Ringing in the New Year with Disney Vacation Club

With the holiday celebrations in full gear, I want to share one of my favorite Disney Vacation Club trips to date. Last year, I was very fortunate to spend the week of New Year’s Eve at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. My husband and I made this trip a family affair by inviting my mom, step-dad, two brothers, and sister-in-law. Santa was able to bring my family together for six days of nothing but family fun!

This trip marked 40 years since my mom has stayed at the Polynesian, so it was already going to be a trip we would all remember. My brothers and sister-in-law were first-timers to Disney, and I couldn’t wait to show them the wonders Disney has to offer. For our accommodations, we had booked two standard-view studios and were able to get both studios at the 11-month mark with no problems. If we had paid rack room rates, the total cost would have been similar to buying a used car. Without DVC, this holiday trip and all of its wonderful memories would not have been possible!

Arrival Day

We arrived at the Polynesian the day before New Year’s Eve. We had not planned any park days until January 1st (in theory, we wanted to avoid the crowds at the parks ). Upon our arrival, we decided to hop on the monorail and check out the other resorts on the loop. One highlight of the trip was seeing the gingerbread house at The Grand Floridian. Even though Christmas had passed, the festive atmosphere throughout Walt Disney World was still very much alive.

Still Very Festive the Day Before the New Year!

New Year’s Eve was spent poolside by the Lava Pool. We had beautiful 80-degree weather during our whole vacation. My mom was able to re-enact sliding through the volcano into the pool, just like she did when she was 10 years old. The Polynesian had a day full of activities just for resort guests at various locations throughout the property. Just a little before 9 o’clock, we walked to the boat rental hut to pick up wrist bands that allowed beach access for the fireworks later that night. While relaxing poolside, we got a notification through the My Disney Experience App stating Magic Kingdom had hit capacity around one o’clock. This is a prime example of how to use a resort day to avoid max capacity at the Disney parks, especially Magic Kingdom.

The Polynesian’s New Year’s Eve Activity Schedule

Magic Kingdom’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks

The beach was a giant party about two hours before the New Year’s Eve fireworks were set to go off. The beach was slightly crowded, but I would have taken that over being in the Magic Kingdom. We actually snuck away from the party to find the best view on property (in my opinion). We went back to the longhouse and stood on the 3rd-floor staircase to take the fireworks in. The view cleared the bungalows, so there were no obstructions. I would recommend for Polynesian guests to try it out (unless I am there, then I call dibs).

Awaiting the New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Magic Kingdom!

The next four days were spent at the parks. Park capacities were high, but we had booked fast passes for the most sought after rides like Flight of Passage and Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train. We were able to make reservations at table service restaurants for a party of seven within a couple of months prior to our travel date. Overall, the crowds were felt throughout the parks, but we still were able to create a magical vacation. The Disney first-timers in our group felt that they got to experience a lot of what Disney had to offer, even with the elevated crowd levels.

Without DVC, the simple things like watching the New Year’s Eve fireworks or being able to see my mom ride the slide into the Lava Pool would not have been possible. If you have the opportunity to visit during the holidays, I would highly recommend it. Don’t let the crowds scare you away. You can still have a magical time with family and friends. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve experienced the holidays at Walt Disney World!


Shelby LaFlash
DVC Member Since 2017
Polynesian & Riviera

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