Disney Vacation Club has released its timeline for room refurbishments, resort reimaginings, and other construction projects at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and beyond in 2023 & 2024. This resource provides the scheduled dates and details for work on the Deluxe Villas, and what to expect from each overhaul.
Typically, resort refurbishment schedules are released at the annual Condominium Association Meeting. During this, Disney Vacation Club executives present their plans for updating villa interiors over the next 2 years. There’s usually a timeline shared as part of the presentation that indicates each resort scheduled for updates, and the scale of the project.
The last few years have thrown a monkey wrench in those plans, with several resort refurbishments being delayed due to the closure and its aftermath. Perhaps as a result of that, a timeline was not presented during last year’s annual meeting. Fortunately, a new timeline was unveiled for 2023-2024 at the Disney Vacation Club Condominium Association Meeting held in mid-December 2022. Here’s what we learned from that…
First, several Disney Vacation Club resorts will receive a smaller scale refreshes next year. If you’re familiar with our Walt Disney World Hotel Construction Tracker, you’ve probably seen this referred to as a soft goods refurbishment. This typically means updating furnishings, including but not limited to wall coverings, flooring, linens, decor, and some furniture.
In recent years, the definition of a ‘soft goods’ refurbishment has “evolved” and I mean that in a good way! (All too often, using air quotes around evolve in relation to Disney means a downgrade. Not in this case.) Both the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Villas received soft goods refurbishments in the last year-plus that included installation of the new Inova pull-down sofa bed and couch combo. This feature first debuted at Disney’s Riviera Resort, and was subsequently added to Saratoga Springs Resort during its full refurbishment.
It’s unclear whether resorts receiving soft goods refurbishments in 2023 and 2024 will continue to have the Inova pull-down beds added, but we certainly hope so. This is a colossal upgrade over the pull-out couches, and has been a huge hit with Disney Vacation Club members. It has been one of several functional improvements that have really improved the ‘quality of life’ of DVC rooms–while Imagineering has also done a solid job weaving themed design into the upgraded units.
There are also a handful of Disney Vacation Club resorts slated to receive full refurbishments in the next two years. Typically, this is a complete gutting of the room, and results in an entirely new villa interior. The footprint of the room usually remains the same, and its overall square footage size always does. Changes typically include new furniture, cabinets, countertops, appliances, flooring, tiling, fixtures, and more. Some items can be reused from the prior rooms, especially little details that members enjoy, but these are usually considered “new rooms” whereas soft goods refurbishments result in “reimagined rooms.”
Disney Vacation Club attempts to schedule resorts to receive a soft goods refresh every 7 years and a full refurbishment every 14 years. In the last few years (since around 2018, so even before the closure), they had started to fall behind this schedule. That problem only got worse in the last couple of years, but it appears DVC is finally turning the corner…maybe/hopefully.
If you are not a Disney Vacation Club member, this post still might have relevance to you! For one thing, all of these accommodations are bookable directly from Walt Disney World or Disneyland via the “Deluxe Villa” tier, which is treated just like a traditional hotel. For another thing, you can use our Tips for Renting Disney Vacation Club Points to step into the shoes of a DVC member–and save money in the process. (We strongly recommend the second route, as Deluxe Villas are usually significantly overpriced, whereas renting DVC points offers tremendous savings–they’re basically like polar opposites.)
We do regular resort stays at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, usually emphasizing properties where there are new things, changes, or ongoing construction to see how that harms, improves, or otherwise impacts the guest experience. If you’ve yet to book accommodations for your vacation in 2023 or 2024 and want to be notified about all of the latest resort changes, sign up here for our FREE Disney newsletter here.
When booking a Walt Disney World or Disneyland vacation, we highly recommend taking into account recently-completed and ongoing construction projects at the various resorts, as these absolutely can impact the quality of your trip. Booking a hotel with a closed pool or construction noise and cranes right outside your window is obviously going to be a worse experience than a resort that just finished its big refurbishment and still has that fresh feeling and ‘new hotel’ smell.
Suffice to say, a lot is happening on the Disney Vacation Club construction front on both coasts. Let’s take a look at all of the current and upcoming projects that have the potential to impact guests…
Now Through 2024: Polynesian Village Resort Villas – Work is currently underway at Walt Disney World to build a new DVC tower at Polynesian Village Resort, replacing Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, between the existing Polynesian longhouses and Wedding Pavilion, near the Grand Floridian.
Thus far, land has been cleared and the foundations are starting to be poured for this new tower adjacent to the existing Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The proposed Disney Vacation Club tower addition that’s being built at Polynesian Village Resort is currently slated to open in late 2024 at Walt Disney World.
If you’re staying at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (hotel side) anytime in the next 2 years, this construction could impact you. As such, we recommend requesting a room that is not in the Aotearoa, Fiji, or Tuvalu longhouses. Those buildings are adjacent to the construction site, and the only ones that should be impacted in any material way.
However, the Polynesian Villas are all on the other side of the resort, so the impact to anyone staying in the existing Disney Vacation Club accommodations at the Poly should not be impacted. (A bit ironic that those least impacted by DVC construction are DVC guests!) The DVC tower construction will be visible from other locations in the resort once it goes vertical, but the impact should otherwise be minor.
Prior to this tower, work wrapped up on the Great Ceremonial House, porte-cochère, new monorail station, and gardens. Room refurbishments were also part of the Poly’s overhaul and those are now finished. See our Review, Photos & Video: New Moana Rooms at Polynesian Village Resort for a tour and thoughts on the changes from our most recent hotel stay. If you’re looking at the DVC rooms, see our Review, Photos & Video: New Rooms at Polynesian Villas.
Now through 2023: Villas at Disneyland Hotel – Another tower that’s currently under construction–but much further along–is the Villas at Disneyland Hotel. This new 280,000 square foot tower is located directly next door to Frontierland Tower, behind the feature pool and next to Goofy’s Kitchen.
The new 12-story Disneyland Hotel DVC tower will (supposedly) mirror the existing 1955 design of the other Disneyland Hotel towers. Those are styled after Adventureland, Fantasyland, and Frontierland. The new DLH tower will not replace any of the existing towers or guest-facing facilities. It will feature 350 rooms, with 253 being deluxe studios, 20 two-bedroom villas, 19 one-bedroom villas, and two Grand Villas. It’ll also offer 38 two-person studios that are similar to those introduced at Disney’s Riviera Resort.
Despite being very far along, Disney has announced very little about the project. There were a couple of press releases back in late 2019 and early 2020 revealing the proposed (at the time) DVC project. Most details have come from public review in front of the Anaheim City Council, during which Disney submitted a 198-page info packet about the Disneyland Hotel DVC tower. More recently, Disney Vacation Club had a booth at the D23 Expo in Fall 2022, but not much of substance was shown there. They revealed the resort’s logo but had no new information.
As for when the Villas at Disneyland Hotel will open, that’s anyone’s guess. When originally announced, the timeline simply called for a 2023 opening. To our knowledge, Disney has not publicly changed that or officially pushed the project back into 2024. However, that was before the year-long closure and slow reopening of the parks, but it appears that had a negligible impact on plans. Given all of that, our guess is that the Villas at Disneyland Hotel won’t open until Late 2023 at the earliest, with Spring 2024 also being a possibility.
Late 2022 through Spring 2023: Boulder Ridge Villas – Finally. The original Wilderness Lodge DVC room renovations were originally slated for 2020, but delayed due to the closure and then to prioritize projects at the Polynesian and Grand Floridian. Earlier this year, DVC leadership emphasized that this project was time slated to occur, and permits were filed over the summer.
Since then, work has started in earnest and the first round of rooms should be wrapping up and reopening very soon. If the sneak peek photos of the new rooms at Boulder Ridge are any indication, it’s going to have a big edge over Copper Creek. The overhauled rooms will be redone similarly to Polynesian and Grand Floridian villas in layout, but obviously not style.
We are huge fans of Wilderness Lodge and themed design, and as such, are often skeptical about changes to this property. However, we’re excited for these new rooms. They should be big upgrades in both form and function. While an end date for this project has not been announced (to our knowledge), we expect this to finish by early Spring 2023.
2023 (TBD Date Range): BoardWalk Villas – Walt Disney World announced earlier this year that Disney’s BoardWalk Inn will be reimagined over the next few years. No timeline has been given for when the work will start or end on each phase of the project, but some changes have already been made.
Walt Disney World is adding and changing elements of the beloved turn-of-the-century promenade and inside the Deluxe Resort, including a new lobby design, nearby coffee bar, delectable dining options, refreshed guest rooms, and more. The biggest change is that the new Cake Bake restaurant will replace ESPN Club, and will open in 2023.
Up until the most recent Condo Association Meeting, it was unclear whether the DVC villas would also be included in the room refresh. Thankfully, they are–and as a full refurbishment in 2023. This is very much needed, as the BoardWalk Villas were the last rooms to be redone before the current generation of overhauls. It shows. The old rooms (pictured above) are the worst of both worlds: devoid of theme and personality, as well as innovative and space-saving features. They have big ‘nondescript chained-brand hotel from the early aughts’ vibes as a result.
2023 (TBD Date Range): Beach Club Villas – Also added to the timeline at the Condo Association Meeting was the DVC resort across Crescent Lake from the BoardWalk Villas. The Beach Club Villas were last redone more recently than BoardWalk Villas, but suffer from some of the same problems in being bland and boring.
Getting the Inova pull-down beds would be a big win here, as would restoring some elements of themed design. We don’t dislike the Beach Club Villas as strongly as their BoardWalk counterparts, but time has passed both by. Here’s hoping this soft goods refurbishment delivers results on par with the Poly’s recent redo.
2023 (TBD Date Range): Hilton Head & Vero Beach – At some point in 2023, both Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort and Disney’s Vero Beach Resort will receive soft goods refurbishments. No other details or concept art were provided at the Condo Association Meeting.
I’ve combined these not because they’re sister properties (they are literally separated by states), but because they’re beyond my area of expertise. Our last stay at either of these was 2018, whereas we’ve stayed at every other property on this list in the last 2 years, and visited all of them within the last 3 months.
2024 (TBD Date Range): Bay Lake Tower at Contemporary Resort – Per the Condo Association Meeting in December 2022, Bay Lake Tower is slated to receive a full refurbishment in 2024. No other details or concept art were provided, but it was the last resort on the timeline.
Bay Lake Tower is currently overdue for a refurbishment, and our previous expectation is that this would start once the Boulder Ridge Villas project is finished in Spring 2023. This was largely our assumption because the BLT rooms have been worse for wear for at least 5 years now, so this has been desperately needed for a while.
The rooms at Bay Lake Tower were poorly constructed in the first place and built just before the current ‘wave’ of innovative accommodations that marry space-saving styles with well-themed ones. The studios are also small by Disney Vacation Club standards, especially when contrasted with the Polynesian.
Consequently, BLT could benefit tremendously from getting the Riviera treatment. We really look forward to returning to Bay Lake tower once that happens…but won’t until it does! Surprised and disappointed that this wasn’t bumped up into 2023.
??? (Not On Official Schedule): Villas at Grand Californian – I’m honestly shocked that the Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa were not on the official timeline. For one thing, the rooms are looking really tired and Disneyland wrapped up an exceptionally well-received renovation to the hotel side about 4 years ago. Take design elements of that and the new Inova pull-down beds and this would be a huge win.
For another thing, this project was mentioned at the last Condo Association meeting during the Q&A. At that time, there was a significant increase in dues (7%, I think?) and DVC leadership indicated that an upcoming 2024 refurbishment was the main reason why. Here’s hoping this is not delayed, and its omission was simply an oversight. We love the Grand Californian and will stay in the old rooms if it means not paying the hotel’s pricing, but they are definitely showing their age–just like Boulder Ridge was.
??? (Not On Official Schedule): Animal Kingdom Villas – Similar story here as with Grand Californian. Animal Kingdom Lodge completed an awesome room reimagining a few years ago that perfectly threaded the needle on form and function. I know at the time, the DVC rooms weren’t quite ready to receive an update. Some would argue that they are now. I’m not one of those people, but if these are done with the same balance as the Jambo House hotel rooms, I’m fine with it.
For comprehensive planning advice, consult our Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide or our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know! If you’re considering joining DVC, first be sure to read our Ultimate Guide to Disney Vacation Club. If you still can’t decide whether membership is right for you, “try before you buy” and rent points from DVC Rental Store. If you are convinced a membership is for you, check out the discounted options at DVC Resale Market.
Thoughts on the 2023-2024 room refurbishment timeline for Disney Vacation Club resorts? Have any recent observations or experiences with hotel construction at Walt Disney World or Disneyland to share? Where are you planning to stay in 2023 or 2024? Any resorts you’re intentionally avoiding? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments of these resort refurbishment or reimagining projects? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!