May the 4th be with you! And, also with you. We have to complete the saying, as it just doesn’t feel right leaving it unfinished. This year’s edition of May the 4th is a unique one for sure. Many Disneyphiles and Star Wars fans alike are wishing they were in Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Disneyland snagging a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance or were piloting Millennium Falcon as part of Hondo’s crew. They are not alone, we do as well. With those options not available, we thought we would take a lot at ways to enjoy Star Wars day at home. It’s time for our top 3 ways to celebrate May the 4th homestyle!
What Is This Day?
Beyond the great play on words, May the 4th does have a backstory. As the story goes, in a country far far away, well not that far away, it’s just across the pond in London where our story begins. A couple of years after the release of Star Wars, Episode IV, it is noted one of the first uses of the phrase May the 4th be with came from a British newspaper. The newspaper printed a message for then newly-appointed British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. As a congratulation on her victory other members of the conservative party purchased a full-page ad and included the iconic phrase. From there, the phrase picked-up steam and slowly became the cultural phenomenon we know today.
Grab those headphones! The Star Wars community is filled with people that know a lot more about the mythology of Star Wars than we could even imagine. A great way to grow your Star Wars knowledge is by listening to any of the many Star Wars related podcasts. For us, it’s a great way to multi-task and celebrate May the 4th at the same time. We like to pop on headphones and head about our daily responsibilities, whether that be knocking out some home or work-related tasks, getting a little exercise, or writing up a blog article or two.
There’s tons of Star Wars podcast to choose from and many of the Disney-related podcast join in the fun with special May the 4th episodes. Head over to your favorite podcasting app and search for Star Wars.
Off To The Kitchen
We’ve got to eat, right? While whipping up a glass of blue milk may not be in cards, it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some Star Wars related food. By far one, our favorite meals in Galaxy’s Edge is the Ronto Wrap. Believe it or not, this handheld delight is both delicious and relatively easy to make. As we discussed in our Disney at home article, heading to the kitchen and crafting some of our favorite recipes is how we like to keep the magic going at home. Our friends Tom and Michelle crafted a great recipe for making a Ronto Wrap at home, you can find their recipe here.
If you’re looking to take it to the next level and make even more dishes, Disney produced a Galaxy’s Edge cookbook. You can find out more about the book here.
It’s what we are thinking, right? A Star Wars movie marathon! The question becomes which order will you watch the movies. Are you going to view them in the release order? Should you include the one-off stories like Rogue One and Solo? What about Clone Wars? Oh, and we cannot forget The Mandalorian. Needless to say, there is an array options to choose from for your May the 4th viewing pleasure. The best part is they are all now in one place, Disney+. Disney is doubling down this year by releasing the final episode of Clone Wars and Rise of Skywalker both on May the Fourth, as well as, the behind the scenes footage from the making of The Mandalorian. For us, nothing beats enjoying the movies that made us fans in the first place.
If you’re looking to spice it up, check out Star Wars bingo from Disney. You can download and print off the bingo cards here. It’s great for the whole family.
It’s all about the little things! With everything happening in our world today, it’s about getting a little creative to celebrate the things we love. Like setting a virtual viewing party with your friends and family to enjoy the saga together or sharing the pictures of favorite Star Wars dish. Well, there’s only one thing left to decide, how are we going to watch the saga this year? Who are kidding, we always go in order of release date!
Updates, we’ve got updates! What are we talking about? We’re talking about DVC policy updates as it related to Coronavirus or COVID-19. It’s the information every DVC member has been patiently waiting to learn about. On Friday, April 25, 2020, Disney Vacation Club Senior Vice President, Terri A. Schultz sent out an email to all members announcing the new DVC policy updates and how DVC point usage will be managed amidst COVID-19. Let’s get right into it and breakdown the updates!
By far the number one question from DVC members was, “The trip I booked is canceled due to COVID-19 and my points are expiring, what happens to my points?”. How do we know it was the number one item? It was the first thing addressed in the DVC policy updates. Here is a summary of the update:
For points associated with the DVC member’s 2019 user year that are set to expire either in April or June 2020, where the member had a reservation booked during the Walt Disney World closure period will be extended for another year. The points will now expire in either April 2021 or June 2021, depending on the member’s use year.
For points associated with the DVC member’s 2018 use year that were banked and set to expire either in April or June 2020, where the member had a reservation booked during the Walt Disney World closure period will be extended for six months. The points will now expire either in October of 2020 or December of 2020, depending on the member’s use year.
The small print. There is always small print, right? For the changes to expiring points policy to be applied the following conditions have to be met. First, the member’s reservation has to have been canceled either on February 29, 2020 or later. Second, the trip canceled has to have been scheduled for either March 12, 2020, or later.
It should be noted the DVC policy updates as it relates to expiring points are only temporary. Additionally, the changes do not apply to the DVC developer points. DVC developer points are points owned by Disney Vacation Club. For every DVC resort, there is a portion that is retained by the Disney Vacation Club.
The second biggest question from DVC members was, “How will Disney Vacation Club handled room demand?”. As we discussed in our DVC resort options article, which you can find here (a fantastic read if you would like our opinions), DVC resorts usually run at 95% capacity throughout the year. With expiring points being extended for a time period, it creates a strain on the Disney Vacation Club meeting room demand. The DVC policy updates begin to address this area with changes to the borrowing of points. Here are the updates:
Effective April 25, 2020, members who are looking to borrow points will be limited to only being able to borrow 50% of their next use year’s allotment.
For vacations booked prior to April 25, 2020, and fall outside the temporary closure period, with points borrowed greater than 50% will be honored.
For vacations booked prior to April 25, 2020, and are within the temporary closure period, with points borrowed greater than 50% will be automatically canceled and the points returned to the associated use year. The returned points will then fall under the new 50% borrowing points policy.
At the moment, the DVC policy updates related to borrowing points does not have an end date. Disney Vacation Club will continue to monitor inventory demand and look to return the borrowing points policy to is original version, ie borrow up to 100% of your next year’s points, as soon as possible. It should be noted that further adjustments to borrowing points could happen depending on the length of closure and overall demand for resorts.
What about annual dues? With the resorts not open it could be assumed the resource needs to maintain the resort is lower as well. The question is, “Wouldn’t that mean DVC member annual dues should be less as well?”. The DVC policy updates directly address this question as well. According to Disney Vacation Club, they are anticipating lower operating costs during the closure period, however, the unknown is the resource demand when resorts reopen. The policy updates state the following if there is a surplus:
If there is a surplus in annual dues come mid-December 2020, the Disney Vacation Club will issue a credit for members that will be applied to the member’s 2021 annual dues. The Disney Vacation will not roll the surplus into reserves.
In the DVC Duo house, we believe it is safe to say the resource demand when resorts reopen will be higher than “normal”. In order to keep guests safe we would expect to see an increase in the number of cast members cleaning and maintaining the resorts.
Fair, very fair. When it comes to rolling out these types of DVC policy updates it’s definitely a challenge solve for every situation. In this case, we believe Disney Vacation Club has done a solid job in addressing the member’s concerns and setting up the resorts to meet demand. With Disney Vacation rolling out the policy updates it also leads us to believe they have a rough idea to when Walt Disney World and DVC resorts will be reopening. In order to determine how long to extend the expiration period of point and figure out what percent to limit the borrowing, Disney Vacation Club would need some insight into when reservations could resume. That’s not to say further adjustments will not happen. Well, it looks like it’s time to start making some reservations!
We will continue to update this article as more information become available. Continue to check back for new information.
Who says the magic has to end! Disney at home is a real thing and it’s totally possible to bring the magic home with you. Without stealing your favorite Disney character. By no means do we support, condone, or recommend the stealing of any Disney character. #sarcasm. Anyways, back to talking Disney at home. We’re opening the doors to our house and sharing how we keep the magic going!
What can we say, we like to state the obvious. Someone has to, why not us! By far the way most Disneyphiles keep the magic going with Disney at home is content. Whether it’s watching YouTube video, listening to a Podcast, or of course reading your favorite blog, content is the easiest way to keep Disney in your life. The other most obvious way is Disney Plus or Disney movies and shows as a whole. Whether it’s a Disney movie night, or be sucked into our new favorite Disney plus show the Mandolorian, Disney has a plethora of content to enjoy.
No, we’re not talking about the hilarious Jason Bateman movie. A good watch, but definitely not Disney at home worthy. Did anyone else just quote Gareth and Wayne in their head? “We’re not worthy”. When we say game night we’re talking about board games and puzzles. We like to spice up the traditional games with Disney inspired versions, like Monopoly. Dibbs on the doom buggy piece! Whether it’s Clue or Disney Villians, you can usually find these games at your favorite big box store or via a little online shopping.
Beyond the traditional board games, there are a variety of interactive games for either game consoles or your smartphone. You may catch Nate playing Disney Emoji Blitz from time to time, but let’s keep that secret between us, deal? Deal!
Grey stuff! We know you said grey stuff when you read it. We would say it’s delicious as well and worth a try when at Be Our Guestfor lunch. Speaking of food. See what we did there, in the blogging world we like to call that a smooth transition. Outside of the attractions, one of the big reasons we love Disney so much is the food. From the tasty treats to the grab and go meals, and our favorite sit down restaurants dishes, these are things would like to enjoy every day. And we can! Well, at least in our own way.
What are we talking about? We’re talking about channeling our inner Remy and making your way to the kitchen. One of the things we like to do for more Disney at home is to whip up our favorite recipes. There are tons of recipes to choose from and it doesn’t always have to be the whole dish. Once and while we like to work in a Disney inspired side dish with our meal.
The Little Things
It’s all about the little things when talking Disney at home. For we keep it simple, whether it’s enjoying our morning coffee from a Disney mug to wrapping ourselves in our Disney blanket to keep warm. Each and everything little helps keep the magic alive. It could be as simple as popping some popcorn and enjoying it your favorite refillable Disney popcorn bucket. Bonus points if you’re enjoying a Mickey Premium bar at the same time!
There are endless ways to bring the magic home. The big question to ask is which way works best for you and your family? Additionally, Disney is also creating more ways to bring the parks into your home. For example, they just launched the Walt Disney Imagineering in a box with Khan Academy. You can check it out here. You can bet Nate will be checking out the courses. Alright, the time has come, we’re off to the kitchen! You thought we were going to say Neverland, huh? Gotcha!
Aloha! Welcome to one of the original Walt Disney World hotels in the Polynesian Resort. In April of 2015, Disney opened the doors to the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) portion of the historic resort. The resort was the last monorail resort to receive the DVC portion, withBay Lake Tower coming first, then followed by the Grand Floridan. Alright, we just got our text and it looks like our room is ready. Let’s head over to Disney’s Polynesian Resort Villas for our DVC Duo resort review.
Stepping into the Polynesian Resort is like stepping in your favorite old school sitcom. In all the best ways. Hear us out. Whether you grew up with the Brady Bunch, Full House or even Saved By The Bell, they all have that Hawaiian vacation episode. You know the one. The quintessential tropical getaway. That’s the Polynesian in a nutshell.
Themed after a 1950’s feel of the South Pacific, the resort transports you to a time where all your stresses disappears and you feel the need for a deep exhale. All that’s missing is a Tiki drink in your hand, but we’ll get to that!
Passholder Insights: The Polynesian Resort is one of the only deluxe resorts where there are no guest rooms attached to the main building. The other is Old Key West.
With 380 villas the Disney Polynesian Resort Villas is spread between 3 buildings and 20 over the water bungalows. The resort is the most unique DVC configuration at Walt Disney World and across all DVC resorts worldwide, as the resort only has two room types. Three of the buildings, along with the bungalows, are dedicated DVC rooms. The buildings are, Moorea, Pago Pago, and Tokelau. Below are the room options:
Deluxe Studio – Similar to an oversized hotel room with one queen-sized bed, one queen-sized, 1 single pull-down bed, one walk-in shower, one full bath with a tub/shower combo. Sleeps 5 people.
Bungalow – A standalone building over the banks of Seven Seas Lagoon that includes a kitchen, laundry facilities, living room, and larger deck with a private hot tub. The master bedroom is made up of a king bed, jacuzzi tub, and walk-in shower. The second bedroom consists of a queen bed and a pulldown twin bed. In the living room, you’ll find a queen pull out bed and a pull-down twin bed. Sleeps, 8 people.
We’ve stayed in the studios at the Polynesian Resort. In our option, what this resort different than almost any of the other DVC Resorts is that all the studios have two showers and sinks. This makes getting ready super easy!
Passholder Insights: If you’re looking for a larger room that is not a Bungalow near the Magic Kingdom both Bay Lake Tower and Boulder Ridge Resort are great options.
Arriving at Disney’s Polynesian Resort
Rolling up to the Disney Polynesian Resort either by the Disney Magical Express, car, taxi, or rideshare you’ll be dropped off at the entrance to the lobby. Bell services will greet you for any of your luggage needs or if you’d like to valet your car. Stepping through the front door you’ll want to head to the right for guest services and room check-in.
Depending on the time of day (before check-in time) we would recommend having bell services hold your bags so you can enjoy the magic. Of course, you could always take advantage of the Magical Express Luggage service and save yourself the hassle of lugging luggage as we do!
Passholder Insights: We’re usually big fans of checking into our room online, however, at the Polynesian, it’s worth checking in at the front desk for your lei.
The Lobby Area
Oh, the Poly lobby. It just rolls off the tongue. Setting through the doors to the lobby you can’t help but see the castle in the distance. That’s right, the resort is so close to the Magic Kingdom you can see the castle across Seven Seas Lagoon. Looking around the two-floor lobby you’ll see a gift shop off to your left filled with Hawaiian inspired treats and apparel. On the second floor is where you would pick up the monorail, as well as find another gift shop and two of our favorite dining spots, but we’ll get to that in a second.
Passsholder Insights: Fun fact, Disney decided to move the Polynesian pool ten feet to the right to ensure guests would see the castle when walking into the lobby. It required a whole refurbishment of the pool area.
The Pools and Recreation
Speaking of that pool that moved. Off the back of the infamous Poly lobby, you’ll find the main pool area for the resort, the Lava Pool. The centerpiece of the pool area is the active volcano that erupts throughout the day. Wrapping around the volcano is a 142-foot slide that drops you into the 120,000-gallon zero-entry pool. Heated of course! The pool is fully equipped with in-pool chairs and underwater music. Circling the pool area you’ll find an ample amount of lounge chairs, a whirlpool and a variety of private cabanas. The cabanas are available for $25 for a half-day and $40 for the full-day.
Beyond the main pool, there is a quiet pool nestled within the garden area. It’s the perfect spot for relaxing or taking a nap.
Outside of the pools, the Polynesian Resort offers a variety of recreation activities including, boat rentals, volleyball, fishing, movies under the stars, and activities throughout the day. The most notable activity is the Torch Lighting Ceremony that takes place by the Lava Pool Tuesday through Saturday. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area. Check with the front desk for the time.
Passholder Insights: Nightly from the Poly beach you’re able to see the Magic Kingdom fireworks as well as the Electric Water Pageant.
From top to bottom the Polynesian Resort has some of the best dining spots at Walt Disney World. The resort offers a range of options from quick service to sit down restaurants and even a dinner show. For quick service check out Capt Cook’s, by far one of the best quick service options on property. Other quick service options include Kona Island, the Barefoot Pool Bar, and Nate’s favorite spot Pineapple Lanai. Dole Whip anyone?
The resort offers a variety of sit down restaurants. Below is the breakdown of options:
Kona Cafe – Located on the second floor of the lobby the restaurant offers Hawaiian and South Pacific dishes. A DVC Duo all-time favorite. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Kona Cafe is a single meal credit if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan. For a full review of the restaurant check out our DVC Duo restaurant review.
‘Ohana – Located on the second floor of the lobby this infamous dining spot is a can’t miss in the DVC Duo house. Open for breakfast and dinner, the restaurant offers character dining in the morning an all you can eat Hawaiian feast at night. A single meal credit if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan. We would highly recommend making an advanced dining reservation for this one. For a full review of the restaurant check out our DVC Duo restaurant review.
Twilight Feast – when staying at the resort you’re able to order room service from ‘Ohana. It’s called the Twilight Feast and served once a night. Usually, one order of the twilight feast can feed two.
Spirit Of Aloha Dinner Show – Located at Luau Cove is the twice a night dinner show. Weekly on Tuesdays through Saturdays, you can sit down for an all you can eat Hawaiian Luau. Two meal credits if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan. Advanced reservations are required.
Beyond the restaurants, the Polynesian has two of the DVC Duo’s favorite lounges in Tambu Lounge and Trader Sam’s. Both tend to be more popular options for an adult timeout. You can’t go wrong with either option if you’re in the mood for a tropical drink.
Passholder Insights: We like to kick-off our unofficial Monorail Crawl at the either of the two lounges within the resort.
Looking to sneak in a vacation workout? The Polynesian has got you covered. The resort shares a gym with the Grand Floridian Resort and is situated between the resorts. It has everything you’ll need for a solid vacation workout. Additionally, the resort area has a jogging path along Seven Seas Lagoon.
We love it! By far one of our top places to stay at Walt Disney World is the Polynesian Resort. If you’re someone who enjoys the more laidback island type feel, then this is your spot. For us, it’s perfectly located as we can easily jump on the monorail to head to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. The best part is the studios with two showers. Once you have two showers it’s definitely hard to go back. With that our Polynesian review is complete and there is only one thing left to do. That’s right, it’s time to start our monorail crawl!
We’re back! It’s the next edition of our Disney Vacation Club (DVC) benefits, and we’re talking DVC perks on a Disney cruise. In our previous articles, we chatted about the lesser-known DVC benefits. Today we’re going deeper into the unknown to share the DVC perks on a Disney cruise. Are you ready, Elsa? Get it, into the unknown? Yeah, we went there, it’s a stretch but we went there. Alright, let’s slip into our boat shoes and head out onto the deck!
Big Blue World
You’re so right, Nemo! It’s all about the blue when it comes to DVC perks on a Disney Cruise. No, we’re not talking about the jaw-dropping, can’t help but stare, blue sea. We’re talking about your DVC member card. In the DVC world, there are two types of cards blue and white. To keep it simple, the blue card means you purchased a minimum of 100 DVC points directly from Disney and qualify for Membership Extras. Discounts on Disney Cruise Line are part of the Memberships Extras.
Passholder Insights: One of our favorite Membership Extras is called Moonlight Magic, which is similar to the Disney Afterhours Events.
Discounts, get your discounts! One of the newest DVC perks on a Disney Cruise is the booking discounts. For years, many people would recommend not booking a cruise with your points as the value is not there. True, oh so very true. Until now! One of the biggest benefits is the 30% off discount members receive on the cost to book a cruise. Yes, 30%!
How it works. Throughout the year, Disney marks different sailings as eligible for this discount. For example, there are 21 sailings in 2020 marked for this discount, with more sailings to come. This discount applies to both costs for points and cash. To receive the discount at least one person needs to be booked on points, then you can pay cash for everyone else. Or any combination you see fit. The one person could be anyone including a child, which is the lowest amount of points for a cruise. All reservations need to be made via DVC member services to receive the discounted rates.
Passholder Insights: When we use our points for a cruise, we usually just book one person at the 30% off point rate than pay cash (30% off again) for the other person.
Let’s get our priorities in order. Two priorities to be exact. One of the biggest DVC perks on a Disney cruise is when you’re able to book your vacation. When new sailings becoming available Disney Cruise Line prioritizes guests bookings in the following order:
Platinum Castaway Club – 10+ sailings
Gold Castaway Club – 5+ sailings
Silver Castaway Club – 1+ sailing
This system is very much like a pre-sale model. With frequent Disney Cruisers having the ability to book earlier prior to the bookings being opened to the general public. DVC members automatically qualify as Gold Castaway Club level, regardless of many sailings you’ve had on Disney Cruise Line.
The priorities continue when you arrive at the cruise terminal. On embarkation day, there is a DVC member line for check-in.
Passholder Insights: The gold level status is only for booking a cruise and not for excursions, cabanas or Palo.
But wait, there’s more! Once aboard the ship, there are a variety of discounts. Below is a breakdown of the discounts available:
Disney Digital Photo Packages – 10% off
Shopping – 10% off (minimum of $50 purchase)
Senses Spa – 20% off (while in port)
For all of these discounts, you will need to present your member card.
Passholder Insights: For us, the best port to take advantage of the spa discount is Nassau, Bahamas. You’ll want to book your spa treatments, as the spots fill up pretty fast.
Keep the perks coming! Over the years, we’ve seen Disney Vacation Club continue to expand upon the membership extras. With the recent changes to the DVC perks on a Disney Cruise, it made us reconsider using our points for a cruise. Now, we’re looking at more cruises and ways we can set sail with Disney Cruise Line. Yes, it’s that’s good. There’s only one thing left to do, figure out where to sail to next!