Disney’s Polynesian Resort Review

Disney's Polynesian Resort Lobby
Enjoy the Tiki in the Polynesian Lobby.

Disney’s Polynesian Resort has been a staple at Walt Disney World since 1971. The resort is a series of long houses with a central Great Ceremonial House. Everything from the landscaping to the smell of the resort is meant to transport you to the South Pacific Islands. The addition of Disney Vacation Club rooms brought even more room options to the resort, including the Deluxe Studio Polynesian Resort room and Polynesian Bungalows.

Polynesian Resort Long Houses
Stay in one of the amazing Long Houses.

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Polynesian Resort Villas

Representing the South Pacific Islands, Disney’s Polynesian Resort has two main sections which share a common main house. As a Deluxe Resort, it also includes some of the best dining on property and a great pool. The two sections are:

  1. Disney’s Polynesian Village – Polynesian Village includes resort rooms on the left side of the property in 8 long houses.
  2. Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows – Part of the Disney Vacation Club, the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows are located on the right side of the resort in Tokelau, Morea, and Pago Pago long houses and the on-water bungalows. This puts them close to the Ticket and Travel Center monorail to Epcot.
Polynesian Resort Villas map
The Polynesian Resort Villas are located to the right of the Great Ceremonial House.

Great Ceremonial House

Checking it at the Great Ceremonial House, you are welcomed with a tradition lei at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Both the Quick Service and Table Service restaurants are located in the main house as well as two stores. One of the unique experiences at the Great Ceremonial House is a visit to Auntie Kau’i. She makes beautiful paper flowers, and these make a great gift or souvenir of your time at the Polynesian. You can also take hula lessons in the lobby!

Deluxe Studio Polynesian Resort

Two bathrooms. That’s all that needs to be said. The Deluxe Studio at the Polynesian Villas comes with two bathrooms: one with a full-size tube/shower combo and one with a walk-in shower complete with a rain shower head. This can save so much time during your trip and is a huge convenience boost. If you are thinking of staying in a regular room, give the Deluxe Studio Polynesian Resort room a try just for the bathrooms!

The rooms are very spacious and include a queen size bed, full size sleeper sofa and a Murphy bed. This makes the room a comfortable fit for a family of 5.

Even with the pull-out bed extended, there is still ample space for the additional table/chairs and room to move around. The Murphy Bed is themed after Lilo and Stitch so expect the kids may fight over who gets to sleep with Lilo and Stitch every night!

Other Rooms at Polynesian Village Resort

The rooms in the Polynesian Village Resort come with four different view options and club level options. You can have a Standard/Garden, Theme Park, Lagoon, or Pool/Marina view room. All rooms come with two queen beds and one day bed, with the exception of the Standard view which does have a King she bed option with one day bed.

Polynesian Resort Bungalows

The bungalows are one of those “bucket list” stays. Perched over the Lagoon, the bungalows bring up visions of Bora Bora and easily sleep up to 8 people with 1 King Bed, 1 Queen Bed, 1 Queen-Size Sleeper Sofa and 2 Bunk-Size Pull-Down Beds. Each bungalow has its own splash pool built in to the back deck. They also come with a full kitchen and full-size dining room table seating 8. 

Renting DVC Points

As part of Disney’s Vacation Club, you can actually stay at the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows section of Disney’s Polynesian Resort by renting DVC points. This approach lets you rent from a Disney Vacation Club owner and can help save up to 60% off the list price depending on the time of your stay.

Remember those two bathrooms? Renting DVC points means you can get this room for the same or less price than a regular Polynesian Resort Room. There are a few drawbacks, like less frequent room cleaning, but renting points for your Deluxe Studio Polynesian Resort stay also brings perks like free parking! You can still use the dining plan and book your FastPass+ selections 60 days out. For more about both of these options, check out The Ins and Outs of the Disney Dining Plan and Disney FastPass+ : Skip the Lines!.

Note : If you think renting DVC points might be for you, I highly recommend David’s Vacation Club Rental’s. I have personally used them and had a wonderful, seamless experience. Another great DVC property is Disney’s Boardwalk Villas. You can get some ideas if this might be a great resort for you here : The BoardWalk Villas and Disney Outside the Parks.

Polynesian Resort Transportation

Disney’s Polynesian Resort is one of three monorail properties, along with Contemporary and Grand Floridian.  The Monorail runs on average every 10 minutes to whisk you away to Magic Kingdom. It also only makes 5 stops along its path, which is less than some buses make inside of a single resort. Caribbean Beach for example makes 7 stops before you even head to the Park.

Monorail inside Disney's Polynesian Resort
Magic Kingdom and Epcot are a quick monorail trip away!

Overall, being on the monorail brings you closer to the parks and can save upwards of 15-25 minutes in travel time. Another huge benefit is that you go through the metal detectors before boarding the monorail, which means your line is WAY shorter than it is for everyone else showing up at the parks.

Polynesian has an extra bonus in that it is within walking distance of the Ticket and Travel Center Monorail. This monorail delivers you to Epcot directly (no stops). Guest staying at Contemporary and Grand Floridian have to ride the Magic Kingdom monorail, disembark, and re-board the Epcot monorail. At Polynesian, you can walk right over to the Ticket and Travel Center in around 10 minutes.

Excluding Wait-Time for the Monorail, your travel times are

  • Magic Kingdom Via Monorail – 10 minutes
  • Epcot – 15 minutes

Polynesian Bus Transportation

Staying at Polynesian Resort Villas, you are limited to bus transportation to Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Disney Springs, and the Water Parks. Polynesian has a single bus stop inside the resort. As a Deluxe Resort, you get the perk of it being smaller than some of the Moderates which can have up to 7 bus stops just inside the Resort itself. You will share a bus with Grand Floridian at times, but it doesn’t add a lot to your travel time since it has a single bus stop as well. Your travel times should be around the following with a 15-20 minute wait for the bus to arrive:

  • Animal Kingdom – 20 minutes
  • Hollywood Studios – 15 minutes

Boat Transportation at Polynesian

You have the option of boat transportation to Magic Kingdom as well. Choosing to take the boat back from Magic Kingdom can save time if the Monorail line is long. You will share with the Grand Floridian, and most trips take about 15 minutes. Knowing your transportation options helps ensure the quickest trip back! If you are leaving Magic Kingdom and see a boat pulling up, hop on!

  • Magic Kingdom Via Boat – 15 minutes

Where to Eat at Polynesian Resort

This is one of the BIG reasons to love the Deluxe Resorts. You get amazing Table Service restaurants as well as Quick Service. If you compare to a Value Resort, where you usually only have a single dining hall, the options at Polynesian can almost seem overwhelming!

Snacks at Polynesian Village Resort

Pineapple Lanai is a must-do on your trip to snag the signature Dole Whip. It is one of the quintessential Disney Snacks and an excellent use of a Snack Credit if you are on the Disney Dining Plan. You can even try a Dole Whip Float with Pineapple juice!!

Dole Whip and Dole Whip Float
Dole Whip and Dole Whip Float courtesy of Lucky 6.9 at English Wikipedia

Quick Service Restaurants at Polynesian Resort

Captain Cook’s is the favorite for Quick Service. It has several island inspired options, and serves a full menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Other options include:

  1. Barefoot Pool Bar
  2. Oasis Bar and Grill
  3. On the Green Grill
  4. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto – The cocktails are the big draw here! With limited seating, it is an exclusive experience to dine and grab cocktail at Trader Sam’s. For more info, check out Gal Disney’s experience at Trader Sam’s!

Polynesian Villas Table Service Restuarants

Polynesian serves up two all-time favorite Table Service Restaurants in Kona Cafe and ‘Ohana. The Tonga Toast at Kona is legendary, making it a must-do for breakfast visits.

tonga toast
You have to try the Tonga Toast!

‘Ohana is one of the top family meals at Walt Disney World Resorts. It boasts a Best Friend Breakfast with Lilo, Stitch, Mickey, and Pluto and an all-you-can-eat lunch and dinner option. Lunch and Dinner are served family-style and comes with salad, appetizers (dumplings, stir-fried vegetables, lo-mein noodles), and three main course meats (grilled chicken, shrimp, steak). You will also enjoy some delicious bread and the most amazing dessert. Where the Tonga Toast is legendary, the Bread Pudding at ‘Ohana is life-changing!

Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show

There are a lot of mixed reviews about this dinner show. It feature dances from Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand and Hawaii with an all-you can eat luau feast. If you are on the Dining Plan, it takes 2 Table Service Credits which usually means paying out of pocket is more economical.

Polynesian Resort Room Service

Rarely does room service rank on a list of dining options at a Disney Resort. However, you can order the ‘Ohana dinner for your room for nearly 1/2 of the price of dining in the restaurant. It’s only available to guests staying at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. It’s called the Polynesian Feast and a single adult order is enough for two people to share.

It’s a great option to order in for your first night in a Deluxe Studio at Polynesian Resort if you arrive later in the day. One adult portion and one kids portion cost $60 and feeds an entire family of 4 with left-overs. This is the most overlooked perk at Polynesian!

Polynesian Village Resort Lava Pool

One of the best Disney Resort pools, the Lava Pool is one of the best perks for staying in a Deluxe Studio Polynesian Resort room. The pool boasts a water slide inside a volcano, waterfall, low-entry pool section, kids’ splash pad area, and a hot tub. Like other Disney Resorts, life jackets are available which means all the kiddos can enjoy the fun of the water slide.

Disney Polynesian Resort Review

Disney’s Polynesian Resort brings so much to the table for your next resort stay. There are four  big reasons that you have to make this part of your Walt Disney World trip!

  1. Location : It’s the only resort within walking access to both Monorails. You can be in Magic Kingdom or Epcot in 15 minutes.
  2. Dining : Whether you take advantage of the ‘Ohana Room Service dinner or dine in the restaurant itself, the food options at Disney’s Polynesian Resort are amazing. There are multiple Quick Service and Table Service options.
  3. Pool : The Lava Pool with water slide is fun for the whole family. The toddler’s splash pad is one of the best of the Walt Disney World Resorts.
  4. Deluxe Studio Polynesian Resort Room – If you use a DVC rental, you can enjoy an incredibly spacious room with two bathrooms. I can’t over-emphasis the huge increase in convenience this is for a family of four.
    Polynesian resort pin
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