Review: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
By Dave Shute
DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN VILLAGE RESORT FOR FIRST-TIME VISITORS
While there’s some construction left that will continue through 2015 (especially a re-do of the small East Pool), in April 2015 Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort largely exited a refurb cycle. (The word “Village” was added back to the name in 2014.)
- Refurbs of the standard rooms
- The redo of the entrance to the main services building, the Great Ceremonial House
- The redo of the lobby and fountain
- The addition of Trader Sam’s
- The refurb of the main Lava Pool
- Construction of bungalows in Seven Seas Lagoon and re-opening of the beaches near here and the pool
- DVC refurbs of the old Rapa Nui and Tahiti, now Pago Pago and Moorea
What’s left is some walkway re-dos, completion of the conversion of Tokelau to DVC Studios, and the refurb of the East Pool. Stay away from rooms fronting the East Pool and you’ll have a great visit to the Polynesian.
Anyway, our most recent stay in one of the new Studios, plus a visit to the newly-reopened main pool, confirms what this site has recommended since the day it was launched: for those who can afford it, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is the best place for first time family visitors to stay.
You can have a wonderful visit at any Walt Disney World resort hotel.
However, this site recommends that first time visitors to Walt Disney World who can afford it should stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, a deluxe resort, and that those who can’t should stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, a value resort.
Compared to other Walt Disney World owned and operated resorts, the deluxe resorts are distinguished by having (on average) the most amenities, nicest views, best dining options, best transport options, largest rooms, best service, and highest prices.
(See this for much more on resort distinctions by price class–value, moderate, deluxe, etc.)
STANDARD ROOMS AT DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN RESORT
The rooms sleep five–two each in two queens, and a fifth on the couch, which converts into a daybed. You can add to this capacity of five a child younger than three who sleeps in a crib.
These rooms had their latest refurbishment in 2013. More on the rooms later in this review!
DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN RESORT FOR FIRST TIME VISITORS
On this basis, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, a monorail resort, is far and away the best resort for first time family visitors to Walt Disney World.
- Three of the deluxe resorts–the Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Polynesian Resort, in that order–have spectacular kid appeal.
- None of the moderates do.
- All of the value resorts–Disney’s All-Star Sports, All-Star Music, and All-Star Movies, and its Pop Century Resort and Art of Animation Resort–have strong kid appeal.
The kid appeal of the Polynesian Resort comes from its sense of exotic adventure.
The architecture of the resort recalls the villages of the South Pacific, and is reinforced by touches such as flaming torches, spectacular gardens, leis-festooned staff (and guests!), hula lessons, etc.
Convenience. Disney’s Polynesian Resort is the most convenient of the Disney Resorts–at least for trips centered on the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, as they are on first time visits.
It is one of three “monorail resorts” on the Magic Kingdom resort monorail line.
This means that the Magic Kingdom is two stops away when going there, via the resort monorail, and one stop back, via the express monorail.
This better than either of the Contemporary (4 stops to, 1 from) or Grand Floridian Resorts (1 and 4), the other two resorts on the resort monorail.
Moreover, at the Contemporary and Grand Floridian, going to Epcot means taking the resort monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), and then the Epcot monorail.
From the Polynesian, you simply walk to the TTC and the Epcot monorail.
BEST PLACES TO STAY AT DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN RESORT
This site suggests that first time visitors stay in standard rooms, not preferred rooms. This is because they won’t be spending much time in their rooms. The single exception is visitors to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, who should always pay for savanna views.
Rooms in Disney’s Polynesian Resort are found in eleven 2 or 3 story “longhouses,” each with an elevator (or access to an elevator in a nearby building). (See the map.)
What used to be the best options–Rapa Nui (now Pago Pago), Tokelau, and Tahiti (now Moorea)–are now DVC rooms.
Among the rest, the most conveniently located is Raratonga–close to the Great Ceremonial House and its restaurants and resort monorail, to the quiet pool, to the bus stop, and to the walkway to TTC and the Epcot monorail. Like the rest of the non-DVC longhouses, second floor rooms at Raratonga don’t have balconies. First floor rooms have patios, and third floor rooms have balconies.
However, during the refurb of the East Pool, views and noise may be awkward at Raratonga. A west side longhouse, though a longer walk to the bus stop and Epcot monorail, may yield a more peaceful vacation. The west side longhouses are Tuvalu, Fiji, and Aoetearoa.
Ideally, you’d request a third floor room for both better views and more quiet.
You can request any longhouse, and request a balcony (handy for the older longhouses)…but not the third floor…maybe because some of the longhouses have only two floors…
Any first time family visitors who can afford it.
Families too large to fit into even its 5 person rooms. See this for more on large families at Walt Disney World.
PHOTO TOUR OF A STANDARD ROOM AT DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN RESORT
This review continues here.
TOPICS IN THIS REVIEW OF DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN VILLAGE RESORT:
- Overview of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Photo Tour of a Standard Room at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Amenities at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Dining at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- The Pools at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Accommodations at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- The Disney Vacation Club at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Photo Tour of a Studio at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Renovation and Construction at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort