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Renting DVC Points: Comparing the Monorail Resorts

October 5, 2023

If you love to visit the Magic Kingdom, there is no better place to stay than along the monorail loop!  The loop includes DVC resorts like the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Bay Lake Tower.  All of these deluxe resorts have the convenience of monorail transportation, but which resort is best for the next time you rent DVC points?  Let’s compare what the resorts have to offer!

Room Types

Deluxe Studio at the Grand Floridian

While things may change with the upcoming Polynesian DVC tower, the Polynesian currently only offers Deluxe Studios and the two bedroom Bora Bora Bungalows that sleep up to 8 guests.  For a wider range of room types, the Grand Floridian or Bay Lake Tower may be better options.  They both offer One Bedroom Villas, Two Bedroom Villas, and Three Bedroom Grand Villas.  The Grand Floridian also offers a Resort Studio that sleeps up to 5 people but has amenities that are more similar to a regular hotel room with two queen beds and a beverage center rather than a kitchenette.  

It’s also worth noting that the Deluxe Studios at the Polynesian and Grand Floridian include a split bathroom with a tub/shower combo plus an additional shower.  Although Bay Lake Tower does not have a split bathroom in its Deluxe Studios, its One Bedroom Villas and larger units have an extra full bathroom.  (There are two full bathrooms in the One Bedroom Villa, three in the Two Bedroom Villa, and four in the Three Bedroom Grand Villa.)

Rooms at the Polynesian and Grand Floridian recently had a soft goods refurbishment, and they now have Murphy beds in place of sofa beds.  Bay Lake Tower is scheduled for a full refurbishment in 2024.  


Noodles, wings, pot stickers, and broccolini at ‘Ohana at the Polynesian

The Grand Floridian is Walt Disney World’s flagship resort, and its high end dining options reflect this.  It has the most signature dining restaurants with Citricos, Narcoosee’s, and Victoria & Albert’s.  Even its lounge, the Enchanted Rose, is an elegant space with elevated light bites like truffle fries, artisanal cheese, and caviar.  If you prefer something simpler, the Grand Floridian Cafe and Gasparilla Island Grill quick service restaurant offer plenty of options.  

Bay Lake Tower has a wide range of dining options.  There’s character dining at Chef Mickey’s, signature dining at California Grill, table service dining at Steakhouse 71, and quick service dining at Contempo Cafe.  

The Polynesian may not have the breadth of options that the other two resorts have, but it is home to classic Disney dining favorites like ‘Ohana, Kona Cafe, and the quick service location, Capt. Cook’s.  The Polynesian is particularly known for its lounges.  The Tambu Lounge offers tropical drinks and some dishes from ‘Ohana while the ever popular Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is a tiki bar full of fun surprises.  


Walkway from the Grand Floridian to the Magic Kingdom (Photo Credit: Disney Tourist Blog)

All three resorts have the monorail for transportation to the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT as well as buses to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.  They all also have ferry boats that travel to and from the Magic Kingdom.  However, the Grand Floridian and Bay Lake Tower also offer a walkway to the Magic Kingdom, which can be very convenient.  If you love visiting EPCOT, the Polynesian has a slight advantage since you can walk directly from the Polynesian to the Transportation and Ticket Center for the EPCOT monorail line.  Avoiding the resort monorail line altogether is a good way to save some travel time.    

Fireworks Views

Fireworks view from California Grill at the Contemporary

The Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Bay Lake Tower all have wonderful spots for fireworks views from common areas and villas.  Nevertheless, Bay Lake Tower may be best for fireworks views with two venues (California Grill and Top of the World Lounge).  Plus, if you have a view of the Magic Kingdom from your balcony, you can pipe in the fireworks soundtrack from your television!  At the Polynesian, you can only pipe in the soundtrack in the Bungalows.  


Deluxe Studio at the Polynesian (Photo Credit: Disney Tourist Blog)

The best availability among the three monorail resorts will vary based on which room type you want to book.  If you are interested in renting a studio, the Polynesian will have the greatest availability for Deluxe Studios whereas the Grand Floridian has plenty of inventory if you are interested in the Resort Studios.  For One Bedroom units and larger, Bay Lake Tower may be easier to rent, particularly the Lake View Rooms that have more inventory.  The Grand Floridian has limited availability for those larger units since they are only located in the original DVC building, which is quite small.  (The Big Pine Key building only has Resort Studios.)

Whichever monorail resort you choose, there are great deals to be found!  Browse the confirmed reservations for the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Bay Lake Tower, or check villa availability for future dates.

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