Overwater bungalows in Florida: Under construction at Disney Resort
When it comes to overwater bungalows anywhere near the Caribbean, the pattern lately has been to announce them long before they are ready to break ground. That wouldn't be so bad if not for the fact that years seem to go by and ground is never broken. Getting funding AND government approval for construction at the same time has been a major challenge, but not for the project we recently learned about.
Evidently there had been rumors in 2013 that Disney would be adding up to 20 overwater bungalows to its Disney's Polynesian Resort complex in Lake Buena Vista (near Orlando) as part of a major 2-year renovation. Now we have actual videos from May, 2014 of these things mostly built in the Seven Seas Lagoon that the resort sits on.
A 2015 opening date, but not many more details
According to a site that evidently tracks construction projects and rumors at all Disney properties, there was an announcement in September 2013 of “15 Beach Cabana Villas being built right over the water with direct beach access.” Other sources indicate it could be 20 villas rather than 15, but now we know for sure that it's a real project because the video shows the entire foundation of all of them as having been complete.
More details about the full resort renovation can be found on the wikipedia page for Disney's Polynesian Resort, including the fact that when it is complete it will revert to its original 1971 opening-day name of “Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.” Another source mentions a rumor of a plunge pool on the deck of each of the overwater bungalows, and that would certainly fit the trend in the Maldives lately.
Construction video of the overwater bungalows
Will they only be available as time-shares?
I try to keep up with all of this stuff, but I'll admit that I'm the opposite of a Disney expert so I'm still a bit confused. Most of the sites discussing these overwater bungalows are related to the Disney Vacation Club, which I've learned is their time-share division. Since there are no official details on the overwater bungalows yet, I don't know if they will be bookable by the general public or only by DVC members.
There also seem to be various companies that re-rent DVC time-share stays to the general public on the open market, so I'd think that those with enough money could potentially book them one way or another. If you have more information on this, please leave us a comment because there will be hundreds of thousands of people who will be interested in these details when they emerge.
How much will they cost when they open?
Obviously we don't know anything about pricing yet, but right now their best rooms, which are the “1 Bedroom Suite – Club Level,” are priced at US$961 per night in low season up to US$1,434 in peak season, not including tax. There seems little doubt that these overwater bungalows will cost at least that much, and probably more.
Add in the fact that the entire resort is getting an upgrade and refurbishment, and the room rates could go even higher. In other words, these overwater bungalows should be well over US$1,000 per night even in low season. If you don't need rollercoasters and costumed characters in order to have a good time, you can do a lot better with the existing Caribbean overwater bungalows, at least in terms of price.
Screen shot and video are from dvcrentals.com.