Disney Vacation Club has released its timeline for room refurbishments, resort reimaginings, and other construction projects at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and beyond in 2024 & 2025. This resource provides the scheduled dates and details for work on the Deluxe Villas, and what to expect from each overhaul. (Updated December 8, 2023.)
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 annual meetings for a couple of years. Fortunately, a new timeline was unveiled last year and another for 2024-2025 at the Disney Vacation Club Condominium Association Meeting held in mid-December 2023. Here’s what we learned from that…
First, several Disney Vacation Club resorts received a smaller scale refresh this year and many more of those are going to occur in 2025. 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.
Based on what we saw this year, the resorts receiving soft goods refurbishments going forward should all continue to have the Inova pull-down beds added. 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 2020-2022, but it appears DVC is finally turning the corner. Pretty much everything that was scheduled this year actually got completed, and more or less on schedule.
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 2024 or 2025 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 Late 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.
Work is moving fast on 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, and it’ll almost certainly meet that target date.
If you’re staying at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (hotel side) anytime between now and around September 2024, this construction could impact you. While we don’t know yet when the resort will open, we’re pretty confident that the bulk of visible and audible work will be finished by next summer, at the latest. After that, they’ll move to the inside.
In the meantime, 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.
NOW FINISHED: 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. Thankfully, the work actually happened this year and Boulder Ridge is now completely finished.
We’re not going to fixate on every completed project, but wanted to draw attention to this one because the reimagining of Boulder Ridge at Wilderness Lodge was a smash success. Exactly how room renovations should be done in balancing theme and modernizations. These are my new #1 rooms at Walt Disney World, full stop. Some fans have disagreed, but I think there’s a ton of love about them, and they do a fantastic job balancing themed design with modern amenities and upscale accommodations.
The Beach Club Villas are also now finished.
2024: BoardWalk Villas – Walt Disney World is in the midst of reimagining Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, with new rooms on the hotel side and a bunch of other changes in the lobby and along the promenade. Work is expected to wrap up on all of that in Spring 2024.
The BoardWalk Villas are part of this, and as a full refurbishment. Our expectation is that this wraps up sometime in Spring 2024, as it started this September and the first rooms started to finish a couple months later. Disney might try to have this project done by March, in time for the busy spring break season, or might pause briefly and wrap up in May. Either way, it’s safe to expect this to be done by Summer 2024.
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.
2024: Hilton Head & Vero Beach – At some point in 2024, 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.
2024-2025: Bay Lake Tower at Contemporary Resort – Per the Condo Association Meeting in December 2023, Bay Lake Tower is slated to receive a full refurbishment in 2024…and 2025. They said the project would start in the second half of 2024, would take roughly one-year, and be completed in 2025.
The VP of Resort Operations said it’ll be a challenging project, with renovations completed floor-by-floor, requiring a rerouting of utilities so that all operating floors still receive service. The design of the new rooms is still being evaluated and the project will also entail a wifi infrastructure upgrade, all per DVC News.
From our perspective, the BLT news is the one piece of mixed news from the 2024-2025 timeline. On the one hand, it’s good to have this confirmed and finally moving forward. On the other hand, we were really hoping it’d start in mid-January and be done by September 2024. So it’s starting later and taking longer than expected.
Bay Lake Tower is currently overdue for a refurbishment, and our previous expectation is that this would start once the Boulder Ridge Villas project finished. 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. That did not happen.
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! At this point, I guess that means banking and booking a stay at BLT in 2026.
2025: Villas at Grand Californian – This one has been teased for a while and it is finally on the official calendar. The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa are looking really tired and are a sharp contrast to the new rooms in the Villas at Disneyland Hotel.
Hopefully the concept takes thematic and stylistic elements of the new-look GCH rooms (maybe with a dash of Boulder Ridge) and combines that with the new Inova pull-down beds. That would be a huge win.
This was originally slated to happen in 2023…then 2024…now 2025. Here’s hoping this is not delayed again. 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.
2025: Animal Kingdom Villas (Kidani & Jambo House) – 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. 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.
2025: Copper Creek Villas at Wilderness Lodge – These are relatively new rooms, so this is necessarily a soft goods refurbishment based solely on timing. Honestly, that’s perfectly fine with us–and we’re frankly to see Copper Creek make this list!
Copper Creek opened just before the wave of Inova pull-down beds, so it’ll almost certainly get that. Hopefully, Disney also corrects some of the questionable design choices, which made it a bit of a thematic hodgepodge. Copper Creek had flashes of excellence before, and if this brings it on par with Boulder Ridge, it’ll be a huge win.
We really love the quirky, rustic style of the Treehouses, and hope Disney doesn’t get too heavy-handed with modernizing these rooms. While the new rooms at Saratoga Springs are a nice upgrade for that side of the resort, if that same style is applied to the Treehouses, it wouldn’t work. It’d be too bland and generically modern. Here’s hoping that Disney realizes this and looks to Wilderness Lodge for inspiration, instead of Saratoga Springs.
Thoughts on the 2024-2025 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 2024 or 2025? 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!