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TouringPlans WDW Resort Tournament Finale

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The results are in! And what a journey it has been! We started out with 32 WDW resorts, and through the course of 2 weeks and over 1000 total survey results, you have crowned the winner. So let’s not bury the big news. The winner of the 2021 WDW Resort Tournament is … the Polynesian Village Resort!

32 entered, 1 emerges victorious

With 16 votes submitted, the championship match was an even battle. But from that point on, Poly ran away for the win. The final score was 59.9% to Kidani’s 40.1%. We’ll dig more into full tournament results later (yay for data!). And, as a data nerd, I can’t believe I’m saying this. But we all know the comments are the real star of this tournament. So let’s see what you all had to say!

Happy with the Results

  • Michelle says, “Animal Kingdom Lodge is great, but you can’t beat being able to walk onto the monorail and easy access to Dole Whip.”
  • Deb says, “I love akl, but poly is classic disney at its best. No contest.”
  • Belinda points out, “Both have beautiful theming and excellent dining choices, but the Poly wins–location, location, location.”
  • Kevin is VERY happy about the results, because he said, “Poly is the best…great theming, great location, great pool, great restaurants, great nostalgia, plus they have Dole Whip!!! and the best adult beverages on property, The Spikey/Frosty Pineapple! How could you not like a Dole Whip and Rum smoothie?”
  • Trey commented, “The Poly is the Wrigley Field of Disney resorts. Classic, historic vibe that cannot be duplicated anywhere else.” Trey, as a St. Louisan I must say booooooooooo.
  • Brian thought the choice was easy. “Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. Game Over.”
  • John wraps up the general sentiment – “Uh-Oa! Did we really need this tourney to determine that one of the oldest and most iconic resorts at WDW would take the title?! Grab a Lapu Lapu and celebrate!”

Unhappy with the Results

  • My family is still #TeamAKL. Kidani back porch 4eva!

    Sissi says, “As cool as the Polynesian is, AKL-Kidani has freaking giraffes! And no villas to block my view.” Right, Sissi?!

  • Abigail exlaims, “I prefer to stay somewhere where I fell like the rich person on safari, instead of where I’m stuck in a room with no view (because we never get the room with the view) behind rich people with hot tubs. AKL FOREVER!!!!”
  • …. this was a short section. AKL supporters, where you at?

General Hilarity and Fun

  • Cameron, of Yacht Club Tattoo infamy, seems relieved, “My heart breaks for my beloved lost Yacht Club. But, on the bright side, I’ll still be able to look my mother in the eye. ;)”
  • And Amy had lots to say, “Animal Kingdom Lodge: It has a freakin’ savannah! (And plentiful 1 and 2br villas.)
    Poly: There’s just something magical about it. (Well, not this year with the construction and monorail absence, but usually.)
    Misc. Musings: Does the TP algorithm account for Mary’s riot plans? Will this impact wait times and park reservation availability?
    Does this final vote come down to monorail, Dole Whip, nostalgia, and Tonga toast vs. savannah, bread service, and extra bathrooms in 1 and 2br villas? ” So many insightful comments here, Amy. The best of which leads us to our entire next section …

Wilderness Lodge Groupies

  • The place to start planning #WildernessLodge2022

    Mary, the fearless leader and original WL fan girl, has big plans: “My Belligerent Rioters Against Wilderness Lodge Slander (B.R.A.W.L.S) will continue our fight in the name of roaring forks, bubbly pools and indoor bridges until the glory of Wilderness Lodge is restored.” When I eventually stay at Wilderness Lodge someday, I’m having you give me a tour, Mary.

  • Michael is willing to pitch in: “I vote for AK Lodge purely because it is the closest thing to Wilderness Lodge. We stand ready to riot whenever Mary leads us. Riot prep meeting tonight at Whispering Canyon (Bring Your Own Ketchup)”. Things are heating up.
  • Moth is part of the crowd too: “out of the options provided, im voting for poly. but had i the choice, i would support wilderness lodge. #wildernesslodgeriot2021”
  • Indiana Ski Mom is supportive of the movement: “Wilderness Lodge rules! I’m with the riot ladies. I’ll bring markers for signs and snacks.”
  • And I think Lorrie speaks for us all when she says, “The comments are the best. Of course Mary’s riot viewing will be a special ticketed event, but will the event include dinner, dessert or both?”

Enough with the words – give me the numbers!

The final results in cool sports-y bracket form

It’s fun to crown a winner, but it’s more fun to pick out losers too, right?! Using some fancy data tricks, we can weight results for each resort. It’s a bit of an iterative process that starts with scoring each resort that lost in the first round as “tied for 17th place”, etc. So I can then calculate things like “strength of schedule” (did the resort go up against heavy hitters?), longevity in the tournament (during which round was it eliminated), and overall scores. This gives each resort a new “ranking,” instead of all of the ties. And I can keep recalculating until things stabilize and I have a good idea of an overall rank for each resort. So for your viewing pleasure:

  1. Polynesian Resort (originally seeded 18th)
  2. Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village (seeded 9th)
  3. Yacht Club (seeded 12th)
  4. Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House (seeded 14th)
  5. Wilderness Lodge (seeded 7th)
  6. Contemporary Resort (seeded 17th)
  7. Grand Floridian Resort + Spa (seeded 13th)
  8. BoardWalk Inn (seeded 11th)
  9. Beach Club Villas (seeded 10th)
  10. BoardWalk Villas (seeded 8th)
  11. Bay Lake Tower (seeded 4th)
  12. The Villas at Grand Floridian (seeded 1st)
  13. Port Orleans – French Quarter (seeded 5th)
  14. Riviera Resort (seeded 2nd)
  15. Copper Creek Villas + Bungalows (seeded 3rd)
  16. Boulder Ridge Villas (seeded 6th)
  17. Beach Club Resort (seeded 15th)
  18. Polynesian Villas + Bungalows (seeded 19th)
  19. Port Orleans – Riverside (seeded 24th)
  20. The Cabins at Fort Wilderness (seeded 16th)
  21. Old Key West Resort (seeded 20th)
  22. Swan (seeded 21st)
  23. Art of Animation (seeded 22nd)
  24. Coronado Springs (seeded 27th)
  25. Caribbean Beach (seeded 30th)
  26. Pop Century (seeded 26th)
  27. Saratoga Villas (seeded 23rd)
  28. Saratoga Springs Resort (seeded 25th)
  29. Dolphin (seeded 28th)
  30. All-Star Movies (seeded 29th)
  31. All-Star Music (seeded 32nd)
  32. All-Star Sports (seeded 31st)

Best Performance

Compared to original seed, the resort that most over-performed expectations was our resort winner. The Polynesian Village Resort went all the way from seed 18 to coming in 1st. Crazy!

Maybe people are just really won over by desserts?

Worst Performance

Two resorts tied for worst performance compared to their original seed. Shame upon Riviera Resort and Copper Creek Villas! Riviera was seeded 2nd and came in 14th. And Copper Creek was seeded 3rd and came in 15th.

Less love for Riviera and Copper Creek than surveys would suggest

Resort Tournament Wrap-Up

Thanks for joining us on this journey! And for making your voices heard. I hope you’ve had as much fun as me seeing what happened each round of voting. And if you enjoy my mix of data and humor, check back in tomorrow when I write about guest satisfaction at various attractions pre-pandemic and post re-opening.

Do you have other ideas for interactive series that you’d like to participate in? Responses to our last round of entertaining commentary? Let us know in the comments!


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Becky Gandillon

Becky Gandillon was trained in biomedical engineering, but is now a full-time data and analytics nerd. She loves problem solving and travelling. She and her husband, Jeff, live in St. Louis with their two daughters and they have Disney family movie night every Saturday. You can follow her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-gandillon/ or instagram @raisingminniemes

5 thoughts on “TouringPlans WDW Resort Tournament Finale

  • For a more budget friendly protest, we will be gathering at the Pop Hippy Dippy Pool until Pop brings back the beef… the beef pot roast that is… No Chill Until It Returns.

  • As a parent, you always hope your kids will find practical applications for their school work. I was a little surprised when my daughter took a class on fascism and popular uprisings. But, I never imagined she would choose this blog series to apply her lessons learned. Mary (my 17 year old daughter) is your Wilderness Lodge riot leader. We are quite proud of our little anarchist. Becky, this was a wonderful diversion from Covid. Thank you and the ENTIRE team for the great work you do and these wonderful blog posts!

    • Michael, what a hoot! This totally made my day. Mary is a natural leader. Great job raising a confident woman!

  • Becky, this was a blast! Thank you!

    • Thank you for joining in on the fun, Doug!


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