but I remember that I was on a much tighter budget than I am today and I was able to shell out for AKL fairly easily. The Value rooms were around $60 I think. Mods were probably around $80-90. I am guessing I paid a little over $100 a night for AKL. No more than $130. The monorail hotels were slightly more expensive, but I decided to draw the line at AKL. After I got into Disney, I kind of regretted that decision. That would have been my one chance to stay at the Poly before rates started skyrocketing.

        We tend to be willing to spend more for our hotel room because we spend a lot more time there. It is actually pretty rare for us to spend more than six hours in a theme park on any given day of our vacation. So a hotel like the Poly or Royal Pacific is going to be a lot more appealing to us than something like the All Star Resorts. I can’t even imagine what a disaster it would be if I booked a week at one of those. The mods have typically been satisfactory, but even they are more expensive than Universal’s deluxe accommodations. That’s a big factor in tipping the scales to Universal for my family despite some admitted shortcomings in the variety of attractions.

        Looking forward to the next video. I notice we’re getting a lot less commentary this time around. Is that because you weren’t traveling solo?

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        • That does make it less easy to simply pull over and talk to the camera for a couple of minutes. My brother and sister in-law were very accommodating when I wanted to stop, but 1) I probably felt less comfortable doing so unless I felt it was important. Not their fault. and 2) Since I was preparing for a move back home I had less stuff planned ahead this time around. 3) With it being a shorter trip, I was a little more concerned with getting from place to place than with stopping to film. 4) An improvement in my filming abilities in some situations meant that I knew I was getting more decent ride footage, and that took the pressure off my monologuing a bit. 5) Being sick probably didn’t help either.

          So it really was a combination of things.

          I’m planning on doing a solo park hopping day sometime over the December break, which will probably be very different as well because I imagine I will be monologuing more but also moving very quickly from place to place.

          I can’t imagine getting anything close to those prices nowadays. But all you can do is live in the context you’re living in. You had no idea those prices were as low as they were. They just were the prices. When I looked at resort rates recently, the Caribbean was showing for $200 a night, which is pretty good for a moderate until you remember that the place is under construction right now.

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        • I can relate. Those are some of the reasons I didn’t follow through with my vlogging ambitions this summer. Also, my equipment sucked. Your ride videos are better than some of my outdoor shots.

          I was aware at the time that the price I got on AKL was a good one. In retrospect, it feels like a steal. I remember being stopped for a survey and being asked about the value of our vacation. I enthusiastically answered all questions affirmatively that I thought Disney offered a good deal for the price. I may be responsible for the years of rising prices ever since. Oooops.

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        • Oh believe me, you generally get to see the best-looking stuff I’ve got. There’s a lot of shaky, out-of-focus, or just pointless footage that ends up on the proverbial cutting room floor. Even with concerted editing, I’m often not happy with some of what I end up having to use. I look at what some other vloggers put out and I’m a little jealous of their equipment and skill. Of course I also see some others sharing what seems like really carelessly shot and/or selected footage, so I guess I feel like I’m in the middle class in what I’m releasing. I’m still learning a lot. I have to remind myself to take my time, relax, hold the camera still, and compose shots on site. The camera can’t necessarily see what my eyes can see. It’s also a good idea to have establishing shots and have in mind what story you’re trying to tell. There are happy accidents that happen in shooting and in editing, but if you don’t get the material you need, it’s not going to just appear out of nowhere.

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        • I know a guy who is staying at CBR specifically because the place is under construction. From what I have seen, I don’t think I would want to stay there even with a discount.

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    • One of the reasons my husband and I decided to join DVC was the ability to stay at the higher end Disney resorts. DVC involves a large outlay of money. Most people finance it like a mortgage…we were lucky enough to pay for ours outright, so we have not had the interest costs that other DVC owners have had. Here’s kind of how the math works. We made purchase at the Poly for 125 points per year. Our total cost, including closing costs was just over $21000. It’s a 49 year contract. So for $21000, we are getting 125 points a year for 49 years. so, that’s 6,125 points over the lifetime of the contract. If you divide all that out, the dollar value of each point is approx $3.50. There are yearly maintenance fees of $500-$600, but we pay for at least half of those with points from our Disney Visa…so our outlay is around $300…so that adds another $2.40 to the point value…so let’s just call it $6/point. So, at 16 points a night for that room Daffy showed you, we “paid” $96 a night. A Lake View room, basically the exact same room, but with a view of Magic Kingdom (and ability to watch the fireworks show while sitting on the bed) is 20 points a night or $120. Point values do vary during the year…they have peak times and not so peak times. In May of next year, our Lake view room is 25 pts per night. Point values above are what they are going for now. If you finance the DVC purchase, we’ll then your points are going to “cost” you more in the long run.

      Anyway, we were blessed enough to be able to do DVC and the math worked for us in terms of actual room “Cost”. That said, we probably only stay at the higher point value resorts once or maybe twice a year…we tend to spend a lot of time at Saratoga Springs. Our biggest regret with DVC is that we didn’t buy enough points! In hindsight, we wish we’d bought at least 200. But,…that’s a “now” problem…as our son ages and we go to Disney less…we’ll probably use those points more for weeks at Disney’s Vero Beach resort or Hilton Head resort or some other RCI Vacation. Hoping to make it out to Aulani in Hawaii in a few years.

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      • I spent a lot of time kicking around the DVC. In 2003, when they were still building Saratoga Springs, we could have bought in at $75/point. And back then, Disney was still giving DVC members free annual passes. From what I hear, Disney has been offering discounted passes to DVC members because a lot of these guests haven’t been making their way to the parks. When the passes were comped, it made a DVC purchase a lot more enticing, but there was also a lesson in that. Disney can take away benefits at any time for any reason. The only thing guaranteed is the use of the points you purchased, so you should never factor perks into your purchase decision.

        The “math” for a DVC purchase is tricky. I found myself coming up with ways to trick myself into joining the Vacation Club because I really wanted it to be a good deal. But every time, I eventually had to sigh and let it go. I work in the finance world, so I couldn’t turn a blind eye to some of the pitfalls of the DVC. Ultimately, I think most people who pull the trigger do so for emotional reasons more so than financial ones, but that’s fine as long as the purchase makes you happy. Just in case anyone reading this is considering a DVC purchase, here are some things to consider:

        1. You should never, ever finance a vacation. Vacations are luxuries and should always be paid for in cash. If you can’t afford the up front cost of a DVC purchase, do not finance it! This is like taking a loan out to pay for years of vacations. The math will almost never work out in your favor if you are paying interest on a Disney time share. And god forbid your financial situation changes while you are making payments on the loan plus your annual maintenance fees.
        2. The mistake most people make is a failure to factor in the time value of money. Currently, points at the Poly purchased through Disney cost $176 plus closing costs of $442.52. A 100 point contract (which is currently the minimum purchase) would cost you around $18,000 up front not counting the $51 monthly dues. When we’re talking about time value of money, we’re only concerned with the up front cost. Basically, time value of money says that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. By getting all your money up front, Disney benefits. You’re locked in whether you use your points or not. You won’t be able to earn any interest on that investment. You can’t compare $18,000 spent today with the cost of hotels paid for over a 30 year contract. You have to factor in the return you would have gotten if you had invested that money somewhere else and paid for your vacations as you go. This is usually where the DVC math comes up short.

        3. The DVC makes sense if you would have paid for a deluxe resort out of pocket. If you wouldn’t have stayed at one of the deluxe hotels for about a week at least every other year, you probably aren’t coming out ahead. If staying at the Contemporary or the Poly is just something you want to do once and cross off your list, you’re probably going to be better off renting points from a DVC owner or a company that specializes in DVC rentals. If you’re perfectly fine staying at Port Orleans, the DVC probably doesn’t make sense for you. (The math on this point will likely change dramatically once Disney does away with classifications like Deluxe, Moderate and Value in the near future.)

        4. Even if you are saving money in the long run, the DVC agreement is fairly restrictive about the use of your points. You need to be able to plan your vacations several months in advance. Getting a specific hotel other than your “home” resort can be difficult, so you have to be okay with not getting your first or even second choice.

        5. If you don’t use your points, you will either need to bank them, rent them out or lose them. When you are buying into DVC, it’s easy to think you will always use your points. But sometimes things change. Your financial situation may worsen. The parks may lose their appeal as your family gets older or as Disney continues raising costs while cutting services. You always have the option to rent out your points or sell off your contract, but before you sign on the dotted line you should consider the possibility that you may not want to vacation with Disney indefinitely.

        6. Speaking of resale, be sure to look at the resale markets before buying direct from Disney. You can buy essentially the same contract on the resale market for a lot less than buying points from Disney. Those $176/points at the Poly can be purchased for around $150 on the resale market. Several resorts like the Animal Kingdom Lodge or Saratoga Springs cost less than $100/point! Currently, DVC resale is up, but a few years ago it was down to where I could pick up points for $75 or less. If the economy takes a turn for the worse, a lot of people will be forced to sell their contracts which can be a boon for a patient Disney tourist.

        I came pretty close to picking up a DVC contract off the resale market when the prices were low. Ultimately, I just didn’t want to be locked in. I heard from too many DVC owners who came to regret their purchase when they were making maintenance payments while trying to put a kid through college. I decided that while I could pay for the contract in cash, the more responsible thing to do was to set that money aside from college savings, etc. In retrospect, I’m glad I made that choice because my family decided after our 2014 trip, that we had been to Disney World enough for a while. As it stands, I’m not sure when or if we will go back. I never saw that coming when I was considering the DVC ten years ago, but hear we are.

        The Disney Vacation Club is a major purchase and as such, it should not be entered into lightly. I know a lot of people who bought into DVC without researching as thoroughly as they should have. I talk to people all the time who think they are saving money because they didn’t do the math right. But in fairness, most of them are really happy to be DVC owners and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters to them. I would encourage anyone who is considering a DVC contract to research as much as they possibly can. A good starting point is this write-up on Mousesavers.

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        • I agree about not financing it. We probably wouldn’t have done it if we hadn’t had the cash to pay for our contract outright. So, all we pay now is the yearly maintenance fees…which for us isn’t much out of pocket. We are also in the unique position of living an hour away from Disney’s front door…we are there 4 or 5 times a year…mostly 2 or 3 night stays. We didn’t buy for the perks…honestly, other than Member only events…which are often held at inconvenient times for us…the DVC perks are the same as someone having a Disney Visa…which we do…or being a Passholder..which we are. We have never had trouble getting a room at the resort we wanted to stay at. We can book the Poly the furthest out because that’s our home, but we stay at other places as frequently as there….but we aren’t restricted to traveling at peak times of the year either.
          I totally agree on the research…we didn’t do that. We bought while we were on a Disney cruise and it was an emotional purchase for us. I do have some regret on not waiting until we got off the boat and researching resale…but we got some FABULOUS perks for booking on the ship…so we went with it. We probably would have spent the same amount in resale, but would have bought more points. Resale is not a cake walk…contracts can take a lot of time to come through as Disney can refuse any resale offer and choose to buy back the contract themselves…which is happening quite frequently these days.
          It’s definitely not for everyone. But, since we go so often and we were spending upwards of $300-$400 per visit to stay at Shades of Green…the math worked…for us. We have no issues using our points…as a matter of fact…we’ve been operating in the “red” on points for a year or so now…since I book so far in advance. For instance..our 2018 use year starts this tomorrow and we only have 2 points left…because I already have our December and May trips booked.
          If you aren’t a planner, you won’t be happy with DVC because it does require pre-planning. But, I am a planner…I love it. My son is 11 now. He still loves going to Disney…but he also loves just hanging at the resorts…which is something we never wanted to do at Shades of Green.
          The main thing I would suggest to someone considering it is to be honest with yourself on where you want to stay most often, when you are able to come (is it peak time or not) and how often do you plan to come and for how long. Then, research resale for the resort you love the most and get a contract there. Find out how many points you’ll need to stay there. If you can only come every other year and your resort would cost you 200 points to stay a week..you only need a contract for 100 points…since you can bank and borrow points from year to year. (Which is very easy by the way because it’s all done online).
          I researched renting points…they tend to run around $11/pt…plus some fees I think. That’s still a lot cheaper than paying retail at the higher end resorts by a lot. That’s the way to go for sure if you just want to stay at a nice resort every few years or so and Disney isn’t a regular vacation for you.
          In my opinion, if you aren’t a Disney addict, or at least committed to make it a regular vacation spot for your family, you shouldn’t get into DVC.

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        • Some very good advice.

          What did you think of the Disney cruise. We loved it, but I am not sure we will pay to cruise with Disney again since they are so much more expensive and our kids are older.

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        • We loved it! We’ve been on two…went on the same 4 night cruise 2 years in a row. This year, we’re going on a 7-nighter….Star Wars day at sea. 🙂 This will most likely be the last one as JD is older and I think if we cruise again, we’ll try Royal Caribbean..which I’ve heard is closest to being on par with Disney.

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        • We were very impressed. We didn’t expect to be “cruise people” but this was top notch. Since we expected it was a one time experience we went ahead and shelled out for a conceirge level room. We’re kind of waiting to see what the new boats have to offer before doing it again. But since seeing characters is no longer as appealing as it was a few years ago, we may try something like Royal Caribbean next time.

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  2. What’s the background song (playing on endless loop)? It fits so curiously well.
    Also, the shot of all those lamps at the restaraunt – eye candy!

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    • The song is a recording by Cliff Edwards called “A Song of Old Hawaii.” Edwards is best known today for being the voice of Jiminy Cricket, but he was a very popular singer prior to being cast in that role. I found the song on a site that offers recordings which are not copyrighted and it seemed like a natural for a Disney video with Polynesian themes.

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      • Dang! That is going the extra mile. I did think the song choice was appropriate for the subject matter. That was before I realized the singer had a connection to Disney.

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