DVC Resorts with the Best Theming
When you choose a Disney Vacation Club resort, you want to feel like you’re at Disney. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Some DVC hotels go overboard to make you believe that you’ve left the real world behind and entered the magical lands of Disney, a place where anything is possible.
Today, we’ll talk about the places that sweep you away to a faraway place, even though you’re just at a Disney hotel.
Here are the DVC resorts with the best theming.
Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Architect Peter Dominick is quietly one of the most significant figures in Disney history. Then-CEO Michael Eisner hired Dominick to work on a new resort.
The architect chose national park lodges as his model for designing a nature-friendly hotel campus only minutes from Magic Kingdom’s entrance.
When you enter Wilderness Lodge, you’ll immediately become one with nature. Carved wood adorns all facets of the hotel lobby, including the walkways.
A multi-colored stone fireplace stretches from the floor to the ceiling. It’s enough to make you forget you’re vacationing in Orlando.
The entire Wilderness Lodge campus evokes memories of your first camping trip. But, of course, since you’re at Disney, it’s even better…and there are no bugs!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas
After Dominick’s triumphant performance at Wilderness Lodge, Disney brought him back to work on the company’s most important project of the 1990s.
Eisner aspired to do what Walt Disney couldn’t in the 1950s: build a theme park and zoo in the same place. Eisner’s ambition extended beyond that, though.
The head of Disney wanted a resort that would mirror the achievement while celebrating the cultural heritage of the birthplace of civilization.
That’s how we have the stunning architectural marvel that is Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas. This resort combines breathtaking African art and style with several outdoor savannahs.
I often experience a disconnect when I enter the lobby at Jambo House. It’s so awe-inspiring and beautiful.
On some level, I know that dozens of animals permanently reside just outside the building, though. And that makes it even more remarkable.
Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
A previous generation of Americans knew vacation as a time to head down to the BoardWalk. It was the preeminent family vacation at the turn of the 20th century.
Disney officials themed this resort to celebrate that lost era of society. In fact, Imagineers built an entire BoardWalk, not just a resort!
You can walk down the BoardWalk and relish the views of Crescent Lake while you shop and eat.
Once you’re done, you’ll enter the hotel and appreciate some of the strangest artwork and theming at Walt Disney World.
The chairs look like people, the chandeliers look like horses, and scale models display details of early carousels and roller coasters.
Disney has lovingly recreated the eccentricities of the era.
Your curiosity will drive you to explore every element of the lobby before you roam the rest of the campus. It’s mesmerizing and creepy and maximum Disney.
Disney’s Old Key West Resort & Spa
Speaking of the golden days of yore, DVC founded its entire program based on one stylistic decision.
Old Key West represents the first Disney resort created exclusively for DVC. And park officials didn’t stray too far from home for the idea.
Key West, roughly 400 miles southwest of Orlando, has always existed a kind of cultural touchstone due to its location near Cuba.
Ernest Hemingway and his six-toed cats lived here, where the beaches are eternal, and there’s always a lighthouse.
All these elements of an island vacation near Cuba tie together to create a complete sense of escapism at Old Key West.
You can spend a week at this resort without ever feeling the need to visit a theme park.
The tennis, golf, and swimming will keep you plenty busy enough. Plus, you’re only a 15-minute boat ride from Disney Springs to boot!
All the while, you’ll believe that you’ve returned to the classic days of southern Florida.
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Since the time before Walt Disney World officially opened, Disney executives have shown off the Polynesian. It’s the thematic linchpin resort that has anchored Disney since 1971.
During the late 1960s, Disney officials traveled to multiple Polynesian islands plus Hawaii. They were searching for staff to work at the resort.
In hindsight, this was a bold ask. Disney wanted people to uproot their lives and move to Florida swampland.
Still, some did just that, including the late Aunty Kai’i, who worked at Disney until she died in 2020.
The company’s early focus on authenticity paid dividends, as the Great Ceremonial House and other aspects of the hotel reflect the staff’s knowledge of its culture.
From the instant you enter the lobby and sniff the unmistakable exotic fragrance in the air, you’ll believe you’ve left Orlando and traveled to the South Seas.
A Lava pool, a mystical bar/lounge, and Bungalows in the water will do nothing to dissuade you from that opinion.
Simply stated, the pervasive feeling you’ll get at the Polynesian is that you’re on an exotic vacation, even though you can see Space Mountain across the water.
Disney’s Riviera Resort
Walt Disney’s family loved their European vacations, and Disney fans are glad they did. After all, that’s where Uncle Walt stumbled across the monorail for the first time.
Along the way, his wife, Lillian, and older brother, Roy, would often join him on family adventures overseas.
The Disney family captured countless photographs of their travels, and that experience provided inspiration for Imagineers.
Disney’s Riviera Resort celebrates those trips by creating a timeless version of those 1930s and 1940s European vacations.
The Mediterranean coast and its adjoining countries provide the backdrop at the resort. Meanwhile, the artwork combines Disney stories and Disney family memories.
You’ll know you’re visiting a unique resort when you notice the Tangled tapestry just outside the building.
Once inside, you’ll find old Disney family photos from those trips. It adds a communal aspect, as you feel like you’re re-living a 1930s family vacation.