Want our honest review of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort? Check out the 7 things we loved and then a few things we didn’t in this review.
Fact: Staying at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has been on my husband’s bucket list( and mine if I’m honest) ever since the first time we ate at Ohana many years ago.
The atmosphere, the smell of the lobby, the tropical grounds, and the easy access to Magic Kingdom made it seem like the perfect place to stay when you visit Walt Disney World. Spoiler alert: we loved it. It is now in my top 3 Disney resorts. I want to share what we loved and then a few caveats. Then you can decide if this is the best option for your next Disney World Visit.
Background info about Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort:
Did you know that the Polynesian was the first Disney Resort to open in 1971? It beat The Contemporary by an hour! The 39-acre South Pacific-themed resort includes over 850 rooms across several “Longhouse” buildings (named after Polynesian isles), one and two bedrooms suites (including “Club” Level suites), and 20 overwater bungalows. It has the largest pool for a deluxe resort, and all of its rooms have been recently refurbished with a Moana theme.
Note: Disney World is constantly changing policies, promotions, and upkeep of its parks and resorts. The information shared in this post is up to date as of Summer 2023. But it’s best to always check the Disney Website closer to your visit for any updates.
7 Things We Loved about Disney’s Polynesian Village Resorts: An Honest Review
1.The Theming of the Resort
I love a resort dedicated to it’s theme.
The South Pacific theme is evident in the lai you get when you first arrive, to the smell of the lobby in the great ceremonial house in the lush landscaping to the tiki torches lit at night to the names of all of the restaurants Disney nailed it. It’s glorious. I have heard some say that they theme is too dark but all the dark wood and lush landscaping help to bring the theme together in my opinion. It’s not modern with light and bright theming of some of Disney’s other Deluxe resorts. But I think that’s what makes the Polynesian unique.
2. Location, Location Location
It’s prime location is one of the best things about The Polynesian. It is one monorail stop away from Magic Kingdom! Step onto the beach, or look across the pool or have a drink and you can see Cinderella Castle in the distance. And if you are a family that likes or NEEDS to take a quick midday break away from the park or Magic Kingdom is your main destination, the location is perfect.
Plus, the Polynesian is a short walk over to the Grand Floridian Resort ( my Favorite resort) which can open the door for more shops, pools, and dining options ( you must try Citricos if you are this close) .
3. The Best Dining Options.
This section is called the Best dining options but really, it’s mainly about one restaurant: Ohana.
Ohana is one of Disney World’s most popular restaurants, and our favorite. Located on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House., ‘Ohana serves dinner but is most known for its character breakfast.
Breakfast is served family style while Mickey Pluto, Lilo, and Stitch visit you. It really is one of the best character breakfasts with the best view.
But Ohana isn’t the only place to dine at the resort. Kona Cafe’ is another great sit-down dining experience( try the Tonga Toast for breakfast)
Capt Cook is the quick-service restaurant of the resort. You can mobile order a meal to go or sit down at one of the outdoor tables and enjoy your food.
There is also Kona Island which has good options if you want coffee and pastries or just a sweet treat in the afternoon.
And for adults: there is the Tambu lounge in the Great Ceremonial House and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto which makes delicious creative beverages just for adults. LOL.
4. There are Dole Whips on property!
And Speaking of Food, did you know that The Polynesian is the only resort outside of the theme parks that have the Dole Whip? The Pineapple Lanai serves Pineapple Dole Whips, Vanilla dole whips and even a boozy dole whip! It’s so so good.
5. Easy Transportation to and from the parks.
The Monorail: Easy access to the parks is really one of the best things about staying at The Polynesian. The Polynesian is one of three monorail resorts( Disney’s Contemporary Resort and the Grand Floridian are the other two resorts) Meaning that is is one of only three resorts with direct monorail access
The monorails stop at The Magic Kingdom (two stops away) and the Transportation Center for Epcot. You can also walk to the Transportation Center. The monorail station is located on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House.
Additionally, guests can walk to the Transportation and Ticket Center to catch a monorail to Epcot
Boat Transportation: The Polynesian Resort also has a boat launch. The Ferry Boat goes to the Magic Kingdom all day every day starting 30 minutes before the Magic Kingdom opens until one hour after the park closes. The launch is located on the beach near the main Lava Pool.
Bus Stop: AND: Don’t forget about the standard Disney Transportation Buses that stop at the Polynesian Resort on Continuous loops to take you to all of the parks including the water parks.
6. The Largest Pool at a Deluxe resort
The main Lava Pool complex is the largest pool for a deluxe resort. Located right behind the Great Ceremonial House, the Lava pool and was renovated in 2015.
The main pool has four to five-foot deep areas, zero entry areas, a tubular slide, a separate children’s splash pad area, and plenty of lounge chairs, umbrellas, and chairs.
There is also a separate hot tub area with views of the Seven Seas Lagoon.
But my favorite is the quieter Oasis Pool . it’s smaller and since there is no water slide…less children. And it also has its own pool bar.
Both pool complexes have lifeguards, attendants for poolside food and drink service, and walk-up snack bar service
7. The rooms and the Bungalows
All of the standard rooms at Disney’s Polynesian Village Reesort have been refurbished within the last two years. As a result, the rooms now feature Disney’s popular animated film, Moana. Here is a look at the standard guest room.
I love that the Deluxe resorts are what I call subtle Disney. It’s not screaming at you like say Art of Animation. But there are subtle Disney touches everywhere in the room.
There are two main categories of rooms at the polynesian so I will spend time talking about both, The Longhouse and the Villas. Keep in mind that this is a Disney Vacation Club Resort. So some rooms are saved just for the DVC.
Disney’s Polynesian is made up of many different buildings across the property. They are called longhouses. When you get youur room assignment, it will have the name of the longhouse and room number. For example: we stayed in Moorea 105.
Here are the names of the different longhouses at Disney’s Polynesian Resort:
- Pago Pago
The longhouses that make up the Disney Vacation Club at Disney’s Polynesian are Pago Pago, Tokelau, Moorea, and the Bora Bora Bungalows. These are also known as Disney’s Polynesian Villas.
Room types in Disney’s Polynesian Villas include:
- Deluxe Studio Villa with Standard View or Water View
The deluxe studio villa is commonly called a DVC studio. We stayed in a Deluxe Studio on our last stay. I loved that we had two bathrooms.
The Polynesian now has a club-level offering called the King Kamehameha Club at Disney’s Polynesian Village. The backside of the Hawaii longhouse faces the Bora Bora bungalows and lagoon.
And last but certainly not least are the Bora Bora Bungalows located out on the water.
These Bungalows are bucket list for most of us. I mean…look at these photos from a tour I had.
There are 20 over-the-water bungalows that sleep up to 8. They have two full bedrooms and two full baths, a living room, a full kitchen, and a private deck on the back with a plunge pool on the back deck that gives great views of the fireworks, the electrical water pageant, and the Castle.
They are EXPENSIVE. But just once….I want to try.
A few additional things about the Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Let’s address the elephant in the room ok?
Disney’s Polynesian Resort is EXPENSIVE.
There is no way to get around that simple fact. I’ve had people ask how we afforded it, and simple, we planned. We booked this vacation LAST year and had a payment plan all year long that we paid monthly. Just like we would any other vacation.
Was it worth it?
Every single dime yes.
What DIDN’T you like about the resort?
Not much,but one thing I didn’t like was how spread out the resort is. It wasn’t a long walk to the main building from our longhouse, but it was long enough for someone with a knee injury. And when it rained( as it often does at Disney) it’s a long walk/run back to your room.
Also, while the resort doesn’t seem crowded while you are in your room or further away from the main buildings, it can get crowded. Finding seating at Capt Cook for dinner one evening took a while. But this is normal for Disney in the summer, but beware.
Would I stay here again?
Where is it in my top 3?
Number 2. The Grand Floridian ( another Deluxe resort) remains the Queen in my eyes followed closely by Saratoga Springs.
Disney’s Polynesian Resort is basically a tropical paradise in the middle of Disney. It was an unforgettable vacation and something that we can now cross off of our Disney bucket list. I would stay again…if I stayed in the bungalows. LOL. I have a goal to stay at all of the Deluxe hotels so the Yacht and Beach Club is next on our bucket list